Saturday, October 08, 2011

What'd I say

Years later, and with new technology, we still can't make records that sound better than this:


Bert Jansch was a seminal British acoustic guitarist, from whom I learned much about playing.

He had an active solo and collaborative career, and was a founding member of Pentangle, a group that connected folk acoustic music to jazz.

Here he is playing what became his signature tune, even though it was written by another wonderful British guitarist Davey Graham.

Bert passed this week.

And the rock'n'roll generation loses another statesman.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Solidarity forever

The AFM (Musicians Union) officially supports the Occupy Wall Street movement:
AFM Joins in Occupy Wall Street Protests

October 5, 2011

Contact: Honore Stockley
(315) 422-4488 ext. 104

Yesterday, AFM Local 802 Executive Board members voted unanimously to support and participate in today’s Occupy Wall Street Labor Community march. The vote came in the wake of mounting demonstrations taking place nationwide, condemning business practices on Wall Street that adversely affect working-class Americans.

American Federation of Musicians (AFM) President Ray Hair announced his participation in the Occupy Wall Street Labor Community march along with activist members of AFM Local 802. Hair explains he is joining the march "in an effort to focus attention on the economic plight of America’s working people. We have borne the brunt of employer-driven contract concessions, pension takeaways and benefit givebacks—suffering one-sided sacrifices—while America’s ruling class, the money men of Wall Street, who blew out the economy, walk away unscathed, bailed out with their big bonuses, consolidating their power," says Hair.

"This is the latest episode in the classic struggle of Capital vs. Labor," he continues. "Capital has cleaned up on American workers in these hard times, very nearly cleaning us out. This afternoon, I’ll be demonstrating the AFM’s solidarity with the labor community by marching with Local 802 members to expand the struggle to hold Wall Street accountable for the lopsided imbalance in the US economy."

Indeed. Musicians here in L.A. are struggling in the home of television and Hollywood movies. As budgets for TV & film are so skewed, $$ for music are constantly being diminished. You want to record world-class musicians who can read tough notes the first take, like they had been playing those notes for 10 years? Come to L.A., pay the going scale, and get perfect professional performances.

And pay for it, dammit!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday KK

Happy Birthday, Kristin Carol Anderson.

Her middle name was to honor our Dad's sister Carol who passed, far too young, before Kristin was even born.

Who knew then KK (as we called her) would also pass far too young.

You made everyone's life around you better. Please, wherever your soul is, know that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goin' to a party in the county jail . . .

Jerry Lieber passed away this week, sadly. More about him here. He wrote songs like this:

And this, featuring the first notable use of what became know as power chords:

Another Elvis hit, previously done by Big Mama Thornton:

And thisL

Classic rock. Jerry, you'll be missed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What a fool believes

Michael Smerconish is an especially frustrating right-winger. While he seems to try to be reasonable and adult about the insane positions and policies the Party takes, he none the less stays faithful even as he chides about pretty obvious idiocy from the Bachmann camp:
See, my friend and former intern Ben is gay. And he never made any such choice.

Your thinking is nothing new and it runs in your family.

In 2004, at the National Education Leadership Conference, you said of the gay lifestyle: "It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay."

Then there's your husband, Marcus, who obtained his Ph.D. by virtue of a correspondence course. He runs a mental-health clinic but, according to Politico, is not registered with any of the three state boards that certify mental health practitioners. (Minnesota is one of the only states in which you can practice mental health without a license.) Last year, when asked during a radio interview about parenting homosexual children, he said:

We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn't mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That's what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps. . .
Marcus Bachmann has denied that his clinic engages in attempts to "pray away the gay," but ABC's Nightline recently aired an interview with a man who said that, at age 17, he sought help from Bachmann & Associates and: "path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay."

Naturally, Ben, a proud Notre Dame alum, doesn't appreciate the reference to the devil, nor being compared to barbarians. His life is anything but "sad," and there are a number of things he thinks you should know.

First, he's always known he was gay. "I've always known something was different," he told me. "Coming out is more a process of accepting yourself than anything else."

Second, there is nothing in his background that caused this. He is part of a conservative family and attended a Catholic high school and college -- an upbringing that he says did nothing to "promote being gay."

And he wonders who exactly you think would "choose" to be gay, given the myriad personal, emotional, and legal issues that a homosexual lifestyle introduces.

"If you could simply choose who you were sexually attracted to," Ben wondered, "wouldn't you choose the path of least resistance? Being gay creates problems and obstacles in life that no one would willingly choose."

Yet despite these obstacles, Ben still believes that once the predisposition toward sexuality is understood as being just that, the basis for the discrimination he faces as a gay man will dissipate.

"Thankfully we live in a country that, for the most part, does not permit discrimination against those things a person cannot control. We don't tolerate bias based on race, or gender, or disabilities, because people don't choose these fates," Ben said.

Yeah, well, good luck with that, Mike. That last paragraph states a philosophy totally counter to any & every position of the Republican Party.

After proving the lie of small government, small debt, etc., maybe at last you'll see the lie of personal freedom your party endorses.


BTW, I hate this song, but the sentiment works. McDonald pretty much ruined the Doobie Brothers, IMHO, although I'm told he's a nice fellow.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

There but for fortune . . .

Phil Ochs never said it better:

Perfect music, performed perfectly. He left us much too early, wish he was still around telling the story.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Keep yourself alive . . .

Dear Republican people:

Anthony Wiener will resign. I can predict exactly when: when David Vitter (R-Diapers/hookers) resigns:

D.C. Madam

In early July 2007, Vitter's phone number was included in a published list of phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, a company owned and run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, also known as the "D.C. Madam", convicted by the U.S. government for running a prostitution service. Hustler identified the phone number and contacted Vitter's office to ask about his connection to Palfrey.[18][19] The following day, Vitter issued a written statement:

This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there — with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.[20]

The statement containing Vitter's apology said his telephone number was included in phone records dating from his days as a member of the House of Representatives.[6] Phone records show that Vitter's number was called by Palfrey's service five times, the first on October 12, 1999, and the last on February 27, 2001.[21] Two calls were placed while House roll call votes were in progress.[22][23]

On July 16, 2007, after a week of self-imposed seclusion, Vitter emerged and called a news conference. Standing next to his wife, Vitter asked the public for forgiveness. Following Vitter's remarks, Wendy Vitter, his wife, spoke. Both refused to answer any questions.[24][25][26]

As background, several news outlets reported that in May 1999, Vitter replaced Congressman Bob Livingston after Livingston resigned due to an adultery scandal.[1][27][28] Vitter said about Livingston's decision to resign, "It's obviously a tremendous loss for the state. I think Livingston's stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess", referring to Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal.[29]

Vitter will not face criminal charges due to the statute of limitations.[30]

Vitter incurred significant legal and public relations expenses in his efforts to avoid giving testimony in the Palfrey trial and to respond to the ethics complaint. Consequently, his attorneys sought permission from the Federal Election Commission to use campaign funds to pay for these expenses.[31][32] The Commission, along partisan lines, couldn't agree whether funds could be used for reimbursing costs related to the Palfrey trial but did allow them to pay for expenses connected to the Ethics Committee complaint.[33][34][35]

Until then, fuck you very much. Family values party? No. Party unity party? At all costs.

Hypocrisy party? Of course.

Rep. Wiener: Please keep your pix to yourself. And please stay in the House. Keep yourself alive.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I only want to be with you

Perfect music, performed perfectly. RIP Dusty:

26 years later, in 1989:

Dear musical performing artists everywhere:
Please don't sing this song. Ever. Anywhere. At any time. It's been interpreted perfectly. You'll only embarrass yourself. Kthnxbai.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh, don't ask why . . .

Can we now, post Bin Laden, at long last admit Iraq was the epic clusterfuck of all time, and move on from it? No good has resulted, much bad has happened, and, well, please remember what the long lost Billmon at Whiskey Bar said about it:
What a Tangled Web We Weave . . .
. . . when first we practice to deceive!
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.

Dick Cheney
Speech to VFW National Convention
August 26, 2002

Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.

George W. Bush
Speech to UN General Assembly
September 12, 2002

If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.

Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
December 2, 2002

We know for a fact that there are weapons there.

Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
January 9, 2003

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.

George W. Bush
State of the Union Address
January 28, 2003

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.

Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council
February 5, 2003

We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.

George W. Bush
Radio Address
February 8, 2003

If Iraq had disarmed itself, gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction over the past 12 years, or over the last several months since (UN Resolution) 1441 was enacted, we would not be facing the crisis that we now have before us . . . But the suggestion that we are doing this because we want to go to every country in the Middle East and rearrange all of its pieces is not correct.

Colin Powell
Interview with Radio France International
February 28, 2003

So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? . . . I think our judgment has to be clearly not.

Colin Powell
Remarks to UN Security Council
March 7, 2003

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

George W. Bush
Address to the Nation
March 17, 2003

Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.

Ari Fleisher
Press Briefing
March 21, 2003

There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And . . . as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.

Gen. Tommy Franks
Press Conference
March 22, 2003

I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction.

Defense Policy Board member Kenneth Adelman
Washington Post, p. A27
March 23, 2003

One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites.

Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark
Press Briefing
March 22, 2003

We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

Donald Rumsfeld
ABC Interview
March 30, 2003

Obviously the administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find -- and there will be plenty.

Neocon scholar Robert Kagan
Washington Post op-ed
April 9, 2003

But make no mistake -- as I said earlier -- we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found.

Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing
April 10, 2003

We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them.

George W. Bush
NBC Interview
April 24, 2003

There are people who in large measure have information that we need . . . so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country.

Donald Rumsfeld
Press Briefing
April 25, 2003

We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so.

George W. Bush
Remarks to Reporters
May 3, 2003

I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now.

Colin Powell
Remarks to Reporters
May 4, 2003

We never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country.

Donald Rumsfeld
Fox News Interview
May 4, 2003

I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein -- because he had a weapons program.

George W. Bush
Remarks to Reporters
May 6, 2003

U.S. officials never expected that "we were going to open garages and find" weapons of mass destruction.

Condoleeza Rice
Reuters Interview
May 12, 2003

I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago -- I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago -- whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden.

Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne
Press Briefing
May 13, 2003

Before the war, there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found.

Gen. Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps
Interview with Reporters
May 21, 2003

Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction.

Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
NBC Today Show interview
May 26, 2003

They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer.
Donald Rumsfeld
Remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations
May 27, 2003

For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.

Paul Wolfowitz
Vanity Fair interview
May 28, 2003

It was a surprise to me then — it remains a surprise to me now — that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there.

Lt. Gen. James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
Press Interview
May 30, 2003

Do I think we're going to find something? Yeah, I kind of do, because I think there's a lot of information out there."

Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, Defense Intelligence Agency
Press Conference
May 30, 2003
Posted by billmon at May 29, 2003 03:20 AM
Bastards, every last one of them. Rotten bastards.

Monday, April 25, 2011

You the kind of gentleman that want everything your way, Take the sheet off your face, boy, it's a brand new day!

I was hopeful when former MSNBC talking head Dan Abrams started his own website,

OK, the name is dumb, doesn't exactly fall trippingly off the tongue, but it has its moments.

Such as 4/20, when pointing out the immense tone-deafness of the otherwise clever Scott "Dilbert" Adams who jumped up to support Orange Co. Repub official Marilyn Davenport, who sent the now infamous Obama-as-chump-baby email to all her BFFs:
The same thing is happening today with a Republican official who emailed some friends a humorous photo of President Obama’s face on a chimp and a punch line about his birth certificate. If your only context is what the Internet says about this story, you assume it’s a typical racist act by a Republican who is already guilty by association. But if I add the context that Googling “George Bush monkey” gives you over 3 million hits, and most of them are jokes where President Bush’s face is transposed on a monkey, you see what’s really going on. Democrats and advocates of civil rights are using the media to further an agenda at the expense of a woman who was probably so non-racist that the photo in question didn’t set off her alarms as being a career-ending risk.

Yeah, no. I find Adams generally clever, pointing out the absurdity of todays' business and corporate world. But here, he bends too far over in an attempt at, I dunno, fairness?

Mediaite writer Tommy Christopher explains:

Here’s the thing. President Bush was a white dude, so calling him a chimp, while not very nice, doesn’t evoke dehumanizing racial stereotypes that have historically fueled murder, rape, and enslavement. President Obama is a black man, so picturing him as a chimpanzee does evoke dehumanizing racial stereotypes that have historically fueled murder, rape, and enslavement. Scott Adams can Google President Bush until Dilbert’s tie straightens out, and he’s never going to find a legitimate analog to this insult.

Also, this isn’t Davenport’s first brush with racial email hijinks. According to former California Republican Party Chairman Michael Schroder, Davenport defended Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose when he sent out this knee-slapper, a photo depicting a watermelon patch on the South Lawn of The White House:

While none of this necessarily makes Davenport a racist (she could just be extremely clueless about race), there’s more than enough probable cause here to absolve “Democrats and advocates of civil rights” of being wolf-crying opportunists.

Speaking of stereotypes, though, what did Adams mean by “typical racist act by a Republican?” He’s either promoting, or acknowledging, a stereotype about white conservatives, which compounds his failure to recognize the same in Davenport’s email.

Indeed. Blue Texan writing at Instaputz adds:

Yes, if your only context is that you're from another planet and haven't been around the Western world for the past 500 years -- calling a white man a monkey and a black man a monkey are totally the same thing!

Also, don't you love the way Scott assumes the woman who sent the racist email is "probably non-racist"? How does he know that?

This is nothing new for the glibertarian Adams, whose writing style and political views are reminiscent of a cross between Glenn and Helen Reynolds. What does he mean by that?

From Gawker (follow the link above):

Scott Adams, creator of the great comic strip Dilbert, is sort of a prick. He is a horrible boss, and recently penned a charming misogynist rant comparing women to children begging for candy. Now we learn he likes to bash critics on message boards under a pseudonym.

For months, Adams has been pretending to be the world's biggest Scott Adams fan under the handle "PlannedChaos." (Planned Chaos is a book by Austrian economist and libertarian hero Ludwig von Mises.) Today, he fessed up to his sockpuppetry.

It started with a thread on link-sharing community MetaFilter about Adams' Wall Street Journal op-ed on how awesome and successful he is even though he didn't get straight-As in school. Some people said mean things about the article, suggesting Scott Adams wrote like someone who has "actually convinced himself… that he's the smartest guy in the room."

That's when "PlannedChaos" weighed in, furiously defending Adams:

As far as Adams' ego goes, maybe you don't understand what a writer does for a living. No one writes unless he believes that what he writes will be interesting to someone. Everyone on this page is talking about him, researching him, and obsessing about him. His job is to be interesting, not loved. As someone mentioned, he has a certified genius I.Q., and that's hard to hide.

And when someone thought Adams was pumping himself up a little too much in the article, "PlannedChaos" wrote:

I assume you don't hate all self-promoters, such as homeless people applying for jobs. Is it Adams' enormous success at self-promotion that makes you jealous and angry?

This wasn't Adams' first time pretending to be his own fan. For months, he's been commenting on threads about himself posted to link-sharing site Reddit under the same handle. Sample comment:

If an idiot and a genius disagree, the idiot generally thinks the genius is wrong. He also has lots of idiot reasons to back his idiot belief. That's how the idiot mind is wired.

It's fair to say you disagree with Adams. But you can't rule out the hypothesis that you're too dumb to understand what he's saying.

And he's a certified genius. Just sayin'.

Just sayin'.

After a number of MetaFilter users called him out today, Adams confessed, "I am Scott Adams." Then he said goodbye: "I'm sorry I peed in your cesspool." Metafilter users are currently engaging in a ritualistic shaming: "This is a wonderful example of how to take a garden-variety fail like a slightly dumb WSJ OpEd and turn it into an epic fail," wrote Lodurr.

Just to finish, Ludwig von Mises was a complete tool, a free-market idealogue who pimped out the infamous Austrian School of Economics which has NEVER WORKED ANYWHERE. So of course it's beloved by glibertarians everywhere.

Lastly, it occurs to me that Libertarians are just selfish and infantile people, who don't give a good Goddamn about anyone else.

But hey, I could be wrong.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Let me sing you a waltz; Out of nowhere, out of my thoughts

Perfect music performed imperfectly, but it lends it a certain charm. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Julie Delpy:

Friday, April 08, 2011

Give the poor man a chance, help stop these hard, hard times

Screaming liberal Sensible conservative Bruce Bartlett decimates the lunacy that is Paul Ryan (R-Cheezwhiz)'s modest budget proposal:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan has been the talk of Washington this week. Most of the discussion has revolved around his proposal to privatize Medicare and slash many federal programs to the bone. Less attention has been paid to the tax side of Ryan’s plan, which is every much as radical as the spending side.

One would think that a comprehensive budget proposal designed primarily for the purpose of reducing budget deficits and the national debt would put at least some of the burden on the revenue side of the equation. First, it would reduce the need to cut spending so heavily and improve the chances of passage; unless Ryan is only interested in scoring points with the Tea Party crowd, he will need the support of at least some Senate Democrats and President Obama if he wants any aspects of his plan enacted.

Second, Ryan’s plan puts an exceptionally heavy emphasis on cutting programs like Medicaid and food stamps that primarily aid the poor, while the well-to-do are essentially held harmless because they don’t benefit much from federal spending. The one government spending program that arguably benefits the wealthy disproportionately is national defense because, as UCLA economist Earl Thompson has argued, it protects their capital. And that’s the one major program Ryan lets off the hook almost completely.

For Ryan, it is an article of faith that federal revenues must never rise above 19 percent of the gross domestic product no matter how dire the nation’s debt problem. No explanation for this necessity is offered in his plan, other than observing that the historical range of federal revenues as a share of GDP has been between 18 percent and 19 percent of GDP during most of the postwar era. Ryan simply asserts, without evidence, that this range is the one most compatible with prosperity.

Conservatives dogmatically believe that taxation is the single most important factor in economic growth, and the lower taxes are the better. But if that were the case, then the late 1990s should have been a period of exceptionally slow growth: Federal taxes averaged 19.9 percent of GDP from 1997 to 2000. In fact, that period was among the most prosperous in American history, with real GDP growing an average of 4.5 percent per year. By contrast, during the last four years, federal revenues have been exceptionally low, averaging just 16.5 percent of GDP. But growth averaged less than 1 percent per year.

. . .

Distributionally, the Ryan plan is a monstrosity. The rich would receive huge tax cuts while the social safety net would be shredded to pay for them. Even as an opening bid to begin budget negotiations with the Democrats, the Ryan plan cannot be taken seriously. It is less of a wish list than a fairy tale utterly disconnected from the real world, backed up by make-believe numbers and unreasonable assumptions. Ryan’s plan isn’t even an act of courage; it’s just pandering to the Tea Party. A real act of courage would have been for him to admit, as all serious budget analysts know, that revenues will have to rise well above 19 percent of GDP to stabilize the debt.

Go read. There's more.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I focus on the pain

From Esquire, by The Collective.

Posted in full because editing or cropping would be a sin.
"Compassionate conservatism" was a hell of a brand name. You have to give Karl Rove credit for that. It was a masterpiece of political marketing. Rhetorically, at least, it managed to bridge the great gap between what the Republican party was doing and the people to whom it was doing most of it. It even managed to enlist organized religion in what was said to be an attempt to ameliorate the social consequences of the policies that were central to the agenda that the Republicans were bringing to the nation. If people were going to be forced into soup lines, they were going to be really good soup lines. The worst instincts of our politics were going to be sanctified by the best instincts of our people. It was as though the Laffer Curve described the arc of a censer or the wave of a thurible and not the inevitable swing of a wrecking ball.

Of course, it was all a shuck. (According to his memoir, David Kuo was a Republican who actually bought it, until he got to the White House and, one day, was told by Rove to come up with "a fucking faith-based thing," which is not how Saint Francis would have put it.) Not only that, but it was a shuck that, like so many things in the Bush White House, including the president therein, was so screwed up in its execution that it inevitably became a punchline. Nobody was ever going to be able to say "compassionate conservative" again with a straight face. And now, the Republicans, and the conservative politics that have possessed their party, have decided that they don't even have to try.

We are in an age dominated on one side by the New Politics of Sadism. Hurtful policies are enacted, not because of any logical benefit they might bring, but specifically because they hurt people the Republicans want to hurt. The thoroughgoing abandonment of the notion of a political commonwealth, cheered on by degrees since the elevation of Ronald Reagan and whatever ideas people could cram into his empty head, has reached the point among American conservatives where it is now the kind of faith you find in the most unshakable of perversions. It manifests itself everywhere. It's expressed politely by people like that intolerable foof, David Brooks, who's never taken a position in his life that cost him so much as a dinner invitation. On the radio, and on cable news, it's expressed crudely by people who are far more honest about their contempt for their fellow citizens.

And the sadism is running now through the institutions of government. We have made our peace with torture to the extent that support for it now is as much a litmus test for being a Republican as opposition to abortion is. (The Democrats, of course, choose to deplore it without condemning it.) The Supreme Court's majority opinion in the recent Thompson V. Connick decision — delivered, fittingly enough, by Justice Clarence Thomas, the walking Freudian petri dish who once opined that he saw nothing wrong with chaining inmates to a post in the hot sun — pretty much advises a man who was stuck on death row for fourteen years because of egregious prosecutorial misconduct to stop wasting the Supreme Court's time and be grateful his sorry ass wasn't fried a decade ago.

And, in the Congress, there is Congressman Paul Ryan, who is angling right now to make a career out of political sadism.

Make no mistake: Ryan is a thoroughgoing nutball, as bug-house crazy on economics as Peter King is on Muslims and Steve King is on anyone swarthier than himself. He is a lifelong adherent to the doctrines of Ayn Rand, which ought to disqualify anyone from ever being taken seriously enough to park cars by anyone over the age of fifteen. In terms of their connection to actual human reality, the difference between the doctrines of Ayn Rand and the doctrines of L. Ron Hubbard is not substantial, and the fervor of their acolytes is almost exactly the same. Picking Paul Ryan to handle your political economy is tantamount to electing Tom Cruise to be pope.

Paul Ryan is a thoroughgoing fraud. He went through high school and most of college on Social Security survivor benefits after his father's death. He voted for almost all the Bush programs — including both off-the-books wars — that ballooned the deficit he so piously condemns now. And this week, as he rolled out his lunatic conception of a federal budget, Paul Ryan produced the definitive statement of his political philosophy: There are those Americans who deserve to live and those Americans who don't. Period. All of the former are very, very wealthy. All of the latter are poor, or struggling, or old. Paul Ryan believes the true mission of government is to bring as much pain to the parasites as it can because, by doing so, it can liberate the genius of those people who deserve to live. When Paul Ryan dreams of a free nation, it is one in which the seventy-two-year-old spouses of seventy-five-year-old patients are free to go out and shop in a rigged insurance market for the $100,000-plus they're going to need over a lifetime of tending to that patient. If they insisted on feeding themselves, and even risking the odd vacation, over the course of their working lives and they failed to anticipate what might befall them, then the spouse is going to have to starve and the patient is just going to have to sit there in his own filth, until market forces determine that they should die.

Look at him when he talks about dismantling the hard-won protections of the shrinking middle class. He is so positively lubricious about it that his teeth seem to be sweating. Pain (not his) purifies the nation. Pain (not his) makes us free. This is what Paul Ryan dreams of when he dreams of a free people.

The object of his politics is to render political liberty subservient to economic exigencies, to render it an unaffordable luxury item available only to the wealthy, because only the wealthy are competent enough to exercise it. (Do yourself a favor and watch the interview that this serious intellectual did with that other serious intellectual, Glenn Beck, and see how fast they get around to calling ideas with which they disagree a "cancer" that needs to be excised from our civic life. The only thing that distinguishes Ryan's ideas from Beck's is that Beck is now universally recognized as a crackpot.) Ryan has come to the unremarkable intellectual conclusion that more people would rather inflict pain — even vicariously, even through his greasy sadist's smile — than receive it. He has seen that dynamic in action. Even the White House, occupied for the nonce by a putatively progressive Democrat, has signed on in a gentler way to the notion that "austerity" is the way out of our current economic morass, and "austerity" is fairly defined in this context as making other people hurt so you'll feel better about yourself. Unemployed workers, whose pensions were looted by Wall Street sharpers, rage against the pensions of public workers, not because those pensions are so gloriously lavish, but because they exist at all. Somebody has something you don't and they must pay for that. Small wonder that Paul Ryan thinks he can grin his way to the dystopic wasteland that he sees when he dreams of a free country. So much of the work already has been done for him over the previous three decades.

Look at how his nonsensical plan was received. The Right, led by the ever-polite Mr. Brooks, praised Ryan for the fortitude it takes to make life harder for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled while comforting plutocrats and corporations. Nobody laughed. The respectable Left tut-tutted, but several allegedly liberal commentators insisted that Ryan's monkeyhouse numbers should be taken seriously because Ryan himself is a serious person. (Writing at The Washington Post, the normally judicious Ezra Klein began his analysis of Ryan's proposal: "Ryan is the kind of politician I fundamentally like. He's smart, policy-oriented and willing to take political risks — but only, it turns out, of a certain kind." Jesus, kid, don't be so tough on the poor bastard.) The emerging default position within the Beltway seems to be that Ryan's budget is just crazy enough to make the recommendations of the president's Deficit Commission, which themselves were bad enough to be laughed out of the court of public opinion not six months ago, seem like a reasonable alternative.

The people explaining this troubled, wounded country to itself have completely lost their minds. They're giggling outside the cells, just loudly enough to drown out the screams from inside. When Paul Ryan dreams of a free country, he sees a glittering palace built atop blasted swamp. He dreams only of someone else's pain.

In-freakin-deed. People, we are lost.

Bound to lose . . .

I've been missing lately. I could dissemble: "Working to hard . . . family stuff... blah blah." Fact is, I'm heartsick abou the direction our nation and our discourse is taking.

Watching Mike Huckabee on The Daily Show tonight was a changing moment. Huck was, to me, a conservative christian with whom I disagreed about everything, but whom I thought was a decent honest guy.

I was wrong. Huck is a dishonest self-aggrandizing whore who will say anything to further his agenda. Of late he has become a newly minted birther:

Well, that didn't take long. Just one week after calling the birther conspiracy theory "nonsense," probable GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee raised concerns of his own about the president's upbringing, in an interview with a conservative New York talk show host. In an appearance Monday on the Steve Malzberg show, the Fox News personality and former Arkansas governor appeared to sympathize with his host's questions about President Obama's citizenship, and then floated a theory of his own: Obama was raised in Kenya. Per Media Matters:

"I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American."

But don't worry, he's not a birther:

"The only reason I'm not as confident that there's something about the birth certificate, Steve, is because I know the Clintons [inaudible] and believe me, they have lots of investigators out on him, and I'm convinced if there was anything that they could have found on that, they would have found it, and I promise they would have used it."

Huckabee went on to explain how Obama's Kenyan upbringing imbued him with an anti-British worldview radically different than most Americans. (You know, like the guys who wrote this anti-British screed.) Media Matters has the full audio here.

And tonight exposed himself as a tenther as well:
. . . the tenth one was explicit, that if it was not contained in the constitution, that power is left to the states (note: my transcription from the Daily Show video)

Here's a description of "tentherism" from a liberal writer whose work I enjoy:

These efforts are all part of a movement whose members are convinced that the 10th Amendment of the Constitution prohibits spending programs and regulations disfavored by conservatives. Indeed, while "birther" conspiracy theorists dominate the airwaves with tales of a mystical Kenyan baby smuggled into Hawaii just days after his birth, these "tenther" constitutionalists offer a theory that is no less radical but infinitely more dangerous.

Tentherism, in a nutshell, proclaims that New Deal-era reformers led an unlawful coup against the "True Constitution," exploiting Depression-born desperation to expand the federal government's powers beyond recognition. Under the tenther constitution, Barack Obama's health-care reform is forbidden, as is Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The federal minimum wage is a crime against state sovereignty; the federal ban on workplace discrimination and whites-only lunch counters is an unlawful encroachment on local businesses.

Tenthers divine all this from the brief language of the 10th Amendment, which provides that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In layman's terms, this simply means that the Constitution contains an itemized list of federal powers -- such as the power to regulate interstate commerce or establish post offices or make war on foreign nations -- and anything not contained in that list is beyond Congress' authority.

The tenther constitution, however, reads each of these powers very narrowly -- too narrowly, it turns out, to permit much of the progress of the last century. As the nation emerges from the worst economic downturn in three generations, the tenthers would strip away the very reforms and economic regulations that beat back the Great Depression, and they would hamstring any attempt to enact new progressive legislation.

Such retreat to fringe constitutional theories is one of the right's favorite tactics during times of historic upheaval. The right-wing South justified both secession and the Civil War on the theory that the Constitution is nothing more than a pact between sovereigns that each state is free to leave at will. In the immediate wake of Brown v. Board of Education, 19 senators and 77 representatives endorsed a "Southern Manifesto," proclaiming -- in words echoed by modern-day tenthers -- that Brown "encroach[es] on the rights reserved to the States" because the "Constitution does not mention education." President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent much of his first term combating a tenther majority on the Supreme Court, which routinely struck down substantial portions of the New Deal.

So thanks, Mike for exposing once and for all who you really are: A do-anything, say-anything zealot, with only the conviction of fundamentalist religion to fall back on.

Mike Huckabee, the Donald Trump of . . . oh well, never mind.

Friday, April 01, 2011

It's true, I was made for you

Perfect music, performed perfectly:

You don't have to be a Grey's Anatomy fan to appreciate Sara Ramirez's performance of The Story, originally recorded by Brandi Carlile, written by Phil Hanseroth. But you can't deny her talent.

Ms. Ramirez, besides being a TV actor, is also a Broadway star:

She debuted on Broadway playing Wahzinak in Paul Simon's The Capeman (1998). In 1999, she appeared in The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm (1999) and received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for her role. She has also appeared in A Class Act (2001) and Dreamgirls (2001), and she performed in The Vagina Monologues with Tovah Feldshuh and Suzanne Bertish.

In 1998, she played the voice of Lammy in the video game UmJammer Lammy, a spin-off of PaRappa the Rapper, both on Sony's PlayStation console. She later reprised her role as Lammy in the PlayStation 2 video game sequel PaRappa the Rapper 2, and has a smaller role, unlike the game that preceded it.

In 2004, Ramírez was cast as the Lady of the Lake in the Eric Idle/John Du Prez musical Spamalot, based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005 to widespread acclaim, and Ramírez in particular was singled out for her performance, winning several awards including the 2005 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Following her success on Broadway, Ramírez joined the cast of Grey's Anatomy in a recurring role as Dr. Calliope 'Callie' Torres in the show's second season. For the third season she became a series regular. On a special Grey's Anatomy-themed episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she revealed that top executives from ABC loved her performance in Spamalot so much that they offered her a role in any ABC show she wanted. She picked Grey's, of which she was a fan.[2] While Ramírez has never performed a musical number on the show, she did provide a cappella vocals in the song "Silent Night" for the soundtrack of the show's sixth season episode "Holidaze," airing November 19, 2009. On December 21, 2009, this version of the song was released as a single on iTunes. Her first solo release is an extended play scheduled for a March 27, 2011 release through the iTunes Store. It will reportedly include three original songs, as well as a recording of a song scheduled to be performed on Grey's Anatomy.[3]

And while it may be silly, I think granddaughter Isabella Carolina Zumaya may grow up to look something like Sara Ramirez. Who knows, maybe she'll be as talented. I have high hopes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder

Politics is so awful these days, it's hard to know where to start. My supply of outrage seems to have limits, sadly.

Oh, and the Republican Party has no one working in it that is sane, and wants a better America. Sorry, R friends, you may be decent people, but your party has become traitors and loons.

On a happier note, here's a perfect pop song, too often overlooked:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A little people magic if you will

That line makes me mindful of the good folks in Wisconsin, fighting a corrupt dishonest felonious governor and state Senate.

Meantime some fun, artful, no-holds-barred rock'n'roll with the lyric in its original context:

And how special was Freddie? Talent that can't be taught, only perfected. Thank you for being you. RIP.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I cried a river over you

Perfect music, performed perfectly:

Guitar: Barney Kessel

Bass: Chuck Domanico:

Julie London:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Feel Fine

Dear nuclear power supporters: Please buy an airline ticket to Japan and camp out near the Fukushima reactor. Unless you're willing to do that, fuck you.

Reactors at two Japanese power plants can no longer cool radioactive substances, a government official said Saturday, adding that a small leak had been detected at one of the facilities.

Atomic material has seeped out of one of the Fukushima Daiichi plant's five nuclear reactors, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) north of Tokyo, said Kazuo Kodama, a spokesman for Japan's nuclear regulatory agency.

Potentially dangerous problems in cooling radioactive material appear to have cropped up there, as well as at another of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plants, Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan's ambassador to the United States, confirmed to CNN.
The Fukushima Daini and Fukushima Daiichi power plants are separate facilities located in different towns in northeastern Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Each one has its own set of individual nuclear reactors.

Kodama said the cooling system had failed at three of the four such units of the Daini plant.

Temperatures of the coolant water in that plant's reactors soared to above 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported, an indication that the cooling system wasn't working.

Authorities subsequently ordered residents within 3 kilometers of that facility to evacuate as "a precaution," Fujisaki said. That plant was also added to the Japanese nuclear agency's emergency list, along with the Daiichi plant.

This is exactly why I don't support nuclear power anytime soon for the US:
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is trying to confirm a report that an explosion occurred at a nuclear power station in quake-hit Fukushima Prefecture.

The agency said on Saturday that a person at the Fukushima Number One nuclear station reported that an explosion was heard and smoke was seen near one of the reactors at around 4PM.

The power station operator Tokyo Electric Power Company told the agency that 4 people were injured.

Video of the reactor in question shows the outer wall of the building that houses the reactor has disappeared.

Prefectural authorities say the power company informed them that the ceiling of the building collapsed after an explosion.

Tokyo Electric Power had been releasing air from the container of the reactor to lower pressure.

Pressure inside the container had been rising after the reactor's cooling system broke down due to power failure.

Radioactive substances have been detected near the reactor.


Of course, the Republican idiots running congress are on top of it:

Back in February 2009, Republicans found a lot of risible spending in the stimulus bill. In his response to the State of the Union, Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., derided the stimulus for including "$140 million for something called volcano monitoring." The gripe was mostly that the funding, mostly for U.S. Geological Survey upkeep, wasn't stimulative. (This is a pretty good argument.) But Democrats honed in on that comment to decide that Republicans were going to try to cut funding for natural disaster monitoring.
This isn't wrong. The continuing resolution passed by the GOP House, the one that just failed in the Senate, reduces funding for the federal agencies that monitor and react to disasters.
But wait, there's more:

The GOP budget plan that passed through the House last month aimed to cut funding for a tsunami warning center that issued a slew of warnings around Japan's devastating earthquake.

Complete Coverage: Earthquake in Japan
The budget, which proposed about $60 billion in budget cuts, would slash funding for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). That would potentially cripple the effectiveness of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, which issued a series of warnings over the past several days regarding the situation in Japan, where an 8.9 magnitude earthquake triggered a massive tsunami along the nation's east coast. (The PTWC is a part of the National Weather Service, which falls under the umbrella of NOAA - the organization responsible for providing tsunami warnings in the U.S.)

The Republican's proposed "continuing resolution" to fund the government, which was defeated in the Senate this week, aimed to cut $1.2 billion - or 21 percent - of President Obama's proposed budget for NOAA, reports.

Bastards. Delusional ignorant ideology-above-all-else motherfucking bastards.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Now don't you wait or hesitate

Who is the best male Rock'n'Roll singer working today? Probably a stupid question; there are many fine ones.

But I think a case can be made for this guy:

Sunday, February 06, 2011

R.I.P. Gary Moore

Sad news in the guitar-playing world today:
Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore found dead in hotel room

Rock guitarist and former Thin Lizzy star Gary Moore has died in Spain.

The 58-year-old, originally from Belfast, was found dead in a hotel room on the Costa del Sol.

Thin Lizzy founding member Brian Downey paid tribute to his friend.

"I am in total shock," he said. "He will always be in my thoughts and prayers and I just can't believe he is gone."

Moore had a successful solo career but it was for his time in Thin Lizzy that he will be best remembered.

He joined the band in 1973 after the sudden departure of guitarist Eric Bell but only played with them for four months.

Four years later he returned and went on to play on the band's Black Rose album.

Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham said it been a pleasure to share a stage with him.

"Playing with Gary during the Black Rose era was a great experience, he was a great player and a great guy," he said.

"I will miss him."

Niles Stokes, editor of Hot Press music magazine, had known Moore for almost 50 years. He said: "He was a phenomenally good guitarist after starting in the music industry at the age of about 15. Not only did he have success with Thin Lizzie but he had a successful solo career. His contribution to the Irish rock cannon was immense."

Thin Lizzy's frontman Phil Lynnot died in 1986.

The band reformed at various times since then and continue to tour today.

Moore played with some of his former bandmates in 2006.

Repost, from 3.9.07

In music, as in all arts, there are those who innovate (think Picasso), and those who "kick it up a notch".

Gary Moore wasn't the first guy to strap on a Les Paul and plug it into a Marshall, but he injected something special into that equipment combination. From wikipedia:

Gary Moore (born Robert William Gary Moore, 4 April 1952, in Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a guitarist. In a career dating back to the 1960s he has played with bands/artists including Thin Lizzy, Colosseum II, Greg Lake and blues-rock band Skid Row as well as having a successful solo career.

Moore started performing at a young age, having picked up a battered acoustic guitar at the age of eight, and got his first quality guitar at the age of fourteen, learning to play the right-handed instrument in the standard way despite being left handed. His career has lasted over thirty years.

Gary Moore now appears as a regular radio host every Sunday and Monday on 'Planet Rock' radio. His show is entitled 'Blues Power' and plays many classic blues tracks, as well as some of Moore's own tracks.

Gary added an element of . . . I guess, precision to the rock lexicon. He rocked as hard as all the acolytes of Clapton, Beck, & Buddy Guy from the '60s, but was somehow smoother and more polished. The level of virtuosity was raised, without sacrificing any of the "soul".

Here's a video of Gary during his Thin Lizzy days:

And here he is with Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott doing the overblown yet delicious "Parisienne Walkways" live:

And finally, here's Gary more recently, in '04, paying homage to Jimi with "Red House", with bassist extraordinaire Pino Pallidino:

And best quote ever from YouTube comments:
Shit, if I could play like that, I'd have my head shaved, my balls out, be drunk all the time and wear rabbit slippers and I'm pretty sure people wouldn't notice!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Don't Want To Be An American Idiot

My friend Mark Kleiman is a smart guy and a fantastic blogger. His take on the SOTU speech is so good that I've included this whole post:
Sometimes your opponents can see what you’re doing more clearly than your friends can. Some progressives were put off by the rather Reaganesque rhetoric of the State of the Union address, but Mark Thiessen of AEI recognized it for what it was: an attempt to harness “American exceptionalism” to pull the plough of activist government. When Wes Clark tried the same thing either Andy Sabl or I called it “the liberalism of national greatness.” I thought it was a winner then, and I think it’s a winner now.

And – contrary to the more conventional Reaganite rhetoric – Obama’s message is fully consistent with one strand of the Founding. One of the striking features of The Audacity of Hope was Obama’s identification with the thought of Hamilton, carried into the second generation as Henry Clay’s American Plan. From the Louisian Purchase, the Erie Canal, and the transcontinental railroad to land-grant colleges, homesteading, rural electrification, the GI Bill, interstate highways, and the Internet, the Federal government has again and again been the agent of crucial economic innovation. The Springfield Armory was turning out mass-produced rifles when Henry Ford was still in diapers.

Of course the feds have also sponsored boondoggles from manned spaceflight and coal gasification to the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and corn ethanol. If you take risks, you sometimes fail, and if you make stupid decisions under political pressure you’re that much more likely to fail. But the notion that the gummint ought to keep its nose out of the economy – or, for that matter, that a monopoly granted by a patent is somehow not a governmental intervention in the market – accords with neither logic nor history.

Indeed. Thiessen is usually awful, as are most at the American Enterprise Institute, and tries to spin his conclusion in a predictable right-wing manner. But Kleiman gets it exactly right, IMHO.

Monday, January 24, 2011

But I always thought that I'd see you again

So there's this girl I met in 7th grade and we went to the movies and stuff, and dated and fought, and stuff. And I saw her again a few years later and we dated and fought and stuff. And we lived together, and dated, and fought and stuff.

In between times she and I moved a thousand miles apart, she got married, I got tours, she got un-married and I got her. And we dated and lived together and stuff, and fought.

Over the years I proposed to her twice. Years apart. She was right to turn me down, I ain't, or at least wasn't, husband material. Smart girl, smart woman. I probably broke her heart more than she broke mine, but I never forgot about her. Years later, when I lived 3 thousand miles away I heard she got married again and moved a thousand miles away.

In the last few years I've been trying to contact her, mainly just to apologize for being a jerk, but kinda maybe hoping somehow in the back of mind that maybe she was un-married again. Hell, I even joined FaceBook just in case she ... but it's hard to find your friend on FB if you don't even know her last name.

But then I got a call from a mutual FB friend that she had died 3 years ago in an accident. I called that person a liar. Then I got angry at that person. The Kubler-Ross steps aren't quite as defined as they look in print. But if this a joke, it's a pretty fucking elaborate one to put a headstone in the ground.

Of course I'm handling it in the mature way that I've now grown up in. Fist sized holes in the wall, and "I ain't drunk, I'm just drinkin'" For my friends who are tempted to call me? Please don't, I don't feel like talking. I'm OK, just going thru the shit we all do.

For Debbie, I'm sorry, you deserved better than me for years, I hope you found him. "But I always thought that I'd see you again"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Psycho Killer, Qu'est-ce que c'est?

Excerpted via Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:
July 27, 2008—Jim Adkisson shoots and kills two people at a progressive church in Knoxville, Tennessee, wounding two. Adkisson calls it “a symbolic killing” because he really “wanted to kill…every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book,” but was unable to gain access to them.

December 9, 2008—FBI teams investigating the murder of white supremacist James Cumming, 29, a resident of Belfast, Maine, find supplies for a crude radiological dispersal dervice and other explosives in his home. Cumming's wife, who shot him to death after being abused by him repeatedly, explains, "His intentions were to construct a dirty bomb and take it to Washington to kill President Obama. He was planning to hide it in the undercarriage of our moter home."

April 4, 2009—Neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski shoots and kills three police officers responding to a 911 call to his home in Pittsburgh. His friend Edward Perkovic tells reporters that Poplawski feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on its way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.” Perkovic also commented that Poplawski carried out the shooting because “if anyone tried to take his firearms, he was gonna’ stand by what his forefathers told him to do.”

April 25, 2009—Joshua Cartwright, 28, a member of the Florida National Guard, shoots and kills two Okaloosa County sheriff's deputies attempting to arrest him on a domestic abuse charge. Cartwright is killed in an enusing gun battle with police. Cartwright's wife reports that he was "severely disturbed" that Barack Obama had been elected president. Okaloosa County Sheriff Edward Spooner states that Cartrwight was "interested in militia groups and weapons training."

May 31, 2009—Scott P. Roeder shoots and kills Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. The FBI lists Roeder as a member of the Montana Freemen, a radical anti-government group. In April 1996, he had been pulled over in Topeka, Kansas, for driving with a homemade license plate. Police found a military-style rifle, ammunition, a blasting cap, a fuse cord, a one-pound can of gunpowder, and two 9-volt batteries in his car.

February 18, 2010—Joseph Stack of Austin, Texas, flies a single-engine plane into an office building containing nearly 200 IRS employees, killing one and wounding 13. In a suicide note, Stack lays out his grievances with the federal tax agency, stating, "The law 'requires' a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that's not 'duress' than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is ... Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer."

March 4, 2010—John Patrick Bedell, a California resident, travels to Arlington, Virginia, and opens fire on police officers at the entrance to the Pentagon. Bedell is armed with two semiautomatic firearms and "many [ammunition] magazines." Bedell injures two officers before he is killed by return fire. Reports reveals Bedell to be a Truther who believed that the U.S. government had been taken over by a criminal organization in a 1963 coup.

May 20, 2010—Jerry Kane, Jr., 45, and his son Joseph Kane, 16, fatally shoot two Arkansas police officers with AK-47 assault rifles during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40 in West Memphis. The Kanes are killed during an exchange of gunfire with police in a Walmart parking lot 90 minutes later. Jerry Kane, an Ohio resident and anti-government activist, had a long history with police and had recently spent three days in jail for driving with an expired license plate and no seat belt. Kane considered himself a "sovereign citizen" and ran a business that centered on debt-avoidance scams.

July 18, 2010—California Highway Patrol officers arrest Byron Williams, 45, after a shootout on I-580 in which more than 60 rounds are fired. Officers had pulled Williams over in his pick-up for speeding and weaving in and out of traffic when he opened fire on them with a handgun and a long gun. Williams, a convicted felon, is shot several times, but survives because he is wearing body armor. Williams, a convicted felon, reveals that he was on his way to San Francisco to "start a revolution" by killing employees of the ACLU and Tides Foundation.

July 30, 2010—Camp Hill prison guard Raymond Peake, 64, is charged with robbery and the murder of Todd Getgen. Peake allegedly shot Getgen to death at a local shooting range and stole Getgen's custom, silenced AR-15 rifle. Investigators follow Peake to a storage unit when they find three firearms: Getgen's AR-15 rifle, a scoped Remington rifle that had been reported stolen from the range in May, and a second AR-15 rifle. Thomas Tuso is also arrested and charged with conspiracy, receiving stolen property and other crimes. Peake tells police that he and Tuso had been stealing guns "for the purpose of overthrowing the federal government."

August 17, 2010—Patrick Gray Sharp, 29, opens fire on the Department of Public Safety in McKinney, Texas, and unsuccessfully attempts to ignite gasoline and ammonium nitrate in a trailer hitched to his truck. Sharp is armed with an assault rifle, a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, and a 12-gauge shotgun. He is killed after an exchange of gunfire with police arriving on the scene. Miraculously, no one else is hurt. Sharp's roommate, Eric McClellan describes him as "a great guy" and states, "We're Texans. We have a right to bear arms."

January 8, 2011—Jared Lee Loughner, 22, shoots U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others at a "Congress in Your Corner" event at a Safeway supermarket in Tuscon, Arizona. He kills six, including federal judge John Roll, and wounds 14, including Giffords, who is shot in the head. Loughner has an extensive history of mental illness and substance abuse, yet is able to purchase two handguns and a high-capacity ammunition magazine legally at Sportsman's Warehouse on November 30, 2010. In a YouTube video posted in December 2010, Loughner states, "You don’t have to accept the federalist laws ... Nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws."
These are just the incidents where someone died. I guess they could all be just lone wackos, but their speech and writing have an awful lot in common with that broadcast by Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Ruch Limbaugh and Michael Savage to name a few.

It's also very similar to that by Republican candidates and office holders.
March 21-22, 2009—Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”

July 15, 2009—Katherine Crabill, a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the state’s 99th District makes headlines by calling on Americans to resist the course President Obama has set for the country. Appearing at a “Tea Party” rally, Crabill quotes a 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then states, “We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that's the beauty of our Second Amendment right.

September 28, 2009—Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), the Chairman of the Second Amendment Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enemy of the Constitution” at a health care reform town hall meeting.

May 30, 2010—Sharron Angle, a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator in Nevada, tells the Reno Gazette-Journal that a recent increase in gun sales nationwide "tells me that the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn't that they are so distrustful of government? They're afraid they'll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.

October 21, 2010—Pastor Stephen Broden, the Republican candidate for U.S. Representative in Texas' 30th Congressional District, tells WFAA-TV in Dallas that the violent overthrow of the government is an "option" that remains "on the table."

November 9, 2010—U.S. Representative-Elect Allen West of Florida's 22nd Congressional District hires conservative radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman as his Chief of Staff. On July 3, Kaufman told a crowd of Tea Party supporters, “I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendments rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will."

November 29, 2010—U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, circulates a PowerPoint presentation to his colleagues in which he compares the Obama administration to the Nazi regime in Germany and likens himself to Gen. George Patton, bragging, "Put anything in my scope and I will shoot it."

June 12,2010-Jesse Kelly, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opponent wrote "Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly"
I'll ignore Sarah Palin, as everyone should, but this is not an isolated incidence, it is a trend.

Do I think such speech should be illegal? No.

But if a high school student had put cross hairs on their opponents and continually wrote about revolution and 2nd Amendment solutions, they'd be arrested. If an American Muslim had done it they'd be in GITMO, if they weren't targeted for death first. If the New Black Panther Party had showed up at political rallies carrying assault rifles, they'd be in prison and have congressional committees saying they should be in GITMO.

So let's please be consistent when we apply the Constitution and the PATRIOT Acts?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Do you know what's worth fighting for?

Dear 2nd Amendment fetishists, 'concealed carry' advocates, Sarah Palin, and gun nuts in general:

Really? Can we just stop all the macho posturing and fantasizing about how guns help? When was the last time anything decided with a gun ended well?

Yes, I know police, etc., need to be armed. In a civilized society they wouldn't have to be. In England, even today, only specially trained police officers are armed.

I don't know what Jared Loughner's issues are, and I don't really care. That's for psychologists to decode. But I do know to a certainty that had he not had easy access to a gun, 6 people wouldn't have died today.

And please, any commentors that are 'concealed carry' fans. go the fuck away. You would NOT have prevented today's tragedy. All you might have accomplished would have been to kill Loughner, and then we might never know what was wrong with him. I think that will be useful knowledge.

And last, to every person who ever told me they bought a gun for protection, that's bullshit. You bought a gun because you wanted one. And that scares the crap out of me.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Come on baby, eat the rich

(Most links are provided in footnotes.)
There are death panels, no, not the "death panels" lie Palin & other republicans used, (the 2009 Lie of the Year), but actual death panels. The death panel? It's Jan Brewer. (Donner, party of one? [/snark])

Gov. Jan Brewer has sentenced 100 people in Arizona to die. What was their crime? They were sick and needed a transplant. 2 have already died. The money was already allocated, AZ already was ready to receive 2x as much Fed money as they would have to provide, and reneged. Brewer and her Republican legislature said the state couldn't afford 1.4 million dollars. They were willing to spend that much to save 5 squirrels (I'm not kidding.)

But she still wants the Medicare money from the Federal coffers, (that would be our tax money) even tho she and AZ repubs reneged.

And she's not alone, 33 other republican governors also want our tax dollars to also renege on their duty to their fellow citizens. Somehow these bastards that ran on fiscal responsibility and states rights (like Gov Christie of NJ who was vacationing in Disneyworld during the snowpocalypse) suddenly think the Feds should bail them out.

And right now, the US House of Republicans Representatives, says that their can only be cuts in social services, and not defense, to balance the Fed budget.

Do you need any more proof that these people are trying, and succeeding, to kill us?

The majority of Americans say increase the taxes on the rich to help balance the budget. The majority of Americans don't want health care repealed, they just think it didn't go far enough.

But republicans are ignoring the will of the people.

I have a modest proposal; If you're out of work? If your family is hungry? EAT THE RICH.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

So Tell Me, Who Are You?

Ohh, a poow wittle NYT columnist got his feewings hurt, again, about us anonymous bloggers. Never mind the fact that the NYT joyfully quotes 'anonymous' sources all the time that lie and lie and lie to them, just so they can have 'access' to people that lie to them? Hmmf!
Anonymity and the Dark Side of the Internet
Read the whole thing if you want, but all you need to know is that Stanley Fish, wrote a book called "There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech and It’s a Good Thing, Too."

Yet somehow he gets the free speech to declare there shouldn't be free speech. Hmmf again, because no one just gives me the right to have a giant megaphone like the NYT, because it's only wittle fwoks who can't afford a GIANT MEGAPHONE.
In related news:
The Queen of Liars, Judith Miller, who helped drive a nation into war with her stenography and lies gets all upset that someone who revealed the truth is getting more press than her:
Reporter behind WMD claims calls Assange ‘bad journalist’

A former [Judith Miller] New York Times reporter assailed for her incorrect reports about Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction is criticizing Julian Assange for being a "bad journalist."
Miller once defended her reporting with the argument that it is not a journalist's job to verify -- only to report inform readers of what they had been told.
I think that's the definition of a stenographer.

And just for facts sake, Wikileaks has vetted the leaks; when the US MIL and State dept refused to help, they went to the NYT, The Guardian and other papers. It was not a dump of 250,000 US State Dept cables, it's been a very careful release of only 2500 cables ... so far.

Judy, Judy, Judy, has more excuses, but that's a tale for a different day.

[insert The Who footage here]