Sunday, September 21, 2014

Climate Change Cartoon of the Day

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Until we and other nations drastically shift from our reliance on fossil fuels as a source of energy -- and apply meaningful energy conservation standards -- the environmental legacy we leave future generations will be a sorrowful one indeed.

(cartoon:  Signe Wilkinson, via

More Danger Signs On Climate Change

Today is the last full day of summer (in the northern hemisphere), and global climate data indicates that 2014 was the warmest since record keeping started in 1880.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that the average Earth temperature from June to August was nearly 63 degrees, or 1.3 degrees higher than last century's average.  The primary factor was the rise in ocean surface temperatures of some 1.23 degrees over the last century's average.  Climate change brings with it dramatic changes in weather patterns, such as epic storms, and historic droughts, which we've been experiencing in North America for over a decade.

Thousands are expected to march today in Manhattan to express their frustration over delays in curbing carbon emissions, the major factor in causing the greenhouse effect that raises global temperatures.  The New York event will be part of demonstrations in some 150 countries to call on their leaders to meet the challenges of climate change.  In addition, the United Nations is hosting a summit of world leaders in two days to address programs to curb carbon emissions.  Will this produce, as in the past, promises, stalling and inaction?  We've nearly run out of time -- some say it's already irreversible -- to deal with the negative human impact on climate.

UPDATE:  The New York City march drew over 300,000 people.

(photo: Associated Press, Mel Evans)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Red State Moochers

Wingnuts in red states are forever castigating the "gummint" for taxing and spending.  As it turns out, 10 red states are among those that rake in the most Federal dollars in terms of subsidies and other Federal funding, while paying the least.  Salon has the complete list, but here's a sampling of the states feeding at the Federal trough while bemoaning "out of control" spending:
Alaska. "A bastion of hard-right politics, Alaska is the state where Sarah Palin was elected governor in 2006. But when it comes to 'small government,' Alaska Republicans don’t practice what they preach: according to WalletHub, Alaska receives $1.42 from the federal government for every dollar it contributes." 
South Carolina. "Republican Gov. Nikki Haley once boasted, 'I love that we are one of the least unionized states in the country.' But that is nothing to be proud of, especially in light of the fact that non-union workers tend to have lower wages and therefore, contribute less tax revenue. The Tax Foundation found that South Carolina was receiving $1.92 from the federal government for every federal tax dollar it was contributing."
 The delusional hypocrisy of the red staters is stunning when it comes to their greed vs. others' contribution.  In other words, "spend on me, but not on thee."

Wishful Thinking?

People watching last night's NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams were informed that Federal charges had been "ruled out" against New Jersey's Republican crime family capo Gov. Chris "Krispykreme" Christie concerning the "Bridgegate" scandal.  Unfortunately for both Krispykreme and NBC News, that report turned out to be false, as the U.S. Attorney's office for New Jersey confirmed.  If Krispykreme gets a pass on the isolated "Bridgegate" part, there's still ongoing investigations into charges of political extortion and pay-to-play with government projects in exchange for endorsements.

Krispykreme has always gotten the benefit of the doubt and much more from a lazy media that wants their politicians to be "colorful," and good for soundbites.  There's also the myth that he's a "different" kind of Rethuglican, willing to work with Dems and moderate in his policies. That's nonsense.  But that flies in the face of the image that the Beltway media has cultivated for the blowhard Governor, so it may have been wishful thinking on NBC's part that Krispykreme would walk free.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dukes of Wasilla / Schmuck Dynasty, Cont'd.

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Looking a bit strung out without her layers of makeup, lip gloss and hairspray, snowbilly grifter and John McCain's gift-to-the-nation-that-keeps-on-giving, Sarah "Winky" Palin was captured in this pic, via Radar Online, after a workout in the gym.  (Notice the classy middle finger she flips to the photographer, and -- hmm -- the absence of a wedding ring).

She continues to deflect questions about the drunken brawl at a Wasilla methamphetamine house party a couple of weeks ago, which resulted in son Track shirtless and drunk, husband Todd with a bloody nose, and the whole family being told to leave.  As of today, no video of the brawl has surfaced, despite several eyewitness accounts.

(photo: via Radar Online)

Whip It Good Video of the Day

Fux's pseudo macho hack Sean "Heil" Hannity got a (ahem) whipping last night from Stephen Colbert, who mercilessly mocked Heil's weird support of NFL players who commit domestic violence against their kids.  Heil was his usual moronic self when he described his childhood experiences of being whipped with a belt and punched in the face by his father (that explains a lot about Heil). Low point: when Heil takes off his belt and whips the table, to the alarm of his panel. Further evidence that this fool needs therapy.

UK Remains Intact

Yesterday's historic vote in Scotland means that they will remain part of the United Kingdom.  By a 55 to 45 percent margin, Scots voted to reject independence, but will demand reforms and greater autonomy within the UK.  With the vote to remain in the UK, the British pound sterling and their stock and bond markets rose strongly, and Brits collectively let out a sigh of relief.  Queen Elizabeth II is expected to thank Scotland for their decision later today in a public comment.  Her last foray into the vote for independence rubbed many Scots the wrong way when she told them to "think very carefully" about their vote.

Weekend Song

We've featured the talented Seattle-based alt rock group Fleet Foxes before (because we like 'em).  Here's "Your Protector" from their eponymous 2008 album.  Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

If You Can Read This, Don't Thank The Texas State Board Of Education

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(Ben Sargent, Austin (TX) American-Statesman)

This history curriculum is brought to you by Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry and the other knuckle-draggers of the Texas Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party.  Of course, the proposed science curriculum is just as bad.  Remember:  He can do for your child what he's doing to Texas' children!

Rethuglican Civil War, Cont'd.

Alert the teatard armies:  another Republican In Name Only gave a mild endorsement of a feature of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."  The Rethug candidate for the 3rd Congressional District in Iowa, David Young,  responded to a question recently about whether he favored the expansion of Medicaid, which is a feature of "Obamacare," and Young had to admit that it was "working in Iowa."

That admission doesn't support the reality-denying, Obama-hating wingers' world view, and they'll be just a bit upset by Young's apostasy and might not come out to vote.  Oh well, with the approval rating of Congressional Rethugs at around 28%, maybe he's better off losing in November.  Here's hoping.

Scot Free?

Today is a momentous day in the long history of Scotland's relations with the rest of the United Kingdom, when Scots will vote on independence.  Polls show the people of Scotland to be evenly split as to whether to sever the ties that they've had with England since 1707.  Queen Elizabeth II recently weighed in suggesting that Scots need to "think very carefully about the future," which many Scots viewed as high-handed treatment.  Nonetheless, Scottish independence would force decisions on everything from currency to treaties, and diminish the United Kingdom economically and culturally.

There are independence movements across Europe involving ethnic groups within countries (e.g., Catalonia in Spain, Flanders in Belgium, etc.) that will be encouraged should Scotland vote for independence.  Stay tuned.

(photo:  Flag of Scotland)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fool's Errand Quote of the Day

" the CIA sees it, the ramped-up backing of rebels is an expansion of a strategy that is already not working. 'The CIA also believes that its previous assignment to accomplish this was basically a fool’s errand, and they are well aware of the fact that many of the arms that they provided ended up in the wrong hands,' the congressman said, echoing intelligence sources." -- (emphasis added) via the HuffPo, an unnamed Dem Congressman relaying the unclassified basics of a recent CIA briefing on arming Syrian "moderates."

Remember that bitter loser Sen. John "Walnuts" McCain and his sidekick Sen. Huckleberry J. Butchmeup* in every TV appearance over the past 18 months demanded -- DEMANDED -- that President Obama send bombs, tanks, missiles, etc. to the "moderate" forces fighting in Syria.  The CIA's description of McCain's reckless urging as a "fool's errand" seems to fit perfectly.
* Charles P. Pierce's unbeatable moniker for Lindsey Graham

Sinclair Broadcast Group Begins Its Politicization Of Local D.C. News

From the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle, the Sinclair Broadcast Group didn't waste any time politicizing local news in its new Washington, D.C., market:
Last week, for example, WJLA viewers woke up to a new face on the morning news: Mark Hyman, a veteran conservative pundit, who offered some criticism of President Obama. 
In his video commentary, Hyman railed against the inconsistent enforcement of a ban on travel to Cuba by Americans. Noting that the music stars Jay Z and BeyoncĂ© had “partied up” in Havana last year without penalty, Hyman insinuated that Obama had protected the couple from prosecution. “It occurs to me that BeyoncĂ© and Jay Z are close friends of the president and first lady,” said Hyman, adding sarcastically, “You don’t suppose . . . oh, never mind. He’d never do that.” 
Hyman’s critiques — which range from warning about the cost of Obamacare to advocating the abolition of the Transportation Security Administration — will be a regular feature on WJLA, just as they are on dozens of stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the new owner of ABC 7.
Sinclair (owned by the Smith family) has a track record of shilling for the Republican Party and right-wing views, as well as contributing heavily to Republican candidates. As the article points out,
On the eve of the 2012 election between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, for example, Sinclair stations in several battlegrounds states aired a ­corporate-produced half-hour news “special” that criticized Obama’s handling of the economy, his signature health-care law and the administration’s management of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Romney’s record received less scrutiny. [snip] 
In 2004, Sinclair generated controversy when it considered airing a documentary attacking Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry’s military record just before the election. After complaints from Democrats and calls for an advertiser boycott, Sinclair backed down and ran a program that analysts said was more balanced. The company nevertheless fired its Washington bureau chief after he publicly said that plans to air the anti-Kerry film were “indefensible.”
The folks in the newsroom aren't happy that Sinclair is not only pushing a Republican agenda, but that they want to newsroom to "work for" the advertising-sales department (e.g., doing news tie-ins with corporate sponsors). The article concludes with a quote from Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity:
“I’d be nervous if I were working at WJLA right now,” said Charles Lewis , the founder of the investigative Center for Public Integrity in Washington and a communications professor at American University. “They are stuck with an idiosyncratic owner with its own political views and agenda. It’s a nightmarish scenario for journalists.”
Apparently, too, the Smiths hope to build a networked "local-national channel" that will give them an even greater megaphone to spread the news  Republican propaganda intertwined with local content.

That sound you hear is John Peter Zenger rotating in his grave.

Mid-Week Song

Brooklyn-based alternative folk rock band Woods has a new album out, "With Light and Love."  Their sound is wistful and melodic and their vocals and instruments are almost reminiscent of the Beatles, circa "Magical Mystery Tour."  Here's a memorable song from that album, "Moving To The Left."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Today's Cartoon (and R.I.P.)

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If only ...

(Ben Sargent, Austin (TX) American-Statesman)

We also wish to note the passing, on September 14,  of the great editorial cartoonist Tony Auth.  His integrity and insight will be missed.