Saturday, March 2, 2013

Prez Blows Smoke

He may be a no drama kind of guy, but he does overstate things a bit too much, too often.  Gee, that's a polite way of saying he's a liar.  You decide.

Sequester spin: Obama’s false claim of Capitol janitors receiving ‘a pay cut’

Bless my Grits and Crackers!

The Guvment is coming for our guns! Hell they're after our cell phones too.

DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones

Does anyone really trust elected or appointed officials to be honest judge, jury, and executioners overseas or on domestic shores?  I don't.  I want all three branches of government involved in the regulation and usage of any kind of drone.  Did you trust the Shrub and his Uncle Dick?  Do you remember what they did to us?

From Bob Park

WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 1 Mar 2013 Washington, DC

1. BRAIN ACTIVITY: COMING UP IN THE FY 2014 BUDGET REQUEST. Although sequestration goes into effect today I can’t seem to remember why. In his 2013 State of the Union address last month President Obama cited brain research on Alzheimer's disease as an example of government investment in the best ideas. This month, Congress gets the presidents budget request "Every dollar we invested in mapping the human genome," President Obama pointed out, "returned $140 to our economy." A week later on the front page of the New York Times, John Markoff described the Brain Activity Map Project as a greater challenge than the Human Genome Project. Still, it would be a remarkably bold proposal in the midst of an epic partisan dispute over the sequestration fiasco.

2. VITAL STATISTICS: THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH METRICS. A recent Nature editorial (Nature 494, 281, 2013) characterized the failure of much of the world to continuously gather data on births and causes of death as a "scandal." According to the Nature editorial, the World Health Organization (WHO) dissolved the Health Metrics Network (HMN), created with $50 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to correct the problems. It should have been the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that the WHO dissolved. The IARC incorrectly labeled cell phone radiation as "possibly carcinogenic," which it clearly cannot be, as pointed out in J Natl Cancer Inst (2001) 93 (3): 166-167.

3. INSPIRATION MARS: WHATEVER TURNS YOU ON. Dennis Tito, who became the first private space tourist when he paid the Russians $20m for a ticket to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001, created Inspiration Mars to send a "couple" on a flyby of Mars if he can find other obscenely-wealthy space junkies to share the cost. Diversity standards raise questions about what Tito means by a "couple." The trip would take advantage of the alignment of heavenly bodies in January 2018 to do a flyby of Mars and return to Earth in the relatively short time of 501 days. The struggles a private cargo capsule had trying to reach the space station Friday reinforce the notion that spaceflight remains a challenging proposition

The Vatican is about as functional as the Italian goverment

Oops, what happens if the cardinals opt for an Italian?  I bet he could wreck both the Vatican and Italy and keep his Church permeated with sex pervs of one kind or another.

Scandals loom over Italians hoping to reclaim papacy

Downton Fans Take Note

Cast comings and goings at ‘Downton Abbey’ announced for the British drama’s 4th season

Friday, March 1, 2013

It's still life as normal in Iraq

That means Iraqis are exacerbating their asses off.  That's as in exacerbating sectarian tensions which result in things blowing up.

 Two car bombs at cattle market kill five in southern Iraq

 Bombs kill at least 22 in Iraqi capital

I'm still waiting for the Iraqis to erect memorial statues to the Shrub and his Uncle Dork.



Ashley Judd

Is she qualified?  Of course she is, she's a citizen, over the age of 30 and a resident of Kentucky.  What more do you need, especially if her opponent is hated by Democrats, Independents, and Teabaggers.  Who can stop Judd if she decides to run?  Wait for it, wait for it, yep Kentucky State Democratic senators aren't happy (they want the job for one of their own).  Okay, who is taking bets on McConnell winning in 2014?

Ashley Judd 2014: Poll Shows Kentucky Democrats Aren't Too Thrilled With Judd

Here's a question

In the state of Michigan, what do cities of Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse, Allen Park, Benton Harbor and maybe Detroit have in common? Oh they are under state control and are run by appointed public managers. What a change from the heyday of the automobile. It might be easier and cheaper to move everybody out of Detroit and then use it as a practice site for drone pilots to bomb the crap out of.

Mich. Gov. Snyder declares financial emergency in Detroit; emergency manager candidate in mind

How Does President George Obama Target Bad Guys

Does he just pick targets out of a hat?  Does he know with certainty that the target is truly a bad guy and at the target?  Well, it's somewhere between pure guesswork and being certain that the drone will kill a known bad guy.  All in all, it's just an 800 pound throwing around explosive bananas and getting away with it since the next largest gorilla weighs in at 200 or so pounds.  I understand the Chinese are feeding their gorillas extra meals.

The targets are called signature strikes. Targets are selected based on really good intel ( think about WMDs for a second or two). The intel provides the killer in chief with “apparent behavioral signatures.” The signatures, a.k.a. maybes,  suggest that the people on the ground might be involved in terror plots, militant activity, or improper goat herding. Get the sig right and high, ho, high, ho, the drones are let go to kill anything that moves at the signature sight.

How Does the U.S. Mark Unidentified Men in Pakistan and Yemen as Drone Targets?

Happy Sequester Day

Here's a slug of info from Pro Publica on the effects of the Sequester ( assuming the assholes we elected to Congress and the White House continue to do nothing) for the rest of the fiscal year.

A Graphic Guide to the Sequester

Unless Congress acts, the next Sequester Day is Oct. 1, 2013.  This goes on for 10 years.  Why do we keep electing idiots?

Data Comes Out of The Closet Too

Given that the Supremes are hearing a case on Prop 8 and DOMA, numbers might influence their decision.  Not Scalia, he's just a Trog who wants to return to the good old days of 1787.  Hm, he's Catholic.  I wonder if he knows how much despised and hated Catholics were back then.  Irish Catholics were not even allowed to immigrate here in the 17th century.

Demographic research on lesbians and gays emerges from shadows

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Here Are Some Books of Interest

Oh, if you are one of those folks who believe that people and dinosaurs coexisted within the past 10,000 years or so, then these books are not for you.  Having taken care of the loons in our midst, here are several books for decent folk on evolution.

Evolution Collection

Is That A Sequester?

Sequestration looms; we sort the facts

The Shrimp Still Cook Themselves

Read all about the government's case


War #9 Update

From the front or from behind, war is war. Aren't you glad Obama just makes war as he is wont. Who needs a declaration of war? Who needs a draft? Who needs cash (charge in on the ChiCom Visa). Has the guy ever met a war he didn't like? At least some U.S. companies get to make a dime but it would not surprize me to learn most of the munitions are made outside the U.S.

U.S. announces expanded battlefield aid to Syrian rebels, but not arms

Didn't Syria used to do the CIA's dirty work--prison and torture?  Given what the Shrub and Cheney did, Syria seems more an ally than enemy.  Then again we armed and abetted Saddam's rise to power.  Politics is damn strange.

Bless my sequester

Mr. Cool's office may be threatening Bob Woodward!  Obama may walk on water, but Woodward has oodles of  readers who do vote.


Bob Woodward: White House said I would ‘regret’ it if I pursued the story

It's Taken Too Long

The House Trogs finally realized women do have the vote.   They don't like that one bit, but they finally, well, 87 of them, passed the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.  Just like guns and ammo, I bet there will be a run on wife beater shirts throughout Gritty old Crackerdom.  Yep, the Trogs are afraid the "guvment" is going to take their slaves women away.   I am still trying to understand how any woman could be Mormon, Catholic, or Republican.

Violence Against Women Act passed by House, sent to Obama for signature

Think About It

How many times have you said or heard someone say "women were given the vote in 1920..."  They were not given the vote, they worked, demonstrated and fought the hard political fights to amend the Constitution to obtain voting rights for women.  It was a decades long fight.

Inez Milholland

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gun Nuts

I am not bothered by gun nuts being at greater risk of death by gun homicide or gun suicide.  Are you?  Before the NRA bought off Congress to kill research on gun violence, CDC did find that

...not only did having a firearm in your home not protect you, but it hugely increased the risk that someone in your family would die from a firearm homicide. It increased the risk almost 300 percent, almost three times as high.

It also showed that the risk that someone in your home would commit suicide went up. It went up five-fold if you had a gun in the home. These are huge, huge risks, and to just put that in perspective, we look at a risk that someone might get a heart attack or that they might get a certain type of cancer, and if that risk might be 20 percent greater, that may be enough to ban a certain drug or a certain product.

But in this case, we're talking about a risk not 20 percent, not 100 percent, not 200 percent, but almost 300 percent or 500 percent. These are huge, huge risks.


Given their insane fears of a tyrannical government coming to get their guns, I wish them as many adverse personal gun experiences as they can sustain.  What else did CDC find?


What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence Before Congress Killed Funding

Worst Prez Ever?

Surely the Shrub will take last place?.  Obama may be next to last over drones and failure to observe the the rule of law.  What do we know about drones anyway?

The Drone War Doctrine We Still Know Nothing About

How do you spell transparency?  I cannot tell you, it's classified.

Gee, as in Iraq, life is returning to normal in Afghanistan

Taliban poison, kill 17 Afghans in attack in east, official says

What the hell have we, that's really all of us who live in the U.S., been doing in Afghanistan after we allowed the Shrub and his Uncle Dork to scrub Tora Bora so he could invade Iraq?  Oh, not much, just delaying the inevitable that life will return to normal there as it has in Iraq.   I am fairly certain that in 50-100 years, Buchanan will no longer be considered our worst President.

About Sums It Up

Impact of budget cuts (the sequester) depends on where you live and who you are

Yep, if you don't work for the feds, don't work directly or indirectly for any federal contractor, don't work for any state or local agency that uses federal money, don't rely on spending by people who do rely on federal income for your business, then you won't be affected directly.  I guess about 30% of us will not feel an impact.

I hope folks will be hit hard enough to finally realize exactly how big and pervasive government has become.  If you look at federal employment (treat USPS and military troops separately) you'll see that employment is more flat than not over the past several decades.  If goes up it goes down.  However, federal spending has gone up and up and up.  Where did all the money go?  Basically we've kept government employment "small" by out sourcing government work to contractors and Mercs.

If I were in my first State job, I'd probably be sweating right now.  Back then, I didn't find out until well after I took the job, that technically, I was not a state employee.   The money that paid my salary came from a NIOSH grant.   No grant, no Jake.  It was a bit scary, but that was a different time.

Oh, with respect to government employees, remember when Clinton and Gore reinvented government?  Did you ever ask how they reduced the number of employees?  Do you really think it was by getting existing agencies to run leaner, meaner and get the work done with smaller staffs?  Nah, they shifted work to the private sector and let attrition and a few firings reduce staff.   Yep, employment went down as costs went up.

  

Polls


I have been thinking about polls of late.  I caught Chuck Todd’s show this morning as he went on and on about the latest MSNBC/WSJ poll.  Obama is down, the Dems are down and the Trogs are way down.  So what?  It’s a national poll and really does not mean squat in inside the beltway politics.

What does matter is what those people who do vote actually think about issues.  Hm, in the poll, only 29% approve of Repubs.  That must mean the Trogs are on the run, right?   Gee, they’re doomed in 2014?  No way, let’s look at voters

It was a national poll, but half of our people don’t vote, so get rid of them.  The remaining 50% are about evenly split, say 40% Trog and 40% Democrat.  Effectively, 20% of the population are Trogs and 20% are Democrats in the only way that matters, voting.   The balance (to get to 29% ) are those odd ducks we call independents.  Independents are probably okay with both parties since they vote for the person.  Damn we’re at 30%, I guess a few Indies must not like Trogs after all.  

In other words, national polls don’t mean much at all.  What does matter is how voters in House Districts will vote in the next election.  Can you imagine House Repubs listening to a national poll result and then voting for tax increases or assisting Obama on the Sequester?  Can you see them voting for a national gun registraion database?  If any Repub did, then he or she would have a primary challenge and lose their ass to a more pure conservative.  Purity can be a real bitch.

Polls, national polls, can matter on issues where votes are state-wide or national, such as the Senate or White House.  National polls don’t matter when it comes to the House.  The only polls that matter there are ones that tap likely primary voters.  This has led to what we see today, our politics is dominated by a very Troggy GOP House.  Until District voters decide otherwise, the GOP will go further and further to the right. 

Because of the GOP’s political mess in the House, there will be very little bipartisan solution to anything.  We will continue to experience what seems like a political version of the movie “Ground Hog’s Day” over and over again.  We go the brink, patch it, kick it down the road a bit, go to sleep and wake up to the same problems which we then solve in the same manner so we can do to sleep once more.  It kind of sucks doesn’t it.

So the next time you hear about  a poll that says this or that, find out if it is a poll of likely voters in Republican Districts (or Democratic since it works the same there).  If not, then discount the damn thing entirely.  Since not much gets done without the House (they have to appropriate money) not much will be done by the Senate or the White House.  The nation is held captive by very secure GOP Districts in thrall to equally strange primary voters.   

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

And You Thought Slavery Ended With the 13th Amendment

Guestworker Programs in the United States

Trogs Are Trogs

After Willard had his garment covered ass handed to him by a guy who should have lost, Trogs realized that they have a problem.  After at least six seconds of modestly deep thought, they decided they lost because Rombot was insufficiently Trogish.  The rest of the world knows that Willard 1.0, who was the Governor of Massachusetts, was a decent candidate who could have beaten Obama.

It was the GOP batshit crazy primary voters who decided that 1.0 was not properly Troggy.  By the time they finished with the Trogmorphification, Willard was an unrecognizable release 18.3 of his himself.  He was toasted and roasted long before Obama was nominated.

Today, we see a repetition in the making.  Another Governor who could be elected against most any Democrat, is Chris Christie.  That is, elected if he could run as the Chris Christie of Feb., 2013.  To get the nomination he will have to be Trogifeid just like Willard.  I have a feeling the GOP will wind up being left with Santorum in 2016.  Think not?  Well--

Chris Christie’s CPAC snub

Amazon.Com Has a Nazi Side?

I know who cares, the only things that matter are low prices and free speedy delivery.  Maybe we all need to think what we are about anyway.

Amazon’s German labor fiasco

I guess it was a case of they, management, just didn't know what was going on in their own company and besides if they did, everybody was just obeying orders.  Greed does strange things to people.

Amazon fires security firm over mistreatment report

Ancestors

I've always like the idea that we are all the descendants, not of apes, but of brown slime mold.  That may bother some folks, so let's allow those overly sensitive souls to just look at placental mammals.  It seems we may all descend, after the dinosaurs were done in by a meteorite, from one little rat like citter.

Meet our earliest common mammalian ancestor

Kiss Off The Great Lakes

As we continue to screw up the planet, we can look forward to a future with Great Lake Beds.  Gee, they can become tourist sites.  The climate is changing.  We're not doing a damn thing about it.  Our short term desires (read greed) out weigh our long term cares (we'll be dead).  Come on, does anyone really give a shit about the unborn taxpayer?  If we did can you imagine how different our world would be?

2 Great Lakes hit lowest water level on record

Book Review

I've mentioned Nick Turse's book "Kill Anything That Moves" in a couple of posts.  I don'r recall pointing y'all to any reviews.  So, here are a couple of reviews.  I have not read the book yet, but from the reviews I have read, I have no reason to doubt his veracity at all.  I was in Saigon, MACV HQ in 1968.  In summary, it was one fucked up war.  I'm confident we will find that Iraq and Afghanistan will be the equal to Vietnam.  Will we have to wait so long for a book such as Terse's about our current disasterour wars?

 'Anything That Moves': Civilians And The Vietnam War

Tomgram: Nick Turse, A War Victim's Question Only You Can Answer

‘Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam’ By Nick Turse

Did You LIke The Tudors?

Is so, then you might enjoy a new show also written by Michal Hirsch--

The Vikings

Monday, February 25, 2013

And the winner is....

Hey, not for the Oscars, no we're talking Razzies.  What a sweep for Twilight!

The 33rd Annual RAZZIE® Awards

House of Trogs


I have been mulling over the last election.  One of the surprising pieces of info I’ve run across concerns the dwindling number of swing districts.  We’re down to fewer than three dozen districts out of a possible 435, where, given the issues of the day, either a Democrat or Republican could be elected. 

In other words, given the GOP majority in the House, there is an insufficient number of seats Democrats could claim to take control of the House.  Most districts are now safely held by both parties.  This is especially so on the GOP side.

Recent state legislature wins helped them gerrymander “permanent” victory and retain a majority of seats and keep control of the House.  Control came to the GOP in 2012 despite receiving a minority of all votes cast.  Without extensive re-districting, the GOP would have lost control of the House.  

As swing districts have faded, barring some most unpredictable event that would drive GOP voters into the Democratic fold, one can expect the House to remain under GOP control no matter what.  Hold it.  Several national polls indicate we do have issues where most people want something done that is very un-GOP.  For example, how about gun control?

Assume implementing gun control is really important to 75% of Americans.  Won’t that number make the GOP dump the NRA and vote for gun control?  Well, not when the districts are safe because of GOP voter domination.  The national perspective does not matter.  What matters is how voters in very GOP districts do feel and will vote, notably so in primary elections.  

Even five year olds know that the GOP is against any kind of gun control the NRA opposes.  GOP safe districts assume that any incumbent must reject gun control or he or she will have to worry about reelection.  Yes, that’s reelection worries, but not from a Democrat.  The GOP incumbent will be challenged in a GOP primary election and will probably lose to a new candidate who is not flaccid on the second amendment.  It’s not really even the average GOP voter in a safe district that matters, it’s a minority of GOP voters who do turnout for primaries or do go to state conventions that matter.  

The GOP, to keep the House, supports only candidates who are 100% in line with official GOP positions which are enforced by primary election voters.  There is no middle ground in House races.  If a GOP moderate snuck into a race, they might lose to a Democrat.  The GOP cannot keep control if they allow any possibility for that to occur.  Thus, the GOP will continue to ratchet to the right as greater and greater political purity is demanded by primary voters.  The GOP will accede to extremes since it keeps the House under their control.   

What about the Senate?  Here is where the GOP House strategy runs into a problem.  If most people do want gun control, but the GOP’s senatorial candidate is against gun control, then voters may more easily reject the incumbent and elect a Democrat who is for gun control.  There is plenty of swing room at the state level (except in a theocracy like Utah).  Statewide offices and elections can be affected by national mood swings in most unpredictable ways.  At this point, given the extreme positions taken by the GOP to sustain a House majority, we will probably see the Senate come closer and closer to be a body with 60+ Democrats.   Note it was reasonable to expect the GOP to pick up rather than lose Senate seats in 2012.  The GOP was out of touch with the majority of voters.  They lost seats as a result.  Purity works in the House not the Senate. 
Whoa, surely a Repub can be elected to the White House in 2016.  No way.  Did it not seem a bit odd, given the state of the economy, that Obama won reelection.  2012 was an election where a generic Repub beat Obama in poll after poll.  However, after the primary season, the named Repub wound up losing his ass to Obama.  Why?

The GOP stuck to it’s House demanded positions and transformed Romney into a batshit crazy House style Repub.  Primary voters enforced purity.  Had Romney decided to drop out, can you imagine the disaster of say a Santorum candidacy.  No one can make it through the GOP presidential primary cycle as long as the GOP opts to keep assured control of the House via safe districts backed by primary fights for political apostates.

As long as the GOP must have safe districts driven by ultra conservative purity, the party will never win the White House again until they change--that means a Romney could run and win against other moderate Repubs without having to fight off the crazies.    There would be no crazies in the race.  Do you think the GOP will adjust its primaries? 

If they become more moderate, they can lose one sure thing--control of the House.  If they become more moderate, they might have to admit they were wrong about a lot of things.  There does not appear to be much news indicative of reform in the GOP.  All in all, it’s reasonable to expect the current power distribution in Washington to remain as it is in 2013 for at least two if not more presidential cycles.

Hmm, I guess Tip O’Neil was right.  All politics is local, but not for the reasons he thought so.  




From Bob Park

WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 15 Feb 2013 Washington, DC

1. CLASS WARFARE: OBAMA'S STATE-OF-THE-UNION ADDRESS. "It is our unfinished task," the president said, "to restore the basic bargain that built this country, the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like or who you love." Equal opportunity was Obama’s clear theme. "Tonight let's declare that, in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty -- and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour." Obama and Romney agreed a year ago that the minimum wage should be linked to the cost of living so worker's income is not always left lagging behind the economy. Even liberal politicians usually stop there. However, with families to support, workers can't take an unpaid sabbatical to prepare for the next level. That option is open only to the wealthy. So Obama proposed an emphasis on making high-quality preschool programs available to middle-class parents. As Gail Collins points out in Thursday's New York Times, this goes back to Walter Mondale’s Comprehensive Child Development Act. Obama proposed working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.

2. ASTEROID 2012 DA14: A REMINDER THAT THE UNIVERSE IS VIOLENT. Unnoticed unless it was being watched through a telescope, a 150-foot asteroid hurtled by today, missing Earth by only 17,150 miles; it was the closest known flyby of Earth for an object of its size. In a chilling coincidence, a much smaller meteor exploded above Russia's Ural Mountains just hours before the asteroid zoomed by.

Gee, it really is just like Nam

The Afghan War has dragged on for no real purpose.  We don't know who the enemy is really.  We lose more troops.  Vietnam was a morass, a quagmire, ditto the current war.  Nam had it's My Lai, now maybe Afghanistan has one too--

Afghan governor details alleged abuse by U.S. Special Operations forces

Where's There's A Priest There's A Perv

Britain’s top Catholic cleric resigns after accusations of inappropriate behavior

Sunday, February 24, 2013

From Pedophiles to Priestophiles?

With all the stellar examples of assholetry, how can anyone remain a member?  I think Jesus would be a  liberal Unitarian if he came back today.

Britain’s top cardinal accused of ‘inappropriate’ behavior with priests

Would Not Surprize Me in The Least if True

Torture and murder of people in a war zone?  By U.S. troops?  Sure, we train them to be killers and heap praise on special ops types.  Think not?  Well, let's go back to Nam.  See "Kill Anything That Moves" then think about the crap we've been doing in Afghanistan and Iraq (with our troops and Mercs).  Possible?  Sure.  Likely? Well, I'll flip a coin.

Afghan President Karzai ends U.S. Special Forces operations in key province

Give it a read

It's a long piece but worth the time and effort if you don't subscribe to "Time"--

Bitter Pill