Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Headlines - Wednesday November 30

It's been nearly two months since Sarah Palin officially ruled out a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, but with the 2012 race in flux, some of her die-hard supporters are still hoping she might reconsider.

Conservatives 4 Palin, a group that has long pushed the former Alaska governor to run for president, announced in a blog post it has raised enough cash to run a TV ad in Iowa asking Palin to rethink her 2012 decision.
Per Twitter, the police are moving in on OccupyPhilly at this moment. A dispersal order has been given, which is usually what precedes an over the top unnecessarily violent response from the police, if history is any judge.

According to Reuters, a police raid in OccupyLA is imminent as well.
Salon: The Iran-contra scandal, 25 years later

Jesus, man, can't you get ANYTHING right?

Fresh from forgetting which government agency he would abolish and in which century the American Revolution took place, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) has now forgotten the country's legal voting age.

Perry, who during a recent Republican presidential debate struggled for nearly a minute to remember the third agency on a list of three federal departments that he said he wanted to eliminate, slipped up just as he was wrapping up his prepared remarks at his third of four events in the Granite State. "Those of you that will be 21 by Nov. 12th, I ask for your support and your vote," Perry said to a crowd that included college students. "Those of you who won't be -- just work hard -- because you are going to inherit this and you're counting on us to get this right. The idea that you're looking at a $15-trillion debt, that you're looking at entitlement programs that will not be there for you if we continue on this path, is not fair to you and it's not right."

Voting age is 18 and the election is on November 6.

Gun-toting theocratic hairpiece.


One of the great triumphs of Republican spin has been their ability to convince their base that they don't work for the government. To illustrate this, let's look at the common Republican argument that government doesn't create jobs. They stand there in their suits bought with a government paycheck, in a government-supplied office, with government-supplied staff, telling us -- in all seriousness, mind you -- that the government has never created a single job. Meanwhile, Republican candidates -- at least, those who happen to be governors and former governors -- compete over which created the most jobs in their states. Cognitive dissonance rules the day, as Republicans try to live in what would, to any rational person, be a confusing whirl of conflicting messages and beliefs. Keep reading:


Nation's 10-Year-Old Boys:
'If You See Someone Raping Us, Please Call The Police'


Karl Rove On Barney Frank

"Mr. Frank's departure in January 2013 will remove from the House one of its more offensive members. Until then, this petulant, abrasive and downright nasty Congressman will keep making his presence known. However, it is unlikely that Mr. Frank is leaving for the reason he should depart Congress: out of shame for all he did to stop reform of Fannie and Freddie while there was still time to avert the disaster that almost took down the American economy. [snip] Mr. Frank is incapable of feeling shame, regret or a sense of personal responsibility. These are emotions for lesser beings. He's leaving because of redistricting or to avoid having to raise money or facing those nasty little voters every two years. The House will be a better place for his departure." - Karl Rove, in an essay posted on Fox News.
Here's what the tea party thinks:
According to Bloomberg News, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson leaked inside information to hedge fund traders prior to the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the 2008 financial crisis.
Arizona gun nuts pose children with assault rifles and Santa

Can't wait 'til Easter!

Have you somehow forgotten about Arizona these past few days? Let's remember it all over again, for the holidays! Nothing says "mythology of the peaceful savior Jesus" like an Arizona gun club hosting a Guns 'n Santa family foto event. "I thinks it's going to be all in fun from those who support the second amendment and those who don't," a local gun nut tells the teevee news in Phoenix. We heartily agree! READ MORE »


A Pew Research poll finds that more Americans now disagree with the Tea Party, including voters in districts represented by one of the 60 Tea Party Caucus members who are now split on the movement. 27 percent disagreeing with the Tea Party now, an opinion that"has flipped since a year ago" when 27 percent agreed with the movement and only 22 percent disagreed.


Britain will remove diplomats from its embassy in Tehran a day after Iranian protesters stormed the British Embassy there, it announced today. Iranian protesters, angry over aggressive new sanctions put in place by the British, tore down the British flag, chanted "Death to England," and briefly detained six staff members yesterday.


Herman Cain about to quit because of practicing his love too much

'I'll catch you ladies in a few days.'

Briefly popular ignoramus Herman Cain was already sinking in the GOP primary polls like every other random dingbat the party has puked up for consideration during this long, long 2012 campaign season. But the latest scandal, that he carried on a 13-year-long affair with a lady who was not his wife, seems to be enough to finish him off. In the "next several days," Cain will decide whether he wants to go back to being a simple millionaire riding around in limos with all his ladies, promoting his books. READ MORE » 


WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial -- prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.


The annual pay of the 1% as compared to the rest of us:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Headlines - Tuesday November 29

A pretty lady claims she had a 13-year-long sexytime affair with Herman Cain, the chain restaurant executive who is apparently still running for president. Coincidentally, the lady claims Herman quit wanting to get sexytime with her just eight months ago, just before he launched his presidential campaign in May. Cain denies the sexytime, but says he knows the lady and was "just trying to help her financially," which is a very kind thing to do! Who would not appreciate some financial help from a wealthy businessman like Herman Cain? And who among us would turn down maybe 13 years of getting busy with Herman Cain, for romantic reasons? READ MORE » 
This may be the most scathing political ad out of the DNC I've ever seen, and it is glorious.

Corporate profits versus personal income, via the New York Times:

More information here.



This is insanely bad news:

Japan's science ministry says 8 per cent of the country's surface area has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

It says more than 30,000 square kilometres of the country has been blanketed by radioactive caesium.

The ministry says most of the contamination was caused by four large plumes of radiation spewed out by the Fukushima nuclear plant in the first two weeks after meltdowns.

The government says some of the radioactive material fell with rain and snow, leaving the affected areas with accumulations of more than 10,000 becquerels of caesium per square metre.

Think Progress has more.


Since Occupy Wall Street began, American police officers have arrested thousands of people for exercising their constitutionally protected right to protest. On Monday or Tuesday, the US Senate will vote on a bill that would give the President the ability to order the military to arrest and imprison American citizens anywhere in the world for an indefinite period of time.

A provision of S. 1867, or the National Defense Authorization Act bill, written by Senators John McCain and Carl Levin, declares American soil a battlefield and allows the President and all future Chief Executives to order the military to arrest and detain American citizens, innocent or not, without charge or trial. In other words, if this bill passes and the President signs it, OWS protesters or any American could end up arrested and indefinitely locked up by the military without the guaranteed right to due process or a speedy trial.

This bill was written in secret and approved by committee without a single hearing. Senate Republicans support the bill and enough Democrats support it to give it a great chance of passing. This provision does have opponents. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill and even Ron Paul is concerned enough to bring it up during one of the GOP debates. An amendment called the Udall Amendment has been offered by Democratic Senator Mark Udall that would delete the dangerous provision.

If you are an American citizen, protect your constitutional rights. Call your senator and tell them to approve of the Udall Amendment. No American citizen should be arrested by the military and held indefinitely without charge or trial. It's not conducive to American values and would give the military and the government more power over the American citizenry. The last time Americans had to deal with an overreaching military was during the Revolutionary era. Because of that, the Founders included the 3rd Amendment to ban the quartering of troops during times of war and peace. Once again, Americans are under threat of dealing with a military that has more power than it should have. And it could cost us most of the freedoms we tend to take for granted.

Where's our bailout? "While the nation's largest banks were publicly reassuring nervous investors of their stability during the height of the financial crisis, they were also quietly approaching the Federal Reserve, hat in hand. The total price tag: $7.77 trillion, many times the amount of the better-known TARP bailout. ... The magnitude of the government's assistance to struggling banks allowed them to grow even bigger and continue paying executives billions in compensation, a report in Bloomberg Markets January issue said Monday. ... A win in court against a group representing the banks and a FOIA request filed by Bloomberg LP revealed the extent of the central bank's largesse -- as well as the $13 billion in profits banks earned from those bailouts. The so called "big six" -- JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- accounted for $4.8 billion of that total -- nearly a quarter of their net income during that time. ... Those borrowed trillions were a deeply-buried secret. It appears that even high-ranking Fed officials didn't know about the scale of the handouts. According to Bloomberg, then-president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Gary H. Stern "wasn't aware of the magnitude," and unnamed sources say that even top aides to Treasury Department head Henry Paulson were kept in the dark."
1 Percent No One Great
Nicholas Kristof: Boy, this irritates me. Bloomberg reports that the Fed gave banks secret low-interest loans that netted them $13 billion in profits. That worked to rescue them, and we had to save the too-big-too-fail banks to avoid blowing up the economy. But the next step should have been to shrink them to prevent the same thing from happening again. And if we rescue big banks we should rescue struggling homeowners rather than have them lose their homes -- they collectively have a huge impact on the economy as well. Grrrr.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Headlines - Monday November 28

The Friendly Atheist tells the story of the Christian bookstore who denied a patron's request to place the above Bible verse on a t-shirt.
They had a t-shirt printer that was used to print verses. I asked if a printing of a Timothy 2:12 shirt was reasonable. Being Christians, they had never looked that far into the Bible, so they looked it up with their handy dandy on site Bible. When they recited the verse (A woman happened to be the reader of the Bible) they informed me of how disrespectful of their religion I was being. I was unsure of how I was being disrespectful by asking for a verse from their Holy Book.
Proverbs 23:2. doesn't go over well either.
The Republican witch-hunt over clean-energy loans granted by the Department of Energy that was launched after the collapse of Solyndra has lead to a the door steps of SunPower Corp. The problem for the Republicans is that SunPower Corp. is constructing solar installations for the Department of Defense. The Republican sacred-cow. Woops!

If you want to know why the conversation surrounding the Solyndra witch-hunt has gone silent, this is why.

By the way, the Navy has committed to obtaining 50% of its energy needs from alternative sources by 2020. Does this mean the DoD has been hijacked by tree-hugging, liberal socialists?


Nicholas Kristof: Boy, this irritates me. Bloomberg reports that the Fed gave banks secret low-interest loans that netted them $13 billion in profits. That worked to rescue them, and we had to save the too-big-too-fail banks to avoid blowing up the economy. But the next step should have been to shrink them to prevent the same thing from happening again. And if we rescue big banks we should rescue struggling homeowners rather than have them lose their homes -- they collectively have a huge impact on the economy as well. Grrrr.


A U.S. teenager who wrote a disparaging tweet about Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Sunday that she is rejecting her high school principal's demand for a written apology.

Emma Sullivan, 18, said she isn't sorry and doesn't think such a letter would be sincere.

Go Emma!
Walking over the dead body? Really? Well Merry F-ing Christmas to all of the low life shoppers who couldn't be bothered to help someone in need. NBC:
Family and friends were stunned by the loss of a West Virginia man who died while shopping on Black Friday as fellow bargain hunters reportedly walked around — and even over — the man's body.

Family members told WSAZ-TV that 61-year-old Walter Vance of Logan County, W. Va., had become ill and collapsed while shopping for Christmas decorations inside Target in South Charleston. He later died after being taken to the hospital, family said.

Witnesses told the NBC News affiliate in Charleston, W. Wa., that shoppers walked around and even over Vance's body.

Remember that guy in Georgia who swore not to hire anyone as long as Obama stays in office? Some helpful context:

(1) Bill Looman is hardly some regular joe SBO (small business owner) who snapped. The guy has organized fringe militia gangs for quite some time. He had a recent chat with the Feds that might have to do with his links to more than one well-publicized domestic terrorism story, or it might concern his promise to join an armed rebellion if Obama wins another term. Could be both!

(2) His firm provides cranes and chain hoists that are useful, for example, in large factory operations. Anyone in Looman's line of work would be less than thrilled about the NLRB and liberal gummint for trying to shutter a new Boeing plant after South Carolina spent $270 million on top of Boeing's almost $1 billion to build it. Tack on Toyota's recent recall issues and the region's latent racial prejudice which, to put it generously, may have some indirect influence on Mr. Looman, and the main surprise is that he has not already gone redneck rambo on some local IRS office.


Just when you think that maybe the media might have finally turned the corner and started doing some real reporting there comes this: 800 words on Willard's hair in the NYTimes.

Unbelievably, his stylist claims that, Reagan-like, Willard does not color it or use any styling products. Of course, Saint Ronnie used left-over black face from his minstrel show days shoe polish, so no one can be accused of lying.


Ted Frier: Deficits Really Don't Matter to Republicans


Skippy's environmental news stories Sunday.


Greg Sargent: Debunking the conservative argument about the rich and taxes, in three easy charts



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Headlines - Sunday November 27

The best ad for marriage equality.
Pakistan Blocks NATO Supply Route to Afghanistan After Raid Kills 28
Is Homeland Security Coordinating the OWS Evictions? No! They're not.
I've been sick for the past few weeks, and my relationship with food is becoming very complicated. That whole food equals pain thing is really getting to me. Plus, there's a limited overlap between the gall bladder diet and the diverticulitis diet (you can't eat any fiber during a flareup). Now, after a week eating canned soup, I read this:

Is it safe to eat canned foods?

That's a question worth asking after a new study found a huge spike in urinary levels of the chemical bisphenol A – commonly known as BPA – in a group of volunteers who ate canned vegetable soup for several days. BPA, which has been linked to a variety of health disorders, is used in the lining of many food and beverage cans.

The results suggest BPA is being absorbed by the canned food and then ingested by consumers.

"We were very surprised by the numbers," said the senior author of the study, Karin Michels of Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It makes you feel a little uneasy about cans."

The experiment involved 75 participants. Half of them were asked to eat a 12-ounce bowl of canned vegetable soup at lunch for five consecutive days. After a two-day break, they consumed the same-sized serving of fresh vegetable soup for five lunches in a row. The other volunteers did the experiment in the reverse order – starting with five days of fresh soup, followed by five lunches of canned soup.

Urine samples were collected on several occasions, usually a few hours after the noon-time meal.

The analysis revealed that when participants ate the canned soup they experienced more than a 1,000 per cent increase in their urinary concentrations of BPA, compared to when they dined on fresh soup.

Oh, and Americans had twice as much BPA in their systems as Canadians.


When for-profit get public dollars ......

The public gets screwed. Every. Time. The latest in an infinite line of examples is the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

John Cheves at the Herald:

Kentucky has paid $97 million since 1999 through its state scholarships to privately owned, for-profit colleges, including several under investigation for alleged consumer fraud or other possible wrongdoing, according to a Lexington Herald-Leader review of public records.

Some states, such as Ohio, have moved to reduce for-profit colleges' access to state educational aid, citing a need to put students at state colleges first in a time of repeated budget cuts.

Kentucky has not. The state gives nearly 8 percent of need-based student aid to for-profit colleges, which is twice the national average, according to a survey by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs. Only four states give a bigger portion of need-based aid to the industry, the association found.

Among Kentucky's for-profit schools to collect state aid was Decker College in Louisville, which went bankrupt in 2005 amid allegations of fraud and inadequate accreditation, leaving hundreds of students with loan debt and no chance to obtain degrees. Another, the Sullivan University System, saw a nearly 1,000 percent increase in its assets from 1998 to 2009, accumulating $76 million, according to court records.

A few Democratic lawmakers want to regulate this taxpayer subsidy in the upcoming session of the General Assembly. I don't know how much money the for-profit "college" industry invests in our lege, but my guess is that it's enough to at least kill any such bill, and might be enough to force a bill that actually increases the subsidy.

Some for-profit colleges in Kentucky charge $30,000 a year or more for two-year vocational degrees related to clerical jobs in offices or cooking in restaurants. Data suggest that many of the students struggle later. Nationally, students at for-profit schools represent 26 percent of federal student loan borrowers and 43 percent of subsequent loan defaults, according to federal data.

Funny how the most egregious examples of government "waste" always involve money given to private companies.


Shifting blame for pollution onto individuals is a long-standing corporate trick. Never mind that industrial sludge setting the Cuyahoga River on fire - look at the trash litter bugs throw along the road! It's not coal dust from the mines that's killing you - it's your smoking! Toxins in your drinking water didn't cause your miscarriage - it's that beer you had six months ago!

Industrial poisoning by corporations isn't threatening human survival; it's that seven billionth baby!

Erik Loomis:

A bit of an older piece now, but Ian Angus and Simon Butler provide some real solid evidence to a point I have made repeatedly - that overpopulation is far from the greatest environmental problem we face:

But most of the 7 billion are not endangering the earth. The majority of the world's people don't destroy forests, don't wipe out endangered species, don't pollute rivers and oceans, and emit essentially no greenhouse gases.

Even in the rich countries of the Global North, most environmental destruction is caused not by individuals or households, but by mines, factories, and power plants run by corporations that care more about profit than about humanity's survival.

No reduction in U.S. population would have stopped BP from poisoning the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Lower birthrates won't shut down Canada's tar sands, which Bill McKibben has justly called one of the most staggering crimes the world has ever seen.

Universal access to birth control should be a fundamental human right - but it would not have prevented Shell's massive destruction of ecosystems in the Niger River delta, or the immeasurable damage that Chevron has caused to rainforests in Ecuador.

Ironically, while populationist groups focus attention on the 7 billion, protestors in the worldwide Occupy movement have identified the real source of environmental destruction: not the 7 billion, but the 1%, the handful of millionaires and billionaires who own more, consume more, control more, and destroy more than all the rest of us put together.

Of course, rising consumption rates by a growing middle class in China, India, Brazil, and other developing world nations complicate this narrative, but the larger point stands-population is not the major cause for environmental degradation. Rather, the profit motive and capitalist control over the potential regulatory power of governments are much greater problems.

Keep recycling, keep rejecting over-packaging, keep cutting back on the driving and flying - but never forget who the big culprits are.


h/t Dick:

God and man and William F. Buckley 

Climate summit faces big emitters' stalling tactics 

War By Remote Control: Drones Make It Easy

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Headlines - Saturday November 26

Andy Borowitz: "As Egyptians risk their lives for new government, Americans bravely do the same for new flat screens."
Talking Points Memo covers the launch of Our Lord and Savior's birthday celebration season, and it looks like the War on Christmas is failing. Americans continue to celebrate Christ's birth in the traditional manner:

A Wal-Mart shopper honors the season by spreading spicy fragrance:
In the first case, police report a shopper attempted to gain a competitive advantage over her fellow patrons at a Wal-Mart store in Porter Ranch, Calif., at about 10 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Here's what that was like, according to witness accounts in the Los Angeles Times:

"I heard screaming and I heard yelling," said Lopez, 18. "Moments later, my throat stung. I was coughing really bad and watering up."
Other shoppers honored the beginning of the Season in more traditional ways:
In Rome, N.Y., a man was arrested after "several shoppers at the electronics department were pushed to the ground and several fights broke out," according to NBC3 in Syracuse. And in Cave Creek, Ariz., the bomb squad took a suspected explosive device out of a Wal-Mart employee break room.

Other incidents occurred outside Wal-Mart stores early in the morning of Black Friday. In Myrtle Beach, S.C., a woman was shot in the foot during an armed robbery outside a Wal-Mart at around 1 AM. In San Leandro, Calif., a man was reportedly shot outside a Wal-Mart at about 2 a.m. "after suspects asked the victims for their items and were refused," leading to a fight.
Even the police were overcome with the spirit of the season:

Sgt. Roland Davis of Kinston Public Safety says Walmart hired off-duty police officers to help with security during their Black Friday event today," reports WITN-TV. "Davis says an officer was trying to quell a disturbance and make an arrest, and used pepper spray.

Jesus Facepalm

The Iraqi Ministry of Planning estimates that about 9 percent of the country's women, or about 900,000, are widows. A separate government agency, the Ministry of Women, issued a statement in June putting the figure at one million.


Pakistan is pretty pissed off right now as a NATO gunship assault on a border checkpoint near Afghanistan has resulted in at least 26 dead Pakistani soldiers so far.


BlueGal: Time Magazine isn't taking any chances that you'll look at what's going on around you and start asking questions. They're telling you flat out that getting screwed over by the oligarchy is GOOD for you.

Today, Faux Noise misses no excuse to get its panties in a twist about the Secret Kenyan Muslim Manchurian Candidate in the White House:
President Obama did not include any reference to God during his weekly address titled, "On Thanksgiving, Grateful for the Men and Women Who Defend Our Country."

His remarks were void of any religious references although Thanksgiving is a holiday traditionally steeped in giving thanks and praise to God.

The president said his family was "reflecting on how truly lucky we truly are."

For many Americans, though, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on how blessed and thankful they are.

The president said the "most American of blessings" is the "chance to determine our own destiny."

He called the very first Thanksgiving a "celebration of community"

"We're also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve in soup kitchens and shelters, making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay," he said. "This sense of mutual responsibility – the idea that I am my brother's keeper; that I am my sister's keeper – has always been a part of what makes our country special."

The president said that belief is "one of the reasons the Thanksgiving tradition has endured."

But nowhere in the 11-paragraph address does he mention the Almighty.

Because after all, unless you invoke the Baby Jesus 5,498,632 times a day, God only knows what might happen. Hell, you might start to think....and thinking means asking questions. And we mustn't have that. It would be unseemly.
Fun fact: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum issued Thanksgiving statements that omitted any references to God but no one cares about that.

There have been many reports of violence on this Black Friday, but none may be as horrific as this.

Witnesses say police officers tackled a grandfather at an Arizona Wal-Mart Friday, leaving him bloody and unconscious. [...]

After one man's grandson got trampled, he put the video game he was holding in his waistband in order to free up his hands and lift the boy out of the crowd, according to KSAZ.

That's when cops moved in, slamming the grandfather's head on the hard Wal-Mart floor. The aftermath was caught on cell phone video.

You can watch the video after the jump. It's not for the squeamish.


Violence! Massive crowds! Police brutality! Terror! Injuries!

It's not an Occupy protest or another nation demanding freedom from oppression. It's Thanksgiving night at Walmart.

Naturally, Americans can't be dignified and civilized about our obvious consumerism. Every year, we embarrass ourselves by suiting up in sweatpants, sleeping bags and sports-logo ballcaps, and we congregate into unwashed, freezing herds for an opportunity to buy lots of useless crap just because it's on sale.

We're not just buying cheap stuff, we're selling our collective dignity. Yes, I get it, we're a consumer society now. I'm just as guilty as most. But I wish we could exercise our need for things in a way that didn't telegraph to the world that Americans are mouth-breathing zombies who are only willing to unify behind a Cause whenever Best Buy summons us to its blue and yellow cathedral.

I know, I'm being a Debbie Downer all over Black Friday. In this case, however, we need more Debbie Downers. Too few people are shocked by the midnight (or earlier) insanity — specifically, the participants. Anyone who can review the morning-after photos of crazed, bug-eyed crowds and stampeding violence without being repulsed and overwhelmed with a sense of loathing have totally sold their souls to the consumer gods who thrive on thoughtless gluttony. But if we're still able to muster some shame and embarrassment for our fellow Americans who just had to "do Black Friday," then we might be okay.

What I'm saying here is, yes, we all buy things. We buy things we need and we buy things we don't need. We own lots of stuff, and, in the Tyler Durden sense, too much of our stuff owns us. All I'm asking is that we try to worship with some civility and self-respect.



time covers.jpg

Dear USA,

Time Magazine thinks you're pea-brained reality deniers.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Headlines - Friday November 25

Emily Chung : Arctic Sea Ice Shrinking at 'Unprecedented' Levels

When the GOP debate meets Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special

Jill: Maybe we NEED a War on Christmas
funny pictures - Fud coma  we haz it
Evidently, Kansas governor Sam Brownback (R) doesn't believe in the First Amendment

...or Tinker v. Des Moines (393 U.S. 503, 1969).

....First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate....

Also, in a Federal District Court in Pennsylvania in 2003, Flaherty v. Keystone Oaks School District [pdf]:

"The Supreme Court has held time and again, both within and out side of the school context, that the mere fact that someone might take offense at the content of speech is not sufficient justification for prohibiting it."

On Twitter a few days ago:

@emmakate988 Emma Sullivan
Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot
21 Nov

Disparaging tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback lands Kansas teen in principal's office

By Suzanne Perez Tobias
The Wichita Eagle

...Brownback's office discovered the tweet via a Web search for his name, officials said.

Niomi Burget, Brownback's scheduling secretary, e-mailed a screen shot of the tweet to the Youth in Government sponsor at Shawnee Mission East, writing: "I don't know if this was someone with your group, but thought if it was, you might want it brought to your attention...."

....Sullivan's older sister, Olivia, a sophomore majoring in political science at Wichita State University, said she thinks the controversy amounts to Brownback "censoring the opinion of a student."

"This is something she said on her personal Twitter account," Olivia Sullivan said.

"It's unacceptable, first of all, to censor her and punish her for what she said. But for the governor and his staff to waste their time getting a high school student in trouble? That's ridiculous...."

The student is supposedly composing a letter of apology. An astute student could possibly compose a meaningful letter which might educate Governor Brownback and others on his staff about perspective.

"...But for the governor and his staff to waste their time getting a high school student in trouble? That's ridiculous..."

Yes, it is. It's a symptom of the right wingnut republican universe.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Headlines - Thursday November 24

Funny Thanksgiving Ecard: May your Thanksgiving dinner conversation be more coherent than a Republican presidential debate.
The Ironic News: What is So Funny About Occupy Wall Street?
FAKERY: About That Stigmata, Father...

In 2002 Pope John Paul II made some dead priest a saint because of the way his palms bled every day for 50 years. Just like Jeebus! Of course, that's assuming that Jeebus also used carbolic acid to eat away his hands.
Italian historian Professor Sergio Luzzatto has discovered documents including a letter from a pharmacist who arranged carbolic acid for Pio. Professor Luzzatto suggests in Padre Pio: Miracle and Politics in a Secular Age that it was the corrosive acid that caused the bleeding on the saint's hands. He also said many had expressed doubts and suggested the Vatican only canonised Pio – real name Francesco Forgione – because of public pressure. "Human beings – and particularly the most fragile among them – will still need to look at figures such as Padre Pio to get, if not miracles, then at least consolation and hope," Professor Luzzatto said, according the the Sun.
The Catholic Anti-Defamation League dismissed the new claims by reminding everybody that "papal infallibility" makes it impossible to wrongly name someone to be a saint. So there!  


According to the Congressional Budget Office, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been more beneficial for the economy than previous estimates indicated, and the lingering effects of it can still be seen more than one year after it ended.

The economy would have been in much worse shape without the 2009 stimulus—-which increased employment in the third quarter of this year by as many as 3.3 million full-time jobs, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office. [...]

The CBO figures released Tuesday estimate that the stimulus package raised the gross domestic product this past quarter by 0.3 percent to 1.9 percent.

The CBO report provided a broad range of the estimated number of full-time jobs created because of the stimulus – from a low of 500,000 to a high of 3.3 million jobs. [...]

The effects of the stimulus are fading after having peaked in the first half of 2010, the report noted.

However, the CBO estimates that the stimulus will raise GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.8 percent next year and employment by 200,000 to 1.1 million jobs.

As we now know, the economy was in far worse shape when President Obama took office than anyone had anticipated. And because of our collective underestimate, the stimulus package passed in 2009 was smaller than it should have been.

With that said however, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus), is still stimulating the economy more than one year after its expiration in early 2010.

The stimulus was not a failure.


The Pat Robertson teevee show has been desegregated, apparently by force, and now allows a Negress interviewer to interview "her kind" (Condoleezza Rice). What are the mysterious black people up to, this Thanksgiving? The hip-hop? Smokin' crack? Crunking? Voodoo? Hankering for the Original Constitution days when they were slaves? No, worse. They are eating bizarre food dishes and claiming it's part of American Thanksgiving. Pat Robertson is aghast. READ MORE »


'Tis the season to donate to charitable organizations that don't promote bigotry against our LGBT friends.


Lots more pepper spray reviews on Amazon.

"Despite Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly's assurance that this harmless vegetable mist is a "food product", I found it wholly unsuitable for eating. It caused an extraordinarily painful burning sensation in the mucous membranes of my upper respiratory tract and the tissue surrounding my eyes, resulting temporary blindness which lasted from 15-30 minutes, inflammation of the skin which lasted from 45 to 60 minutes, and upper body spasms which forced me to bend forward in fits of uncontrollable coughing that made it difficult to breathe or speak for between 3 and 15 minutes. While there are many pleasurable ways to ingest fruits of the genus Capsicum, a nice New Mexico-style green Chile sauce on a stuffed sopaipilla for example, I found this product unsatisfactory."


The obstacle is not technology nor money; it's politics. Specifically, repugs who prefer the earth turn to charcoal tomorrow rather than cut carbon emissions by a microgram. "The gap between where greenhouse gas emissions are headed and where they need to be for climate targets can be bridged cheaply, says a UN report. It says that if sectors such as energy, farming, forestry and transport all cut emissions by feasible amounts, global warming can be kept below 2C. But countries' current pledges are not enough to meet the 2C target. The report, Bridging the Emissions Gap, comes shortly before this year's UN climate summit opens in South Africa. The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) combined analyses from 28 research centres around the world, looking both at projections of future emissions growth and at what can be achieved in different sectors. Nothing revolutionary is needed, they conclude, if every sector makes its appropriate cuts. And the cost would be small. "At the beginning, the reductions are cost-neutral - or you can gain because they include things like energy efficiency that save fuel costs," said Joseph Alcamo, Unep's chief scientist. "We didn't find that any technological breakthroughs were needed to close the gap." '


Give thanks to those who have earned it

I am sick and fucking tired of people publicly "thanking" a non-existent invisible sky wizard for positive events brought about by the hard work and intelligence of actual, living, adult human beings.

This Thanksgiving, let's try to direct our thanks to those who are actually responsible.

Thankful for the food in front of you?  Thank the farmers who grew and raised it, the taxpayers who subsidize those farmers, the illegal immigrants who slave - literally - to harvest it, the truck drivers who transport it, the grocers who sell it, and the people at the table who bought it, prepared it, cooked it and served it.

Thankful for your health and that of your family and friends? Thank the doctors, nurses and technicians who keep you healthy.  Thank modern medical science, which is brought to us by poorly-paid researchers at public universities supported by tax dollars paid primarily by the 99 percent, and hardly at all by millionaires and billionaires.

Thankful for your job? Thank the taxpayers who fund the economic stimulus of government spending that supports our economy and is the only thing that actually does, in reality, create jobs.

Thankful for the technology that makes your life easier and all the cool toys it provides, from smartphones to the cloud to live streaming? Thank government agency DARPA, which really did invent the Internet (with support from congressman Al Gore).

Thankful for your home?  Thank the skilled and probably unionized workers who built it, and the thousands of public employees - also probably unionized - who provide water and electricity to your home, maintain the roads around your home, and protect your home from fire, floods and criminals.

Thankful for your children? Thank the teachers and principals and janitors who toil thanklessly in the public school system to produce worthy citizens.

Thankful for your elderly parents? Thank Social Security and Medicare, and the many public employees providing services to the aged, from Meals on Wheels to nursing home inspections.

Thankful for the end of the Iraq war and the return of our troops? Thank President Barack Obama.

Thankful to live in the Greatest Nation in the History of the World? Thank the protesters, the rebels, the nonconformists, the communists, the pacifists, the socialists, the Black Panthers, the feminists, the gays, the atheists and every other despised activist who fought to fix what was wrong with this country, and who still fight every day.

There is no invisible sky wizard dropping presents on your head like so much birdshit. Everything you have, everything you've done, is the result of action by actual human beings, including yourself.


Wall Street's Recession Cost 1.5 Million Times More Than The Cost Of Securing Occupy Protests

Today, the Associated Press (AP) has a story where it estimates the costs of police securing for the various ongoing protest occupations across the country. The AP roughly estimates that these occupations over two months in eighteen major cities cost taxpayers $13 million. Right-wing media outlets are already using this number to claim that the protests are too costly to maintain.

But the AP piece does not provide the neccessary context to put this number into perspective. $13 million for policing of ongoing protests all over the country for two months is not a particularly large sum. For example, the 2004 Republican National Committee protests, which lasted for a single week and took place in a single location, cost $50 million to secure. A small tea party rally in November 2010 that attracted only a few dozen people cost $14,000, paid for by official congressional money.

The cost of securing these protests against economic inequality and political corruption also pales in comparison to one large figure: the wealth destroyed by Wall Street's recession. The recession caused by Wall Street's misdeeds destroyed $50 trillion of wealth globally by 2009, $20 trillion of that wealth in the United States alone. ThinkProgress has assembled the following chart to visualize these comparative costs:

Additionally, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost $13 million every 40 minutes this year, and the multibillionaire magnate Koch Brothers increase their wealth by $13 million every eleven hours.

None of this invalidates a discussion about the costs of securing the protests, but it does put it in context. Additionally, if the Associated Press wants to probe the costs of the demonstrations, it might also ask why police are using such expensive and heavy-handed tactics against demonstrators.


The Average Bush Tax Cut For The 1 Percent This Year Will Be Greater Than The Average Income Of The Other 99 Percent


Go ahead

Illinois Republicans Bravely Propose To Secede From Chicago

Gonna happen one of these days...

Two brave Illinois GOP state legislators are so sick of Chicago's gays and liberals and their gay liberal mayor and its gay $532 billion economy and its gay St. Patrick's Day Parade that they have finally just proposed the obvious: wall the damn place off, and let everyone else in Illinois form their own state. Chicago will get to keep everything that is currently located there, and the freedom-loving hillbillies will get to keep the other 16% of the state's $630 billion economy and the state prisons. (PSSST, TAKE THE DEAL, CHICAGO.) Because, why not? Illinois is America's "microcosm," so what better place to finally give up on "America" as a place where competing viewpoints work to coexist and just hold this experiment already?

Reps. Bill Mitchell and Adam Brown claim their downstate constituents "are tired of Chicago dictating its views to the rest of us," through democracy and the votes of the state legislature, like Stalinist Russia. Hm, so who would they rather resemble?


Rep. Mitchell brought up the state of Indiana multiple times Tuesday morning and said that he would like Illinois to become more like its neighbor to the east. "Take a look at Indiana. Their population is similar to the new Illinois we are proposing. But there are some fundamental differences between Indiana and Illinois as it exists now: Indiana doesn't have a budget deficit; they haven't raised taxes to pay for more government spending; they have a lower unemployment rate than Illinois. And what's the biggest difference? Indiana doesn't have Chicago."

Oh look! History just popped a strange cherry, it's the first time "someone genuinely wishes he lived in Indiana." []

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Headlines - Wednesday November 23

Robert Reich: "The REAL Public Nuisance"

Bill O'Reilly:

"I don't think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police, particularly at a place like UC Davis, which is a fairly liberal campus."

How dumb is that?  O'Reilly routinely Monday-morning quarterbacks every story he deems newsworthy but the actions of police on non-violent students is, according to him, off-limits to criticism because it took place at a "fairly liberal campus"?  God, is there a more pompous jackass in all of cable?


All these folks do is occupy space in public hearing rooms they didn't pay for so they can go to bathrooms they didn't pay for; to get subsidized food from the Congressional cafeterias they didn't pay for while they clamor for cuts in public spending; to instruct those who go to work to pay the taxes to sustain their salaries and perks, so they can self-righteously proclaim that they are the paradigms of virtue for which we owe everything. Now that is a pretty good symptom of how much the right-wingers  have collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to assert something as simple as saying to them, "Go do your job and stop making the public take a bath."


Yesterday, Mitt Romney released his first campaign ad, which quotes President Obama saying "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." But those weren't Obama's words; he was quoting a strategist for Sen. John McCain in 2008.

In response, the Romney campaign has defended this blatantly dishonest campaign tactic as "not out of bounds." Thus, ThinkProgress has created this completely in-bounds "advertisement" quoting Romney, in his own words:



political-pictures-pepper spray - uc davis - Essentially Megyn


Jill: Isn't it funny how the GOP candidates who have "run a business" specialize in putting Americans out of work?


Folks on Amazon are adding helpful reviews about pepper spray.



Yeah, it was classless and crude, and she is owed an apology. And she can have it just as soon as Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right wing asshats who have trashed the First Lady apologize to her. Last night Michele Bachmann was on Jimmy Fallon's show, and the house band, The Roots, editorialized a little bit with their choice of music to play her on to -- Fishbone's Lyin' Ass Bitch.
Why the hell don't people just laugh at these morons with the scorn they deserve, instead of voting for them? "Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's new Iowa campaign co-chair recently claimed that marriage equality would lead to people marrying objects like the Eiffel Tower. ... In a statement on the campaign's website last week, Bachmann's Iowa Campaign Manager Eric Woolson said that he was "proud" to welcome Tamara Scott as the Iowa co-chair because she "understands the critical time we are in." ... Scott, who also serves as state director for Concerned Women for America, led the fight last year to remove three justices from the Iowa Supreme Court who ruled to legalize same sex marriage, according to Right Wing Watch."
The police officer who casually pepper-sprayed students at University of California, Davis, was involved in a discrimination lawsuit alleging that he used an anti-gay slur against an openly-gay officer, the Daily Mail reports. The racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit specifically singled out Lt. John Pike, a retired Marine sergeant, for "using a profane anti-gay epithet" against a gay police officer. The case ended in a $250,00 settlement.


The Texas Supreme Court suspended a judge yesterday whose beating of his then-teenage daughter in 2004 was viewed millions of times on the Internet. "Aransas County court-at-law Judge William Adams was suspended immediately with pay pending the outcome of the inquiry started earlier this month" after video of the brutal beating went viral and was covered in major news outlets.


When Richard Nixon performed the presidential tradition of pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving, the bird was apparently uninterested in participating and was so flustered that it had to be restrained in a most gruesome way — getting its feet nailed to a table. Nixon would go on to be pardoned himself by President Ford, though he was much more complacent than the turkey.



Imbecile Sarah Palin thinks Roger Ailes doesn't own her (he does)

C'mon, even Bristol knows she must do a monkey dance on teevee for her monies.

Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet and look, here already is a giant plate of half-putrefied "leftovers" to add to the compost bin: mutant overgrown toad wart Roger Ailes nearly (OH GOD, WHY NEARLY) evicted yammering reject Sarah Palin from his evil teevee space beams in an enraged fit right after she "announced" she was quitting the presidential race she never joined, because she failed at her sole remaining paid task of delivering this breaking non-information on Fox News. Sarah Palin told some other outlet first for the same reason she does anything: out of raw, brainless spite. READ MORE »


Wisconsin recall supporters outed an anonymous Facebook group called Operation Burn Notice on Tuesday as a coordinated effort designed to destroy petitions signed to force Gov. Scott Walker and other Wisconsin Republicans out of office.  


Obama heckled by OWS protesters.


Photo from Doug the engineer with a conscience

 What has become of "
posse comitatus?"

In 2009, teabaggers gathered with semi-automatic weapons
and Obama did nothing.

But when peaceful, jobless Democrats protest
the heavy artillary comes out?

If only we had a leader in the White House.