Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Santorum makes little baby Jesus cry

So, Santorum (and to a lesser extent Romney) has decided that President Obama isn't Jesus-y enough:
The “president’s agenda” is “not about you,” he said. “It’s not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your job.It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology,” Santorum said to applause from the crowd. “Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology.” [...]Although Santorum criticizes the president daily on the campaign trail, this is the first time he has used this rhetoric or said the president has a “different theology.”
Sigh. I am so over the extremists' claim that the President is attacking Christianity. I don't think these fools have ever read the second half of the Bible. You know, the part involving Jesus and his teachings about helping the sick and the poor.
I am so over the attack on women's autonomy and the fundies' desire to take the US back to the 19th century. Fuck 'em. 
But from where I stand these days, the only thing I see religion doing in the public sector is gay bashing and telling women, mostly poor and desperate and in deplorable financial and personal situations, what to do with their bodies. I see busybodies deciding what drugs they can dispense to which customers, or deciding that they don’t have to issue a marriage license because of some petty deity that I don’t believe in told them to hate their fellow citizens and ignore the law. In a country in dire financial straits but still spending billions and billions of dollars on education, I see religious folks actively and openly working to make our schoolkids dumber. I see them shooting people who provided a medical procedure, and I see others rummaging through people’s personal lives to find out who hasn’t lived up the word of God. I see glassy-eyed fools running for President claiming that vaccines that save lives actually cause cancer, or that if you get raped and are pregnant, you should just lie back and think of Jeebus and make the best of a bad situation. In fact, everywhere you look these days, if Christianity or religion is getting a mention, it means something ugly is happening and someone somewhere is being victimized, marginalized, or otherwise abused. Go read some of the arguments against integration and you’ll see the same bible verses used today against homosexuals. Fifty years from now, they’ll be recycling them again to trash someone else they don’t like or who isn’t good enough for them.

If you've never visited Balloon Juice, you are totally missing out. It's probably my favorite blog. Good stuff!


Like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube

This is freaking hilarious. Ever since it became clear Obama would be the 2008 presidential nominee, the GOP, Fox News and the right wing blogosphere have tossed red meat to the racists and reactionaries (i.e. teabaggers) within the Republican party.  NOW they are scared to face the possibility that his frothyness, Ricky Santorum has a decent shot of becoming the Republican nominee.
Fuck you, GOP. You created this monster. You helped the crazies win congressional seats in 2010.
Now you can suck it and deal with an Obama victory in 2012.


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Bon Mardi Gras!!!

I totally spaced carnival this year, so I'm making up for my senility with some awesome New Orleans jazz.
If you're celebrating, have an awesome time!!! Get some beads for me!

Professor Longhair, "Go to Mardi Gras"


James Booker, "St. James Infirmary"


Sweet Emma, "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of my Jellyroll" 

Monday, 20 February 2012

I love the smell of desperation in the morning

Talking Points Memo posted two graphs that help explain why the Republicans are making a massive shift to the extreme right by focusing on birth control, prenatal testing and transvaginal probes. I mean, there has to be an explanation for the increased obsession with a lady's va jay jay? Right?
Yeppers!!!








Of course, there is always 23 months of private sector job growth:









Tonight's Musical Interlude: 120 Minutes Edition

Once again, I am digging deep into the vault and bringing you three videos from "120 Minutes" and MTV's golden years. Even though I've never heard of these bands, I think they're pretty decent for the most part.
From: 27 April 1986
Host: J.J. Jackson
Latin Quarter, "Modern Times"


Meh. 

The Untouchables, "What's Gone Wrong"


Cactus World News, "Years Later"



I really like this song. I think I might have heard it before, but I'm old. I can't remember. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude: I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free

I spent the evening watching Whitney Houston's funeral and now I'm totally emotionally drained.
I looooved her when she first broke out and I wore out my cassette of her eponymous album by playing "Saving All My Love" constantly. I saw her in concert when she came to Omaha in 1987 and she was wonderful!
When I was in high school my musical tastes changed and I no longer listened to Whitney's music, and I was even annoyed by her biggest hit, "I Will Always Love You". But, man, I gotta say, her death hit me hard.
Such a loss of amazing, unbelievable talent! But, she had begun to fade years ago due to her stupid self-destructive choices. That makes it even more maddening.
Anyways, I'm not a Christian. I don't know what I believe in. It's complicated, I guess.
But! I do love gospel music I love the energy and passion! I also admire the commitment to faith on display.
This is my favorite gospel song and Jennifer Holliday is just fantastic.
So I guess this is my song for Whitney.
Jennifer Holliday, "His Eye is on the Sparrow"

Saturday, 18 February 2012

RIP Anthony Shadid

This story is just heartbreaking. Anthony Shadid's career was all about hanging out in some of the most dangerous places in the world and he dies from an asthma attack while on assignment in Syria.

So. Very. Sad.


Will someone please give Dan Savage the Nobel Prize?!?

If you are unfamiliar with Dan Savage and his contributions to humanity, you can go here for a little background.

Since Savage has pretty much destroyed him on the intertubes, you would think Santorum and his campaign staff would have the good sense to steer clear of any references to brown, liquidy substances.
Fortunately for us, this week Santorum displayed an unbelievable lack of self-awareness and offered us this little beauty:



"Romney firing his mud at Rick Santorum"

Tee-hee.

John Stewart is right, Santorum is joke "entrapment".

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Gogol Bordello

The Antarctic cold snap appears to have ended (it's a tropical 36 degrees right now!). All I can think about is the approach of Spring and the start of festival season. There's no other band that I'm dying to see right now more than Gogol Bordello. They remind me of Summer and traveling. Last year I saw them in Warsaw, maybe this year Ukraine? Russia?

Immigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)


"Zina-Marina"

Friday, 17 February 2012

Republicans: Helping Obama win in 2012


Sorry about the lack of posts. I wasn't avoiding you on purpose, it's just that I lead a very, very, busy non-stop EXCITING life!

OK, not really. I was avoiding you. 

Don't get me wrong, I love each and every one of you! But, sometimes my sanity trumps my desire to make you happy and this week has proven to be a doozy for maintaining one's mental health. I don't even know where to begin. It's as if my ability to manipulate time and space went all catawampus and I woke up in 1952. I guess  since the economy and President Obama's approval ratings are improving, the Republican are scurrying to find an issue that they can latch their electoral hopes onto. And they chose....birth control.

Birth control? Really?

Yes. Really.

Sigh.

So, in order to win the hearts and minds of 50% of the American voting public, the right wing has decided to attack the one thing that enjoys bi-partisan support. But it's not just a woman's access to birth control that has the right wing all hot n' bothered; apparently, Republicans want to resurrect the debate over women in combat.

Oh, and abortion rights. There's always that.

There is so much here and I'm not gonna even try to analyze it. I'll just provide the links, so you can take a gander and get your ownself riled up. I'm too tired to do it for you.

Birth Control

If you aren't familiar with the issue, you can go here for a little background. Yesterday was a banner day for the patriarchy:

  • Ethically challenged Darrell Issa made headlines yesterday with his efforts to allow a panel of clergymen to dictate birth control access, while refusing to allow women to testify on behalf of America's mommy parts.
  • His frothiness, Rick Santorum, has taken the lead in the GOP primary race and, since he is a massive Catholic extremist, you can bet that he has a lot to say on the subject. First, he argues that birth control is a”minor expense” and there is no reason for health insurance to cover it. He has previously pledged to completely end federal funding for contraception and believes that states have the right to outlaw birth control (It's interesting that he is so quick to defend the Vatican's view on this issue while ignoring its stance on war, the death penalty, poverty, etc.). Of course, this is the same guy who thinks that rape babies are gifts from god.
  • Foster Friess, Santorum's financier, decided to give the ladies advice on how to avoid getting knocked up.


Women in Combat

A couple weeks ago the Pentagon announced it was easing its restrictions on women in combat positions. Of course, the reactionary right wing had to trot out the old canard that women are unfit for the battlefield:
  • Ricky Santorum thinks women are too emotional for combat. I'd looooooove to see him say that to the Israeli Defense Force, where women have served in combat for decades.
  • Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association came to Santorum's defense by arguing that women are “not wired” to fight in wars because our DNA makes us all about the “sugar and spice and everything nice” and not enough about the “Annihilate! Kill!Kill! Kill!”
  • Not to be outdone by her male counterparts on the extreme right, Fox News commentator Liz Trotta decided to take the crazy up a notch. Coinciding with the easement of combat restrictions, the Department of Defense announced it is cracking down on sexual assaults in the military. This comes after the US Army reported that violent sex crimes increased by 64% after 2006, with women representing 95% of all victims (even though they represent about 14% of the Army ranks). Trotta is not too concerned about the sexual assaults; instead, she argues that it is "women once more, the feminist, going, wanting to be warriors and victims at the same time." Trotta says women in the military should "expect" to be raped, and argues against the new bureaucracy created to stop sexual assaults and support women who have been "raped too much":
Here's the video, if you dare to watch:


Abortion Rights
  • Oklahoma passed its version of a “personhood” bill, which basically defines life at conception, outlaws abortion, and makes any women who miscarries a murder suspect.
  • The Iowa GOP is proposing its own draconian bill that would ban ALL abortions and sentence doctors who perform them to life in prison.
  • Finally, yesterday Virginia passed a law which will require women to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion:

    • Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Ain't Talking About Love

I loathe Valentine's Day. 
There are probably a gazillion anti-love songs that are better than what I'm posting, but these are the first to come to mind.
Fuck it. 
I got wine to drink...
Van Halen, "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love"


Rollins Band, "Liar"


Yea...that pretty much sums up my bitterness.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Diary of a mad spinster

Spending the day drowning my Valentine's Day sorrows in gourmet chocolates, crepes, and mulled wine. I might as well let my bitterness win the day and just go with it.

Tonight's Musical Interlude: When did you stop loving me, Jack Daniels?

Went out last night and drank way too much whiskey, but today's nasty hangover was totally worth it. I hung out with a good friend and listened to amazing country/psychobilly/bluegrass/badass music. It's pretty sweet to see Czechs rock out to Hank Williams III. This is definitely a music scene I need to check out while I'm here.

Junior Brown, "Too Many Nights in a Roadhouse"


I once drove 8 hours to Tulsa, Oklahoma to watch Junior Brown play a 20 minute set. I was so mad, but it was cool. He puts on a hell of a show.

Dale Watson, "Whiskey or God"

Monday, 13 February 2012

Republicans + birth control = fail x 100


Are the Republicans really this stupid?:
Republicans are doubling down in their assault on President Obama’s birth control requirement, insisting that his accommodation of religious nonprofits does not address religious concerns. But by attempting to keep the heat on Obama, the GOP might be diving head-first into a culture war over contraception that social conservatives lost long ago in the minds of the public.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the House will push to repeal the rule entirely, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Republicans will force a vote on legislation permitting any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health insurance plan by claiming a moral or religious objection. “This issue will not go away until the administration simply backs down,” McConnell said Sunday on CBS’ Face The Nation.
Obama’s new policy permits religious nonprofits such as universities, charities and hospitals to opt out of the requirement and instead force the insurance company to pay for their employee’s contraception. (Churches were always exempt.) Republicans dismiss that as a gimmick and not good enough. Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel called on Obama to “take up the Bishops’ offer to find a resolution that respects all Americans’ Constitutional rights.”
Let's look at some statistics, shall we?



Huh. It seems the only people against contraception coverage are white evangelicals. Go figure.
It's also important to remember that 98% of sexually active Catholic women have used birth control at some point during their lives. It's so freaking ironic and completely maddening that health care policies concerning access to birth control are being influenced by a bunch of old Catholic bishops who aren't able or willing to manage the problem of rape and molestation within their own ranks. 
By all means, keep harping against an issue the majority of Americans support. Please. Don't. Stop:

If the debate becomes about contraception coverage, it has the potential to drive a wedge between the GOP. For instance, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have in the past championed a birth control mandate similar to Obama’s, and were in no rush to exempt religious groups. Even prominent conservatives like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) have voted for legislation that included a contraception mandate in federal employee health care plans.
The firestorm over the birth control rule has captured the attention of voters who otherwise pay little attention to politics. Republicans have largely held the upper hand so far by keeping the focus on religious freedom, but Obama’s new accommodation for faith-based nonprofits weakens that argument. And as some moderate Republicans have already warned, wading into a no-holds-barred culture war over contraception could be a political disaster for the GOP.


Tonight's Musical Interlude: "120 Minutes" April 27, 1986

It's Sunday night and that means a return to "120 Minutes" and the days when MTV still mattered. With the exception of Boys Don't Cry, tonight's mix is pretty decent (I never cared for "I Wanna be a Cowboy").
Many of the bands that were featured on the show never made it "big" (a relative term. "Big" in a lot of cases can mean heavy rotation on college radio, but perhaps not huge commercial successes) and disappeared in some kind of musical black hole. One of the videos that was featured on the playlist I'm working from this evening does not appear to be favored by the internet gods. Maybe, The Epidemics were big back then, but I don't remember them and I guess YouTube doesn't either. So unfortunately,their video for "Never Take No for an Answer" won't make it to tonights posting.
From: April 27, 1986
Host: J.J. Jackson

Bodeans, "Fade Away"


Hoodoo Gurus, "Bittersweet"


Boy's Don't Cry, "I Wanna Be a Cowboy"

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Please make it stop

It would be tragic if it weren't so pathetic (and a wee bit racist at the 2:42 mark):




Republicans just can't do the funny. 
It's so very sad to think that there are people in this world who actually think this is "cool". 


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Happy Birthday, Burt Reynolds!

76 years young!


Jerry Reed, "East Bound and Down" from Smokey and the Bandit


Keeping with the truck driving theme...

Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, "Interstate Cannonball" 


One of the greatest bands to see at the Zoobar
Heck, they're one of the greatest bands to see...period.

Getting my mind off Santorum

Took a long walk through the city today. No matter how far or how fast I walked I could not get warm and now I'm trying to defrost with a bottle of wine.
Don't expect much from me today.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Friday Night Wistfulness

I'm blaming it on the Staropramen...

The Band, "When I Paint My Masterpiece"


Badfinger, "No Matter What"

I heart Havel


This is so awesome:
Two artists have used wax from the thousands of candles that Czechs lit to mourn the death of President Vaclav Havel to create a large heart honouring him.Lukas Gavlovsky — whose 7-foot-tall (2 metre), multicolored art work went on display in Prague on Friday, says it is meant "to celebrate (Havel's) ideas, his greatness."Gavlovsky created the heart with his colleague, Roman Svejda, and dozens of volunteers.Havel, a dissident who helped his nation shed Communism, was long associated with hearts. He ended his signature with one, and when he left office in 2003 a neon sign of a heart shone from Prague Castle.




My new superhero name

I use Stat Counter to measure blog traffic and see who is viewing Renegade Cornpone. I can't see exactly who is reading the blog, but I can find out where readers are from. It's pretty cool!
Anyhoo, Stat Counter also shows the route readers took to get here. Usually, my relentless blog whoring on Facebook is the main source, but every once in awhile I get traffic from Google searches. Today, someone looked up "rectal renegade" and found me!

Greatest day of my life!!!

Race to the bottom: New Hampshire edition

Just when you thought New Hampshire couldn't get any weirder...
In recent months, the state's Republican (i.e. nutjob teabagger) dominated legislature has proposed laws that are all sorts of crazy: one would make public school curriculum optional, another would thwart the efforts by police to protect the victims of domestic abuse, and another would require that every new law is based on the Magna Carta
After its attacks on education, women and sanity, the legislature is now setting its sights on the rights of workers:
A Republican State Representative in New Hampshire has found a way to create a new front in the war on workers, proposing a bill that would repeal the state’s law requiring that workers get a 30-minute lunch break after five hours of labor.
State Rep. J.R. Hoell (R), a supporter of libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president [figures], told a New Hampshire General Court committee this week that he believes the law is unnecessary because it is in employers’ interest to treat workers well, according to The Concord Monitor. 
His argument was seconded by state Rep. Kyle Jones (R), a 20-year-old Ron Paul backer who earned a seat in the New Hampshire General Court during the last election as part of a mother-son candidate slate. Jones said that his days working as a shift supervisor at Burger King taught him that employers will always treat employees well because human resources departments require it.
Hoell argues that Facebook can take the place of oppressive and fascistic state regulations such as mandatory breaks 
The bill’s sponsor, state representative J.R. Hoell, argued that companies failing to provide lunch breaks would be shamed over social media, thus rendering the law unnecessary. “If they are not letting people have lunch, they could put it out though the news media, though social media. I don’t think that abusive behavior would continue, the way communications are today,” he said.

It's so great that abusive employers are a thing of the past!! Oh, wait:
Of course, not every employer can be counted to to follow even the easiest of requirements to look after workers’ health and rights. Back in 2005, Walmart was forced to pay $172 million for denying workers their lunch breaks. Pyramid Breweries Inc. settled a case in 2008 for $1.5 million. Just a few months ago, California ordered Embassy Suites to pay workers tens of thousands of dollars for forcing them to skip breaks.
“The fact that in 2012, I would be even sitting in front of the Labor Committee talking about eliminating the lunch hour is outrageous,” said Mark MacKenzie, New Hampshire’s state AFL-CIO representative. “People should at least be able to be given the opportunity to eat.” Fortunately, the bill does not seem too appealing to most of the New Hampshire legislature, and the state House’s labor committee adjourned yesterday without voting on it.
 And this, my friends, is why elections matter. 



Oh, and can we all now agree that Ron Paul supporters are completely insane?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Kaspersky sucks

Today was spent calling Kaspersky's numerous support centres and then running to O2 to get more phone credits. 

No posts today. I'm drained.

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Going to my happy place

I'm in a mood.

Blackalicious, "First in Flight"


Del the Funky Homosapien, "Press Rewind'

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Plus, it will make you go blind

I love that Democratic state senators across the U.S. are finding creative ways to frustrate attempts by right-wing extremists to pass radical "personhood" constitutional amendments. Basically, these laws would define life as starting the moment the egg is fertilized. When put to a referendum last year in ultra-conservative Mississippi the amendment failed to win enough votes.   

Last month, I wrote about State Senator Janet Howell's (D)  introduction of an amendment to Virginia's version of a "personhood" amendment that would require men to undergo rectal exams in order to get prescriptions for Viagra.
Now, let me introduce you to Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson (D):
 Undaunted by the monumental failure of Personhood USA's push to declare fertilized human eggs exactly the same as grown ass adults in Mississippi, conservatives in Oklahoma have pushed forward with their own Personhood Bill. But one Democratic smartass isn't having it, and she finds the whole thing so absurd that she tacked on an amendment of her own that would outlaw the spilling of semen in any location other than a woman's vagina. State Senator Constance Johnson of Oklahoma City has served Oklahoma's 48th Senate District since 2005, but it was yesterday's introduction of Senate Bill 1433 that really pushed her over the edge. The bill sought to define human life as beginning at the moment of conception, before it's even implanted in the womb, and offers full legal protection to those tiny multicelled lumps. In the words of the bill, "the unborn child at every stage of development (has) all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state." 
Johnson's amendment:
"However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman's vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child."
Loooooooooove it!!!

Since I'm not in the U.S. and have to miss out on all the fun, what are the attitudes of average Americans towards fundamentalist bullshit like the "personhood" amendments? Are people even aware just how crazy the extremists really are?

Santorum rises

Well, I knew last night's primary/caucuses would not go well for Mitt Romney, but not this hellacious level of bad:
In Minnesota, a state which Mr. Romney carried easily in 2008, he has so far failed to win a single county — and got just 17 percent of the vote. That put him 27 points behind Rick Santorum, and 10 points behind Ron Paul, who finished in second.
 Missouri is a less important result since its beauty contest primary did not count for delegate selection and since turnout was understandably low there. But Mr. Romney lost all 114 counties in Missouri — and the state as a whole by 30 points, far more than polls projected.
 Then there was Colorado, a state that has reasonably similar demographics to Nevada, which Mr. Romney carried easily on Saturday. Colorado has somewhat fewer Mormon voters than Nevada, which hurts Mr. Romney — but it has somewhat more wealthy ones, which favors him. The betting market Intrade gave Mr. Romney about a 97 percent chance of winning Colorado entering the evening. But he lost the state by 5 points to Mr. Santorum.
I still think Romney is going to be the nominee. Caucuses are generally not a great indicator of which candidate an electorate may want. It's easier for voters to stop for a five minute visit to a voting booth rather than sitting for hours somewhere waiting to vote. Usually it's the hard-core party member who participates in the latter, and is therefore not a great sampling of the party as a whole. 
What is clear, however, is that the base isn't going to make it easy for Mittens:
Mr. Romney has had deep problems so far with the Republican base, going 1-for-4 in caucus states where turnout is dominated by highly conservative voters. Mr. Romney is 0-for-3 so far in the Midwest, a region that is often decisive in the general election. He had tepid support among major blocks of Republican voters like evangelicals and Tea Party supporters, those voters making under $50,000 per year, and those in rural areas. Instead, much of his support has come from the wealthy areas that Charles Murray calls Super ZIPs — few of which are in swing states in the general election.
Maybe Mitt's just not that into the Midwest: 
The most generous interpretation of Tuesday night’s results is that Mr. Romney’s campaign failed to make much of an effort in the contests. He did not make many personal appearances in the states, nor did he run a significant amount of advertising. And his campaign worked to diminish expectations in the day or two before the voting — a practice that can annoy voters who are undecided in the race if they feel like they are being told their vote doesn’t matter.
What is clear is that this is far from over. Santorum is now the superstar anti-Romney candidate for the next two weeks until the next primary. It's gonna be fun to see the lengths Newt Gingrich is willing to go to get the spotlight back on his candidacy. I'm thinking he's feeling a bit desperate right about now.


Tonight's Musical Interlude: Get happy!

Talk about a great day!!! The U.S. is one step closer to enlightenment!
Yea, I know the inevitable Supreme Court challenge will be a Mt. Everest-sized hurdle, but I don't know....I'm feeling pretty confident. 
Just get your ass and all the asses you know to the voting booth in November and make sure President Obama gets re-elected. The election is all about Supreme Court nominees.





I looooooooooooooooove Judy and Liza! This song always makes me a little sad though, because their lives were/are a wee bit tragic. It's kind of ironic, I think. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Handel out

Karen Handel, the vice president of the Komen Foundation, has resigned. In a released statement, she plays the victim card brilliantly:
I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen's future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone's political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen's mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants. I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen's future and the women we serve.
What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision -- one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact -- has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.

While Handel acknowledges her role in Komen's decision to break ties with Planned Parenthood, she totally denies the politics involved. Women's health is nothing but politics for conservatives. Her argument that defunding PP would have "enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact" is asinine. What agency has a better capacity to serve low-income women than PP? 

Yea, but is she good at math? UPDATED

Representative Pete Hoekstra (R-Michigan) has set aside the dog-whistle in favour of blatantly racist stereotypes:




In response to criticism, Hoekstra defended his ad and manages to be an even bigger racist asshole:  
“It’s not a stereotype at all,” Hoekstra told Fox News. “This is a young woman in China who is speaking English. That’s quite an achievement."
UPDATE:

Lawrence O'Donnell is right on for asking the actress, "What the hell were you thinking?


If the player doesn't work, go here.

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Setting the mood

It's a good night to crack open a bottle of scotch and snuggle with your honey.
All I got is an expired bottle of Nyquil and an overheating laptop.

Here's some music to set the mood...

Chet Baker, "Alone Together"


Dave Brubeck, "In your Own Sweet Way (Live Belgium 1964)"

Monday, 6 February 2012

Some poll numbers with your morning coffee?



Among all Americans, Obama leads Romney 52 to 43 percent, whereas among registered voters, the president has a narrower edge over Romney, 51 to 45 percent. This is the first time that Obama has more than 50 percent of the votes in a match-up against Romney among all Americans since July, when the president led the GOP candidate, 51 to 44 percent. 
As far as job creation and deficit reduction is concerned, Romney fares better: 
But the president has progress to make in instilling economic confidence in Americans – asked which candidate can be trusted to do a better job in handling the economy, 48 percent of the general population picked Romney over 45 percent that picked Obama. The Republican frontrunner also fared better job creation, narrowly beating Obama 47 to 45 percent, as well as the handling of the federal budget and deficit, 51 to 41 percent.
Let's take a look at private-sector job growth:





Seeing how the US was hemorrhaging about 850,000 jobs a month when Obama was inaugurated, twenty-two months of job growth ain't too shabby. While those surveyed view Romney as a better job creator, they believe that President Obama has their back: 55 to 37 percent feel that Obama "will be a better champion on the middle class" than Romney. The poll also shows that Obama possesses a better understanding of the economic problems people are experiencing (53 to 37 percent).
  

No, duh.


Interestingly and going against the Republican argument that Democratic presidents can't deal with foreign affairs beyond going on the occasional apology tour:
...56 percent of the general population said they trust that the president would do a better job handling international affairs compared to just 37 percent that picked Romney. Similarly, the majority said the president’s handling of terrorism will be better than Romney’s, 56 to 36 percent.
And then there's this:
Overall, 55 percent of those who are closely following the campaign say they disapprove of what the GOP candidates have been saying. By better than 2 to 1, Americans say the more they learn about Romney, the less they like him. Even among Republicans, as many offer negative as positive assessments of him on this question. Judgments about former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who denounced Romney on Saturday night in Nevada, are about 3 to 1 negative.
I know that a lot can happen between now and November, but I'm totally digging the positive trend.
 

Tonight's Musical Interlude: "120 Minutes", April 27, 1986


I've decided to dedicate Sunday's interludes to MTV's "120 Minutes". When I was a teenager I watched the show religiously and it helped define my musical tastes beyond the crap played on pop radio.


I found the show's playlists (I'm not sure if it's complete collection, but I think it's close enough), I'm going to start from the beginning and play the videos in the order they aired. This means that I will be posting a ton of totally awful, horrible, no good bands/songs/videos. Unfortunately, tonight is one of those nights.

From: April 27, 1986
Host: J.J. Jackson





Lou Reed, "No Money Down"


What the hell was Lou thinking? The song is a pop nightmare. Given his well-earned status as a rock genius, I think this is a bit offensive. I dunno. Maybe I'm missing its brilliance. 
Plus, the video is just creepy.

The Blow Monkeys, "Diggin' Your Scene"


I generally like 80s pop music and overall this song isn't completely awful. I mean, it is pretty catchy. But, I think the lead singer is trying way to hard to be cool. Sorry the video quality sucks. 

Art of Noise, "Peter Gunn"


The only good thing about this song is that it was used in "Sixteen Candles". This video is an excellent example of the god-awful camp that made up a huge chunk of 1980s pop culture. Yea, sure some camp is cool, but this is just plain stupid.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Ugh.

The day this fool gets elected to office is the day I eat lead:

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow said he could one day explore politics "if it's something I care about."
 [...]
"I don't know -- it could be something in my future," Tebow said, according to Politico. "If it's something I care about, possibly."

 It's inevitable.

(Shamelessly stolen from TBogg)

Indiana and the race to the bottom


Indiana's senate just voted to end the teaching of science in its public schools:

The Indiana Senate approved a bill today to allow the state’s public schools to teach creationism in science classes as long as they include origin of life theories from multiple religions.
The Senate passed the bill on a 28-22 vote even though some senators raised questions about the measure’s constitutionality. The bill now goes to the House for consideration. The bill permits local school boards to offer classes that include origin theories from religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology.

In its original form, the bill focused solely on the addition of the Christian creation myth to the science curricula; but seeing that they were unable to stop its passage. Democratic senators added all the other religions (Scientology!) to the mix, hoping that it might make the bill less palatable to the right wingers. While I applaud their efforts to muck up the Christian extremists' agenda, no religions should be taught in science classes (or in any class taught in a public school for that matter).

Ugh. This makes my head hurt. 

Bill, restore some sanity please: 

“We’re not two sides of the same coin, and you don’t get to put your unreason up on the same shelf with my reason. Your stuff has to go over there, on the shelf with Zeus and Thor and the Kraken, with the stuff that is not evidence-based, stuff that religious people never change their mind about, no matter what happens.



Tonight's Musical Interlude: Don't call her no tramp

Betty Davis. 
Total badass. 
That is all.

"Don't Call Her No Tramp"


"Anti Love Song"



Saturday, 4 February 2012

Random whine


There are a gazillion reasons why I have to learn Czech. Today, it's so that I can curse at the overly-aggressive junkie outside the supermarket who harasses me almost every day for spare change. Seriously, he won't accept "no".
It's not like I would get in his face (I'm not that confrontational), but I would love to have the option.

I'm thinking this won't get mentioned on Fox News


But I thought only Democrats committed voter fraud:
The long saga of Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White (R) isn't over yet -- but it now it includes a conviction on 6 felony charges. White, the top elections official in his state, was indicted last March on charges that he lied about where he lived to remain on the voter rolls in the Fishers, IN district where he served on the city council along with other related charges. On Friday, he was convicted on 6 out of 7 felony charges and was immediately replaced by a new interim director. 


Payback will be a bitch

Just when you think Arizona can't climb any higher on the index of states with the most paranoid xenophobic inbreds, this happens: 

Reacting to a Democratic colleagues apparently incendiary request to celebrate a Latino American day, State Rep. Cecil Ash (R) declared that he’d support the idea as long as there’s a holiday for white people too. “I’m supportive of this proposition. I just want them to assure me that when we do become in the minority you’ll have a day for us,” he said. Ash was “trying to lighten things up,” but when CBS 5 asked if he was serious about a Caucasian holiday, he offered an unequivocal “yes”:
ASH: Yes, I think it was appropriate. It was appropriate for the mood that was in the House and I think that if and when the Caucasian population becomes a minority, they may want to celebrate the accomplishments and the contributions of the Caucasian population the same way.

While Arizona displays new lows in racist fuckery, I can't help but giggle. Don't they realise that they are pretty much guaranteeing that they will NEVER hold office once the brown-skins become the majority population and become overlords of their cracker asses?

Tonight's Musical Interlude: Friday Edition


It's Friday and that means you must dance.
Also, with the semi-positive Komen retraction, there is a good reason to celebrate. BUT! It's not a full victory until future funding to Planned Parenthood is restored AND the right wing nutjobs within the organization are canned.The battle is won, but the war continues!
Anyhoo, it's time to dance and there is nobody that makes me want to jump, jive and wail as much as Louis Prima!

Louis Prima, "Pennies from Heaven"

Friday, 3 February 2012

I love the smell of victory...UPDATED

Look what happens when you fight back!:

The Susan G. Komen foundation announced that it will reverse its decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, apologizing for “recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.” The statement calls the backlash over the decision to cut the funding “unsettling,” and says that the organization will “amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.” “We will continue to fund existing grants,” the statement says, “including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.”
This is important on two major fronts: first, Planned Parenthood will continue to receive funds to help low-income women; and second, and most significant at this point, is that it shows that people are willing to stand up to the right wing attacks against Planned Parenthood.

As more and more examples of its shadiness are exposed, I don't know if the Komen Foundation can recover from this.  It has to get rid of its vice president and every other fundamentalist nutjob if it wants to be seen as a relevant player in women's healthcare (check out John Aravosis' reporting, it's super thorough - and awesome!).

UPDATE

OK, it seems I was a little premature with my celebrations. From the Komen press release (via Americablog):

We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.

The foundation's reputation is so screwed, I don't see how they can refuse Planned Parenthood.








Tonight's Musical Interlude: Country...not Nashville


Winter has finally come to Prague.
The mild weather we've had so far has spoiled me and now that it's actually cold I'm freaking miserable. All I can think about are hot Nebraska summer nights, drinking Budweiser with friends and listening to awesome country music.

Hank III, "Broke, Lovesick & Driftin'"


BR5-49, "Crazy Arms"


Waylon Jennings, "Mental Revenge"