16 July 2009

Ha Ha Senator Jeff Sessions is really stupid.

I should add that he's a Republican from Alabama but that would be really redundant. So, I haven't paid any attention to Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, which kills me, because things like that are very exciting to me, but this little exchange between Sen. Sessions and Sotomayor is funny as shit:

Ouch!

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), seeking to discredit Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy, cited her 2001 “wise Latina” speech, and contrasted the view that ethnicity and sex influence judging with that of Judge Miriam Cedarbaum, who “believes that judges must transcend their personal sympathies and prejudices.”

“So I would just say to you, I believe in Judge Cedarbaum’s formulation,” Sessions told Sotomayor.

“My friend Judge Cedarbaum is here,” Sotomayor riposted, to Sessions’ apparent surprise. “We are good friends, and I believe that we both approach judging in the same way, which is looking at the facts of each individual case and applying the law to those facts.”

Cedarbaum agreed.


Haha, wow.

What a giant moron.

(h/t Blue Texan)

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Community service is a calling, you know

You should really find ways to give back which use your passions and your gifts to their fullest. So, since I'm blind in one eye, this would probably be a really good use of my non-profit giving nice-nice time, because I'm generous.

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12 July 2009

Reality's liberal bias strikes again

It seems that the GOP's declared war on science and knowledge and reality, in service to the dumbest part of its base, has really turned off Teh Smart People. In fact they've grossed out the scientific community so much that, these days, only six percent of scientists are Republicans. I'm not surprised that very few scientists vote Republican, but damn...six percent! Holy crap.

Seriously, go read the results of this study. The deeper you go, the more interesting it gets.

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08 July 2009

Robert McNamara has died

Bob Herbert:


Robert McNamara, Lyndon Johnson’s icy-veined, cold-visaged and rigidly intellectual point man for a war that sent thousands upon thousands of people (most of them young) to their utterly pointless deaths, has died at the ripe old age of 93.

Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to speak ill of the dead, and immediately. Read Herbert's entire piece. It is scathing.

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04 July 2009

"Heavy Cross"

Bonus music from The Gossip.  This band is ridiculously good.  If you like the whole New Wave, 80's thing, but updated for today, then this is your band.


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"Groove Is In The Heart"

So, I was trying to figure out what kind of patriotic music to post for July 4, and this was the obvious choice: "Groove Is In The Heart" by Deee-Lite, performed live in Rio.

Lee Greenwood's shitty song ain't got NOTHIN' on this when it comes to patriotism.


(Pandagon)

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The biosphere

Well, actually, Biosphere 1, which we all live and breathe in, and Biosphere 2.  Jane Poynter talks about her experience living in Biosphere 2, and relates it back to how we all can choose to live within our primary biosphere, Mother Earth.


I have never seen a TED talk I didn't find absolutely fascinating.

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And now, a comment from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Outer Wingnuttia) on the CENSUS!

Oooooh!  The Census!  Scaaaaary!



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Putting the "Obama recession" in its proper perspective

As the "Bush recession, of course." This image from the New York Times a few weeks ago (via Balkinization, via Maha), is amazing. Do you know what scale is? That's when a picture illustrates something with correct dimensions, &c. Okay, good, we're clear on that. Lookit. Start at the top to see where the budget surplus was after the Clinton years. Then look what Bush's policies did. And then look at the teeny tiny part at the bottom that encompasses Obama's stimulus and other programs. Who created the obscenely large budget deficit? It should be pretty obvious:






Yeah. There's your Obama recession. More explanation from Balkinization:

The war in Iraq and accompanying defense spending, plus the badly designed Medicare Drug benefit, plus the Bush tax cuts, plus lax regulation of financial institutions (which necessitated a bailout supported by both President Bush and President Obama) turned a projected surplus under Bill Clinton into an enormous deficit and a relatively well-run nation into country burdened with enormous problems.

It would be one thing if these expenditures were a matter of national necessity that ultimately made the country better off. But they were not. The Bush tax cuts were primarily targeted to benefit the wealthiest Americans, and exacerbated a growing inequality of wealth in the United States. The Iraq War was a war of choice, justified by false claims of weapons of mass destruction and insinuations of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. It proved to be a foreign policy disaster and an enormous waste of money which we must still shoulder. Deregulatory financial policies were unwise and unsound and helped push us toward the current Great Recession.
All in all, it is one of the most remarkable displays of ineptitude, greed, and corruption in American history. And now that they have run the country into the ground, President Bush's party, now thankfully out of power, is blaming the party that succeeded them, the Democrats, for the baleful effects of deficit spending. Colossal ineptitude is being followed by equally colossal chutzpah.


Credit where credit is due, you see.

I don't agree with everything Obama has done -- for instance, the simple laws of macroeconomics say that the stimulus package should have been larger, since, in times as dire as these, the ONLY institution capable of infusing cash into the economy on the scale necessary for recovery is the federal government. But let's get clear on where the hell this shit came from, if we somehow aren't already.

Thanks, George. Hope you're enjoying Crawford. Please stay there.

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03 July 2009

A story you should read

I'm catching up on one of my favorite blogs, the New York-based "Good-As You (G-A-Y)," run by the tireless Jeremy Hooper, who spends countless hours monitoring the words and actions of those on the anti-gay side who spend their lives to ruining others' lives.

So, as marriage equality really started to blossom over the past year, starting with the California Supreme Court finding that denying gay couples marriage rights is an obvious violation of equal protection (which it still is, regardless of a bunch of uneducated Californians pulling a lever to say otherwise), Jeremy and his longtime partner Andrew decided it was time for them to tie the knot. Then disappointment came, as the destination California wedding they were planning was abruptly put on hold by the aforementioned uneducated Californian lever-pullers. (Of doom.)

Jeremy and Andrew are recently returned from the honeymoon, by the way. They just decided to do it somewhere else. But his tale of the past year is worth reading, for those of us who are gay, of course, but also for those who are straight and seek to understand more and more what gay people go through every day in this country and elsewhere.

This is what the fight is really about.

Oh, and about halfway through, there's a moment where, if you're like me, you'll cry a little bit.

Anyway, it's right here.

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I may question their plans for implementation, but I do believe the Obamas' hearts are in the right place on LGBT rights.

Wow, long post title. Well, whatever.

So, Michael Petrelis brings us this exchange (via Good-As-You) another activist recently had with Michelle Obama:

Bill Wilson: My husband and I have been together 23 years. We need to get rid of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Michelle Obama: I agree.

Bill Wilson: We need it done now.

Michelle Obama: It will be.

Bill Wilson: I really want to be able to support him.

Michelle Obama: As well you should!

Bill Wilson: We really do want him to succeed.

Michelle Obama: I’ll tell him.

(At this point she leaned over to give me a hug.)

As she stepped away I said, “We were married by the Mayor last year.”

Michelle Obama: Give your husband a hug from me.



The question remains: will Barack Obama step up and show the leadership required to implement full equality for all citizens? DADT would be an easy place to start, since all non-wingnut Americans support full repeal.

I will say, though: What a First Lady!

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The awful truth about Canadian healthcare...

is that there IS no awful truth about Canadian healthcare.

Every wingnut in the US seems to have a Canadian friend who whispers horror stories in their ears about the "evilz of soshulized medisin." Right. So...how do things really work in Canada, then? Let's find out:


United States: 31% of health-care money goes to overhead (paperwork, company salaries & profits, and so on).
Canada: 1% of health-care money goes to overhead.

United States: 17% of the gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on health care.
Canada: 10% of the GDP is spent on health care.

United States: Less than 85% of the population is covered, and many of those have inadequate coverage. The U.S. has many “hidden” costs when uncovered people go to emergency facilities in order to get health care.
Canada: 100% of the population is covered through the normal system.

United States: Insurance companies often overrule doctors’ health-care decisions.
Canada: Your doctors are the only ones who make your health-care decisions.

United States: 14.4% say they have unmet health-care needs.
Canada: 11.3% say they have unmet health-care needs.

United States: You have to find a doctor who’s in your health insurance plan.
Canada: You go to any doctor.

United States: Doctors are private businesses; they do not work for the government. Their fees are reimbursed by the health insurers.
Canada: Doctors are private businesses; they do not work for the government. Their fees are reimbursed by the government, which acts as the health insurer.

That list was helpfully compiled by Barry Leiba from an article written by, like, an actual Canadian who happens to be quite knowledgeable about the Canadian system, since she's an expat Canadian physician.

So...Huh! Well, then...so maybe we shouldn't rely on the second- or third-hand accounts, translated by wingnuts, of expat Canadians who may or may not exist outside the wingnut mind?

Novel concept, I know.

Going through that list piece by piece, we debunk some MAJOR myths:

1. The myth that "socialized medicine" is more expensive than the American system. The truth is the complete opposite.
2. The myth that the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship would be breached by the government. Those who propagate this myth do indeed conveniently forget that greedy motherfucking insurance companies CONSTANTLY step in and prevent doctors from providing the best care for their patients.
3. The myth that there are just millions of Canadians languishing while they wait for treatment they can't get under their system. Apparently Canadians deal with that less under their system than we do under ours.
4. The myth that the "gubmint will choose your doctor for you." Not so! Those who propagate that myth do indeed conveniently forget that HMO's are always choosing and denying doctors for people. I've watched people go down a list of doctors to find that their insurance plan doesn't allow them to go to Dr. Friendly where they actually want to go. In Canada, all doctors are part of the same plan, so ta-da, you pick ANY doctor.

(No shit.)

As the writer of the primary article also points out:

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to dispute the fact that Canada
spends less money on health care to get better outcomes
.

Do read that entire piece. She debunks ALL the myths, even more than the ones above. There are so many.

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Why missionary work should probably be, you know, outlawed

I'll take a lot of flak about this, but I don't support the idea of "missionary work," if that work includes any kind of religious proselytizing. If a group from a Christian church wants to go offer free medical care or feed people in Africa, and they can do it without attempting to "save souls," then fine. That falls within the realm of charity work, and is right in line with the Biblical principle of caring for the "least of these" among us.

But, as I don't view the Bible as a complete work to be obeyed without question from start to finish, I believe that when Christians venture to faraway lands with the sole purpose of subjugating the traditions of the people whom they "serve," replacing them with Christianity, they are basically predators. "Born-again" Christians don't see it that way, obviously. Neither do the Zionist settlers bulldozing Palestinian lands see their efforts as anything but just. Both are part and parcel of the flawed idea that "God told me to do this/gave us this land," etc.

Bear in mind that your blog author has been on numerous "mission trips." I've seen the good and the bad. The most meaningful ones were those where the religion was kept back wherever we were staying, and whatever we were doing (usually home repairs, etc.) was focused solely on service.

Greg Laden feels the same way I do, and has written a series of posts about his experiences with the missionary world. They are absolute must-reading.

Update: Really, they're all worth reading, but if you don't have time, read at least this one.

*** *** ***

(h/t ACG)

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No, Sarah, don't go! (UPDATED)

Nah, just kidding. Later, Sarah:




WASILLA, Alaska -- In a stunning announcement, Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday morning she will resign her office in a few weeks.

Speculation has swirled for weeks, perhaps months that Palin would not seek re-election in 2010 as she pursues a political career on the national stage. The former vice presidential candidate has long been rumored to be considering a run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Palin did not address those rumors at the press conference at her Wasilla home, during which she did not take questions from reporters.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be inaugurated as her successor at the Governor's Picnic at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks on Sunday, July 26, Palin said.
What's so cute about this is that Sarah thinks she's doing this so she can try to be preznit in 2012. Because 2008 went so well. Because she played so well with people outside the Republican base.

Right. Good girl, Sarah.

Moron.

(h/t Oxdown Gazette)

UPDATE: Wait, wait, wait, the Andrea Mitchell lady says that "sources close to" the Moose Queen say she's leaving politics forever? I say bullshit. Either that or some really awful scandal is about to be revealed and she's ducking out. Hm!

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02 July 2009

Keith Olbermann and Dan Savage discuss the Obama position on Don't Ask Don't Tell

Watch the whole conversation, please, but I'll go ahead and let you know that the payoff comes at the very end.  Keith just captures the essence of the entire question of whether not Obama will actually get DADT repealed.  Beautifully.


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A-Holes and B-Holes

Um, have you people seen this Hardees commercial?

What kinda crazy...

Okay, it's funny, I give up.



(Good As You)

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"Easy/Lucky/Free"

I've been listening to Bright Eyes nonstop this week.


So here:


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Picture time!

Oh my god...first, a fantastic quote from Voltaire:


"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." 


One of my favorite quotes of all time.  Here's the updated version:


Genius.

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Don't look now...

But known Awful WaPo Columnist Richard Cohen seems to have, somehow, written a spot-on op-ed piece supporting the repeal of the ridiculous Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) ban on gays in the military.


The old adage about the broken clock being right twice a day applies here, but credit where credit is due, indeed.

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President Obama's speech to the gay community

A great talk, in celebration of Pride month.

Now, for more action, plz. I honestly think his heart is in the right place, but I question his plans for the implementation of certain direly-needed policies in the pursuit of full equality for LGBT Americans.

It's all worth watching...oh, and the now-famous incident with the quacking duck ringtone, which is pretty funny, happens a bit after 1:00.

I totally found this video at Peter LaBarbera's website, by the way. No linky for the stinky, but that's kinda funny too. I'm sort of surprised The Peter actually put up this video; for all but the dumbest mouthbreathers, this nine minute video is the utter negation of The Peter's entire (strangely obsessive) life's work.

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Your Two Minutes Hate from some wingnut

Actually, she's not just "some wingnut," she's Linda Harvey, a hateful, homophobic, and fundamentally dishonest bigot who heads up an organization called Mission America.  Look her up on Teh Googles and find some of her lovely articles, where she seeks to profit off of vulnerable teenage kids' pain in order to perpetuate her message of demonization and hatred.


So, in this video, she's giving a talk for Americans for Truth, the group run by unhinged bigot (and known leathersex aficionado) Peter LaBarbera.  But this video isn't just of the talk.  No, of course, there is all kinds of scarrrrry music and pictures and names flashing on the screen, of course, pictures of the people you are supposed to be scared of, those you should see as the boogeyman.  It's basically a rundown of Obama, some Democrats, and a bunch of Christian faith leaders who aren't sworn bigots, the ones who take the message of Jesus seriously, unlike Linda and Peter.  

As I said, it's the Two Minutes Hate, except it's six minutes long.  

These people are ridiculous.  It would be comical if there weren't people stupid enough to buy in to their crap.  Both groups, Mission America and Americans for Truth, are just steps away from being dubbed certified hate groups by the SPLC.

Watch:




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"Food, Inc."

This is a documentary I'd really like to see.  Amanda Marcotte has seen it, so here's a snippet of her review.  Click over to read the whole thing:




Even if you’ve read the two books it’s basically based on---Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma---you should see this movie, and more importantly, you should bring someone who has not read those books. As they demonstrate in short part in the movie, people educating themselves and making different choices about their food does make a difference. And let’s face it, even if you’ve read about our fucked up food industry and intellectually understand the ramifications, there’s an emotional impact to seeing the various ways real human beings are hurt by the system.

And I mean human beings. Taking off the political pragmatism of the two books that Food, Inc. is based off, the focus is mostly on the human costs, even though the temptation is often to focus strongly on how animals suffer tremendously from CAFOs and breeding techniques that make their short lives even more miserable. Animal suffering isn’t completely ignored, but it’s not dwelt upon at the expense of looking at human suffering. You don’t need extensive shots of chickens falling over because they’re breasts are too big for their bodies or the horror of live animals being tossed around brutally by machinery (including bulldozers) to get the picture---the brief use of these images is plenty, and unforgettable.

But what was so effective in this movie is that the cruelty to animals is put in the larger context of how the system fucks everyone, animal or human, for the almighty dollar. When you see cows being pushed around by bulldozers or chicks being marked and flung into a chute as if these were apples being sorted, you have to wonder what kind of toll it takes on the people who have to dispense that kind of cruelty to keep their jobs.
This three-minute clip sets the scene:


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This is what "mainstream conservatism" has become.

And if you don't like that characterization, then consider the fact that Glenn Beck has a platform on a top-rated "news" network, and that he's really not any different from Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly, both of whom share the same group of mouthbreathing listeners.

In this clip, which has been all over the internets the past couple of days, wingnut Michael Scheuer openly wishes for a nuclear terrorist attack on American soil, because only that will validate his ideology. First of all, how fucking pathetic, to be so childishly clinging to disproven ideologies that you would be willing to concede the loss of an American city, just to be right. Second of all, notice that Glenn Beck doesn't disagree, but just nods along and adds his own confirmation statement at the end.

Yet these people are supposed to be the "pro-Amurka" crowd, and it's still common practice among their sheeple to openly question the patriotism of liberals. How odd.

These people are sick.


(Sadly, No!)

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"I Am Not A Robot"

WHOA, morning music.


Who ARE they people?

This is Marina and the Diamonds.

Wow.  Listen.


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01 July 2009

Awwwww!

Poor wingnuts are just shitting their pants right and left over the victory of SENATOR Al Franken.

Heh.

Neener, wingnuts, neener.

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