Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Satchmo!

I need a little Louis Armstrong tonight to offset the Florida craziness. He's like an amazing cup of coffee, chocolate bonbons and sunshine, just everything that makes life wonderful.
Man, I love him.
"La Vie en Rose"

With Ella Fitzgerald, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"

I've got my laptop to keep me warm. Sigh.

With Billy Holiday, "The Blues are Brewin'"

The best democracy money can buy

I just discovered this:

Totally mind numbing...

The amount candidates have spent on ads (so far!) decreased by almost 80%. Meanwhile, ads bought by interest groups increased by over 1280%.

What the fucking hell?
A new study out today by the Wesleyan Media Project shows Romney and his allies, particularly the Restore Our Future super PAC, have aired 12,768 ads in Florida compared with 210 for Gingrich and his allies.
Politico is reporting that Romney has outspent Gingrich in Florida by almost $12 million - just on ads. As of Friday, Mitt's campaign and the super PAC Restore Our Future has spent a combined $15, 340,000. Meanwhile, Gingrich and the super PAC Winning Our Future have spent a meagre $3,390,000.

Does a Romney win in Florida mean that he is the better candidate? Or, is it just another example of what a shitload of money can buy you?

This is money spent in just one state. Can we all finally admit that our political system is totally obscene?

Lots of love to Supreme Court! Your Citizens United ruling is doing one hell of a job!

Rectal exams for Viagra? Why not?

More of this please
To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.

"We need some gender equity here," she told HuffPost. "The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we're going to do that to women, why not do that to men?"

The Republican-controlled senate narrowly rejected the amendment Monday by a vote of 21 to 19, but passed the mandatory ultrasound bill in a voice vote. A similar bill in Texas, which physicians say has caused a "bureaucratic nightmare," is currently being challenged in court.

Howell said she is not surprised her amendment failed.

"This is more of a message type of an amendment, so I was pleased to get 19 votes," she said.

She pointed out that there are only seven women in the Virginia senate, and six of them voted in favor of her amendment, along with 13 male senators. Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier County), the sponsor of the mandatory ultrasound bill, voted against it.

Did you catch that out of forty senators only seven are women? Wow. In 2012. Huh.
As attacks on abortion rights escalate and a woman's ability to define her own life dwindle, the U.S. needs more people like Senator Howell to stand up and point out the massive, stroke-inducing hypocrisy. I'm thinking about moving to her district just so I can vote for her!

Women for Santorum 2012!

For too long I've wasted time making my own health choices. From now on, I'm just gonna let Ricky do it for me!

"Rick says rape victims should accept what God's given them. So when life gives you rape, make rape-aid."
He should make it his campaign slogan! It's a winner!!

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Long live the bizarre, self-constructed freaks!

Happy Birthday Ziggy Stardust! Forty years young today!

David Bowie, "Ziggy Stardust"

David Bowie, "Queen Bitch"

David Bowie, "Oh, You Pretty Things"

He's still a sexy beast.

Monday, 30 January 2012

New Game of Thrones trailer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So. Very. Excited.


Elevating the dialogue

Stay classy, Republicans:
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus thought Sunday morning that President Barack Obama merited being compared to Francesco Schettino, the captain of the turned over cruise ship in Italy. Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, Priebus pivoted from a discussion about the GOP presidential primary and offered his comparison to a bemused Bob Schieffer. “We’re going to talk about our own little Captain Schettino,” Priebus said. “Which is President Obama who’s abandoning the ship here in the United States and is more interested in campaigning than doing his job as president.”

So much for the First Amendment

Hello, Occupy Oakland Move-In Day (22 of 31)
A friend posted on Facebook the story of another journalist arrested while covering the Occupy protests. This time it happened in Oakland over the weekend:
   On Saturday, Occupy Oakland re-entered the national spotlight during a day-long effort to take over an empty building and transform it into a social center. Oakland police thwarted the efforts, arresting more than 400 people in the process, primarily during a mass nighttime arrest outside a downtown YMCA. That number included at least six journalists, myself included, in direct violation of OPD media relations policy that states "media shall never be targeted for dispersal or enforcement action because of their status."
As soon as it became clear that I would be kettled with the protesters, I displayed my press credentials to a line of officers and asked where to stand to avoid arrest. In past protests, the technique always proved successful. But this time, no officer said a word. One pointed back in the direction of the protesters, refusing to let me leave. Another issued a notice that everyone in the area was under arrest.
I wound up in a back corner of the space between the YMCA and a neighboring building, where I met Vivian Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle and Kristin Hanes of KGO Radio. After it became clear that we would probably have to wait for hours there as police arrested hundreds of people packed tightly in front of us, we maneuvered our way to the front of the kettle to display our press credentials once more.
When Hanes displayed hers, an officer shook his head. "That's not an Oakland pass," he told her. "You're getting arrested." (She had a press pass issued by San Francisco, but not Oakland, police.) Another officer rejected my credentials, and I began interviewing soon-to-be-arrested protesters standing nearby. About five minutes later, an officer grabbed my arm and zip-tied me. Around the same time, Ho—who did have official OPD credentials—was also apprehended.
Reporters Without Borders released its annual press freedom index for 2011/2012 and the United States ain't looking so "freedom-y" this year. The arrests and harassment of journalists during the Occupy Wall Street protests caused the U.S. to fall 27 places to a press freedom ranking of 47th in the world. To see a tracking of the journalists who have been arrested (56 so far), check out the list compiled by Josh Stearns. It's totally disgraceful.  


I'm having issues with the links in the posts. They're supposed to be a different colour so you can see the link, but they were appearing black like the rest of the text. Lame. They should be appearing now as red.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Beautifully depressing

I love Satie and I love the Gymnopédies. It's one of the most beautiful compositions, but it makes me so sad. I'm talking full-on crying sad. I have no idea why.
I don't understand myself sometimes.

Erik Satie, Gymnopédie No. 1

Franz Liszt, Consolation No. 3

Frédéric Chopin, Prelude No. 20

American exceptionalism

My mouse just died.

I don't want to wait until tomorrow to get a new one. I want to be able to run to Walmart and buy a new mouse RIGHT NOW!!!!

End of rant.

Grifters for Gingrich 2012!

Poor ol' Newt! With his poll numbers tanking and his fellow establishment Republicans turning their backs on him, again, and again, it doesn't look like his  victory in South Carolina will be mirrored in the Sunshine State.

Never fear! Not everybody hates him. Gingrich won the much coveted Chuck Norris endorsement and now his fellow grifters, felons and philanderers within the Republican Party are coming to his defence.

First, Herman Cain announced yesterday that he "enthusiastically" endorses Gingrich as the 2012 Republican nominee. Then, Mama grifter Sarah Palin went on Fox News and Facebook to defend Gingrich against the GOP smear campaign, calling it "Stalin-esque". The Snowbilly hasn't endorsed anyone yet (she's waiting to see what she can get out of the deal), but her defence of Gingrich against the ol' big meanies is close enough.
Finally, the biggest "get" for the former House Speaker is Randy "Duke" Cunningham. The former Republican congressman is currently serving time in federal prison for bribery in one of the "largest congressional corruption cases in recent memory" and took time out of his busy schedule to pen a love letter:
"Newt, a voice out of the past. Down but not out and still fighting. First I do not want anything from you but have been watching the debates. I have 80% of inmates that would vote for you. They might not be able to but their extended families will. When you are president I could help you with prison and justice reform if wanted."  (emphasis mine)
We will have to wait and see if Newt can turn this red-hot momentum into a teabagging miracle. I really hope so!

Oakland Explodes

So this happened yesterday:

You can disagree with the tactics, but, man, they're pretty fucking courageous. 

Weekly news wrap-up: Fourth Amendment edition

Some of the non-craptastic events of the week:

  • Outgoing Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank announced that he and his longtime partner, Jim Ready, are getting hitched. Unfortunately, due to the Defense of Marriage Act, Mr. Ready won't get access to all the perks that comes with being the spouse of a federal employee. Mazel tov! 
  • President Obama signed into law the Fair Sentencing Act which reduces the massive disparity in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine, from 100:1 to 18:1. The act also eliminates the mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine. It's a good first step in ending the horrible racism that occurs in the sentencing of drug offenders. Bravo! 
  • A bill that would require drug testing for welfare recipients in Indiana was withdrawn by its Republican sponsor after a Democratic assemblyman amended the measure to require drug testing for lawmakers.  Score a victory for the Fourth Amendment. If it's unconstitutional to drug test political candidates (as decided by the Supreme Court in 1997), why is it OK to do so to the poor? 
  • The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the use of Global Positioning System trackers on suspects' vehicles without a search warrant is unconstitutional. Another victory for the Fourth Amendment!

In not so happy news, Ms. Etta James was laid to rest this week. I think today is a perfect day to be lazy and celebrate her life by listening to her amazing voice.

Good morning!

Another sunshiny day! Prague is on a roll! But, I know if I stepped outside I would freeze my tokhes off.
I think I'll just stay inside.

Enjoy some morning music. Stupid picture, but awesome song.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude:The Genius of Herbie Hancock

Tonight's episode is a product of my laziness. I couldn't think of a witty theme, so I just picked a song I was listening to and threw it at the iTunes Genius to see what it would come up with and here it is.

Herbie Hancock, "Hang Up Your Hang Ups"

Stanton Moore, "(Don't Be Coming With No) Weak Sauce"

Weather Report, "Barbary Coast"

Another slow news day

You know what that means...
Time for Ron Fucking Swanson.

Best fan art ever.

2012: Year of the Theocrat

With high unemployment (10.5% in Philly; 7.4% overall), increasing poverty and school districts where teachers are working for free, I'm so glad the Pennsylvania General Assembly is taking the time to address the issues that matter:
"Earlier this week, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 535, a resolution designating 2012 the 'Year of the Bible.' Introduced by Rep. Rick Saccone (R–Elizabeth Township) and 36 other legislators, the measure insists that 'biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States."
 If you can stomach it, here's the full resolution:

 Declaring 2012 as the "Year of the Bible" in Pennsylvania.
WHEREAS, The Bible, the word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people; and
WHEREAS, Deeply held religious convictions springing from the holy scriptures led to the early settlement of our country; and
WHEREAS, Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States; and
WHEREAS, Many of our great national leaders, among them President Washington, President Jackson, President Lincoln, President Wilson and President Reagan, paid tribute to the influence of the Bible in our country's development, as exemplified by the words of President Jackson that the Bible is "the rock on which our Republic rests"; and
WHEREAS, The history of our country clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the scriptures in the lives of individuals, families and societies; and
WHEREAS, This nation now faces great challenges that will test it as it has never been tested before; and
WHEREAS, Renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through holy scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people
; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives declare 2012 as the "Year of the Bible" in Pennsylvania in recognition of both the formative influence of the Bible on our Commonwealth and nation and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures.

As the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) argues, the Pennsylvania General Assembly is prohibited by the state's Constitution from controlling or interfering with "the limits of conscience," or showing any preference "by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship." Not to mention that it is in direct violation of the United States Constitution and the separation of church and state:
"It is shocking that House leadership would classify this as a 'noncontroversial resolution' and put it to a vote. It is even more astounding that representatives would pass this. It seems that either they did not know what they were voting on or they were intentionally interfering with the rights of conscience of their constituents in violation of the U.S. Constitution. This is a blatant violation. The resolution proclaims that the Bible is the "word of God," states that 'renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through holy scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people,' and declares 2012 as the 'Year of the Bible' in recognition of 'our national need to study and apply the teachings of the holy scriptures'. 
Once the government enters into the religion business, conferring endorsement and preference for some religions over others, it strikes a blow at religious liberty, forcing taxpayers of all faiths and of no religion to support a particular religious view."
One of the more maddening aspects of this is that the resolution passed 193-0.
How much do you want to bet that the sponsors of the resolution are the same people who scream about how the U.S. is being overrun by scary Muslims who are secretly working to retool the Constitution so it will reflect the tenets of Sharia law?
These fools have no problem with theocracy, just as long as it is the right theocracy.

Fundamentalist outrage of the day: Disturbances in the Force

I always thought Lando Calrissian was overcompensating:
"After first going after Girl Scout cookies, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins is now attacking the game Star Wars: The Old Republic for allowing same-sex relationships. Stephen Reid of Bioware announced that players in the MMO (massively multiplayer online game) could have 'same gender romances with companion characters' as part of 'a post-launch feature.' But enabling players to be in same-sex relationships is too much for Perkins, who in a radio bulletin entitled 'Rebel Fleet Surrenders to Gay Empire' slammed the game for having 'gone to the dark side.' He said that parents are angry 'that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking,' urging members to 'join them by logging on and speaking up. It's time to show companies who the Force is really with!'"
I bet the piano bars in Cloud City are fabulous! 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude: I don't want the world I just want your half.

I'm continuing the "120 Minutes" theme", just because I'm a little sentimental tonight and I found a website that has a playlist for all the shows! The awesome!
These are some of my favourites. I used to steal money from my mom's change jar so I could buy their cassettes.
I miss Homer's.

The Sugarcubes, "Birthday"

The Dead Milkmen, "Punk Rock Girl"


They Might Be Giants, "Ana Ng"


You will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into Swansons

It's been a slow news day.
Have some Ron Fucking Swanson.

Blog note part deux

Still working on the template. Blogger is pretty user-friendly, but I'm still trying to figure everything out.
If you are having problems seeing anything or making comments, let me know.

I guess sanity is a fickle thing

After years of egging on the racist, anti-women, anti-intellectual, fundamentalist homophobes within the Republican party, the leadership of the GOP are finding out that corralling the nutjobs is an almost impossible task. The days of the moderate Goldwater Republicans are pretty much dead.
With that being said, it is refreshing when a "reality-based" conservative speaks out against the paranoid hubbub. New Jersey Republican  Governor Chris Christie can be considered an old-school Republican.  He's a fiscal conservative, but on some social and environmental issues (not counting abortion and guns) he's fairly moderate.

  • Even though Christie pulled New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which sought to reduce carbon emissions (he thought it was an unnecessary tax on energy), the Governor believes climate change is real and humans play a role in it. He states he doesn't argue with the science behind climate change. 
  • Christie refused to get involved in the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy arguing that both parties were using it as a "political football". 
  • He was criticized by conservatives for nominating a Muslim to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Christie responded to the outrage by saying he was "tired of dealing with the crazies". Ha! I love him for that.
  • Christie is against gay marriage, but he supports civil unions. He agues that while his religion may consider homosexuality a sin, he doesn't because: "I think someone is born that way, it's very difficult to say then that's a sin." Amen, brother. About 71% of of Republicans opposed gay marriage and 35% find it "morally acceptable".
  • While he has criticized Obamacare, Christie refused to join other Republican governors in their lawsuit to overturn it. 
I'm not a Christie apologist; I think his economic policies are horrific and wrecking havoc on a state that is suffering immensely. His budget cuts are merciless; yet, like other Republicans, he refuses to raise taxes on the wealthy. In fact, he wants to cut taxes.  However, in the current political climate, when the inmates are running the GOP asylum, I think it's important to give credit to Republican leaders when they aren't afraid to let their humanity shine. Just as his appointment of a Muslim to the Supreme Court was a great move, so was last week's nomination of the first openly gay Black man (doubly offensive to the teabaggers! Huzzah!).

But, just as I was championing his ability to be a decent human being, he has to go and ruin it for me:
"Black lawmakers in New Jersey have sharply criticized Republican Gov. Chris Christie for comparing a ballot referendum on gay marriage to the civil rights movement thusly: 'The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.'" 
 'People were fighting and dying in the streets of the South for a reason,' Oliver said. 'They were fighting and dying in the streets of the South because the majority refused to grant minorities equal rights by any method. It look legislative action to bring justice to all Americans, just as legislative action is the right way to bring marriage equality to all New Jerseyans.'”
 'The governor’s comment is an insult to those who had no choice but to fight and die in the streets for equal rights,' she added."
Christie's statement is a stunning display of ignorance concerning the civil rights movement and the United States Constitution. Does Christie really believe that in the 1950s, the average Kansan would have voted for school desegregation? Would Mississippians have voted to end the Jim Crow laws? Hell, no. "Separate but equal" would still exist had it not been for the intervention of the judicial and legislative branches of government, with the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

I'm not a constitutional scholar or anything, but isn't it a direct blow to the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (respectively), when the rights of minority groups are left to be determined by the mood of an electorate? Aren't the rights of all citizens already enshrined in the Constitution? Isn't it the government's job to make sure they are enforced, even if that requires the creation of new legislation? Isn't it un-American to let the voters decide the rights of a people via referendum?

Newark Mayor Cory Booker responded to Christie's remarks brilliantly:

“'Frankly, I wouldn’t be where I am today,' if states had voted on equal rights legislation for African Americans during the 1960s, Booker told Lehrer. 'This is not about a choice, it’s about a fundamental right and the 14th Amendment is very clear. It says, ‘equal protections under the law’ and right now in America we have second-class citizenship set-up where certain Americans can have privileges that certain Americans do not enjoy and that is just wrong.'”

Blog note

I'm trying to make Renegade Cornpone look pretty, so today will be spent messing with Blogger's templates. If it starts to look screwy I apologize.

Good morning!

The sun is shining, but that will probably change within the next five minutes. Czech weather can never make up its mind.
Last night was the 32,883th GOP debate. Although they have provided a ton of opportunities for comedic brilliance, I'm kind of looking forward to the end of the circus.

(h/t YAFB at Rumproast)

But, it's Friday and the weekend offers endless possibilities for awesomeness!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A little salsa with your crow tacos, Mayor?

It was only a matter of time:

"Two days after a Connecticut mayor delivered an errant comment about eating tacos to support East Haven Latinos, some of whom are the alleged victims of police mistreatment, Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. apparently got his wish.
Some 500 tacos were delivered to his office Thursday after a Latino activist group called Junta for Progressive Action launched a text-for-tacos campaign to draw attention to the comment, which Maturo later apologized for."

(h/t C. Rabideaux)

When you piss off Bob Dole


Now Bob Dole is piling on.

What's going to happen if Newt Gingrich wins the nomination? Will all of the people who are speaking out eventually support him? It's normal during the nomination process to take sides, but conservatives are going nuclear on Gingrich. I've never seen anything like this!

Tonight's Musical Interlude: 120 Minutes

Tonight is dedicated to "120 Minutes" and the days when MTV was edgy and wonderful...and relevant.
I used to tape it each week and I think the VHS cassettes are still in my dad's basement. Oh, man. I really hope so.

Jane's Addiction, "Mountain Song"

I'm still pissed my mom wouldn't let me go to their concert when they played Aksarben in 1991.

Peter Murphy, "Cuts You Up"

This takes me right back to the afternoon with my friend Talonia as we drove around Benson in Omaha. This was playing on the boombox she held on her lap. It's late Winter, the sun is shining, the snow is melting.

The Smiths, "How Soon Is Now?"

The Smiths are the perfect band for angst-ridden teenage girls.
And angst-ridden thirty-something women too, I guess.

That awkward moment when Tom Delay is right

Holy crap.

The "Hammer" gets nailed.
If Tom Delay thinks your a douche, you're probably the douchiest of douches.
Seriously. I've never seen a candidate more vilified by their own party

Good times. 

Wingnuttery: Savour the flavour of fresh fetus!

The teabaggers' batshit insanity offers hours of fun for those of us who reside in a little place called "reality". Yea, the refusal of Democratic voters to stop whining and get up off their asses and vote in 2010 ensured the ascension of extremist nutjobs to state and national offices where they can wreck havoc on the rights of labour, women, gays  and sell off the national infrastructure to the highest bidder. Despite all the horribleness, every once in a while the whackjobs create a piece of legislation that is completely brilliant in its lunacy. I'm talking comedy gold!

First off, New Hampshire!

Apparently the Constitutions of the state of New Hampshire AND the United States are no longer sufficient in the creation of law:
"House Bill 1580 is the product of such a brainstorming session this summer between three freshman House Republicans: Bob Kingsbury of Laconia, Tim Twombly of Nashua and Lucien Vita of Middleton. The eyebrow-raiser, set to be introduced when the Legislature reconvenes next month, requires legislation to find its origin in an English document crafted in 1215.
'All members of the general court proposing bills and resolutions addressing individual rights or liberties shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived,' is the bill's one sentence."
 I'll just let Renegade Cornpone's East Coast correspondent, Stephen Colbert, explain it for you:

I didn't think it could get any better than that. However, I forgot about Oklahoma.

Yesterday, it was reported that a Republican from Oklahoma is planning to introduce a bill that would ban the use of human fetuses in food.

Yea, you read that correctly. Human fetuses in food.

State Senator Ralph Shortey argues “there is a potential that there are companies that are using aborted human babies in their research and development of basically enhancing flavor for artificial flavors.”

Wait! There's more!:

"Though he has allowed that he is not aware of this occurring in Oklahoma, or anywhere for that matter, Shortey cited research he did on the internet that claimed that some companies use embryonic stem cells to help develop artificial flavoring. 'It would be a public relations nightmare for a company to use' aborted human fetuses for R&D, Shortey told KRMG Radio, so when asked they usually say something like 'we strive to do things ethically.'
 'I’m not entirely sure if there are any' companies doing this, he continued. 'But the fact is that there is a potential that there are companies that are using aborted human babies in their research and development of basically enhancing flavor for artificial flavors. And if that is happening — because it is a possibility — and if it’s happening then I just don’t think it should even be an option for a company.'
U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Pat El-Hinnawy told the Associated Press that the 'FDA is not aware of this particular concern.' And Tony Lauinger, the executive director of Oklahomans for Life, a pro-life group that has pushed anti-abortion laws in the state, said “I don’t know anything about that.'"

Well, I can say that I'm relieved to see Sen. Shortey addressing the biggest non-existing threat in America today.

Hey ladies! Fortenberry's got your back!

Right wing extremists are having conniption fits in reaction to President Obama's new contraception mandate which requires most employers to cover birth control in their health care plans without co-pays or deductibles. You know, like Viagra.
 Let me introduce you to Representative Jeff Fortenberry from my home state of Nebraska. Apparently his degrees in economics and theology are useful in determining what constitutes a woman's "basic health care needs":

FORTENBERRY: Fundamentally, I believe this is a bailout for Planned Parenthood because what it does is provide a number of electives that are now free and it is ideologically and politically driven because it is unrelated to the basic needs of health care, most of which is driven by the onset of chronic illness — that’s about 74 to 75 percent of where the costs come from. So if we were serious about trying to get underneath the underlying factors that are driving up health care costs and really worry about prevention, we’d focus on health and wellness and chronic disease prevention. That just leads me to conclude that this was politically and ideologically driven...It’s a bailout for Planned Parenthood, it’s a direct subsidy to the abortion industry, who is entangled with these services, that’s their political agenda.

So I guess the only reason women use birth control is to to prevent getting knocked up?

Yea. Not so much.

I love how this fool is saying the mandate is "politically and ideologically driven". Isn't his opposition to birth control coverage "politically and ideologically driven"?

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tonight's musical interlude: Who is my favourite band?

My love for The Who is a rather decent development. Growing up, I listened to their songs on the radio, but the band never really impressed me all that much. 
I have Wes Anderson to thank for showing me the light. His soundtracks are always super rad and I have listened to "Rushmore" over and over and over and over and over again. One of my favourite tracks is The Who's "A Quick One While He's Away". It's freaking brilliant.

From "Rushmore":

From  "The Rolling Stones Rock n' Roll Circus":

Keith Moon was a fucking shaman. I don't listen to anything recorded by the band after his death.
True story: The Stones refused to allow the film to be released because they felt The Who's performance was better than theirs. Ha!

A couple years ago on a whim, I decided to download "Quadrophenia" and the album totally blew my mind. It was then that The Who solidified its status as my favourite rock band. 
I think it's their best work. Some of the tracks get airplay ("Real Me", "Love Reign O'er Me"), but I don't think they work as well as they do when you hear the entire album from beginning to the end. "Love Reign O'er Me" is a good song, but after you have listened to it with the rest of the album, it becomes incredibly moving. Prior to listening to "Quadrophenia", I didn't thik it was that great. In fact, I thought it was kind of cheesy. But, now, it gives me the chills and I get a little verklempt. I dunno, maybe I can relate to the theme? Yea, I'm a teen-age boy in 1960s Brighton who loves Vespas and dreams of fitting in as a Mod. 


Their earlier albums were pretty ingenious, too. Plus, Roger Daltrey is just so beautiful. Serious bone structure.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords = amazing woman

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords steps down:


You will cry, too.

I might have tacos

Hey Mr. Republican, are you a complete racist or just incredibly dumb?


The U.S. is becoming more diverse - and less white. Which is bad for you because Latinos really, really dislike you:
"In the 2008 presidential election, Latinos supported Democrat Barack Obama by a margin of more than two-to-one over Republican John McCain - 67% versus 31% according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of the national exit poll." 
 Keep it up! You are helping to ensure future Democratic victories!

With love, 

Screw history, but most of all: SCREW THE POOR

This is one of the saddest things I have read in a very long time:
"The need for its services is as strong as ever, but after years of rising costs and dwindling income from fundraising the Jane Addams Hull House Association will close and file for bankruptcy, the agency said Thursday
'For the last several years the agency has had trouble in the fundraising side of things,' said Stephen Saunders, chair of the association's board of trustees. 'After many years of struggling, we have to close our doors. It was a very difficult decision.'
The 123-year-old agency, headquartered at 1030 W. Van Buren St., provides foster care, domestic violence counseling and prevention services, child development programs, and job training to about 60,000 children, families and community groups each year."
This is one of the most maddening things I have read in a very long time.
Just look at the other services that will be lost: 

  • Education and literacy 
  • Homeless services
  • Senior services
  • Housing services
  • Small business development services
  • Workforce development
  • Recreational activities for at-risk youth
(If you want to check out the Hull House's website, go here.) 

This is a tremendous blow to a city with an unemployment rate of 9.8% (it's probably higher in the poorer areas). Its closure will do nothing but add to the hardships of not only the jobless, but many of the working poor who are already having difficulties accessing services during this crappy economy. 

Republican's keep yelling that the provision of social services is not the government's responsibility and that it should be left to the private sector. But, they fail to take into consideration the loss of charitable donations when the economy takes a nosedive (it's more likely that they just don't care). If the government is unwilling to provide services and private charities are unable, who will fill the void? Thousands of vulnerable people will lose access to potentially life saving services. It's just too depressing...

But, it isn't the only tragedy; the Hull House is a major part of Chicago's history

It's founder, Jane Addams, was a totally kick ass and amazing woman and one of my heroes. She was an advocate for the rights of labour and immigrants; she was a suffragette; she was a social worker; she was a pacifist who protested WWI; she was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; ANNNNNNNNND she was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Addams was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (1931)

It's incredible to think that after 123 years of helping Chicago's poor, the city is just going to let it end. 

It's heartbreaking.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Random deep thought

Damn you marzipan!!!!!

Tonight's musical interlude: Just let it go, man. Let. It. Go.

Stop what you're doing.
Sit down.
Hit play.
Close your eyes.


Greatest jazz album of all time.

Santorum knows best

What a vile, horrible man...
"After Morgan asked Santorum to clarify his views about abortion, the former Senator and evangelical lackey said that women should have their rapist's baby and make the best of it because God is giving them a gift. In other words, get over it and takes what god gives you without question."

Soooooo...when Ricky's wife was dying and she chose to have a "medically induced miscarriage" in order to save her life, she was fucking with god's generosity?


For background, go here.

Awwwwww, Newt cares!

The Huffington Post is reporting that while Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House, he wrote the rough draft of a speech, which went a little something like this (via Think Progress):

For poor minorities, entrepreneurship in small business is the key to future wealth,” Gingrich wrote by hand in a first draft. “This is understood thoroughly by most of the Asians, partially by Latinos, and to a tragically small degree by much of the American black community.” [...]
By the time a member of Gingrich’s staff typed up the notes and prepared the speech for delivery at the National Review Institute, the racial stereotypes were gone.

See Black community! Newt doesn't hate you! He just thinks you are a little more inept than Asians and Latinos. 

Ron Paul and the progressives' weird flirtation with right-wing extremism

One of the bigger points of frustration during this campaign season has been the popularity of Ron Paul and his pseudo-libertarianism. Paul has zero chance of winning the nomination (did he ever?) and is increasingly irrelevant as the race becomes dominated by the shenanigans of Gingrich and Romney. The idea of Ron Paul ever becoming president is a complete fantasy, so I'm not concerned about that nightmare. What does freak me out are Ron Paul's supporters. I'm not talking about the racist, paranoid, teabaggers who crawled out from under their rocks after a socialist/Muslim/Kenyan/fascist Black man became president. No, those freaks aren't a threat (but they do offer hours and hours of laughs!). What concerns me are his supporters from the Left.

Can you please explain this madness to me?

I agree that the U.S. should end the wars and adopt a more isolationist military policy (we're broke!). But, Paul thinks the U.S. shouldn't get involved in any war. In fact, Paul thinks that the U.S. shouldn't have fought against Hitler, because "saving the Jews" was not a "moral imperative". He also opposes all foreign aid and believes the US should leave NATO, the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Most Lefties say they like Paul's opposition to the Patriot Act and his defence of civil liberties. Maybe. But his mantra of "personal freedoms" ends when it comes to gay marriage and a women's right to choose. His record on abortion rights in appalling; he voted in favor of a ban on partial birth abortion and he wants to see Roe v Wade repealed so the issue can be settled by the states. Paul wants to limit the federal government's ability to create and enforce legislation regulating what a state can and cannot do. But, when it comes to protecting the rights of individuals within the states....meh.

You see, to Ron Paul, federal legislation to protect civil rights at the state level and within private enterprises is a big “no-no”. He opposes the Americans with Disabilities Act because "it's an intrusion into private property rights" and he says that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, he is opposed to any legislation against discrimination in the workplace based on gender or sexual orientation. Basically, he is speaking on both sides of his mouth: he claims to be in favor of individual freedoms, but is also totally in favor of allowing states to limit individual freedoms.

Does. Not. Compute.
Let’s take a look at some of his other positions of craziness (via Crooks and Liars):

·         Wants to abolish the income tax
·         Wants to place the U.S. on the gold standard
·         Would allow people to engage in trade using gold and silver instead of currency
·         Wants to eliminate the taxation of foreign income
·         Doesn’t believe in global warming
·         Says Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are unconstitutional
·         Wants to eliminate antitrust laws
·         Wants to eliminate estate taxes
·         Taxes would be a flat 10% on all earners
·         Would get rid of tax credits to individuals who are not corporations        
·         Would eliminate tax credits for the elderly, child care and earned incomes
·         He has voted to make it easier to decertify unions
·         Opposes the FDIC
·         Opposes raising the debt ceiling – ever.
·         Wants to freeze spending at 2004 levels
·         Believes widespread bankruptcy would be a good stimulus for the nation
·         Opposed the auto bailouts
·         Opposes regulation of tobacco
·         Sponsored the Marriage Protection Act
·         Would repeal affirmative action
·         Would limit the scope of Brown v Board of Education
·         Thinks emergency rooms should be allowed to turn away undocumented immigrants
·         Wants to defund Planned Parenthood
·         Voted in favor and signed the GOP nominee pledge in favor of fetal personhood
·         Supports a ban on flag burning
·         Supports a ban on the federal funding of stem cell research
·         Opposes subsidies for prescription drugs for seniors
·         Opposes mandatory vaccinations
·         Would expand offshore drilling
·         Would increase mining on federal lands
·         Would weaken Clean Air Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
·         Would repeal Soil and Water Conservation Act
·         Wants to eliminate the departments of Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Labor
·         Would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency
·         Would eliminate FEMA and OHSA
·         Would eliminate the Federal Reserve
·         Would eliminate AmeriCorps
·         Would eliminate gas taxes
·         Believes we have no right to health care
·         Believes law enforcement can’t help people, only armed citizens can prevent violence
·         Believes groups of people don’t have rights, only individuals do
·         Believes in the concept of “jury nullification”, the concept that a jury can judge not only the facts of a case but the justness of the law itself
·         Believes social welfare should be in the hands of individuals only and not government

(For links to the above and more! Go to Crooks and Liars)

And then there is the issue of the newsletters. How can you claim to be a liberal/progressive and a Ron Paul supporter after reading this?:
"I've been told not to talk, but these stooges don't scare me. Threats or no threats, I've laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one)." - Direct mail ad promoting Paul's newsletters, 1993.
"I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities. They could also not be as promiscuous. Is it any wonder the AIDS epidemic started after they 'came out of the cloaset', and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy?" - June 1990
"[Martin Luther King, Jr.], the FBI files reveal, was not only a world-class adulterer, he also seduced underage girls and boys...And we are supposed to honor this 'Christian minister' and lying socialist satyr with a holiday that puts him on par with George Washington?" - December 1990
Do you really want to be associated with a man who is supported by America's neo-Nazis?

Look, we are living in very difficult times. With the unending wars and attacks on civil liberties, I definitely understand the need to find someone who is willing to take on the system. Ron Paul is not that man. In fact, it is his brand of extremism that we - as good liberals and progressives - should be fighting against.