Contributors

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Obama Can't Even Do That Right


We Need a New Word

The English language needs a new word. A word that describes an incident that is tragic and terrible, yet is completely predictable and preventable, the inevitable outcome of carelessness, stupidity, hubris and pride.


This word would be used to describe what happened in Idaho when a 29-year-old mother visited a Wal-Mart in Idaho. Her two-year-old pulled her handgun out of her purse and shot her dead.

We need this new word to replace the phrase "tragic accident" that everyone uses in these cases, to wit:
"It appears to be a pretty tragic accident," [sheriff's spokesman Stu] Miller said.

The victim's father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told The Associated Press that Veronica Rutledge "was a beautiful, young, loving mother."

"She was not the least bit irresponsible," Terry Rutledge said. "She was taken much too soon."
What sheer nonsense. Of course she was irresponsible. She recklessly left a loaded handgun within the reach of a two-year-old, thinking a zipper would stop a child. She might as well have given the kid a burning kerosene lamp to play with, or a pit viper.

The grieving father-in-law is a victim of the foolish guns-everywhere-all-the-time mindset that results in the pointless deaths and shootings of thousands of Americans every year. To these people it's inconceivable that a two-year-old child would be able to master the intricacies of a zipper and a trigger.

But why does a woman wrangling four children at a Wal-Mart in Idaho think she needs to pack a pistol in her purse? Are there gangs of white supremacists roving the countryside? Do grizzly bears hang out in the Wal-Mart parking lot? It's not like she was going to make a drug deal in Leroy Brown's south side of Chicago.

What imminent threat was she defending herself from in Idaho? Practically speaking, if a mugger did sneak up on her in front of the Wal-Mart, did she seriously think that she could fish the gun out of a zipped compartment of a purse -- while holding a two-year-old, herding three other kiddies and being distracted by their incessant babble -- fast enough to deter him?

A tragedy is an avalanche inundating a sleeping hamlet. A tsunami wiping out an entire island. An earthquake devastating a city. Getting shot by a toddler isn't a tragedy, it's idiocy. If the kid had shot another shopper instead of the mother, by all rights she should have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. There's a sort of rough justice that she -- instead of her child or a completely innocent bystander -- died.

Every year hundreds of Americans get shot by a two-year-old, or a five-year-old with his birthday .22, or a nine-year-old with an Uzi, or a dropped pistol in the men's room, or by a gun jostled in purse, or a gun falling out of a waistband.

These aren't tragic accidents: they are the entirely foreseeable and preventable consequences of people who are not competent to carry or use firearms succumbing to paranoia and fear promulgated by the gun industry. These people have been brainwashed into thinking that their lives are in imminent danger unless they have the ability to shoot anyone they don't like the looks of.

It's terribly sad that this young mother died. It's even sadder is that hundreds more men and women and children will be shot next year in almost exactly the same way, and no one is going to do a damned thing about it.

And that's a real tragedy.

Big Things President Obama Did in 2014

Despite having to deal with the adolescents in Congress, the president accomplished some big things in 2014. Among them...

  • Sweeping changes to immigration enforcement
  • Actual progress on climate change 
  • Remaking the federal courts for a generation 
  • Beginning to transform U.S. relationships with Iran and Cuba 
  • Greater protections for federal contractors

Hmm...must be why his approval ratings are on the rise...actually doing something and solving problems as opposed to stomping your feet and foaming at the mouth about wacky, ideological nonsense seems to be a better path.

Will the new Congress (controlled entirely by the GOP) follow suit?


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

War Crimes?


Monday, December 29, 2014

Protected!

My liberal friends like to complain an awful lot about the "raping of the land" and how government is ineffective in protecting it. Yet this recent piece from CSM states otherwise.

Since 2012, more than half a million square miles of land have come under protection. Now more than 15 percent of terrestrial and inland water areas around the globe are under protection, toward a United Nations target of 17 percent by 2020, according to a recent report by the UN Environment Program. 

I'd say that's pretty impressive. Why are they complaining so much?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014

White People Aren't That Crazy Anymore

I've always loved Chris Rock. I think he is every bit a comedic genius as Jerry Seinfeld or Bob Hope. The intelligence in his wit is a big reason why I think this and a recent interview in New York magazine illustrates this quite clearly.

“Here’s the thing,” Rock said. “When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.” 

“To say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president,” he continued. “That’s not black progress — that’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years.”

“You know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children,” Rock said. “There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”

“We treat racism in this country like it’s a style that America went through,” Rock said. “Like flared legs and lava lamps – ‘Oh, that crazy thing we did.’ We were hanging black people. We treat it like a fad instead of a disease that eradicates millions of people. You’ve got to get it at a lab, and study it, and see its origins, and see what it’s immune to and what breaks it down.”

Yep. Pretty much.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pop Quiz: Who Kills More Cops?

Boy, people sure do have short memories.

Remember this past June, when man and a woman entered a Las Vegas pizza joint and gunned down two cops having lunch? The shooters then went into a Walmart, killed another person and then committed suicide.

Remember this past September, when Eric Frein, a white, right-wing, anti-government survivalist, killed one Pennsylvania state trooper and wounded another?

Remember when an anti-tax whack job crashed a plane into an IRS building in his own mini-9/11 and killed a government employee a few years ago?

In 2010 Time reported on the rise of right-wing militias, some of whose members have plotted killings against entire police departments, notably in Michigan, Minnesota and Alaska. In most of these case the plotters were acquitted on the conspiracy charges, apparently because when white guys plan cop killings it's free speech, but when blacks and Muslims do it, it's terrorism.

The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking who's been shooting cops, and it turns out that right-wing nut jobs -- white supremacists and anti-government extremists -- have committed 90% of the ideologically motivated cop killings from 2009-2013.

But when people say that Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing hate machine incite this kind of violence against the police and the government, they look shocked, I tell you shocked, that anyone could possibly think what they've said might have incited anyone to violence, even when they mention "Second Amendment solutions" in the same sentence.

In the conservative mindset, whenever a black man, or a Muslim, or some other member of a minority does something awful, it's automatically a grand conspiracy, and all other members of that minority must be involved and must be responsible.

But when a right-wing conservative does exactly the same thing, it's because he's a kook, an aberration, or mentally ill. And then they start to rationalize it: you can't really hold that person responsible, they say, because of the terrible injustices that the Kenyan socialist communist dictatorship of the Obama administration has forced them to rebel against. They're just patriots watering the tree of freedom with the blood of their oppressors.

There's no excuse for the killing of two cops in New York by a black man. There's no excuse for the killing of two cops in Las Vegas by a white man and woman. There's no excuse for the killing of Eric Garner by cops in New York.

These acts were committed by the people who did the killing. Not the demonstrators. Not Fox News.

In 2012 Wade Michael Page killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. He had mistaken them for Muslims because they wore turbans. Giuliani, Limbaugh and Fox News have been on a tirade against Muslims for years.

By Fox News logic, if black protestors are responsible for the deaths of the cops in New York, then Fox News and their conservative anti-Muslim ranters are responsible for the deaths of the Sikhs in Wisconsin.

GDP Revised Upward

Third Quarter GDP was revised upward to 5%, making this the strongest growth our economy has seen in 11 years.

“There is a positive feedback loop going on at the moment,” Mike Jakeman, global analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, said in a note. “Job creation is running at the strongest rate for 15 years. More people in work means more income, which means more private spending, which means more business investment, which means more hiring.”

Early estimates are lower, however, for the fourth quarter with numbers in the 2.5-3.0% range. Of course, none of this indicates the destruction of the economy by Obama that I was promised by conservatives.

As I always say (and they always deliver:)), I'm sure they can find something wrong...somewhere...there just has to be something...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Old Cold War Policies


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Obama Fulfills Michele Bachmann's Campaign Promise

Remember when, briefly, Michele Bachmann was a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president back in 2011? She reached that lofty height by promising 
Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.
She and all the Republican whiners bitterly complained that the high price of gas was all Obama's fault.

Well, now gas is less than $2 in parts of the country.

But, strangely, I don't hear Bachmann and all the other Republicans singing Obama's praises for bringing gas prices down. Despite the demonic machinations of the EPA, the banning of fracking in New York, Obama's stalling on the Keystone XL pipeline, and six years of Kenyan socialist communist diktats, somehow, miraculously, gas is less than two bucks a gallon.

The price for crude is now less than the break-even point for many of the fracking wells across the country. But producers can't stop pumping, because they'll lose their leases if they do. That means many of them will start losing their shirts and going bankrupt. But the more they pump, the more they lose.

Drill, baby, drill!

Of course, the president has little or no control over the price of gas. It has to do with lower demand in China, a slow European economy, higher fuel efficiency standards in the United States, a generational shift away from cars in US driving habits, greedy American oil billionaires buying the governor of North Dakota, and Saudi Arabia having large reserves that still cost almost nothing to tap.

Low gas prices won't last long. They'll go up again, when this glut has been burned through, but if this fling with two-dollar gas lasts very long a lot of Americans will have bought cars that are too big. And then they'll start whining again when gas hits $4 a gallon.

On the plus side, low gas prices are putting the hurt on Putin. Several months ago Republicans were swooning over his manly actions in Ukraine. On Fox News Rudy Giuliani said, "He's what you call a real leader." Why? Because he invaded Ukraine and killed innocent Ukrainians. His terrorist shock troops shot down a Malaysian airliner, killing 298 people. Yeah, that's a real leader.

What does it say that so many Republicans had an unseemly mancrush over the Russian dictator who has run his country's economy into the toilet by invading foreign countries and basing his economic development policy solely on oil and gas drilling?

Now the ruble is worth half what it was, and Russia's central bank has jacked interest rates up to Carter-era levels. The Russian economy is in free fall. Bankruptcies are endemic. And the poor oligarchs can't afford to buy $100 million flats in London anymore!

But at least Putin doesn't wear mom jeans.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The "Power" of the Private Sector

The complete capitulation by theater owners and Sony to North Korea has left me somewhat puzzled. I thought that the private sector shit gold and any sort of government involvement inhibits from being all of the glory that they are entitled to be.

Yet here we have the president and the federal government once again riding to the rescue of sniveling buffoons just as we saw in 2008 when they collapsed the world economy. The first step will likely be some sort of counter cyber attack (which sounds really cool, btw) followed by some extra military exercises in the area. Yet I have to say that I'm very weary of North Korea and would like to see the president take a stronger stance with that stain of a country. They are a relic of a bygone time and, like Cuba, need to be brought into the 21st century and it's likely that it's going to have to be the hard way.

Obviously, this is a job for the federal government because it's quite clear that the private sector isn't up to it. I wonder what Ayn Rand's reaction would be...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sony And The Caving

I still can't believe that Sony caved to...who?....cyber terrorists? Seriously, what kind of a message does this send? It's not just Sony, of course. It's also theater chains around the country who have decided to pull the film from viewing because they are worried about terrorist attacks. Where, exactly? Iowa?

I'm actually pretty disappointed in our nation today. I guess anyone on the internet who makes a threat about something is going to make us all shit our pants.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The President Does It Again

I guess Barack Obama is not going to go gently into that good night for the last two years of his 2nd term. Once again, a giant FUCK YOU to the old white men who continue to blather about communism (see: right wing bloggers).

What really cracks me up about conservatives' reaction to this is that they are calling it a loss. Of course, they don't really think this because they know that within a decade Cubans are going to be fiddling on social media as America's soft economic power exerts its hegemonic will on one of the few remaining nations that hasn't really joined the 21st century global marketplace. They will become "Americanized" to one degree or another just like the rest of the planet. Conservatives know this will end up being (gasp!) yet another success for the man their inferiority complexes simply won't allow a win so they're pissed off about it and waxing "ideological nonsense."

I look forward to what the next two years will bring. Let's remember that Barack Obama was a community organizer so his faith in improving lives comes from his heart and soul, not his ego.

And now his community is our entire country...indeed, the world...


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Clinton versus...Bush?

Jeb Bush Forming PAC to Explore Presidential Bid 

Well, this is going to cause some mouthfoaming...


Monday, December 15, 2014

Holy Crap!

I simply can't believe how many people hang out on Quora. I get between 150-200 hits a day on here...sometimes more if Nikto posts because he has a bigger following than I do. Being retired, he has more time to construct articles with nifty graphics!!

Yet, check out this question I posted about Ayn Rand on Quora. Nearly 60,000 people have viewed it with 73 answers. My answer alone has been viewed over 1200 times. Wow!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Tide Continues To Turn

From recent New York Times article...

At the global climate change negotiations now wrapping up in Peru, American negotiators are being met with something wildly unfamiliar: cheers, applause, thanks and praise. It is an incongruous moment, arriving at a time when so many aspects of American foreign policy are under fire. But the enthusiastic reception on climate issues comes a month after a historic announcement by the United States and China, the world’s two largest polluters, that they would jointly commit to cut their emissions. Many international negotiators say the deal is the catalyst that could lead to a new global climate change accord that would, for the first time, commit every nation in the world to cutting its own planet-warming emissions.

The tide continues to turn...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Humor


Thursday, December 11, 2014

You Are Not A Scientist

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Behind Every Woman...


Monday, December 08, 2014

Good News

Time for some good news on Monday and I think it's time we realize that Africa is not just about Ebola!

I've always said that if you teach a village to fish, you create an economy. Well, how about dairy farming?

As part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, the USAID Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development project seeks to improve nutrition and boost incomes, through training and investments in commodities like dairy, meat, and live animals. The project targets both men and women, with specific interventions to integrate women entrepreneurs into the broader livestock value chain. For example, the project developed a specific female entrepreneur training package designed to enhance the business capacity of women. Moreover, to better facilitate the participation of women in the offered technical trainings, the project provides innovative daycare services for the children of women participants.

That would the "evil" federal government, folks:)

Burkina-Faso poor farmers are outsmarting climate change.

Lenhardt said information about the ever-improving sustainable techniques, which include using ditches to collect water, had been disseminated by farmers' groups and national organisations to great effect.

Yay!

And Somalia is now at a pivotal point in its history, according to a recent UN report.
Speaking to reporters as he touched down in the city, Mr. Ban acknowledged that after two decades of internecine conflict and humanitarian crises, Somalia was finally waking from a “long nightmare,” reaching a “pivotal moment” as militant group Al-Shabaab appeared to be on the wane and political progress had finally seemed to take root as the country’s institutions were steadily strengthened.

Pretty darn cool!!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Obama Still Destroying Economy

Job Gains Put US on Pace for Best Growth Since '99

"These were boom-like numbers," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "They indicate that the U.S. economy is on very solid ground." Friday's report also raised hopes that Americans' pay might finally be starting to increase after barely budging since the Great Recession began seven years ago. The average hourly wage rose 9 cents to $24.66, the biggest gain in 17 months.

I'm sure conservatives can find some sort of bad news in here...there has to be something!

Friday, December 05, 2014

It's Art


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Putin Caves

So much for for the "all-powerful" Putin whose thunder makes the earth quake.

President Vladimir V. Putin said Monday that he would scrap Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline, a grandiose project that was once intended to establish the country’s dominance in southeastern Europe but instead fell victim to Russia’s increasingly toxic relationship with the West. It was a rare diplomatic defeat for Mr. Putin, who said Russia would redirect the pipeline to Turkey. He painted the failure to build the pipeline as a loss for Europe and blamed Brussels for its intransigence.

And so much for the always weak Barack Obama...

The decision also seemed to be a rare victory for the European Union and the Obama administration, which have appeared largely impotent this year as Mr. Putin annexed Crimea and stirred rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

As I have stated previously, the long run will not be kind to Vladimir Putin. This is the first of many examples.



Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Pondering Ferguson and Cliven Bundy

I'm having trouble today figuring something out. Why is it that the government force used by Darren Wilson against Michael Brown was justified and yet the government force against Cliven Bundy is not justified? The former has seen howls of support from conservatives and the latter shrieks of government intrusion. Both men broke the law yet one is dead and the other is still getting a pass.

So, I'm wondering how conservatives would react if the black people of Ferguson took up arms against the police as the "freedom" fighters at Clive Bundy's ranch are doing right now.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Good Words

From a question on Quora regarding why Republicans hate the president so much...

My list is based directly on the comments I've heard the most from dozens and dozens of republicans over the last eight years; Not just the garbage that Faux News and their pinheads broadcast, or what I read online, but stuff that I hear fall directly out of the mouths of republicans, face-to-face :

1) He's black, with an "Un-American"-sounding name. ("Black" usually isn't the word they use, either, and they HATE being reminded that they're bigots.)

2) He's not just black - He's a smart, successful - "Uppity" - black man who doesn't beg their permission before he does stuff. They resent this.

3) He's beaten them. Twice. Modern republicans value winning an election more than they value the toil and sweat and sacrifice that comes after winning an election, and Obama "took that away from them" too, that big MEANIE.

4) Republicans feel entitled to rule America, forever, and all of this "Obama" stuff goes against what they expect and demand. They resent this.

5) Obama's cleaned up most of the carnage they caused for eight years. They don't feel a shred of shame or guilt for the damage they did to the country and the world, and they resent being identified with the carnage in the first place.

6) Obama's victories and accomplishments remind republicans that they still have to live in the real world, where they don't always get their way. They resent this.

7) He doesn't conform to the stereotype of a black male being dangerous, violent, dumb, sexually irresponsible and prone to substance abuse and criminal activity.  His simple existence reminds so many republicans that, again and again, they're just plain wrong, wrong, wrong.

8) He steadfastly refuses to be a bloodthirsty muslim who mass murders white christians. He only kills muslims. And just never mind that he's mass-murdered more muslims than Bush ever DREAMED of. He's still somehow managed to hide the "undeniable fact" that he's ONE OF THEM, even though he GOT THEIR LEADER.

9) He gives "their" money away to people they don't like, and just never goddamn mind that they're almost all, to a one, better off than they were when Bush left office. He just CAN'T be given credit for any of that, he just CAN'T.

10) He's from Chicago. Whatever THAT means.

Dave echoes my answer on this question but does hit some different notes that fold in quite nicely:)