Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Monday, May 31, 2010


Look at Kentucky

Hahahaha!  The GOP is going to lose BIGTIME come November, all because they trusted a bunch of know-nothings (read: Teabaggers) to do their work for them.  The GOP has committed one bungle after another.  It's amazing they're still a viable party.  Uh, are they still a viable party?

Rand Paul Remarks Lead Kentucky Legislature To Pass Civil Rights Legislation

(AP) - the Kentucky Senate, reacting to a divisive comment by Republican Rand Paul, has adopted a resolution declaring any form of discrimination to be inconsistent with American values. 

Louisville Democratic Sen. Gerald Neal introduced the resolution Friday during a special session on the state budget. It was adopted without objection in the predominantly Republican chamber.

Neal, Kentucky's only black state senator, said he took personal offense at the comment made last week by Paul, a U.S. Senate candidate, who was criticizing the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Paul said in an MSNBC interview that the federal government shouldn't have the power to force restaurants to serve minorities if business owners don't want to.

Neal said Paul's "extreme belief" has made Kentucky "a laughingstock."

Find the original here.

Some toons

Finally, a giant gaping hole of nothingness has opened up. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Are humans causing global warming? Most likely.

We have seen quite a number of extreme weather events in recent weeks/months/years. Could they be due to natural cycles of the earth? Possibly, but the strong storms are getting stronger. Floods are getting more frequent and destructive. The polar ice is melting. Glaciers are melting. The oceans are acidifying. (Oh, Lord, what are we doing to the Gulf of Mexico?)

ere are many ways we can reduce the amount of pollution we pump into the atmosphere. It's only common sense that to restrict it and reduce it is good stewardship of the earth, even if you don't believe that humans are causing climate change.

There are so many things we can do: increase our use of alternative energies like wind and solar, geothermal and hydroelectric. We can buy lower-emission vehicles. Walk more. Ride a bike. Plant trees. Replace inefficient appliances with more-efficient ones.

And keep up with Science can help us solve this problem. And there's one thing I know for sure. God won't.

The Dictator

Got a few minutes? Got a heart?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bradley Birkenfeld

Bradley Birkenfeld, arguably the most famous whistleblower in history, who gave the US government information to uncover the largest tax fraud in US history, was sent to jail 1/8/10 to begin serving a 40-month prison sentence for withholding information.

I am one of those who consider this a travesty of justice. While the whistleblower is in jail, all of those who perpetrated the fraud are free. One person got probation, but no jail time. Is this the right message we want to send to whistleblowers? How many more will likely come forward if whistleblowers get sent to jail?

There are those who feel like Birkenfeld belongs in prison. One such argument can be found here.

Birkenfeld and his attorney appealed to President Obama for clemency back on Tax Day, 4/15/10. You can read more and sign the petition appealing to Obama for clemency for Birkenfeld by clicking here.

Democracy Now! interviewed Birkenfeld's attorney back in April and you can watch that by clicking here.

There was a recent interview with Birkenfeld from prison, and you can read that by clicking here.

More background on the case is here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Deepwater update

Where'd you find this, MF?

Click here for a 12-minute vid on the disaster in the Gulf and BP's attempt to stop the gusher. But it's four days old. Need to find a new one.

Baseline Scenario

I discovered a blog, Baseline Scenario, recently. It's run by economists Simon Johnson and James Kwak. They co-authored the recent book, 13 Bankers, which my library still does not stock.

I wish I had discovered this blog earlier. The only way I became aware of it was watching a Bill Moyers Journal from April. As you may know, Bill Moyers Journal has ended its run on PBS, as has the investigative reporting program, NOW. So now where will I get relevant information? Gradually, the hard-hitting, REAL news programs are disappearing, only to be replaced by pablum or "reality" shows.

It's getting harder and harder to maintain sanity in a world gone mad.

Here is a recent post on the Baseline Scenario blog.

So Damn Little Money
By Simon Johnson

The financial reform legislation currently heading into a June Senate-House conference will, at best, do little to affect the incentives and beliefs at the heart of the largest banks on Wall Street. Serious attempts to strengthen the bill through amendment – such as Brown-Kaufman and Merkley-Levin – were either shot down on the floor of the Senate or, when their prospects seemed stronger, not allowed to come to a vote.

Senator Blanche Lincoln is holding the Alamo with regard to reining in the big broker-dealers in derivatives. But these same people are bringing to bear one of the most intensely focused lobbying campaigns of recent years, bent on killing her provisions (or weakening them beyond recognition). All the early indications are that the lobbyists, once again, will prevail.
At one level,
Robert Kaiser nailed this topic in his recent book, “So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government.” Elections have become more expensive, with most of the funding provided by special interests. You can argue about which is the chicken and which is the egg, but the basic facts are inescapable.

“In 1974, the average winning campaign for the Senate cost $437,000; by 2006, that number had grown to $7.92 million. The cost of winning House campaigns grew comparably: $56,500 in 1974, $1.3 million in 2006.”

Or look at the lifetime contributions by the financial sector to (some) senators who voted for and against the Brown-Kaufman amendment, which would have imposed a hard size cap and a hard leverage cap on the biggest banks – over $2 million per senator by this one partial count.

But wait. This is actually very little money considering what is at stake. For an individual large firm actively engaged in derivatives trading, the stakes could easily be in the billions of dollars. For the big banks as a whole, the amount they will be allowed to earn (and pay themselves) as a result of the failure of these financial reforms is – conservatively speaking – in the tens of billions of dollars.

In terms of modern Wall Street – for top bankers and also for hedge funds – the political contributions needed to make a difference are chump change.

And even if opponents of today’s biggest players on Wall Street were to become organized and raise money, presumably the big financial players could see that money and raise you some tens of millions of dollars without breaking a sweat (particularly after the
Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court).

What can you possibly propose that would make a difference in the face of such resources – for example, as they will be deployed in and around the upcoming House-Senate conference to make sure that anything at all objectionable to Wall Street is further diluted?

Here’s the one idea (not mine, but the source prefers to remain anonymous): counter the money of Wall Street by bringing much more transparency to the conference.

Televising the conference meetings could help, but realistically this is also likely to push the substantive decision-making and discussion off-line. Therefore, in addition, congressional leaders should be pressed agree to three non-waiveable rules for the conference and the conference report on the Wall Street reform bills:

1. Any amendments need to be posted on-line not less than three business days before any relevant conference meeting. Second degree amendments (i.e., those filed as amendments to amendments) need at least 2 days notice on the same basis.

2. The House and the Senate will not discuss any conference report until the report as amended by the conference has been posted on-line in its entirety for at least 5 business days.

3. A red lined version of the conference report as amended – to show all
changes – must also be posted on-line for not less than 5 business days before any vote on that conference report.
Without such provisions – which, by the way, are unlikely to be adopted – no one excluded from the backrooms will have the opportunity to learn what the amendments do or what is in the bill itself.

The point is not that this would necessarily stop the final and nearly complete victory of special interests. But at least we will learn which members of Congress exactly sided with them, on why, and even why. And this will help a great deal as we think about how best to move forward.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today's harvest

Take that, birds!  Too late!!  Hahahahaha!

Nobody knows

Word is that the Obama administration has been consulting all the oil majors on the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The response is basically, "Hey, nobody has ever had a leak at this depth of water before, so all of us would be scrambling around like chickens with the heads cut off, like BP is doing." 

As many safety features as are built in to modern offshore oil rigs, they have not had a real-world situation in which to test their disaster response.  Now, we have one.  And it's taking a long time to fix.  I am not convinced that an "acoustic switch" would have been any more successful than what is currently in place, but I have a feeling that we will see that system become SOP for future offshore rigs.

Then you have all these people who are clamorning for the Obama administration to "take over" the operations from BP.  As if!  As if the government has the same kind of expertise as BP, Shell or Exxon?  Get real.  And these are the SAME people that scream to "keep the government off my back and out of my business."  But when there is any catastrophe, they suddenly look to the government to fix everything.

Hypocrisy is not a new phenomenon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We have a cat

We did it. We finally got a cat. A kitten, actually. That picture up top is the new kitty.

We're calling her "LUNA" because she's a little bit crazy (what kitties aren't?) and I'm a Moon Child, and ... and ... and ... whatever.

One of my wife's co-workers found this poor kitty abandoned and pawing around a dumpster for something to eat. They "rescue" pets whenever they can, and took it for shots and a check-up and she's very healthy. And curious.

We'd been tossing the idea around lately of getting a pet. I'm a dog-man myself, and I've never owned a cat. Actually, no one owns cats, right? You just let them stay at your place. The wife was raised with cats, so she should know what she's doing.

So she sends me an email a couple of days ago saying that her co-worker had another rescue kitty and would we know anyone who might want it? She sends me a couple of pictures, including the one above, and asks, "Can I? Huh? Can I have it? Please, please, PLEASE?!"

And what am I supposed to say to that? Not being a total ogre, I gave in to the emotional blackmail and said OK.

So far, so good. Luna has only crapped all over the house once so far, and the wife only has a few deep scratches on her chest, but, beyond that, it's a nice kitty.

We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Killer Methane

A month in, and that BP well in the Gulf of Mexico is still spewing oil.  Lots of oil.  And methane.  If they hit a massive pocket of methane and it were to be released into the ocean ... into the atmosphere ... it just COULD mean the extinction of all life on the planet!

Now wouldn't that be ironic?  The drilling for our way-of-life-sustaining petroleum leads directly to our extermination?

I wonder how fast life would be killed off?

Methane Thought To Be Responsible For Mass Extinction

ScienceDaily (Aug. 28, 2003) — EVANSTON, Ill. -- What caused the worst mass extinction in Earth's history 251 million years ago? An asteroid or comet colliding with Earth? A greenhouse effect? Volcanic eruptions in Siberia? Or an entirely different culprit? A Northwestern University chemical engineer believes the culprit may be an enormous explosion of methane (natural gas) erupting from the ocean depths.

In an article published in the September issue of Geology, Gregory Ryskin, associate professor of chemical engineering, suggests that huge combustible clouds produced by methane gas trapped in stagnant bodies of water and suddenly released could have killed off the majority of marine life and land animals and plants at the end of the Permian era -- long before dinosaurs lived and died.

The mechanism also might explain other extinctions and climate perturbations (ice ages) and even the Biblical flood, as well as be the cause of future catastrophes. 

Ryskin calculated that some 10,000 gigatons of dissolved methane could have accumulated in water near the ocean floor under high pressure. If released quickly, perhaps triggered by an earthquake, the resulting cloud of methane would have an explosive force about 10,000 times greater than the world's entire stockpile of nuclear weapons. The huge conflagrations plus flooding and overturned oceans would cause the extinctions. (Approximately 95 percent of marine species and 70 percent of land species were lost.) 

"That amount of energy is absolutely staggering," said Ryskin. "As soon as one accepts this mechanism, it becomes clear that if it happened once it could happen again. I have little doubt there will be another methane-driven eruption -- though not on the same scale as 251 million years ago -- unless humans intervene."

That rather spooky story can be found here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

That sounds racist

War is Making You Poor

Dear America,

Next week, there is going to be a "debate" 
in Congress on yet another war funding 
bill. The bill is supposed to pass without 
debate, so no one will notice.

What George Orwell wrote about in 
"1984" has come true. What Eisenhower
warned us about concerning the "military-
industrial complex" has come true. 
War is a permanent feature of our 
societal landscape, so much so that 
no one notices it anymore.

But we're going to 
change this. Today, 
we're introducing 
a bill called 'The 
War Is Making You 
Poor  Act'. The purpose of this bill 
is to connect the dots, and to show 
people in a real and concrete way 
the cost of these endless wars. 
We're working to get co-sponsors 
in Congress, but, we need citizen 
co-sponsors as well. Become a 
citizen cosponsor today at
Act Now.

Next year's budget allocates 
$159,000,000,000 to perpetuate 
the occupations of Afghanistan 
and  Iraq. That's enough money to 
eliminate federal income taxes 
for the first $35,000 of every 
American's income. Beyond that, 
leaves over $15 billion to cut the 

And that's what this bill does. It 
eliminates separate funding for 
the occupation of Iraq and 
Afghanistan, and eliminates federal 
income taxes for everyone's first 
$35,000 of income ($70,000 for 
couples). Plus it pays down the 
national debt. Does that sound 
good to you? 

Then please sign our petition in 
support of this bill, and help us 
build a movement to end our 
permanent state of war.

The costs of the war have been 
rendered invisible. There's no draft. 
Instead, we take the most 
vulnerable elements of our 
population, and give them a choice 
between unemployment and missile 
fodder. Government deficits 
conceal the need to pay in cash for 
the war.

We put the cost of both guns and 
butter on our Chinese credit card. 
In fact, we don't even put these 
wars on budget; they are still 
passed using 'emergency 
supplemental'. A nine-year 

Let's show Congress the cost of 
these wars is too much for us.

Tell Congress that you like 'The 
War Is Making You Poor Act'. 
No, tell Congress you love it.

All we are saying is "give peace a 
chance." We will end these wars.  

Alan Grayson


Humor, please

 The oil spill may be funny to some, but we're going to have to live with it down here for a number of years. 

Oil Spill Follies

Oil Spill Cartoon: Gulf of Cheney
"In a new interview, BP's CEO said that the Gulf Coast oil spill is relatively tiny compared to the 'very big ocean.' That's like telling someone who's just been shot not to worry about the bullet because they're really, really fat." —Jimmy Fallon

"On Monday, British Petroleum promised to pay all necessary cleanup costs for this oil spill. And they said they will do it, no matter how much they have to raise gas prices." —Jay Leno

"You folks been following the big British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? I'm telling you, British Petroleum has put more birds in oil than Colonel Sanders." —David Letterman

"This oil spill in the Gulf is affecting everybody. In fact, when I went to lunch this weekend and ordered the sea bass, they asked if I wanted it regular or unleaded." —David Letterman

"British Petroleum said today that if this spill gets worse, they may soon have to start drilling for water." —Jay Leno

Oil Spill Cartoon: Spill Baby SpillDick Cheney's pals at Halliburton ... say they're going to do the underwater cement job to plug the hole. I thought, wait a minute, this is a mistake. Underwater cement? You call the mafia. Am I right?" —David Letterman

"The oil company said it was the rig company's fault. The rig company said it was Halliburton. And somehow, each time they passed the blame, Goldman Sachs made a hundred million dollars." —Bill Maher

"We're still dropping things on it. This is like if your toilet overflowed and you tried to fix it by smashing it with a brick. Their next idea is to get the old lady from Titanic and she's going to throw her jewelry at it." —Bill Maher, on the oil spill in the Gulf

"They say the oil spill has the potential to kill more wildlife than a Sarah Palin hunting trip." —David Letterman

"This is the worst thing to happen to beaches since the Speedo." —Bill Maher, on the oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico

"The plan is to contain the oil slick with fire-retardant beams, and then set fire to the oil that pools on the surface. They say if it works there in the Gulf, they're going to try it on the cast of Jersey Shore." —Bill Maher


"Scientists say they have developed a car that can run on water. The only catch is, the water has to come from the Gulf of Mexico." -Jay Leno

"Have you been following the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Or as we call it now, the Dead Sea." —David Letterman

"I love this. On the news today, the CEO of British Petroleum says he believes the overall environmental impact of this oil spill will be very, very modest. Yeah. If you live in England!" —Jay Leno

"BP has inserted a siphon tube into the well to suck up all the oil from the spill. And they've had a lot of experience in this area, by the way. This is the same tube they've been using to suck the money out of our wallets for the past 50 years." —Jay Leno

"In Louisiana, BP claims that it's making progress with the leaking oil in the Gulf. They're working on a plan to heat the Gulf up to 600 degrees and use it to fry chicken." —Jimmy Kimmel

"According to the top people in the petroleum industry, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will not affect gas prices. They said, 'They were going up anyway.'" —Jay Leno

"According to a recent survey, one in eight people say they will not buy gas from BP anymore. Unless, of course, it's cheaper than the station across the street." —Jay Leno

"By the way, Sarah Palin, if you're watching, how is that offshore drilling working out for ya?" —David Letterman

"Bad news, it's going to be a huge environmental disaster, the oil rig down there in the Gulf of Mexico. The good news is they think now that the oil spill will be diluted by the melting ice caps." —David Letterman

The 5 Most Ridiculous Quotes About the Gulf Oil Spill

Oil Spill Cartoon: Price of Oil
1. "I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest." —BP chief executive Tony Hayward, interview with Sky News television, May 18, 2010

What better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plans, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing, here." —Rush Limbaugh, suggesting that "environmentalist whackos" deliberately blew up the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in order to stop offshore drilling, April 29, 2010

"From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented." —Texas Gov. Rick Perry

"The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there. It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is." —Rush Limbaugh, May 3, 2010

"There's a good question today if you are standing on the Gulf, and that is: Where is the oil?" —FOX News anchor Brit Hume, scoffing at the BP oil spill disaster, May 16, 2010

Ok, enough already on the oil spill.  

Late-Night Political Jokes
"Sarah Palin and President Bush have new books coming out this fall. You know what that means? This could plunge America into a huge crayon shortage." —Jay Leno

"A family values conservative Republican from Indiana, Mark Souder, has admitted to having an affair with a woman on his staff. Apparently Souder would take this woman to remote locations inside state parks and have sex with her. See, this is what Republicans mean when they talk about opening up our public lands for drilling." —Jay Leno

"Did you hear about this? An Indiana congressman, Mark Souder, was forced to resign because of a sex scandal. Oh, buddy. Here's the score now — Republicans 22, Democrats 17. It's getting closer." —David Letterman

"Well, that's the big story in Connecticut. Their attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, who was considered a shoo-in for his race for the U.S. Senate, is now under fire for claiming that he served in Vietnam when he really didn't. Turns out he has no war record at all. In fact, only combat experience? Shooting himself in the foot." —Jay Leno

"Eliot Spitzer may get his own show on CNN. It would be quite a switch for somebody else to be paying him for an hour." —David Letterman

"Well, at a rally in Arizona this weekend, Sarah Palin said, 'We're all Arizonans now' — at which point, every immigrant in Arizona was like, 'So, we can stay?'" —Jimmy Fallon

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The law in Maryland

Apparently, the following law, passed in Maryland several years before the American Revolution, has never been repealed:

Be it enacted by the Right Honorable, the Lord Proprietor, by and with the advice and consent of his Lordship's governor, and the upper and lower houses of the Assembly, and the authority of the same:

That if any person shall hereafter, within this province, wittingly, maliciously, and advisedly, by writing or speaking, blaspheme or curse God, or shall deny the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, or the Godhead of any of the three persons, or the unity of the Godhead, or shall utter any profane words concerning the Holy Trinity, or any of the persons thereof, and shall thereof be convict by verdict, shall, for the first offence, be bored through the tongue, and fined twenty pounds to be levied of his body. And for the second offence, the offender shall be stigmatized by burning in the forehead with the letter B, and fined forty pounds. And that for the third offence the offender shall suffer death without the benefit of clergy.

You better watch your mouth! Fuck that. We are NEVER going back to religious rule in this country. It's too late. We've grown up. Most of us have, that is.

Bad Economy


It always seems to be the young who suffer the most!

Another Victim of the Economy... the 'poor little thing' has no shoes!

Souder to resign

Good riddance, asshole! Yet another "family-values" Republican gets caught with his pants down.

Do as I say, not as I do!

CHUTZPAH WATCH.... It's wrong when members of Congress commit adultery. It's even worse when the lawmaker is a "family-values" conservative Republican. But one of the more remarkable details of Rep. Mark Souder's (R-Ind.) sex scandal makes his story one for the books.

According to Fox News, Souder's adultery was as a result of an affair with Tracy Jackson, a part-time aide. That wouldn't be especially interesting, except for the video in which Tracy Jackson interviews Mark Souder in November 2009 about his years of work in support of abstinence education.

Why "The Daily Show" always seems to be on a break when these stories come to public light I'll never know.

On a related note, Souder's resignation announcement -- which, for some reason, was issued in all caps -- included a few odd nuggets. The conservative lawmaker complained, for example, that he does not "have any sort of 'normal' life." I have no idea why he's telling us this.

The statement also lamented the "poisonous environment" of D.C. politics, in which "any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain."

I see. Mark Souder has spent 16 years on his moral high horse, condemning those whose "values" and "lifestyles" he finds offensive. We then find out that he cheated on his wife with an aide to whom he boasted about his support for abstinence programs.

But the problem is with Washington's "poisonous environment" that makes it tough for a guy like Souder to get away with misconduct committed by guys like Souder?

Another story on the "Evangelical Christian" pig can be found here.

What I am curious about is this....if Souder, the "family-values Republican" is going to resign because he was fucking around on his wife, then what are we going to discover when this "drug-war warrior" is fully exposed? Was he getting high on pot, meth, or cocaine etc while he was fucking around on his wife? I mean, why stop at only sexual hypocrisy?

About the only good thing you can say about this prick is that he is going to resign instead of standing pat and keeping his office after being exposed. You have to give him kudos for that, at least. Hey, John Ensign and Mark Sanford (and how many other hypocrites) are you paying attention?!

Monday, May 17, 2010

GOP coming unglued

Is the Republican Party unraveling? One can dream. Couldn't happen to a greedier bunch of thugs.

GOP's Utah and Maine conventions show a party coming unglued
By Dana Milbank

Future historians tracing the crackup of the Republican Party may well look to May 8, 2010, as an inflection point.

That was the day, as is now well known, that Sen. Robert Bennett, who took the conservative position 84 percent of the time over his career, was deemed not conservative enough by fellow Utah Republicans and booted out of the primary.

Less well known, but equally ominous, is what happened that same day, 2,500 miles east in Maine. There, the state Republican Party chucked its platform -- a sensible New England mix of free-market economics and conservation -- and adopted a manifesto of insanity: abolishing the Federal Reserve, calling global warming a "myth," sealing the border, and, as a final plank, fighting "efforts to create a one world government."
One world government? Do our friends Down East fear an invasion from the Canadian maritime provinces? A Viking flotilla coming from Iceland under cover of volcanic ash?

I was pondering this mystery while on the elliptical machine this week and watching Glenn Beck (I find he increases my heart rate), when I heard him inform his viewers that "they" -- President Obama and friends -- "are creating a global governance structure."

"Social and ecological justice and all of this bullcrap," Beck told his viewers, "is man's work for a global government." Beck -- who is second in popularity only to Sarah Palin among the type of Tea Party activists who hijacked the Maine GOP -- tossed out phrases such as "global standards" and "global bank tax" -- all part of a conspiracy by the "global government people." He further provided the news that "Jesus doesn't want a cap-and-trade system."

Not once did Beck refer to the big news events of the day, such as Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visit to the White House or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It was as if he had created a parallel universe for his 2-million-plus viewers. Similarly, on Monday, when Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, Beck omitted that news in favor of a fanciful administration attempt to restore the broadcast Fairness Doctrine. On Tuesday, USA Today had the headline "Tax bills in 2009 at lowest level since 1950" (the nonpartisan Tax Foundation put it at 1959); Beck skipped that, instead saying he doesn't want changes to the Internet "at least until people aren't worshipping Satan, you know, in office." (Beck maintained later that he really wasn't "saying that Obama was a Satan worshipper.")

Beck justifiably credited his viewers for "what happened to Bob Bennett in Utah." He warned: "People in Washington, you should be terrified."

We should be terrified -- particularly the Republicans, whose party is turning into this One-World-Government, Obama-worships-Satan, Jesus-opposes-climate-bill mélange. And Beck is only part of the trouble. Consider these GOP milestones of recent days:

In the Alabama gubernatorial race, a conservative attack ad charged that a Republican gubernatorial candidate "recently said the Bible is only partially true." The outraged candidate reaffirmed his "belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God."

In Utah, just a couple of days after Bennett's fall, conservative Rep. Jason Chaffetz talked about trying to topple none other than Sen. Orrin Hatch (89 percent lifetime conservative rating) in 2012.

In Arizona, Sen. John McCain, who once said a fence is the "least effective" way to secure the border, continued his fight against a conservative primary challenge by releasing an ad demanding, "Complete the danged fence."

Democrats are having purity putsches, too, in Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Colorado. But these are mild compared with the sort of uprising Republicans are experiencing in places such as Maine, tranquil land of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Maine Republicans a week ago rejected a platform proclaiming that "we believe that the proper role of government is to help provide for those who can not help themselves"; that "we believe in ensuring that our children have access to the best educational opportunities"; and that "every person's dignity, freedom, liberty, ability and responsibility must be honored."

In its place, they approved a document invoking the Tea Party movement and Ron Paul and insisting that "health care is not a right." The new platform demands: "Eliminate motor voter"; "Reject the UN Treaty on Rights of the Child"; "Eliminate the Department of Education"; "Arrest and detain . . . anyone here illegally, and then deport, period."

It was a swap they will come to rue -- assuming they survive the Viking invasion.

You can find the original here.

And you can find a good analysis of Milbank's column from The Political Animal under the title, "Another Angel Loses Its Wings.".

We survived

Indeed, the "engagement party" this past Saturday night in a far, far away city was a drunkfest. Instead of 100+ people attending, only about 50 showed up, and almost all of them drank until they puked. This is just a little insane.

It might have been "cool" when we were in our 20's and drinking like fish, because we were better able to handle it with young, strong bodies. And we didn't know much better. But as most of the crowd at the party were 50+, it wasn't pretty.

Old farts trying to show they can keep up with the few 20-somethings in the crowd? Not possible.

Drinking until you start crying and puking? I don't quite "get it."

As for me, I quit after three beers and three margaritas. The wife only had two beers and one margarita. That was enough to give both of us a nice buzz and to get a birds-eye view of people getting stupid drunk until 4:00am.

Frankly, I don't see the humor or allure of drinking until you get sick. I never really have. Call me a fuddy-duddy if you like, but both the wife and I felt fine the morning after, contrasted with the zombies that slept where they fell in a heap. On the bright side, they didn't drink and drive, but the price they were paying the morning after didn't quite seem to me to be worth the effort.

Fortunately, neither the bride-to-be nor the groom-to-be did anything really dumb like try to have sex with someone else at the party. Might have made it more interesting, though....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

3 hours to go

This weekend finds us hundreds of miles from home to attend an "engagement party" for my oldest niece and her fiancee.  They're getting married next month, on the beach.

This weekend may be the last in the latest flurry of "real life" that has more or less consumed us over the last few weeks. 

As expected, the heat is already intense, and the sweat is profuse.

As expected, there is a general sense of chaos three hours to go from the official start time of the party.

Most unfortunately, the hostess is bed-ridden today after puking her guts out ever since last evening.  Fortunately, my wife was on hand to step into the breech.  That meant taking their mother shopping early this morning for shoes and a new dress for the party.  Shopping with Mom, oh lord have mercy.

The ice finally arrived so we can start icing down the 250+ beers on hand for the party, but fortunately there was an extra fridge out in the barn to get a head-start.  There is massive kitchen activity:  cutting the cooked potatoes in preparation for a potato salad, cutting avocadoes for the guacamole, tomatoes, celantro, where are the rice and beans?  Oh, they had to hire a separate cook to prepare those.

David is out back smoking 30lbs of sausage and the smell is intoxicating.  This calls for a beer.  The brisket was smoked yesterday too, by yet another contractor, but still hasn't arrived.    What?  Nobody brought the tequila for the margarita machine?  Yikes!

The tables aren't ready!  The rain soaked them.  The swing isn't done.  There's still too much dogshit all over the yard! 

A crowd of 100+ is expected.  That means that about 200 will show up, according to one who should know.

The boys have the sound system cranked up and going.  Tunes help.
This morning we had a 30-minute long downpour, and now the humidity is oppressive.  But that's where the beer comes in.

Me?  I'm just chillin' out a bit in the cool air conditioning after a few pieces of sausage and a beer.  Gotta save my strength.  I'll need it for later.  

More later.  Maybe.  And maybe some pictures.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Life intrudes

This is one of those times where life intrudes upon my ability to blog.  
Ability, in the fullest metaphysical sense. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oil spill grows

Goodness!  Look at these two maps, put out by ABC News.  If accurate, this spill could be catastrophic. 

And some right-wingers are apparently now blaming Obama for the oil spill?  Is there no irrationality to which they will not stoop?   We blamed Bush for a lot of crap, but crap that he was actually involved in or had influence over.  I guess the Teabaggers won't stop until they get another Bush in office, who will finish off the country.  And then they'll blame the Democrats. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Medicare for All

Ok, now that we have a foot in the door, due to the recent passage of the healthcare bill, it's time to kick the door down! 

The following snip is taken from the March 17 edition of Democracy Now! where Amy Goodman was interviewing Florida Democratic House Rep Alan Grayson.  Grayson has introduced HR 4789, The Public Option Act.  Grayson had 50 co-sponsors when this show aired.  There are now over 80.  When are we going to tell the corporations to shove it?!

REP. ALAN GRAYSON: I’ve introduced a simple three-and-a-half-page bill that opens up Medicare to anybody who wants it. If you want it and you pay for it, it’s yours. It’s that simple. It’s open to everybody under the age of sixty-five, whether or not you’re handicapped. And you pay the same amount as other people your age would pay.

And the reason to do this is because we need a public option. We need an option that doesn’t involve putting us at the tender mercies of insurance companies, particularly if there’s a mandate to do so. A lot of people feel that there is a fundamental conflict of interest between themselves and private insurance companies. The private insurance companies make money by denying you the care that you need to be healthy, and sometimes to stay alive. And a lot of people are just sick of it.

So the way to get beyond that is to open up Medicare, which is now available to only one-eighth of the population, to anybody who’s willing to pay for it. And it makes perfect sense when you think about it. I mean, we don’t say the federal highways are only open to senior citizens. And the Medicare provider network is an enormously valuable, expensive thing that we’ve created with federal tax dollars that ought to be open to everyone, not just seniors.

What would happen if we had a Congress full of Alan Graysons?  Tune into the whole program here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Obama at UM

Will this work?  Obama gave the Commencement Address at the Universtity of Michigan earlier today.

May Stargazing

Stargazing Summary
stargazing icon
Spring, the season of renewal and 
rebirth, brings a renewed energy to 
evening skywatching as well. Leo 
and Virgo, with their brightest stars 
Regulus and Spica, climb high overhead. 
Hercules lumbers into the northeast, 
while the Summer Triangle peeks into view in 
late evening, heralding the approach of the 
short nights of summer. Venus climbs into better 
view in the early evening, while Mars remains 
in good view and Jupiter climbs skyward in the 
east at dawn.

More stargazing information:  
Stargazing Summary  
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May 3-9: The strongman. Mighty Hercules 
clambers across the sky on spring nights. Turns 
out, though, that he's mightier in mythology 
and movies than in the sky. Join us for details 
about Hercules, plus much more.

May 10-16: Scary visitor. Halley's Comet scares 
a lot of people every time it appears in the night 
sky. A hundred years ago, it had people buying 
"comet pills" to ward off its feared effects. Join 
us for more on this famous visitor.

May 17-23: Astronomical lightshow. The laser 
turns 50 this month. It's an important part of 
everyday life -- and of astronomy. It helps clear 
up the view of the stars, looks for alien 
civilizations, and much more. Join us for details.
May 24-30: The herdsman. The constellation 
Boötes, the herdsman, trudges high overhead 
this week. We'll talk about it, and about its 
"most beautiful" star. Join us for this, plus a 
search for a giant space rock.

May 31-June 6: Planetary giants. The biggest 
planet in the solar system has a big but 
hard-to-see companion right now. We'll tell 
you how to find them, and talk about how 
the two worlds are alike, and how they're 
different. Join us for giant planets.
May Program Schedule:  
cover of May-June 2010 issue This Month in StarDate Magazine
You'll find great book 
recommendations in the May/June 
issue of StarDate magazine, 
our special Summer Reading 
issue. It includes feature-length 
excerpts from three new popular 
books in astronomy and physics, as well as 
shorter excerpts from many more. And as always, 
two months worth of skywatching tips and sky 
charts, and the latest astronomy news.

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News From the Observatory  
Recent Texas PhD Receives Award for 
Studies of Exploding Stars
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific presented 
the 2010 Robert J. Trumpler Award to Robert 
Quimby in April. The Society presents this award 
each year to a recent PhD in North America 
whose research is considered unusually important 
to astronomy. Quimby completed his PhD in 
astronomy at The University of Texas at 
Austin in December 2006. His "Texas 
Supernova Search," carried out at McDonald 
Observatory, made headlines in The New York 
Times and Time magazine in 2007.

Find out more: