Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lord Limbaugh the Bellicose

Dave Letterman had this to say to Katie Couric recently about Rush Limbaugh.

Letterman: What about this bonehead Rush Limbaugh? Honest to god, what is going on there?

Couric: [laughing] Dave, don't do this to me. Please don't do this to me.

Letterman: No, because now ... he gets up at Washington and he's the keynote speaker at some function and he comes up ... he he he looks like a Eastern European gangster. You know, he's got the black jacket on. The black silk shirt and it's unbuttoned like "Oh yeah, when you think Rush Limbaugh you think ... oooh, let's see a little flesh".
I saw the video of Limbaugh. Letterman is exactly right. Limbaugh was grotesque. He was careening all over the stage and sweating profusely. It was really a frightening scene. And his message "pro-failure"; project much.

I couldn't get the thought of Luca Brasi out of my mind when I saw Limbaugh. You know Brasi, the Corleones' very frightening hitman. I can just see Limbaugh playing the role at Connie's wedding. He's been practicing his lines outside and finally is escorted in to see the Don. And he says very stiffly, "Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home on the wedding day of your daughter. And may their first child be a masculine child."

Except, the problem is Limbaugh is not frightening in the least. Physically he looks like an ugly Pillsbury Doughboy. So I don't really understand this kowtowing to this limpid load of lipids.

It's just funny that the Republican party seems to have lost its balls. These were the guys who were always talking tough, you know the chickenhawks. Now they're crawling all over each other to offer their obeisance to this loudmouth.

Good. Five years from now they'll be a regional party.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

He's No Partisan, Bah

I don't pretend to know much about how judges are supposed to interpret the law, or not. It's always seemed to me that the job of a judge was to hand down common sense decisions based on legal precedent. If that is not the case, then what's the point of keeping records of decisions?

Anyway, I have been only somewhat interested in the Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign between Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Judge Randy Koschnik. I probably should be more interested, but of late the bantering back and forth has been boring and I have three kids to raise. Still, from the little I've read I see no reason not to vote for Abrahamson. Sure, I come from a more liberal background and would likely have voted for Abrahamson if I'd read or heard nothing at all up to the moment of voting itself, but I'm willing to take a look and I have. Randy Koschnik (“I'm not a partisan”) is an extremely partisan conservative. His beliefs about free society do not match mine.

Now more so than ever. I came into possession of a letter ostensibly written by William “Butch” Johnson. Mr. Johnson is CEO of Johnson Timber out of Hayward, Wisconsin. From the content of the letter it's fair to say he's a rabid /Republican/conservative. Lot's of them out there in the deep woods, apparently. Nothing new. What's troubling is the letter is authorized and paid for by Koschnik for Justice. In the letter, Johnson is asking for $100,000 real quick; like in the next ten days (the letter was date Feb. 11, 2009 – who knows if they reached that goal). As the Illusory Tenant points out, nothing like scaring open the pocketbooks.

Knowing that Judge Koschnik had pledged to run a clean campaign (he could begin by shaving off that hideous beard) I was curious to see if the rhetoric in the letter matched his promises.

Small businesses struggle while violent criminals walk free ...
Whoa, that's quite a dichotomy. That sentence makes it sound as though Justice Abrahamson is to blame for violent criminals ravaging small business in Wisconsin. Since the letter is preaching to the choir, who cares about facts backing the nonsense.

The quiet menace of tyranny lurks in the shadows as liberal judges seize power from the people's legislature. In all of this, one common thread emerges …
Quiet menace of tyranny? Liberal judges seizing power? Those be fighting words and hardly representative of running a “clean” campaign. I wonder if Peter DiGaudio is writing for the Koschnik campaign.

As a conservative and a leader in tbe Republican Party, I believe that three equal branches of government are necessary to maintaining a functioning government capable of defending individual rights and maintaining an even hand of justice.
Well, if that were true, Johnson would be voting for Justice Abrahamson, because the Supreme Court already tilts to the conservative side of the ledger; bought and paid for by Republican extremism. This is not about defending individual rights, it's about stacking the deck so right-wing business owners in Wisconsin like Mr. Johnson are provided a free hand.

On the other hand. Shirley Abrahamson has lost sight of these crucial principles. Instead. she is leading our entire legal system down a destructive path toward her revolutionary dream of a Supreme Court with unchecked power to re-create society in its own image.
Whose image? If the efforts to seat Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman are any indication, it's conservatives who are being revolutionary and un-democratic in their attempt to re-create the Supreme Court in their own narrow-minded image.

Shirley Abrahamson is one of the leading liberal activist justices in the entire country. Her decisions have eroded the Rule of Law, undermined our economy, jeopardized the safety of families and breached the principles of our republican form of government. Your generous gift will help Judge Koschnick defeat the leading liberal scion of judicial abuse. I hope you'll respond in the next 10 days. Thanks again!
It's rhetoric like this that dominated the eight years of the Bush administration and contributed mightily to the 2006 election results and the smashing victory for decency and American values in the 2008 election. Apparently these thugs have not learned their lesson.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Deathstar Obama

A friend of mine sent this to me.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Conservative Flab

Hi, I'm Patrick X. You might not know it now, but I used to be an intellectual lightweight. But then I bought Conservative Flab (available for three easy payments of $19.95) from the Charlie Sykes show and now I'm a heavyweight. Yup – I got these amazing flabs just by listening to Charlie (and other conservative talk show hosts – radio frequencies included on cd) without getting out of my chair 24/7. I can't wait to share Charlie's diet secrets with you.

Charlie will show you his "Nobama” technique for quarter barrel flabs and adding intellectual heft all over your body. And don't worry if you can't type, he'll teach you the one-handed hunt and peck technique (keeping the other free for other activities) and you'll be ready to post in no time.

Secrets to Flabs

If you buy Charlie's cds, he'll demonstrate faux outrage that will keep you glued to your chair. Remember to get mom involved. She'll need to know when to bring you those tasty barbecued ribs (featured in the Conservative Flab Cookbook) while you write.

Cardio-Carrying Conservative

This is not your liberal next door neighbors video. You'll learn how to ignore your lawn, home upkeep and annoy your libtard neighbors with the general rundown appearance of your property – it's unimportant – as you listen to Charlie extoll the virtues of personal responsibility. If only those liberals could see you now down in your basement.

Flab Sculpt

Charlie will fine tune your racist commentary with the use of code words (“they” and more) you've always wanted to use but had to get up from your chair to do so. Now you can do it without moving a large muscle group.

Step-by-Step Nutrition Guide

Charlie will also share his secrets for exposing the great liberal myth of tolerance for others. You'll be able to shatter any libtard argument and still eat the foods you love!

Hips, Buns, and Thighs

Get ready to add to those stubborn problem areas. With the help of Charlie Sykes, you'll be out of your skinny jeans in no time and will have joined the legion of conservative bloggers nationwide fighting liberals, socialists and personal hygeine.

If you don't completely transform your body within 30 days just like I did, Charlie will keep your money and chastise you personally on-line and on his radio show (hey, at least you got on). So what are you waiting for? C'mon, let's battle liberalism together.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stratergizing Blame

Republican (conservative) strategy for placing the blame for the ills of the economy:

Blame minorities and Barney Frank (you know, because he talks funny and he's, ick, gay).

Greedy, rich, white bankers couldn't possibly share in any blame.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fairness Doctrine Revisited

Boots and Sabers author and West Bend News columnist, Owen Robinson, would have you believe that the Fairness Doctrine is an evil plot by liberals to cancel the free speech rights of conservatives. Robinson would be wrong for a number of reasons. Mostly because he doesn't let facts get in the way. Let's take a closer look at the pertinent parts of his Feb. 13 editorial in the West Bend News.

Robinson says this about the history of the Fairness Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine was an unconstitutional provision whereby the federal government used its power over the licensing of specific frequencies to dictate that the station owners provide "equal time" to opposing viewpoints. President Reagan rescinded the doctrine.
About the only thing correct about that paragraph is there was a president named Reagan and there was in existence something titled the Fairness Doctrine. First of all, there was nothing unconstitutional about the Fairness Doctrine., In fact, the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality by a vote of 8-0 in response to charges that the doctrine violated the First Amedment (Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367 (1969). Can't get much more constitutional than an 8-0 vote by the Supreme Court.

It wasn't until the advent of the Reagan Administration that the FCC, now staffed by Reaganites and headed by former Reagan campaign staff member Mark Fowler suceeded in overturning the doctrine. The reasons for this move -- conservatives who claimed the press was savaging Reagan (I don't recall the press letting up with Carter or Clinton, but then I guess liberals are not so thin-skinned). Want to get around constitutional protections, pack the FCC.

Secondly, the Fairness Doctrine had nothing to do with “equal time” as Robinson purports. The Fairness Doctrine required that controversial matters be discussed and opposing views be aired. Hardly a free speech barrier as Robinson states. Additionally, stations were given choices as to how to present these views, however equal time was not required for these views.

There was an Equal Time rule which applied only to political candidates and provided that the opposition be provided an equivalent chance to respond. Wow. Such clamping down on free speech.

In fact, if anything – considering that conservative thought and the Republican party were in minority status for 40+ years, you'd think they'd love the Fairness Doctrine and the Equal Time rule. Of course they had other things in mind. Note that Rush Limbaugh's national radio show began August 1, 1988, shortly after the FCC ruling on the doctrine.

The rest of Robinson's piece is mostly nonsense. To back up his attack on liberals and their supposed universal support of the Fairness Doctrine, he offers us an example of government regulation of newspapers on government roads. Huh? The problem with this silly analogy is there is no limit to the number of newspapers that can be printed, nor roads that can be traveled. Unlike broadcast frequencies which are a limited resource.

But it's all really a moot point. Personally, I think that attempting to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine is misguided. Twenty-first century communcation does not lend itself to government oversight, no matter how benevolent the intent may be. Regard the efforts of Communist China to rein in its increasingly electronic-savvy populace and you see the issue. If it is next to impossible to regulate in China, imagine the difficulty here.

That is why we should all join with Robinson and his cohorts to ensure the Fairness Doctrine is never reinstated. Back in the 20th century when conservative ideas were relegated to the background, not by delivery mechanism, but by the ideas themselves, conservatism floundered. Now, after a short hiatus in which Americans were hoodwinked by the lying liars on hate radio, the Republican party and its ideas have declined back into minority status. Why? It's because the more they spoke (and because of the rise of the Internet) people understood conservatism, weighted down by its prejudices, its bigotry and its lack of inertia does not represent what is best for this country.

So, let the conservatives spew their many strata of hate. It's best they be allowed to rant on hate radio. Nobody's gonna get fooled again anyway

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Unbelievable ... Well, Maybe Not

The words are just beginning to fly regarding this editorial cartoon in the New York Post. Predictably the Post is defending the cartoon saying it was a parody of the recent "Travis the Chimp" attack in Stamford, Connecticut. Apparently a chimp attacked a woman forcing police to shoot and kill the monkey. Because of this, the Post says the image has nothing to do with the President, who is we all know considered the author of the stimulus bill.

Okay, a couple of things. Why a parody of the dead chimp? I'm 100% certain the dead chimp did not provide any assistance to the writing of the stimulus package. So, the chimp is not to blame. And it is certainly not a play on the old "shoot the messenger" schtick. Another excuse being it's a play on the old infinite monkey jokes -- you know, how many monkeys would it take and how many years to write the complete works of Shakespeare. Sure.

So what is it? Who else could the cartoonist be referring to? Even obliquely. Think seriously about it. If the cartoonist was not referring to our President, it was a mightily clumsy attempt at humor. The only thing remotely redeeming about it is the quality of the drawing; not very good. No wonder the author works for the Post, not exactly top drawer in the realm of journalism.

It's really quite pathetic. One writer actually had the audacity to compare this to those calling former President Bush a chimp. Really. What racial overtone regarding chimps and caucasians am I missing?

Fess up. It's just another stupid wing-nut saying what he really believes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Green Fights Malaria in Africa

Good for Mark Green. Now if only he could get Fred Dooley and Peter DiGaudio to join him.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Brought to You By GOP Talking Points

I don't ever want to hear how Faux News is "fair and balanced" and independent. As Media Matters points out about a recent edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

In purporting to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew," Fox News' Jon Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release.
I'll nver buy into the conservative spiel that the mainstram media has a liberal slant, especially the way its hitting Obama (well maybe, it is more intelligent) -- if there were such a slant, it's unintentional. Unlike Faux News which makes no effort at all to disguise its bias.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Brown Sugar Unlimited

Really? Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. From the New York Times:

Michael Steele, who was recently elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, paid a Maryland company run by his sister more than $37,000 for work related to his 2006 Senate campaign, a payment that Mr. Steele’s spokesman said Saturday was entirely appropriate.


Mr. Steele did not dispute that his sister’s company, Brown Sugar Unlimited, of Bethesda, Md., had been paid $37,262 by his Senate campaign in February 2007, as federal election records show.
Pretty sweet deal for a catering and web services firm. Odd combination that.

Odder yet, she's an ex-wife of Mike Tyson. You know, the guy who used to box when he wasn't raising pigeons and biting ears off.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Of Fish and Spines

I wrote the other day that the GOP vote en masse against the stimulus bill in the House was a fishy sign that Republicans were already abandoning any pretense of an attempt at bi-partisanship. A commenter by the name of Tony Turner engaged me for a number of hours in a debate over the stimulus bill and the real meaning of the GOP response. Tony's arguments were not bad. His grasp of the economics of the bill was good I should say; at least from the Republican point of view. But then, how would I know?

I had not intended to get into the meat of the package because I really didn't know what was involved; nor do I understand economics. I admit it. I take it as a given that the GOP response is a failure – it's how I'm wired after 14 years of Republican majority rule -- and I never blog about economics. Best not to if you know nothing about it (good advice for both sides, me thinks).

So my posting effort was really about motivations. However, today I found a different slant on the plan, one that I could understand and agree with. Frank Rich, a favorite columnist of mine, had this to say about the Republican vote.

The problem is not that House Republicans gave the stimulus bill zero votes last week. That’s transitory political symbolism, and it had no effect on the outcome. Some of the naysayers will vote for the revised final bill anyway (and claim, Kerry-style, that they were against it before they were for it). The more disturbing problem is that the party has zero leaders and zero ideas. It is as AWOL in this disaster as the Bush administration was during Katrina.
Ah! It wasn't fishy that no GOPer voted for the plan; they just had nothing new to offer.

I admit I am a casual peruser of only the periphery of national events; I often go by what I feel is right. So, in our mini-debate Tony told me that tax cuts are a stimulus. Why wouldn't the Dems agree to that? I couldn't say. All I knew was that I thought I'd heard differently about tax cuts. Frank Rich to the rescue.

The Republicans do have one idea, of course, but it’s hardly fresh: more and bigger tax cuts, particularly for business and the well-off. That’s the sum of their “alternative” stimulus plan. Obama has tried to accommodate this panacea, perhaps to a fault. Mainstream economists in both parties believe that tax cuts in the stimulus package will deliver far less bang for the buck than, say, infrastructure spending. The tax-cut stimulus embraced a year ago by the G.O.P. induced next-to-no consumer spending as Americans merely banked the savings or paid down debt.
Hmmm. That's what we did – paid down credit cards and we anticipate doing the same this time if the tax cuts go through. And anyway, is Tony suggesting, like Rush Limbaugh did recently that because the Republicans won approximately 46% of the national vote in the last election, 46% of the stimulus package should be Republican ideas?

Now, of course Tony is not suggesting that. I actually have a lot of respect for his foray into my blog and for his thoughts. What he had to say (even though I could not answer whether other Republican proposals were good or bad) sounded reasonable though in hindsight, much the same as has (apparently) been written and said before. But thanks are in order nonetheless. You won the debate, Tony ( I knew I was missing out in high school not getting involved in debate). We'll win the war, I hope.

Which brings me back, one more time to the cult that is Limbaugh. I commented previously about Phil Gringrey, a right-wing dust bunny. Rich takes him on, too (and other Republicans).

Most pathetic of all was Phil Gingrey, a right-wing Republican congressman from Georgia, who mildly criticized both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Politico because they “stand back and throw bricks” while lawmakers labor in the trenches. So many called Gingrey’s office to complain that the poor congressman begged Limbaugh to bring him on air to publicly recant on Wednesday. As Gingrey abjectly apologized to talk radio’s commandant for his “stupid comments” and “foot-in-mouth disease,” he sounded like the inmate in a B-prison-movie cowering before the warden after a failed jailbreak.
No ideas and no spines. That's all most Republicans have these days. If that's reflexive commenting, so be it. It's also the truth.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


This is ridiculous. I'm sorry, but how does one forget to pay a $128,000 tax bill?

First this year there was the problem with Timothy Geithner's taxes. Now Tom Daschle's nomination for health secreatary is in danger because he apparently forgot to inform the Obama team of a $128,000 tax bill during the vetting process. The President is standing behind his nominee and Robert Gibbs, Obama's press secreatary has said the president understands that nobody is perfect.

Fair enough.

Yet, Daschle knew about the taxes last June. How come it took so long to pay this? Is there a bigger grace period for somebody's as opposed to guys like me? You know darn well the IRS would come after me pretty quick if I fell behind paying my taxes.

Republican and Democrat alike have been guilty of this arrogance. I thought the Obama administration would be unlike the previous one and expect a higher standard of ethics and performance from its members.

So far, not good Mr. President.

Update: And having read this post by Glenn Greenwald, I must say I am very disaappointed. There must be someone better than Daschle to lead the fight for health care for all?

And also, this is straight from Greenwald's post. I have written previously of the hypocrisy of Republicans. I can do no less when it is a Democrat exposed as a sleazebag.

I also can't help but contrasting this passage detailing how Tom and Linda ended up married, from The Washington Monthly article . . . :

Yes, it's true: Before Mrs. Daschle was Mrs. Daschle, she was Miss Kansas, 1976.

Petite and blond, with perfect, straight white teeth, Daschle is still strikingly beautiful at 46. But she has a vise-like handshake you wouldn't expect from a beauty queen that suggests the steely interior necessary to survive in Washington power circles. . . .

She met Tom Daschle on a work trip to South Dakota. At the time, Tom Daschle was a freshman congressman, married to the woman who in 1978 had helped him ring 40,000 doorbells and go on to unseat an incumbent by 14 votes. By 1984, Tom had divorced his first wife, with whom he had three children, and married Linda . . .

. . . . with this 2003 clip of Tom Daschle, explaining to Jon Stewart that gay marriage must not be allowed because "a man and a woman have a sacred and a traditional cultural bond within this country. . . it's a statement of fact: society is embracing the marriage of a man and a woman, and by and large, that's the way it should be . . . DOMA is the statute and I don't think it's unconstitutional":

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Military Pledge a Hoax

Says World Nut Daily:

A recent Internet report that a battle was shaping up between the U.S. military and the White House because of executive plans to have soldiers pledge allegiance to the president instead of the nation and its Constitution raised alarm among the patriotic this week.

But it didn't seem to include the detail that the Department of Defense knew nothing about the "issue."
[Still, I find it funny that WND claims the alarms were only raised among the patriotic. The non-patriotic not being as easily duped, I guess.]

Anyway, that didn't stop our local resident nutcase, Peter DiGaudio, from jumping all over the rumor and distorting it to read that the oath of allegiance would now be made to President Obama himself. Spouting Peter wrote this:

If Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Barack Hussein Obama gets His way, members of the United States military will be pledging allegiance to Him rather than the U.S. Constitution.

That’s breathtaking in its arrogance. It’s also reminiscent of 1930s Germany, when members of the German military had to pledge allegiance to Hitler. Here’s a draft of the new allegiance oath:

I swear by God Allah this sacred oath that I will obey without question the F├╝hrer of the German Reich United States of Obama Nation and people, to Adolf Hitler Barack Hussein Obama, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and that I am prepared as a brave soldier to lay my life on the line at any time for this oath.
Peter is so deluded that he now actually believes that what he wrote previously is being enacted.

I give it 24 hours before Peter pulls a Fred Dooley and sends his post down the memory hole. It's what local wing-nut conservative bloggers do when faced with -- facts and truth.

Oh, by the way, the original piece was clearly labeled satire.

Who's Got Family

Eat your hearts out. I was in bed this morning with four beautiful females.

My stunning wife, Kelly; my eight-year old daughter Abby; my two-year old daughter Quin; and our little cockapoo puppy Molly all joined me in our king-size bed for some morning family goofing around.

I'm a lucky husband/daddy. Yo conservatives -- you haven't cornered the family values market, you just think you have.

Friday, January 30, 2009

When Are We Going to Get Over It

by Andrew M. Manis

For much of the last forty years, ever since America "fixed" its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, "When are African Americans finally going to get over it? Now I want to ask: "When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that "Election Spurs Hundreds' of Race Threats, Crimes" should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in "Bombingham," Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than "talk the talk."

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes.

Criticize them, yes. Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we're back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we've proven what conservatives are always saying -- that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to "assassinate Obama."

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, "How long?" How long before we white people realize we can't make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can - once and for all - get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?

How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior? How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting "living out the true meaning" of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that "red and yellow, black and white" all are precious in God's sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn't believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don't believe I'll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here's my three-point plan: First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built, I'm going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I'm going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama. Third, I'm going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can "in spirit and in truth" sing of our damnable color prejudice, "We HAVE overcome."

My mother sent me this editorial written in the Macon Telegraph by Andrew M. Manis, an associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia.

What Patriotism

This from the often wrong perfesser from Tennessee, Glenn Reynolds:

I think the stimulus is objectively a bad idea. But politically, opposing it seems like a no-brainer: If it passes and the economy gets better it’s old news, and who’s to say the economy wouldn’t have gotten better on its own? If it passes and the economy doesn’t get better, it’s an issue for the GOP.
So, what's good politically supersedes what's good for the country. Thanks for clarifying.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

You Hate Me

From God is for Suckers. [Click on image to enlarge]

Only "Good Americans" Wanted

Can you hear the jackboots and the sound of breaking glass?

No Spine

Another demonstration of what it means to be a conservative. Kind of reminds one of local bloggers who delete posts when it's found they made a mistake.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), yesterday (from Politico):

"I mean, it's easy if you're Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don't have to try to do what's best for your people and your party. You know you're just on these talk shows and you're living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn't be or wouldn't be good leaders, they're not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), today (h/t Think Progress):

“I want to express to you [Limbaugh] and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday” and “the best possible message for this country would be for every single Republican to vote against [the economy recovery package].”

Monday, January 26, 2009

California Leads the Way Again

A new smoking ban ordinance in Belmont, CA is now in effect. The effort to eliminate second-hand smoke was begun by an elderly man named Ray Goodrich who suffers from pulmonary disease and has a lifelong allergy issue. Because of his efforts and the efforts of other elderly citizens, apartment buildings have now been added to the list of places where smoking is outlawed.

And about time. Good for Mr. Goodrich and Belmont, CA. Hopefully, Wisconsin is not far behind.

Your right to smoke does not supersede my right to breathe smoke-free air. Period!

Every Sperm Is Sacred

For Steve Edlund.

Someone We Know?

Saw a catchline regarding old reptile becoming a dad at an exceedingly old age. Linked over and read this:

A captive reptile in New Zealand has unexpectedly become a father at the ripe old age of 111 after receiving treatment for a cancer that made him hostile toward prospective mates.
I couldn't help but think of dad29. You gotta know him.

(Just kidding daddio -- I know the reptile referred to is just a kid compared to you.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hate Club

I was zipping through TV channels last night just before going to bed when, for no reason really, I turned on Sean Hannity's new Fox television show, Hannity. Mr. “Reasonable” was sitting with his back to the camera, looking at a relatively large sound meter with a sign overhead that stated Hate Meter. In succession different voices became audible (all interestingly with what one might charitably call an Ozark accent); all ranting obscenities about Hannity which resulted in the predictable response on the Hate Meter.

Hannity finally turned to face the camera and claimed the voices were those of liberals who had been invited to call in and rant at him. It was all done altruistically, he claimed, so they could release their hate at him and not at his viewers. He then provided a phone number for future call-ins.

Aside from the fact that I think the voices were actually those of Hannity's parents, I couldn't help but recall in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four something called the Two-Minute Hate. It occurred to me that Hannity (and other squawkers these days) rely on this sort of fear-mongering to incite their followers and enable them to loath and hate anyone different from them. Liberals have become Emmanuel Goldstein and it has been very successful. The word “liberal” is now conservative code word for traitor, commie, tax and spend socialist, etc.

So successful that local conservative bloggers who are losing arguments (most all) resort eventually to calling their debate antagonist a member of the hate left. One local blogger known for less than real debate has even taken to calling a local lefty the king of the hate left. It doesn't matter the subject, anyone writing anything that disagrees with most anything he writes is not only hateful, but the evil falsehoods will likely be sent on a short, quick trip down the memory hole (as does anything he writes that proves to be false).

This reinforces my belief that Hannity's show and the others like him (squawk radio host Charlie Sykes, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, etc.) are merely instruments for conservative brainwashing; the members of the incurious club who are affected most then carry out the demonization of liberals on the local level.

It's sad really. They never had a chance.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Refreshing Change

Dennis C. Blair, retired admiral and President Obama's choice as top intelligence official is a refreshing departure from the psychopathic lackeys employed by the previous administration. On the disturbing surveillance activities previously supported Blair said:

I do not and will not support any surveillance activities that circumvent established processes for their lawful authorization. I believe in the importance of independent monitoring, including by Congress, to prevent abuses and protect civil liberties.
Ah, civil liberties. And regarding these and basic human rights, you know those things that America has been respected for upholding in past times, Blair said:

The intelligence agencies of the United States must respect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people, and they must adhere to the rule of law.
He added that torture is “not moral, legal or effective” and said any interrogation program would have to comply with the Geneva Conventions, the Convention against Torture and the Constitution.

And lastly, what impressed me most was Blair will not simply sugarcoat his message and try to please the president by providing intelligence he thinks the president wants to hear. Instead, he said:

There is an obligation to speak truth to power.
He added that he would honestly present “unpleasant” facts to the president.

This sort of openness and honesty is going to dismay the incurious crowd.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

At Least There Were Times He Made Us Laugh

With the "End of an Error" nearly upon us, I thought it appropriate to look back and review some of the pearls of wisdom [inadvertantly] provided for our entertainment by the appointed King of Comedy (he was not elected) -- George W. Bush.

The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.

If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.

Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.

No senior citizen should ever have to choose between prescription drugs and medicine.

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.

One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.

Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.

I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.

The future will be better tomorrow.

We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.

One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures. (during an education photo-op)

Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.

We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.

It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.

I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.
You know what's even more amusing? Conservatives wanted to elect a person even less comprehensible than Bush -- Sarah Palin.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Spending

There having been cry and hue over the estimated $40M spent for George Bush's second inauguration, it seems fair to question why an estimated $150M will be spent for the Barack Obama swearing-in festivities.

I understand the uniqueness of this event. Obama is our first minority President and the numbers of people attending are expected to shatter records. Still, security money aside, it's a heaping amount of cash. Fortunately, most of it is paid for through individual and corporate gifts.

The Greatest Canadian Song

And finally, number one may not asthetically or musically match the other nine, but it is a tribute to a proud and beautiful land -- Geddy Lee of the rock group Rush sings Oh Canada.

The Second Greatest Canadian Song

Number two on our magical illogical look at top great Canadian songs is Heart of Gold. This is Neil Young's second foray into this top ten list. Surely there are other artists who merit attention in such a prestigious list you might opine.


But it's my list and I like Neil Young.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Three Years Yesterday

I saw at Thoughtful Conservative that a few blogs were celebrating anniversaries. So I checked my begin point and was shocked to see that my first post was January 13, 2006. That post can be found at BRASS League, a Strat-0-matic baseball site I run for a couple of leagues. It used to be The Other Side. Then I renamed it. Then I got the itch to blog again and so restarted my original blog.

It gets confusing at times.

Interestingly, the first person to leave a comment was my mother. She has not left another.

Guns and Cowboys

I'm guessing it was a couple of "Bubbas". From ESPN:

DALLAS -- Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin says he calmly chatted with a gunman in another vehicle after the armed passenger turned out to be a Dallas Cowboys fan.

Irvin, who was not harmed, says he was "very afraid."

A Dallas police report says Irvin was stopped at a red light Monday night when two men in a truck pulled up next to him.

The driver rolled down his window, so Irvin did the same, thinking the two men recognized the radio talk show host and television commentator.

The passenger flashed a gun. Then the retired NFL star heard one of them call out his name and mentioned being a "huge Cowboy fan."

Irvin says he began talking with the men about the team's disappointing 9-7 season and Dallas not making it to the Super Bowl.

The pair eventually drove off.
This is exactly why conceal and carry should not be passed here in Wisconsin. For every responsible gunowner there is a dipshit (a number of local bloggers would be included in this description) who thinks what happened to Michael Irvin is funny. Unfortunately, what those who rally for conceal and carry forget is even one incident like this is too much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Loathsome People

h/t Jay Bullock.

From the Beast, here are three of the mosty loathsome creatures from 2008. These would be my top three.

47. Michelle Bachmann

Charges: Exemplifies the simmering, all-American fascism lurking behind the forced smiles of uptight church ladies throughout “real America.” Echoing Sarah Palin’s alarming hints about “helping” the media do its job, Bachmann’s casual call for a “penetrating” press investigation into “anti-Americanism” in Congress was so fucking dumb it made Chris Matthews seem smart. Once it occurred to the Oral Roberts University graduate that calling for witchhunts against Democrats might be a tad extreme for election season, she decided to just pretend she didn’t say it, and then she blamed Chris Matthews. Then she just blamed words. Then she denied it again. Then she won. Way to go, Minnesota’s 6th.

Exhibit A: BACHMANN: Actually, that's not what I said at all. COLMES: Well, I'm just — I'm reading your exact quote. BACHMANN: Actually that's not I said. It's an urban legend that was created. That isn't what I said at all. COLMES: We have — it's on tape.

Sentence: Assigned to conduct her own “expose” on anti-American views, in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
I saw her on television with Mathews when she made that statement. My jaw dropped. I could not believe an American politician would say something that incredibly dumb -- and frightening. Though in retrospect, I thought, after the past eight years and after having been involved in blogging for three years and reading the tripe that passes for commentary on the right, I should not have been surprised.

33. Jeremiah Wright

Charges: It’s said that in politics, a gaffe is when someone tells the truth, like connecting 9/11 to blowback from America’s long history of Middle East meddling. But then again, sometimes they just say something incredibly fucking stupid, like that AIDS was created by the U.S. government to kill black people. Seriously, you don’t think the U.S. government could do a better job than AIDS? AIDS takes years to kill, spreads relatively slowly, and kills white people all the time. A CIA super-virus that can’t beat Magic Johnson? Unlikely. But beyond past statements of viral delusion, Wright’s weird-ass grandstanding at the height of the sound bite frenzy seemed to indicate he really didn’t give a shit whether Obama was elected president, and might even be jealous.

Exhibit A: “And I stand before you… with the hope that this most recent attack on the black church is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright; it is an attack on the black church.”

Sentence: Sickle cell anemia.
One might have thought this clown was a conservative plant.

1. Sarah Palin

Charges: If you want to know why the rest of the world is scared of Americans, consider the fact that after two terms of disastrous rule by a small-minded ignoramus, 46% of us apparently thought the problem was that he wasn’t quite stupid enough. Palin’s unending emissions of baffling, evasive incoherence should have disqualified her for any position that involved a desk, let alone placing her one erratic heartbeat from the presidency. The press strained mightily to feign respect for her, praising a debate performance that involved no debate, calling her a “great speaker” when her only speech was primarily a litany of insults to city-dwellers, echoing bogus sexism charges when a male Palin would have been boiled alive for the Couric interview alone, and lionizing her as she used her baby as a Pro-life stage prop before crowds who cooed when they should have been hurling polonium-tipped javelins. In the end, Palin had the beneficial effect of splitting her party between her admirers and people who can read.

Exhibit A: Waving her embryo-loving credentials, in the form of her Down syndrome baby, at "But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy."

Sentence: Hand-to-hand combat with Vladimir Putin and a pack of wolves.
Another example of why reasonable and well thought out conservative dialogue is necessary to America's future, if anything to shut out the claptrap from the Palins, Bachmans and most of the conservative blogosphere. Unfortunately, there are so few conservative intellectuals, and there are so many who think Palin is the hope for America.

The Beast 50 Most Loathsome People in America in 2008 was written by Allan Uthman & Ian Murphy

Another Argument for a Cigarette Ban

Saw this on a bumper sticker:

Isn't a smoking area in a restaurant like a peeing area in a swimming pool?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Trevor Hoffman Agrees to Deal With Brewers

While it's good news the Brewers have apparently signed all-time MLB saves leader Trevor Hoffman, don't go planning your World Series tailgate parties just yet. No longer the hard thrower he once was, Hoffman now relies on a nasty changeup to get the job done. He should help, but there is a lot more work needed before the Brewers become real contenders.

According to ESPN, Hoffman has signed a one-year deal rumored to be for $6 million, with an option for the second year. Hoffman, who saved 30 games last year for San Diego and has accumulated a record 554 saves is no longer considered an elite closer, probably not even top ten. However, his addition should provide some comfort to fans and players. Last year, even with the arrival of Salomon Torres in the closer role, the ninth inning often resulted in bleeding fingertips as leads disappeared faster than $6 beers. The failed $10 million Eric Gagne experiment (a shame because Gagne was a class act) nearly contributed to the Brewers missing the playoffs, so the money ponied up for Hoffman looks like a deal.

But let's look at the numbers to gauge whether this is a good pickup, or a panicky grab.

It is troubling that Hoffman only pitched 45 inings last year. As relievers have become more specialized in their roles, the number of innings that the designated closer pitched has decreased. But not that much. Forty-five innings means that maybe Hoffman is reliable every other day. He'll need to pitch more innings. Plus he's 41-years old and relies almost entirely on guile to succeed. One has to wonder if the league doesn't eventually catch on -- lefties did beat Hoffman up a bit in 2008. They hit .291 and slugged at a .532 clip.

Hoffman also suffered a serious injury as recently as 2007 so it's not a stretch to question his stamina and ability to pitch more than every other game. Given the sorry state of the Brewers' bullpen – come on, they've only signed Jorge Julio – Hoffman may be needed a lot.

People often look at a pitcher's earned run average (ERA) to determine how the pitcher fared. Hoffman's ERA in 2008 was a career-high 3.77. Not good – however, I did some checking and found if you took away one unfortunate outing April 2, his ERA dropped to a more respectable 3.02. I point this out to show that ERA is not really a reliable number for determining effectiveness because there is a lot still impressive about Hoffman's numbers.

What is impressive about Hoffman? Well, he allowed only one baserunner per inning (1.04) and he only walked 9 batters all year while striking out 46 in 45 innings. Contrast this with Torres who allowed 1.35 baserunners per inning, walked 33 and struck out only 51 in 80 innings of work. This is not a slander of Torres, he helped save the Brewers' season, but it does just how much more efficient Hoffman was.

Interestingly enough, Hoffman yielded seven of his eight homeruns at San Diego's Petco Park, one of the stingiest places to hit a ball out of the park. It's probably a statistical anomaly.

It appears the Brewers are willing to go with a starting rotation of Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan (ouch) and the Unknown Comic. Actually, they'll probably go with Seth McClung or Carlos Villanueva in the fourth or fifth spot. Using either one of them however, will weaken an already suspect bullpen. Hoffman only pitches the ninth. The Brewers will have to find reliable setup relievers to protect the lead until then.

Hoffman is a nice, inexpensive pickup and if he performs at last year's numbers with a few innings added and a better performance against lefties, the Brewers will have done well. Don't discount the added effect of having the all-time saves leader as your closer. Last year there was palpable fear on the field and in the stands when the ninth rolled around with any sort of lead. Here's hoping that hearing AC/DC's Hells Bells when Hoffman jogs in to finish games is good for indigestion, relieves nail-biting and helps send the Brewers to another playoff match. Don't count on it if acquiring Hoffman is all the Brewers accomplish.

Cross-posted at Wigderson Library & Pub

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Third Greatest Canadian Song

Thanks to grumps for pointing me in the direction of Crash Test Dummies, a Winnipeg folk-rock group popular in the 90s. I'd never heard our number three greatest hit, Superman's Song (for which they won a Juno Award in 1991) until just a few moments ago. What country do I live in?

Oh yeah, not Canada.

A Rare Moment

Peaceful turnover of power -- it's something we can all be thankful for. This really is an extraordinary photo.

Photo: Doug Mills/ The New York Times

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Fourth Greatest Canadian Song

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down was written by Robbie Robertson, one of four original Canadian members of The Band. The other three were Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko. The four were joined by drummer Levon Helms, an American by birth.

This has always been one of my favorite songs. Being an avid reader of Civil War history, the songs lyrics, rendered by Helms with mixtures of sadness and hope, are haunting.

As always on this illogical march to number one, suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Fifth Greatest Canadian Song

At the request of Jay Bullock, here is These Are the Daves I Know by Bruce McCullough of the Canadian sketch comedy group, Kids in the Hall. These guys were worthy successors to the Monty Python tradition of zany and often nonsensical comedy.