Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Protecting Public Safety Should Never Mean Holding a Job With Low Wages

This should not be a surprise to anyone who knows how things really work.

If you're going to put people in a position of dealing with public, ensuring the safety of travelers, and expect them to be honest, you have to pay them well.

We should elevate TSA service to a much higher level; it should be a career choice with prestige and respectability. These people should be hired after extensive background checks, fitted with decent uniforms, and led by quality people.

Instead, we get moron, layabouts and slapfaced idiots who are lucky to be pulling down GS-7 wages. They're ruining it for the people who are dedicated and decent.

Kurt Schlichter Drops a Royal Turd

Hilarious wingnut fail from Townhall:
Sure, the royal couple gets paid out of the British treasury, but it isn’t as if Prince William sits around being fanned and fed grapes. Besides cutting ribbons and promoting charities, he is a warrior who has proved his courage by seeking service on battlefields he could have easily avoided. Royalty is a bizarre concept, but he does work for a living. 
By contributing to society, Prince William repudiates the basic premise of liberalism. If you vote for liberals they will redistribute free stuff to you from the people who contribute to society. This will allow you to wallow in the cesspit of social pathologies that led you to expect handouts in the first place, and thereby guarantee another generation of liberal constituents. 
Liberalism depends on people continuing to do the things that ensure they will be poor. The most obvious among these bad decisions is to have kids out of wedlock. Yeah, we all know the single mom who is prospering or the gay couple with a great kid. That’s awesome, but it’s an anecdotal irrelevancy. The simple, unarguable fact is that the epidemic of broken families means a broken society, and liberalism feeds off the wreckage.
You gotta love it when a conservative praises the British Royal Family's work ethic, which consists of making public appearances and sucking up vast amounts of taxpayer dollars. If ever there was a welfare queen, it would be Elizabeth II.

Our Townhall friends think that the royals are paragons of virtue. How many royal divorces are we going to have to bring up? Charles and Andrew are just two examples of infidelity, scandal, and failure.

Oh, and then there's this. The only reason why this group of "royals" is running things can be traced back to a specific moment in history. That was the moment that Edward VIII abdicated his throne and handed everything over to the namesake of the latest royal birth, Prince George. The father of Queen Elizabeth II was George VI, who would never have been king were it not for the fact that his elder brother preferred the company of an American divorcee. How's that for family values?

Here's another thing to remember, by the way:
A Census Bureau analysis published yesterday has picked up some attention on among a certain (read: liberal) segment of the Internet. According to the latest figures from 2009, married couples in conservative states tend to divorce at higher rates than more liberal ones. To make a hard figure out of it: of the 20 states with the highest divorce rates, 14 voted for John McCain in 2008. The states where people call it quits the most frequently are Arkansas, Maine, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, and Alaska. 
The Associated Press picked up on the red states' tendencies for higher divorce rates, quoting a sociology professor as saying, "Surprisingly, the South and West, which we think of as more socially conservative, have higher rates of divorce than does the supposedly liberal East ... The reason is that young adults in the South and West tend to have less education and marry earlier, both of which lead to a higher risk of divorce." Left-leaning AlterNet notes the irony that the social conservatism touted by politicians there don't make marriages last: "in many states where politicians claim that their constituents are the most family values oriented 'real Americans' who are afraid of the sanctity of marriage being trampled by the gays, the divorce rates are actually higher." Jezebel plays off of that theme by offering an alternation explanation to the red-blue divorce divide: gay marriage. It writes: "of the four states with the lowest divorce rates, three allow gay marriage. So maybe the gays aren't destroying the traditional family after all?" (Really, it's of the four states or districts--namely, New Jersey, D.C., New York, and Connecticut--with the lowest divorce rates.)
Townhall is dedicated to the spreading of hate and lies about liberals. This is how far they are willing to go--they'll ignore history, cite the royal family of England, and conveniently forget the fact that family values are much stronger in "liberal" households. And Mr. Schlichter knows this.

Chapterhouse Whirlpool Cover

The cover for the Whirlpool album by Chapterhouse is somewhat iconic; it is the symbol of early shoegazing. It is easily recognizable and looks good on a T-shirt or on a poster. What I like about this is that it makes perfect use of white and blue and the band felt comfortable enough to leave the album's title off the front; I like that sort of confidence.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finally a Decent News Organization

I'm pretty sure that I would have more readers if I had cat pictures and gamed the word "test" on Google searches.

The Internet is nothing but lol and cat pictures and bullshit now.

Bradley Manning Wanted Our Enemies to Win

Bradley Manning almost got away with it.

I find this to be a rather hilarious photo. I had no idea Manning was so small. He is a poster child for the "let everyone in" mentality of the mid-2000s when standards were dropped for military entry. This young man is barely five feet tall. Wow.

By finding him not guilty of aiding our enemies, the judge in this case has handed everyone wearing the uniform a slap in the face. Manning passed classified information to an organization called Wikileaks, which, most emphatically, is a definite enemy of the United States of America. I didn't buy the example given by the government--that this same information showed up on a computer in the UBL compound is a stretch of the imagination. I think the case could be made that Wikileaks, and Manning in particular, believe the United States to be the source of all of the evil in the world. This is the watered-down Chomsky view which Edward Snowden believes in as well.

Wikileaks is an organization without any moral compass or affiliation to anything resembling an idea of how society works.. It is an irrational non-state player that thrives on chaos and destruction, which is carried out by asking people to betray governments. It hides behind "the good that it does" when it gets information that exposes the abusive or illegal behavior of a country; this allows it to publish anything and everything without regard to who it damages. If every nation/state in the world is violent, corrupt, and should be brought down, we are living next door to anarchy. Who wants that?

It has basically asked anyone and everyone to help to do serious damage to the United States. This is where I am always on the wrong side of the issue--I am a shameless believer in the right of the United States to protect itself from other nation/states and from irrational non-state entities. Wikileaks was formed in order to set the world on fire. It is not a "truth" or a public advocacy group, such as Greenpeace or Amnesty International. It is a for-profit attempt to make Julian Assange a celebrity by attacking nation-states around the world, especially the United States. Manning handed Assange enough information to attain a great deal of credibility.

Manning's place as a "hero" to the left and as a patriot is cemented now, and there's nothing I can say to change anyone's mind about that fact. He's a celebrity now. He's the continuation of the "be someone" rather than "do something" attitude espoused by Edward Snowden, et al. He faces a lengthy jail term but he got away with aiding enemies of the United States. I guess we have no more enemies.

Typically, patriots stand up to their government or to tyranny and expose wrongdoing. They don't deliver protected materials to our enemies so they can attack us; if anything they give that stuff to, you know, other Americans so that the government can be held accountable. Manning exposed low-level diplomatic traffic that slightly hindered our ability to deal with other nation/states with a certain level of diplomatic credibility. He did minimal damage; the result of his damage caused the Department of Defense to have to close numerous holes in who it allows to have access to secrets. This gap was not closed in time to prevent an Edward Snowden. Both individuals have severely damaged America because of the changes that have had to be made to safeguard classified information from serious disclosure. Both handed their materials over to anti-American entities operating outside of the United States. If they had handed their stuff directly to the New York Times or NBC News, we would be having a vastly different conversation.

Untold amounts of money and vast quantities of effort--tens of thousands of man hours--will have to be dedicated to reorganizing and restructuring our defenses against unauthorized disclosures and exploitation. All of this effort would be better directed at actually protecting the United States. That's what gets lost on a day like today--the extra money and effort that will be have to spent repairing what a Manning or a Snowden have done in order to make Julian Assange or Vladimir Putin richer is not much noticed by anyone.

If Manning had had simply once NCO who was worth a damn in his chain of command, he would have been eased out of military service before he could do any damage. I say, let Manning go and find the NCOs who failed to do their jobs and put them out of the Army.

Having worn the uniform, let me tell you one thing--Manning is no hero. Never has been, never will be. He should get about 12 years in prison. He won't learn anything from his detention and the United States has no reason to give him anything harsher than that if he is not guilty of aiding our enemies.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Maureen Dowd Phones It In

Another outrage of the week? And it is only Monday?

If you're going to tell me that Maureen Dowd is upset because a politician did something sexy for which she didn't grant prior approval or inspire, then I would say, hold on a minute because we haven't gotten to her mid-week attempt at remaining relevant.

It would take effort for Dowd to ignore the sexism and assess the political future of Anthony Weiner. He has broken no laws (except for, perhaps, campaign finance laws) and there is a complete and utter absence of celebrity and star power in the race to be the next Scold of America, otherwise known as Mayor of New York City. He's not quitting and neither is his wife. So, what does she do? She puts on her scolding pants and shakes her bony finger at Weiner and that's what passes for punditry nowadays.

Is Weiner finished? Absolutely. But Dowd is the one who should have been sent packing.

Welcome Back to the Catholic Faith

Buried somewhere in the job description of the Pope is the requirement that morals and ethical matters will be judged and that guidance will be provided to the faithful. Well, today the faithful were handed a shrug and a healthy dose of reality.

Gay Catholics have essentially been asked to come back into the fold. Will they?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Go Ahead and Yell At the Twitter

Who is this stupid?

When you deal with computers, you are not necessarily dealing with a human being on the other end of the interaction. You could very well be dealing with--and I know this is shocking for some people--an automated response.

The lack of common sense out there is breathtaking. And you can expect more of this because actually paying people wages to do this kind of work is vanishing faster than what we used to call a music industry.

Twitter does not care about you, your tweets, who is tweeting back to you, or anyone or anything. Twitter is an Internet business that is worth a great deal of money. It transmits millions of messages that are, essentially, meaningless. When I "tweet" this post, it will go out over Twitter and nothing will happen.

And you're using it why?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Yes, You Did

Americans could learn from this man:
Moments after being dragged from the wreckage, the driver of the train that derailed in northwest Spain on Wednesday, killing 78,told his rescuers "I have fucked it up. I want to die." 
Francisco José Garzón Amo, pictured above, was taken into custody at the hospital yesterday and will be questioned by a judge today. He and the train's other driver could potentially be charged in the 78 deaths.
That is what we call a moment of clarity and a breath of refreshing honesty. Someone needs to hand this man a revolver with one round and walk away.

The Contempt of the Young

The end of the love affair that tweens are having with Justin Bieber is not coming to an end. It is probably going to intensify and solidify. This young man has a permanent audience that will never abandon him. He has what amounts to a lifetime of success ahead of him.

Spitting on people is just good fun. When you have no regard for other human beings, a group of like-minded idiots that validate your every move, and an endless supply of cash, you can do anything you want. Bieber is the new Prince of America. He is insulated from accountability like royalty.

When a performer has nothing but contempt for his audience, there's no where else to go. The people he spits on are going to keep throwing money into a vast machine that will enrich Bieber and his cronies and they won't have the first clue about why all of this would ever come to an end. I have a suspicion that a forty year-old Bieber is going to act pretty much the same way the 19 year-old acts.

Not So Badass Anymore

(Francisco José Garzón AmoGarzon Amo is the new and latest face of incompetence. When all is said and done, they will look at what happened and come to a startling conclusion--automating the various functions of trains makes the drivers lazy and foolish. Amo became a kind of speed demon when driving his trains throughout the Spanish transportation system. Bragging about possibly incurring fines is the same as saying that the system doesn't matter anymore. Amo probably--probably--did his speeding on tracks or on routes that weren't properly monitored. And he probably did his thing in areas where the automation wasn't preset.

In Europe, the trains are subjected to a great deal of safety and speed limitations. Amo was operating on a track that was outside of that system.

All over Europe, train drivers are deleting their social media accounts, trying to scrub their own history of being stupid on the job.

Steal What You Can't Sell

What is a moon rock worth?

Well, if you can't sell it, I would imagine that a moon rock is worth about nothing. Leave it to the yahoos of America to walk off with something that is practically impossible to pawn or sell.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Google Glass Is Now Uncool Forever

A Federal Voting Standard

I think we are long overdue for a Federal voting standard:
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday said he will seek to require that the state of Texas clear all of its voting changes with the federal government, firing the opening salvo in a new battle over the Voting Rights Act.

"This is the department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last," Holder said in Philadelphia, according to prepared remarks.
The Supreme Court last month ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that the voting law's requirement that states with a history of discrimination clear changes to their polling practices was unconstitutional, putting enforcement of the law in doubt.
Each and every American should have the right to vote, and with that should come some sort of guarantee that the state in which they live will not hinder that right in order to protect the political power of one party. Why we are not fighting for this is beyond comprehension. The right to vote should be granted to the people. Whether they vote or not is their business. An amendment to the Constitution that establishes the minimum standards for voting rights and access needs to codify and protect these rights.

There are too many games being played. Standardized voting for all citizens should be basic common sense at this point. The only reason why we don't have a standardized voting process is because people might vote against a Republican. That should tell you everything you need to know.

Contractual Obligations of the Heart

Modern American ethics and values are on display in this particular instance. For starters, I refuse to call the woman named here trash. I think that the first inclination would be to go after the groupie and not the NBA player in question, the former Duke Basketball star, J. J. Redick. American society is addicted to slut shaming. The slut in question is the young man who needs to use the law to solve his problems.

Here, you have a wealthy professional athlete cleaning up something that went wrong. You have a legal instrument that he can use to protect himself from having to spend the next 18 years paying child support; in the NBA, fathering children and then being stuck with the bill has been commonplace for years. Abandoning them is hardly even news anymore. Redick is simply taking steps to solve the problem before it starts.

And while all of this seems practical, let's get to what drives things like this--Redick is making a legal move to protect his status, his money, and his marketability. All of those things are more important than the situation he created with the woman in question. The only thing that matters is what Redick's people are telling him. The influence that his legal team has in his affairs has dwarfed decency and common sense.

Signing a contract with a woman so that you can ensure that she has an abortion hands the anti-abortion crazies yet another thing to use against women who should be entitled to safe, secure family planning options. It removes the morality of the choice from the equation, giving the factions that want to ban abortions another weapon. The legal contract removes the choice from the woman; that's what we should be uncomfortable with in this case.

Doing right by a child has nothing to do with anything anymore. Chivalry couldn't find purchase here. But, good for Redick. He has finally given people a reason to think of him as a professional basketball player.

Welcome to Tripsdrill

One of the first things you see when you enter the German amusement park known as Tripsdrill is this thing. It is an animatronic German who sits in an outhouse and yells at people. Occasionally, the door flies open and he spits water at you.

Yes, this is a real thing. People love it.

Over Before It Started

Somewhere, an ESPN executive is screaming into his sleeve:
"There's no such clause that said I could not talk about politics, there is no such clause referring to content about anything that we might do on the show," he said, refuting a recent New York Timesreport that claimed politics would be off-limits on the upcoming sports series. "There were also references to having pop culture segments and such, that was also inaccurate. I don't know where it came from; we tried to correct it as it happened. It's not the biggest mistake in the world but it's led to a bunch of questions of: How could you not talk about politics? I'm not intending to talk about politics, certainly not in the partisan sense and not in the sense that I did in the last 10 years of work that I've done, for the simple reason in that it's a sports show."
This is how it begins. Keith Olbermann, who is a great broadcaster and deserves great success, is going to start changing the parameters of what he agreed to because, well, he uses his power to achieve an advantage over his employer. This accelerates the firing process; it is well nigh possible that Olbermann will be fired BEFORE he even gets on the air.

I think he should go to CNN and do what he does and be left alone to do that. But, what the hell, right? This is going to be enjoyable to watch. Anything that causes ESPN pain is a good thing.

-Norman Rogers

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Throw the Book At Him

Image by Andrew Dye  @ Winston-Salem Journal
A protester struggles to walk with his cane after being detained during the Moral Monday protest on Monday, July 22, 2013, at the North Carolina Legislature in Raleigh. (Andrew Dye)

If you think that the Republican Party in North Carolina has merely gone insane, think again. They have decided to go batshit crazy in public, and this image should haunt them all of their born days.

What you have is a photo of a Veteran being arrested for protesting the Republicans who run the North Carolina legislature. Republicans hate Veterans because Veterans draw milk from the public teat, you see, and they tend to vote intelligently. Veterans who vote Republican are simply voting against their interests. And what you have is an outrage in the making. Governance is not something that the Republican Party does anymore.

Larry Summers is a Bad Choice to Run Anything

My favorite headline this week has to be the one listed above, from Salon.

Sexist Larry Summers Will Destroy the Economy

How? How can someone who is a sexist destroy an economic model or system? Being sexist is awful enough but how does that translate into being bad at economics? I suppose you could defend this opinion by talking about choices and prejudices, and that might support the idea that a sexist could tank the economy. What if Summers turns out to be exactly the right choice in spite of a history of being sexist?

I don't think that's likely, but it would make for a great navel-gazing post somewhere.

In the case of Larry Summers, being bad at deciding what is right for America is enough to disqualify him from being Chairman of the Federal Reserve. On the issue of deregulation alone, Summers should quietly withdraw his name and go back to slapping himself.

It's not like the Republicans in the Senate would confirm him anyway. 

Anthony Weiner Didn't Do Anything Illegal

This is a different kind of slut shaming.

Anthony Weiner is not a good choice for mayor of New York City precisely because he doesn't have good judgment. It has nothing to do with sex, his sexual proclivities, or his desire to use social media to practice fantasies or whatever those Carlos Danger moves really are. He's simply a modern man, fapping his way past the glow of his cellphone or laptop, getting his rocks off in private.

In America, privacy is dead and being a normal deviant (we are all deviants in some way, each and every one of us) is not enough anymore. Once Weiner realizes that you can't do these things and be a politician, we'll all be better off. He can have his regular life, his secret life, and he can thrive, to be honest with you. But he can't hold positions of public trust and bask in the appreciation of the people for his public service.

In politics, you have to hide your deviancy and appear normal. Weiner has thumbed his nose at this. Could you call him a pioneer? An outlier? I don't know. But I do know this--Anthony Weiner is simply not a talented legislator or leader; he's not smart enough or good enough to forgive him his transgressions. He is photogenic and can speak well enough into the camera. That's not enough to rise above the tidal wave of traffic-driven clicks that have reduced his public accomplishments to a laugh-fest over getting hard because someone on a chat connection is able to help him yank his crank while his family sleeps in the background.

In years past, the great men of history were all sexual predators and horrible, horrible husbands. They crawled in the gutter, eating sexual practices out of the middle of their own souls, lubrication optional. Weiner is just not good enough to put him up there with Eisenhower or Clinton.

Someone needs to give the man a job in the private sector so he can go away.

-Norman Rogers

Two Jackasses Without Any Talent Whatsoever

If you're completely out of ideas, and if no one is buying your crap anymore, why not pretend you can be on television and do the whole Mystery Science Theater 3000 thing?

The problem here is that MST3K is still very much a thing, and devotees are enjoying the live shows and the associated projects like Rifftrax. There is no "mainstream" audience for Insane Clown Posse, otherwise they would keep making records and going on tours.

Why the FBI hasn't shut them down yet remains a mystery.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Eliot Spitzer is Unfit For Public Office

I am not sure how we got to this point in American society, but now that we're here, let's clear up a few things.

When you made your living as a prosecutor putting away hookers while you, yourself were using hookers, that makes you a hypocrite. In and of itself, this is not all that awful, but here's what was awful. While patronizing these women, Spitzer insisted that the sex acts between himself and the women in question would be free of condoms or any kind of protection. This makes everything that happened a complete and utter farce. Spitzer demonstrated a calculating disregard for other humans, a contempt for society, and an a callous disregard for others.

In other words, Spitzer was capable of using his power to satisfy himself without any regard for others. He was capable of putting that power to use in a way that dehumanized others. He represents a dangerous double standard in American life, one that criminalizes what women do while excusing men.

And he expects to be handed back power over others?

That's chutzpah.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Jeffrey Krusinski is the New Face of Sexual Assault in the Military

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski dodged a bullet. Because of this, he becomes the face of a severe problem--sexual assault in the military.

It makes me wonder if this isn't a deliberate effort to create a separation in military law between military-related offenses and offenses that are civil/criminal in nature. In such a case, the military could discharge the service member so that they could be charged under civilian laws and wash their hands of these people.

I would support such a thing. It would quickly deny these people benefits (unless they are found innocent in civilian court, they cannot return to the military) and it would alleviate a lot of stress on the UCMJ system, which is severely burdened right now with criminal cases.
This man has no business continuing to be paid while serving in the military. He should be discharged and handed over to the civilian court system. The military cannot be trusted to handle these cases anymore. The act of grabbing a woman in a violent matter is sexual assault, plain and simple, and by not charging him properly, he will walk away without being registered as a sex offender.

It does look like she kicked his ass, though. I hope she did. I hope she finds justice in all of this and finds some peace of mind. This man is not fit to wear any uniform.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another Half-Assed Parenting Theory

Someone is trying to sell a T-shirt:
I know many people want to stay current with the latest parenting trends -- attachment parenting, minimalist parenting, Tiger Mother parenting, et al. Well, I've stumbled upon a new technique that will guarantee your child grows up to be an exemplary student and citizen. It's called CTFD, which stands for "Calm The F*ck Down." And that's not a message to give your kids. It's for you. 
Using CTFD assures you that -- whichever way you choose to parent -- your child will be fine (as long as you don't abuse them, of course). To see it in action, here are some sample parenting scenarios and how CTFD can be employed:  
  • Worried your friend's child has mastered the alphabet quicker than your child?Calm the f*ck down.
  • Scared you're not imparting the wisdom your child will need to survive in school and beyond? Calm the f*ck down.
  • Concerned that you're not the type of parent you thought you'd be? Calm the f*ck down.
  • Upset that your child doesn't show interest in certain areas of learning? Calm the f*ck down.
  • Stressed that your child exhibits behavior in public you find embarrassing? Calm the f*ck down.

Yes, using the CTFD method, you'll find the pressure lifted and realize your child loves you no matter what, even if they've yet to master the alphabet. You'll also learn that whether or not you're the best parent in the world, as long as you love your child, they'll think you are and that's what matters. Plus, CTFD makes you immune to those that prey upon the fears of new parents, like pseudoscientists and parenting authors.
This is cute and all, but useless and irrelevant as an actual philosophy or child rearing strategy. This is what passes for modern humor--you can't remember why it is funny unless you remember how funny George Carlin and the freaks were in the 1970s. These were the 'who gives a fuck, ya jerk' people who hated all of the structures of society that used to produce people who were moderately worth a damn. Now we produce people who can't read, can't write, can't think, can't analyze but they damn sure can pursue their own self interest at the expense of others. No wonder the idea of community is a joke.
You can trace this mentality back to the Baby Boom generation, and the diffident, neglectful manner in which it raised its children. The Baby Boomers focused on themselves, to the detriment of their children, and abandoned their offspring to their own fate. These same Baby Boomers started multiple families; children born in the late 1960s often found themselves step-children of new marriages wrought in the 1980s and 1990s that produced under-parented siblings that are now underpaid and overwrought about virtually everything.
Calm the Fuck Down is another way of saying "you are on your own." This abandons children to a fate called mediocrity, and it allows the parent to escape accountability, abandon the effort of raising children, and do nothing.
This is the era of being someone rather than doing something. So, "calm the fuck down" is a generational rallying cry. It also means this generation is well near fucked in terms of accomplishing anything significant.
David Vienna is simply trying to sell the art of not giving a shit. Plenty of others have already raided that well and have made their fortunes. I wish him great success at being flippant and useless.

The Free Scooter Scam

Everybody hates the government but everybody loves it when the government gives them a free scooter so they can tool around in a store with their guts hanging off the sides.

There's nothing wrong with this scam, other than the fact that it makes a lot of hypocrites confused about what is, and what is not, a great way to waste the money our country actually has because, you know, the deficit and all that is coming down.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

This Will Not Work and It Will Not Last

Seriously? Really?
ESPN is expected to announce on Wednesday that the former network mainstay Keith Olbermann, who contentiously departed in 1997, will return to host a one-hour, nightly show for ESPN2 later this year, according to three executives with knowledge of the deal but not authorized to speak about it publicly. 
Olbermann, 54, became renowned for co-anchoring ESPN’s “SportsCenter” with Dan Patrick — arguably the most auspicious pairing in the history of the show or the network. He left the show briefly to help launch ESPN2 in October 1993. 
The move to bring Olbermann back after a 16-year absence was the result of 14 months of intense discussion within ESPN and its parent, the Walt Disney Company. 
Within ESPN, there was concern about asking Olbermann back because he left the network under emotionally charged circumstances and because it was feared by some that Olbermann had become too politicized as the host of his interim MSNBC program “Countdown,” which aired from 2003 through January 2011. 
On his new show, Olbermann will be free to discuss matters other than sports, including pop culture and current events, but not politics, the two-year pact specifies. [emphasis, mine]
Talk about burying the lede. This story fails to highlight the one thing that matters when it comes to Olbermann's return to ESPN--he will not be allowed to talk about politics. The problem is, sports and politics intersect in a lot of natural places. When it comes to the major sports figures, there are politics involved when it comes to their reactions to current events. I don't think ESPN really understands what it is getting.

On the date of the announcement of the Trayvon Martin verdict, there were sports figures who weighed in with their opinions. How could a Keith Olbermann program, broadcast on that day, not cover the impact of the verdict and discuss the politics around it? How could he deal with the racial undertones and not look at how they affect athletes who express an opinion that is directly at odds with a number of prominent political figures?

How would his program deal with a recalcitrant wingnut hockey player who refuses to visit the White House and not talk about the politics behind that?

Olbermann is a great broadcaster but I have always believed that he should be on CNN, offering some real commentary and perspective. I think he should have a primetime hour on CNN and he should be left alone to talk about the news. Going back to ESPN is a mistake.

Hiking Sign

Anyone who has hiked through Germany will know this sign. You can walk anywhere, and these signs are essential.

Lindsey Graham is a Terrible Senator

Identifying Lindsey Graham as a "key" senator is a mistake. He is not a key anything and has no natural power base in the Senate besides the strange weight that John McCain commands. How McCain was able to wrangle a deal yesterday with Harry Reid is, by extension, the only real power that Graham has. He is wedded to McCain and cannot escape his orbit.

Equating Russia with Nazi Germany is a terrible, terrible foreign policy blunder. This is diplomacy 101: never match the Russians with the Nazis if you want to get anything out of them. The United States can trade Viktor Bout for Edward Snowden if it is willing to make a deal, and we should make that trade. It would symbolically link Snowden with someone reprehensible and far more valuable.

I would argue that Snowden's value has diminished rapidly. He is a wannabe and Bout was a real player on the arms dealing markets. Russia would get the better of that deal but America would have a chance at finding out why Snowden wasn't happy having everything. In and of itself, that would go a long way towards understanding why this country is so miserable.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I'm sure that it is nothing, but, damn. Balloon Juice has been hit hard in the last week and now there is a malware issue. None of the people running that site would ever dream of putting in malware, so this has to be some other kind of thing.

Why Would Anyone Buy a Surface?

Microsoft has slashed the price of the Surface and they are sending out e-mails, trying to get people like me to buy their product.

No thank you.

I have spent the past few weeks helping people get out of their Windows-based problems, ranging from PCs that were loaded with Windows 8 and PCs that were worked on by the Goof Troop at Geek Squad. I have seen machines that are so bogged down and dysfunctional that they had to be discarded. I have seen what Windows has become and the only thing keeping them afloat are businesses that won't switch and users that don't know any better.

If I wanted a laptop, I'd buy a laptop. I wouldn't buy a Surface and then jam a piece of shit keyboard onto it. If I wanted to run Word and Excel, which are my bread and butter, then I would run them on a Thinkpad loaded with Windows XP.

You want me to buy a Surface? Put Windows XP on it. Give Windows XP a reprieve from being taken to the boneyard. Then, and only then, would I consider something like that.

Windows 8? Garbage. A security nightmare like virtually everything else. At least with XP, you know what you're getting. With Windows 8, prepare yourself for years of security updates and installed updates and download after download.

No thank you.

Heartless Bastards

What a heartless thing to do to someone. Stealing, then flipping their pet:
An Indianapolis Star article rehashed the story of one attempted pet flip that occurred not long ago. A few days after Elizabeth Arroyo’s dog Raiden disappeared in June, Arroyo was forwarded a message showing what appeared to be the dog on Craigslist — not reported as found, but for sale. Arroyo and her father met with the seller, realized quickly that indeed it was Raiden, and then settled on a sale price of $900. Instead of going to an ATM for cash, however, they went to the police.
I want to believe that this is more about our perpetually bad economy than anything else but, really, it's about the overwhelming amount of value and money we have projected onto animals. When I was growing up, you had a dog or a cat and there wasn't a massive, multi-billion dollar profit industry that was built around pets and only pets. There were pet stores, and there was an aisle in the grocery store, and that was about it. Now, it's about a whole hell of a lot more.

Appoint a Special Prosecutor Now

Stenography at its very best:
President Obama has rewarded at least 19 campaign contributors and political allies with ambassadorships this year, according to an analysis by The Hill. 
Nominations to plum postings have gone to no fewer than eight bundlers, six of whom raised more than $1 million for the president’s reelection campaign. The president has also given prized ambassadorships to key fundraising staffers, including the head of his 2012 finance operation. 
Presidents of both parties have long rewarded donors with diplomatic prestige, but Obama appears to be outdoing his immediate predecessors. 
As of June 28, 32.2 percent of Obama’s ambassadorial appointments had gone to political appointees, according to the American Foreign Service Association, versus 30.02 percent under George W. Bush, 27.82 percent under Bill Clinton and 31.30 percent under George H.W. Bush.
In this particular article, which was published without a laugh track, we find out that President Obama has appointed a mere handful of political donors at a rate that is almost statistically insignificantly more than the man who held the office before he held it. A whopping 2.0% of his ambassadorial appointees represents the total increase over what George W. Bush appointed. Two percent! It's a scandal! Appoint a Special Prosecutor!

Never mind the fact that we now have proof that George W. Bush was 2.38% more corrupt than Bill Clinton--we can't get embroiled in such trivial details. This is about the one and a half to three ambassadors President Obama has appointed to horrible, horrible places like Iraq. For God's Sake.

Didn't you see the headline? He's HANDING THEM OUT! They're PLUMS. All two fucking percent of them.

We are well and truly fucked as a country because we are focused on incrementally marginal issues while things like poverty, jobs, infrastructure, health care and quality of life are routinely ignored. Where's the article about abortions, flag burning incidents, and birth certificates?

Richard Cohen Wins the Race to the Bottom

Richard Cohen is desperately trying to be the stupidest man on the Internet. He's got a lot of competition, but he's never going to give up. This is what people from his generation do--they use their cushy media gigs to perpetrate the inner rage they feel about being irrelevant and out of touch with the culture.

Cohen thinks it was about the hoodie. It was not about the hoodie. It was a deeper and more complex issue called racism and Cohen cannot get past the fashion aspect of why George Zimmerman decided to appoint himself the leader of the pack and start following and shooting people who made the mistake of lawfully walking through his neighborhood while armed only with snacks.

Cohen wants to talk about the hoodie because that is something Martin chose to wear. It allows Cohen to reinforce his own racist beliefs because, if it's about the hoodie, then it isn't about the fact that Martin was a black kid who didn't deserve to be gunned down by a wannabe cop. If you're unable to separate the hoodie from the boy, then you're not following along. This was about racism and guns and really, really bad laws in Florida. It was not about sartorial choices.

And he especially wants to talk about the hoodie because that is how he links this crime to the urban crime of Washington D.C. Well, guess what? The population of Sanford, Florida is less than 55,000. There is no comparison--this was not an urban crime, not by a long shot. This was not what Cohen wants it to be, no matter what.

We already know that Trayvon Martin was tried and convicted for his own murder; now we get to hear an aging, pathetic old leftover from the 1960s opine about modern fashion choices. For someone of Cohen's generation to misunderstand the racial aspects of what happened is proof that he lost the plot long ago. It wasn't about what the kid was wearing. It was about the color of his skin.

I just want to hear one person get it--Martin was convicted of being black and thus deserved to die at the hands of a man who had no business making himself the arbiter of who should be where doing what where he lived. They used racially coded aspects of this young man's life to convict him of being where George Zimmerman thought it would be a good idea to skulk around with a gun and a head full of misguided ideas about public safety.

You would think Cohen would know what race, guns, and our society have been about for the last however many years he has been in the public arena as a part of the media. You would think that, but you would be wrong. Cohen is sad and pathetic yet again and completely out of touch.

It wasn't about the hoodie.

Vladimir Putin is a Bond Villain

How many national leaders get into a mini sub and cruise around in the ocean? This man is a Bond villain.

Monday, July 15, 2013

William Saletan is Trying to Be the Stupidest Person Alive

The 911 dispatcher who spoke to Zimmerman on the fatal night didn’t tell him to stay in his car. Zimmerman said he was following a suspicious person, and the dispatcher told him, "We don't need you do to that." Chief prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda conceded in his closing argument that these words were ambiguous. De la Rionda also acknowledged, based on witness and forensic evidence that both men “were scraping and rolling and fighting out there.” He pointed out that the wounds, blood evidence, and DNA didn’t match Zimmerman’s story of being thoroughly restrained and pummeled throughout the fight. But the evidence didn’t fit the portrait of Martin as a sweet-tempered child, either. And the notion that Zimmerman hunted down Martin to accost him made no sense. Zimmerman knew the police were on the way. They arrived only a minute or so after the gunshot. The fight happened in a public area surrounded by townhouses at close range. It was hardly the place or time to start shooting.
The phrase "we don't need you to do that" referred to the act of following Martin. The police were pretty clear--when Zimmerman said he wanted to follow Martin, the police said "we don't need you to do that." If that's fucking ambiguous than fuck it all anyway nothing means nothing and we need to go back to the days of Dick and Jane. Stop. Do Not Follow. Don't do that. Stop. Bad. No. Sit down.

What a bunch of bullshit.

I'm going to call this piece out of William Saletan's latest attempt at becoming the stupidest man on the Internet and identify it for what it is:
"The evidence didn't fit the portrait of Martin as a sweet-tempered child, either"
Trayvon Martin wasn't on trial for murder. George Zimmerman was on trial for murdering Trayvon Martin. So, why exactly would a thinking, rational person refer to the victim in this manner?

Oh, that's right. Saletan refers to this piece of information because it fits neatly with the idea that Martin was a rampaging asshole who always gets away and that Zimmerman was duty-bound as a wannabe cop and a half-assed neighborhood watch clown on Adderall to shoot him dead. It fits with the tribal instinct that is ingrained in people like Saletan to always--always--come down on the side of anyone who kills the outsider to protect the tribe. The funny thing is, none of the people defending Zimmerman would ever want to live next door to him, especially if they had dogs or children.

Only in America do we put a dead black teenager on trial for his own murder.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Zimmerman Gets Away With It

George Zimmerman got away with it today. The rest of his life will be spent doing what, exactly? Being a violent wannabe cop? Breaking the law again and again (because, up until now, Zimmerman has broken numerous laws)? Shooting some more black kids?

The rule of law marches on. In Texas, you can kill a prostitute when she won't have sex with you. In Florida, you can kill someone who decided to walk through your neighborhood carrying snacks. The kind of law they practice down in those two big southern states, where tens of millions of Americans live, is a sham and a fraud. If you choose to live in those states, you should remember one thing--the law means nothing. It is kill or be killed in those places and you might as well buy a third and fourth gun and double down on the terror.

Human life means nothing when everyone is a shooter in a shooting gallery puffed up with fear and madness.

No Idea Where I Was

I have no idea where I was in September, 1979, but I appear to be carrying eggs and displeased about being photographed. I remember the shirt, though. It was a heavy athletic department issued shirt, made of overly-thick material, and very comfortable.

Anyway, it is weird to find things like this and it is even weirder to post them on a blog and have no answer to the question--why were you carrying eggs?

I was probably being useful. Let's leave it at that.

Here on, there are four additional blogs that have been "melded" into this site. You will find content from The Easter Wolf, Hillbilly Thrill, The Chasseurs, and Albert Lea Sucks has been seamlessly added to the already bulging stacks of posts. I am consolidating a lot of things and putting everything here.

Like the idea of posting the picture, I just have to say, why not?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Another Miscarriage of Justice

Melissa Nelson
There's dumb and then there's Iowa dumb:
A dentist acted legally when he fired a longtime assistant because he had grown too attracted to her and worried he would try to start an affair, the Iowa Supreme Court reaffirmed Friday in its second crack at the controversial case.  
Coming to the same outcome as it did in December, but clarifying its rationale, the court found that bosses can fire employees that they and their spouses see as threats to their marriages. The court said such firings do not count as sex discrimination because they are motivated by feelings, not gender. 
The ruling upholds a judge's dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit filed by Melissa Nelson against James Knight. The Fort Dodge dentist fired the 33-year-old Nelson — two decades his junior — after his wife learned of text messages between the two. The married mother of two had worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her his best assistant.
This is what I cannot get over--the man's wife had him fire Nelson.
The firing came at the request of Knight's wife, who was concerned about the relationship between Knight and Nelson. Mansfield said the firing might have been bad treatment — and paying her one month's severance was ungenerous — but that it was not gender discrimination. Nelson was replaced by another woman; Knight had an all-female staff.
Yes, it most certainly was gender discrimination, and all it will take are a few more cases where people of the same sex interact in this way and have these disputes. The involvement of the spouse in the decision to fire Nelson is where the bias is exemplified. Your spouse cannot determine who is hired and fired in a government position, for example, and that should not be the case in the private sector as well. It is a clear case of unprofessional bias and it should be illegal for someone to tell their spouse to fire someone without just cause.

Then there is this example, which shows the douchebaggery of James Knight, which Nelson should have reported as sexual harrassment:
Cady said Nelson once told Knight that she wasn't having much sex and he responded, "That's like having a Lamborghini in the garage and not ever driving it." The dentist had also texted her asking how often she experienced orgasms (she did not respond) and complained that her body distracted him at work, once telling her that if she saw his pants bulging, that was a sign her clothes were too revealing. Knight also gave Nelson more favorable treatment than other workers, and she once texted him that she continued working there "because of you," he noted.
Douchebaggery is not illegal, but it should go a long ways towards informing the law as to what is and what is not acceptable discourse and practice in the workplace. It sounds like this was an immature relationship that was exacerbated by an inability to know where the boundaries were in everyday situations. There's no excuse for not knowing how to act around others. When you run or own a business, you should know these things.

The law has been misused in this case. Do you have to have legal experience to be a Supreme Court Justice in Iowa? How dumb are these people?

The Paparazzi Are Scumbags

Normally, you would never see the words "Suri Cruise" on a blog like this, but I figured it would be appropriate to speak up on behalf of her disgust with the craven, vicious thugs who call themselves modern paparazzi.

You can hear the bottom feeder in the background, sounding off about Cruise after she, rightly, scolds them for being in the way of where they want to go:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

It doesn't matter if she seems like a brat at this age--she is being subjected to a feeding frenzy based on celebrity and nonsense. She is trying to live, with her single mother, in a world where there are people who make their living taking pictures and video of other people in order to sell them on what is little more than a sensationalistic, prurient market.

Modern paparazzi are the worst human beings on Earth, bar none, and they should be called out as such when they act up. Despite the fact that you can hear a "father" chastising the man who called Cruise a brat, they are engaged in one of the lowest forms of exploitation still possible.

The Anti-Vaccine Mafia

This article goes on to talk about what a disaster it would be to give Jenny McCarthy a platform to espouse her nutty anti-science beliefs. But, really, we need to go further than that.

Few articles go into enough detail over this issue and this one in particular does not mention the fact that Diedre Imus and her husband, radio host, Don Imus, bullied people--yes, bullied them and taunted them and called them names--for years over this very same anti-vaccination research and put pressure on politicians to enact legislation. As soon as the research was exposed as a fraud, nothing more was said. Diedre Imus reached far more people of influence and power than Jenny McCarthy could ever dream of reaching.

Children are dead because these people used their power and influence in the media to spread ideas that turned out to be fraudulent. No accounting for that has been held thus far.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Don't Tell Mr. Snowden

In the heart of Western Europe, the wealthy and sophisticated country of Luxembourg has revealed itself to be no better than any of the other countries in the world:
The political crisis unfolded after a parliamentary review into allegations of misconduct by the country's SREL security agency. 
They included claims of illegal bugging of politicians, the purchase of cars for private use and payments in exchange for access to local officials. 
The review concluded that "the prime minister, as head of the intelligence service, not only had no control over his service but also too often omitted to inform the parliamentary control committee or the judiciary of its irregularities, aberrations and illegalities".
This is why people who support Edward Snowden have it bass-ackwards. There is always a reckoning when the state abuses its power in a country where the rule of law is active and functioning. In America, and in any country where the law still exists, we need whistleblowers who actually blow the whistle on lawbreaking, not on state-sanctioned surveillance. We need people who want to do something rather than be somebody.

The problem is, stories like this will not shake the faith of people who believe that all of the evil in the world is entirely the fault of America.

Welcome to Gridlock

So, this happened, and it is fairly commonplace now to get stuck behind these terrible wrecks. Fortunately, no one was hurt, so let me dispense with that up front. It could have been much worse.

The fallout from this is that there was a demonstrable lack of options for drivers today. I saw people driving like maniacs and I saw roads choked with confused drivers. Add to that the rain (in Maryland, when it rains, you automatically assume that the IQ of everyone around you has dropped 30 points and their speed has dropped 30 mph).

If you are dependent on a major artery, there are few, if any, secondary options. Instead of building choke points, maybe would should have focused on ensuring that the road system can handle interruptions. Or would that be too expensive? Nobody has any money anymore and the roads are choked with people trying to get to jobs where they are underpaid. This is not a recipe for improvement.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cycling is No Longer a Legitimate Sport

Chalk this up to frustration. People who want cycling to actually be a sport again want it to be legitimate and clean. It is neither. There are no cycling champions anymore. There are a group of people who inject drugs in their system on a scale that is so rampant that if you don't try to cheat, there is something wrong with you.

The idea of a human being getting on a bike and powering it to victory in a race seems absurd now. They have cheated so much, how could anyone accept a real star and a true talent?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Retail Book Industry Is Collapsing

Barnes & Noble was one of my favorite places in the world. When I worked there (three different Barnes & Noble stores, along with a B. Dalton), I really enjoyed being dropped into that weird world of selling books to people.

They're still a present-tense reality, but they're about to be past-tense far too soon. Retail books are going to be an oddity that went away far too soon.

I sell my titles on Theoretically, you could say that I have contributed to the destruction of the bookstore. The only problem with that is, no one would ever publish me so, you know, there's that. My hands are sort of clean, but I'm still going to miss the stores and the experience.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gawker Hates Zooey Deschanel

Today, Gawker published another bizarre post about Zooey Deschanel. I realize that this is not news--Gawker HATES Deschanel with an indescribable fury. Apparently, she's adorkable or something.

Whenever Gawker posts about Deschanel, I usually just ignore it. However, in the comments, people are basically calling out the site and pointing out that bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have similar bans on the use of phones. So, you know, blog fail or whatever.

Artists have begun trying to separate fans from their phones and from the practice of holding this rectangular plastic thing in front of them so that they can claim to have watched the show in person. How that translates into an experience is beyond my grasp. Why not enjoy what you are seeing without worrying about your phone?

If you have to record something to remember it, your mind is already gone.

Hating People Who Are Hungry

Wingnut media outlets love stories like this. Here, the "statistics" on who is using public assistance in order to obtain food are used to gin up phony outrage. Stories such as this are red meat for screaming maniacs who have nothing better to do than assert their tribal instincts. "Those" people are lazy and living off the government teat. "Those" people are getting something for nothing. And so on and so forth.

Here are the usual comments you would see with a story about hunger in America:

All of these smart people believe that they know what the problem is and what the answer will ultimately be: we need to throw these people to the wolves and let them starve--that'll teach them to have bad luck. Oh, and this is typical--shaming people who need to be shamed is a key wingnut practice:

The visceral hatred shown for hungry people is staggering. The government doesn't "feed" all of these people. The government makes programs available that supplement what people eat, allowing them to spend their money on other things, thus generating an economy that supports everyone.

When you actually begin to investigate the statistics and methodology, you come away with a vastly different picture. The vast majority of the people on hunger assistance programs--well beyond the halfway mark of 101 million Americans--are children. There are 32 million school children participating in the school lunch subsidy program alone. Almost 11 million kids are getting breakfast at school--a fantastic program that is well worth the cost in terms of keeping kids fed and productive so that they can learn and, one day, get jobs and pay taxes. Conservatives oppose abortion, obviously, and they hate underfed kids about as much. So much hate, so little time.

Millions of Americans participate in programs like Disaster Food Assistance, The Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. These are hardly free giveaways for deadbeats. They are transitional support programs and supplemental programs that put food on the table for people who have been through national disasters, through immediate loss, and for the elderly (the same people who, by and large, vote conservative, of course).

The idea that ALL of the people getting food assistance are deadbeats is laughable. Many of these people are children, the disabled, and the elderly. Many of them are suffering from catastrophic events and temporary unemployment. We have 300 million people in America and not all of them are going to be workers paying taxes. That is not and never has been our system. We have built a system that helps people get back on their feet and live with some dignity. If you spend your whole life hating everyone who isn't as lucky as you are, it's easy to howl and have a ragegasm over whatever the latest piece of anti-Obama rhetoric has produced.

Oh, and a lot of those people getting assistance are broke because the Republicans in Congress have killed job creation initiatives for years. Don't bring that up, of course.