Sunday, October 31, 2010

Closing speech from the Rally to Restore Sanity

“I can’t control what people think this was.  I can only tell you my intentions.   This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear.  They are and we do.  But we live now in hard times, not end times.  And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.  The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder.  The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything we hear nothing.  There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned.  You must have the resume.  Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate--just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more.  The press is our immune system.  If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker--and perhaps eczema.

And yet, with that being said, I feel good—strangely, calmly good.  Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false.  It is us through a fun house mirror, and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together?  Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster?  If the picture of us were true, of course, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable.  Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?  We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do.  We work together to get things done every damn day!

The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV.  But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV.  Where we live our values and principles form the foundations that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.  Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives.  Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it--impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.

Look on the screen. This is where we are. This is who we are.  (points to the Jumbotron screen which show traffic merging into a tunnel).  These cars—that’s a schoolteacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high.  He’s going to work.  There’s another car-a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now.  There’s another car, swinging, I don’t even know if you can see it—the lady’s in the NRA and she loves Oprah.  There’s another car—an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah.  Another car’s a Latino carpenter.  Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman.  Atheist obstetrician.  Mormon Jay-Z fan.  But this is us.  Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river.  Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences.  And they do it.  Concession by conscession.  You go.  Then I’ll go.  You go. Then I’ll go.  You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car?  Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness.  And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey.  But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you, I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me.  Your presence was what I wanted.

Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder.  To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine.  Thank you."

- Jon Stewart

Friday, October 29, 2010

Even though she makes some really good points....

I have a sneaking suspicion that I would watch her talk for hours on about early Estonian poetry.

The "Liberal Media" Canard

As I've said here in the past, people get up in arms over the Allegedly Liberal Media, but have a hard time coming up with solid examples beyond being told by their masters on Radio and TV that MSNBC, the NYT and others are 'liberal media'.....or to quote my favorite celebutitian Sarah Palin "lamestream media'. Oh they'll mention Olbermann, Maddow and Matthews, but in the same breath rebut that you can't take O'Reilly, Hannity and Beck as defining a far right bias with Fox. Can't have it both ways people.....

Anyway, Post Tenebras Lux has a good write up of what I'm desperately trying to postulate:
In recent years, MSNBC has apparently decided that there’s a market (which they can make money from) being sort of a liberal counterweight to the unfair and imbalanced GOP advocacy of FAUX “News.” I say “sort of” because in reality, MSNBC isn’t at all the liberal counterweight to FOX. Yes, their nightly lineup has consisted more and more of liberals and progressives – which is somewhat of a counterweight to FAUX’s lineup – but FAUX’s advocacy continues 24 hours a day, even (perhaps especially) during what are supposed to be “straight” news programming during the day. I won’t link; examples are legion. The point is that MSNBC doesn’t do the same thing during the day. In fact, their news coverage is pretty run-of-the-mill, resembling CNN more closely than it does a hypothetical “left-wing FOX.”
That’s the main thing which separates what FOX does from what MSNBC does. Yet there is a persistent myth that the media is “liberal.” This myth pre-dates MSNBC’s decision to stack their evening opinion line-up with progressives by a good long while, but now that MSNBC is the most-visible target (with the arguable exception of perhaps the New York Times, a perennial favorite of “liberal media” conspiracy-theory folks), they’re taking the brunt of being the tip of the spear of the liberal media. Which is why the clip I’m about to show struck me so strongly. It’s a bit difficult to determine whether “the media” – any media – can be accurately labeled “liberal” or “conservative” or anything else, since opinions differ about what those terms really mean, and even if there were agreement on that, there’s no agreement about how you’d measure a media outlet’s relative political stance.
But by nearly all accounts, Chris Matthews is considered a liberal. He’s the former chief of staff for Tip O’Neill, for starters, and he occupies the same general MSNBC-evening time period shared by Olbermann and Maddow. He’s also been around longer than both of them, meaning that he’s had longer to accrue a reputation as a lefty. But watch this clip from Monday’s Hardball. I’ll set it up this way: it was a segment on Newt Gingrich and some of the abominably racist, xenophobic stuff he’s been saying pretty regularly lately. Make no mistake, Matthews’ intent in this segment was to lambaste Gingrich, both barrels. But the part that really caught my attention was this one (fast forward to about 5:10 into the clip):
Did you catch it?: “What about people like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner who’ve made their living in the center…
This is one of the extremely effective ways in which the right wing noise machine operates: they’re quite aware that most cable show reporters and pundits are both too lazy (generally) and don’t have enough time or frankly, chops, to do enough research to really pin things down, and they’re prone to a sort of ersatz “two-sides-to-every-story” mentality, especially lately. So although I doubt there’s any big-tent strategy session between Gingrich and McConnell or Boehner, they’ve all read from the same play book long enough to know that the drill has to do with the Overton window. That is: you let the furthest-out kooks into the debate, to say far-out, kooky things…and you thereby make what had previously seemed to most people to be the far-out positions you hold seem like tepid, moderate, sensible views by comparison. The right wing does this much better than liberals. When was the last time you saw Noam Chomsky on national TV, for example? And Chomsky’s not even noticeably kooky – he’s just considerably more left than most people, even Democrats. So Democrats’ instinctive reaction is to not talk about him, not quote him, keep him away from the media and not give the sense that they think he’s a legitimate source or reasonable enough to refer to. And the media follow blithely along.
But because there are people out there in the national debate like Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Rand Paul, supposed “liberals” like Chris Matthews routinely say, seemingly without a shred of self-awareness, that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have “made their living in the center.” In reality, of course, the American Conservative Union, which issues scorecards to all GOP politicians based upon how much of the conservative agenda they supported with their votes, gave both Boehner and McConnell a 96% rating for 2009.
96% rating from the American Conservative Union. That’s what Chris Matthews, noted liberal bombthrower, considers “the center.”
And to put a fine point on the topic, let's revisit former GOP National Chairman:  "There is some strategy to [bashing the 'liberal' media]. . . . If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is 'work the refs.' Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack on the next one."

Or Bill Kristol:  "I admit it, the whole idea of the 'liberal media' was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures."

Or Pat Buchanan: "I've gotten balanced coverage, and broad coverage, all we could have asked. For heaven sakes, we kid about the 'liberal media,' but every Republican on earth does that,"


Thursday, October 28, 2010

A heinous act.......15 years ago today

Rest in  Peace Major Badger.....

From fifteen years ago:

As 1,300 soldiers of the 82d Airborne Division were setting out on a predawn run from a flood-lit stadium here today, muzzle flashes and gunfire erupted from the woods about 150 yards away. Within seconds, a sniper had killed 1 soldier, wounded 18 others and sent hundreds fleeing for cover.
Unarmed Special Forces soldiers jogging who were nearby heard the shots, dashed into the woods in what they described as a "flanking movement," surprised a gunman and subdued him in a struggle.
The suspect was identified as Sgt. William J. Kreutzer, 26, a member of the elite 82d Airborne, whose headquarters are here. An Army spokesman, Lieut. Col. Tim Vane, said Sergeant Kreutzer was in custody and was being questioned by military officials, although he had not been officially charged. 

Military officials refused to discuss possible motives for the shooting or whether the gunman seemed to have had one or more particular targets in mind.The soldier who was killed was identified as Maj. Stephen Mark Badger, 38, an intelligence officer and a native of Salt Lake City. 
The shooting occurred about 6:30 A.M. as the soldiers, dressed in running shorts, T-shirts and reflective belts, began moving out in ranks for a four-mile run. The soldiers were jogging out of the stadium three abreast, but they began scattering wildly once they realized they were under fire, officials and witnesses said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Major Garrett speaks out about Fox

“Because of that longstanding relationship with Fox, it was becoming increasingly, I think — and Juan and I had had some conversations about this — that NPR was increasingly unhappy with him, because it was getting blowback from some of its listeners about seeing Juan so often on Fox. That speaks to a problem that neither Fox nor NPR can solve, because neither want to solve it, which is the polarization of American media. For a certain amount of marketing points of view, Fox actually wants to keep that polarization and say, look, we’re different. We’re dramatically different; you can see how we’re different. And if you like that difference, you better come over here and you better stay here. That is an embedded part of the marketing that surrounded what happens at the news division at Fox that’s been incredibly successful.”

Your daily dose of stupid........

“45 percent of NPR listeners were Saddam Hussein.” - Karl Rove

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Satirical News Report of the Day

In a performance guaranteed to raise some eyebrows in Delaware and beyond, Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell said at a senatorial debate last night that she strongly supports “the separation of speech and thought.”

“To tell you the truth, I don’t know if there’s anything about that in the Constitution,” she added.  “In the version of the Constitution that I read, Big Bird didn’t mention it.”

Ms. O’Donnell seemed stumped when the moderator asked whether there were any Supreme Court decisions she disagreed with, finally blurting out, “Ali v. Frazier.”

Her halting answers to many of the questions made some wonder why she had not written answers on her hand as her role model Sarah Palin has been known to do, but Ms. O’Donnell offered this explanation: “As you know, I believe it’s immoral to use your hand to help yourself.”

At the conclusion of the debate, Ms. O’Donnell pronounced herself pleased with her performance, saying that she would spend the next week concentrating on her Halloween costume: “I’m going as a qualified candidate.”

Elsewhere, the Texas Rangers advanced to the World Series, proving that once George W. Bush goes away things get better.
Borowitz Report

The Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to keep Fear Alive are this weekend!

"We're looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn't be the only ones that get heard; and who believe that the only time it's appropriate to draw a Hitler moustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles,"
 Jon Stewart

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I woke up at the butt crack of dawn for THIS kind of fun??

What's wrong with me?

The 10K Ruck Race event at the Sixth Annual Walk for Autism-Virginia

The Way We Treat Our Troops

You can only hope that the very preliminary peace efforts in Afghanistan bear fruit before long. But for evidence that the United States is letting its claim to greatness, and even common decency, slip through its fingers, all you need to do is look at the way we treat our own troops.

The idea that the United States is at war and hardly any of its citizens are paying attention to the terrible burden being shouldered by its men and women in uniform is beyond appalling. 

We can get fired up about Lady Gaga and the Tea Party crackpots. We’re into fantasy football, the baseball playoffs and our obsessively narcissistic tweets. But American soldiers fighting and dying in a foreign land? That is such a yawn. 

I would bring back the draft in a heartbeat. Then you wouldn’t have these wars that last a lifetime. And you wouldn’t get mind-bending tragedies like the death of Sgt. First Class Lance Vogeler, a 29-year-old who was killed a few weeks ago while serving in the Army in his 12th combat tour. That’s right, his 12th — four in Iraq and eight in Afghanistan. 

Twelve tours may be unusual, but multiple tours — three, four, five — are absolutely normal. We don’t have enough volunteers to fight these endless wars. Americans are big on bumper stickers, and they like to go to sports events and demonstrate their patriotism by chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” But actually putting on a uniform and going into harm’s way? No thanks. 

Sergeant Vogeler was married and the father of two children, and his wife was expecting their third. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

How long have I waited to hear this on ESPN......

The United States of College Football Fans wanted a blockbuster, but Oregon said "whatever" and put on a lousy show. Boring! There was no drama in the Ducks' 60-13 vivisecting of UCLA. There was no suspenseful moment when you sat on the edge of your seat. There was no "Rocky Balboa" getting off the canvas. There was no sports poetry whatsoever. It was just a one-sided brutalizing that probably had mommies and daddies across the country covering their children's eyes.
You could almost imagine Ducks coach Chip Kelly walking to midfield among the bloodied Bruins and shouting in his best gladiator voice, "Are you not entertained?"

Well, no. Much of the country probably yawned and went to bed at halftime when it was 32-3, and it was already abundantly clear that UCLA might be able to deliver a whipping at Texas, but it could not stay on the field with the Ducks.

Oregon provided no drama. Instead, it provided clarity. Is this team worthy of being ranked No. 1? Yes. Are the Ducks national title contenders? Yes. If you have eyes, and managed to keep them open for all four quarters, there is no other conclusion to draw about now-7-0 Oregon, owners of an absurdly dominant offense and a defense that is pretty salty, too.

Was it the Ducks' most complete performance of the year? Kelly shrugged off the question, saying he liked how his team overcame adversity at Tennessee. As for whether this performance might have won over some folks who don't watch the Ducks play much, Kelly said, "That's the same way we performed in all seven games. They should tune in more."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Your daily dose of crazy.....

The media and most viewers of the Oct. 19 Delaware Senate debate thought Republican Christine O'Donnell's question about the First Amendment directed at Democrat Chris Coons was a pretty epic gaffe for the hardcore tea party favorite and Constitution proponent.

O'Donnell did not see it that way, however.

"It's really funny the way that the media reports things," O'Donnell told ABC News this morning. "After that debate my team and I we were literally high fiving each other thinking that we had exposed he doesn't know the First Amendment, and then when we read the reports that said the opposite we were all like 'what?'"

Ummm....Christy....Coons RECITED the 1st Amendment to you! Let's also include the context by one of the authors of the Constitution:

"I contemplate, with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American People which declared that their ligislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of releigon, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof'. Thus building a wall of seperation between Church and State". Thomas Jefferson, Jan. 1 1802.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My life.....sometimes.

Possible reprecussions of lifting DADT?

From Blackfive

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Number 1!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, I'm not going to get all stupid with National Title talk......but damn it feels good to be on least for now....

I'm certainly no prophet, since anyone with a pulse could have predicted this -

But I have in the past stated that just such a thing would occur:

Members of United States-allied Awakening Councils have quit or been dismissed from their positions in significant numbers in recent months, prey to an intensive recruitment campaign by the Sunni insurgency, according to government officials, current and former members of the Awakening and insurgents. 

Although there are no firm figures, security and political officials say hundreds of the well-disciplined fighters — many of whom have gained extensive knowledge about the American military — appear to have rejoined Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Beyond that, officials say that even many of the Awakening fighters still on the Iraqi government payroll, possibly thousands of them, covertly aid the insurgency.
The defections have been driven in part by frustration with the Shiite-led government, which Awakening members say is intent on destroying them, as well as by pressure from Al Qaeda. The exodus has accelerated since Iraq’s inconclusive parliamentary elections in March, which have left Sunnis uncertain of retaining what little political influence they have and which appear to have provided Al Qaeda new opportunities to lure back fighters.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Do as I say, not as I pray

Fascism under any Administration

Less than three weeks before California voters hit the polls, the Justice Department issued a preemptive message concerning a ballot measure making worldwide headlines.

"Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal government will enforce its marijuana laws in California even if the state's voters approve a ballot measure to legalize the drug," Pete Yost reports for the Associated Press.
He made the comments in a letter to former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, dated Wednesday.

"We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law," Holder wrote.
He also said that legalizing recreational marijuana in California would be a "significant impediment" to the government's joint efforts with state and local law enforcement to target drug traffickers, who often distribute marijuana alongside cocaine and other drugs. Holder said approval of the ballot measure would "significantly undermine" efforts to keep California communities safe.

Hope and Change my ass......

Finally, a holiday just for me!!

National Grouch Day!

If your a grouch then this day is just for you! Todays the day you have an excuse to be grouchie all day long but remember...tomorrow you have to go back to being nice again until next October 15th.

Great piece on Iraq and recent history

From the Nieman Watchdog:

The more we learn about how the Iraq War began the worse the story gets. For all we thought we knew, now a new set of formerly secret records of both the Bush administration and the British cabinet of Tony Blair sheds glaring light on the prewar machinations of both governments designed to make the conflict happen. Posted as a three-part series by the National Security Archive, the documents, along with extensive analyses by Archive Iraq Project co-directors Joyce Battle and myself, plus British journalist Christopher Ames, lay out the case in unprecedented detail. The analysis demonstrates that the Bush administration swiftly abandoned plans for diplomacy to curb fancied Iraqi adventurism by means of sanctions, never had a plan subsequent to that except for a military solution, and enmeshed British allies in a manipulation of public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic designed to generate support for a war. This time the case is made with actual secret government records, not merely the press releases and talking points of the neo-cons.

Read the National Archive documents here.

...and by the way...hey allegedly liberal media, where are you?.....hello....

Time I'll never get back.......

So I just spent the last three days teaching Thermal Theory to a group of my co-workers. I'm no scientist, so my teaching method is very un-sciency...but if I can explain the theory well enough to middle school science classes and Congressmen [both of which are on about the same intellectual level], why can't a group of professional, retired military trainers grasp the concept.....after THREE DAYS? I mean, we have cartoon graphics and everything!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Your daily dose of stupid.......

Well, if you remember, when we were fighting the Soviets over there in Afghanistan in the '80s and '90s, we did not finish the job. So now we have a responsibility to finish the job. And if you’re going to make these politically correct statements that it's costing us too much money, you are threatening the security of our homeland.

Full Transcript

Monday, October 11, 2010

America's bumper sticker mentality

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bad Beer!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Your daily dose of crazy....

Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell of Delaware said in a 2006 debate that China was plotting to take over America and claimed to have classified information about the country that she couldn't divulge.

O'Donnell's comments came as she and two other Republican candidates debated U.S. policy on China during Delaware's 2006 Senate primary, which O'Donnell ultimately lost.

She said China had a "carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America" and accused one opponent of appeasement for suggesting that the two countries were economically dependent and should find a way to be allies.

"That doesn't work," she said. "There's much I want to say. I wish I wasn't privy to some of the classified information that I am privy to."

"A country that forces women to have abortions and mandates that you can only have one child and will not allow you the freedom to read the Bible, you think they can be our friend?" she asked. "We have to look at our history and realize that if they pretend to be our friend it's because they've got something up their sleeve."

When her opponent challenged her claim about having secret information, O'Donnell suggested she had received it through nonprofit groups she worked with that frequently sent missionaries there.

O'Donnell's campaign didn't immediately respond to questions about the comments.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

The state of the American Electorate:

"Critical Thinking BAD! Intellectual Curiosity hurt Hulk's head!"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Iraq movie review

I'm not usually up for movies or books about Iraq, but I had made two exceptions. The first being the horribly inaccurate 'The Hurt Locker', which I had written about here previously. Now after watching it in fits and starts for the last six months or so, is 'Brothers at War'.

I thought it was well done, that and it being a documentary, set it apart from The Hurt Locker. The movie explores the Iraq War through the eyes [and lens] of Jake Rademacher who wanted to understand the motives, emotions and hardships of his two brothers, both of which serving at Fort Bragg with multiple deployments to Iraq.

Very well done and insightful....I recommend this film for both those who served and those who have family who served in Iraq.

Yes, I know it's rather trivial......

But damn it , it really got on my nerves! Yesterday, Congress heard my pleas...or somebody's anyway:

Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it'll soon become law.
The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.
The House has passed similar legislation. Before it can become law, minor differences between the two versions have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.
Ever since television caught on in the 1950s, the Federal Communication Commission has been getting complaints about blaring commercials. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations controlling the "apparent loudness" of commercials. So it hasn't been regulating them.