Friday, October 30, 2009

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I think this is really cool:
Like a Skyline Is Etched in His Head

In a helicopter above the city on Friday, Stephen Wiltshire of London looked down at the streets and sprawl of New York. He flew for 20 minutes. Since then, working only from the memory of that sight, he has been sketching and drawing a mighty panorama of the city, rendering the city’s 305 square miles along an arc of paper that is 19 feet long. He is working publicly in a gallery at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
“I always memorize by helicopter,” he said on Tuesday, pausing from detailing the corners of a street on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge.

Mr. Wiltshire sees and draws. It is how he connects. Until age 5, he had never uttered a word. One day, his kindergarten class at a school for autistic children in London went on a field trip.

When they came back, he spoke.

“He said, ‘Paper,’ ” his sister, Annette Wiltshire, said. “The teacher asked him to say it again. He said it. Then they asked him to say something else, and he said, ‘Pen.’ ”
Check out his website, and check out his work.

IMHO, this is the best rendition of What A Wonderful World:

To paraphrase Warren Zevon IRT Tom Waits: I can sing like Louis ... once.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

You'd love her too

John Cole at Balloon Juice has become one of my go-to daily reads. For an example of why, here's his latest evisceration of Sarah Palin:
Umm, guys? SHE’S. A. GRIFTER. She quit her damned job to go on the wingnut welfare circuit. Seven in ten people think she is unqualified to be President. She’s just in this for the money, and she is currently having a public feud with the father of her teenage daughter’s child who is himself cashing in by posing for Playgirl.

This isn’t a credible politician. It’s a Jerry Springer episode.

Now, the logical musical reference might be Sara Smile by Hall & Oates, but since those guys suck harder than Jefferson Starship on crack, I won't bother.

Likewise Stevie Nicks' Sara, but she lost all relevance the minute Lindsey Buckingham embarked on a solo career.

Sarah McLachlan? Over-exposed. Sarah Brightman? Kinda hot, but not really.

No, the ultimate musical Sarah is Ms. Vaughan doing a song by some British guys:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crying Over You

This story is a heart breaker:
Girl's 'Notes Left Behind' Made Into Book

Brooke and Keith Desserich say they never intended to write a book about their daughter.

It started as a parent's personal journal to their younger daughter Gracie, so she would be able to remember her 6-year-old sister, Elena, who was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer.

"They told us at the very beginning that she had 135 days to live," Keith Desserich said.

Though her parents didn't want her to know the severity of her cancer, they feel that she must have known what was happening. The tumor slowly took away her ability to talk.

But Elena was still able to write.

"That was her way to letting us know everything would be OK," Brooke Desserich said.

After Elena passed away, her parents discovered that their daughter had left a message behind for them -- a lot of messages, actually.

"We started to pull out notes and they would be in between CDs or between books on our bookshelf," Keith Desserich said.

Then the couple started finding them everywhere.

"We started to collect them and they would all say 'I love you Mom, Dad and Grace.' We kept finding them, and still to this day, we keep finding them," Keith Desserich said. "Literally, there are hundreds of notes that we found."

Elena’s parents each hold onto a sealed note they've never opened.

"We always want to know that there’s one more note that we haven't read yet," Keith Desserich said.
There's more, but I've got something in my eye and I can't post about this anymore.

Can't decide on which way to go

Regarding the awfulness that is Lieberman, I re-tweeted something from Katrina VanDen Heuvel of The Nation magazine today, and it automatically posted over to my Facebook account:

I got an interesting response from an old friend, a great guy, who tends toward the conservative:
The Dems dictating that those who do not wish to pay for health insurance pay for those who can not afford it or are not able to get off their intoxicants or asses long enough to get strait and pay for it themselves is the very definition of dictatorship! I feel for those less fortunate, and I do my share when I can, but why can't the Gov. simply supply health care to those less fortunate, why do we all have to be subject to Federal rules and dictates?

While I understand the point, here's the error in logic:

In a democratic republic, we all have responsibilities about which we sometimes disagree. For example, I was opposed to the Iraq Invasion from the beginning. It clearly had nothing to do with 9/11, yet was pumped into the publics' awareness as the War of Necessity. In a perfect workd, I could withhold the percentage of my taxes that went to the war effort.

And I would have likely been audited by the IRS, and maybe sent to Federal prison.

I would like to withhold my share of taxes that goes toward corn ethanol subsidies, since it's a total waste of time, but again, that's the price I pay for the benefits the government provides that I do use and believe in.

But there's a schizophrenia in my friend's answer. He doesn't want to pay for:
those who can not afford it or are not able to get off their intoxicants or asses long enough to get strait
Yet follows up with:
why can't the Gov. simply supply health care to those less fortunate?
Yes, well, that's exactly what we're trying to do here. The Federal and State governments already do this. It's called Medicaid by the Feds, MediCal here in CA. The beef with helping out the willing underinsured is a straw man, far more people who are employable go without insurance than addicts or willful indigents.

And the final question:
why do we all have to be subject to Federal rules and dictates?
Because we live in a country with a federal government. That does stuff. Like distribute H1N1 vaccine, build interstate highways, provide postal service, and defends us from enemies.

Here's the real issue: The larger the risk pool, the lower the costs. The for-profit insurance blood-suckers understand this, yet against their own interests do not implement any internal reform.

Now they're thrilled by parts of the proposed HCR legislation that would mandate coverage, since that brings in more customers and premiums. To them, that simply means more profits, since they will not expand coverage like the Public Option would.

If you're a fiscal conservative, HCR with a strong public option lowers costs. The CBO proves this.

If you're a bleeding-heart liberal, providing universal health care is a moral imperative.

If you're a free-market capitalist, HCR means more healthy workers doing productive jobs.

If you're a Randian Libertarian, well, you're an idealogue, not willing to entertain something that benefits the common good.

Thankfully there aren't many Randians in positions of power these days.

And finally, in re: Lieberman, here's what he said in 2006:
"What I’m saying to the people of Connecticut, I can do more for you and your families to get something done to make health care affordable, to get universal health insurance," Lieberman said during a July, 2006, debate.

During that campaign, Lieberman advocated "small business health insurance reform, plus something I call MediKids to cover all the children in America on a sliding fee basis up until the age of 25."

Lieberman also pushed for a plan he called "MediChoice," which would "allow anybody in our country to buy into a national insurance pool like the health insurance pool that we federal employees and Members of Congress have."

Lieberman promised his reforms would cover "95 percent of those who are not covered now, and it will reduce the pressure on rising costs for all the millions of others."

As Eric Kleefeld pointed out at TalkingPointsMemo, Lieberman had a similar platform in 2004, when he promised to cover all American children with a Medicare-style plan, and said under his plan "if you lose your job, you will not lose your health insurance."

And that why progressives are so mad at Lieberman. His current statements in re: HCR seem more like a calculated appeal to obstructionist Republicans than an honest yet divergent opinion.

In other words, craven political posturing.


Lastly, where was the conservative outrage when GWBush was waging war in Iraq & Afghanistan with no intention of paying for it, while giving tax breaks to Donald Trump and other multimillionaires, raising the national debt to astronomical heights.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All My Ex's Live In Texas

Texas Gov Perry never lets the facts get in the way of killing an innocent man:
Controversy Builds in Texas Over an Execution

Questions about whether Gov. Rick Perry allowed the execution of a man some arson experts say may have been innocent, and then hindered an investigation into the evidence, continue to reverberate across Texas, where issues surrounding capital punishment have rarely stirred such controversy.
Three weeks ago Mr. Perry replaced the chairman and two other members of the State Forensic Science Commission, which was about to hold hearings on the evidence in the case. The new chairman, a close ally of the governor, promptly canceled a hearing at which a second, independent arson expert was to testify. The commission’s expert, Craig L. Beyler of Baltimore, had concluded in a lengthy report that the evidence did not prove that Mr. Willingham set the fire that killed his three daughters in 1991.
Last week Mr. Perry defended his decision and struck back at his critics. “Willingham was a monster,” he said.
Governor Perry has also refused to release the memorandum from his general counsel on which he based his decision to let the execution proceed. He says the memorandum is protected by attorney-client privilege.
The only monster I see is a governor running for re-election that refuses to release documents that the citizens of Texas paid for.

But wait, there's more!Governor Goodhair, (big thanks to Molly Ivins wherever you are), AKA Gov Rick Perry R-TexAss, thinks it's OK to have his ABC commissioner solicit bribes campaign donations on his behalf from the very folks they regulate.

I think that's usually called a 'protection racket.' He's as crooked as a snake in a hall of fractured mirrors.

I know most Texans loves them some death penalty, but are they willing to kill an innocent man!? I think not. I lived in Texas. Justice was harsh, but it wasn't crooked.

Think of your better angels. In the mean time enjoy this:

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Monday, October 26, 2009

Soupy Sales

Pie-throwing master Soupy Sales, whose madcap antics won the hearts of both young and old, passed away Thursday at age 83.

Sales was born Milton Supman on January 8, 1926, in Franklinton, North Carolina. His parents owned a dry goods store, and the Supmans were the only Jewish family in town. Young Milton picked up the nickname "Soup Bone", in reference to his last name, which he adapted to "Soupy" when he became a professional comedian.

Graduating from high school in 1944, Soupy enlisted in the Navy and served in the South Pacific during World War II. He entertained his shipmates with practical jokes and with crazy characters that he would often broadcast over the ship's PA system. He invented a large dog, "White Fang", that would play outrageous jokes on the seamen. After the war, he enrolled at Marshall University, graduating with a journalism degree. Soupy then moved to Cincinnati, working as a DJ and performing in nightclubs using the name Soupy Hines. He landed his first TV job at WKRC, where the station manager suggested he change his stage name to Soupy Sales, after the 1920's comic Chick Sale.

Sales rose to stardom in the mid-50's while working at WXYZ in Detroit. His Lunch With Soupy Sales, although intended to be a childrens' program, also attracted a sizable number of adults with its rapid-fire slapstick humor. He developed a series of routines using puppets, including White Fang from his Navy days, Black Tooth, and Pookie the Lion. His comic routines were often climaxed by somebody, often Sales himself, getting a pie in the face. Lunch With Soupy became enormously popular in Detroit, and in 1959 was picked up for national broadcast by ABC. During his time in Detroit, he also hosted a nighttime program, Soupy's On. A noted jazz aficionado, Sales used this program to promote many of the leading jazz artists of the era.

Sales moved his program to Los Angeles in 1960, and in 1964 began a run at WNEW-TV in New York City. Soupy was at the height of his fame during his years in the Big Apple. The Soupy Sales Show was syndicated throughout the country, and White Fang, Black Tooth, Pookie, along with private detective Philo Kvetch, Hobart and Reba whose heads poked out of the pot-bellied stove, and other Sales characters became etched in the national consciousness. As in Detroit, he often featured jazz and pop music on his programs, often coming up with madcap dances. One of his dance inventions, "The Mouse", became something of a national fad.

Soupy's most infamous moment occurred on New Years Day 1965. Angry at being made to work the holiday, Sales instructed his young audience to sneak into their parents' bedrooms and remove those "funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. Presidents" from their pants and pocketbooks. "Put them in an envelope and mail them to me," Sales told his young viewers. Several days later, Soupy began receiving envelopes containing money from kids all over the country. The uproar from enraged parents led to WNEW suspending Sales for two weeks. Soupy apologized, explaining that most of what he had received was Monopoly money, and donated the remaining cash to charity. He was sometimes accused of sneaking dirty jokes into his shows. Soupy had a standing offer he would pay $10,000 to anyone who could prove he used obscenity on his childrens' programs; no one ever took up the offer. Antics like this, though, helped to win Sales an unlikely cult audience among college students, who saw his anarchic comic routines as a subversive challenge to authority.

The pie in the face was Soupy's trademark. Sales estimated that he had over 25,000 pies thrown at him in the course of his career. There was a science to successful pie-throwing, as Sales recalled in his memoir Soupy Sez: “You can use whipped cream, egg whites or shaving cream, but shaving cream is much better because it doesn’t spoil. And no tin plates. The secret is you just can’t push it and shove it in somebody’s face. It has to be done with a pie that has a lot of crust so that it breaks up into a thousand pieces when it hits you.” One day, though, Soupy was notably caught off-guard: “One of my younger fans made the mistake of heaving a frozen pie at me before it defrosted. It caught me in the neck and I dropped like a pile of bricks.”

After Sales' program went off the air, he stayed in the public eye by appearing on a number of game shows, including What's My Line?, To Tell The Truth, The Hollywood Squares, and The $10,000 Pyramid. He continued to host local TV and radio programs in New York, and did occasional movie work. He also fathered two sons, Hunt and Tony, who became rock musicians, best known for their band Tin Machine and working with David Bowie and Iggy Pop.

Soupy Sales was a one-of-a-kind talent; zany, madcap, sometimes infuriating, but you couldn't help but like him. Enjoy this fine tribute to the master of the pie in the face.

(Crossposted at Pole Hill Sanitarium.)

My Friends Know What's In Store

Perhaps you've seen the distraction, (ooh look, something shiny!), between Faux News & the White House. What has been lost in the 'analysis' from all the MMM (Millionaire Multi-Media) is the same thing these stenographers always manage to avoid: are the Admin's accusations true?

Is Faux News an arm of the republican party? Are their news division and opinion division intertwined?


They've been attacking President Obama since he started running. "Terrorist fist jab" came directly from their newsroom. The chairman of Faux News, Roger Ailes worked for the Nixon, Reagan and Bush I campaigns. No need to work 'for' Bush II, Ailes ran the news division.

And while rethiglicans are screaming about 'unprecedented attacks on the media!', MediaMatters have lined up a slew of precedent.

(Quick aside: Something that especially offended me was the NYT's headline Behind the War Between White House and Fox You'd think by now they'd know the difference between statements and people dying in a WAR!)

IRT the 'liberal media', the WaPo and the NYT are both on record as saying they need to cover wrongwing news more (see above link.) Politco founders are on record saying "Drudge rules our world." CNN host Lou Dobbs pushed the birther conspiracy, and the bete noir of conservatives, MSNBC, has 3 straight hours of a rightwing ex-congressman Joe Scarborough spewing in the morning. (BTW Joe, what did happen to that dead intern on your desk?)

One would think that after all the MMM did to push the Bush WH's completely erroneous message on the need for an Iraq War on the American public, and all they did to promote the Clinton WH 'scandals' we could drop the 'liberal media' canard.

The 'he said/she said' skool of reporting only works if you don't have evidence. I think if you investigate abuse and only one person has scars and bruises you can find the truth. But you have to be willing to look. Maybe, just maybe, reporters do tend to be Democrats, but their editors aren't, their owners aren't and the board of directors of the corporations aren't.

But none of them are proven to be such blatant, top down, regurgitating republican talking points of the republican party as Fox News.

Time for some clean up in Ailes 1:

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'll stand by you

I blogged in June about client & friend Jeff Castelaz and his wife Jo Ann, who lost their beautiful 6 year old son Pablo to cancer. They had already started the Pablove Foundation, not to help themselves, but to raise awareness and money for other victims of pediatric cancer. Read the Mission Statement at the above link, it will bring tears to your eyes and fire to your heart.

(Pablo, a few weeks before his passing)

An avid cyclist, and friend of Lance Armstrong, Jeff decided to turn his sorrow and rage toward the positive, and organized Pablove Across America:
On October 10, 2009, Pablo’s dad, Jeff Castelaz, along with his cycling coach, Rick Babington, will embark on a 3,100 mile ride spanning the entire US. They will start in St. Augustine, FL and in the course of 30 days on their bikes, make their way to Pablo’s grave at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles.

Pablove Across America is Jeff’s show of commitment to fighting kids’ cancer—and his need to wring out his soul of its sadness. Along the way, he’ll visit children’s hospitals to connect with cancer kids just like Pablo. He’ll promote cancer awareness on radio, television and in the written press. Anything to drive home the mission of the Pablove Foundation, and to keep Pablo’s spirit and boundless energy alive.

Pablove Across America is about standing up, hammering the pedals, speaking out and FIGHTING back—to raise awareness that kids get cancer, families need help and hope—hope not only to find a cure, but in the day-to-day grind of treatment.

The ride has many corporate sponsers. Here's the video of Jeff & Lance announcing Pablove Across America:

The ride just finished Day 12. Read the blog posts about it at, especially the daily dedications, like this one:
Baby Luke Piersol is our dedication tonight. He was a brave little boy who Jo Ann, Pablo, Grady and I got to know well in our time at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Luke was 16 months old when he passed away on February 1, 2009. His parents Laura and John and sister Grace fought their fight in the same rooms and hallways as us, and we got to know them very well.
Or this one:
Tonight’s dedication goes out to Josh Brestel of Lincoln, Nebraska. He passed away at four years old after two relapses and, in his mom’s words, “too many surgeries to count.” We send our intentions for peace and tranquility to Josh’s family and friends all over the world.

The Castelaz family is working tirelessly to try and help not themselves, but other families and kids who have to fight pediatric cancer. Even in these tough economic times, this is a cause that needs support. They're working hard in hopes that the personal loss and hell they went through won't happen to anyone else.

Remember, as you sit comfortably in your home, that it's always someone else's problem.

Until it happens to you.

Here's their YouTube channel:

Here's the Get Well Pablo blog: getwellpablo

Here's the ride itinerary:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tell me who's been foolin' who?

As an unapologetic Liberal blogger, I get email from some pretty strange places. Recently I got some email from something called, full of birther/teabagger nonsense. The web site looks awful, I'm guessing to make it seem home brew. It offers the ability to fax complaints to every member of Congress/Senate:
Get this, the liberal hordes think they can just take over our government for their own enrichment and outlandish purposes. We The People say: NO MORE!

Read this, It's going to be a cold day in HELL before We The People submit to the National Socialist agenda. It is time to put them on notice!

I did a Whois search on, and came up with this:
Rua Dr. Brito Camara, n 20, 1 Funchal, Madeira 9000-039 PT Phone: 1-902-7495331

Translated, that's someone at 20, Dr. Brito Camera Road, Madeira, Portugal. I did some more digging with Teh Google™, and found that it's actually Domain Discreet, who registers hundreds of random web sites at that address. Weird. Why would a patriotic American grassroots campaign use a proxy anonymous domain host?

But the 902 area code turns out to be Canada, specifically Nova Scotia/PEI. So who the actual hell is

A deeper look at the headers of the actual email shows that it comes from While that search results in a 404 error, leads to:

And who are these folks? Quotes from their site:
If you have ever worked on a campaign before, you know that winning is certainly better than losing. And in today's highly competitive electoral matches it is those candidates who have prepared themselves and their teams with experienced professional help that make it to the finish line a winner.

  • Advertising - Direct Mail, Radio & TV, Online, and Print
  • Campaign Management, Targeting, and Strategy
  • Field Operations and Grassroots Organizing
  • Fundraising - Direct Mail, Event Planning, Major Donor Programs
  • Legal Compliance - Federal and State
  • Media and Press Relations - National & State
  • Online Web Operations - Basic and Full Service
  • Polling - Integrated and Autodial
  • Printing - Direct Mail, Yard Signs, Bumper Stickers, and more!
  • Telephone Contact Services

And this:
In 2008 many consulting firms and campaigns came to EIG for help in specific targeted areas of their campaigns. Although we were not the General Consultant in any of these races, we were proud to be a part of these campaigns:

Mike Huckabee (Republican)
President of the United States

Greg Davis (Republican)
Mississippi, US Congress District 1

Chris Gorman (Republican)
Louisiana, US Congress District 4

Jack Kelly (Republican)
New Jersey, US Congress District 3

Wayne Parker (Republican)
Alabama, US Congress District 5

Charlie Ross (Republican)
Mississippi, US Congress District 3

Craig Schmidtke (Republican)
Alabama, US Congress District 2

Hal Valeche (Republican)
Florida, US Congress District 16

Jim Gilchrist's Minuteman Project

Congress of Racial Equality

Mississippi Forward

This is pretty disgusting:
At this time EIG was also called to work with the Congress of Racial Equality to form a chapter in the state of Mississippi. National media was giving attention to the trial of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 Civil Rights murders, and EIG was tapped to handle all public relations on outlets such as Court TV and CNN.
The plot thickens. As is often the case, what seems like a slightly bumbling but earnest grassroots effort is actually the spawn of a rightwing consulting firm. So who exactly is Another Whois search reveals:
Registrant: Election Impact Group Harold Morgan PO Box 2078 Oxford, MS 38655 US Phone: +1.6628328882 Email:

But even easer is going to the "Contact us" page of the web site, where we find this:
Howie Morgan, President
Election Impact Group
PO Box 2078
Oxford, MS 38655
(662) 832-8882
(662) 234-0336 fax

Tim Bueler
Media Consultant
24338 El Toro Rd. E-108
Laguna Woods, CA 92637
(310) 855-3460

Here's more about Howie Morgan:
Although immediately successful in taking his newfound knowledge to work in races recommended to him by Virginia GOP Committeeman Morton Blackwell (winning 4 of his first 5 elections, including a 5 way GOP primary), Morgan received his first major task when called by his good friend Tennessee State Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Senator Blackburn tapped Morgan to lead her open seat challenge for the 7th Congressional seat of Tennessee. With only 4 months to work with, the Blackburn Team handily won a 7 way GOP primary. Three of these opponents raised $250,000 for their respective campaigns, but they were no match for the $400,000 raised by the Blackburn Team in this same time period. This victory placed Election Impact Group on the national political map and earned EIG public praise by former Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour.

Right after working with Congressman Blackburn, Morgan immediately returned to Mississippi to help fellow conservatives win office. EIG became involved in races across the state for seats on the Board of Supervisors, House of Representatives, and State Senate.
Bottom line is, another fake grassroots astroturf outfit, proudly announcing that they help conservatives get elected.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If You Don't Know Me By Now

If you don't know these blogs by now, check them out, you might find you have a new daily read.

Siri at WTF Is It Now?!? has an excellent post about a new monument we need in DC:

It occurs to me that what we really need here in this country is a national memorial, perhaps like the Viet Nam memorial, a wall, upon which is carved each and every American's name who has lost his or her life, made the "ultimate sacrifice", because of the lack of or inadequate health care/insurance. Only this memorial would be more like a 9/11 memorial than the Viet Nam wall because none of these names volunteered or signed up for their ultimate UNECESSARY demise....

Cookie Jill at skippy's place caught this at the LA Times. Read it and weep:
97 years old and homeless
..."it makes me feel like i'm a bum," bessie said. "i don't mind living at the mercy of the public because some of the public is good -- they're nice to me. but there are some that are nasty. some of them laugh at me and my sign. they say they don't think i'm 97 years old."

reaching slowly into a pocket, she pulls out a laminated california state identification card that shows her date of birth: march 2, 1912.

Heather at Crooks and Liars watches Grayson's Anatomy:
Rachel Maddow talks to Rep. Alan Grayson
Maddow: On health reform let me ask you right now how you feel about the two sides right now. We talked about it at the top of the show. Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican, this weekend saying he doesn’t believe that death rates are higher for people who don’t have health insurance. The chair of the Republican Party says we just don’t need health reform. How do you see the two sides right now.

Grayson: I think that the Democrats have been fooled now for months by this fantasy of bipartisanship. Bipartisanship is a concept that’s become a weapon of mass distraction to keep us from actually doing what we need to do—to give people in this country universal health care—to give them affordable health care—and to give them comprehensive health care.

Dr. Sardonicus is in at Pole Hill Sanitarium and is doing a project on The Beatles. I think everyone, whether a Beatleologist or just curious about them could learn something. I know I did.
Album project: Beatles For Sale

The Beatles spent most of 1964 touring the world, In June, they did 19 shows in 32 days, visiting Denmark, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand. They folowed this with a triumphant return to the United States in August, performing 30 shows in 23 cities during the month. The tours became a monotonous grind, with the time before shows spent with promotional appearances, and dealing with obnoxious promoters, journalists, and DJs. The shows themselves were frustrating experiences, the group usually hurrying through 15 songs in 25 minutes that neither band nor audience could hear over all the screaming - as John Lennon remarked, "We might as well had been playing broomsticks."
Full disclosure: Dr. S occasionally writes for SteveAudio. He was invited to write there because I think he writes well and suggested him to Steve.

edroso at alicublog constantly covers the outer wingnuttia, (by outer, I mean mainstream wingnut blogs), so that we don't have to. The whole blog is great so I'll just give you this small sample:
Being a bit of a crank myself, I generally applaud non-joiners, holdouts, and antiquarians. But to go on for over 2,200 words about all the things he hasn't seen and won't see suggests, despite his insistence to the contrary, that Hanson is proud of it. He's proud as an observantly religious man might be that he scrupulously avoids the near occasion of sin, and has done so long and faithfully enough that he can truly say he's untempted.
The examples he gives are proof that peak wingnut can never be achieved. As Einstein said: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let's kill Saturday night

Is it just me, or has SNL become, at long last, completely humor free?

And while we're talking about Saturday night, here's the Best Song Everrr™ on that topic:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Under the milky way tonight

Skippy and I have a thing going, a friendly agree/disagree re: cover versions of songs. I'm not in favor of them most of the time.

But this is a version of The Church's "Under the Milky Way Tonight" that is nicer than the original, while taking nothing away from the original.

Sia's version:

Addendum by The Sailor: My favorite cover of all time is this cover of Tainted Love. IMHO, sometimes the cover is better than the original, and I really liked the original.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

how stupid could I be, a simpleton could see

Image from WHDH, Boston
Symbol carved into green at Lakeville golf course

Police along with the Secret Service are investigating after a local country club discovered a symbol that represents eastern religious beliefs carved into the green.

Lakeville Country Club workers discovered the vandalism early Monday morning.

Police believe the vandals meant to carve a swastika next to President Barack Obama's name on the 18th hole; however, the symbol was backwards and means hope and peace in some Eastern countries.
The comforting thing is that these morons can't even get a swastika straight. The uncomfortable thing is that it doesn't take much brain power to pull a trigger.

And speaking of stupid ...
Islam group ridicules Muslim 'spies' claim

Four Republican lawmakers have accused the most prominent Islamic advocacy group in Washington of trying to plant "spies" as interns on Capitol Hill.
In an unusual announcement this morning, four conservative Republicans — Reps. John Shadegg (Ariz.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Trent Franks (Ariz.) and Sue Myrick (N.C.) — formally asked the House Sergeant at Arms to launch an investigation of the Center for American-Islamic Relations. They accused CAIR, a non profit group, of trying to infiltrate Capitol Hill with interns and staffers.

Shadegg said Wednesday that CAIR is an organization that “members of Congress should be aware of and that should be investigated by the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service.”
The proclamation from the four Republicans came in advance of a book, entitled "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America," which includes a forward by Myrick. The author of the book, Dave Gaubatz, an anti-Islam activist who wrote last year that “a vote for Hussein Obama is a vote for Sharia Law.”
The lawmakers also released a one page "strategy" document they said they obtained from CAIR. But the document basically lays out a fairly straight forward public relations and lobbying strategy and indeed, one of the goals is "placing Muslim interns in congressional offices" and registering people to vote.
But, but, blacks! and Muslims! and Mexicans! Geebus, they really got nuthin' except flinging poo and hope something sticks.

America has always been a melting pot of cultures, religions and races (BTW, I don't even know what a race is.) We're all Americans and we deserve to be represented by our elected offals [sic].

Next up in the stupidity competition:
Judge refuses to dismiss gay marriage ban lawsuit

A federal judge challenged the backers of California's voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday to explain how allowing gay couples to wed threatens conventional unions, a demand that prompted their lawyer to acknowledge he did not know.
[raises hand] I know, I know, ooh, teacher call on me I got the answer!
It doesn't. The only possible reason they could have is the christain bible, and that's against the Constitution of the US and CA.

Now for some brain bleach:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goin' to California with an achin' in my heart

LATimes today:
Both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature recorded dismal approval ratings in the latest Field Poll.

The poll found that 27% of respondents approved of the governor's performance, marking a new low for him. Schwarzenegger's disapproval rating reached a new high, 65%, according to the poll.

People of Kahlifornia, I have a question:

What the fuck did you think would happen when you stupidly elected a steroid-addled Republican narcissist, a political dilettante with delusions of grandeur, with no agenda other than enriching his Republican club buddies at the people's expense?

He's not The Terminator, he's an actor just like Ronald Reagan, and please, let's all remember how that helped California when that bag of wind was elected Governor.

If I wasn't a lifelong resident of CA, I would have no sympathy for the state. But I'm as screwed as much as everyone else. At least I was smart enough not to vote for the bastard.

Crazy, Toys in the attic I am crazy

Orally Taints got a gavel upside her head today:
Counsel Orly Taitz is hereby ordered to pay $20,000.00 to the United States, through the Middle District of Georgia Clerk’s Office, within thirty days of the date of this Order as a sanction for her misconduct in violation of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Her response to the Court’s show cause order is breathtaking in its arrogance and borders on delusional. She expresses no contrition or regret regarding her misconduct. To the contrary, she continues her baseless attacks on the Court.
At the hearing, counsel failed to make coherent legal arguments but instead wasted the Court’s time with press conference sound bites and speeches.
But wait, there's more!
When a lawyer files complaints and motions without a reasonable basis for believing that they are supported by existing law or a modification or extension of existing law, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer uses the courts as a platform for a political agenda disconnected from any legitimate legal cause of action, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer personally attacks opposing parties and disrespects the integrity of the judiciary, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer recklessly accuses a judge of violating the Judicial Code of Conduct with no supporting evidence beyond her dissatisfaction with the judge's rulings, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law, that lawyer ceases to advance her cause or the ends of justice.
And if you call now, we'll include:
[Her Client] Capt. Rhodes [...] has sent a letter to Judge Clay Land, blasting Taitz for filing the motion to stay her deployment without even asking her.

I do not wish for Ms. Taitz to file any future motions or represent me in any way in this court. It is my plan to file a complaint with the California State Bar due to her reprehensible and unprofessional actions.
I've run out of pitchman phrases, so I'll just note this excerpt of page 42 of the judge's ruling:
The Court further directs that the clerk of this court to send a copy of this order to the state Bar of California [...] for whatever use it deems appropriate.
And Taints response?
Taitz said she had absolutely no plans to pay the $20,000 fine.

"Are you kidding? Of course not," she said, asked whether she planned to send a check. "This is a form of intimidation."
"I'll go to the circuit court of appeals. I'll take this as high as I have to go," Taitz said.
Ma'am, put the pipe down, step away from the pipe, I think you're higher than you need to be already.

Please, please, please spend a lot more of your husband's and your crazy birthers supporters' money on this! It's less they can spend on electing republicans.

Full disclosure: I excerpted and rearranged the paragraphs of the Judge's decision to make it more readable for us non-lawyers. What? Did you really expect me to quote all 43 pages!?

Not for nuthin', but this post started out with material from the AJC and TPM.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Lawyers, Guns and Money (& republicans)

GOP member shoots target with Fla. Dem's initials

MIAMI — A South Florida Republican said it was a mistake to shoot at a target with the initials of the Democratic congresswoman he is trying to unseat.

Candidate Robert Lowry made a brief statement to a local newspaper but refused to speak further Friday about the incident, which happened Tuesday during a weekly GOP meeting held at a gun range.

Organizer Ed Napolitano defended the gathering, as well as the use of targets that appeared to be gunmen with traditional Arab head scarves.

"That's our right," said Napolitano, president of the Southeast Broward Republican Club. "If we want to shoot at targets that look like that, we're going to go ahead and do that."

Lowry declined to comment to The Associated Press. [Republican candidate Lowry] initially told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that shooting at a target with the letters "DWS" — a not-so-veiled reference to Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — was a "joke," but then said it "was a mistake."
In his defense, I have to say that every time a republican tries to make a joke it's a mistake.

But seriously folks, if you put a political opponent who is an elected official as a target on a gun range, sooner or later somebody is going to get killed.

Total disclosure: I worked with Warren Zevon and part of the tour was Letterman's show.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Sunday, October 11, 2009

She blew my mind behind the wrecking machine

Pardon my obsession with the music of Bach, but since it really speaks to me, and the blog has my name on it, well, here's some more Bach.

A lot of what makes Baroque music so wondrous is the often insistent tempo. Just when you think you can't take it any more, it keeps on going with a new variation of the theme, which makes the relentless rhythm seem even more OK, as a driving force to take you to the mountain top. Like the Little Engine That Could, Bach was.

One of the better examples of this is the 10th movement of the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, commonly called Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. The original first line, Jesus bleibet meine freude (Jesus remains my Joy) is perhaps a better rendition of the sense of the whole lyric.

Since I am a recovering guitarist, I naturally look for guitar interpretations of music I love. Christopher Parkening has been the greatest arranger and advocate of Bach for guitar: see Parkening Plays Bach.

But here's the problem for guitarists. While Segovia said "the guitar is a small orchestra", and while in theory it can play up to 5 voices at one time, the reality is that Bach's counterpoint can require many more voices than 5. So an arranger for solo instrument has to pick and choose which voices to present, and which to drop.

Parkening's arrangement of "Jesu" is wonderful, and his playing so smooth, yet still doesn't capture quite the essence of the insistent accompaniment underneath the main melody that never ever stops except in the first half of each 'verse'. Because there simply aren't enough fingers to do that.

But wait, other folks can rock some Bach too. Here's Koari Muraji, a young Japanese woman who, while not having Parkening's longer years of expression and performance, has a great sense of what Bach should sound like. And she nails the continuo in the 2nd half of each verse, while not letting the melody get lost. Sublime musical technique and taste. This is rock'n'roll:

(Title is a lyric from a Skid Row song called Sweet Little Sister. Skid Row was fronted by a guy who went by the stage name Sebastian Bach. Dumb, I know. But it still made sense to me.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

He's Got Big Balls/ And He Won't Back Down

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Congressman Alan Grayson!
Grayson: Maddam Speaker I have words for both Democrats and Republicans tonight. Let's start with the Democrats. We as a party have spent the last six months-- the greatest minds of our party dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote for health care reform. I want to remind us all... Olympia Snowe was not elected president last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population.

What America wants is health care reform. America doesn't care if it gets fifty one votes in the Senate or sixty votes in the Senate, or eighty three votes in the Senate-- in fact America doesn't even care about that. It doesn't care about that at all.

What America cares about is this. There are over one million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bill. America cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that there are forty four thousand seven hundred eighty Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care. That's a hundred and twenty two every day. America sure cares a lot about that.

America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition even if you have health insurance, it's not covered. America cares about that a lot. America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don't need any. America cares about that a lot.

But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities-- America doesn't care about that at all. So we have to remember that as Democrats. We have to remember that's what's at stake here is life and death, enormous amounts of money and people are counting upon us to move ahead. America understands what's good for America.

America cares about health care. America cares about jobs. America cares about education, about energy independence. America does not care about process or politicians, or personalities or anything like that.

And I have a few words for my Republican friends as well. I guess I do have some Republican friends. Let me say this. Last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there's forty four thousand seven hundred eighty nine Americans who die every year according to this Harvard report-- published in a peer reviewed journal-- because they have no health insurance.

That's an extra forty four thousand seven hundred eighty nine Americans who die, whose lives could be saved-- and their response was to ask me for an apology... to ask me for an apology. That's right... to ask me for an apology. Well, I'm telling you this-- I will not apologize. I will not apologize.

I will not apologize for a simple reason. America doesn't care about your feelings. I violated no rules by calling this report to America's attention. I think a lot of people didn't know about it before hand.

But America does care about health care in America and if you're against it, then get out of the way. Just get out of the way. You can lead. You can follow-- or you can get out of the way. And I'm telling you now to get out of the way.

America understands that there's one party in this country that's in favor of health care reform and one party that's against it and they know why.

They understand if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world, the Republicans would blame him for over-population.

They understand that if Barack obama could somehow bring about world peace, they'd blame him for destroying the defense industry.

In fact they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon.

But that's not what America wants. America wants solutions to its problems and that begins with health care. And that's what I'm speaking for tonight.

Maybe the new stem cell research will enable the rest of the Dems to grow a spine.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

And now we're too far gone, hope is such a waste

Skippy was one of the first big deal bloggers to throw us a link way back when, and since we both live in L.A., we've gotten to be pretty good friends with him and Ms. Skippy. In fact, at the bottom of the page is a recent pic of them.

Skippy is known throughout Blogtopia (y!sktp) as one of the wittiest cats in town. But just tonight he penned a post of Olbermann-like intensity and depth. It's too good to paraphrase or quote from, so here it is in its entirety:
The conservative mindset, by nature (perhaps even by definition) strives for hegemony of political thought, preferably (or perhaps, "only") thought which adheres to their conservative viewpoint.

In the Right's mindset, disagreement equals disrespect. There is no room for opposing viewpoints without treason. Any deviation from that viewpoint is considered, well, deviant, and must be erased from the discussion. Witness the Dixie Chicks, Cindy Sheehan, and Michael Moore.

Of course in reality, there is no such thing as complete hegemony of political thought. The progressive left kept speaking up, and inserting their viewpoints into the national discussion. This made the Right quite upset.

They had dominated the debate during the Reagan years quite naturally (that is to say, in a natural fashion: Americans were prone to accept the idea of lower taxes and united states superiority, so Repubbblican memes were easily digested) .

However, things didn't go as well for them during Clinton’s administration. America realized that even democrats made sense once in a while. so the right had to try to dominate political thought in unnatural ways. Thus the Lee Atwater/Frank Luntz approach to spin over ideas, logical fallacies over adult debate was increasingly utilized by rightist "intellects" (for the lack of a better term).

Thus impeachment for no reason other than to marginalize the left was born. at the same time, this country witnessed the rise of the demonization of progressive thought, in the form of radio talk shows and cable TV "experts."

This wave of unnatural domination of political discourse resulted in (and came to a head during) the bush ii years. the right managed to practically wipe out all dissenting points of view (see Chicks, Sheehan, Moore, above).

But unfortunately for the right, it turns out that all they are good at any more is sloganeering. actual governing really eludes their grasp. So things, quite naturally, turned to sh*t.

And thus the elections of 2006 and 2008 ushered in an era of democratic majorities and more open debate on the national stage.

What was the hardly-ever-right wing to do? As we established above, any ideas not in keeping with their own are not allowed, let alone even worthy of debate. How could they take back the megaphones?

So the brain trust on the right stumbled upon what they thought was a cunning plan: emulate what they thought the left had done, by becoming disruptive and contrary.

And so the party of "no" came into being. the hardly-ever-right wing now not only roots against the democratic left, they actively root against America’s interests, if obtaining those interests makes the Dems look good. Glenn Thrush elucidates specific examples.

And let's not forget today's disrespect for the united states president winning the nobel peace prize. In any other decade, the country would be pleased. in 2009, the Repubbblicans can't bring themselves to even give a "good show" for one of the world's highest honors going to the man in the executive office. Sour grapes, anyone?

Unfortunately for the hardly-ever-right, in their quest to throw hot pennies of opposition on the democrats' ice rink of governing, they have become the very thing they hated in the first place: unhegemonious, if there is such a word.

Because, after all, there are ways to debate and be civil. There are ways to disagree and not disrespect. But to the Hardly-Ever-Right Wing, these ways are weak and unpatriotic.

However, and this is too bad for the Right (but great for us), the unexpected consequence of being continuously uncivil and disrespectful is that the Right has become what they hate: the Left.

(Hey, it makes as much sense as Liberal Fascism!)

I truly believe that the Right is making itself look more and more foolish in the eyes of Middle America. Sure, they've got their base of 20% sewn up. But it takes more than that to win elections.

(Disclaimer: I am not a political analyst. I am a blogger with an opinion, for all the hemmorhoid analogies which that image brings to mind ("every asshole gets them"). I grant that the GOP is in good position to take back some seats in Congress, if not the majority of the House, and that Fox News consistently beats MSNBC and CNN in ratings. But these are just individual battles in a larger fight. I maintain that, by becoming the party that shoots anything that moves, the GOP has shot itself in both feet, several times in the past few months.)

Here's the pic of Teh Skippy's. Handsome couple indeed.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday random 10

She Thinks I Still Care - George Jones
Liar - Argent
Only the Lonely - Motels
Homeward Bound - Simon & Garfunkel
Changes - David Bowie
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - Norah Jones
Stardust - Nat King Cole
Time Is On My Side - Rolling Stones
Angel of the Morning - Pretenders
Right Now - Van Halen

What are you listening to?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

RELAX, Relax, relax

I'm trying to relax by reading Fark instead of regular news, so this just amuses me:
Jack Thompson Sues Facebook

Jack Thompson, the disbarred crusader against violent video games, has sued Facebook, alleging site users posted violent threats against him. In a Facebook group called "I Hate Jack Thompson", one post in particular was singled out and mentioned in the lawsuit. The posting stated, “Jack Thompson should be smacked across the face with an Atari 2600.”
He is seeking $120 million in damages. Requests to remove the postings were faxed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, but received no response.
Tee hee, tee hee, tee hee, I feel my BP going down as I giggle and make fun of someone thinking an Atari 2600 could ever have an impact on anyone in the 21st century. Especially a virtual 2600.

I wonder whether Jack would have to say jack about this next article:
Lawyer sues to end Dallas group's 'threat' prayers

A former military lawyer who served in the Reagan White House and worked for Ross Perot is suing a Dallas-based religious organization in a case that could test the limits of free speech and prayer.

Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said he wants Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former U.S. Navy chaplain, to "stop asking Jesus to plunder my fields ... seize my assets, kill me and my family then wipe away our descendants for 10 generations."

Weinstein, 54, said his family has received death threats, had a swastika emblazoned on their home in New Mexico, animal carcasses left on their doorstep and feces thrown at the house.
"I never prayed for anyone's death," [Klingenschmitt] said. "I never prayed for anyone's violence. All I did was quote the Scriptures."
He "would never pray evil upon my enemies," he said, "but the justice of God is not evil." [ED:Nice Catch-22 there irReverend]

Does he want Mikey Weinstein to die? "I pray the Psalm that his days are few," he replied.

Klingenschmitt left the Navy with an honorable discharge after being found guilty in a 2006 court-martial for disobeying an order not to wear his uniform at a news conference. He said he ministered to Christians and non-Christians alike but said he sees "the whole world as a mission field," including the military.
There is video of the imprecations:

BTW, Psalm 109 is "A Cry for Vengeance"

How christain of them.

But wait, there's more:
"The suit raises numerous free speech and religious freedom issues," Ammerman said in his statement, adding that it "incorrectly implies that endorsing agencies exercise control over those they endorse, including their independent actions and speech."
That's not only religulous, but illogical.

Of course you exercise control over what chaplains you endorse.

And they've stated that they endorse christains who view "the whole world as a mission field" to convert non-christains.

Now for some relaxation:

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Monday, October 05, 2009

I'm so dizzy my head is spinning

I'm sorry about the lack of posting, and I don't normally whine about my personal life, but maybe my experiences will help others in the audience.

About 2 weeks ago my BP diastolic spiked to levels I normally associate with my IQ and my arms were tingling. Not the scary left arm tingling, but still something that needed to be addressed.

1st med was a beta-blocker, and I dropped to 99/42. Fainting was a new experience for me. Now if only I could find a couch to go with it and pearls to clutch I could be a republican.

ACE inhibitors were next on the menu, and there does seem to be a downward trend, but they make me feel tired all of the time and upset my digestion. So pardon me for eliminating [sic] reading the news and posting about it.

Me and my Dr are still working on the right combo. Apparently it's a different cocktail for everyone I've talked to and it takes awhile to adjust so initial side effects aren't indicative of final outcomes. I'm impatient with the results, but better to be impatient and an out-patient than an in-patient.

Still, there are a few things that caught my eye:
Senator’s Aid After Affair Raises Flags Over Ethics

Gay penguins book is most banned

Republicans celebrate America's Olympic loss

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sheep may safely graze . . .

This from the great star of Fox News, Glenn Beck:
Vancouver lost, how much was it? they lost a billion dollars when they had the Olympics.

With the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games fast approaching, the Operations Engagement Team (OET) has been created to provide local businesses and residents with the tools and information necessary to prepare for a successful and rewarding Olympic and Paralympic experience.

It hasn't happened yet!

Fox News: We make shit up, you decide.

And people who get their news from Fox? You're getting what you deserve.

Some palette cleansing music:

I really don't think you'll find a better performance of this piece. The modern guitar wasn't yet invented when this was written, yet much of Bach's work finds a happy home on the guitar.

I take issue with many interpretations of Bach, by otherwise really talented folks. Yo-yo Ma, a nice fellow and gifted player, does a major disservice to this piece in his interpretation. He plays it in a romantic style, all emotions and rubato tempi, with vibrato up the wazoo.

Dude, this is Baroque! It needs to be played almost to a metronome, that's part of the delicious tension that finally releases at the end. This swings and rocks as hard as Bird & Dizzy at their best, this is Clapton playing Crossroads live with Cream. This isn't Liberace or Lawrence Welk. The incessant tempo makes it rock, it drives it hard down the tracks.

Here's another player who gets it:

Because he only has 4 strings to work with, we miss many of the sustained notes available on the guitar, making it more true to the original Cello setting. Thing is, this type of solo baroque music depends on our brains to hear the chords, not the instrument to create them. the 1st 3 notes: G, D, B, define a GMajor triad, yet they are played as 3 separate notes. Our brain connects them into a G chord.

That's some of the mysterious beauty of this music, and of Bach's writing for solo instruments. You never have any doubt what the underlying chord is, yet you hear a stream of individual notes.