Monday, August 31, 2009

World's largest gated community

Which holds only 14 percent of the world's population and creates 73 percent of the world's income. Neat graphic from this site.

The world’s richest 1 billion people use 80% of the world’s resources. That means that the other five billion plus people use only 20% of the world’s resources.

Going on vacation is always an adventure


Now that we have GPS and Google Maps....

Back from Mammoth viewing cinder cones and Mono Lake tufa mounds!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Unleashed Republicans

Run amuck.


Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly explains about Michael Steele:

The lights are on, but nobody's home. The same clown who attacked Democrats yesterday for trying to improve Medicare financing just told a national television audience that he disapproves of Medicare and would prefer to "trust the private markets" -- the same private markets that left seniors without coverage, and which made Medicare necessary in the first place.

The GOP's record on Medicare is clearly embarrassing to the party. In the 1960s, Republicans fought against Medicare's existence. In the 1990s, Republicans shut down the federal government because a Democratic president wouldn't tolerate proposed GOP cuts to Medicare. In 2008, the Republican presidential ticket ran on a platform of cutting Medicare.

And in 2009, the chairman of the Republican National Committee has decided, over the course of 24 hours, he's both for and against the Medicare program, for and against Medicare cuts, and for and against privatization.

And Obama is stealing 9/11!!!1! He is making it a day of service instead of Cowerinfear day!! Republicans are mad!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The US military has begun notifying the Red Cross of the identities of terror suspects being held at secret camps in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports say.

The Red Cross, which has lobbied the Pentagon for years to give its staff access to all detention facilities, declined to confirm the changes.

The policy reportedly took effect this month with no public announcement.

Correspondents say that the move represents a victory for human rights groups seeking more US transparency.

The new approach is said to be part of a broad review of US detention and interrogation practice launched by the Obama administration.

Using science to save the bees and the world


Oh no! Science is evil! It is dispassionate and logical and wants to sacrifice your children!! Or not?

Scientists say that mass bee deaths may be caused by viruses that disrupt gene expression.

The team analysed which genes were turned on and which were turned off in healthy bees and those from hives with colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Since 2006, CCD has caused the catastrophic loss of US bee hives and is implicated in bee deaths elsewhere.

Writing in PNAS journal, the team say they used "whole genome microarrays" to compare cells from bees' guts.

Lead scientist May Berenbaum from the University of Illinois told BBC News that the research was made possible by publication of the bee genome in 2006.


"So maybe what's happening is basically the ribosome wears out. So we looked to see if the CCD bees have more of these viruses than healthy bees. And they do.

The viruses in question include "deformed wing virus" and "Israeli acute paralysis virus".

The scientists believe that if a number of similar picorna-like viruses attack simultaneously, they may be able to overwhelm the ribosome.

"We talk about a smoking gun. We have the bullet hole!" said May Berenbaum.

"We now need to look for how multiple viruses might interact on the ribosome."

The honey bee is the US's key agricultural pollinator. As such it is worth $14bn to the country's economy.

CCD was first identified in 2006. In the winter of 2007-8 more than a third of US bees were lost.

Similar losses have been reported in Europe, giving rise to fears that CCD is a global problem.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Guess which country these Toyota cars were made in

Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, is recalling almost 690,000 cars made in China because of faulty electrical window switches.

The recall affects the company's Camry, Corolla, Vios and Yaris models made at two joint ventures in China - Guangzhou Auto and Tianjin FAW.

This represents Toyota's biggest recall of cars in China.

The company said that no injuries or accidents had been reported as a result of the faulty electrics.
I know other countries have been involved in massive recalls, the US included.

But here is just one more thing to add to the list of toxic, dangerous, or sloppy products coming out of China.

An email that proves Godwin's law

He should have included the fact that both Hitler and Obama ate vegetables and liked dogs... Names have been deleted to protect the ignorant.
________ A delight to hear from you. I'll give you a rundown in response to your "fact sheet" point by point shortly. Just finished a book which I highly recommend to you: "The Nazi Seizure of Power...The Experience of a single German town 1930-1935" by William Sheridan Allen. As one on the Right (or perhaps Center Right) I find a frightening similarity to the swift takeover of Germany to what has been transpiring here over the past few months. That is not to say in any way that I believe Obama to be a Nazi as his Marxist credentials are most obvious. You may find of interest my recent letter to the editor of the Denver Post in response to that paper's editorial which implied that those who bring up the similarity are way off base....same is attached. No, it is a rather liberal publication and my letter was not printed...even though I gave myself a PHD after my name hoping the editorial board would believe me to be one of the Left. P.S. "PHD" = Patriot-Humanitarian-Dedicated. Best for now, ________.

IT IS A VALID COMPARISON: U.S.A. 2009 and Germany early 1930’s

Regarding Post Editorial on health care debate 8/13/09 and comment “….went off the rails by likening Obama’s tactics to those of Adolf Hitler,” Read the history of Germany 1930-1935…I recommend “The Seizure of Nazi Power…The Experience of a Single German Town 1930-1935” by William Sheridan Allen. Then in Germany and recently here in the U.S. there was an economic crisis. A charismatic political figure emerged promising HOPE & CHANGE: Hitler and Obama. Both wrote best sellers of their plans for the country: “Mein Kampf “ (English “My Struggle”) by Hitler and “The Audacity of Hope”by Obama. Hitler established total governmental control…Obama seeks (and has partially established) total government control. Under Hitler and his party, The National SOCIALIST Workers Party (the Nazi Party), opposition was steadily intimidated, newspapers and organizations were taken over, a scapegoat for all their problems was created, the youth were organized and indoctrinated. Here the Left intimidates with “political correctness” smears, ridicule, and distortion. Here the institutions of learning teach the Leftist viewpoint and ridicule Conservatism. Hitler had his Storm Troopers, the “Brownshirts” of his Sturm Abteilung (the SA); Obama has his “Community Organizers…ACORN. Hitler had his Hitler Youth; Obama plans his own youth corps. The Nazis used informants as a means of control (as have all authoritarian regimes); Obama has his website. Hitler had his Jews to blame for Germany’s ills…..Obama has President Bush. The Nazis moved with lightening speed to consolidate power. Obama and the Democrats are rushing legislation through Congress as fast as they can. And you don’t think the comparison between then and now is not valid? _________PHD, Denver CO
He also didn't make the links between Islamofascistsocialism, the Liberal Forced Gay Sex Change and Cheeto Reeducation Camp and the Community Organized Sewage Reclamation Center...

Then why are you hiding that axe behind your back?


Fox News: The Notion That Republicans Are Trying To Block Health Care Reform Is A ‘Conspiracy Theory’

Infestations of all kinds

Wingnuts write letters.

The horrors of bedbugs.

Vipers with guns.

Reagan zombinomics.

People telling jokes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It adds to the flavor, honest!

How else can a company that produces stainless steel water bottles that have BPA in the lining make any money around here?

Explains our economic collapse

And so many other things....
LA GRANDE, Ore. -- A mouse found inside an automatic teller machine -- along with a nest it had built with chewed-up $20 bills -- gave an Oregon gas station employee the surprise of her life.

The mouse, discovered Thursday, had thoroughly torn up two bills and damaged another 14 to line his nest. Employee Millie Taylor says she screamed and slammed the machine's door shut.

The bank replaced all the money that wasn't extensively damaged, and the ATM has continued to work just fine. The mouse also got a reprieve: He was evicted from his nest but set free outside the station.
Where did the 9 BILLION go that is unaccounted for in Iraq? Mice. Where did the bailout money actually go when handed to the banks? Mice. Where did the money grabbed by Enron and Madoff go? Mice.

Those damned mice got everything!....

Or do I mean rats?


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Getting rid of education

And introducing stupidity:
The first draft for proposed standards in United States History Studies Since Reconstruction declares that students should be expected "to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority," according to the Dallas Morning News.

A six-member panel was set up by the Republican-dominated Texas Board of Education to advise teams of teachers, academics and community representatives to rewrite the standards for social studies textbooks and curricula.

Misinformation and lies

From the Media Matters email:

Media Matters: Press should take finger off button in "nuclear option" health care coverage

Media conservatives aren't content to merely misinform regarding the content of progressive health insurance reform legislation. They want to misinform about the legislative process used to pass that legislation, too. Just think of it: Death panels passed using a nuclear option. What American could support that?

In recent days, talk of Senate Democrats using the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform legislation has grown. According to Senate rules, bills advanced through the process can't be filibustered, and so the 60-vote threshold that must be met to defeat a filibuster would not apply. Republicans used reconciliation in exactly this way during the Bush years to pass tax cuts in 2001, 2003, and 2005. Senate Republicans also used the reconciliation process to pass a bill permitting oil drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (The final version of that bill signed by Bush did not contain the provision on drilling.) So long as the legislation in question impacts the budget, doing so is within regular Senate order.

Conservatives in the media, however, have now chosen to portray such a course of action as the dreaded "nuclear option." As usual, a little history reveals a lot of hypocrisy. The phrase was actually coined by former Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) in 2003 during the Democratic filibuster of U.S. Court of Appeals nominee Miguel Estrada. At the time, Republican aides discussed changing the rules of the Senate to make filibusters of judicial nominees out of order. Lott, reflecting the drastic nature of such a change, called it a "nuclear option." Starting in 2005, Republicans noted that the term polled badly. They began referring to such a rules change as the "constitutional option," and claimed that only Democrats called it a "nuclear option." The media quickly fell in line, repeating the falsehood.

Unsurprisingly, the hypocrisy has continued. Passing budget-related legislation through the reconciliation process and the "nuclear option" have nothing to do with each other.

This hasn't stopped the conservative media from conflating the two. The goal is to portray progressives as a group of anti-democratic radicals, forcing through a supposedly unpopular bill using procedural tricks -- or, in Chris Matthews' words, "blow[ing] up the Senate rules." Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon was one of the first to draw the false equivalency back in June, and in recent days, the chorus has only grown. Dick Morris did the same on August 10, and Sean Hannity has repeatedly pushed the distortion. The Fox Nation website even chose to illustrate the story using a mushroom cloud.

Just as they did several years ago, multiple mainstream media figures have taken up the right's deceitful talking point, among them A.B. Stoddard of The Hill, Matthews, and even CNN hosts Anderson Cooper and Kiran Chetry. Thus far, factual explanations, such as the one provided by CNN's Josh Levs, have been few and far between.

This distortion has jumped from the media to the highest levels of the Republican Party. When Hannity hosted RNC chairman Michael Steele, he asked about the "by any means necessary" approach Democrats were considering. "Does this mean the will of the American people," Hannity asked, "as evidenced by just about every credible poll, means nothing to them?" (It seems as though NBC/Wall Street Journal polls are no longer credible to Hannity.) Steele agreed: "If it means the nuclear option, it's going to be the nuclear option."

The right-wing distortion here is obvious and blatant. For the sake of its credibility, the media needs to take its finger off the "nuclear" button.

From hope to Hitler




Next stop is the islamofascist liberal cheezite reeducation and reclamation center!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Are we going to let the terrorists win?

Are we going to let other Dr. Tiller-like murders happen?

From this website.

When are we going to demand the police and FBI protect them?


Because women need to be able to control their bodies, control their own reproductive processes. It is that simple.

California: once the bread basket of the world

Now a basket case.

The Los Angeles Times:
If San Joaquin Valley farmers such as Locke are fearful, so are the agricultural scientists who support California's $10-billion annual fruit and nut crop, the largest in the nation. A new study from UC Davis, to be published today, found that the number of winter chilling hours, essential to the flowering of orchards, has declined as much as 30% since 1950 in large swaths of the Central Valley, where most of the tree crops are grown.

Only 4% of the Central Valley is now suitable for apples, cherries and pears, all high-chill fruits that could once be grown in half the valley, according to the study. By the end of the century, it says, "areas where safe winter chill exists for growing walnuts, pistachios, peaches, apricots, plums and cherries are likely to almost completely disappear."
Along California's central and northern coasts, salmon season has been closed for the second straight year because, in large part, water conditions have become so mucked up in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that baby fish can't survive before heading to sea.

Commercial fishermen and their crews can't work. Recreational anglers can't fish, hurting charter boat owners.

"The delta is a black hole" for salmon, legislators were told by Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Assns.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin river system -- encompassing California's Central Valley -- historically has been the second-largest salmon producer on the West Coast, second only to the Columbia River. And Columbia salmon tend to migrate north to British Columbia and Alaska. Salmon that make it through the delta and out the Golden Gate have supplied 90% of the catch off California, and 50% off Oregon.

The delta also is the largest estuary on the West Coast of America, north and south, Grader said in an interview.

"Estuaries are places where salmon gain strength before going to sea," he continued. "We've been seeing salmon actually losing weight in the delta. They become weakened, get lost because of [reverse river] flows, become entrained in pumps or wind up in forebays where they're easy prey to predator fish."

What Grader describes is pretty much the fault of water management in the delta during the past half-century -- something all sides currently are trying to fix.
And here's this nice graphic that shows how the Central Valley will dry up.

Add in the economic collapse and budget disaster and California will be good and truly Californicated.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Movie Bob thinks this movie stinks

But that you must go see this one:

An insult to dining room tables everywhere!

h/t to JJ of Unrepentant Old Hippie.

Zina Saunders

I'm glad this artist is on our side.


Because she's devastatingly good!

Greenland: close up

And personal:

Deutsche Welle’s Ice Blog was born when environment journalist Irene Quaile started to travel in the Arctic as part of an international radio and online reporting network, with a project grant from the National Science Foundation to mark the International Polar Year. After visits to Spitsbergen and Arctic Alaska reporting on climate change issues, 2009 takes her to Zackenberg Ecological Monitoring Station in Eastern Greenland, and to other parts of the far northern island, which plays a key role in the global climate process. In between trips, the Ice Blogger writes regularly on climate-related news and views, from the global political level to grassroots efforts to tackle global warming.

If you are eligible for Veteran's benefits

President Obama's health care will NOT take it away:
Matt Flavin, Director of Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy, explains that nothing in health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget greatly expands coverage for veterans who have been denied access in the past.

Listen to the intelligent answers
the Obama administration has prepared to respond to the idiotic lies saturating the media and deliberately confusing the public.

Bankster bastards

Is this an example of why the gross stuff floats to the top of a sewage reclamation system?

Robert Scheer explains:
But for those of us less sophisticated in the ways of Wall Street, it is a surprise that Merrill Lynch executives were rewarded for failure at the same time Bank of America was using $45 billion in taxpayer funds to take over the brokerage house. Six hundred ninety-six executives who helped run Merrill into the ground were granted more than a million bucks each.

BofA lawyer Liman attempted to put an egalitarian spin on this government-sponsored welfare for the superrich by pointing out that all told, another 39,000 Merrill employees averaged only $91,000 in bonuses, but the judge wasn’t having it: “I’m glad you think that $91,000 is not a lot of money; I wish the average American was making $91,000.”

That’s the point; the average American is paying for the banking debacle not only in taxes for the bailout but with lost jobs and homes. Yet the SEC, which is supposed to be protecting the ordinary citizen’s interests, decided to give BofA execs a bye. The question is why Bank of America and Merrill failed to inform their shareholders that such payoffs were part of the deal. The details of the bonuses were known to BofA CEO Kenneth Lewis and other top bank executives but not mentioned in the merger agreement or proxy statements sent to the company’s shareholders for approval.
And the smackdown:
As Judge Rakoff concluded, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch had not only “effectively lied to their shareholders” but the money to finance their bonus scam had come “from Uncle Sam.”
Thank you, your honor.

Wendell Potter

A man with a conscience:

Until I quit my job last year, I was one of the leaders of that army. I had a very successful career and was my company's voice to the media and the public for several years.

It was my job to "promote and defend" the company's reputation and to try to persuade reporters to write positive stories about the industry's ideas on reform. During the last couple of years of my career, however, I became increasingly worried that the high-deductible plans insurers were beginning to push Americans into would force more and more of us into bankruptcy.

The higher I rose in the company, the more I learned about the tactics insurers use to dump policyholders when they get sick, in order to increase profits and to reward their Wall Street investors. I could not in good conscience continue serving as an industry mouthpiece. And I did not want to be part of yet another industry effort to kill meaningful reform.

I explained during the press conference with Rep. Slaughter how the industry funnels millions of its policyholders' premiums to big public relations firms that provide talking points to conservative talk show hosts, business groups and politicians. I also described how the PR firms set up front groups, again using your premium dollars and mine, to scare people away from reform.

What I'm trying to do as I write and speak out against the insurance industry I was a part of for nearly two decades is to inform Americans that when they hear isolated stories of long waiting times to see doctors in Canada and allegations that care in other systems is rationed by "government bureaucrats," someone associated with the insurance industry wrote the original script.


So the next time you hear someone warning against a "government takeover" of our health care system, or that the creation of a public health insurance option would send us down the "slippery slope toward socialism," know that someone like I used to be wrote those terms, knowing it might turn many of the very people who would benefit most from meaningful reform into unwitting spokespeople for the industry.

Monday, August 17, 2009

T-shirts are a threat to freedom!

Mister Leonard Pierce of Sadly, No! shows us why!



At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies.

If this happened during a Bush speech....

Gitmo would have had another guest to eat their lemon herb chicken...
PHOENIX - About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with an AR-15 assault rifle, milled among protesters outside an event where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday in Phoenix.

It's the latest incident of gun-rights advocates visibly displaying firearms near the president.

Phoenix police say the people with guns, including a man carrying the assault rifle, didn't need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.

The man carrying the assault rifle declined to be identified, but told The Arizona Republic that he was carrying the weapon because he could, adding that he still has some freedoms.

Last week, during Obama's town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., a man stood outside with a gun strapped to his leg.

Lovely. Someone is going to get shot, the media and the gasbag pundits will be all shocked and in denial that they encouraged this behavior by interviewing the last moron who had a gun strapped to his leg, and the Republicans will shake their heads and bemoan the fact Democrats can't enforce law and order....

Keep President Obama safe.

Creepy or playful?


A baby doll that imitates nursing. The child wears a vest with flowers where the nipples would be. Comments on the site have been turned off because of the rudeness.

My memories of childhood and my years of being a parent make me blase about this. Creepy if you think nursing is a somehow a sexual activity dealing with nipples and breasts. Playful if you can remember that children are not blank slates but already hardwired humans with a built-in curiosity. They will nurse teddy bears and dolls on their own. Is this doll any different? Is it the pretend nipples that send people over the edge?

All electronic toys (not GameBoys or Computers but toys) become boring after a while. The teddy that told stories, the robot that walks... I've seen them all dumped in boxes at garage sales. Children do not want to be passive, where they sit and watch a toy go through its paces. They want to PLAY with it, make it do things their imagination demands, so after a while they will turn them off.

I will bet the child will lose the vest halter thing very quickly and play with the baby doll by itself. Easy enough to make your own sound affects....

By the way, read the post by the blogger who noticed this toy in the first place.

Sick for Profit

Will leave you either speechless or howling with rage:

The movie itself.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pro-nuclear power and pro-genetically modified food?

Wow. Stewart Brand seems to be against everything environmental I've read and heard about for years. But he is obviously thoughtful and challenging.
The man who helped usher in the environmental movement in the 1960s and '70s has been rethinking his positions on cities, nuclear power, genetic modification and geo-engineering. This talk at the US State Department is a foretaste of his major new book, sure to provoke widespread debate.
It most definitely will be provocative. Here is his bio.

Something beautiful

h/t Hecate.

Steven Hawking adds to the health care debate

The Guys from Area 51 have the pic.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I read the news today, oh boy....

California State Parks in consideration for closing:

State parks officials estimate that 100 parks will close in California, and their decisions about which parks will get the bad news will probably come soon after Labor Day.

Many of the most popular parks are Southern California beaches, while several parks in the Bay Area are among the least visited - and most vulnerable to closure. Those include the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park, Bale Grist Mill Historic Park, Robert Louis Stevenson Park, Henry Coe Park and Gray Whale Cove State Beach.

We beat the Great Depression!
Income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, surpassing even levels seen during the Great Depression, according to a recently updated paper by University of California, Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez. The paper, which covers data through 2007, points to a staggering, unprecedented disparity in American incomes. On his blog, Nobel prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the numbers "truly amazing."

Though income inequality has been growing for some time, the paper paints a stark, disturbing portrait of wealth distribution in America. Saez calculates that in 2007 the top .01 percent of American earners took home 6 percent of total U.S. wages, a figure that has nearly doubled since 2000.

As of 2007, the top decile of American earners, Saez writes, pulled in 49.7 percent of total wages, a level that's "higher than any other year since 1917 and even surpasses 1928, the peak of stock market bubble in the 'roaring" 1920s.'"
Fiji Water is not as pure as you would like to think.

The British stand up for their NHS and point to our 'free medical services' fair that was held in Los Angeles:
They came in their thousands, queuing through the night to secure one of the coveted wristbands offering entry into a strange parallel universe where medical care is a free and basic right and not an expensive luxury. Some of these Americans had walked miles simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their life.

In the week that Britain's National Health Service was held aloft by Republicans as an "evil and Orwellian" example of everything that is wrong with free healthcare, these extraordinary scenes in Inglewood, California yesterday provided a sobering reminder of exactly why President Barack Obama is trying to reform the US system.
An excellent cartoon of the Brits' view of our attempts at reform.

Health care around the world... and guess where the US rates?

How a guy stalked his girlfriend
by secretly changing her cell phone into a GPS device.

Brownshirt tactics are being used today:
To point out "Brownshirt tactics" is not to accuse your opponents of wanting to kill all the Jews, and when people are actually engaging in them they should always be called out in the most forceful terms possible.

Instead of treating fascist movements as magical forces of incomprehensible evil we should probably try to remember that a lot of repeatable historical circumstances allowed them to gain power.
Hitler's ghost in the townhalls.

FDR knew the type of people we are facing today:
The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.
Steve Benen's take on the Weekly Address by President Obama:
It also seems like there's finally a clear elevator pitch in place: "For all the chatter and the noise out there, what every American needs to know is this: If you don't have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options once we pass reform. If you do have health insurance, we will make sure that no insurance company or government bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need. And we will deliver this in a fiscally responsible way." Three sentences, 53 words. Not bad.

And Howard Dean: The most important way to frame the debate:

Prove it

I've posed this thought before to those Republicans who are so against governmental health insurance.

They need to refuse their own Congressional health insurance that they are automatically signed up for when they are elected.

Just to show how much they are against the government being involved in health care.


Friday, August 14, 2009

If Cats reported the news

We report from Los Angeles with breaking news! Over to you, PiddyPat!


Um... PiddyPat?
Los Angeles, CA (BANG) - Taylor Lautner was horrified when a middle-aged female fan tried to take off her panties in front of him. The "Twilight: New Moon" star - who was named Best Male Fresh Face at the recent Teen Choice Awards - tried desperately to avert his eyes when the woman began stripping off so he could autograph her underwear.

We won't go into that! Over to you, Mr. KittyAngel!


A library in Wisconsin which came under fire for stocking books positively affirming homosexuality has now been branded "discriminatory" and condemned for "not being interested in diversity" because it has refused to stock books by so called ex-gay authors.

West Bend Library was condemned by the Christian Civil Liberties Union in June of this year for stocking Baby Be-Bop, a book aimed at young adults by author Francesca Lia Block in which the main character, Dirk, struggles with his sexuality and against homophobic attacks.

The group petitioned for the book, and books like it, to be removed. They failed. Now a group called the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, or PFOX as they are more popularly known (a counter-balance to gay affirming PFLAG), are now claiming the following:

"Many of the gay books promote homosexual behavior to youth and are the subject of protests by concerned parents, whose request to have the books moved to the adult section were denied. Our requests that the Library balance some of its homosexual material for children with material written by ex-gays or with a heterosexual slant have been ignored."
Thank you for that excellent report. PittyPat has not recovered yet, so Mr. Fluffenkins, your report?


Sea levels could rise by up to 59 centimeters (23 inches) by the year 2100, according to a 2007 study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But over the past two years many scientists have said the report underestimated the threat posed by rising water levels.

Mark Siddall from Britain's University of Bristol along with other colleagues from Switzerland and the United States last week released a study showing that sea levels could go up between seven and 82 centimeters by the end of the century.

Sounds dangerous! Now for presidential news:

OBAMA WITH BABIES: See Who He's Held Since Becoming President (PHOTOS)


Loving gestures are always appreciated. How's the economy, Zippy?


U.S. Government Stages Fake Coup To Wipe Out National Debt


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Man blames cat for downloading child porn


Dogs have been blamed for eating homework - now a Florida man says his cat downloaded child pornography.

Police are charging Keith Griffin of Jensen Beach, Florida with 10 counts of possession of child pornography after finding more than 1,000 images on his personal computer.

Griffin told police he had been downloading music, and that his cat jumped on the keyboard when he left the room. He said "strange things" appeared on the computer when he returned.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

No wonder Republicans hate science.

Only 6% of scientists are Republicans.

I guess education does open your eyes to truth, make you aware of the others' humanity, demand you ask questions and find a variety of answers, allow you accept other faiths or no faith at all, let you realize that global warming is a threat to all of us, show that war is always horrifying and horrible, make you question everything all the time, insist that you keep your mind and your heart open.

You can't really be educated and be a Republican.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Look what I posted way back in 2007

Elderly being denied claims by insurance

After years of paying into the system. Christy Hardin Smith of Firedoglake:
If your elderly parents had paid for long-term care insurance, planning ahead — or so they thought — to deal with increased costs and care needs as they aged, and then had the insurance company give them the run-around about paying a valid, sincere claim after all those years of premiums being paid to the company, how angry would you be? Would you say words such as "fraud," or "bad faith," or even "scam?" I think I might.
And if you think for one minute that each and every one of these companies are going to hold themselves independently accountable out of the goodness of their hearts, I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you. Not all insurance companies operate in a smarmy way — a number of individual agents that i know are caring, decent people who work hard for their clients. But the few rotten apples out there — especially those who would take advantage of the nation's elderly to make a quick buck, hoping to hold off on paying a claim until after their insureds kick the bucket? That is just scummy at the highest possible level. Accountability on this one, please. Now.
Do your research. Look at the complaints. Ask your friends or aging relatives what their experiences are. There are those companies who take money and will not pay. Those who will count on early deaths. Those who count on swamping the insured with confusing paperwork to delay or deny.

Hold the company to their promises. Get things in writing. Get a lawyer.
Gee... way back in 2007 people were dying because the insurance companies pulled out the support structure. Apparently we've learned something since then..... right? RIGHT?

Customer service? What customer service?

Why is customer service so bad? Jay Goltz explains it all:
Because of the high cost of health insurance, many companies have opted to hire a lot of part-time staff, which allows them to avoid having to offer benefits. This creates a problem: It is difficult enough to train full-time people. Having them there part-time and having a huge turnover makes it all the more difficult.

Meanwhile, in the retail world, pricing has gone mad. It used to be that stores would have four sales a year to get rid of stale or seasonal merchandise and to promote business. These days, stores have “crazy once in a lifetime sales” every two weeks. When you have manic pricing, up one day, down the next, it wreaks havoc on customer service. When the sale is on, you don’t have enough staff. When the sale is off, the staff stands around and complains about the slow business.

And then there’s the issue of who’s running the show. Where have all the merchants gone? Their kids are lawyers, hedge-fund managers, computer programmers, professors and a thousand other things. The people running the stores today come from all different backgrounds. Many of them did not work their way up from the sales floor or have generations of family history and training to prepare them for the job. Perhaps they are even over-educated.
And here is proof you have to read to believe! Sears Finally Delivers Air Conditioner, Follows With Barrage Of Phone Calls

Friday, August 07, 2009

Health Care Reform

What does UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley have to lose if Congress passes real healthcare reform this year? Well, for starters, his nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in unexercised stock options might lose a few pennies on the dollar.

What does Isabella, a four year-old girl in Winsconsin who is physically incapable of eating and has had to be tube fed her entire life, have to gain from healthcare reform? The treatment she needs to live a normal life.

Brave New Films is launching a major new campaign to reveal the truth about the health insurance industry, and we need your help to do it. Contribute $25 today so we can create more campaigns exposing the obscene wealth of the CEOs of Aetna, CIGNA, Humana and WellPoint and the policyholders theyve abandoned for profit.

For those Republicans who are against government health care

Please immediately discontinue your excellent health care program you are given when you become an elected official.

Then we will know you are serious.

Ratcheting up the threats

An official with SEIU, which has been sending members to town halls to counterbalance the Tea Party brigade, sends over this audio of a phone call the union says it received on its central voicemail system, threatening to teach union officials a thing or two about “the Second Amendment”…

The thugs are unleashed.

Birthers are indifferent to facts

But just in case there are some out there who read, here is a list of facts that destroy all of the Birther arguments.

President Barack Hussein Obama is really and truly president, you guys.

And do you remember what you were telling us when Bush was selected as president eight years ago? Remember?

Live with it.

Headlines of the day

Psychopaths have faulty brain connections, scientists find

Liz Cheney Hopes We Don't Have to "Roast a Few Marsh-Mullahs" in Iran

Like father, like daughter....

Elsewhere in her remarks, Liz Cheney says:

The purpose of diplomacy is not to be liked.
Right. The purpose of diplomacy is to tell countries they are on the axis of evil list so they make frantic efforts to get a nuke before getting nuked.

We'll remember that.


When you've tried to blenderize and mangle the word 'fascist'


So it means liberal, you must call all others liars when they complain about the swastikas.
Rather than doing the adult, common sense thing and actually agree that introducing Nazi references into the health care debate is, y'know, wrong, Goldberg, professional apologist and fact-checker's nightmare, tried to explain how the Nazi stuff wasn't really that bad.
Tell us again, Jonah, how all liberal hippie vegans are like Hitler because he was a vegetarian too!
Later in the book, the connections between liberalism and fascism grow even flimsier. For instance, did you know that "Hitler claimed to be a dedicated vegetarian" and that he would "talk for hours about the advantages of a meatless diet and the imperative to eat whole grains?" Sounds a lot like that long-haired hippie uncle who drives that hybrid car to family reunions every year, no? And gee, did you realize that the Nazis had a vigorous animal protection program, just like what the vegefascists at PETA are advocating? Oh sure, Goldberg says, you could argue that "animal rights activism was a major concern of pre-Nazi Germany" and that "the animal rights movement shouldn't be associated with Nazi Germany." But that doesn't get animal rights activists off the hook, because their "conventionally leftist views were held by the Nazis," which suggests that "Nazism isn't as alien to mainstream progressive thought as some would have us believe." (To appreciate how absurd this comparison is, try applying it to a local store that has a "no shoes, no service" policy. As in, "Sure a lot of people wore shoes in pre-Nazi Germany, but the local store owner's insistence that his customers wear them shows that Nazism isn't as alien to his views as some would have us believe.")
The attempt at logic just boggles the mind.

Update: Glenn Greenwald goes into this silliness in depth: GOP political tactics and media inanity in a nutshell

Ah'll ask mah grammar

The difference between imply and infer.

Which and that.

I and me

The dangers and the need to understand texting:

The consequences of misunderstanding the lingo can be mortifying. Cassandra McSparin, 23, of Jim Thorpe, Pa., knew a woman whose friend’s mother had died. The woman texted her friend: “I’m so sorry to hear about your mother passing away. LOL. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

It turns out she thought LOL meant “Lots of love.”

I'll post more of my grammatical peeves and blunders as I think of them....

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bee buzz


SPOKANE, Wash. -- Washington State University researchers on the trail of a mysterious honeybee killer have narrowed the list of contributors to two - a microscopic pathogen and pesticides.

"We are getting closer to understanding the possible causes of colony collapse disorder," WSU professor of entomology Steve Sheppard said of the malady that has decimated bee colonies nationwide since it emerged about three years ago.

CCD leaves colonies bereft of adult bees, yet there are no dead bees to be found near the hives. Often queens remain in the hives along with immature bees called brood. But not even raiders from rival bee colonies will touch the honey and pollen that remain in the defenseless hive.

In the winter of 2007-08, the disorder wiped out about 80 percent of Western Washington bee colonies, said Eric Olson, who keeps the state's largest bee population.

Blog sprinkles


US Drought meter.

Tengrain: The day Bush got the memo titled Bin Laden Determined to Attack US. We will never forget.

Bryan warns us about the crow/squirrel cabal.

Go Rick Sanchez!
A CNN anchor today tore down Rick Scott, the founder of an organization that's been funding anti-health care reform protests and the former CEO of a hospital company that, as Sanchez pointed out, paid $1.7 billion to settle charges of overcharging Medicare and Medicaid.

It was brutal.
Brutal but delicious!

Camping with vampires...

Eli posts the map that proves only 4 states are now solidly Republican. Maybe if we can get the birthers and the screechers calling for lynchings to keep it up, we may even get those states....

Garbage, the next frontier!
Biomass is a word that’s new to most people, and you aren’t likely to hear it tossed around over Sunday dinner at Auntie Myrtle’s. But you can bet you will be exposed to it plenty in coming years.

Although the term has several definitions, here it is used to mean piles or containers of organic matter that can be tapped for energy. The list of biomass materials is long—agricultural and food waste, wood chips, yard clippings, microorganisms, animal byproducts and many other things.

Among the prime fodder of biomass scientists are hundreds of substances that aren’t bashful about giving off sinus-clearing scents. Yes, many of today’s biomass pioneers just love castoffs that reek. These men and women dance through a universe of aromas that are not welcome in the better parts of town. The stink from cow pies. From chicken dirt. From festering mountains of garbage. And, hold on to your tear glands, even rivers of onion juice.
KBR poisoned our troops and doesn't give a shit.
At the hearing, the Senators heard about an incident at a facility in Qarmat Ali where several hundred troops from the Oregon National Guard (and some from Indiana and West Virginia) were exposed to a chemical called sodium dichromate. (Seen the movie Erin Brockovich? That's the stuff that got all those folks so sick.)
Buddhist treasures found again in Gobi desert.

Mudflats of Alaska
cringes at the teabagging over the stimulus.

Murdock demands payment for news....

News Corp is set to start charging online customers for news content across all its websites.

The media giant is looking for additional revenue streams after announcing big losses.

The company lost $3.4bn (£2bn) in the year to the end of June, which chief executive Rupert Murdoch said had been "the most difficult in recent history".

News Corp owns the Times and Sun newspapers in the UK and the New York Post and Wall Street Journal in the US.

... and people go elsewhere. Bye!

Update insert: Newsy is an interesting new media site offering many different viewpoints for the same news story. Excellent idea!

Avendon celebrates a fiery liberal.

Cookie Jill
posts the list: Top 20 Largest Cases of Companies Caught For Committing Fraud Against the Government

Distributorcap NY notes the theme of old bags on airplanes.

Athenae: Just how many kids have faced the wrong end of a gun?

Something to celebrate

The site.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


What Sailor at SteveAudio says:
You can't argue with crazy, you can't fix stupid, and you can't bargain with repubs whose only goal is to make the country fail so that they can win the next election.

When you give men the right to murder

You get men who do.


Jeremy Scahill:
Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder
A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting "illegal" or "unlawful" weapons into the country on Prince's private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.
Once you set up a private army that can assassinate at will... how do you control it? How do you rein in the powers you have given the Praetorian Guard without letting them control you?

Which is why we have been yelling about Blackwater from its inception. Thank you, Bush and Cheney.

Mob riots brought to you by your health insurance.

Crooks and Liars:

The DNC has a winner here, going straight for the jugular with these assholes.

"They lost the election. They lost on the Recovery Act, the budget and children's health care," the script reads. "They've lost the confidence of the American people after eight years of failed policies that ruined our economy and cost millions of jobs."

Now, desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies are organizing angry mobs - just like they did during the election. Their goal? Destroy President Obama and stop the change Americans voted for overwhelmingly in November."

Who is behind these fake mob attacks.

Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog:
The Republican National Committee doesn't want to hear from people who are upset over its thuggish tactics at Town Hall meetings. The DNC launched an ad, Enough of the Mob, which asked people to call the RNC. Heard from readers, Tim Beauchamp and ShirleyGoodnessandMercy, that the RNC is dumping those who call about the ad.
Stuff you can do. And here.

Commenters at Digby's Hullabaloo's post have suggestions.

Who the individuals in the mobs are:

A telling anecdote recounted by Pat Buchanan to New Yorker writer George Packer last year captures the dark spirit that still hovers around the GOP. In 1966 Buchanan and Richard Nixon were at the Wade Hampton Hotel in Columbia, S.C., where Nixon worked a crowd into a frenzy: "Buchanan recalls that the room was full of sweat, cigar smoke, and rage; the rhetoric, which was about patriotism and law and order, 'burned the paint off the walls.' As they left the hotel, Nixon said, 'This is the future of this Party, right here in the South.' "

That same rage was on display again in the fall of 2008, but this time the frenzy was stimulated by a pretty gal with a mocking little wink. Sarah Palin may not have realized what she was doing, but Southerners weaned on Harper Lee heard the dog whistle.

The curious Republican campaign of 2008 may have galvanized a conservative Southern base -- including many who were mostly concerned with the direction Democrats would take the country -- but it also repelled others who simply bolted and ran the other way. Whatever legitimate concerns the GOP may historically have represented were suddenly overshadowed by a sense of a resurgent Old South and all the attendant pathologies of festering hate and fear.

The right, by contrast, seems perpetually fired up, and not just on health care. At a town meeting last month, Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) was booed and heckled when he wouldn't concur with a noisy "birther" who argued that President Obama had been born in Kenya. This bit of social psychosis is limited almost entirely to Republicans: 77 percent of Americans, according to one recent poll, believe that Obama was born in the USA, but only 42 percent of Republicans do.

When future historians look back at this passage in our nation's history, I suspect they'll conclude that this Obama-isn't-American nuttiness refracted the insecurities and, in some cases, the hatred that a portion of conservative white America felt about having a black president and about the transformation of what many thought of as their white nation into a genuinely multiracial republic. But whatever the reasons, a mobilized minority is making a very plausible play to thwart a demobilized majority.

Media Matters.

We've seen this before. Think back to the recount of the election in 2000 and consider what we got then by not saying enough. We will not be hijacked again.

Update: Don Briggs of the Daily Kos: Tea Baggers FAIL to disrupt Health Care meeting, lessons shared.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

How one man can change the hate-filled air waves

Read Spocko and learn.

Send in the zombie armies

The Rude Pundit warns us all:
Destroying Obama as Quickly as Possible, Part 2b: Congressional Democrats Are Cowards:
God, it must suck to be a Democrat in Congress right now. Elected as a triumphant mega-super-duper majority in 2008, now you have been coerced into rethinking the very positions that got you that majority by an unsilent minority of easily-duped yahoos, driven to madness by a steady diet of shitty food, unemployment, and hard right media figures. It's like the end result of a long-term contingency plan by Karl Rove: if everything else goes to shit, send forth our zombie armies.


Keep him safe.

Since Mr Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service.

Some threats to Mr Obama, whose Secret Service codename is Renegade, have been publicised, including an alleged plot by white supremacists in Tennessee late last year to rob a gun store, shoot 88 black people, decapitate another 14 and then assassinate the first black president in American history.

And a throw away line in the Jon Stewart show about the Secret Service cutting corners:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Ronald Kessler
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance

As Stewart demands at the end, they are fixing this, right?

CBS has this headline:
Secret Service Cuts Endangering Obama?

(CBS) Budget cuts at the Secret Service are so deep and a "culture change" so pervasive that the agency tasked with protecting the president is putting his life is at risk, because agents are cutting so many corners.

The explosive charge comes from Ronald Kessler, author of the new book, "In the President's Secret Service," in which Kessler reveals many previously unknown inside info told to him by agents themselves.

The Secret Service denies Kessler's assertion.
As I said, keep Obama safe.

Name and shame

If politicians can ever feel shame that is....

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!


Monday, August 03, 2009

Why the public option sucks

Click to embiggen.


Ever get the feeling the universe and Mother Nature are getting a little irritated at us?

Something has smashed into Jupiter, leaving behind a black spot in the planet's atmosphere, scientists confirmed on Monday.

This is only the second time such an impact has been observed. The first was almost exactly 15 years ago, when more than 20 fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with the gas giant.

"This has all the hallmarks of an impact event, very similar to Shoemaker-Levy 9," said Leigh Fletcher, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. "We're all extremely excited."

The impact was discovered by amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley in Murrumbateman, Australia at about 1330 GMT on Sunday. Wesley noticed a black spot in Jupiter's south polar region (see image) – but he very nearly stopped observing before he saw it.
A strange spot emerged on Venus last week, and astronomers are not sure what caused it. They hope future observations will reveal whether volcanic activity, turbulence in the planet's atmosphere, or charged particles from the sun are to blame.

Amateur astronomer Frank Melillo of Holtsville, New York, first spotted the new feature, which is brighter than its surroundings at ultraviolet wavelengths, on the planet's southern hemisphere on 19 July.

Gary Egbert of Oregon State University in Corvallis, who is a magnetotellurics specialist but not a member of Hill's team, is cautious about the idea of a nascent supervolcano where Mount St Helens sits. "It seems likely that there's some partial melt down there," given that it is a volcanic area, he says. "But part of the conductivity is probably just water."

If the structure beneath the three volcanoes is indeed a vast bubble of partially molten rock, it would be comparable in size to the biggest magma chambers ever discovered, such as the one below Yellowstone National Park.

Every few hundred thousand years, such chambers can erupt as so-called supervolcanoes - the Yellowstone one did so about 640,000 years ago. These enormous eruptions can spew enough sunlight-blocking ash into the atmosphere to cool the climate by several degrees Celsius.

Could Mount St Helens erupt like this? "A really big, big eruption is possible if it is one of those big systems like Yellowstone," Hill says. "I don't think it will be tomorrow, but I couldn't try to predict when it would happen."

Looks like we'll have to go back to sacrificing goats and tipping them into the volcano's mouth....

The queen of the Birther movement

In all of her shining glory:

Dear god! I hope she runs for public office.

So what's a little explosion while listening to music?

It just adds to the percussion effects.

Apple tried to silence owner of exploding iPod with gagging order:
Apple attempted to silence a father and daughter with a gagging order after the child’s iPod music player exploded and the family sought a refund from the company.

The Times has learnt that the company would offer the family a full refund only if they were willing to sign a settlement form. The proposed agreement left them open to legal action if they ever disclosed the terms of the settlement.

The case echoes previous circumstances in which Apple attempted to hush up incidents when its devices overheated.

Ken Stanborough, 47, from Liverpool, dropped his 11-year-old daughter Ellie’s iPod Touch last month. “It made a hissing noise,” he said. “I could feel it getting hotter in my hand, and I thought I could see vapour”. Mr Stanborough said he threw the device out of his back door, where “within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10ft in the air”.
Sounds like it was more of a grenade than a music player...

This is just too hilarious

For words!

Sorry, WorldNetDaily: Kenya wasn't a republic until Dec. 1964

WorldNetDaily and the right-wing fringe are very excited about their scoop that Orly Taitz has "released a copy of what purports to be a Kenyan certification of birth" for President Obama. According to WND, "Taitz told WND that the document came from an anonymous source who doesn't want his name known because 'he's afraid for his life.' " So in order to believe Taitz and WND, one would have to assume that this document was requested 45 years ago, preserved that entire time, withheld through the entire election and transition period, and yet somehow ended up in the hands of someone sympathetic to Orly Taitz.

DailyKos' David Waldman has identified what appears to be an even more glaring problem with WND's latest smoking gun. The document posted by WND purports to have been produced by the "Republic of Kenya" on February 17, 1964. But Kenya didn't even become a republic until December 12, 1964. An article from that day's Washington Post, for example, reported that "Kenya became the newest republic within the British Commonwealth at midnight."