Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

17 Things That I Don't The Tiniest Bit Mind Being Legally Prohibited From Owning

  1. Sarin gas
  2. Anthrax
  3. A rocket launcher
  4. An adult blue whale
  5. Cufflinks made from highly enriched uranium
  6. A smartphone app that makes bicycles and bicyclists explode remotely
  7. A nuclear submarine
  8. Israel
  9. Human slaves
  10. An exploding front lawn
  11. One metric ton of methamphetamine
  12. Any amount of methamphetamine
  13. A living person's thigh 
  14. A CD of the music my 18-year-old neighbor plays (I wish)
  15. Dolly Parton
  16. An Easter Island head (okay, I sorta do mind that one)
  17. A Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle (I live in Australia)

Monday, December 17, 2012

The U.S. National Conversation on Guns

"We need to do something about gun violence in this country."


"Hold on - I didn't say I wanted to 'take your guns away.' I simply said we need to do something about gun violence in..."


"Would you please stop? I don't want to take your guns away. I don't think all guns should be banned. I'm just saying that there are things we can do to that could greatly cut down on..."


"Wo. Okay, let's try this: what if I said that I personally believed that shotguns and hunting rifles should be legal, and handguns should be too, but with strong restrictions regarding clip-size and repeat capability, and that all guns should require background checks?"


"It's like you don't even speak English."


"What If I said all guns should be legal - except automatic weapons?"


"You're why we suck."


[blank stare]


"Did the parents of the children killed in Connecticut have the right to protect their kids from guns?"


"I'm going to leave now."


"You're why we suck."






[infinity symbol]

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Titanic and Right-to-Float Laws

I have finally figured out how to explain to myself exactly what in the hell is going on with the whole "Right to Work" thing. (Background if you need it.)

Thom, I say to myself, to understand "Right to Work" laws, like the one just signed into law by Governor Snyder in Michigan, and already law in twenty-three other U.S. states, pretend you are a passenger on a modern day Titanic.

The ship has struck an iceberg. It's sunk. It's all lifeboats and people in the cold night ocean.

Small groups of first class passengers have commandeered the life rafts. They have food, water, blankets...

When lower-class passengers make desperate attempts to board a lifeboat, first class passengers smash their skulls with champagne bottles, sending them adrift, bleeding in the freezing water.

"We passed a 'Right to Float' law!" the first class passengers shout. "You've now got the right to float!," their guffaws quickly lost in the wind, in the rain.

The End

Bonus: Right-to-Work gets the Jon Stewart treatment.

Image from here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Too Big To Indict": What Crimes Count?

Read this story's first paragraph:
State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.
Now substitute "international child-pornography" for "money-laundering."

How's that work for you?

Much more - and, most significantly, more about the crimes being waved off here - at Marcy Wheeler's. Just one piece of an example:
HSBC had ties to a crime that DOJ currently has someone sitting in prison for, and is still pursuing at the appellate level. Yet not only didn’t DOJ indict HSBC for that crime, but they don’t even think HSBC’s role in it is worth a mention.
More here, too. And here. And make sure you see the update at that last one.

Image from here.

Matt Drudge Wants to Call Somebody - Anybody - a Ni**er

A thought: If you ever find yourself thinking, "Why can't I say ni**ger?," or anything remotely resembling, you are in need of a long walk in a desert. I mean like an eleven years long walk.

This has been "A thought."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Report: U.S. Targeting Children in Afghanistan

Good God:
 US military is facing fresh questions over its targeting policy in Afghanistan after a senior army officer suggested that troops were on the lookout for "children with potential hostile intent". 
In comments which legal experts and campaigners described as "deeply troubling", army Lt Col Marion Carrington told the Marine Corp [sic]* Times that children, as well as "military-age males", had been identified as a potential threat because some were being used by the Taliban to assist in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
"It kind of opens our aperture," said Carrington, whose unit, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was assisting the Afghan police. "In addition to looking for military-age males, it's looking for children with potential hostile intent."
"Opens our aperture." Wow. All very mechanical, isn't it?

The piece also quoted an unnamed marine corps official who questioned the "innocence" of Afghan children, particularly three who were killed in a US rocket strike in October. Last month, the New York Times quoted local officials who said Borjan, 12, Sardar Wali, 10, and Khan Bibi, eight, from Helmand's Nawa district had been killed while gathering dung for fuel.
* The Marine Corp Military Times article.

Photo credit

Friday, December 7, 2012

Childhood Memory, Current Malady: The Shotgun Wad


One day when I was about twelve years old I was walking my paper route in the suburban/rural outskirts of Buffalo, New York, when I came to the house of a schoolmate I'll call J.B. (Haven't heard a thing about him in decades.) We'd known each other since kindergarten. I remember him being a nice enough guy, but we weren't close friends.

J.B. was standing at the front door of his house as I walked up. I think we exchanged a few words, maybe I handed him his family's newspaper. I walked on, paper bag over my shoulder.

When I was maybe fifteen, maybe twenty feet away, I was suddenly hit in the center of my back by...something. At the same time a huge sound (or maybe just a "bang") exploded. I was thrown several feet forward, face first to the ground, with a feeling like I'd been kicked in the back by a moose.

I got to my knees and turned around. J.B. was standing at his front door, shotgun (20-gauge, pretty sure) in his hand.

I don't remember how the information was conveyed (I think he just told me; I don't think I was saying much) but I somehow found out that he'd taken the shot out a shotgun shell and shot me with the shell's plastic wad. Like he figured that might be a fun thing to do.

I left. Feeling hurt, feeling scared, feeling dumb. I don't think I ever told my parents. Hurt like hell.

I've got a back problem now, 13 years and counting - unfortunately worsening these days - surrounding a spot in the center of my back. Related? Who knows? One wonders, though. Or at least I do.

I also wonder if J.B. became a serial killer.

The pic up top (from here) shows the parts of a shotgun shell. J.B. took the shot (the BBs) out of the shell he used to shoot me. That plastic thing you see, which they call a "shot cup" (we always called it a "wad"), was what hit me. May not seem like much; maybe you can try it yourself if you think so.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jack Frost: Buffalo, NY

Winter on a window, my Mom and Dad's house, Akron (outside of Bflo.), New York, 1996:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Former Afghan Refugee Invents 40€ Wind-Powered Bamboo Landmine Detonator

An Afghan designer and former refugee has developed a low-cost, wind-powered mine detonating device inspired by the toys he played with as a child.  
Massoud Hassani's Mine Kafon is composed almost entirely from bamboo and biodegradable plastics, with a skeletal structure of spiky plungers that resembles a giant spherical tumbleweed from another planet.  
At 70 kilograms, Hassani says his invention is light enough to be propelled by a normal breeze, while still being heavy and big enough - 190cm in diameter - to activate mines as it rolls over them.
From Hassani's own blog:

That is ispiring.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fresh Hot Joke: Birdman of Alcatraz Edition

Q: What shouldn't the Birdman of Alcatraz's first grade English teacher have said to him one day?

A: "Use 'bird' in a sentence."

This has been another edition of "Fresh Hot Jokes." You are welcome.

P.S. Bird, man.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Romney Blames Obama's Win on Good Governance

Look at this:
“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge,” he said.
This, in Mitt Romney's view, is a bad thing. A bad thing Obama did to get non-wealthy people to vote for him. Those people, if everything was right and pure and Jesusy in the world, should be left to avoid doctors and preventative care, to pray that they and their family members don't suffer injury or illness, and if they do - well too damn bad, losers, should have been born rich like Romney.

God I hate this shit.

And by the way, asshole - Obamacare didn't make health care free for "somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year." It made it affordable. It made it possible for people much less well off than you, people who actually live paycheck to meager paycheck, to actually get health care for themselves and their children—in a lot of cases for the very first time. And you're an asshole.

"There's something wrong with me. Please love me."
Image from here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tiny Dragon in My Wine Glass

I left a glass with a tiny bit of wine on the veranda table two nights ago, yesterday morning waking to this:

That is a beautiful little creature.

Update: It looks to be a type of mantis fly. Order Neuroptera. More here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Texas Judge Caught on Video Viciously Whipping His Disabled Daugher With a Belt - Back on the Bench

This makes me truly sick to my stomach:
The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted the suspension of an Aransas County judge who was caught on video beating his 16-year-old disabled daughter.
Judge William Adams was suspended with pay last year while the State Commission on Judicial Conduct investigated the allegations against him. In September, the commission issued a public warning, stating that Adams conduct discredited the judiciary because he had regularly presided over child custody, child abuse, and family violence cases. He will no longer preside over some cases brought by the Texas Department of Family and Protective services. 
WARNING: This is very hard to watch. It is not a "spanking." This is nothing less than a prolonged and vicious beating of a 16-year-old girl (with cerebral palsy). In the midst of giving the screaming girl a savage beating he repeatedly screams obscenities at her, including "Lay down or I'm spanking your fucking face." Again: NOT A SPANKING. William Adams should be in federal prison.* Instead, the very conservative Texas Supreme Court just made him a judge again.

The mother joins him in beating her, too. I could barely make it that far in.

 * I'm just reading that the statute of limitations prevented Adams from being charged by the time the daughter posted the video.

Update November 12: Judge will officially resume duties this week.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Trickle-Down Citizenship

Imagine this scenario: 

• Candidate Bob Ginkel runs for president saying, "All big business owners get a million dollars of taxpayer money every year! For nothing!"

• You, like millions of other Americans, work for a big business.

• The owner says to you, "You've gotta vote for Ginkel. And you've got to donate money to him too. Or I'm going to fire you."

• You've got kids to feed. A mortgage. Jobs are scarce.

• What are you going to do?

What are they going to do?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Paul Ryan's WWI Navy Comment [update]

Did you notice that Paul Ryan said during his debate with Vice President Biden last night that because of Obama's military-hatin' ways our navy is on its way to being smaller than it was during World War One? Based on the number of ships?

Does Paul Ryan know that one of our current navy ships—a submarine especially—could obliterate our entire WWI navy - along with the rest of the world's WWI navies, every last ship - without anyone ever even knowing what it was that had hit them?

Here's a really neat graphic that Congressman Ryan might appreciate, showing what you can find inside a modern submarine - and this is actually already an old one:

Is it too much to ask that this kind of stupid get called out by his own party? It really shouldn't be.

Update: Hey! The president reads my blog!
"You mentioned the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed," [Obama] said to laughter from the audience. 
"We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines," he continued. 
"So the question is not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships. It's: "What are our capabilities?"

Martu People Agree to Uranium Operation on Their Land

The crux:
ELIZABETH JACKSON: A controversial uranium mine will be established in the East Pilbara after the traditional Aboriginal owners signed an agreement with a Canadian mining company. 
DAVID WEBER: Environment groups have maintained strong opposition to uranium mining in WA.

[Martu Leader] Noel Whitehead says they should respect the decision of the Martu people.

NOEL WHITEHEAD: I say to those groups, come to the East Pilbara, sit down with Martu people and hear for themselves the views of the significant majority of Martu who've made the decision that they support this mine.

Martu are not stupid people, they understand it fully, they have made the decision with all of the information before them.
The Martu People. (Wiki.)

2 Retired Cops Shoot and Kill Own Sons 4 Months Apart [updt 2018]

Both times the cops mistook their sons for burglars:

• July 2012: Former New York Police Captain Mistakenly Shoots, Kills Son, after mistaking him for an intruder

• The other day: Retired Chicago cop fatally shoots son after mistaking him for burglar

Both involved legally-owned guns, and obviously very well trained gun owners.

Related: One hell of a list of stats from the The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used in a completed or attempted suicide (11x), criminal assault or homicide (7x), or unintentional shooting death or injury (4x) than to be used in a self-defense shooting. (Kellermann, 1998, p. 263).
Updated, 2018:

More (father shoots and kills son mistaken for burglar, 2012).

More (father shoots and kills daughter mistaken for burglar, 2013).

More (father shoots and kills daughter mistaken for burglar, 2014).

More (mother shoots and kills daughter mistaken for burglar, 2015).

More (father shoots and kills son mistaken for burglar, 2016).

More (family member shoots and kills teen mistaken for burglar, 2017).

More (husband shoots and kill wife mistaken for burglar, 2017).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Finding My Songs in YouTube Videos

I got a FaceBook message from a stranger today who wrote this:
Hey, Thom, I found your song Sigh on Muvio's podsafe music directory. I love the groove, and if you don't mind, I'd like to use it for the theme song to my independent music podcast. It's connected with Owldolatrous Press, linked here. I will happily give credit and a link to you.
For a washed-up never-has-been like myself - that's just nice.

That sent me looking on THE GOOGLE for another podcast that already uses a song of mine ("Inside Joke")—and I just found this, by the Tufu Guru. The first few seconds are weak, frankly, but this is a really well done video. And one heck of a theme song!

That actually looks like a good blog - or looks like it was: it's unfortunately been dead for more than a year. Oh well.

Someone else used it in a video of their kid. That's just funny. (Just confirmed that I saw this one years ago. Thought it looked a little familiar. Thanks, JeeklaFunk!)


Oh - found the podcast: Katye and Kyliemac. They closed up shop just a few months ago after many years and nearly 500 episodes. Well, done, K and Km, well done.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vine and Tree, Blue Mountains

That's one fairly enormous vine, emerging from the ground in a fistlike bundle in front of the tree, climbing up and wrapping around the tree, continuing upward.

Taken at the Cathedral of Ferns, Mt. Wilson, Blue Mountains, New South Wales, 8 October 2012

Forgetting How Many Houses You Own...

...for most of us would be like forgetting how many arms we have:
The Thompson campaign was later forced to admit that a $1.3 million condo near Lake Wisconsin had completely slipped his mind.
Sometimes I think we all need a reminder of what the word "representative" means. Or could mean.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Christine and I will be incommunicado as of alright-already!-o'clock this morning (afternoon?) until Monday-o'clock evening.

For those of you not into big words: "incommunicado" means that during this period we will be communing with our inner avocados. I will say no more.

We're going to a cabin d'amour in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney to celebrate our 10th anniversary of still being married. So stay away, nosies.

Peace and Love, T&C

Note to self: Do NOT forget avocados.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Ten Year Anniversary to Us

Ten Years Ago Today

We put on funny clothes and laughed

And held hands

And smiled in each others' eyes.

Blanchie the Blue Heeler said "Arf!" very importantly

And we were married.

Happy anniversary, my friend, Christine.

Thank you, I love you, thank you.

T. Little Hammercans the Romney-Obama Debate

Obama: Well I think the proper role of government is...  
Romney: A giraffe is a breed of insect. Specifically a type of walking stick, in the genus Quazicalidocious.  
Obama: What the...?  
This has been "T. Little Hammercans the Romney-Obama Debate."

Editors Note: I have know idea what "hammercans" means. I'm hoping I find out soon.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

UN Dispatch: Turkey Launches Airstrikes in Syria [updates]

 UN Dispatch:
Reuters is reporting that the Turkish military has carried out air strikes inside Syria. Those attacks come in response to mortar fire from Syria over the border in Turkey that killed at least five people, today including a woman and her three children. 
This is a very crucial moment for the potential internationalization the Syria conflict. 
The conflict in Syria has been a grave matter for Turkey for the past several months. Refugees are pouring over the border at a rapid clip, and Turkey has previously warned that it can no longer handle the influx. In the meantime, about Turkish schools [sic] near the border have been shut down the border and residents in Turkey’s border towns are increasingly anxious of the conflict spilling over.
The Reuters link:

Update 1: USA Today:
Wednesday, Turkey struck back. According to the Turkish prime minister's office, Turkish artillery fired on Syrian targets after deadly shelling from the Syrian side hit a Turkish border, killing five people. 
"Our armed forces at the border region responded to this atrocious attack with artillery fire on points in Syria that were detected with radar, in line with the rules of engagement," the Turkish government said in a statement.
Update 2: Russia Today:

Related to the video here.

Chevron Tries to Get Blogger's Google (Email?) Info

Still digesting this:
Last week, while I was participating in a conference, I received an email from Google with a puzzling subject line: “Subpoena Notice from Google (Internal Ref. No. 257121).” I opened the email, assuming that it was some kind of sophisticated phishing attempt. It wasn’t. It was Google informing me — more than a little cryptically — that Chevron had subpoenaed my account information and that it intended to comply unless I filed a motion to quash. [...] 
My first reaction was shock. As regular readers know, I have often criticized Chevron’s actions in Ecuador. But I could not imagine why Chevron was subpoenaing my private information; the sum total of my interaction with Steven Donziger, the Ecuadorian plaintiffs’ lead attorney and the defendant in Chevron’s lawsuit, consisted of two emails, neither of which contained anything substantive. What did Chevron think I had that would help them? Or were they simply trying to intimidate me? 
My second reaction was anger.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

TPM: "As a biracial man..."

Must read letter to TPM. Excerpt:
All this makes me wonder what white people in America, especially the ones who will be voting this year, are really thinking when they listen to me speak. It makes me livid. And it makes me lonely.

News Anchor Jennifer Livingston Kicks the World's Ass


Please watch it all. This really took guts.

Excerpt: "If you're at home, and talking about the fat news lady, guess what: your children are probably going to go to school and cal someone fat."


Just beautful. Thank you, Jennifer Livingston.

Shorter George Will: "Those ni**ers and their ni**er-lover friends keep playing the race card!"

This has been shorter George Will.

Update: George Will is a spoke in a wheel.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Romney "Smashes" Obama In First Debate

WASHINGTON - U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrived back from the future today and announced that he had won his first debate against Barack Obama - scheduled for this Wednesday - in what he said the press called "smashing" fashion.

"It was the zingers," Romney said. "I totally zinged him."

He added that he might not even go to Wednesday debate, since he had already won so decisively.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What Ann Romney Did NOT Say

Regarding the previous post on Ann Romney saying she worries about Mitt's "mental well-being" if he should win the presidency, I think it needs a closer look.

Here's the exchange (and it's on video):
Asked what her primary worry would be should her husband succeed in defeating President Obama on Nov. 6, Mrs. Romney replied, "You know, I think my biggest concern, obviously, would just be for his mental well-being." 
"I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his decisiveness and his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy, in his understanding of what's missing right now in the economy - you know, pieces that are missing to get this jumpstarted," she continued. "So for me I think it would just be the emotional part of it."
She doesn't say "But he can handle it." She doesn't even imply it. 

She starts with her worry about whether Mitt can withstand the pressures of being president, which have to be tremendous, then adds what things he would be good at—and finishes by reiterating that she worries about his mental/emotional ability to handle the pressure.

How do you NOT say "But he can do it" - unless you actually worry that he can't? I mean, that just seemed like candor. It is difficult to take anything from that answer except that Ann Romney is herself worried that her husband may not be able to take the pressure of being president.

She's his wife. She knows this guy. If she's worried - shouldn't the rest of us be?

Update: To put a finer point on it, look at her own construct: "I have all the confidence in the world" about that other stuff, but...

[Lightly edited for clarity.]

• Crossposted over here.

Ann Romney Kills Mitt's Campaign 100% Dead [update]

I can hardly believe this just happened:
Ann Romney's biggest concern if her husband becomes president would be his ability to maintain his "mental well-being," she said in an interview Thursday with KTVN in Reno, Nev. 
Asked what her primary worry would be should her husband succeed in defeating President Obama on Nov. 6, Mrs. Romney replied, "You know, I think my biggest concern, obviously, would just be for his mental well-being." 
"I have all the confidence in the world in his ability, in his decisiveness and his leadership skills, in his understanding of the economy, in his understanding of what's missing right now in the economy - you know, pieces that are missing to get this jumpstarted," she continued. "So for me I think it would just be the emotional part of it."
How...what do...oh holy dogs in Uranus.

Mitt Romney's wife just said she doesn't know if Mitt can mentally/emotionally handle being president.

Hold on: I've gotta stand back and say that again:

Mitt Romney's wife just said she doesn't know if Mitt can mentally/emotionally handle being president.

His wife. The person he's been married to for thirty-plus years, who knows him better than any other human on Earth—someone who has seen him in trying times—says she's not sure Mitt can handle being president. Like being president of the U.S. (nukes!) might make him emotionally unstable.

Holy shit.

(Interview is toward end of video.)


Update: Please see next post.

Thousands Line Up Days in Advance For Free Health Care

Breaking hearts, one day in Modern Republican Utopia at a time:
What is that line up there outside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, just across the way from the Coliseum, for? Phineas and Ferb on Ice? Extra USC football tickets? No, but it does involve children and the University of Southern California. 
See, volunteers from the schools of medicine and dentistry at USC, partnered with the organization Care Harbor, are currently giving free health and dental care to people who come to the L.A. arena. It started yesterday and will continue through Sunday. 
Oh, the line-sitters? They aren't waiting to get in to see a doctor or a dentist. No, that only began Thusday. That line is from Monday, when they started handing out wristbands so that nearly 5000 people without insurance could get that lump checked or that cavity filled.
Mitt Romney wants more of this. No, really - Mitt Romney wants more of this. Roll that around the old noggin for while. And then toss this in:
One last thing: the reason people lined up so early? That's obvious. Because the clinic only had so much time and so many volunteers. And people, sick people, hurting people, dying people, were turned away.
More here. And here. And more Romney here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paragraphs to Live By: Message to Modern Republicans

This is what you get. This is the natural culmination of having steadily moved your end of the political spectrum away from facts and towards faith, away from thinking and towards ideology, away from public interest and towards self-interest, away from a pluralistic understanding that those who disagree must nonetheless work together to govern, and towards the idea of winning by any means necessary...and if you can't, making sure the other guys lose.
If it doesn't say it all—it says a big chunk of it.

Found here.

Butcherbird Gives Me a Short Concert

Back in June I posted photos and video of a friendly grey butcherbird who came to the veranda several times—obviously hoping for a feed. (Which he of course got.)

Is this the same one? Don't know. But as I was working at my desk by the veranda window just now a butcher bird out of the blue landed on the veranda railing, and went through a fantastic variety of butcher bird calls. They have a really broad repertoire of trills and chirps and whistles—he even makes what sounds like a chimpanzee sound at one point.

I love how he cocks his head as he spots me trying to sneak out the screen door before he flies off.

I've got some old steak thawing. Hopefully he'll be back.

Scott Brown's Not American—Look at Him!

I have no idea how Scott "Look at Me All Naked For Conservative Family Values!" Brown gets way with acting like he's American!

Does he even look like George Washington Carver? Huh? Huh?

I rest my case!

Background here.

• Real American image from here.

• Asshole.

Bonus: Dear Scott Brown: Do you know what Native Americans look like?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Photo Post: City Water

The buildings across the way, through a glass of water. (Click on pics to enlarge.)

* * * * * 

Bedroom, bed, blankets, window looking west, through a glass of water:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"I'm Paul Ryan and Jesus Hates You"

Brought to You by Christians For More Hating Poor People and Stuff
I actually right now want to punch this smarmy little shit in the face. I'm glad I can't, but still. I want to.
"And so, this is what Mitt and I are talking about when we’re worried about more and more people becoming net dependent upon the government than upon themselves."
This piece of shit apparently believes he occupies some elevated moral position which entitles him to talk down to people who have gone through hard times and need a little help. I am so sick of these horrible bastards. They create and/or support policies that CREATE MORE POOR PEOPLE and then pretend to wonder why so many people need help. Just awful, horrible, broken humans. They don't deserve a single American vote.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Taibbi: SEC "Settlement" Settles Squat

NCO Group Announces Settlement With the SEC:

Without admitting or denying any wrongdoing, the Company has consented to the entry of an administrative order directing it to cease and desist from committing or causing violations of certain non-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws relating to financial reporting and internal control requirements, now and in the future.

The Romney Donor Orgy Post

I started a post on this story but canned it. That non-existent post is now attracting visits - so this post is to at least get you to the story. Sorry.

Sperm Swim in Corkscrew Patterns

We were all little corkscrews once, trying to open the bottle...
Scientists, bless their brains, have finally tracked the paths of sperm in 3D. It's the first time they've been successful in 3D-mapping the trajectory of sperm and it's revealed a few things about those drippy critters: some sperm swim in corkscrew-like patterns and others are 'hyperactive' and hectic. Your sperm has strokes, dude.
There's even a trippy simulation video:

It's probably wrong that this made me think of this song:

Photo at top by me.

Mitt Romney: Tax cut tax cuts tax cuts! People who don't pay taxes suck!

I am really sick of this asshole, and all his kindred assholes:
In other words, Romney is arguing that about 47 percent of the country is a “taker class” that pays little or nothing into the federal government but wants to tax the productive classes for free health care, food, housing, etc.
Romney is not alone in this concern. “We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said when he began his presidential campaign. “We’re coming close to a tipping point in America where we might have a net majority of takers versus makers in society,” Rep. Paul Ryan said at the Heritage Foundation. “People who pay nothing can easily forget the idea that there is no such thing as a free lunch,” warned Rep. Michelle Bachmann.
For what it’s worth, this argument isn’t true.
Please go read more. It's a very thorough look at the biggest thing that happened in the news today. 

U.S. Suspends Joint Patrols With Afghans

Oh man:
(CBS News) The strategy for getting U.S. forces out of Afghanistan depends on training Afghan soldiers and police to protect the country themselves, but on Monday the U.S. military suspended most joint field operations with Afghan forces because so many Americans are being killed by the men they are training.
Afghan government troops -- our allies -- have turned their guns on NATO forces 36 times this year, killing 51, most of them Americans. That is more attacks than the last two years combined.
Obama - ai yai yai.

And no Obama supporter - and that includes me - gets to say this isn't Obama's. He made this his war with his supremely misguided 2009 surge. This is what we've gotten for it. Just horrible.

Update: And that surge actually just ended this week. Hooray?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Awesome First Song From Dylan's New Album

This is surprisingly kickass:


That is a really, really nice opening. Forty seconds of breathing - then Boom, and we're off. Very good stuff.

Mitt Romney and the Murdered American Ambassador

Smirking son of a bitch.

This is not just a bad presidential candidate. This is a thoroughly broken human being.

J.CHRISTOPHER STEVENS, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was a skilled and courageous diplomat who repeatedly placed himself at risk in order to support the cause of a democratic Libya. His death, along with those of three other Americans, during an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday is a tragedy that should prompt bipartisan support for renewed U.S. aid to Libyans who are struggling to stabilize the country. That it instead provoked a series of crude political attacks on President Obama by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is a discredit to his campaign.
That's putting it very mildly.

And Republicans - you have deeply serious problems to attend to. This is from the head of the RNC, Reince Priebus:

This is not the kind of thing you ignore, and "hold your nose" and vote for. This is something so wrong you speak up about it.

Just disgraceful.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pussy Riot Continues to Kick Putin's Ass

Vlad the IMPALED.


There hasn't been a Russian with a dick as tiny as Putin's since the 1972 Olympics gymnastics competitions...

Sexual Assault Victim Humiliated By Judge [updated]

Judge Jacqueline Hatch
I hope Tea Partiers understand that this is a limb of their Frankenstein's monster: this judge was appointed to her seat by one of the Tea Party's most throughly dishonest leaders, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

The Petition:
Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Robb Gary Evans was found guilty of sexual abuse on July 2, 2012 by a jury of his peers. The highway patrolman put his hand up the skirt of a bar patron and fondled her genitals after drinking 8 beers and driving to the bars. Upon sentencing Mr. Evans received no jail time and was not even required to register as a sex offender. He walked out of the courtroom with 2 years probation. Upon sentencing Judge Jacqueline Hatch of the Coconino County Superior Court stated to the victim, "If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened." She advised the victim to be more vigilant, “ You learned a lesson about friendship and a lesson about vulnerability.” This injustice cannot be tolerated, and without collective action of the people, these incidents will only continue.

Update: The judge has issued an apology:
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A judge who told a woman groped by a state police officer at a Flagstaff bar that she wouldn't have been violated had she not been at the establishment issued an apology Friday for any anguish she caused the victim.
Judge Jacqueline Hatch of Coconino County Superior Court said the comments she made Wednesday during a sentencing hearing were poorly communicated and she failed to uphold her responsibility to ensure that defendants and victims are treated fairly and with respect in the courtroom.
"It was never my intention to make a situation worse for any victim," she said in a statement. 
Here again is what she said to the victim - in the courtroom,  in front of her assailant:
If you wouldn't have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.
Impossible to not see intention to hurt someone already terribly hurt.

As the second link smartly says, and ignoring how it must have personally felt to that victim:
"For Hatch to use the occasion to give the victim a lecture on risk avoidance, however well-intentioned, marginalizes the courage it took for the victim of a stigmatized crime like sex abuse to come forward," the newspaper wrote.
Please sign the petition.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Deep Sea Angler Fish Described Via Dead Specimen in 1899 Filmed For First Time

Found here.

More here:
This fish is extremely rare and has never been captured on film before. The Chaunacaops coloratus anglerfish was described in 1899 from a dead specimen, but has never even been filmed alive until now.
The deep-sea fish was filmed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) using a remote operated vehicle (ROV) 7,500-11,000 feet below the surface of the ocean off the coast of northern California. MBARI captured the 8-inch-long anglerfish and learned much about its behavior and habits, the institute said in a press release.

I'm taking scuba diving lessons for the first time in a couple weeks... I have an underwater video camera already... dot dot dot, man!.

Fresh Hot Joke

Q: Why don't doors have cars?

A: Oh, heck. I just wrote the first thing that came to my mind and walked right into a lame "jam/jamb" joke.

Okay, so not a joke. Don't go unhinged. Don't go off the rails. Don't get silly. YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE WEATHER STRIPPING!

Okay, I'll stop...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Knock Knock Jokes: Foreign Countries Edition, With Sheep

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Fiona who?
Fiona of the Ford truck with three sheep in the front seat, your headlights are on. Fiona of the Ford truck…

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Angus who?
Angus for a sheep or a lamb—I never understood that saying! I don’t want anyone to hang me at all! Especially not for a sheep! Or a lamb! A pig, well, maybe a pig. Or a sheep that looks like a pig.

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Aldous who?
Aldous put on a little aftershave and we’ll go see about that pig, what!

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Seamus who?
Seamus one time and it’s fool on...no, hold on...Seamus two times and you fool...no...okay my name’s not Seamus. 

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Llwllvqtrwlll who?
Llwllvqtrwlll the bathtub, I’m dwowning!

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Pierre who?
Pierre, pee there, no problem—Llwllvqtrwlll is here! 

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Olaf who?
Olaf if you must, but I’m telling you, there are five guys outside with giant horns on their heads and their faces all stinky with fish—I am not answering that door!

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Jesus like in jee-zuz, or like in hay-soos?
Dude, it says I’m from Mexico. 
Oh, yeah, sorry. Uh, Jesus who?
Jesus, don’t be afraid, take a sad song, and make it beh-eh-eh-ter...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"I Just Want to Kiss Your Face"

Well heck. Here's my old friend Gene with a dang sweet video built for his song "Your Face." Occasionally too sweet!


Gene is best known for this song. (Adult language.)

Many more videos of Gene here. Easily downloadable songs here.

Southern Oregon Music

Here's a not exactly blisteringly compelling little video about a performance venue near my old home of Ashland, Oregon. It's been going for the last two years - they started right after I left, herm. Several old freinds featured. (Hi Gene, Jef, Sage!)


It's a side stage at the Britt Festivals - truly one of the great music venues on earth. (Saw Mark Knopfler from the grass in front of the stage, fifteen feet from us, picnic basket, wine...oy.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Paul Ryan: Mitt Romney Will Have to Do For Now

This is hilarious. How often do you hear a vice presidential candidate say somthing like this about the presidential candidate who picked him?

Asked about his (more extreme than Romney's already extreme) position on abortion, Paul Ryan says:
Mitt Romney is going to be president. The president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother. I'm comfortable with it because it's a good step in the right direction.
"It's a good step in the right direction." Or: "The guy who picked me to be his running mate will do for now as president, I guess."

Holy crap, that's funny.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Obama on Akin's Horrible Rape Comments

"Rape is rape," Obama said. "The idea that we should be parsing, and qualifying, and slicing what types of rape we're talking about, doesn't make sense to the American people."
Obama added that Akin's remarks are further evidence of why it doesn't make sense for legislators, "most of whom are men," to make decisions regarding women's health.

That is really, really good. Except that Akin's position IS the position of many, many Republicans, including Paul Ryan.

Akin "clarified" his remarks by saying he meant "forcible" rape, rather than "legitimate" rape - which is just as wrong, and just as horrible. (The inference here is that, in addition to sick inference that a rape isn't a rape if it results in a pregnancy, a rape isn't a rape if the victim doesn't fight enough - or something - as if especially young women could not be frightened or threatened into submission. But again - why are these bastards even beginning to go there? Why are they looking for outs for rapists and blame for victims? Because theyr'e horrible broken people? Yes!)

But this is ultimately good - because it shines a light on Paul Ryan:
Paul Ryan also co-sponsored HR 3, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion" bill in which Republicans tried to redefine rape so that it only applied to "forcible" rape so those fake rape victims would stop exploiting loopholes to cash in on fabulous gifts and prizes. Republicans pulled that part out of the bill so everyone would stop criticizing them, and then they tried to sneak it back in anyway.
These are broken, horrible, psychotic people.

Update: My friend Gene says it is wrong to use the term "psychotic," as psychosis is a mental illness...bad name for people actually suffering this illness...etc. Point (and joke) taken.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Is Rep. Todd Akin a Rapist? [updated III]

A member of the U.S. Congress, explaining why he believes abortion should be outlawed even in the case of rape, said these words today:
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
If a rape results in pregnancy, in other words, it's not "legitimate rape."

If a man with a large knife grabs a women from a sidewalk, forces her into some bushes and to the ground, beats her, half-strangles her, forces her legs apart, and forces his penis into her vagina - it's not rape if it results in her becoming pregnant. (In other words, again.)

If he hates women this much, you cannot help but wonder: Does Representative Todd Akin have children that most people know nothing about? Not through "legitimate rape," you understand - because that would be impossible.


Update II: Very important piece on the underbelly of Akin's comments, and their relation to VP candidate Paul Ryan:
Akin was Paul Ryan's co-sponsor on a House bill just last year banning the use of federal funds for abortion except in cases of “forcible rape.” This term seemed laughably redundant since all rape, by definition, is forced. But this redefinition of rape was deceptively sinister. Statutory rapists often use coercion but not physical force. If the measure had passed, a 13-year old emotionally manipulated into having sex with an older friend or relative would no longer be able to use Medicaid to terminate a resulting pregnancy. Nor would her parents be able to use their tax-exempt health savings fund.
Update III - Harry Schearer:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Romney-Ryan Propose "American Independence Vouchers"

WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan today released the outlines of a proposal that they say will bring a "permanent end" to the country's "crippling" spending and debt problems. The proposal calls for a major overhaul of the Independence Entitlement Program, first formulated in 1776.

The plan entails inviting the British government to send military units to invade and ravage American cities.

"They can kill old people," Mr. Romney said. "They can take the homes, the fortunes of sick people, whatever they like. And the American people can fight for their own independence. Thats how we used to do things, before the costly and nation-killing Independence Entitlement Program began."

Asked about critics' concerns that the plan ended American independence as we know it, Romney's vice-presidential candidate stepped up to the podium.

"Don't believe the lies," Mr. Ryan said. "This plan does not end independence, it improves it. Under this plan every American would get an 'American Independence Voucher,' which will entitle them to complete independence from the British. Not forever—for a while. We can't keep trying to take care of our citizens' independence forever. We're not Europe."

The plan was met with positive reviews by most in the media, with several pundits calling it "very courageous."

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Single Most Important Paragraph About the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Esquire's Charles Pierce:
Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them. He wants to eliminate them because he doesn't believe they are a legitimate function of government. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live. This now is an argument not over what kind of political commonwealth we will have, but rather whether or not we will have one at all, because Paul Ryan does not believe in the most primary institution of that commonwealth: our government. The first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution make a lie out of every speech he's ever given. He looks at the country and sees its government as something alien that is holding down the individual entrepreneurial genius of 200 million people, and not as their creation, and the vehicle through which that genius can be channelled for the general welfare.
Photo credit.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Johann Sebastian BECK to Release Album of Songs Playing Only in His Mind

Of all the wankeriffic, pretentious, self-aggrandizing - good god:
If you’ve been patiently waiting for the first new Beck album in four years we’ve got some bad news for you: If you can’t read sheet music you’re out of luck because his new collection of 20 songs is pure notation and doesn’t include any actual recordings of him performing the songs. 
Beck’s follow-up to 2008’s Modern Guilt is called Beck Hansen’s Song Reader and according to a statement by McSweeney’s, “In the wake of Modern Guilt and [2006's] The Information, Beck’s latest album comes in an almost-forgotten form — twenty songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded.” 
“The songs here are as unfailingly exciting as you’d expect from their author,” the statement continues. “But..."
Sorry. I stopped reading right there. Right there after they said "The songs here are as unfailingly exciting as you’d expect from their author."

Wow. You know - even Dylan dropped a load of turds now and then. And we're supposed to take Beck's word - his own and his publisher's word on his music - at how "unfailingly exciting" these songs are? Holy shit.

I can't wait for Beck's next album: Beck Hansen's Song Thinker. "Pay Beck $28 and feel yourself ravished by His new masterpieces! But you'll have to play them yourself—as you imagine them playing in His beautiful mind!"

I mean and I've liked the guy's music. "Devil's haircut" - I wish I'd written that (or at least just the chorus line) just because. But hell on fire...

P.S. I forgot to mention: This is also meant as a "statement" about the music business, illegal downloading, and so on. And so brilliant a statement it is - because people will never be able to copy pieces of paper! Like they can music!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Old Sayings...Reconsidered: "An apple a day..."

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

All well and good until you need a doctor. 

This has been another episode of "Old Sayings…Reconsidered."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Litte Thom Songs: CDBaby Five-Day Sale

CDBaby is doing a 5-day "all for the artists" promo. (From July 30 until August 3.) You buy songs—and all the money goes to the musicians. They take no cut at all. Nice.

Oh look - there's one of those musicians right here! One I like to call, "A crappy singer with some darn good songs."

Go ahead! Buy a song! Buy two!

My favorites: "You Can Use My Bathtub" and "Sigh"

Thank you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sarah Palin Tweets Photo of Herself at Selma, Alabama, Lunch Counter

SELMA - One-time U.S. vice-presidential contender Sarah Palin has injected herself into the American segregation controversy by posting a photo of herself beside a lunch counter in Selma, Alabama, on the social media site Twitter.

The photo shows Palin standing at the counter and smiling, her husband Todd at her side. Text accompanying the photo reads, "Stopped by a lunch counter restaurant in Selma to support a great business." 

African-Americans are legally disallowed from sitting at lunch counters in Selma, the central-Alabama city being just one of many in the American South where such "Jim Crow" laws relegate African-Americans to sub-human status.

A later Palin tweet told her millions of followers she was "planning to go *hang* around with the gang in, what's that place called...Lynchburg? /winkwink/."

Photo credit.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Republican WSJ Writer James Taranto Deletes Deeply Offensive Aurora Tweet: I've Got It

James Taranto is a longtime Republican columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

In the wake of the horrible tragedy that was the shooting in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater that saw seventy people shot, twelve of them killed, we learned that at least three young men died protecting and ultimately saving the lives of their girlfriends.

That inspired Taranto to say this on his Twitter account:

It's hard to absorb the shock of a statement like that. It's like someone making a vicious, violent joke about your mother or sister. It's hard to comprehend just how depraved a mind you have to possess—particularly, how deeply you have to hate women—to even conceive thinking such a thing, much less following through with writing it down for who knows how many thousands or millions to see. And this in the still wickedly painful days of horror and loss for those three young women.

After a lot of condemnation, Taranto wrote an article at the Wall Street Journal titled, "Heroes of Aurora; a mea culpa for an errant tweet." In the article he said he meant the tweet to be "thought-provoking." There is no apology in the article.

I've just found out that Taranto has deleted the Tweet. I made a screengrab of it the day he wrote it—that's it above—thinking he might try to run from it. I'm going to let it live here, testimony to the depth of James Taranto's depravity. (Taranto has, it's fair to note, forthrightly admitted to deleting the tweet, and put it's text in the mea culpa article.)

James Taranto is a leading Republican thinker and writer in the U.S. today. I don't know what else to add to that, except that we Americans are in a very sick state right now. And it's very fucking sad.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Low Murder Rate Prompts Police "Shoot to Kill" Order

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett ordered police in the state to immediately begin shooting people to address the growing problem of a complete lack of murder in the state.

"A murder rate this low is un-American," the first-term Republican governor known for his folksy, no-nonsense way of speaking said to a large, rather suspicious-looking crowd in downtown Harrisburg this afternoon. "And we're not about to sit back and let it erode at the very fabric of our society. That's why I've ordered our police forces to start arbitrarily shooting people in the neck, face, and generally around the head, until further notice."

"Don't let what some people say fool you," the governor continued. "They say, 'This isn't a problem, a low murder rate is a good thing'. But we know better. We know better because we've told you it's a problem, again and again and again and again. And Americans like that. And if we have to kill every last person in the state to solve this problem, then we'll do it."

That brought a loud boo from the crowd. They were all shot and killed seconds later.

"We hope especially through this program to see murder rates rise in poorer areas of our state, and on college campuses," Governor Corbett concluded. "That's the way it's supposed to be."

An aide to the governor told reporters the program would be in place at least until at least early November.