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Monday, January 31
"A paper submitted by Pauling to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and accepted for publication on June 11, 1991 was later revoked by the editor under questionable circumstances: “We are aware that this pullback was not the decision of an individual. It happened in the interest of those who are personally or economically dependent on the present dogma of human cardiovascular disease.”
Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid. Most of us don't get enough of it.
Check out the article in Clinical Nature: Pauling's last legacy: a unified theory of cardiovascular disease. Linus Carl Pauling (1901 - 1994) was an American chemist, peace activist, author and educator regarded as one of the most influential chemists in history. He was among the first scientists to work in the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology, and is the only individual to have won two unshared Nobel Prizes.
"Present dogma"? PHUCK present dogma.
Friday, January 28
Thursday, January 27
For those of you who don't know, the year 1848 saw a wave of revolutions spread across Europe. Fueled by social upheaval, economic disparity and a perceived need for political reform, the wave started in February when the people in France began to rise. They toppled the Orleanist July Monarchy of King Louis-Phillipe and established the Second Republic (which only lasted four years until the foundation of the Second Empire under Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte).
Revolts sprang up in Sicily, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Hungary. In most cases, the forces of reaction managed to suppress the uprisings, although it forced the Hapsburgs to create the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary out of the former Austrian Empire.
Now, you might ask (and why not?) why I am giving you a bowdlerized and condensed version of European history.
Well, it might be starting up again in Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula, that's why.
The fun began about a week or so ago when Tunisia's population decided they'd had quite enough of ruling President Ben Ali, thank you very much. Ben Ali and his hideous family were run out of the country, taking with them into Saudi exile a large amount of gold. A provisional government is slowly taking shape.
The overthrow of the Ben Ali regime was enough to set off the disaffected population of Egypt, which has been under the none-too-gentle authority of Hosni Mubarak since Anwar Sadat was shot to pieces back in 1981. The most recent parliamentary election in Cairo only permitted the opposition to hold 3% of the seats, which for many people was the last straw. Riots continue, a police station was torched in the port city of Suez, and it's reported that Mubarak's son and purported heir took his family and hightailed it for Europe.
Now we hear that protests are flaring up in the Yemeni capital of Sana, where people are afraid that President Saleh might change the term-limit laws and make himself president for life. It's entirely possible that Yemen's government, already a tad shaky from attacks by Islamists within and CIA Predator drones without, might go the way of Tunisia.
Parallels? Oh, they're there if you care to look - economic hardships and disparities between the haves and have nots, lack of actual political representation, authoritarian rule including secret police and detention without trial, etc.
I expect Qaddafi in Libya to tighten down the screws to prevent anything like this, but we might see unrest flare up elsewhere.
The really sad thing is watching the Obama Administration hem and haw over this. Granted, these nations are our allies, but we've been in bed with monsters and we've supported them. Either we show some signs of support for the uprisings (who are common people, yearning for democracy) or we'll be left at the door.
I guess we got another foot here in Hartford overnight. I told the kids they'd probably have school -- storm is supposed to be over by 6am -- roads should be cleared by 9am -- 2 hour delay was my bet. Our DOT crew here in central CT is outstanding. What a great job they've done all winter! Well, it's past 6am now and the snow has stopped. I haven't heard a plow yet (they usually wake me up a few times during the night). WHAT'S UP?? I guess there's nowhere to put it all. I'm gonna need a crossing guard to get out of my driveway this morning -- forgot to back in for this storm.
What a great day to build a fort at the end of the driveway.
2 more months of winter to go!!
Old Man Winter Slams CT; Snowiest Winter in History
Wednesday, January 26
Tuesday, January 25
"Win the Future" Uh...yeah. But can we afford the tax on the winnings? Doubtful!
"Poised for Progress"...another Bushism. Was he talking about Business or us po' folk?
Someone at Balloon-Juice posted that both of those catch phrases were direct quotes from Mao's Little Red Book. Nice touch!
State of the UNION? Like other unions, those in power want to break it...and are going to do everything in their power to make it so. And it looks as though we're doing everything we can to help them.
Friday, January 21
The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.
I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
Congressional Reform Act of 2011
1. Term Limits.
12 years only, one of the possible options below..
A. Two Six-year Senate terms2. No Tenure / No Pension.
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no paywhen they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!
If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete
You are one of my 20+. Please keep it going.
Wednesday, January 19
-- October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.
-- December 2008: A pair of "Patriot" movement radicals -- the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted "to attack the political infrastructure" -- threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.
-- December 2008: In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear "dirty bomb" in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.
-- January 2009: A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.
-- February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.
-- April 2009: A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial.
-- April 2009: Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama's purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.
-- May 2009: A "sovereign citizen" named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
-- June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.
-- February 2010: An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one "domestic terrorism" too.)
-- March 2010: Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.
-- March 2010: An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.
-- May 2010: A "sovereign citizen" from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.
-- May 2010: A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb.
-- May 2010: Two "sovereign citizens" named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.
-- July 2010: An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.
-- September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year--old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the "Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant.
Nope, nothing to see here.
Sunday, January 16
Tunisia is a country that, I'm sure, many Americans couldn't find with both hands and Google. Well, for the record it's a former French colony between Algeria and Libya, an oil producer and OPEC member, and it's had only two presidents since gaining independence in 1956. Now it has a third president, the Speaker of its parliament sworn in by the Prime Minister after President Ben Ali and his family fled the country for Saudi Arabia.
The causes of the revolution that toppled Ben Ali include high prices, a sagging economy, and a culture of official corruption that was pretty well entrenched. Apparently, food riots were the triggering event. Fighting continues, according to the BBC. Judging from the reactions of Tunisia's neighbors, Algeria, Libya and Egypt, this revolt is making the ruling regimes very nervous indeed.
Of course, Fox 'News' 'analyst' Neil Cavuto started daydreaming that the same kind of conditions could cause a rebellion here in the good old U. S. of A. And this was a guy who once ribbed Glenn Beck for his apocalyptic screeds. Neil, Neil, Neil - we have a democratic tradition going back to 1789, and a far more resilient economy. We also have freedom of speech and while we do have some corruption (mostly money and influence, with some sex tossed in for spice) I don't see it coming - unless, of course, the conservative wet dream comes to fruition.
Flooding in the Australian state of Queensland has gotten so bad that two bull sharks were sighted - inland. That report is unconfirmed, by the way. Two people flooded out decided, bizarrely, to try and use blow-up sex dolls as flotation devices. They had to be fished out after the sex dolls lost turgidity.
Queensland is actually rather fortunate; they've only seen about 20 deaths as a result of the massive floods. Rio de Janeiro has seen over 300 deaths due to heavy flooding and landslides.
In sports news, I went 3-of-4 on my picks in the wild card NFL matches, the only loss being the Saints-Seahawks game. I did not expect Seattle to win that one. So far this weekend I am 3-0 in the divisional games, with Green Bay and Chicago facing off for the NFC Championship. The Steelers beat the Ravens quite nicely, and now I've gone out on a limb and dared to hope that the Jets will win against the Patriots.
The only reason for having a high-capacity magazine for a pistol is you want to kill as many people as you can. If not, then you need to learn how to use a pistol so you can aim that motherfucker. Any whisper of an attempt to dial back the availability of these magazines has triggered (see what I did there?) two responses - a run on the damned things, and the paid slaves of the NRA to start squealing that they won't even vote for that mild form of control.
A correspondent for the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency earned the ire of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs when he opined that madmen getting gay with guns is part of America. Gibbs huffily denied it, but the correspondent had a point. We have a lot of demonstrably crazy people wandering our streets, and most of them can pass the criminal background check for firearms ownership. When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail; when you have a gun, every problem looks like a target.
And, let's be honest - Americans love violence. We praise the hardest tackler in football, we fetishize our troops, we love guns and rate violent movies and media much lower than we rate sex. Could you imagine what our culture would be like if we rated a violent movie X and a sexy movie PG?
Finally, in our Total Effing Loon Department, we have Sean Hannity, who finally paid attention to how much gas is costing per gallon to squeal on his "Great American Panel" that we could invade Kuwait and take their oil as a reward for chasing the Iraqis out of their country back in 1991. Of course, he also went full Wolfowitz and said that we should milk Iraq out of its oil for the same purpose.
Nice try at the faux (or is it now spelled Fox?) outrage, Sean my boy. Whoever's balls regularly rest on your manly chin must be proud of you. There's nothing more liberating that to come out of the closet and admit for all to see that you want the US to go pirate and start acting like the empire that one conservative analyst called our Republic back about ten years ago.
Well, Sean my boy, we no longer have that imperial reach. Thanks largely to the Bush Administration and the apotheosis of the military-industrial complex, we have two wars going on (one over ten years, the other nearly eight), an increasing number of our troops are on anti-depressants, and the rest of the world no longer trusts us. China's developing a ballistic missile capable - even with a conventional warhead - of destroying one of our capital ships with one shot.
These are just a few of the things I'm thinking about on this sunny Sunday.
Saturday, January 15
Friday, January 14
This is absolutely fascinating.
The Geography of Gun Deaths by Richard Florida at The Atlantic.
Richard Florida studied this map and then on a state by state level then "charted the statistical correlations between firearm deaths and a variety of psychological, economic, social, and political characteristics of states." Interestingly there was no correlation between gun deaths and illegal drug use, mental illness, higher levels of inequality or unemployment.
So what are the factors that are associated with firearm deaths at the state level?
Poverty is one. The correlation between death by gun and poverty at the state level is .59.
An economy dominated by working class jobs is another. Having a high percentage of working class jobs is closely associated with firearm deaths (.55).
And, not surprisingly, firearm-related deaths are positively correlated with the rates of high school students that carry weapons on school property (.54).
What about politics? It's hard to quantify political rhetoric, but we can distinguish blue from red states. Taking the voting patterns from the 2008 presidential election, we found a striking pattern: Firearm-related deaths were positively associated with states that voted for McCain (.66) and negatively associated with states that voted for Obama (-.66). Though this association is likely to infuriate many people, the statistics are unmistakable. Partisan affiliations alone cannot explain them; most likely they stem from two broader, underlying factors - the economic and employment makeup of the states and their policies toward guns and gun ownership.
Firearm deaths were far less likely to occur in states with higher levels of college graduates (-.64) and more creative class jobs (-.52).
Gun deaths were also less likely in states with higher levels of economic development (with a correlation of -.32 to economic output) and higher levels of happiness and well-being (-.41).
And for all the terrifying talk about violence-prone immigrants, states with more immigrants have lower levels of gun-related deaths (the correlation between the two being -.34).
And what about gun control? As of July 29 of last year, Arizona became one of only three states that allows its citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Might tighter gun control laws make a difference? Our analysis suggests that they do.
The map overlays the map of firearm deaths above with gun control restrictions by state. It highlights states which have one of three gun control restrictions in place - assault weapons' bans, trigger locks, or safe storage requirements.
Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48).
While the causes of individual acts of mass violence always differ, our analysis shows fatal gun violence is less likely to occur in richer states with more post-industrial knowledge economies, higher levels of college graduates, and tighter gun laws. Factors like drug use, stress levels, and mental illness are much less significant than might be assumed.
It is also interesting to note that if there is going to be another US terrorist attack, it will most likely happen in NY and you don't see Second Amendment knuckleheads running around urging citizens to arm themselves.
after checking out the article, what do you notice about your state and your experiences? I'm curious.
Tuesday, January 11
To say he's missed in the scientific and worldly community is an understatement. He had a way to make complicated scientific and mathematical theories understandable to the layman.
When you listen to his lectures, his comments, or narrations such as the one in the following video then listen to and try to understand the inchoate mindless ramblings of the likes of fools such as Palin, it provides, to my mind at least, ample evidence that not only does evolution exist but it hasn't been equally distributed among some humans who haven't yet developed the capacity for civility and intellect of the rest of us.
I miss Carl Sagan as an educator and communicator, as a bridge between ideologies in science and life and I especially miss him as a friend.
The following video is a short narrative of his set to some fantastic photography, done beautifully with his inimitable narration with that singularly recognizable, inflection-filled voice.
Expand the video to full size for a much better viewing.
Monday, January 10
I’ve been trying to get my rep (Lips that touch alky will never touch anyone else's!) to introduce free beer for all on St. Patty’s Day and legislate a pot of gold for everyone who makes less than 100k per year! (Hurry! I can’t hold my breath any longer!...)
There are things that have more of a chance of being passed by the irrationals who defend allowing Americans to continue killing each other (but not themselves. No-no-no! Gawd forbids THAT!)
How about this? I know it’s been suggested before but the time just may be right for more reasons than the shooting incident. And that is the talk of the deficit and cutting social security and Medicare so John Boehner doesn’t have to wait for Green Times.
Let’s tax ammunition! We’ll start out simple: one cent per bullet! I know, it was proposed before and the politicians were scared to death by visions of money from the NRA disappearing from their coffers.
But think about this. We tax and increase tax on cigarettes even though they cause health problems that our health care industry loves (it gives them big, big bucks treating untreatable cancers!); we tax alcohol even though it causes serious problems of abuse with adults, results in many underage and traffic deaths; we tax gasoline on the Federal and state and even some local levels supposedly to maintain our wonderful 1940s highway system and keep 20 state management workers standing around a pothole that one union guy has to fix (no waste there, eh?); we increasingly tax residents to pay for the education of our kids even though study after study shows that while teachers and the public believes throwing more money at teachers will better educate our kids...it ain’t been workin’ so swell these last 40 years.
So why not tax something that would provide a massive windfall for the Federal Government and the states. Hell in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin alone the money from an ammo tax would balance their budgets and probably lower everyone’s school, gas, alcohol and cigarette tax! That way we could drink and drive and smoke more, have more serious accidents, get sicker and pay more money to the Health Industry, shove more money toward schools so our teachers can get paid to teach kids less. And with the ammo tax money, lower the deficit so the Republican Tax cuts for the wealthy won’t have to be paid back!
Another plus would be the reduction in gang related shootings. Since most would have to reallocate ammo tax from drug purchases, we'd reduce crime! (Of course that might piss off the drug cartels..and CIA!)
To make it palatable to the NRA and the ammo industry, we would give then more massive tax breaks (since tax breaks don’t cause a deficit) and they would make even more money! It’s a win-win situation!
(Oh yeah. The military would be exempt from such a tax since they have such a hard time getting money appropriated as it is! You're welcome Mr. Gates, so go ahead and cut Military and Veteran's health care!)
I also thought about adding a license plate to all guns. You know, add a fee per year like we have on cars? But I can’t come up with a way to keep those damn metal plates screwed onto the guns!
Sunday, January 9
Can ANYONE imagine a liberal carrying a gun to a Bush/Cheney rally? Hell, liberals were rounded up in New York just for using their voices. If any had had guns, they would be in foreign rendition camps by now.
Or imagine Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow suggesting Bush or McCain or Palin be treated to "Second Amendment Remedies" if their views were similar to those of Palin or Limbaugh or West and were poseted nationally. The Right Wing Hypocrites and the media would be apoplectic in demanding their removal.
Yesterday, before going to a "light hearted gathering" of friends, a couple of us decided to poll some of the residents of our county. Totally unscientific you understand.
The questions were simple:
Tell us what amendment is the most important!"
Of 78 people randomly selected (all of whom were of voting age), 53 named the Second Amendment! When asked to name the second most important one, only 22 could even quasi-intelligently speak of other amendments and those were limited to amendments 10, 14 and 17. Not one named the First or Fourth Amendments (which still questioningly exist as of this writing)! The remaining people had such distorted knowledge of the other amendments as to be laughable.
More remarkable, 38 believed the "Right to Bear Arms" was part of the main Constitution and didn't realize it was part of the Bill of Rights (which staggeringly, 9 thought pertained to the Declaration of Independence). When one responder was informed the Bill of Rights was an adjunct of the Constitution and not part of the Declaration, he adamantly told us that we were watching too much liberal TV and had been mislead by the Main Stream Media.
When this incident is glossed over and forgotten by some newer, hastily created tragedy (and it WILL) and a bill introduced to provide gigabucks to protect U.S.politicians (maybe only Democratic Politicians because it seems there aren't any Republican Politicians being threatened with their lives, so why waste the money on Republicans?); when eventually megabucks of state funds are requested to protect state and local level politicians, judges, school board members and dog catcheers; when taxes must be raised because of the rampant paranoia and fear spreading by the media which should have been stopped through pressure from the highest levels (unlike liberal dissent which gets major attention); when politicians no longer meet publicly with the people who elect them but only behind closed doors with the "Captains of Industry", CEOs, Banksters and the like; when all this happens, remember the words of George W. Bush,"I'm a uniter, not a divider", then be thankful America is fighting to preserve 200 years of freedom...or whatever...from whomever...or wherever...THEY may be!
How'd that work out anyway?
U.S.A. - Second place finisher in the War on Terror: 2001 - (to be continued?)
SarahPac.com took this image down after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) along with others was shot yesterday morning in Tucson Arizona. (click on image for larger view)
ENOUGH WITH THE GUN RHETORIC ALREADY
I'm not saying Palin is responsible for this event, but it's people like her that get the mentally unstable among us riled up. Why the crosshairs, Sarah Palin? Believe it or not the majority of Americans do not revere the almighty gun. The majority of us live in densely populated, educated and civilized areas. To prove the point, in my district, we ousted a congressman because he took money from the NRA.
Guns are dangerous in the wrong hands. The last time I looked, there was no movement whatsoever to take anyone's guns away. Sure, there is talk about it all the time by the radical right, but it is unfounded and only used to misinform their constituents to keep them frightened.
Ironically, the very people who work in or for the government (or political parties) are the ones who love to instill fear of government in their constituents.
WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH COMES RESPONSIBILITY
People like Palin who are against Americans having access to healthcare (and that includes mental healthcare) ought to be more responsible when using deadly images and rhetoric for political gain. A lot of unstable folks (who need healthcare) have guns... and televisions. I do not support a ban on guns, but I do support a ban on using violent language/images in politics especially when they are not dealing with facts but opinions and talking points. The right to free speech comes with responsibility and someone forgot to tell Sarah Palin about that.
Sarah Palin is anything but loving, nurturing and strong. She is weak, easily manipulated and filled with lust for money and power. It pains me to meet women who support her, but doesn't surprise me that so many men find her message appealing. She's one of the guys (only with boobs.) I can only hope and pray that she will wake up and see the light. Hopefully she's made enough money by now to invest it wisely and go off into the sunset and STFU.
Real women ought to get together and get this clown out of the media spotlight. Sign me up.
UPDATE SUN NIGHT
I just got this via email coincidentally. I guess I'm not the only person who connected the "cross hairs." Tell Sarah Palin: Violent threats have consequences- a petition.
How can anyone not be haunted by the prophetic words of Rep. Giffords herself in March 2010, after her office was vandalized, threats received, and her name and district identified by Sarah Palin in her infamous crosshairs:
- "Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they've gotta realize there are consequences to that action."1
- Will there be consequences?
Imagine the consequences if Palin were to apologize for her use of targeting imagery, pledge never to demonize her opponents in such a way again, call on all of her passionate followers to pledge to do the same, and promise that she will call out those in the media who do not follow her lead.
Saturday, January 8
OH IT's A GOOD DAY..Government To Reduce Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water Because Too Much Fluoride Can Cause Health Problems...DUH!!!
(way cool, how this random video from '02 that I just found, works SO well!)
BEST NEWS OF THE CENTURY!! now DON'T JUST REDUCE IT --
REMOVE IT already -- WTF?
Please read EACH & EVERY comment from the thread at zerohedge about this "revelation" on the dangers of fluroide. Which is you favorite? (LOL!!) oh this conspiracy theorist is having such a good day!!
LOL It's A GOOD DAY!!
my favorite comment(s) was about the pineal gland. search the phrase 'pineal gland'... WOW
Wednesday, January 5
Never seen the show?
Good. Neither have I.
Supposedly it's about a group of shallow, narcissistic and wholly ignorant and poorly-spoken people. A kind of "reality show" (as if 'reality' weren't shitty enough) featuring stellar performances by nuanced actors called 'The Situation' and 'Snooki.'
They couldn't even get that right, since there's supposed to be an 'e' at the end, but I suppose the producers chose it to hearken back to Baby Snooks, the endearingly funny Fanny Brice vaudeville character.
Well, vaudeville's dead, folks.
And 'Snooki' has written a book.
Hmm. Perhaps not 'written,' per se - a more descriptive passage might be 'scrawled on a wall in her own feces and menstrual blood, then transcribed by a brain-dead amanuensis.' Better?
Someone over at Pajiba.com penned a quick review of this load of fetid dingo's kidneys, but I shall copy and paste a few excerpts here:
"He had an okay body. Not fat at all. And naturally toned abs. She could pour a shot of tequila down his belly and slurp it out of his navel without getting splashed in the face."
NO! No, I refuse to post any more than that, or I might end up shivering in a corner.
I've published three novels and write fiction as a hobby, but after reading the review of this 'book' I'm tempted to call myself the reincarnation of John Steinbeck.
And you'd better learn to enjoy that feeling - a lot - because unless you're an insanely rich person, a millionaire banker or completely stupid, you're in for a rough ride. Even though I am a Republican, I didn't vote for any of the Republican candidates who now infest the House of Representatives like a plague of bedbugs.
Or stalking the halls of the State Capitol in Tallahassee, looking for the blood of virgins to slake his unholy thirst.
Yes, I'm talking about (p)Rick Scott, our new Governor.
Florida is currently dealing with a large budget deficit (largely the result of Marco Rubio and the other GOPers bullshitting the people into thinking that if they vote to cut property taxes everything will be better. As a result of an election (yes, people actually voted for this) the Legislature now has a Republican super-majority - anything can get passed now, and all the Democratic minority can do is say "We told you so" when it all comes crashing down.
But getting back to (p)Rick. A writer for the Huffington Post pointed out that he needed seventy Million dollars worth of "turd polish" in order to get elected, and even then damned near lost to Alex Sink. So he decided to celebrate, so in a state with a big budget deficit and high unemployment he threw a lavish $2.5 million party that lasted two days. Interestingly, the press was restricted from the coronation (by the "Transparency" Governor's staff) to one forlorn pool reporter who was apparently kept on a short leash. Other members of what used to be the Fourth Estate were herded out, even though there were empty tables.
Still, the inauguration gala was open to anyone - if you could pony up $95 to get in.
There was a minor speed bump, though. One woman yelled "Criminal!" at (p)Rick as he gave his Speech from the Throne. She was escorted out, but I don't think she was charged with lese majeste or violating state secrets.
But let's raise the sights a bit and take a look at the rest of the country, now that a Republican majority of teabaggers and kooks infest that august chamber under the enlightened leadership of new Speaker John "Take This Tobacco Check Or I'll Cry Again" Boehner.
Yeah, we're buggered.
So, strap in and strap down, America. It might be asking too much for them to use lube, but we can always hope they'll kiss us afterward.
Tuesday, January 4
THE CHAIN TO HER LEG by W.S. Merwin
If we forget Topsy
when we forget her mother
gunned down in the forest
and forget who killed her
and to whom they sold
the tusks the feet the good parts
and how they died and where
and what became of their children
and what happened to the forest
when we forget how
the wires were fastened on her
for the experiment
the first time
and how she smoldered and
with them all watching
but did not die
when we forget
the lit cigarette
the last laugh gave her
lit end first
as though it were a peanut
the joke for which she
we will not see home again
when we forget the circus
the tickets to see her die
in the name of progress
and Edison and the electric chair
the mushroom cloud will go up
over the desert
where the West was won
the Enola Gay will take off
after the chaplain's blessing
the smoke from the Black Mesa's
power plants will be
visible from the moon
the forests will be gone
the extinctions will accelerate
the polar bears will float
farther and farther away
and off the edge of the world
that Topsy remembers
Elephants are an endangered species (aren't we all?).
Monday, January 3
Saturday, January 1
First, allow me to say that I don't drink enough to poison myself, and never have. I dislike vomiting and think cirrhosis is a tad icky.
So I toasted in the New Year with a wee dram of whiskey well-watered with ginger ale, hummed "Auld Lang Syne" in pidgin Klingon just for fun, and was asleep by about 12:30.
Most of the night had been consumed in the Iron Chef marathon and in a bit of reflection, as I can look forward to the start of my fifth decade in this Best of All Possible Worlds (tm). I can look back on a life well-spent and rich in horrors.
But enough of that. A new year dawns! Let's go to the news desk!
Troublemakers have set off bombs in Egypt and Nigeria, we reportedly whacked another "top Taliban official" in Afghanistan, Afghan President Karzai is thumbing his nose at us while pining for the halcyon days of the Bush Administration, and my state government will fall into the hands of a scam artist on Tuesday.
The scam artist in question is (p)Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican I'll have you know. Like many modern Republicans (which probably includes most of the GOP-dominated state legislature), (p)Rick believes in the Underpants Gnomes Theory of Economic Growth:
1. Cut taxes
2. Cut spending on services (education, etc.)
3. Everybody wins!
But it doesn't work that way, unless it's all part of the basic Republican plan to reduce as many people as possible to economic serfdom, leaving most of the population stupid, ignorant, poor and fearful - and therefore malleable.
In other news, the national GOP is squealing like abused goats at how much the departing Congress was able to accomplish between Election Day and now. Chief among these is the DADT repeal, which has the American Family Association clad in sackcloth (from Armani, of course!) and wailing about the end of America.
Quite naturally, the rancid core of the Party, the so-called "Tea Party," is still up in arms and is planning on removing the people it helped vote into office. The war within the Party can only get better, and it's fun to watch. Of course, we still have Rush, Glenn and their slimy ilk cheerleading on the sidelines while all the time disclaiming responsibility if their inflammatory rhetoric kills someone.
(I will give you the mental image of Rush Limbaugh in a cheerleader uniform, and you can thank me later, okay?)
The collection of bums, also-rans and never-have-beens known as the GOP Presidential candidate field lost Tim Pawlenty last month, and will probably lose Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Dumbass Christie of New Jersey. Good times, and get out the popcorn - the GOP primaries in 2012 will be fun to watch.
I plan on enjoying my New Year's Day by watching a parade, watching some football (I'm currently watching Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion), and baking a loaf or two of bread.
So buckle up, keep calm and carry on, because it's going to be a fun year!