Thursday, April 30, 2009

When The President Does It, It's Not A Beagle

When The President Does It, It's Not A Beagle

Just a Position or Juxtaposition?

Today I'm instituting a new feature on this blog. It's labeled 'juxtaposition.'

Example 1: (which I've slightly rearranged for clarity):
when asked what he would tell family members contemplating a trip to Mexico during the flu outbreak [...] “I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said [...] “You’re in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes; it goes all the way through the aircraft.”
“If you’re out in the middle of a field and someone sneezes, that’s one thing,” Biden said. “If you’re in a closed aircraft, or closed container, or closed car or closed classroom, it’s a different thing.”
Umm, seems reasonable to me. The CDC says “When it is absolutely necessary to enter a crowded setting or to have close contact with persons who might be ill, the time spent in that setting should be as short as possible.”

Who could object to that? Ohhhh, these folks:
Hotel executives said their business began to suffer after Obama warned at a Feb. 9 town-hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, that companies receiving bailout money “can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime.”
Wow! Ending all those CEO parties on the taxpayer's dime was the reason their business is suffering!? Hmmph.

Example 2:
Napolitano Facing Republican Calls for Her Ouster

Obama's Security Chief Ignites Firestorm by Warning of 'Right-Wing' Extremism in U.S.
Umm, what 'firestorm?' Oh, the one by rightwing extremists:
Oklahoma Man Arrested for Twittering Tea Party Death Threats

An Oklahoma City man who announced on Twitter that he would turn an April 15 tax protest into a bloodbath was hit with a federal charge of making interstate threats last week
But wait, there's more!
Sweep targets gang

Seven arrested in two-county skinhead bust

A sweep of skinhead lairs throughout the Inland Empire on Monday twice took sheriff's deputies to maternity wards where pregnant women were trying to bear babies on Adolf Hitler's birthday.
The white racist street gang has been responsible for murders in the High Desert, drug trafficking, home invasion robberies and countless assaults, officials said.
Abortion clinic bombers, skin heads, Tim McVeigh, militia groups are the republican base, or at least they must be because republicans are up in arms about labeling them terrorists.

BTW, my friends from across the aisle are right to be worried. President Obama wants to take your guns and put you in reeducation camps and as a bonus feature, he's gonna f*#k all the white women too! Morans.

Example 3:
Opponents of Climate Change Bill Launch Ad Campaign

Opponents of federal limits on greenhouse gases are launching ad campaigns in the districts of moderate Democrats negotiating a bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The radio ads, sponsored by the American Energy Alliance, are running in the districts of nine committee Democrats and one Republican, Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania.
The ads contend that the bill would hurt the economy and cost jobs.

The lobbying and advocacy group, which was formed last year, is headed by Thomas J. Pyle, a former energy policy aide to onetime Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas (1985-2006). It is affiliated with the Institute for Energy Research, a public policy center advocating what it terms “freely functioning energy markets.”
Hmm, OPEC is a “freely functioning energy market?”
But if you call now you'll receive:
Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate

For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

"The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood," the coalition said in a scientific "backgrounder" provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that "scientists differ" on the issue.

But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted.

"The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied," the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Go Johnny go!

We're proud over here to consider the lovely and talented John Amato, proprietor of Crooks & Liars, a friend of this blog. We've known John since '05, hung out with him many times, and I can say that he's a really smart, passionate dude.

So imagine our excitement when we heard this:
I wanted to confirm to my readers that I am considering running for Jane Harman's seat. I've had meetings with bloggers and activists way before this story broke and they have urged me on. I've also been contacted by established campaign managers who have won elections which included huge upsets in the past that have expressed a serious interest in managing my campaign. This is a very important step in the process. At this point I am considering it, but haven't made a decision yet. I'm going to take my time before I decide, but I thought I owed it to you to confirm this report. Now back to our regularly scheduled content.

Indeed! John would be a real asset to the CA congressional team, and his politics are sound. We'll do everything we can to help him in this venture. (Note the use of the royal 'we'. I mean Pam & I, here at SteveAudio central. My co-bloggers are under no obligation to follow. Though they should.)

Harman, while hardly the worst Democrat, is still deeply flawed, as recent events have conclusively proven. She represents the CA-36 Congressional district, and is married to Sidney Harman, who runs Harman Industries and has ruined vast areas of professional audio equipment manufacturing in the U.S.

Glenn Greenwald on Harman's latest debacle:
So if I understand this correctly -- and I'm pretty sure I do -- when the U.S. Government eavesdropped for years on American citizens with no warrants and in violation of the law, that was "both legal and necessary" as well as "essential to U.S. national security," and it was the "despicable" whistle-blowers (such as Thomas Tamm) who disclosed that crime and the newspapers which reported it who should have been criminally investigated, but not the lawbreaking government officials. But when the U.S. Government legally and with warrants eavesdrops on Jane Harman, that is an outrageous invasion of privacy and a violent assault on her rights as an American citizen, and full-scale investigations must be commenced immediately to get to the bottom of this abuse of power. Behold Jane Harman's overnight transformation from Very Serious Champion of the Lawless Surveillance State to shrill civil liberties extremist.

Yeah. So go Johnny go!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mean What You Say, Say What You Mean

Guess who said this?
March 17, 2003
War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."
The people who performed the torture, the people who used tortured legal logic to rationalize the torture, the people who approved the torture, to the people who knew about the torture and did nothing to stop it should be tried for war crimes.

This isn't a partisan issue, it's a war crime issue. Whether you're a Dem or a Repub, go to the International Court; do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to the court and get a fair trial.

p.s. CIA official: no proof harsh techniques stopped terror attacks
p.p.s. Torture does work! (If by 'work' you mean being tortured until you tell the torturers exactly what Bushco wanted to hear.)

I can't believe there is even a debate about torture in our country. Or even a debate about what constitutes torture. We've had this debate, as has the rest of the world, and we came to specific conclusions about torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Ronald Reagan signed it.

Even if it did work, which it doesn't for purposes of 'actionable intelligence', it's wrong, it's wrong on so many levels!

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

It's gonna be alright

"Hey everybody, how ya doin' tonight? Say, have you checked out that Twitter thingie? Do ya tweet? I mean, what is there to say in just 140 characters? I mean, my mom takes that many letters to say how much she hat. . ."

OK, all fooling aside. I enjoy teh™ Twitter, and have it linked to my Facebook page. I check every few days to see who might be 'following' me anew. As I mentioned a while back, I was surprised to find I was being followed by Karl Rove, after I had followed him. Clearly he doesn't read anything I tweet, he must automatically follow anyone who follows him. Thus, I am in rare company with only 25,000 or so of Karl's closest friends.

I checked tonight and saw that I was being followed by a man named Herb Meyer, whose bio said:
Herb Meyer, formerly a senior intelligence official for President Reagan, now helps people understand what's happening in the world.

Interesting. Can't recall the name, but let's see what's up. He lists his website as, which sounds vaguely Teutonic and creepy, perhaps a little close to StormFront. So I started reading some of Mr. Meyer's essays, and that's when it all became perfectly clear:
On the other side of this culture war are the Left-Wing Liberals. They are uncomfortable with our traditions, with the inevitable inequalities of our free-market economy, and with our military power. They dislike our values, our morality, and our unabashed displays of patriotism. At first -- back in the 1960s -- they were content merely to develop and pursue their own radical culture within ours. They tuned out, turned to drugs, and pushed the level of sexual license to a point our country had never known. They were so distressed by our imperfections that they refused to recognize or celebrate our achievements.

Then they tuned in, and developed a political agenda whose logical outcome would be the overthrow of the American Revolution itself. While we believe that power flows from God to the people, they believe the supreme power is the State, which decides what rights, if any, should be allowed to the people. And because there is no God above the State, there also is no truth; no such thing as right or wrong, good or evil. Since they are working to do good -- by their definition of the word -- whatever crimes they commit along the way don't matter. But if we are bent on doing what they define as harm, they will use any legal trick in the book to stop us. In short, the rule of law means whatever they want it to mean at any given moment.

They believe that rights are more important than responsibilities, that groups are more important than individuals, and that one's stand on public issues is more important than one's private actions or morality. And while they are careful never to condone the tactics of our country's foreign enemies, they always see some justification in our enemies' cause. They don't actually want us to be defeated by our foreign enemies; they wish merely to see us humbled and humiliated by them.

Yeah. About that. Straw man, anyone?

I won't belabor the point, Mr. Meyer is clearly not in a frame of mine to debate or discuss. I'll just hope that his failed logic and ideology will sink slowly into the sunset. As it should have back in 1968 when it had any relevance.

Oh, and I didn't 'Follow' him either. Waste of space/bandwidth. Kinda like Rove.

Monday, April 27, 2009

You're Slowly Disappearing From My View

Run Very Far Away

...Would you mind going faster?



On a kinda-but-only-tangentially-related note, I did sound for a concert for the above-lampooned Flock of Seagulls in '83. The company I worked for brought in the big sound system, and I was Front Of House tech support. The FOS guys, especially Mike Score (he of the severe 'do') were gracious gentlemen, a real pleasure to work with. And live, they rocked pretty hard.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

But don't try to get yourself elected

Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, has done a superb job of fund raising and getting Republicans elect . . .


Actually, in another entry in the long-running FAIL of Steele's Chairman-ship, Republican Jim Tedisco-ball has conceded defeat in his quest to take Kirsten Gillibrand's seat in the NY-20:
Steele was bound to take a hit on this one, even if the seat was previously held by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, now New York's junior Senator. The RNC chairman went to 20th congressional district twice to campaign for Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate and state assemblyman. He sent money and party resources there as well. And with the seat having been in Republican hands prior to Gillibrand's 2006 election, it was viewed as a real chance for a GOP pick-up.

So, Michael, how's that working out for you now?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

But a footnote to a 2005 memo made it clear that the rules were not always followed. Waterboarding was used "with far greater frequency than initially indicated" and with "large volumes of water" rather than the small quantities in the rules, one memo says, citing a 2004 report by the C.I.A.'s inspector general.
Officials Say U.S. Wiretaps Exceeded Law

The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.
F.B.I. and States Vastly Expand DNA Databases

Law enforcement officials are vastly expanding their collection of DNA to include millions more people who have been arrested or detained but not yet convicted.
Gee, government agencies have actually exceeded the incredibly unconstitutional powers that were granted them without our knowledge ... and then they were granted them ex post facto!?

Wow, no one could have predicted ...

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one

Obama consulted widely on memos

White House senior adviser David Axelrod says President Barack Obama spent about a month pondering whether to release Bush-era memos about CIA interrogation techniques, and considered it “a weighty decision.”
A former top official in the administration of President George W. Bush called the publication of the memos “unbelievable.”

“It's damaging because these are techniques that work, and by Obama's action today, we are telling the terrorists what they are,” the official said. “We have laid it all out for our enemies. This is totally unnecessary. … Publicizing the techniques does grave damage to our national security by ensuring they can never be used again — even in a ticking-time- bomb scenario where thousands or even millions of American lives are at stake."
I'll ignore the standard Politico method of giving anonymity to anyone who asks for it, (it's been covered), and go straight to the heart.

Those 'techniques' the Bush official was unwilling to lay claim to? Yeah, that would be torture, illegal by moral, US & International laws. And the 1st thing President Obama did in office was to outlaw those methods.

Now back to Bushworld "It's damaging because these are techniques that work, and by Obama's action today, we are telling the terrorists what they are" - actually the torture methods have been proven not to work. They weren't designed to elicit information, they were designed to elicit false confessions.

And, point of fact, the methods have already been published, (raise your hand if you've heard of 'waterboarding?'), just not the memos that authorized the torture. And what Obama was signifying to the world was that we have begun to climb out of the immoral & illegal abyss that 8 years of Bush & Co sunk us in.

More from the NYT:
Interrogation Memos Detail Harsh Tactics by the CIA.

Together, the four memos give an extraordinarily detailed account of the C.I.A.'s methods and the Justice Department's long struggle, in the face of graphic descriptions of brutal tactics, to square them with international and domestic law. Passages describing forced nudity, the slamming of detainees into walls, prolonged sleep deprivation and the dousing of detainees with water as cold as 41 degrees alternate with elaborate legal arguments concerning the international Convention Against Torture.
In the memos, the Justice Department authors emphasized precautions the C.I.A. proposed to take, including monitoring by medical personnel, and the urgency of getting information to stop terrorist attacks. They recounted the C.I.A.'s assertions of the effectiveness of the techniques but noted that interrogators could not always tell a prisoner who was withholding information from one who had no more information to offer.

The memos include what in effect are lengthy excerpts from the agency's interrogation manual, laying out with precision how each method was to be used. Waterboarding, for example, involved strapping a prisoner to a gurney inclined at an angle of "10 to 15 degrees" and pouring water over a cloth covering his nose and mouth "from a height of approximately 6 to 18 inches" for no more than 40 seconds at a time.

But a footnote to a 2005 memo made it clear that the rules were not always followed. Waterboarding was used "with far greater frequency than initially indicated" and with "large volumes of water" rather than the small quantities in the rules, one memo says, citing a 2004 report by the C.I.A.'s inspector general.
2 Suspects Waterboarded 266 Times

C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.
A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Wow, either waterboarding doesn't work or these guys really like their job!

p.s. John McCain, that flaming liberal, says:
"It's unacceptable," McCain said, adding:

One is too much. Waterboarding is torture, period. I can ensure you that once enough physical pain is inflicted on someone, they will tell that interrogator whatever they think they want to hear. And most importantly, it serves as a great propaganda tool for those who recruit people to fight against us.
p.p.s. Digby says it better than I can.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

...And for those who struggle with this concept...

And can you fall asleep with a panic switch?

I'm doing all the audio technical work for a new studio for Dangerbird Records in L.A. Great guys, committed to good music.

Their latest release is Swoon, by Silversun Pickups, produced by my good friend Dave Cooley.

Here's the first single, "Panic Switch":

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Get out my life, why don't you babe

Seriously, the Conservatarian Right doesn't even seem to try anymore. Witness ├╝ber-macho-mensch Mark Steyn ramble on incoherently:
But in America tea is not a soothing beverage to be served with McVitie's Digestive Biscuits. It's a raging stimulant. It's rabies in an Earl Grey bag. At America's tea parties, there's no McVitie's, just McVeighs – as in Timothy of that ilk, as in angry white men twitching to go nuts. To Paul Krugman of The New York Times, the tea party is a movement of "crazy people" manipulated by sinister "right-wing billionaires." To the briefly famous Susan Roesgen of CNN, the parties are not safe for "family viewing." Which is presumably why the Boston Globe forbore to cover them last week.

The Boston Globe, like all newspapers, is facing hard time. For them to then cover news is, well, wrong. And if you actually listened to many of the misguided folks at the Tea Party rallies, Timothy McVeigh's spirit wasn't so far away.
But I digress. Asked about the tea parties, President Barack Obama responded that he was not aware of them. As Marie Antoinette said, "Let them drink Lapsang Souchong." His Imperial Majesty at Barackingham Palace having declined to acknowledge the tea parties, his courtiers at the Globe and elsewhere fell into line.

If this is supposed to pass for snark, it's really pretty weak. And I wouldn't have wanted even GWBush to waste time on misguided people who whine about raising taxes when that isn't actually happening. Reality deserves discussion, fantasy not so much.
Taxes are a liberty issue. I don't want a $400 'credit' for agreeing to live my life in government-approved ways." Had he been of a more literary bent, he might have adapted Sir Thomas More's line from "A Man For All Seasons": "Why, Susan, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for a $400 tax credit?"

Taxes are a liberty issue. What silliness. Especially considering the Right's and Steyn's cheerleading during the 'liberty' rollbacks of the last 8 years. Illegal wiretaps, detention and torture? Extreme rendition? Goldwater's famous line comes to mind:
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."
Problem is, even self-styled Goldwater Libertarians forget the next sentence:
"And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Pursued much justice the last 8 years, Mark? Yeah, I though so. But here's the crux of the piece:
A tax code that put my interests over any special interests would read: "How much did you earn last year? [Insert number here]thousand dollars? Hey, feel free to keep it. You know your interests better than we do!"

OK, to be less absolutist about it, my interests include finding a road at the end of my drive every morning, and modern equipment for the (volunteer) fire department and a functioning military to deter the many predators out there, and maybe one or two other things.

Roads, military, and a volunteer fire department. Really. We had a small brush fire outside our house a couple of years ago. We called the LAFD, using 911. They have guys sitting in firehouses 24/7 waiting for such calls. We didn't have to call the guy who is VFD Captain this week and hope he was home, not out having margaritas. Mark, I hope you never have to find out how inneffectual a VFD would be today. In the 18th century Boston you write about, maybe.

But today, who pays for:
  • Fire trucks
  • Installation of hydrants in neighborhoods
  • Turn-out coats
  • Insurance for injured firefighters
  • etc.
This Randian "I've got mine, fuck you" mentality is really kinda cute, were it no so infuriatingly stupid. When granddaughter Isabella says "I go potty now", well, she can almost handle it, with some help from Mama & Daddy. But when a Libertarian cavalierly says "I can handle it", while making full use of the infrastructure, the commons that taxes pay for, they clearly they can't handle it. When you write such silly articles, do you use the internet created by government research? When you fly, do you depend on government trained and supported Air Traffic Controllers? Although that may soon change as Reagan's tough-guy firing finally comes home to roost.

I was struck by the Teabaggers Wednesday taking full advantage of the parks in their communities. How do they think those are created? Mr. Potter didn't fund them out of the goodness of his movie fantasy heart.

And finally, Mark, you never addressed the stunning hypocrisy of the Tea Party movement. When my friend Sinfonian got hold of the mic at a rally in Pensacola, FL, he asked the folks:
And so here we are today, here we are today in a situation ... let me ask you this: Cheer if you make less than 250,000 dollars a year. Just cheer. (Crowd cheers) Your taxes are going to be cut under the current budget. Congratulations!

And they still didn't get it. Their taxes are going DOWN. So why complain now? Is it because the new President doesn't look like many of them? Is it because Fox News fanned these flames as high as they could? Is it because people are uninformed, ignorant, and biased against common sense and their own best interest?

We report, you decide.

Here's Sinfonian:

And here's the real Mark Stein singing "You Keep Me Hanging On":

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ward, you're too hard on the Beaver Squirrel!

It's a sad day indeed that I'm compelled to report the demise of Ponsonby Britt. The famous executive producer of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Hoppity Hooper, Fractured Flickers and George of the Jungle has shuffled off this mortal coil.

I have fond memories of visiting the Jay Ward Productions lot and seeing the cells where Rocky, Bullwinkle, Dudley Doright, Nell & George were held for all time.

I miss you Ponsonby and I'll always remember your final words "But Nell, I can't marry you, I'm in love with my horse!"

And my final words to you "Watch Out for That Tree!"

Update (SteveAudio): Next week's episode: "Antlers in the Treetops" or 'Who Goosed the Moose?'.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm Burning, I'm Burning, I'm Burning for You

The stupid, it buuuurns!
Conservatives Decry Homeland Security Report on "Rightwing" Extremism

Yesterday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted that "The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired."

Gingrich was referring to this report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security's Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, and coordinated with the FBI.

As Fox News has reported, DHS also issued a study of the threat of leftwing extremists (read it HERE.) But the report on the rightwing extremists is the one attracting heat in the conservative bloggosphere, from Gingrich, Michelle Malkin, Powerline, and elsewhere.
[Dr. James Dobson] said "there are no Timothy McVeighs out there right now. They're making a big deal out of something that hasn't happened and may not happen."
Wow! Instead of condemning these violent, extreme wacko nutjobs the republicans and conservatives are endorsing them! But I guess it's no surprise since the constant drumbeat of politicians and Faux News 'reporters' calling President Obama a fascist & a terrorist, and saying he wants to have death camps'* and 'take our guns away' and outright calling for militias to take over the government. And that's the mainstream morons. BTW, these were the same folks that demanded every lib & Dem to constantly denounce Islamic terrorists ... as if we didn't already.

Let's go to the facts. There are "Timothy McVeighs out there right now": Threats to candidate/President Obama's life

And when the military lowered their recruiting standards for Bush's war (on a country that had nothing to do with al Qaeda or 9/11) so much that felony convicted white, black and brown gang members could join, it's pretty obvious that some of them will come back and rejoin their gangs. Duh.

*Excerpt from Fox News Glenn Beck's program titled:
Debunking Web Myths About FEMA Camps

BECK: OK. One last question: I want to show you — take a look at this picture. Can you put this picture up, please? This is another one. And we're going to have you back tomorrow and — just answer yes or no. Is this — this is what they claim. This is a concentration camp?

MEIGS: Yes, it is.

BECK: It is. Are there atrocities going on in that camp?

MEIGS: There is every reason to believe there is.

BECK: Is this a government-run concentration camp where atrocities — every reason to believe atrocities are going on?


BECK:There is enough out there. We don't need to make stuff up.
At this point I'd almost ask someone to teabag me, not that there's anything wrong with that, but at least my eyes would be covered.

UPDATE: Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a taint on the teabaggers populism?

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

And I say it's allright

Faded & largely forgotten pop star George Harrison got a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame Tuesday:
Hundreds of George Harrison's biggest fans and best friends, including Paul McCartney and Tom Petty, turned out Tuesday to see a posthumous star for the quiet Beatle unveiled during a raucous celebration on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Fellow former Beatle McCartney stood next to Harrison's widow, Olivia, and son, Dhani, as the star was unveiled in front of the landmark Capitol Records building.

"Thank you very much!" he yelled to hundreds of screaming fans wearing Beatles T-shirts and holding signs, albums and flowers to honor Harrison.

While many who saw the ceremony were unaware of Harrison's musical contributions to pop and rock, some elderly passers-by recalled . . .

Seriously, WTF? While the band that sold more albums than God, who revolutionized the recording and music-buying world has their own star, Harrison become only the 2nd Beatle to be honored?

Might have been nice while he was STILL ALIVE!


Update: The blockquoted "article" above is a spoof of music journalism today, focused on Justin, L'il Wayne, and Britney, and tending to ignore some historical realities.

Just as we can't understand today's Republican party without knowing Goldwater and McCarthy, we can't understand today's music and recording without knowing The Beatles.

'All hands on deck, we've run afloat!' I heard the captain cry

Everyone knows about the Somali Pirates that tried to capture an American ship, took the captain hostage, and were killed by Navy SEALS saving the captain's life.

An example of sensible use of US military power, to protect US citizens and property from foreign criminals?

Making sure the free market can safely export American-made goods?

Swatting down third-world thugs who haven't worked hard for their reward, as the American Dream demands?

No, it's racist cruelty and anti-Muslim oppression. Just ask Rush Limbaugh:

RUSH: You know what we have learned about the Somali pirates, the merchant marine organizers that were wiped out at the order of Barack Obama, you know what we learned about them? They were teenagers. The Somali pirates, the merchant marine organizers who took a US merchant captain hostage for five days were inexperienced youths, the defense secretary, Roberts Gates, said yesterday, adding that the hijackers were between 17 and 19 years old. Now, just imagine the hue and cry had a Republican president ordered the shooting of black teenagers on the high seas. Greetings and welcome back, Rush Limbaugh, the Excellence in Broadcasting Network and the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies.

They were kids. The story is out, I don't know if it's true or not, but apparently the hijackers, these kids, the merchant marine organizers, Muslim kids, were upset, they wanted to just give the captain back and head home because they were running out of food, they were running out of fuel, they were surrounded by all these US Navy ships, big ships, and they just wanted out of there. That's the story, but then when one of them put a gun to the back of the captain, Mr. Phillips, then bam, bam, bam. There you have it, and three teenagers shot on the high seas at the order of President Obama.

Emphasis mine. Not really much more to say, the stupid speaks for itself. So anxious to hate on Obama, Rush "Jabba The Hutt" Limbaugh spins like Nureyev to twist the story to make the murderous thugs on the open seas look good.

And this is the guy all Conservative politicians must bow down before and swear fealty to.

Works for me. Keep it coming, Rush. You do my party good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Supreme Ignorance

Justice Thomas talked about his own school days, reminiscing fondly about seeing “a flag and a crucifix in each classroom.”
The event, on March 31, was devoted to the Bill of Rights, but Justice Thomas did not embrace the document, and he proposed a couple of alternatives.

“Today there is much focus on our rights,” Justice Thomas said. “Indeed, I think there is a proliferation of rights.”

“I am often surprised by the virtual nobility that seems to be accorded those with grievances,” he said. “Shouldn’t there at least be equal time for our Bill of Obligations and our Bill of Responsibilities?”

Sorry Clarence, we already have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights.

And the 'Bill of Obligations' and the 'Bill of Responsibilities' were not included.

There has been no 'proliferation of rights', there has only been the eroding of them.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak
(graphic by Dancin Dave)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Train I ride, 16 coaches long

The runaway train carrying the trailer-park Family Palin just keeps hurtling down the tracks. Sarah says:
By the way, it would be over my dead body that a kid would live with my teenage daughter.

Damn. Stand proud. Except that young Levi Johnston, even without living with Bristol, had no trouble impregnating her.

And Fox News reported not that long ago that all was just ducky in the Palin/Johnston camp:
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says both her 18-year-old daughter Bristol, who gave birth to son Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on Saturday, and fiance Levi Johnston are working hard to balance schoolwork with their new parental obligations, People Magazine reported.

"You need to know that both Levi and Bristol are working their butts off to parent and going to school and working at the same time," the Alaska governor told the magazine in a phone message. "They are certainly not high school dropouts."

Any suggestion to the contrary "harms Bristol's reputation and Levi's reputation and their chances for good work opportunities," Pail(sic) said.

. . . Sherry Johnston, Levi's mother, said in October that Bristol and her son were considering a summer wedding.

Levi Johnston told The Associated Press that month that he and Bristol loved each other and wanted to get married. Johnston, who dropped out of high school to take a job on the North Slope oil fields as an apprentice electrician, said he was a little shocked to learn that Bristol was pregnant, but he quickly warmed to the idea of being a father.

He said the two had planned to get married even before Bristol became pregnant.

Emphasis mine. Someone might want to actually watch what spell-check says, before hitting "enter".

Fox News: We whatever, you have no idea.

And Palin as Republican Party standard bearer: That's some family values we can believe in.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hits & Runs

CIA fires contractors guarding secret prisons

WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA Director Leon Panetta has told Congress the spy agency has taken no new prisoners since he became director in February.

He also says the CIA has terminated contracts with private companies that provided security at secret overseas CIA prisons.
Well that's good ne ... wait, what!? Private contractors were doing the guarding!?

Marine acquitted of murder in Iraq slaying

A military jury on Thursday acquitted a Marine sergeant on charges of murdering an unarmed detainee during battle in Fallujah, Iraq. The jury also acquitted Sgt. Ryan Weemer of dereliction of duty in the November 2004 death.
In closing arguments Wednesday, a defense attorney said the 26-year-old Weemer acted in self-defense.
"I grabbed a gun and took him to the back of the house," Weemer, 26, said on the tape. "I shot him twice in the chest."

Weemer said he argued with his squad leader, former Sgt. Jose Luis Nazario, before complying with the order to kill the man, who was taken prisoner when Marines stormed a house on the first day of the assault on Fallujah.

"I definitely wasn't the type to disobey an order," he said.
So he was acting in self defe ... wait, what!? He admitted to murdering his unarmed prisoner and was acquitted!? And where have I heard the 'just following orders line before?

General Ray Odierno: we may miss Iraq deadline to halt al-Qaeda terror

The activities of al-Qaeda in two of Iraq’s most troubled cities could keep US combat troops engaged beyond the June 30 deadline for their withdrawal, the top US commander in the country has warned.
General Odierno, 54, said that he was also concerned about the risk of renewed conflict between Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq, where tensions are rising over the ownership of territory. He also cited the “very dangerous” threat posed by Iranian-funded militants, who appear to be styling themselves on Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Well if it's al-Qaeda, the Kurds and Iranian funder mili ... wait, what!? This is just SSDD, Obama should fire this guy and find someone who understands the chain of command. The Iraqis want us out, America wants us out and Gen. Odierno needs to fade away.

Obama won’t receive ASU honorary degree

ASU will not award President Barack Obama an honorary degree when he speaks at the commencement ceremony on May 13.

University spokeswoman Sharon Keeler said Tuesday that the University awards honorary degrees to recognize individuals for their work and accomplishments spanning their lifetime.

“Because President Obama’s body of work is yet to come, it’s inappropriate to recognize him at this time,”
Keeler said.
Well then, I guess that's OK, I mean it's not like Obama ha ... wait, what!? He's President of the United States! He's the 1st Black President of the US!

Wow, ASU must have some pretty high standards ... NOT!

But maybe I'm being too harsh, so let's look at some previous ASU Honorary Degree recipients:
Barry Goldwater 1961 (In 1961 AuH2O was at the time a 1 1/2 term Senator)
Hugh Downs 1974 (Hugh freakin Downs!?)
Kim Campbell 2005 (1st woman Prime Minister of Canada)
Blake Edwards 2005 (He's a good film director, but give me a break!)

I understand that honorary degrees are worth as much as the paper they're printed on, but jeez louise, WTF is wrong with AZ!

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Stuck On The TV With You

Stuck On The TV With You

Soon, oh soon the light

No particular reason, just lovely music.

The sun will lead us, our reason to be here.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

And empty clothes that drape and fall on empty chairs

Last night a young life was lost senselessly when Los Angeles Angel rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, along with two others in the car he was inside, were struck and killed by a drunk driver. As often seems to be the case, the drunk driver was a repeat offender driving on a suspended license.
This isn't a sports blog, but I know Pam is also a big Angels fan, so I just wanted to put up a mention of Nick's needless passing as a reminder of how precious, and sometimes fleeting, life is.
As Nick's teammate, Torii Hunter, noted, "A lot of these guys in here have never lost anybody in their family that's close to them. I hate that this happened, but this is part of life. This is the real deal. That's why you've got to kiss your kids, kiss your family every day when you get up in the morning and before you leave for work."
Just hours before he had pitched six scoreless innings. In a prepared statement, Nick's parents said "He lived his dream."
A small but steady stream of somber fans came to the stadium Thursday to add flowers to a makeshift memorial on the pitcher's mound on the brick "infield" outside the stadium entrance.
A poster among the bouquets read, "No. 34, You are one more Angel in heaven." Scribbled on a baseball was, "Now you play for another Angels team."

Houses of the Holy & The Lizard King

Obama administration 'anti-religious,' Gingrich says

Newt Gingrich said Tuesday the Obama administration is "intensely secular" and "anti-religious," the former House Speaker's second hard-hitting criticism of the new administration this week.

In an interview with FOX News, Gingrich said he strongly disagreed with Obama's choice of Harry Knox — an outspoken activist for gay rights — to the White House advisory council on faith-based initiatives.

"I think their goal is to have a very secular America in which government dominates everything," he said. "Why wouldn't you put an anti-religious, left-wing zealot on a faith-based group? It's a perfect pattern for this administration."

Since 2005, Knox has served as the director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. He is also a former Methodist pastor.
Oh, where to start?

How about here, The i of Newt had to pay a $300,000 fine for ethics violations while he was in Congress.

Or here: He's been married 3 times, d-i-v-o-r-c-e-d his first wife when she was recovering from cancer surgery, and admitted he was cheating on his second wife with his 3rd. Which he was forced to admit while he was leading the charge to impeach Clinton.
Family values indeed.

Politically, his OWN PARTY kicked him out because his contract on America was nuthin' but FAIL!

OK, enough history, just because the messenger is a lying hypocrite doesn't mean that I won't also discuss the factual inaccuracies in his statements.

IRT to Newt's faux outrage, (2012 posturing anyone?), the former pastor that Newt is complaining about is only one of 25 people on the White House advisory council on faith-based initiatives. Golly, I guess no LBGT people are religious!

And the whole 'anti-religious' meme? Jesus, save me from your followers!
Newt used to be a Baptist, which means he was washed in the blood of the lamb, this year he became a Catholic, which means he drinks the blood of Christ and eats Christ's body. (I'd call for an 'amen', but I'm still getting over going ewwww!)

The wrongwingers just can't decide on whether President Obama is a Muslim, a Jew (1st Seder in the WH, doncha know), a radical Christian, a communist, or just anti-religion .... 'cause none of the poo they fling is sticking.

Maybe Darwin was wrong, the Republicans these days seem to be descending to apes.

Welcome to the sideshow Newt, you're in good company with Palin, Sanford & Jindal.

Ohh, and someone please pass the popcorn, this circus is gonna be good. Especially when the elephant parade comes into the ring.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Body of Law

Bill Lets Moms-To-Be Kill To Save Baby
Measure Would Authorize Deadly Force If Unborn Child's Life At Risk

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A bill in the Oklahoma Legislature would allow pregnant women to use deadly force in order to save the lives of their babies.

The bill stems from a Michigan case where a woman who was carrying quadruplets stabbed and killed her boyfriend after he hit her in the stomach. The woman lost the babies and was convicted of manslaughter.
Sounds like, no pun intended, a miscarriage of justice. But to me the article just seemed a bit odd, and why would Oklahoma care about a case in Michigan?

The OK lawmakers make a new law about something that happened in Michigan in 1999 while "Oklahoma has also had a law covering the murder of unborn babies since 2005"? So I decided to do a bit of research.

And surprisingly, it turns out not to be true! The Michigan court and the appellate court both found that:
Months before trial, defendant moved for permission to present testimony and to argue that she killed Pena in defense of her unborn children. The trial court concluded that one could assert the defense of others theory if claiming that deadly force had to be used to protect a fetus or embryo.

The court signed an order stating that “Defendant’s Motion to Allow Defense of Defendant’s Unborn Child as a Theory of Defense is hereby granted.
And the appellate found that
We conclude that in this state, the defense should also extend to the protection of a fetus, viable or nonviable, from an assault against the mother, and we base this conclusion primarily onthe fetal protection act adopted by the Legislature in 1998. See MCL 750.90a et seq.
But lets take a closer look at the Oklahoman's law:
The group Americans United for Life came to state lawmakers and asked for the bill that Thompson co-authored. It's called the Use of Force For the Protection of the Unborn Act.

"You have the right to use lethal force, if needed, to protect your unborn baby," he said.

Oklahoma already has a law allowing a person to use force to protect himself or another person from someone else. The new bill includes an unborn child as "another" person.
"It is good to see legislators educating themselves on this issue," [YWCA's Josh Beasley] said. "Domestic violence is the second-leading cause of death among (pregnant) women nationwide, so it's good they are taking the issue seriously and wanting to do something about it."
But that's a lie. "CDC homicide data indicate that from 1995 through 1999, homicide was the second leading cause of death for women aged 15 to 24, after accidents." And more from the same GAO report:
There is no current national estimate of the prevalence of violence against pregnant women. Estimates that are currently available cannot be generalized or projected to all pregnant women. CDC’s PRAMS develops statewide estimates of the prevalence of violence for women whose pregnancies resulted in live births; 1998 estimates for 15 participating states ranged from 2.4 percent to 6.6 percent. Research on whether women are at increased risk for violence during pregnancy is inconclusive.

However, CDC reported that study findings suggest that, for most abused women, physical violence does not seem to be initiated or to increase during pregnancy.
This is obviously a backdoor approach to declare a fetus a child and overturn a woman's right to choose.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Vot's Der Freakwency, Limbaugh?

Vot's Der Freakwency, Limbaugh?

In the church of the poisoned mind

Barney Frank has long been a favorite whipping boy of the Radical Right. Although not telegenic and prone to brusqueness, he still is a smart guy, with facts, details, and policies that are very progressive.

He spoke at Harvard Kennedy School forum Monday night, and was ambushed by a right-wing Fox plant student who asked a dishonest question. Here's the exchange:

Student's name is reportedly Joel Pollak. We're pretty sure it's the Joel Pollak who writes this pro-Israel anti-everyone else blog:
Speaking of violence, it’s worth recalling what Israel did in Gaza in response to sporadic Hamas rockets. It killed upward of 1,300 people, many of them women and children; caused damage estimated at $1.9 billion; and destroyed thousands of Gaza homes. It continues a radicalizing blockade on 1.5 million people squeezed into a narrow strip of land.

At this vast human, material and moral price, Israel achieved almost nothing beyond damage to its image throughout the world. Israel has the right to hit back when attacked, but any response should be proportional and governed by sober political calculation. The Gaza war was a travesty; I have never previously felt so shamed by Israel’s actions.

"Sporadic" rockets? Try thousands of rockets and mortars over a sustained 7-year period. 1,300 people? Women and children? Estimated by whom? Blockade? I have never previously felt so shamed by America's "newspaper of record," not since Bob Herbert's bogus claims of racism and phallic imagery in last year's American presidential campaign. Cohen's swallowed the propaganda and regurgitates it for all to see.

Ok then. And last year he posted this at the NextRight:
Compare to On JohnMcCain, you can find a lot of great information and get ads and e-mails but you can't design too much of your own content or connect to other users. In contrast, TeamSarah operates like Facebook. You can create your own page and find friends and all of that. No wonder it has tens of thousands of members already.

The danger of using a networking approach is that you get just about anybody on your site. So Obama has antisemites and 9/11 Troofers and all sorts of offensive people on his presidential campaign page. If the media cared to vet him at all, this would be a huge scandal. But with good editing (and Obama has cared as much about editing as he has about credit card fraud) you can keep the crazies out.

And this re: Mr. Pollak:
Another Harvard student promptly defenestrated two of Pollak's claims, in a letter to the Post. "Mr. Pollak claimed that the maps in 'Al-Kitaab' do not include Israel. There are three maps in the book: On Page 13, Israel is represented without the West Bank and Gaza. On Page 389, two historical maps (from the Ottoman era to World War I) predate Israel's existence."

And more about Mr. Pollak, who seems to be earning a reputation as a movement conservative beacon:
Other interesting reactions to Joel Pollak's zany oped in the Washington Post are surfacing. Many refute his characterization of a standard Arabic textbook, Al-Kitaab, as propagandistic. Far from being based on facts, his piece exposed the currency of anti-Arab bias. Even esteemed outlets like the Post drop the evidentiary standards for gobbly-gook such as Pollak's.

Pollak, a research assistant for prolific torture advocate Alan Dershowitz, was recently called a "precocious neo-con" by Phillip Weiss. The journalist dismissed Pollak's analysis as "condescending" out-dated Orientalism.

The Atlantic's Matthew Yglesias hit back at Pollak with a sharp, satirical riff applauding his courage to "speak truth to weakness and stand up for the view that as narrow a range of opinions as possible should be expressed in America." [The comments section of his blog are quite illuminating as well -- one commenter used the book at the US Military's Defense Language Institute.]

Seriously, just do the obvious Google search and you have plenty of material to document the earnest yet narrow view of reality that Pollak endorses. For him to take on Barney Frank with an empty quiver of knowledge shows, once again, the vapidity of the Right.

Dude, I hope your 15 minutes were totally awesome. Because now you're going to have to find a gig at the New Republic. Or Pajamas Media. And I hope you don't think you're entitled to unemployment, because that's only for Lefties. Democrats. Liberals. Remember, your side opposes benefit extension? Better not be asking the government to help.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I am Mr. Ed

I was initially skeptical, thought perhaps it was FAIL, but I'm growing to like Ed Schultz on MSNBC:

Ed Schultz FTW.

'Cause I can play this here guitar, Pt. 27

Once I discovered electric guitar, I would watch anyone play, anytime. My family was very much into the pop music of the times, and sadly that didn't include a lot of guitar. Except for 2 TV shows: Town Hall Party, and Lawrence Welk. The '50s and early '60s may have been Golden Ages of Rock, but not according to media of the time.

We'll talk more about Town Hall Party later, but this is about Lawrence Welk and his guitarists: Buddy Merrill & Neil LeVang. While working within the confines of Welk's limited musical palette, they played some bad-ass guitar.

Here's Buddy:

Here's Neil:

Here are both of them together shredding the Green Hornet theme:

And here they both are playing a duet of the previous "San Antonio Rose":

What on earth you tryin' to do?

I'm not sure who to blame for this, but new Chase Bank commercial uses a cover of John Lennons' "Instant Karma" for the music track.

It appears that Lennon's solo work isn't covered by the Northern Music/ATV/Michael Jackson/Sony deal, so, again, I really don't know who's responsible for this massive FAIL. But I'm sure if Lennon was still around, he'd be royally pissed.

Here's the real song:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

There really isn't need for bloodshed, You just do it with a little more finesse

We've all heard the saying "lies, damn lies, and statistics." (I prefer my brother's term "liars, outliers, and out and out liars.")

Which brings me to today's post. Oliver Willis, and many in blogtopia, have noted the deaths of 3 police officers, the membership rise in militias, shooting sprees & arms purchases have coincided with the wrongwingers constant drumbeat of Obama is a 'facist', 'communist', 'socialist', is going to 'take our guns away', & and is a 'secret muslim' rhetoric ever since Obama was running, won the nomination, and exponentially since he was elected by a landslide.

These voices are not just wackjobs, but against all facts they are in the houses of congress and in the MSM.

Which brings me to today's lesson on math, and people who should know better.

e.g. Professor James Lindgren of the law school at Northwestern University wrote on Eugene Volokh's blog that:
Oliver Willis on Republicans Encouraging Cop-killers.

It is highly odd that Oliver Willis would attribute murdering cops to those who hold Republican views.

That is consistent with General Social Survey data showing that the odds of a Democrat or Independent reporting having been arrested or charged with a crime are 122% higher than the odds of a Republican reporting being arrested or charged with a crime. Among those who report having been arrested or charged, only 12% are Republicans. The others are 9% Independent, leaning Republican; 18% Independent (no leans); 18% Independent, leaning Democratic; 40% Democrats.
Now I'm just going to ignore the fact that Oliver Willis said no such thing about republicans, or how the perfesser misnamed the GSS category or the many other straw men in Prof Lindgren's post.

I'm just gonna do the math. While the ole perfesser didn't actually link to any stats to back up his allegations, he did give a couple of clues as to where he found them.

So I looked up the GSS data and lo and behold, I found this
Ever picked up or charged?
Republicans: Yes-178 No-2145 = 8.3%
Democrats: Yes-456 No-3949 = 11.5%

A couple of things to note:
1) Minorities and/or poor people are more likely to be Democrats and also more likely to have interactions with the police. (DWB anyone? ... OR ... when was the last time you saw a new Cadillac stopped by a cop for a taillight out?)
2) The survey is self-reported, one could just as equally come to the conclusion that republicans are less honest, (the last 8 years certainly bear that out.)

So is Professor Lindgren a liar or just ignorant of simple math? (Not that the two are mutually exclusive.)

p.s. I'm waiting on Prof. Lindgren's response to my email sent 6 hours ago.
p.p.s. I'm not holding my breath.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

I fought their "anal probe", my friends...

I fought their "anal probe", my friends...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

All right now, baby it's all right now

About as often as Halley's Comet drops by for a visit, a conservative is correct. When it happens, it quite joyful. Witness publius at Obsidian Wings:
The fight over the stimulus – a preview of the budget wars to come – has obviously taken on larger ideological dimensions. And the stakes are high. It’s a fight over the very idea of whether government can play a positive role in people’s lives. That’s in part why the Republicans are fighting it so hard.

The ideological debate is often taking place at a very abstract level – with anti-government advocates warning of vague unspecified dangers that will follow government spending. Last month, for instance, Jindal said in a speech that increasing spending “will have dire consequences for not only this time, but also for the future of America.”

It’s nice, then, to see some actual concrete vindication of government assistance. And it’s especially nice to see it in a state governed by Bobby Jindal.

The NYT reports that the massive post-Katrina relief effort has – shockingly – helped the people of Louisiana a great deal.
The experiment is still playing out, but some indicators suggest that what occurred in Louisiana — dumping a large amount of reconstruction money into a confined space in the three and a half years since Hurricane Katrina — has had a positive outcome. The state’s unemployment rate of 5.7 percent in February was considerably below the national average of 8.1 percent, and it was the only state to see a drop in unemployment from December to January. It was also the only state with an increase in non-farm employment in February.

Thus is the ideological shallowness of Jindal as poster boy for the new Right exposed. Publius' analysis is a good read. He ends with this:
I’m not saying this settles the debate. But it does show that government can play a significantly positive role in people’s lives.

And it reinforces a much larger point -- people like me prefer certain types of government spending because it helps people. It’s not much more complicated than that. I think national health care, broadband investment, and energy reform will help people.

And to help the public come around to that view, it’s important to advertise the successes of government done right – to show them the benefits. Democrats don’t do enough of that.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

you are the best thing ever happened to me

(Pablo 'Pau' Casals: JSBach Cello Suite in G Maj, Prelude. F'n rock'n'roll!)

Most people reading here know that my day job providing technical support to L.A. recording studios. It's a great job. I learn new things every day, meet some wonderful people, get to solve problems and exercise creative muscles. And I stay involved in the music business.

Right now I'm doing all the wiring and technical installation work for a new studio for Dangerbird Records. Started in '04 by 2 great guys, Peter Walker and Jeff Castelaz, they are doing quite well for an indie label. Please check out the link above to see some of their artists.

All my initial dealings were with Peter. In fact I never even met Jeff until just before the installation started. I just figured he was more involved with the day-to-day running of the label. But then I found out what was distracting him: The Pablove Foundation:
The Pablove Foundation is named after Pablo Castelaz, the five-year-old son of Dangerbird Records co-founder Jeff Castelaz and his wife Jo Ann Thrailkill. On May 17, 2008, Pablo was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms' Tumor, a rare form of children's cancer. The cancer appeared out of nowhere, with no warning signs in Pablo's general demeanor or health. He is currently undergoing treatment at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and is doing extremely well. Thanks to decades of research and treatment at places like CHLA, Wilms' Tumor is over 90% curable.

Read the whole thing. Sounds pretty promising, right? Guess again. The Get Well Pablo blog details the latest crises. Pablo had just gotten out of the hospital after his latest round of chemo, when he developed a sudden infection and was rushed to the ER last Wed.:
The fever hasn't really gone down after the first round of fluids and antibiotics. In an effort to cool him, we had to take his shirt off and take the blanket off his body. Not easy when he's shivering. It adds screaming to his repertoire.

Later that day:
Had to stop writing for past 15 minutes. As I was typing P's eyes bulged out of his head and he began to vomit mucous and a bit of blood. This is not a fire drill. There are more docs in here now. They are moving us to a bigger room in the ER. The ICU is full and we may be here for a while.

A tech is in here right now with a giant machine doing an echocardiogram. Another tech is drawing blood from his arm while that's going on. They need to test the gas level in his blood. P's entire body is swollen - out of nowhere. We are all staring at the black and white monitor on the machine, watching Pablo's superstrong little heart pounding away.

Still later the same day:
We are headed to the ICU. The fever has not gone down yet. The docs have him on ice. Pablo is miserable - his blood pressure is low and his heart rate is racing. There are no less than six doctors attending to him, many of whom have become friends of P's and ours over the past 11 months.

We are never in this part of the hospital for anything less than serious stuff. That's why it's called the 'emergency department.' There's something

We do have GREAT news: P's chest x-ray is totally clear. No pneumonia, no fluid and - most significant - no spots. You know Jo Ann and I are not fatalists, but we'd be delusional to not find comfort in the absence of cancer in Pablo's lungs. That's the first place the disease spreads to if it were to recur and spread. We are f**king NOT open to that. But, again, there are facts and we are grateful to have checked one potential issue off the list.

And Wed. night:
Pablo is still in critical condition. He still has fever of 38.4—38.9 Celsius. It's been that high all day. You could cook an egg on P's palm he's so hot. The nurses are literally packing chemical ice packs around his body as he lays in bed. He has the old skool traditional cold wash cloth on his head. Jo Ann and I told him how our mothers used to do that for us, and how much we loved it. He was nonplussed, and seems to hate all the cold stuff up on him.

Readers here know we went through a serious ER-ICU scenario last October, before Mom finally passed. That was tough to deal with, but there was also something expected. Mom was 82, not in great health, and everyone loses their parents eventually.

But I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to try and comfort a seriously ill child, day after day, in and out of the hospital. Jeff and his family and supporters are special people indeed.

Fast-forward to today, and much better news:
we're OUTTA ICU! back on 4 west w/ our FAMILY of docs+nurses+techs. feels soooo good to be here. I'm gonna sleep here again.

4 West, where Pablo knows all the staff, and which is, sadly, his home away from home. Those on Facebook who want to send messages of support, Jeff is: Jeff Castelaz. To follow his updates on Twitter: @dangerbirdjeff.

And Donate to Pablove, please. You get a cool yellow bracelet. For Pablo, for Lizzie, for Kristin, for Mom, for Jane, for victims and especially for survivors of cancer:

(Click here!)

Bonus video: Ray LaMontagne: You Are The Best Thing:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

You're once, twice, three times an a-hole

Casting for New Three Stooges Movie Complete
In a press release dated April 1, 2009, MGM has announced that its plan to make a new full length Three Stooges movie took another step forward by signing the three main lead characters to play Moe, Larry and Curly.
Earlier reports that had Jim Carrey, Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro set to play the Stooges proved to be untrue, as the producers decided instead to focus on bringing in a trio of much funnier individuals ... Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. The right-wing talk show hosts caught the attention of the directors, the Farrelly Brothers, who heard their programs on the radio and felt they would be perfect Stooges. "They were naturals when it came to humor", said one of the brothers. "The things that spill out of their mouth is unintentionally hilarious, the best kind of comedy".
When asked what kind of script had been prepared for the upcoming film they laughed "Are you kidding? Who needs a script. We just let them loose talking about their views and opinions and what they try to pass off as facts and truth. We almost pissed our pants over some of the crap they came up with".
The movie is set to start filming this fall with a planned 2010 release.

(graphic by Dancin' Dave)

You Can't Always Get What You Need

Fifteen Patients Die as Earth Hour Kills Life Support in Hospital

San Francisco, CA – Fifteen patients on life support and in surgery died at San Francisco General Hospital when power was cut for "Earth hour" on Saturday.

The hospital was pleased with their participation in the worldwide celebration of the planet. "We asked all the patients and their families if they were all right with us cutting the power. To a person, they all said as stewards of this planet it was their duty to observe Earth Hour. They knew the risks and were willing to take it," said hospital administrator Lawrence Cho.

Cho said that it was a net gain for planet Earth, despite the deaths. "The dead patients will no longer use any energy, and actually will be turned into energy in our patient incinerator," said hospital administrator Lawrence Cho.

As power was cut in the critical care ward some patients screamed in pain, others died calmly in their sleep. Cho said that most of the medical equipment has battery-powered back up systems, but those were disabled, because hospital officials felt that violated the spirit of Earth Hour.

Heart surgeon Dr. Gregory Morris was doing an open-heart procedure when the lights went out. "I wasn't sure what I was cutting into. Turns out it wasn't his heart, but his bowels. Unfortunately, Mr. Simms didn't make it."
My heart goes out to these families who made the greatest sacrifice for our planet.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak