Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What In The Name Of “William Henry Pratt” Was THAT?

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And by “THAT” I mean whatever it was three days ago that purported to be the annual comedy roast that mocks big government and the political press. I didn’t see it on the ‘Net, and nobody seems to be covering it…so forgive me for not believing it actually happened.

By “William Henry Pratt,” I mean the actual Christian name of Hollywood legend Boris Karloff. Early on in life, Pratt realized that no one named “Pratt” would ever be hired to zombie-walk through back-lot villages and papier-maché castles. Karloff made the most of his Potemkin name, his size 40 feet, and his ability to powerfully snarl the words “FIRE BAD!”

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 04/30/13 at 07:01 PM
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Does Everybody Hate Ted Cruz?

You know, I’m definitely beginning to pick up a trend regarding the freshman Senator from Texas—he just rubs people the wrong way. This sensation of almost visceral recoil has been remarked upon pretty much since he’s taken office. He’s been compared to Sen. Joe McCarthy on the regular (including at the estimable Rumproast if I may point that out), and that’s an unfortunate comparison, since McCarthy has become like a byword in senatorial overreach and lack of decency. (Except it seems as valid a comparison as it is unfortunate.)  He’s been considered a conspiracy theorist (Agenda 21, anyone?) and possibly a bit of a sexist prick (mansplaining, anyone?)  And even Our Mister Brooks has pointed out that his fellow senators roll their eyes regarding him and find him “off-putting”.  And the NYT’s columnist is, whatever his faults as a pundit may be, not exactly the sort of pundit who would slam a freshman Republican Senator for no unwarranted reason.

Really. Except for the things he says and does (like his support for federal assistance for the West, TX disaster after opposition to Superstorm Sandy assistance—consistency?) what could possibly be the unifying factor? It couldn’t merely be his possession of a backpfeifengesicht,  like the result of sneering one too many times, when, as anyone’s mother might have foretold, it could stick that way.  (I will stick with it being mostly about the things he does and says.)

Which is why it doesn’t exactly shock the socks off of me to find that The Washington Post‘s own Jennifer Rubin has found a bone to pick with him over his description of his fellow Republicans as “squishes” over their curious lack of faith regarding a filibuster over background checks. Except, really? Jennifer Rubin? The Mitt Romney Booster Club’s Head Cheerleader? The pundit who once referred to Rand Paul as “formidable” over his Benghazi conspiracy theories (pitched way out of the strike zone of one SOS HRC?).

One pauses, truly, to take it all in. Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment is all to pieces, is it not? Or is Cruz just a law unto himself, unaware that ideological purity aside, a representative democracy is something like a popularity contest, and one really does have to serve somebody other than oneself?

I leave it to the reader to decide.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/29/13 at 10:31 PM
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Without My Walking Sticks, I Loved This Song Anyway.

Without my walking stick
I’d go insane
I can’t look my best I feel undressed
Without my cane

With two broken vertebrae, a dead sciatic nerve, and my maiden aunt Bernice’s choking fear of nightfall, I had enough walking canes, sword canes and decorative Civil War cudgels to equip the road company of Red Badge Of Courage. By and large, that all happened before Leon released Without My Walking Stick, a tune I grew to love like a rock n’ roll groupie.

Now that I am additionally tied to several different flavors of Blind Guy canes as tall and thin as a willow rod, this song is practically my marching theme.

One last thing: the actual provenance for “Without My Walking Stick” precedes Leon Redbone by at least forty or fifty years. Below the fold, you’ll find a 78 RPM version of the song recorded by Tommy Dorsey. Oh, and BTW, you should never forget that the tune was written by (*gasp!*) Irving Berlin!!!

read the whole post »

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 04/29/13 at 05:27 PM
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Mad Scientists of the Laboratories of Democracy: Rep. Sharon Brown Edition

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When I started writing a series of posts themed “Mad Scientists of the Laboratories of Democracy” I had no idea what a frightening, depressing task I’d started.  I was interested in the process by which so many unsuitable, unqualified candidates had infiltrated our national political scene.  You know what I mean—people who believe rape can’t result in pregnancy; people who admit to a tendency toward witchcraft; people who push ideas like “self-deportation.”

So I decided to take a look at the Farm Teams, out in the states, where many of our leaders get their start, just to get a feel for how they roll at that level.  And it’s truly scary.  So far, I feel that I’ve uncovered a lot of borderline personalities and outright sociopaths in the state legislatures. 

In a spirit of fairness, I set a pretty high bar, I’m not interested in sniffing out the gaffe-prone or “hot mic” victims.  We all make mistakes.  I’m most interested in the demonstrably extremist, incompetent, clueless repeat offender.  And, truth be told, I really didn’t expect to find that many.  Boy, was I wrong.

My interest now has evolved to “Do people really vote for these misfits?” or “does their hair not ignite until after they’re in office?”  Also, what are the qualifications for holding state offices?  And, finally, who votes in state-level elections? a broad cross-section of a state’s residents? or a handful of hard-core, old-school political patrons with vested interests?  Are state representatives elected to office by attrition and voter indifference?

My concern lies mostly in the fact that this is important because, ultimately, these people are making the actual laws that we live by.  And, some of those are real doozies.

read the whole post »

Posted by Bette Noir on 04/29/13 at 11:48 AM
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Categories: LGBTPoliticsNutters

Friday, April 26, 2013

£18 Billion Tokamak Fusion Project Could Be Biggest Global Science Project In History

A “Tokamak” is a doughnut-shaped fusion reactor—often as much as hundreds of miles in circumference—that can control the plasma-scale temperatures of fusion energy by channeling thermal streams around a super-powered magnetic racetrack.

After decades of research on prototype Tokamak designs, the Iter project has recieved a final go-ahead from 34 international governments. That’s really satisfying to me, because fusion power is one of the few “sure bets” for sustainable power generation in the future. Not quite as important as that, I should note that the last time I presented a technical pitch on fusion technology at an international science conference, the topic was the Iter project. Not saying I made the Iter project happen, just that—like thousands of other people—I gave it a nudge.

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 04/26/13 at 09:07 PM
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Phil Ochs, Pioneer Of American Protest

When I was a kid, I collected Phil Ochs albums. Phil was a protest singer who never seemed quite certain whether the songs he sang were political or simply topical…but as this commenter notes, there was never any doubt in the listener’s mind:

Seasass 1 year ago


How about an update in light of recent events at Penn State:
“Oh, look into the shower, there’s a schoolboy being raped
I saw the old man dogging him, but now he has escaped
Guess I could have done more than call Dad and tell JoePa
But what do lowly grad assistants know about the law?
And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody …”

In April, 1976, Ochs hanged himself after a long period of depression and creative exhaustion…so he “ain’t marchin’ any more,” but obviously his tunes are still strutting across the politcal frontier. Bravo, Phil!

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 04/26/13 at 08:05 PM
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The AMMO Act: Une Magnifique Folie à Deux

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Can’t tell you how fed up I am with watching the nuts running the asylum there on Capitol Hill.  It would be riotously funny, if it weren’t so utterly pathetic to watch incompetent screwballs blow through our tax dollars, day after day, year after year, indulging their off the wall political delusions.  WTF is the matter with American voters that these are the people they choose to run the frickin country?

The current hallucination that’s taken the Paranoid Caucus by storm is that . . . well, wait a minute, why don’t I let the gullible goobers taken in by this nonsense and busily scribbling away at legislation to stymie the Evil Empire of Obama speak for themselves:

President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights.  One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition. As the public learned in a House committee hearing this week, the Department of Homeland Security has two years worth of ammo on hand and allots nearly 1,000 more rounds of ammunition for DHS officers than is used on average by our Army officers. The AMMO* Act of 2013 will enforce transparency and accountability of federal agencies’ ammunition supply while also protecting law-abiding citizens access to these resources.

*AMMO Act = Ammunition Management for More Obtainability Act

The masterminds behind this legislative silliness are: Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) and America’s pre-eminent Wacko Bird, Sen. Jim Inhofe who are, evidently, huge fans of Alex Jones who, among others, has been hyping the notion that the government is “stockpiling” ammunition, either to wage a war against the American people or to dry up the ammunition market so average citizens can’t buy bullets. [Not sure which, yet, I guess]

The bill would require executive branch agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to maintain ammunition levels below the average monthly amounts that the agencies had before Obama took office.

All of this comes just in time, of course, to save the public from long lines at ammunition outlets during the summer Community-Pig-Roast-Kegger-and-Shoot-‘Em-Up events at America’s target ranges and south forties.

I’m guessing that this legislation is a direct result, in part, of the wildly successful grilling of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano during a House hearing on the DHS budget, last week.  Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) decided to derail those proceedings to play a little hardball and get to the bottom of Homeland Security’s role in the secret stockpiling of ammunition.

Here’s how that went:

DUNCAN: You know, when Forbes Magazine or Drudge or some reputable news sources start to repeat the numbers…the numbers cease to become Internet rumors and they start having some credibility. I just ask, why was there a long delay or silence from the DHS for a period of time, almost three months, before y’all came forward saying these numbers aren’t correct, these are the actual facts. Why was there a delay or silence from your department?

NAPOLITANO: Well I don’t know about that, that there was that kind of delay, but I will tell you we found it so inherently unbelievable that those statements would be made it was hard to ascribe credibility to them. I don’t know if I’d put Forbes and Drudge in the same sentence.

Well, I ask you, who needs more proof than Drudge to get on the loudspeakers and call it a crisis?

This isn’t the only government intrigue that Rep. Duncan is hot on the trail of, either.  Two weeks ago, he attacked an effort to expand background checks for gun purchases online or at gun shows because he believes, like Matt Drudge, that “the government” is planning a systematic slaughter akin to the Rwandan genocide.  This particular fever dream is known as the Confiscation Theory (ie, national gun registry facilitates gun confiscation).

Even the Breitbartlets, those conservative purveyors of journalistic truth, described this hysteria as “based more on panic than fact.”

The fun part should be when the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre realizes the effect that restricting government ammunition purchases will have on his beloved gun manufacturer constituency.  Maybe Lucas and Inhofe need a remedial course in free market economics.

Here’s how it works, guys:  US government = biggest customer of guns and gun stuff.  If demand goes up - production goes up = more for everybody.  If demand goes down [like you want it to]—production goes down = less for everybody.

And here’s a clue that I won’t even charge you for: when Kenyan usurpers are in the White House and apocalypse is nigh, American gun hysteria ramps up and ammunition goes on back order.  You could solve your own supply issues by not stocking up for the millenium, you silly paranoids.

BTW, what’s with the shortage of freeze-dried rations?

Posted by Bette Noir on 04/26/13 at 12:20 PM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '14Nutters

Too soon? Yep. Too soon.

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As the push to rehabilitate the worst president in living memory proceeds apace, former Bushies are crawling out the woodwork to beg us to take another bite of the shit taco and experience anew the tasty goodness.

In a post entitled “George W. Bush is smarter than you,” someone named Keith Hennessey, the former director of the George W. Bush National Economics Council (which is like being the Emeritus Chair of the Sarah Palin Center for Teen Pregnancy Prevention—discuss!) invites citizens to “test your own assumptions and thinking about our former President” through a series of questions:

This is a hard one, for liberals only. Do you assume that he is unintelligent because he made policy choices with which you disagree?

Nope. I assume he is unintelligent (or evil, but I suspect mostly dumb because I’m charitable that way) because he made policy choices that predictably resulted in a series of world-historical clusterfucks which killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of people, looted the national treasury, subverted our moral authority, undermined our global standing and widened the wealth inequality chasm. Next?

If so, your logic may be backwards. “I disagree with choice X that President Bush made. No intelligent person could conclude X, therefore President Bush is unintelligent.”

Kind of surprising that the George W. Bush National Economics Council would appoint an eighth-grader fresh from an introduction to logic class as director. Oh wait

Might it be possible that an intelligent, thoughtful conservative with different values and priorities than your own might have reached a different conclusion than you?  Do you really think your policy views derive only from your intellect?

Uh-oh—Iooks like someone didn’t comprehend the straw man logical fallacy lesson! But let’s play along: The thing is that the aforementioned world-historical clusterfucks were predictable—and were in fact predicted in real time by many people.

It doesn’t matter if Bush’s policy views were derived from his “intellect,” Cheney’s colon or a Magic Eight Ball; they were not only wrong, they were disastrously and measurably so on virtually every important front – domestic, international, financial and social. 

So a hearty “fuck off” to you, Mr. Hennessey, for having the effrontery to peddle what is demonstrably shit as Shinola while we are still digging ourselves from the reeking pile. It’s too soon for a rehab tour.

With a bit of luck, you might be able to sell this stinking load of horseshit to my great-great-grandchildren. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 04/26/13 at 10:45 AM
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Categories: PoliticsBushCoNuttersSarah PalinWar In Error

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Freshmen Republicans:  Rebels Without a Cause

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Well, a whole new crop of Republican freshman are throwing mind-numbing, tax-dollar-gobbling tantrums in the House already this year.  Seems the new kids on the block are feeling robbed of their chance to sign on to irrelevant, symbolic legislation, that hasn’t passed 36 times now, all because the grown-ups have decided it’s a waste of time and makes the party look even sillier than losing did.

You guessed it—we’re talking Obamacare Repeal and these kids want in.  After all, think about what a firm position on repealing Obamacare did for these high-profile politicos:

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Political gold! I know . . .

read the whole post »

Posted by Bette Noir on 04/25/13 at 10:44 AM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '14Health CareNuttersTeabaggery

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Commander in Chief Does Not Get a Mulligan

Charlie Pierce has a great piece up detailing the efforts of the right to use the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library as an occasion to give Dubya a mulligan on 9/11 by repeating the mantra that “he kept us safe” afterwards.

Thus do we confront what we can call The Great Mulligan, which is granted by the dimmer lights in the chandelier to the president and to the national security team — Hi, Condi! — who presided over the most massive intelligence failure in American history, and over the greatest loss of life to an enemy attack on American soil since everybody hugged it out at Appomattox. This has popped up from time to time in the years since it became obvious what a complete and utter failure the Bush presidency really was. Sorry we lied you into a war, but we kept you safe. Sorry we demolished American values, and just about every shred of American moral credibility in the world, but we kept you safe. Sorry we let New Orleans drown, but we kept you safe. Sorry we allowed the national economy to blow up, but we kept you safe. In fact, if you sent C-Plus Augustus into his own museum, and had him take that interactive quiz, and provided he didn’t break a thumb trying to get a Diet Coke out of the exhibit, his answer to everything would be I kept you safe.

Go read the rest.  You’ll be glad you did.

Posted by marindenver on 04/24/13 at 03:30 PM
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Categories: New York CityManhattanPoliticsBushCoEditorialsWar In Error

Chechen Little

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As more information comes to light about the Beantown Bombers, it becomes increasingly clear that Uncle Ruslan was right all along: The brothers were / are a pair of not-too-bright losers. Mother Jones offers a list of odd and stupid things the Boom-Boom Bros did that directly resulted in their death and/or capture. These items include leaving their carjacked hostage alone in the vehicle while they went into a convenience store for Red Bull and then failing to toss their escaped victim’s mobile phone, enabling the cops to track their every move.

They’re murderers, sure, but sophisticated terror kingpins? Please. And yet the very lawmakers who most frequently have to pause to wring the accumulated ball-sweat out of their much-humped personal copies of the US Constitution are now ready to torch that document because of the supposed existential threat posed by clowns like the Boom-Boom Bros.

Senator Lindsey Graham, perpetually trying to butch up sufficiently to head off a possible tea party primary challenge, took to the Senate floor yesterday to baldly declare a thought-crime and ethnic-caste standard that would eliminate due process for certain American citizens:

“Here’s what we’re suggesting, that the surviving suspect—due to the ties that these two have to radical Islamic thought and the ties to Chechnya, one of most radical countries in the world—that the president declare preliminarily that the evidence suggests that this man should be treated as an enemy combatant.”

The “we” in that first clause includes Senator John McCain, the Hanoi Hilton survivor who is apparently transformed into a squealing candy ass at the sight of a teenage jihadi-wannabe’s wispy moustache. Senator Kelly Ayotte rounds out the new neocon triumvirate in lieu of the departed Joe Lieberman. She’s an improvement over her predecessor only in that her mouth isn’t bracketed by alarming skin-pleats and she doesn’t have a mewling voice that tempts listeners to drive chopsticks through their own eardrums to escape its range. But on foreign policy, she’s pretty much Joe in a dress.

In the interest of civility, let’s assume that these three and their fellow Republicans aren’t corrupt, cynical hucksters who are attempting to transform the blood of innocent people into political gain. So they must be cowards instead, sniveling, bed-wetting chicken-shits who are ready to toss our national experiment with free speech and equality before the law into the toilet and hide under the nearest rock—and not before the very real and powerful threats arrayed against it from within and without, but before a pair of moronic clowns like the Boom-Booms. Some “Daddy Party.”

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 04/24/13 at 11:55 AM
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Mad Scientists of the Laboratories of Democracy: Stella Tremblay Edition

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Meet Stella— amateur historian, Birther, Glenn Beck fan and Platinum subscriber to Alex Jones InfoWars.  Oh, yeah. and New Hampshire State representative.  Stella Tremblay’s world is riddled with Black Ops, Kenyan usurpers and conspiracies going back centuries but NO ONE WILL LISTEN!!1!  Just like no one, save a select few, ever listen to Glenn Beck.  But Stella Tremblay has had it and no one’s going to shut her up until she gets the media to investigate her leads.

In the midst of representing her constituents, sponsoring important legislation and generally doing her best to make New Hampshire better, Stella paused, like most of us last week, to ponder how something like the Boston Marathon bombing can happen.  Thanks to Glenn Beck and Alex Jones, Stella didn’t have to ponder for long, because Beck and Jones had all the answers.

Only Stella understands the subtle link between some obscure prescient Beck comment and the InfoWars video-link she provided to Beck, via FaceBook, that proves that Beck, Tremblay and Alex Jones are on to THEM.

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The Jones video includes what he says are photos of off-duty Navy SEALS, with backpacks full of bombs, near the marathon finish line.  This theory, fits in with the rest of Jones’ ouevre, which includes “proof” that the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11 were similar “false flag” operations and that former Atty. Gen. Janet Reno ordered the execution of the Branch Davidians in Waco, in 1993.

read the whole post »

Posted by Bette Noir on 04/24/13 at 09:15 AM
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Categories: PoliticsElection '14NuttersTeabaggery

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Force Ten Love Ballad

Jacques Brel is well-known as a hellacool songwriter who redefined many genres of love songs in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Everyone who knows Brel has a favorite tune already. However, ‘70s legend Scott Walker may have claimed a new title with this version of “Mathilde”—a bipolar Apache dance of a love ballad that’s punctuated by impossibly complex instrumentation you couldn’t duplicate with a computer algorithm.

Take my word for it, gang—you have no choice but too enjoy this tune. Scott Walker was the greatest neglected talent of the last forty years. And now the movie, folks:

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 04/23/13 at 06:24 PM
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Don’t Make Me Use My Stuff On You, Baby

And by “stuff,” I mean, “ricin.”

Alas, this week’s Elvis impersonator just can’t compete with the greatest Elvis impersonator of all time.Obviously, being a duplicate King of Rock is even more dangerous than we can imagine. 

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 04/23/13 at 05:55 PM
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I’ll Roshambo You For It

Forty years after the National Lampoon was a monthly addiction for snarkologists, Cheech Wizard remains an Amusement Destination for those of us who like our snark mixed with rare plant juices, stage magic and acute testicular swelling.

Even in clunky computer claymation, the Zydeco Hat is the Cultural King of my g-g-generation. DUCK, LIZARD!

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 04/23/13 at 03:22 PM
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