Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Answers in Genesis

Wrong answers of course.  There is no way in hell two of every species in the world of bird, animal, and "creeping thing of the ground" could fit on this non-seaworthy three-story tub.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Enough to remember

Is it enough to remember those who have given their lives in service?  Is that enough?

How many new war dead before Memorial Day 2012 do we need to accomplish our geopolitical goals?  Do we have enough to remember?

The completion of a decade at war is coming in September or in March, depending how you date the beginning. Is memory enough, or should someone in power be bringing peace?

Andrew Bacevich asks...

Waiting for FDR

Through my disappointment, I still support President Barack Obama.  I wanted a new FDR.  I didn't get one.

Obama has proven time and again that he has been captured by economic orthodoxy that serves first the wealthy and then, if there's anything left, the rest of us.  In other words, he's a Republican, although a Republican of thirty years ago, not one of today's current crop of crazy Ayn Randed Republicans, for whom a tax cut is the answer to every question (every question that doesn't involve a chastity belt, anyway).

So unemployment remains viciously high.  Persistently, degradingly high.  People who've worked hard all their lives are being reduced to destitution that they will never escape except by dying.  They may get that final relief rapidly.  Republicans want to phase out both Medicare and Social Security in ways that will allow only the wealthy to live their retirement lives in anything other than desperation.

And no one in power cares enough to do much of anything:

Unemployment is a terrible scourge across much of the Western world. Almost 14 million Americans are jobless, and millions more are stuck with part-time work or jobs that fail to use their skills.  ...

Yet a strange thing has happened to policy discussion: on both sides of the Atlantic, a consensus has emerged among movers and shakers that nothing can or should be done about jobs.  ...

[S]omeone needs to say the obvious: inventing reasons not to put the unemployed back to work is ... a grotesque abdication of responsibility.
Elite policy that fails to respond to the legitimate concerns of the population eventually engenders violence.  Hopeless people burn down buildings.  They riot.  They attack other people.

This violence hardly ever targets the real villains.  Voters failed completely to discern the real enemies of the middle class in 2010, and they had time to come to grips with it.  It's impossible to expect enraged mobs to think clearly.  This easily predicted violence will almost by definition be senseless.

I see the current waste of human beings and the coming even worse waste, and it depresses me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A lot at stake


Click image for full Rob Rogers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoon.

Who?


Click image for full Mike Marland/Concord Monitor cartoon.

Limits of sympathy

I was at Boston College Law School's commencement on Friday and was amazed to hear speaker after speaker refer to these "uncertain times."  Wow, I thought, I would never have guessed these lawyers would be both so liberal and so insightful that they would see the impact of the Great Recession on the people at large.  Or maybe it's the parlous state of American democracy and civil society that they see.  Either way...

Then it struck me.  They were worrying about lawyers, about their fellow guild members, not about the population at large.  Times are uncertain for the employment of lawyers, especially newly minted juris doctors.

What would it take for all Americans to see the peril that now exists to our society in stark and persistent income  inequality, in the power equality that permits the wealthy to buy elections, in the waste of human lives in favor of corporate unaccountability, in the vicious vituperation from wingnuts that is the new normal?  How many people have to suffer for the rest of us to understand?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gift of hope

John Quiggin thinks there's hope for us:

The fact that, with no observable exceptions, the US Republican Party relies on delusional beliefs for most of its claims about economics, science and history has been obvious for some years.

...

A pro-reality journalism will inevitably be hostile to the Republican party and its intellectual apparatus, but that doesn’t mean it should fall into the trap of reflexive support for the Democrats. The point is to report the truth, and report lies as lies, without falling into the equal and opposite traps of ‘balance’ and partisan loyalty.
Then again, he's in Australia, so he may underestimate just how divorced from reality our public discourse really is.

Taking bullshit seriously

America is filled with ignorant religious nuts (and they're not the only kind).  Some of them make a fetish of the end of the world.

That's not news.  Or, it shouldn't be news.

Yet the media continues to report the pro-rapture statements of Harold Camping as if he were credible.

Camping said that he's now realized the apocalypse will come five months after May 21, the original date he predicted. He had earlier said Oct. 21 was when the globe would be consumed by a fireball.
Who are the AP's sources?  Camping, a disappointed follower, and Tim LaHaye, another pro-rapture voice famous for his bullshit "Left Behind" fictionalization of the fiction of Revelation.

I guess all the atheists they asked for a comment must have sputtered out something with bullshit in it, and they couldn't use that.  Yeah, sure.

Usually the media does its false objectivity dance to keep from noticing Republican bullshit, but Christianity is even more completely immune from media critique, no matter how bizarre its backwaters and increasingly its mainstream.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Onana's idle hands

Click image for full Matt Bors/DailyKos cartoon.

What's the difference?

Click image for full Eric Lewis/DailyKos cartoon.

On the sixth day, CNN caught up

I heard about filter bubbles on Facebook nearly a week ago - and I'm sure I'm not one of the first.  CNN scoops up the story and dusts it off today.

And then CNN headlines it as a personal scare story - "What Google knows about you" - instead of Eli Pariser's clear point about what Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, among many others, are hiding from you and what that means for society.

Why is it we need big media?  They're late, they don't filter out the bullshit, most of their pundits are third rate purveyors of conventional wisdom (and I'm being charitable), they don't investigate, they print official press releases as gospel, they fan the flames of manufactured controversy, and they have no institutional memory to help bring Alzheimer's/ADHD America back to reality.  They expect to be paid for this record of failure?

Sorry, the god ate my homework


Click image for full Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press cartoon.


When was the last time a prominent atheist wished for the end of the world?

What will the media do the next time a prominent fundie wishes for it?

Every news site comment thread in America

Ignorant, peevish, narrow-minded, misinformed, livid, intolerant, they are an army of everything that's wrong with America...
Yeah.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

On to the next bullshit from the lying wingnuts


Have I mentioned (lately) that I'm totally sick of big media and the D.C. village pretending that purveyors of obvious and contemptible bullshit (cough Jerome Corsi cough) make any fucking sense at all?

We live in a culture saturated with runny uncomposted bullshit.  Yet the social norm is to treat vicious nonsense as if it deserves respect and civility.  It doesn't.

Birthers, trickle-down so-called economists, and other Republican bullshiters deserve mocking, derisive laughter and a good swamp twirly.

Apocalypse never

Even the teabaggers are tired of teabagging.  Once Donald Trump jilted the birthers and other sordid wingy nuts and went back to his shitty, neo-feudalist TV show, even Nimrata "Nikki" Randhawa Haley, the wingnut governor of the wingnuttiest state, South Carolina, couldn't draw more than 10, I mean 8 teabaggers.  And who knows how many of them were simply luckless passersby.

Maybe the teeming hordes of blissful idiots all stayed home to wait for Jesus to rapture them.  No such luck, though.

Christ stood them up too.

Eight!  Though that's still not the single digit I'm offering them...

Bad judgement day

God guarantees President Obama's re-election:

The Rapture will usefully thin out the Republican field, which, since I assessed it in our current Comment, has already been culled by the departure of Trump and Huckabee. As of tomorrow, Palin, Bachmann, Santorum, and possibly Pawlenty (a Lutheran who attends an evangelical megachurch) will be out of the picture, having been bodily swooped up to Heaven (along with, redundantly, Huckabee).

Back here on Planet Earth, the two Mormons, Romney and Huntsman, will still be in the race, obviously. So will Daniels (mainline Presbyterian), Gingrich (hopelessly sinful), Paul (follower of militant atheist Ayn Rand), Bolton (Lutheran, but no sign he takes it seriously), Johnson (political pothead), and Cain (Baptist, but from the social-justice Dr. King wing).

That will leave eight men scrambling for the support of a very different Republican primary electorate. The religious right will still be a factor, but its numbers will be greatly reduced and those “left behind” are apt to be relative moderates.
Hendrik Hertzberg notices what many liberal pundits have missed.  The Rapture will take a big bite out of the Republican base.  Obama's approval rating could reach two-thirds!

But I'm worried.  God seems to be running late on Revelation.

See you in hell

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Throw papa from the temple

It wasn't the crime researchers' fault. Nothing in their education or institutions should be changed to make them more resistant to being paid to prostitute their credentials in the service of a long train of criminal conspiracies and abuses.  Poor little victims of society...

They were surrounded by a culture of bullshit, and they were insufficiently trained to deal with the huge appeal of making shit up and pawning it off on credulous readers as if it were factual.  It's not just that 87.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.  They were far more methodologically sound than that.  They took in voluminous data from the very hierarchy that protected the perpetrators and accepted it as gospel.  And I don't mean that metaphorically.

With everyone around them taking the money to produce a thin tissue of rationalization, why wouldn't they join in?  Take the money and run, babeee!

Never mind when secondary sex characteristics become visible.  Those altar boys had increasing levels of testosterone - it's scientific! - and the poor entrapped victim priests simply couldn't resist it at a time when college kids were openly lustful and the one true unalterable word of the lord was, uh, sorry, I lost my train of thought.

Ten years old?  No longer a child!  Oral sex with a fifth grader couldn't possibly be pedophilia.  Any sensitive man of god could tell he was about to break out in adolescent acne any day now.  Isn't that a little peach fuzz in the armpit?

The so-called researchers from John Jay College of Criminal Justice - what a misnomer! - concocted rationalizations for the very same fig leaf theory their sponsors had made up of whole cloth.  What a coincidence!  No, they were paid to uphold these despicable lies.  Until John Jay College dismisses the authors of this study, it has made itself the Heritage Foundation of boy-buggering, an institution with zero credibility and even less moral worth.

And what could redeem the Catholic hierarchy?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Privatization of your taxes

First, charter schools cost more with lesser results for a student population that should have had higher achievement.

Now, it's true of prisons too.  Privatized prisons in Arizona cost more than state-run prisons.  And they don't take the most expensive inmates, which should make it easy for them to have a lower average cost.  The libertarian advocates of all things private could then have made a bogus claim that they were saving money, and they would have been able to make a bullshit argument that they had complied with the law that requires cost savings for taxpayers.  But, no, they have Republicans to defend their extra costs, so no worries.

Charter schools, private prisons, both ways to transfer money from unionized public employees to wealthy investors, screwing middle class taxpayers.  If that's not a perfect microcosm of Republican policy, I don't know any that's better.  Winner take all!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clearing the field

Lost between the end of Trumpapalooza and Arnold's proof that steroids didn't turn his junk completely to Raisinettes, Mike Huckabee dropped out.  Despite persistently polling as a contender.

Why?

Perils of moderation

For three decades now, three facts have been true:

  • Republicans have been determined to have no adversaries to their right.
  • Democrats have been willing, sometimes eager, to take any shit-ass deal that they can spin as half a loaf, even if it's really just a moldy crust of bread that no one in his right mind would eat, lest he get ergotamine poisoning and suffer Republican accusations of witchcraft.
  • The village media of provincial Washington D.C.has made a fetish of calling for bipartisanship.
In response, Republicans have continually moved further and further to the extreme right.  If the press is going to call for a Solomonic division of the baby and the Democrats are going to cave and go along, why shouldn't the Republicans stake out an extreme position?  It's rational - in the feeble sense that economists use.

Democrats need to stop playing along.  Republicans are our adversaries.  They can't be reasoned with.  They can't be bargained with.  And they will not stop until they kill the New Deal.

Trump 2016

Four years from now, when Donald Trump needs his undeserving ego stroked, when the asshole vote is up for grabs (unless Chris Christie is in the race), when he has PR to do for a shitty, ritually abusive television show that exhibits all the worst ugly aristocratic features of 21st century American society, will the media once again take him seriously as a candidate for President?  Even though he has been through divorces and bankruptcies like trailer trash?  Even though he has no experience or organization or policy?  Even though he couldn't make money with a casino?  Even though he has the personal magnetism of a piece of carrion too ripe for a vulture?  Even if he has less control over his own message than the most afflicted, unmedicated sufferer of Tourette's?

Of course they will!  They're the media, after all.  It's their job to suck up to rich people.

I don't think the TV talking heads are all stupid, though many of them are, but they definitely think we're on average stupid.  Trump's polling trajectory proves they're right about that.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Untrustworthy

Republicans are not about reality.  They're about sales pitches - and fever pitches.

 It turns out the six-month spending bill Congress passed in April increased discretionary outlays through the remainder of the fiscal year by a bit over $3 billion. In other words, total direct spending will be higher by the end of September than if Congress had just set spending on autopilot for the remainder of the fiscal year back in April.
and:
Republicans got done in a 10 year time-frame a bit more than they hoped to accomplished by September.
Repeat after me:
  • You can't trust Republican facts.
  • You can't trust Republican analysis.
  • You can't trust Republican good faith.

Balkanizing the net for fun and profit



Business continues to pose a greater danger to democracy (and especially to privacy) than government.

Mission impossible - chimera


Click image for full John Cole/Scranton Times/Tribune cartoon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Only encourages them

You can't save old people's or poor people's lives:

"I don't think I can vote for someone like that," Pennsylvania Republican Eric Tolbert said. "He says he's sorry, but how do I know that's the real Mitt Romney? What happens if he gets elected and tries to help sick people again?"

"I like Michele Bachmann now," Tolbert added. "Because what this country needs is a president who doesn't give a fuck about helping people.
That's just an incentive for them to get sick more and more.  Are we going to have to save their lives over and over again?

Democrats blow the media


Democrats once again prove their incomprehension of modern American big media.  You would think that, in the past 30 years, they would have figured out that the media makes no judgements whatsoever whether the Republicans are obviously bullshitting.  The so-called non-partisan political media is a meeting facilitator.  The talk show yappers won't check facts.  They don't interview skeptically.  They ask what appear to be challenging questions, but they won't follow up to flag obvious lies and lying liars for the audience.

The yappers think that's fine.  They view their job as giving the sides the opportunity to make their cases, nothing more.

Their performance reveals this.  Starkly.  Democrats, who haven't yet cottoned onto it, are slow learners.  Or too lazy to show up on Sunday mornings.

Of course, I'm only writing about those talking heads who regard themselves as objective.  Everyone on Fox and the other right-wing propaganda outlets does their biased best to make Republicans look good.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

See no evil



Click image for full Randy Bish/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review cartoon.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Meaning in bullshit

Vanity, thy name is Rudolph.  Giuliani...

[I]f Giuliani turns out to be the best Republican for the job, the 2008 candidate for the GOP nomination said, "I could probably be talked into doing it."
No one with a normal ego could even consider a run for President.  Rudy wants to be talked into running.

Yeah, right, a groundswell of support will prove once and for all that Donald Trump and Chris Christie are mere pretenders to the asshole vote, that they remain not only a potent part of the Republican base but also now and forever Rudy's most gaseously effusive supporters.

Of course, the big media role in all this is clear too.  They have Rudy's number in their cell phones, and he'll take their calls.  Flattery goes both ways in the elite electronic village.  Accountability?  Not so much.

There is one small excuse for CNN giving Giuliani a platform.  They can tell that there's not a credible Republican candidate yet in the race.  Trotting out their old warhorses is just a way to vamp until ready and fill the vast desolate air time with some kind of familiar noise.

Signifying nothing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Word made flesh



Update: Better title.

Why Republicans bullshit

Need a dozen good laughs?  See this satire.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

The next wingnut contrive-versy

Sharia burial!  Give it a few days...  The birthers need a new so-called issue.

Never mind that the consensus seems to be that burial at sea accords with some Muslim customs and not with others.  The wingnuts don't care about facts.  They have an entire disinformation apparatus to make up any bullshit they need.

And they need to go through the day in a constant state of outrage and alienation from everyone who's not in their tribe.

Yesterday morning, they resented Osama bin Laden continuing to breathe.  Today, they resent that President Obama directed the effort to find and capture or kill him.  And they're thanking Duhbya, whose every major move and attitude gave punishment of al Qaeda the short shrift in his failed geopolitical game of Risk.

No comment necessary

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Garbage in garbage out


Click image for full Tom Tomorrow/DailyKos cartoon.

Née to the groin

Coincident to the much televised marriage of another horse-faced Windsor to the lovely commoner Kate Middleton, I've been reading Common Sense.  Here's a sweet excerpt:

England, since the conquest, hath known some few good monarchs, but groaned beneath a much larger number of bad ones; yet no man in his senses can say that their claim under William the Conqueror is a very honorable one.  A French bastard landing with an armed banditti, and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original.  It certainly hath no divinity in it.
It's about as sound a basis for a system of government as strange tarts lying in ponds distributing swords.

And then:
Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.
I'm a little-d democrat too.  I have no patience for pageantry at the price the British pay for it.  These fantastic leeches need an honest job for the first time in generations.

Just as I have no patience for the divine right of Wall Street...