Dec 21, 2012

and I feel fine

Maybe a lesson can be learned from the false hysteria of the Winter Solstice marking the end of an ancient calendar's lack of space?

Maybe we can learn what our ancestors were feeling when the sun seemed to be abandoning them? The literal end of the world? Why was it the end? The sun was the real god of the natural world. The bringer of light, of warming, the bringer of migrating animals, later the crops that either burnt or soaked in the mud was all powerful, and to be feared. When the grace of the sun began to shorten after the 21st of June, the sun was losing it's war against the darkness, and the hairless apes were frightened (unless they were old enough to know that, Yes Virginia, the Sun Will Be Back). The celebration of the 21st - and the movements of the sun were the calendar. The Mynas, Celts, the Cahokia and the Egyptians all expended huge amounts of labor and resource to build giant monuments used to track the almighty sun.

The 21st was the day the sun was the weakest. It rose late, and disappeared quickly - and on the third day - it rose again. Resurrection. Beginning a new era! A new year, if you will?

And another lesson that can be taken away is that the end of the world has been predicted for just about every year, and every day that I've been alive. A lot of money can be made whipping up the hysteria. Remember "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsey?  There's been about 59 calls for the Rapture to have happened between 2000 and yesterday. How about Y2K? Thing is, even Isaac Newton was in on the Apocalypse Now game - having decoded the lineage of the Bible to figure out the date. If the alchemist who 'discovered' gravity was wrong, it's amazing that folks are still trying to get it right?

There's obviously a lot of money you can make writing books and selling expiring MRE's to people when you whip it up and put it in a two minute local news package. The logic never made sense to me. For what are you prepping for if there isn't going to be a planet - or you think you're going to get beamed out by Jesus on RaptureDay? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to max out your credit cards on liquor and booze instead of ammo? Now, prepping for a natural disaster makes sense - just ask everyone on the East Coast if they think being prepared with some batteries and a couple extra can goods is a good idea or just regulated to the crazy nut job neighbor who has a camouflage painted Chevy Suburban in his driveway?

There was a survey not to long ago - maybe it was in the US Census - maybe it was something for the PEW people to do in-between elections - but they asked Americans if the world would end in their lifetime... here, let me google that...
Twenty-two percent of Americans think the world will end in their lifetime. According to a recent Reuters poll, nearly 15 percent of people worldwide agree. The numbers range from 6 percent in France to 22 percent in Turkey and the U.S.[source] 
(and 10% think the apocalypse is coming this year) [source]
Here's the real truth. The End of the World WILL occur - in your lifetime.

Are you ready for this? It's a very hard truth...

The End of the World - simply - is the day you die. Kind of poetic, don't you think?

Happy Solstice, Every One.

Dec 15, 2012

Who Should We "Blame?"

By Alan Caruba

At the end of the day, what we know is that a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 18 kindergartners and nine adults for twenty-seven in all. Among the victims was his mother, a teacher at the school, killed prior to the massacre.

It is a monstrous crime, but differs only in the details from comparable crimes in recent years. The shooter in the Colorado movie theater on July 20 this year comes to mind, the shooter of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Jan 8, 2011, and of course, the two young killers at Columbine High School in 1999. And doesn’t 1999 seem an age ago?

Would it surprise you that there is a computer game available called “Kindergarten Killer” that says it’s "a great way to relieve stress"?

The media and the nation will now engage in the same analysis that always follows these events; who or what to blame.

Some will blame our “gun culture” and call for more restrictions on gun sales. The obvious answer is that people kill other people with every manner of instrument available from kitchen knives to a lamp cord. Guns may facilitate the killing, but someone has to pull the trigger first.

Others will blame the nation’s penchant for movies and television shows that show so much killing that it dulls the senses to the violence, but I grew up on cowboy films in the 1940s and 50s when the “good guy” wore a white hat and usually dispatched the “bad guy” by the end of the film.

In one of the most memorable scenes from “The Shootist”, John Wayne’s last film about an old gunfighter, his character, John Bernard Books, imparts his reason for having killed a few bad guys. “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them.” A simple, but effective morality.

So, yes, Americans have always been fond of guns, but we forget that they were a necessity for much of the history of the nation in which colonists and then settlers moving West routinely hunted for venison, bear, geese, ducks, rabbits, wild turkey and anything else that put meat on the table.

You may be astonished to learn, as journalist James Sterba points out in his book, “Nature Wars”, that America has “an informal army equal to the manpower in the ten largest armed forces in the world—China, United States, India, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Vietnam—combined.” Hunters.

Deer are the favorite game of hunters and ten million Americans take to the forest and field to bring one home in the autumn. “Pennsylvania alone fields a force of deer hunters twice the size of the U.S. Army.”

If it were just the quantity of guns that are to blame for the day’s tragedy, one would think that these events would be more common. It is precisely because they are notcommon that we find ourselves appalled by the news reports. When it involves innocent children, it just adds to the horror.

Then we must ask ourselves if there is so much mental illness in the nation that it may be a contributing factor. Mental illness abounds as does a pharmacy of medications routinely doled out to those experiencing everything from depression to hallucinations. It is commonplace and very hard for a layman to spot. How does one know if the noisy neighbor might just also be a psychopath?

So, who do we blame?

I suggest we blame the alleged killer, XXXX XXXX [Cap'n's edit, I'm not allowing that coward's name to be on this page], age 20. He was found dead at the scene and, as of this writing, he may have committed suicide or been dispatched by police. He’s dead. He’s left his mark and will become a Wikipedia entry.

Some who don’t own a gun will purchase one. The ladies prefer those small enough to fit in a purse. The men like something with some heft to it.

The only thing we know for sure is that we all feel less secure in our daily lives, whether going to a movie or leaving a child off at school.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Dec 14, 2012

NASA Says It's NOT the End of the World

Okay, we're now at the point where the US Government Space Agency needs to produce a video to explain *why* you're a moron... or me, or all of us. Well, especially the people who think that the World is Ending on the Winter Solstice - 12/21/12

NASA is so confident that the world will not end on that day, that it has already published their video explaining why the world didn't end, set to be published the day before. (We have our sources here at Blasphemes to get these sort of things in advance...)

I suppose they can always hedge their bets if they're wrong - simply on the idea that no one will be around to yell and holler at them for being wrong.

But do take note of the NATO troops heading to Turkey, and massing on the Syrian border....

Dec 8, 2012

Domestic Drone Crashes into SWAT Team

In a recent investigative report by the Center for Responsive Politics and Hearst newspapers, the authors expressed concern that drones were being pushed into the domestic market before safety and ethics issues had been sufficiently addressed. Such fears played out when the first police department in the country to acquire an aerial drone crashed the $300,000 aircraft into its own SWAT team.

Don’t be surprised if you catch a federal fleet of sneaky spy drones soaring over your head in the near future, but don’t be too terrified — it’s all in the name of public safety... unless the near sighted armchair jockey drops it on your house.

Dec 6, 2012

Anti-Gun Legislator Arrested at Airport with a Gun

Just another day in the hypocritical People's Republic of Illinois.

Bond was set Thursday at $25,000 for State Senator Donne Trotter after he was charged with trying to bring a handgun onto an aircraft.

Trotter was arrested Wednesday at O'Hare International Airport, where security discovered the gun in Trotter's carry-on bag.

Defense attorney Joshua Herman said he hoped Trotter would be released on bail Thursday. Under Illinois law, Trotter would have to post 10 percent of the set bond, or $2,500, to be released.

This guy is gunning for Jessie Jr's empty chair. Seems like a perfect fit!

Nov 29, 2012

Joe Biden at Costco

Joe Biden went to Costco today...

Dang, I knew I should've gotten the flat bed. Look out lady, Jesus.

This looks like it's my reading level. Oooh, Curious George visits Israel!

Damn, that's a big pie. I wonder if I can eat the whole thing in one sitting... 
Only one way to find out.

I totally regret grabbing this sample of couscous. Where's the trash can?

"Hey look! They got phones without cords!" Lady, I'm totally prankin' you - you think I'm calling your mother, I'm actually calling Xi Jinping in China. 

Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

Henry Reich, the illustrator behind YouTube's sci-ed channel MinutePhysics, takes a stab at Neil deGrasse Tyson's response to the Templeton Foundation's question: Does the Universe have a purpose?

Nov 28, 2012

Hostess Bail Out

You probably heard that Hostess Bakery plants shut down due to a workers’ strike...
But you may not have heard how the company is being split up.

The State Department hired all the Twinkies.

The Secret Service hired all the HoHos.

The generals are sleeping with the Cupcakes.

And, the voters just sent all the Ding Dongs to Congress.

Nov 20, 2012


...ain't that the doggamned truth?
Well, let's put it into perspective...
What a deal!

Nov 19, 2012

No Kidding?

CIA Director David Petraeus, whose agency reads Americans' email and listens to their phone calls, loses his career because the FBI read his emails. Among other reasons.

(cartoon by Ted Rall)

Nov 8, 2012

Open Letter-- Rush Delivery

(posted by killre)

I don't even really want to do it.
This is a small site, unlikely to move the needle all that much, but still...
When one rises to the bait and banters with that boastful and bombastic bale of bile, blubber and belligerence that is Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, one unwillingly infuses the bellicose blowhard with a thimbleful of credibility... which is about one fluid ounce more than I'd like.
So, you see, I don't even really want to do it.
And yet...
Mr. Limbaugh on Wednesday was suffering an existential crisis.  Not his existence, mind you.  In the solar system of American conservatism, he... well, if he isn't the sun, he's Jupiter, complete with an eerie, audible, theremin-esque magnetic field you can tune in on your AM radio.  If you don't understand that reference, ask your grandfather.  While you're at it, have him explain what UHF means.
No, Mr. Limbaugh is not worried about himself.  He's worried about all those chunks of rock and frozen gas that whirl around him, their every move predicated by the way his ratings warp space-time.  In other words, the Republican Party.
The operative word in Grand Old Party, you see, is Old.  The party's backbone --and indeed most of the rest of the skeleton, muscles, vital organs and skin-- is aging white men.  Aging white men are not just a collection of people dying a slow, painful, undignified death; they are, as a demographic group, sliding inexorably toward the endangered species list.
What Tuesday night's election results (and recent census data) showed is not only do blacks, Hispanics, young voters and women favor Barack Obama specifically and Democrats generally, but most of those demographic groups are on the rise and will continue to become more important with each passing electoral cycle.  If the meat and potatoes of the Republican Party continues to be aging white men, said party is doomed to become the Whigs of the 21st century.  If you don't understand that reference, don't worry: no one else does, either... and that's precisely the point.
Hence, Mr. Limbaugh's existential crisis.  On Wednesday's show, he bloviated:
"Clarence Thomas!  [pause]  Herman Cain!  None of it counts!  [pause]  Don't tell me the Republican Party doesn't have outreach; we do.  But what are we supposed to do, now, we s'posed to, in order to get the Hispanic or Latino vote, does that MEAN [pause] open the borders and EMBRACE [pause] the illegals, is that what?  I, I want you to think about this!"


To:  Mr. Rush Limbaugh
Dear Sir,
One reason why "none of it counts" with Hispanics might be that you just named two black guys.  I realize they are one shade of brown and many Hispanics are another shade of brown, but that doesn't make them the same.  Hispanics don't count Clarence Thomas or Herman Cain as Hispanic.  Probably because they aren't.
While we're on the topic of blacks, though... According to the 2010 census, there are more than forty-two million (42,000,000) people in this country who identify themselves as African-American, wholly or in part.  You just named two (2).  I understand the difficulty in naming black Republicans.  I can only name five myself, and you helped me with two of them: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele; Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; former presidential candidate Herman Cain; and (outgoing) Florida Congressman Allen West.
I can literally count them on one hand.  One, two, three, four, five... and half of them are crazy.  Herman Cain: moderately crazy.  Allen West: certifiable; coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs(tm); absolutely bat-guano bonkers.  Clarence Thomas: probably nuts, but at least he has enough sense to keep his mouth shut.  (Seriously, the guy hasn't said a word since his confirmation hearings.  Not one.)
I don't know who you're arguing with over the Republican Party's "outreach," but I'll tell you what you say you don't want to be told: It doesn't have any.  The last member of your party who tried to get more blacks to vote Republican was Michael Steele, which is one big reason why one so often hears the word "former" in front of Steele's old job title.  You guys dislike the poor guy so much he couldn't even get a job at Fox News.  He had to go to MSNBC.  That's right, he went from being a token black in the Republican Party to being a token Republican on the Obama Network.  There, I said it so you didn't have to.
Oh, I just thought of one more black Republican: Ron Christie.  I'm convinced, though, that the only reason his skin is so brown is because once upon a time he had his nose so far up George W. Bush's [turd blossom] that Chris Mathews had to bring Pat Buchanan onto his show to argue with Christie from his left!
Now, on to Hispanics.  You say want to know, Mr. Limbaugh, whether or not the Republican Party, in an unthinkable and desperate gamble to survive, will have to open the border and embrace Latino immigrants.  My answer: Maybe, but let's start with baby steps.
Try not using the word "illegal," especially as a noun.  It's an adjective.  Feel free to look that up.  What's more, while it may be an accurate adjective, it's one the majority of Hispanics don't like, be they citizen or squatter.  (You already knew that, of course.  You and I both know you're just using it to be a prick, the same way you say "Democrat Party" instead of "Democratic Party," just to get on blue nerves.  Speaking personally, it works... but that doesn't make you any less petty and childish for doing it.)  You can afford to use the word "undocumented" instead of "illegal."  Everybody will still know who you mean, you'll just lose fewer votes.  That is what you wanted, wasn't it?
Besides, it's impossible to "open the border and embrace the illegals."  If you open the border, they're not illegal anymore.  If you can't wrap your head around that one, just ask Ronald Reagan.
Yours truly,
Fletcher Christian
P.S.... Bud "Great, Now I Have To Google 'Fletcher Christian'" Selig must go.

Nov 7, 2012

Forward Hope Beats Reality Pill

Americans have decided to stick with the guy they have now, rather than swallow the much needed austerity reality pill. Frankly, I'm convinced that it was down to haircuts and secret underwear.

What's next?

Mr. Obama will have two pressing issues on his agenda, whether he decides to ignore them or not. One, is the self-made fiscal cliff of 10% cuts across the board, and tax hikes - like chemotherapy on an appendicitis. Yes, the Republicans helped him make it too, but the bill is due, and if they don't come to a grand compromise before January, it's going to trigger a Eurozone-ish crisis in the States. He is facing the same Congress he's had the last two years, and they're going to be as obstructionist and obstinent about not letting him win as when the Tea Party people were screaming not to let anything else through.

And while all that's getting argued about, and stuck in gridlock, there is most certainly the nuclear Iran problem. That might try to settle itself out, with Israeli bombers and fighters, but I can't see a scenario where the US doesn't get involved - again, whether by accident or by design. It simply can't be talked away or blamed on a video.

I would suspect that there will be at least two more openings on the bench of the Supreme Court - which will be as divisive as the budget battles.

And then there will be investigations into Fast and Furious and Benghazi that will just pop up again.

Mr. Obama has two years, and then the Tea Party will be back on the streets - even angrier than the last cycle. Unless there are results, despite the Keynesian economic theories, he's going to have a tough time. And with all their social issues in their back pockets, expect the Republicans to put on some Mariachi hats and start talking to the folks at the burrito stands. Well, broken Spanish they might have picked up by watching Telemundo.

Nov 6, 2012

Oct 30, 2012

What? Me Worry?

Benghazi? No, that's Sandy. S A N D Y.

Oh God, You Devil

posted by killre

If there is a God, He is autistic.

Believe me, I would rather have opened with a bolder blaspheme.  "If there is a God, He is a sadistic prick," for instance; or, "If there is a God, He is a bi-polar monster."

Best of all would have been, "There is no God, and I can prove it," but this site is about honesty (which, unfortunately, is not always to say accuracy) and I, alas, can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a Grand Architect.  I'd hang my head in eternal shame were it not for the redemptive realization:  Neither can you.

In the spirit of honesty then, and not just to show I can blaspheme from both sides of the plate, let me point out something about the Theory of Intelligent Design that most non-believers won't admit, even to themselves:  In its purest form, it has merit.

Moons slingshot around planets, planets whirl like tireless dancers 'round their stars, stars sweep in majestic arcs past their galactic cores and it all happens at a speed both breathtakingly slow and mind-bendingly fast, and by a wildly improbable balance of forces.

Too big a picture? Okay... electrons zip around nuclei, atoms collide to form molecules, molecules cluster to form compounds, compounds commune into matter and occasionally that matter grows a brain able to grasp that quantum entanglement happens, but unable to say why.

Too small?  Try this: there is a mathematical precision to musical harmony.  It is not a human construct.  We did not invent music, we discovered it.  Difference.

What makes non-believers (and many may-believers) really gnash their teeth over Intelligent Design, though, is that true-believers rarely leave it in its purest form.  They adulterate it, and in doing so knock it from its precarious perch as a speculative science into the realm of, well, speculative theology by trying to answer questions like Who God Is, What God Said, When God Did such-and-such and, of course, How He Wants You To Act.

Which brings us, as you surely knew it would, to Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for a United States Senate seat from the grate state of Indiana, who, on October 23rd, said:

"I believe that life begins at conception.  Uh, the only exception I have for, uh, to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother.  I, I just... I struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is, uh, something that God intended to happen."

I suppose I shouldn't slam Mourdock.  He believes what he believes and deserves some credit for actually telling us what he believes, which is far more than can be said for the presidential candidate who personally endorsed him, Willard "Mitt" Romney.  (It is mildly possible that Mourdock is merely tacking right:  his Democratic opponent, Joe Donnelly, is also anti-abortion.  Mildly possible, as I said, albeit unlikely.)

Mourdock does lose a few points for the non-apology apology he later gave the Washington Post:

"If there was any interpretation other than what I intended, I really regret that.  Anyone who goes to the video tape and views that understands fully what I meant."

Yes, by all means, let's go to the tape: "I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

So you're saying, Mr. Mourdock, that the creator of the cosmos, who is credited with all sorts of neat-o abilities including, in The Gospel According to Matthew, the ability to initiate a pregnancy without physical intercourse of any kind --consensual, clinical or criminal-- and who loved the world so much that he gave us his only begotten son so we could kill that peace-loving hippie and thus save ourselves from our God-given violent nature... THAT creator not only intends the pregnancy to occur, but intends it to result from one human being overpowering another and forcibly violating and traumatizing them.  Because I have seen the tape, sir, and that's what I fully understand you to have meant.

If so, God is either a sadistic prick or dangerously, dangerously bi-polar.

That was my first thought, anyway, but there are other possibilities.  Perhaps God --whomever or whatever He, She or It is-- has simply lost interest over the eons, the way anyone with a life does with fantasy sports.  Perhaps God erred in creating an animal that could one day call him a monster.  On the other hand, maybe God recognizes his own monsterous flaws and created a species capable of adoring Him in spite of His imperfections.

Perhaps, of course, there is no God.

Or maybe, just maybe, there is some sort of creator who intimately understands the push and pull between gravity and centrifugal force, who intuitively grasps the dizzying workings of quantum mechanics, who can comprehend harmony in many of its myriad forms... but is completely stumped by the mysteries of human interaction, like someone with autism.

If so, He should be disregarded in this area.
P.S... Bud "Everyone Enjoy Your Free Taco, Courtesy of The Pagan Angel" Selig must go.

Oct 29, 2012

New Blasphemous Ad

Chapel is a bar in Auckland.
Ad agency: Ogilvy New Zealand.

I thought for sure that the Lord had better abs than that?

Oct 28, 2012


The True State of the Economy?

1. One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500
 or less in savings. 

2. A different recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not
have a single penny saved for emergencies.

3. In the United States today, there are close to 10 million households
that do not have a single bank account. That number has increased by about a
million since 2009.

4. Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest
regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

5. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million
over the past four years.

6. Median household income has fallen for four years in a row.
Overall, it has declined by more than $4000 over the past four years.

7. 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to
reduce household spending over the past year.

8. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of
middle class Americans say that it is more difficult to maintain a middle class
standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.

9. In the United States today, 77 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck
to paycheck at least some of the time.

10. In the United States today, more than 41 percent of all working age Americans
are not working.

11. Since January 2009, the "labor force" in the United States has increased by
827,000, but "those not in the labor force" has increased by 8,208,000. This is how
they have gotten the unemployment numbers to "come down".

12. Sadly, 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs,
but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

13. Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home
wages that are at or below the federal poverty level.

14. Right now, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing
low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

15. At this point, less than 25 percent of all jobs in the United States are "good jobs",
and that number continues to shrink.

16. There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes
on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

17. According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills
triple over the past 12 years.

18. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation
 for five years in a row.

19. In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based
health insurance. Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based
health insurance.

20. Health insurance premiums rose faster than the overall rate of inflation in 2011
and that is happening once again in 2012. In fact, it has been happening for a very
long time.

21. According to one recent survey, approximately 10 percent of all employers in
the United States plan to drop health coverage when key provisions of the new
health care law kick in less than two years from now.

22. Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners had 62 cents of debt
for every dollar that they earned. By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.

23. Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than
it was just 20 years ago.

24. Total consumer debt in the United States has risen by 1700 percent since 1971.

25. Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has
passed the one trillion dollar mark.

26. According to one recent survey, approximately one-third of all Americans are not
paying their bills on time at this point.

27. Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living at home with their

28. The percentage of Americans that find that they are able to retire when they reach
retirement age continues to decline. According to one new survey, 70 percent of middle
class Americans plan to work during retirement and 30 percent plan to work until they
are at least 80 years old.

29. The U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the recent

30. In 2010, the number of jobs created at new businesses in the United States was
less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.

31. Back in 2007, 19.2 percent of all American families had a net worth of zero or less
 than zero. By 2010, that figure had soared to 32.5 percent.

32. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes
that are either considered to be either "low income" or impoverished.

33. In the United States today, somewhere around 100 million Americans are considered
to be either "poor" or "near poor".

34. In October 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, 46.7 million
Americans are on food stamps.

35. Approximately one-fourth of all children in the United States are enrolled in the food
stamp program.

36. Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare
program run by the federal government. And that does not even count Social Security
or Medicare.

37. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans
live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the
federal government. Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.

The Political Commentator (

Oct 22, 2012

Project Censored

Probably too hip to have read this one. You certainly didn't read about it on FOX or MSNBC... but are probably right in your wheelhouse if you're reading this here.

On Project Censored's website, you can read details (with links to sources) on these and a lot more entries.
1. Signs of an Emerging Police State
2. Oceans in Peril
3. Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Worse than Anticipated
4. FBI Agents Responsible for Majority of Terrorist Plots in the United States
5. First Federal Reserve Audit Reveals Trillions Loaned to Major Banks
6. Small Network of Corporations Run the Global Economy
7. 2012: The International Year of Cooperatives
8. NATO War Crimes in Libya
9. Prison Slavery in Today’s USA
10. HR 347 Would Make Many Forms of Nonviolent Protest Illegal

Oct 15, 2012

The Real Party

For those of you who see through the left-right paradigm you can put this one on your lawn this election season:

Gold Sacks. I mean, even the name is right under your nose. It's just screaming a picture of Mr. Money Bags as their mascot...
                        is a great tool to look up contributions to any candidate.

Oct 11, 2012

At Last! (shrug)

posted by killre

Watching the Presidential Debate Series is a little like watching the Olympics:  It happens every four years; it last a few weeks (or seems to); a prodigious number of Americans tune in; most root according to the color of the uniforms ("I like the guy in the red tie."  "I like the one in blue!"); most could give neither a hoot nor a holler in the intervening 46 months or so, but now they are avid; and most can claim to know little about the rules and less about the subtleties when the event begins, but after 23 minutes of coverage all are experts ("Did you see the way he [parlanced] that [parlance]?  Now it all comes down to sticking the landing.").

Of course, the impending contest between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan is a vice presidential debate so, really, it's more like watching the Winter Olympics.  Specifically, the ski jump.

I choose that analogy because, let's face it, nearly everyone who tunes in Thursday night will be watching --some with anticipation, some with dread, some with a odd mixture of both-- to see if Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will fly higher, farther, faster, or go helicoptering off at an obtuse angle like the agony-of-defeat guy in the Wide World of Sports intro reel.

Ryan, of course, is expected to be Ryan.  His eyes will be the electric blue of the hero's lightsaber in a space opera, his posture will be just a bit stiff, his gestures will be just a bit herky-jerky, his cadence just a bit staccato.  Conservatives will silently deny the discomfiting self-awareness that they want to sleep with him; liberals will fight the urge to ball their fists and knock some of that naive smugness off his lopsided face.  Undecideds will be busy googling Ayn Rand... and misspelling it.

Hmmm.  Regular reader may safely skip the next paragraph.  It is nothing more than a shameless attempt to boost readership.

ine rand, ein rand, eine rand, ien rand, iene rand, eyne rand, eyene rand, ain rand, aine rand, eyen rand, i. n. rand, anne rynde (Hey... you never know.)

Biden, on the other hand, is a wild card.  Figuratively speaking, one never knows when ol' Uncle Joe is gonna have one too many before proposing a toast to the happy couple.  Hence the anticipation, and the dread.

Having watched 23 minutes of ski jump coverage (probably) in my life, I feel I am well-qualified to pontificate on the key components comprising a world-class jump:  a strong start, form, form, form, a well-timed leap, form, form, prayer (I'd assume), form, form and then [parlance] the landing.  No doubt you'll notice the frequency of the word "form."  Feel free to read that as "posture" if you like.  The first few anticipatory seconds of form are a gravity-friendly crouch; the few seconds of form that follow the well-timed leap (and it must be well-timed) are a ruler-straight, forward lean over one's ski tips.  Those few seconds can be fraught with dread...

...or they can be a thing of utter beauty.

The secret is in leaning just... far... enough... without going too far.

P.S.... Bud "Why Couldn't He Have Said, 'World Baseball Classic?'  After All, We Have Bats Helicoptering Into The Stands All The Time" Selig must go.

Oct 9, 2012

Big Bird, Big Business

How hosed is Obama after the debates? I can understand using a few key words, or even some of the half truths, or even the .0001% truths that Gov. Romney threw at the President.... But instead, they decided to go with this:

Remember, it's less than 30 days to the election. And for all of you pissed off about Big Bird getting knocked around - you know you can just donate to PBS? They give you, like, oh, 10 weeks of pledge drives every year.

And on top of that, Big Bird and Oscar aren't too thrilled with their intellectual property being used in the political theater... Here's their statement...

Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.

Oops. Gosh, I hope Mr. Obama can win back Elmo's love and affection in time? Just don't ask the Count to start counting to 16 Trillion in Debt.

Oct 8, 2012

Turner's Classy Movement

posted by killre
Thank you, Turner Family of Networks.  I just love being jerked around like you're a cadre of schoolyard bullies and I'm the weird kid who wears short pants and dark socks and --come on, you guys-- wants his bleepin' book back!  Really, I do.
That had to be my opening paragraph.  Its purpose is to let you know this post is about a television network playing sophomoric games with its viewers.  I'll circle around to how Turner Nets pooed this particular screwch after the following, fully-acknowledged digression...
Despite the fact that I now reside in this God-forsaken, provincial cluster of cul-de-sacs known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and despite the fact that this site's Official Baseball Player, Angel "The Pagan Angel" Pagan, now plays (quite well, I might add) for the San Francisco Giants, I just can't help rooting for one John B. "Dusty" Baker.
No, it isn't because of his recent health problems.  If you're looking for that kind of saccharine shinola, go to a site that doesn't use the word "impious" in its slogan.  I want Baker's Cincinnati Reds to win the National League Championship for three reasons...
3. They aren't the ball club formerly known as Those Poo-holes From Saint Loo.
2. The short-term heartbreak it would cause Giants fans along the way.
1. The far deeper, more subtle, more long-term dark shadow it will leave on the psyche of the Chicago Under-achievers and Bud-lighters Society (C.U.B.S.).
Baker, you see, has had three jobs in his managerial career:  the Giants, the C.U.B.S., and now the Reds.
With the Giants, he won three Manager of the Year Awards, two division titles, a League Championship, and woulda, coulda, shoulda won a World Series in 2002 if he hadn't been such a woeful tactician as to pitch to Troy Glaus --the Angel's leading hitter-- with a one-run lead and an open base in the eighth inning of Game Six... but I'm digressing from my digression.
With the Reds, he has already won two division titles in four seasons and, as of this keyboard clacking, has a two games to none lead in this year's divisional playoff-- not that the lying sacks at the Turner Family of Networks wanted me to know that... but more on them in a moment.
In between the Giants and the Reds, Baker managed the C.U.B.S.  During his tenure, they managed to win a division title and even --Holy Cow!-- more games than they lost two whole seasons in a row-- a franchise watershed that dated back more than three decades at that time.  One has to feel that if Baker now wins a pennant with Cincy, Cubs Nation will have to once again mutter to itself, "Dude, maybe there really is a curse..."
So I'm rooting for Dusty.
As much as I like National League baseball, though, I have other things to do and even I have to admit that even playoff baseball can be wonder-inducingly slow at times.  No problem-- I have a DVR.  Oh sure, it's a cheap, place-your-bets DVR, prone to suddenly dropping picture for 42-second stints with frightening regularity, deciding I don't want to watch Jon Stewart or Tina Fey after all, or that I do want to watch pro football even when I don't... but hey, it's better than not having a DVR.
So come Sunday morn I programmed a couple of recordings and went... um... out.  I... was... doing something... provincial, okay?  I was doing something provincial.  In my defense, it involved a ride on a choo-choo train, so... yeah.
Having returned home, I settled in to watch my recording of Washington at Saint Loo.  Throughout the telecast, TBS kept telling me the Yankees' game might be delayed by rain, but if/when it got underway, it would be on their sister network, TNT.
Fine by me.  I was avoiding the Yankees' game anyway, and if it was on TNT, like they said, it wouldn't interfere with my recording of the Reds-Giants game.
Imagine my surprise, then, when upon switching to my recording of the Reds and Giants on TBS, I found the Yankees instead.  Well, I told myself, maybe they decided to fore-go the usual pregame see-you-b.s. of milquetoast announcers asking idiot ex-jock analysts stupid questions and listening to them babble babble babble boo; they'll cover ten minutes or so of high-humidity american league ball, then transport us through the magic of satellite signals and signal switchers to the Game They Promised Us.
Wrong.  By the time I figured out that the preempting prevaricators were drilling me like their names were Black & Decker and mine was Spruce "Pine" Fir, I'd missed four --the most crucial four-- innings.  Not only had I missed all of the Reds early scoring (they didn't need much, it turned out), I missed more than half of Bronson Arroyo pitching a one-hitter through seven.
See, I can't even write that sentence the way it should have been written.  I should have been able to say, "...pitching a perfect game into the fifth," but I can't honestly do that because I spent most of that time down in a figurative Pulp Fiction cellar being almost casually Ving-Rhamed by people who get a small percentage of my cable bill!
Why could they not simply move the Yankees game to TNT and leave it there?  Because they didn't want to preempt their mini-marathon of six-year-old Law & Order episodes.
So thank you TBS, TNT and especially you Michael Wright, President of Programming.  On behalf of fans in the greater New York, Baltimore, Cincinnati and San Francisco markets, as well as fans of playoff baseball everywhere, thank you for jerking us around.  I guess it was silly to think that since you paid 2.4 billion dollars over eight years for the right to broadcast the early rounds of the MLB playoffs, you'd actually want people to watch the early rounds of the MLB playoffs.  Clearly, I don't understand the business you're in, Mr. Wright.
"Listen, the last thing in the world I want to have to do is scroll a banner across the bottom of the screen telling those 32 hard-core Law & Order fans out there that if they want to watch episodes 213 through 218 for the 17th time, they're gonna have to wait until Tuesday.
"After all, we made promises to those people."
P.S... Bud "Nobody Kills Anyone In My Store 'cept Me and Zed" Selig must go.

Oct 4, 2012

The Jape of the Schlock

posted by killre

"What mighty contests arise from trivial things," wrote Alexander Pope in 1712.  The phrase was later adopted by Hasbro as a slogan or a motto or perhaps merely a self-conscious justification for the board game Trivial Pursuit.

I'll be the first to admit the pursuit I'm about to embark upon is pretty trivial, but I just can't seem to let it go...

Chris Mathews was like a kid on Christmas morning during Wednesday's edition of his MSNBC show, Hardball.  Former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers and the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman joined him on set at the University of Denver to shake the presents 'neath the tree and try to guess what might transpire during the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Toward the end of the segment, their discussion centered on whether Obama would do better to pounce on any early opportunity Romney might give him or lay off and see if moderator Jim Lehrer (of PBS) would press Romney on the point in question.  (If not, Obama had the option of coming back to hit Romney on it later, albeit to less effect.)  Myers and Fineman voiced their opinions and then --just before the when-we-come-back and the cue to commercial-- Mathews coughed this bulky nugget onto the table (I'll paraphrase):

"Why did the cavalry leave the fort to fight the Indians?  Because they're cavalry."


A throw-away line, to be sure, intended to elicit a chuckle more than make a point, then carelessly crumpled and tossed in the general direction of the nearest recycling bin.  Yet here I go, chasing after it, picking it up, smoothing it out, puzzling over it...

Mathews delivered the one-two as if he were quoting someone.  Who, when or why the words were ever spoken I couldn't say.

At first blush, this cloudy question-and-answer gem might be taken as a sort of blue-collar wisdom akin to Yogi Berra's "It ain't over 'til it's over" (a saying that is true, by the way, except when it isn't).

A second consideration might lead one to the possibility that some not too deep-thinking 19th century military man didn't want to answer the question, so he decided to be snide about it.  Sort of an Ozzie Guillen type with mutton-chops.  Several years ago Guillen, then manager of MLB's Chicago White Sox, was suffering through a press interview following a tough loss.  One reporter had the temerity to ask him why he'd put such-and-such a pitcher into such-and-such a situation in the bottom of the whatever inning.  Guillen replied, "I made the pitching change because I'm the manager."

I'll pause at this point to permit you to ponder the profundity of that pronouncement.

I call it a Job v. God answer.  For those of you unfamiliar with the case of Job v. God, I'll summarize.  The name Job, by the way, is pronounced with a long vowel sound, as if it were spelled Joeb.

God was throwing a big party out at the lake house one weekend...

See, now, already some of you are starting to think about being offended.  To you I say with utter sincerity:  Trust me, you're going to be a lot angrier by the time this story is over.  Please refer yourself to the big word on the banner at the top of this page.

So anyway, God was throwing a big party out at the lake house one weekend.  He'd invited all the highest-ranking angels in the company.  Of course, they'd all have had to attend, even if they weren't among the most dedicated brown-nosers in the cosmos.

Lucifer arrived late.  On purpose.  This was back before he and God had their big falling out, but even back then Luci (as he was known to his friends) was more brash than most of his colleagues.

Yes, Lucifer was called Luci by his friends.  It was a different era, when proud men bore names like Mordecai, Hiram, Orville, Marion, Shirley... heck, even Willard.  (Actually, Heck was a name, too.)

Anyway, Lucifer arrived late, but almost immediately he realized that God was being a boastful douchebag this day.

"Luci!" the Old Man boomed.  "About time you showed up.  I was just telling the boys about My pet human Job.  Have you ever seen a more well-behaved human?"

Lucifer rolled his eyes.  "Of course he's well-behaved.  You've given him everything!  A beautiful family, good friends, wealth, power, land, stock options..."  He paused to knock back a shot of Hot Damn!, then snapped his fingers for another.  "I'll tell you something, Yaya--"

God had made it abundantly clear He didn't like being called Yaya.  He frowned.  For most, it was terrible to behold.  Of late, though, Lucifer had started to take perverse delight in displeasing the self-righteous Old Fart, so he bulled on.  "I'll tell you something, Yaya, I'll bet you that if you let me torture Job, I'll have him cussin' a blue streak in less than a month."

"You'll bet Me," God said.  "How much?"
Lucifer shrugged.  "Ten thousand bucks?"
God raised His eyebrows.  "That's a lot of scratch."
Lucifer smirked.  "Afraid You'll lose?"
The Almighty considered, then He spake so He unto him, and saying:  "You're on, you cheeky little dung beetle!"

So Lucifer threw all his energies into what he called Project Dirty Word.  He destroyed Job's house, killed Job's whole family, got Job fired from his, uh, job (short vowel), stole all his money, afflicted him with, like, three or four chronic diseases... pretty much took everything from him but his Social Security.  Even for Lucifer, that's a third rail.

Job was a tough old bird, but even the toughest among us has a breaking point.  He filed suit in Superior Court.  Once he'd gotten God face to face, he demanded to know why he'd been treated so unfairly.

Unwilling to admit that the whole sorry series of events stemmed from a childish wager He'd made with Lucifer, God pursued a stupifying defense.  He looked at Job and said, "Who the hell are you to question Me?"  Case closed.

Now, then... where was I?  Oh, right:

Why did the cavalry leave the fort to fight the Indians?  Because they're cavalry.

The problem with this pearl isn't just that the answer is unsatisfying in its over-simplicity; the problem, like the cases of Job v. God and Reporter v. Guillen, is that the answer never addresses the real question.  It presumes that there will be a fight, and that the question is where.  The real questions are, however, (a) why must there be a fight and (b) if there must be one, how best to wage it?

You see, the cavalry does not ride forth to engage the enemy simply because they are cavalry; instead, they are cavalry because someone must ride forth to engage the enemy.  That may sound like mumbo-jumbo to some, but it isn't.  The former is a case of tactics dictating strategy; the latter of strategy dictating tactics.

As to who in Chris Mathews' attempted analogy --Lehrer, Obama or Romney-- is supposed to be represented by the fort, the cavalry or the Indians, I still don't know...

...but I'm probably over-thinking it.

P.S.... Bud "I'll Have a Hot Damn! to Wash Down My Hot Dog" Selig must go.

Oct 3, 2012

The Thrill on Capitol Hill!

It's a photoshop tutorial. It goes through step by step to show you how to make this poster. Jump to the thing here

Blasphemes' Debate #1 Drinking Game

Drink when the following words or subjects are brought up:

Cayman Islands

47 percent

Built That

The Very Poor


Obama Care


When Obama mentions: George Bush, says "aaaahhhhhh....." (also and/or "uuuhhhhh") "Sasha and Malia, wealthy, fair share." Finish the bottle if he says "Mormon."

When Romney mentions: Jimmy Carter, laughs inappropriately, stammers, Job creators, olympics, class war fare. Finish the bottle if he says "birth certificate."

If either talk about dogs or start singing - move to Canada.

Debate #1 Tonight: The Tremor in Denver

Oh yeah! The contest of the two heavywei- er, the two nominees. Yeah... oh, hells ye- you know I can barely get enough enthusiasm to type, let alone tune into this borefest. Sure there are prescripted barbs and fanciful facts that won't past muster in the morning - but it's the debates... Time for the 5 or six people who haven't made up their minds about this thing to not watch, and not care about, and still be undecided. Hmmm... Coke or Pepsi... Tide or Cheer ... golly, this one is tough. Who's offering the coupon in the Sunday fliers? 

Look for those talking heads and spin-sters to already be downgrading Obama's performance and explaining away the tiny downtick after tonight, and the same air heads talking about how Romney needs to re-re-re-introduce himself to the voting public. 

It's very easy for me to conclude that it's all coming down to the haircut and who "looks like" the President. Really, it's a casting call, not a policy discussion. Maybe there's a few who are getting excited for Romney to make a Reagan "are you better off" echo -- but since it's Romney, he'll probably ACTUALLY ask, "Are you better off?" And then Obama will cock his head, light a smoke and say, "Bush." And then he'll blow smoke rings out of his ear.

If you've got some whiskey, join in on me with this and watch it live. I was almost thinking about bringing out the old Twitter account and playing along... but I really don't think all two of you give a rip, and I don't think I want to be interrupted from raising my bottle to my lips.

I will be surprised if they discuss sequestration = neither of them are owing up to that "little" problem.

Sep 26, 2012

Two Americas

Eating caviar in Zuccotti Park amongst
the Occupy Wall Street protests.
I hear about the 47% who are on food stamps or on some kind of Federal assistance - and then I hear about the folks who are standing in line to get a cell phone that's 'slightly' better than the phone they already have in their pockets.

That's the red state and the blue states. That's the state of the nation. There's such a divide between what is important, and why it's important - it isn't about Obama or Romney - it's about the complete and total disconnect from America First World and the other half.

What can be done about it? Well, I suppose a compromise for both camps of economic theory. To understand that the one half is going to pull the other one into the crapper fairly soon - and I actually can make a case for the have-nots doing it, but the other half already struck first with the housing market and financial meltdowns. And their complete and total refusal to understand that the 'takers' have no other option than to ask for a handout - or hand up - but they're just getting a finger from that side. At least, that's how it looks when Romney talks about the typical Obama voter.

To have a rational discussion about supply side economics - or Trickle Down (I always envision a two story outhouse for the visual) - it's fairly clear how spot on it works. Once the millionaires and the big corporations took huge hits in 08, they stopped spending. Immediately. It took, what, two months to trickle down to pink slips across the country? And now, since the 1% and companies, like Apple, are sitting on huge piles of cash, there's an outcry that they should start hiring or spending that money - That would be someone asking for supply side economics to open the spigot, would it not? Kind of ironic to bash that system when it's clear that's what you're asking for - even if you don't 'believe in it'.

So, there's a fiscal cliff on the horizon. No one, and I mean no one is talking about it. Tax breaks are expiring, 10% cuts in, er, everything is coming. And the current players in Washington caused it, and what have the done to address it? Go on vacation to bash their opponents in their re-election campaigns. Is it too soon to worry about the debt crisis (16 Trillion) before the economy is repaired and folks are back to work? I don't know, and neither does anyone else -- but what's dangerous, is that's what these politicians were paid and placed there to figure out.

At some point, someone's going to have to come to the rational middle, yes, both sides of the fringe, and realize that if half the country is playing out the Walking Dead - and the other half is watching it on AMC - it's all going to go to hell. And really quickly.

The 'rich' are going to have to discover, like they did in the Gilded Age, that if they fund the hospitals and the schools, their own personal habitat is less likely to be filled with zombies. Their own children will not be getting the polio and less likely to watch a reality show if the personal health and education of the society is improved. What's that worth?

And the other side of the fringe is going to have to concede that not all that charity work should be done by fifteen layers of bureaucrats in marble government facilities. If the problem is too large - then that's where government programs could assist - not necessarily operate unending programs. Like a consultancy.

To take it to the next level - maybe the PEOPLE should be more assertive and active in what programs should be funded and prioritized? A Kickstarter, hell, even a Reddit, of registered voters could tell the elected officials what the priorities for their communities are. The school playground is falling down, but there are 43 kids in your kid's class room. We can either hire another teacher, or fix the playground. Or maybe we can fund both, but we're going to have to ask for a bake sale. We could raise taxes, but wouldn't a voluntary hand out be more effective? A one time raising of funds over a constant and un-retractable pile of money once accounted for is expected to rise with inflation, forever? "Well, if we don't spend it, we won't get the funding next year" mentality is killing everyone.

Maybe it's just a pipe dream, but it doesn't seem impossible. Is it?