Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekend Song

Nearly fifty years ago, on October 29, 1964, the T.A.M.I. show was wrapping up its second and final day at the Santa Monica (CA) Auditorium.   T.A.M.I. was a showcase for a number of future Hall of Fame acts, including The Beach Boys, James Brown, The Supremes, Chuck Berry and Smokey Robinson.  Fortunately, it's all on film and "is considered one of the seminal events in the pioneering of music films."  If you've never seen the show, you owe it to yourself to spend a couple of hours to see the great live performances by rock and R & B royalty.  We're featuring a song by one of the electrifying acts -- The Rolling Stones (even Brian Jones gets caught up in the moment).  Here's "It's All Over Now."  (Love the hypnotic rhythm and bass guitar lines.)  Enjoy your weekend.

Healthy Again Photo of the Day

President Obama embraces Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who has recovered from the Ebola virus that she contracted while treating Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas last month.  She was treated at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

(photo:  Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The Thrilla In Wasilla, Cont'd.

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Now that stories have spread about the drunken brawl back in September  involving Alaska's snowbilly royals, the Palin klan has been struggling to get their side of the story out, now that Anchorage police audio and photos after the brawl have been released.  True to character, they're pointing the finger at others, including at the President and Vice President.  Personal responsibility, everyone!

Led by their drunken son and potty mouthed daughter, the Palins crashed a party and proceeded to get violent before they were hustled out to their waiting Hummer limo (of course), no doubt paid for by goobers sending their money to SarahPAC.

(cartoon: Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution via

Iowa's Not-So-Sharp Shooter

Wingnut Republican candidate for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat Joni "The Castrator" Ernst has been trying to tamp down some of the insane statements she made while running for the Republican nomination and earlier as a state senator (statements which apparently don't "disqualify" her in the eyes of Beltway villager Chuck "Not My Job" Todd).

A 2012 appearance by The Castrator before the gun manufacturers' lobby National Rifle Association raises new questions about her grasp of reality.  At that meeting, she declared that
"...I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.” (emphasis added)
Whether veering into Cliven Bundy/ Timothy McVeigh territory and threatening to shoot elected officials that she doesn't agree with will make a difference with Iowa voters remains to be seen.  However, her far-right radicalism is a matter of record (even though she's decided not to answer questions from Iowa's newspapers) and should be a matter of serious discussion.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Republican Police Blotter, South Carolina Crime Edition

Republican Speaker of the South Carolina House Bobby "Easy Money" Harrell is resigning today from his position following guilty pleas to misdemeanor ethics charges ranging from misuse of campaign funds to using his office for personal gain.  This is the second southern Rethug good ol' boy to be brought up on ethics charges, with Alabama's "Crimson Crime" guy Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, arrested on felony charges.

Again, the view of government that's been drummed into them, even before St. Ronnie of Hollywood's "government's not the solution, it's the problem," is that government is stealing from "the people" (you know, taxes) so it's OK to screw the government.  The added bonus for these clowns is they then say, "see, we told you government doesn't work."

Canada's Moment of Terror

Yesterday's attack on the Canadian Parliament building left a Canadian soldier and the shooter dead.  The soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, was guarding the war memorial near the Parliament building when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot him.  The shooter then moved to the Parliament building, where he fired multiple shots from his rifle and was subsequently killed by the Sergeant-at-Arms (and former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer) Kevin Vickers.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared that Canada would not be intimidated, referring to the attack as an act of terror.  ISIS is reported to be encouraging "lone wolf" attacks within countries that are fighting its advances in Syria and Iraq.

(photos, top to bottom:  Cpl. Cirillo, family photo; Zehaf-Bibeau, CBC Ottawa; Sgt.-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, CBC Ottawa)

From The Fever Swamps Of The Right….

Crazies on the right have been kicking around the idea of secession ever since the dark skinned guy was elected President, despite the fact that they tried that in the 1860s and LOST after the extinguishing of hundreds of thousands of lives.  Now, a former speechwriter for right-wing icon St. Ronnie of Hollywood is suggesting an initial trio of states form a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal called "Reagan" that would reflect the 18th century "values" that they live by.  Blacks, browns and other undesirables would be unwelcome, no doubt, and women?  Well, drop that ballot and get me a sammich!  The lunatic proposing this, Douglas "Rebel Smell" MacKinnon, would base "membership" in "Reagan" according to their stand on marriage equality (hail no!) and other fundamentalist "Christian" ideology (we'll just ignore that during his eight years, St. Ronnie rarely, if ever, attended church, and was mostly tolerant of gays, given his earlier work experience in Hollywood).

Rebel Smell's ideal is a whites-only, exclusionary, authoritarian country, marching to one tune, one party, and one religion and likely armed to the teeth, since the far right's DNA is steeped in paranoia and fear.  It doesn't sound like a place we'd like to visit or live in.

(image:  Cletus Spuckler, candidate for President of "Reagan")

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Republican War On Women - Distaff Edition, Cont.

Fox "News" Republican host/ spokesmodel Kimberly Guilfoyle would like young Democrat  ladies to please stay away from the polls this November.  Why?  Let Guilfoyle's searing logic burn a hole in your brain (to match hers):
It’s the same reason why young women on juries are not a good idea. They don’t get it! They’re not in that same, like, life experience of paying the bills, doing the mortgage, kids, community, crime, education, health care! They’re like healthy and hot and running around without a care in the world … They can go back on Tinder or
Guilfoyle's admonition does not apply, of course, to any of the young Republican Duggar or Palin wimmen, who clearly "get it!"

Oh, by the way, Kimberly, don't forget to vote on Election Day, November 11!  Got it?

Today's Cartoon - Scary Fox "News"

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(Tom Toles, once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle)

Elizabeth Warren Cuts Through The B.S., As Usual

Our favorite candidate for wherever, whenever and whatever she's running for, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), has been hitting the campaign trail for fellow Senate Democrats in the past week.  Here are some of her most-quoted remarks:

Republicans believe this country should work for those who are rich, those who are powerful, those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers.  I will tell you we can whimper about it, we can whine about it or we can fight back.  I’m here with Mark Udall so we can fight back.”  -- Friday in Englewood, CO.

"The game is rigged. The Republicans rigged it." -- Saturday in Minnesota.

The Democrats have a powerful one-two punch that can cut through the Republican b.s. machine (ably abetted by the "mainstream media" who are sticking faithfully to their "the Democrats are going down" narrative):  Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton.  They should use them unsparingly all the way to election day.

BONUS:  Frequent blind squirrel Dana Milbank tells us about another female running for office who, together with Sen. Warren, seems to have all the balls in the Democratic Party (ironic, isn't it?).

The Case for Taxing The Plutocrats

The super-rich should be taxed at the 90% marginal rate that they were during the Eisenhower years, according to a paper by two economists who have studied the impact of high taxes on the extremely wealthy.  The current top tax rate is 39.6%.  The economists, from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Bonn (Germany), say that despite the distortions that are created by tax loopholes,
"...a top marginal tax rate in the range of 90 percent would decrease both income and wealth inequality, bring in more money for the government and increase everyone’s well-being -- even those subject to the new, much higher income tax rate."
As the linked article notes, the economists' paper looks only at income, and not wealth.  Most super-rich derive their living from interest on investments which is taxed at a much lower rate.

It's been an article of faith among conservatives certainly since the time of St. Ronnie of Hollywood that reducing taxes on the wealthy increases economic growth -- i.e. supply side, or more accurately, trickle-down economics -- a "theory" that has proven only to increase income inequality between the very wealthy and the remainder of the population.

Clueless Quote of the Day

"I gotta tell you the truth, I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am."-- Angry buffoon and pay-to-play politician New Jersey Gov. Chris "Krispykreme" Christie, speaking to the Chamber of Commerce (naturally) yesterday in Washington, D.C.  His remark, along with that of Koch employee of the year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who doesn't think that the minimum wage "serves a purpose," is the clearest evidence that Rethuglican politicians couldn't care less about the working poor trying to stay afloat on $7.25 an hour.  However when their wealthy contributors (including the Chamber) come demanding favors, the door's always open to them.

Krispykreme had lap band surgery a while ago to rein in his voracious appetite, when what he really needed was yap band surgery to rein in his loud, mean mouth.

BONUS:  Florida Republican Gov. Rick "Voldemort" Scott also tripped on his lizard tail in last night's gubernatorial debates over minimum wage.  The cluelessness is showing.

Mid-Week Song

Afro-Norwegian duo Nico and Vinz had a big hit earlier this year with "Am I Wrong."  Their just-released second studio album "Black Star Elephant" has another nice tune, "In Your Arms," which is our Mid-Week Song.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Voter Suppression Edition

(click to enlarge)

(Tom Toles, once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle)

(Ben Sargent, Austin American-Statesman)

Two weeks until the midterm elections, and reactionary right-wing Republicans are pulling out all the stops to keep you from voting.  Don't let them take away the most precious franchise you have in a democracy.

Mr. Noble

In his statements, Pope Francis has indicated that the Church needs to embrace gay and lesbian Catholics, along with the remarried divorced and single mothers.  The recent synod of 183 Catholic bishops and Cardinals in Rome heard the Pope's message of inclusion, but the conservatives among them managed to water down a final report from the synod, effectively neutering the Pope's message.

One of the participating conservative Cardinals was New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who earlier in his career presided over a protection racket for pedophile priests in the Milwaukee diocese.  A frustrated pretender to the Papacy, Dolan projects the avuncular demeanor of a simple Irish priest, but is one of the most masterful, media-savvy BSers in the Church's hierarchy.  Appearing  on ABC this past weekend, Dolan, while discussing how benevolent the bishops were, managed to slur gay and lesbian parents when he suggested they were less noble than heterosexual parents:
"...on the definition of marriage given us by God and faithfully handed on by the church, one man, one woman, lifelong, life-giving, faithful, bringing about new life and children. All right, their enthusiastic response to that. And then the other side, George, was how can we, though, embrace and never alienate those who are unable to live up to that noble ideal(emphasis added)
How about this, Cardinal Dolan:  in whatever time you have left, try living up to the ideal of protecting the Church's children, before you lecture others.  It's too late to ask you to repair the damage.