Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

If Only They Had Training...

The Gun Cult is throwing out extra stinky BS this week. If only kids were trained how to use firearms in schools, they opine, like the days of yore.

Well, yore, was over a half a century ago and now we live in a culture where school shootings happen every year and mass shootings happen every day. Of course, this idiotic supposition ignores the fact that folks like Adam Lanza, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were very well trained in the use of firerams...trained and certified by the NRA.

I'd say they respected firearms a great deal. They knew exactly what to do with them.

Monday, September 28, 2015

What Good Guys With Guns Do...

Check out what a "good" guy with a gun did.

When the assailants attempted to take his truck, a witness parked at the gas pump started shooting at the men, according to authorities. 

Police said he accidentally shot the victim in the head.

Ground stood!!!

Yet another myth revealed for all its bullshit...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

So Long, Johnny

So, John Boehner quit yesterday. Didn't see that one coming but it makes sense given the state of the Republican party today. Check out the reaction from conservatives at the "Value" Voters summit.

Talk about eating one of your own...sheesh. If they want to keep driving the party more and more right, I say we let them. It will never cease to amaze me how they think that a "real" conservative could win a national election.

For the record, I liked John Boehner. He was what Republicans used to be...sensible. No wonder he quit. His party continues to lose their minds...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Smart Kid!

And he's from Minnesota!!!

Friday Funny

Check out the State of the Union of Donald Trump is elected president.

The sheer numbers of his supporters really says something about the intelligence level of this country.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

File Under: No Shit

GOP leaders: Trump sets us back on race

With so little support from women and people of color, there is no chance they can win.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How Right-Wing Media Are Welcoming Pope Francis To America

How Right-Wing Media Are Welcoming Pope Francis To America
This is how right-wing media welcomed Pope Francis to America:
Posted by Media Matters for America on Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Way to go "Christians."


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sting Them!

Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, the sting videos on Planned Parenthood have had an impact. The federal government might shut down because of them. Even though the videos are essentially false, abortion is back to being an issue again for the time being. So, here's a thought....

Let's do the same fucking thing for the Gun Cult.

Whether it's the NRA or some sort of gun blogger convention, it's way past time that some activists got up in their shit and fucked it all up. I think the American people would love to see what these people think about guns, violence, and little children being slaughtered every day because they need to feel empowered by a dick substitute.

Why hasn't it happened yet?

Good Words

"Ronald Reagan didn't attack the people around him. He didn't demean the people around him. He brought everybody together at the end. If Republicans don't bring everybody together at the end of the day, we do not win elections"

(Michael Reaganson of Ronald Reagan)


If conservatives love Reagan as much as they say they do, the should heed this advice. This is especially true for the right wing bloggers and commenters. We all know you were bullied as kids and need your guns to feel empowered. Consistently attacking those that are different than you because they are liberal, not white, not Christian, and not part of your tribe means you lose.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Walker Out!

Scott Walker has just dropped out of the GOP primary.

Buh Bye, dickhead!!!

Now Carson Disqualifies Himself from the Presidency

Article Six, paragraph 3 of the Constitution says exactly the opposite:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
The oath of office for the president is specified in Article 2, Clause 8 of the Constitution, and nowhere is religion mentioned:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Immediately contradicting himself, Carson said that members of Congress can be Muslims, even though they must affirm essentially the same oath as the president (with the totally superfluous addition of, "So help me God," added in legislation by some nitwits in Congress in 1884 in clear violation of Article Six's ban on religious tests).

Now, if a specific Muslim individual were to say that he places the importance of the Koran above the Constitution and the law of the land, then I agree he would disqualify himself from office. Just as Mike Huckabee disqualified himself when he flatly stated that as president he would disregard Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality.

He tries to frame it as a question of freedom, comparing gay marriage to the Dred Scott decision which declared black slaves to not be fully human. The problem is Huckabee has it completely backwards: the Supreme Court gay marriage decision is pro-freedom, declaring that gays are fully human, and have equal rights under the law. In this context, Mike Huckabee is on the side of the slave holders, treating gays like slaves who don't have equal rights.

Yes, the Constitution gives Mike Huckabee the right to believe anything he wants to; it doesn't give him (or Kim Davis) the right to impose that belief on others and take their rights away.

Clearly, neither Huckabee nor Carson are fit to be president, for they believe their Christian religion supersedes the Constitution. In contrast, during his run for president John F. Kennedy asserted:
But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.

The fact is, neither the word "god" nor the word "creator" appear in the Constitution, though the Declaration of Independence does mention the cryptic "Nature's God" and "Creator." The Constitution mentions religion only to say that the government can't require or establish one.

What this tells us is that the Founders were religious men, and that their natural and religious philosophies led them write a soaring Declaration of Independence that asserts all men should be free. But when it comes down the nuts and bolts of governance, they were wise enough to ensure that religion has no place in the Constitution. This was a hard lesson learned from centuries of death and destruction caused by official state religions in Europe.

In 2007 Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison caused a stir when he took his oath of office on Thomas Jefferson's Koran. But Christians aren't any better; they all swear their oaths on the Bible. Only one representative has done the right thing: Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was sworn in on a copy of the Constitution.

15 minutes Of Fame?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Objective Reality

Bill Maher slams the Obama-hating 2016 Republican candidates a...
Watch: Bill Maher slams the Obama-hating 2016 Republican candidates at this week's debate.Video by Occupy Democrats, LIKE our page for more!
Posted by Occupy Democrats on Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lies Upon Lies

At the GOP debate on Wednesday night, Carly Fiorina made the following assertion.

One of the Planned Parenthood videos shows "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' "

The video does not show this at all.

The Center for Medical Progress video does not show actually show footage of O’Donnell’s experience, and there’s nothing else in the video to corroborate O’Donnell’s story. Additionally, the supervisor in O’Donnell’s story does not say anything about keeping the fetus alive specifically for the purpose of harvesting the brain.

In addition, the videos themselves are heavily edited (see also: lies) so we're talking about lies on top of lies.

Roe V Wade is the law of the land and always will be. If opponents of abortion are serious about reducing or elimination abortions, they should look to the reasons why single women in their 20s (the largest group to demand abortions) get so many abortions.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

If only more of them would shoot themselves like this...

Road-raging Mercedes driver shoots himself in the leg while waving rifle and handgun at Florida family


Certainly saves us the trouble...

A Question of Morality

There have been a number of stories about the morality of ad blocking recently. Some claim ad blockers are wrong because web content providers go to great expense to provide stories, and they should be compensated by ads. Others defend ad blockers, saying, "It's my computer and I should be able to control what I see."

I use an ad blocker in my browser. And it's not because I hate ads: it's because I value my privacy and security. First, an explanation of how Internet ads work.

I'm not opposed to Internet ads. I'm opposed to Internet ad technology.
Most web sites don't create their own ads. They just act as conduits for third-party ad providers who funnel ads through their web pages to end-users and use third-party cookies to track those users. The ads are actually coming from another server on the Internet, not the website you're visiting. (If you log into any of the websites with your email address, they can marry it to that third-party cookie and then sell it to spammers.)

Ad blockers work by detecting content served up by these third-party ad providers and ignoring it.

This means two things: first, the ad company can use that third-party cookie to follow you wherever you go on the Internet. When I go to a specific website, I'm giving them permission to know my identity. I don't want them to give that information to a third party whom I don't know and don't trust.

Second, when I go to a website I'm going there because I trust their content. If they're serving up crap from a third-party ad company, neither they nor I have any way of knowing that the fourth-, fifth- and thousandth-party content is trustworthy.

Internet ads aren't passive like commercials on television and radio: they are actively malicious.
Internet ads run code on your computer and can read and write data in your browser. Compare that to the commercials you watch on television: they may be for phony charities, worthless "naturopathic" remedies and ambulance-chasing scumbags. But they won't give my IP address and email to every spammer on the Internet, or infect my computer with a key logger that steals the password to my bank account.

Third-party ad companies do a poor job of vetting the millions of ads they serve up. Sometimes those ads have malware and viruses. My wife's computer was infected a few years ago when the local newspaper served up an ad with malware.

Ad blockers do two things: protect your privacy and prevent your computer from being infected by malware. Both of these are totally legitimate concerns for Internet users. Ad blockers won't prevent all these problems, but they close off one common vector of infection.

Now, if companies host their own ads on their own websites, ad blockers will not detect or stop them. That's okay by me: if they're hosting the content, they probably have vetted it to make sure that it doesn't contain malware.

This brings us to the real question: is Internet content supported by ads a viable model going forward?

I, for one, don't mind paying a subscription fee for content. I pay for sites that I rely on, that I think are deserving. It's like being a member of our local public radio and TV stations: if you think it's worthy and worth it, you should pay for it. Sadly, most Internet sites charge way too much for their content, and no one winds up subscribing.

Quality websites can host and display their own ads, which won't trigger ad blockers. This eliminates the ad serving middlemen, and no one will care if ad servers go out of business.

Ad blockers allow you to turn on ads for individual sites. For example, the Washington Post won't display most content if your ad blocker is turned on. Since the Post is an important national daily, I have turned on ads for it, though I'm afraid I will ultimately regret it, because it's got the same crappy ads you see everywhere else...

If the future of "free" content depends on advertisers shoving whatever crap they want down our throats and tracking our every move on the Internet, then it deserves to burn to the ground.
So, if content providers want to survive, they can a) entice users to subscribe, b) host their own ads or c) convince users to unblock their ads. If the future of "free" content depends on advertisers shoving whatever crap they want down our throats and tracking our every move on the Internet, then it deserves to burn to the ground.

Finally, I would make some suggestions for all web users who are interested in their privacy and security (these are in the settings for your browser):
  1. Set your browser to send a Do Not Track request.
  2. Disable third-party cookies and data in your web browser.
  3. Keep local data (cookies) only until you quit your browser.
  4. Turn off all popups (these are frequently used to create fake windows that fool users into downloading malware).
  5. Don't automatically allow sites to track your location.
This won't protect you from everything (i.e., it won't stop Facebook from selling your data to other people, or free porn sites from swamping your computer with malware), but it will reduce your vulnerability. It will be a little more work: you have to log in every time you return to a site after you restart your browser (sites often use cookies to keep you logged in).

Now, should you use an ad blocker? It's not an easy question to answer. Ad blockers are like any other content on the Internet. How do you know you what you can trust?

If you do use an ad blocker, be careful: research the candidates before you turn on the ad blocker extension or plug-in in your browser. Like anything else on the Internet, things are not always what they say they are.

Knowing Your Enemy

The best way to defeat your enemy is to know everything you can about them. A recent Frontline documentary is most illuminating in terms of gun rights advocates and the NRA. The most intriguing thing about the entire piece is the section on Columbine. I found out two things that I didn't know before.

First, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were very much born of the Gun Cult. Check out this video which they showed in the documentary.

Pretty much like every gun blogger and gun humper out there.

Second, Harris and Klebold got their guns from a gun show which, because of the loophole that still hasn't been closed yet thanks to the fear peddling of the Gun Cult, never did a background check on them to see that they were underage. The NRA fought it back then and they are still fighting it today.

As I watched this episode, one thing became even clearer to me. These people may "use democracy to win their battles" but their mindset is anything but democratic. It's TOTALITARIAN in all caps and bold. Check out any gun blog out there and you will see exactly what I am talking about.

The only thing that these people understand and respect is force. This means that like previous totalitarian organizations and governments force will be the only thing that will ultimately bring them down.

Here's the trailer...

Friday, September 18, 2015

Disqualified by Ego and Wealth

Today Donald Trump canceled an appearance at a presidential forum in South Carolina. Most people speculate that he did so because of the backlash over comments that Trump's supporters made about President Obama. These clowns repeated the birther and "Obama is a Muslim" nonsense again, and Trump appeared to agree with them.

Trump's excuse for the cancellation?
“Mr. Trump has a significant business transaction that was expected to close Thursday,” the campaign said. “Due to the delay he is unable to attend today’s Heritage Action Presidential Forum. He sends his regrets and looks forward to being with the great people of South Carolina on Wednesday in Columbia."
He couldn't go to this event because of a business deal.

I'm not surprised. Trump's entire identity and sense of purpose is wrapped up in his wealth. He lies about how much he's worth, inflating his wealth and his ego. It's the only thing he cares about, and it's his comeback to every criticism: I'm rich!

The problem is, whenever people are elected to the Senate or the presidency or are appointed to the Supreme Court, their assets are placed in a blind trust  to managed by an independent entity. This avoids the inevitable conflicts of interest that arise in the execution of one's office.

It's unimaginable that Trump would ever truly relinquish such control. So how could he possibly be president? A sitting president would have to completely divorce himself from his business holdings. He would have to cut all ties to his business partners. He would have to give control of all his wealth so someone else. And not his wife or son.

Anything less would turn the United States into a corrupt, oligarchic kleptocracy like Russia under Vladimir Putin or Italy under Silvio Berlusconi.

This is why, practically speaking, Donald Trump can never be president. He could never be trusted to relinquish control over his business interests and their corrupting influence.

Trump has literally bragged about giving money to politicians to get them to do what he wanted. He says he would be free from corruption because no one could buy him off. It's a facile lie; he's nowhere near the richest man in the country -- men like Bill Gates, Sheldon Adelson (the fellow casino owner), Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, the Koch brothers, are far richer and more successful than Trump. They can buy him off by giving his businesses better deals and more influence; it's ludicrous to think that someone as greedy as Trump would refuse to play ball with the big boys.

The temptation for Trump to enrich himself further would be impossible for him to resist; wealth is the only thing that matters to him. He could use the office of the president to undermine his competitors, or promise other businesses certain things in exchange for side deals with his own businesses, or get preferential treatment from the Justice Department for his holdings, or force the EPA to grant his businesses exemptions, and any number of other things. And then there are Trump's ties to organized crime.

And we all know he'd do it. Everyone knows how underhanded, mendacious, deceitful and double-dealing Trump is, because he keeps bragging about it to everyone who will listen.

People who are motivated by wealth can always be bought off, because they're never rich enough.

It's ridiculous to suggest that Trump's integrity would stop him from succumbing to greed: the man has no moral center. His wealth comes mostly from casinos -- he literally made his fortune by stealing nickels and quarters from little old ladies addicted to slot machines. Like a vampire, he has sucked the life's blood from thousands of gamblers, bankrupting them. How many people have committed suicide after losing everything at Trump casinos?

(Trump tried and failed to buy off the Republican Party to let him set up casinos in Florida when Bush was running for governor of the state. Jeb! hates gambling -- I guess he ain't all bad.)

Finally, the ties between casinos and the mob are indisputable: how can we possibly trust that Trump would sever relationships he's had for 40 years? He owes these wise guys; Trump is practically a made man himself.

So how could Trump ever be trusted to be president?

Second GOP Debate Post Mortem

The second GOP debate actually spent some time talking about substantive issues and strayed mildly into details on policy points but for the most part, it was more of the same "the world is a boiling pit of sewage" crap that bears no resemblance to reality. With this kind of nonsense, they have no hope of winning back the presidency.

The under card saw George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum doing....what exactly? None of them have a prayer of catching fire with 89 people running for the GOP nomination.Heck, CNN wouldn't even let Jim Gilmore show up because he was polling so low. At least Rick Perry had the good sense to drop out of the race.

In the main debate, much of the night was spent on Donald Trump. Either he was asked questions or the other candidates were asked questions about him. There was a period of about 40 minutes when the debate was about the issues of the day. I think it says quite a bit that Trump wasn't really involved in those discussions.

The big winner of the night was Carly Fiorina. I agreed with nothing she said but she clearly has her shit together. Start checking the polls on Sunday and watch her move up. After her, I would say that Jeb looked pretty good and so did Chris Christie. Scott Walker continues to be about as relevant as a potted plant. Ben Carson is really the one that lacks no energy. Rand Paul was just a dork and should honestly drop out. So should Mike Huckabee. Marco Rubio still looks like a frat bro trying to prove himself. John Kasich, who many thought would continue to climb, looked like a grumpy old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Ted Cruz is simply a tremendous bore.

Let's just whittle this down to the following people...Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Chris Christie and Ben Carson. The rest of them aren't going to be nominated and these five could have some tremendous fun if the field was narrower. This winnowing will not be likely, however, until next March. It's fun to run for president and what has now become America's most popular reality TV show.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tweet of the Debate

I'll have a longer post coming up in the next few days about last night's debate but here is one of Hillary's hilarious tweets from last night. All are good but this was my favorite...

Fingers crossed we're getting close to the part when they talk about things they're for—instead of against. #GOPdebate

Right. We know that America is a boiling pit of sewage because of Barack Obama and the gun grabbers. So what exactly do you stand for and how will that work out?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Three Trillion Isn't As Big a Number As You'd Think...

Global warming deniers frequently claim that humans are too puny and weak to have any significant effect on the planet's climate. A recent study published in Nature sheds some light on just how much of an effect humans can have on the planet: 
There are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth — more than seven times the number previously estimated — according to a tally by an international team of scientists. The study also finds that human activity is detrimental to tree abundance worldwide. Around 15 billion trees are cut down each year, the researchers estimate; since the onset of agriculture about 12,000 years ago, the number of trees worldwide has dropped by 46%.

“The scale of human impact is astonishing,” says Thomas Crowther, an ecologist now at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Wageningen who led the study while at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. “Obviously we expected humans would have a prominent role, but I didn’t expect that it would come out as the as the strongest control on tree density.”
Trees and other plants produce half the world's oxygen (phytoplankton in the seas produce the other half).

Now, 3 trillion sounds like a lot of trees. But there are 7 billion humans -- and counting -- on earth. That means there are only about 430 trees per person. That means that, if we were of a mind to, we could destroy every tree on earth in just a couple of years, even if we just went at them with axes and saws.

One man on a bulldozer can tear down thousands of trees in a day, and a careless smoker can burn a million trees in a day.

How any trees do we need? Estimates vary, but it seems that each human needs between 7 and 22 trees to produce the oxygen we consume. Since there other animals and insects breathe, 430 trees per person isn't a very big number. Crops do produce oxygen, but not much: trees produce far more oxygen per acre because of their vertical profile.

Will phytoplankton save the day? Maybe not. As we burn more fossil fuels, we put more CO2 in the air. A lot of that CO2 is absorbed into the ocean, forming carbonic acid. That increases the acidity of the ocean, and that may make dramatic changes in phytoplankton.

So, are we going to suffocate ourselves by burning all this oil and coal? Probably not -- but that's not the point. There are so many people on this planet that we can no longer pretend that our actions have no effect on the environment -- and the climate -- of the entire planet.

Two photographs show how pervasive humans are. Here's the earth during the day. There's no sign of humans anywhere. All you see are those big weather systems:

But here's the earth at night:

Humans cover the entire half of the United States, and our farms in the plains cover a lot of the rest. We are visible from the moon.

So when climate change deniers say that humans are too puny to affect the climate, they're flat-out lying.

Rooting For Trump

Ernesto Londono is rooting for Donald Trump to be the GOP nominee. I am as well. The cognitive dissonance that he experiences when he gets less than ten percent of the Hispanic vote (aka gets his ass kicked) will be a case study in how the Republican brain works.

50,000 Hispanics turn 18 every month and become eligible to vote. Insulting them personally really isn't the right way to garner their vote.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cayman's Story

Cayman's Story
"Cayman was a really, really happy kid. He wasn't being bullied at school. He had no real girl problems. He had a happy family. There were absolutely no warning signs. He got an email about a homework assignment and probably 20 to 30 minutes later, my 13-year-old son took his life with a gun I hadn't thought about in years."-Farid, Cayman's father
Posted by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence on Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What A Dark Crowd

The Times has a great piece up about how the GOP are really very negative on the state of our country. When you see all of their statements collected together, one has to wonder what they live in. A "hell hole?" "Watching helplessly as we descend into a  third world country?" "Tyranny...lawlessness...Americans will die?"


I realize they are trying to appeal to their base of angry, mouth foaming haters but saying that America is on fire doesn't represent reality at all.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Ugliest American

Last week Donald Trump raised another stir when Rolling Stone published an article about his campaign. This section in particular raised a lot of eyebrows.
When the anchor throws to Carly Fiorina for her reaction to Trump's momentum, Trump's expression sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina. "Look at that face!" he cries. "Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!" The laughter grows halting and faint behind him. "I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?"
This is not a one-off. Trump is constantly demeaning other people, especially women, as Megyn Kelly and Rosie O'Donnell can attest. He's always the combination class clown/school-yard bully making fun of other people for things beyond their control.

Now, Trump is right about Carly Fiorina's stewardship of HP. She was terrible. She brags about doubling HP's revenues. But she did so by buying out her competitor Compaq, and totally bungled the ill-advised merger, which quickly resulted in her dismissal. (Though unlike Trump's four bankruptcies, Fiorina didn't bankrupt HP.) But her appearance is completely normal, and in any case has no bearing on her ability to run a company or be president.

The fact is, Trump is easily the ugliest person running for president. It's not because of his ridiculous hair, or his small porcine eyes, or the jaundiced orange tinge of his sagging flesh (due to cirrhosis, perhaps?), or his bulbous, veined, potato-shaped nose, or his thin, sneering lips, or the flabby physique that he tries to hide with suits that cost more than most people's cars.

No, Trump's ugliness comes from within. To quote Trump, "Look at that face!" You can see it for yourself in most any photo of Trump. His repulsiveness erupts on his face in expressions of contempt, loathing, condescension, anger and hatred. Trump constantly looks like he's about to rupture an aneurysm.  His oratory stylings most resemble those of the managers of WWE wrestlers who are about to pick up a folding chair and hit someone with it. Or maybe a raging wanna-be mafioso.

When he's not foaming at the mouth, Trump's countenance is smarmy, superior and repugnant. He thinks he projects confidence, but he looks like a scumbag who's planning to cheat on his wife or a weasel plotting to stab his partner in the back.

And when he opens his mouth, the hideousness blares forth from his thin, twisted, spittle-flecked lips with every insult and threat. Even his compliments are backhanded and cruel.

Trump can be superficially gracious and kind to sycophants who obsequiously kowtow to him. In due time he will denounce as worthless losers and moneyless suckers those people who adulate him today, when they inevitably turn their backs on him.

Because in the end, Trump is exactly the kind of guy Republicans hate -- an east-coast, Ivy League, big-city, Washington insider, wheeler dealer, self-aggrandizing blow hard. They flock to him now because he spouts the same hate and fear and condescension that he knows they want to hear. But he's just playing them; he thinks of them as pawns and puppets -- the same way he feels about every other person on earth. His fans are just tools to get what he wants, to be discarded and scorned when he gets bored with this new gig.

There's an old saying: "Beauty is only skin deep." It's a facile truism that's supposed make the homely find solace in the idea that the content of your character is more important than your outward appearance. Sadly, it's not true in the real world. First impressions matter, and compliments like "She's a nice person" are codewords for fat and unattractive.

But that saying's converse, "Ugliness comes from the soul" is true. And Donald Trump is the prime example.

Nosy People

Now that we have all discovered that Hillary Clinton's emails are going to be recovered in their entirety as they were not wiped from her server, conservatives everywhere are popping boners. One thing I've noticed over the years about the Right is they LOVE them some TMZ shit. Generally speaking their lives are so dull (hence all the bitching) that they need to live vicariously through others.

Add in all the anger, hate and fear and PRESTO! They really, really, really want to find some personal dirt on her that they can parade around inside their bubble. What age group...I'm trying to think here...also behaves in this way?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Loneliest Club

I find the Gun Cult's response (Fuck you! Don't Take My Guns!!) to the Loneliest Club to be appalling. Listen to their stories. 

Fix this. Yesterday.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Obama as Reagan

The Christian Science Monitor's cover story this week posits that Barack Obama is the Democrat's version of Ronald Reagan, a transformative president for a generation. Given this...

Now, 6-1/2 years into Obama’s presidency, the outlines of his legacy are clear: a major health reform that has added millions to insurance rolls, a recovering economy, Wall Street reform, a national right to same-sex marriage, diplomatic relations with Cuba, a nuclear deal with Iran, enhanced workers' rights, and aggressive new rules to combat climate change.

..I agree completely. This is why I voted for him. His success and progress are also EXACTLY why conservatives hate him. He's showing them up because all they have left is hate, anger and fear.

Compare President Obama's record above to George W Bush's record...worst attack on the home soil in history...allowing a US city to fall into the sea due to piss poor disaster response...economy collapsed. At this point, if you think Bush was a better president than Obama, you have no sense of reality whatsoever.

Playing Zombie

My first thought when I read this piece about an Osseo Gun Club was...are they really complaining about a private firm? Facebook can allow or not allow whatever the fuck they want. Perhaps if these gun hunpers are so upset about not being able to advertise "family" gun night (see: what could possibly go wrong?), they should change.

What's more interesting about this place is they have target practice within a Zombie Apocalypse setting. My oh the Gun Cult loves to peddle fear and play make believe! I wonder if they truly believe that this might happen...:)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

You're Not Joan of Arc, Lady

Good grief...what a fucking moron...

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Embrace The Chaos

As most of the nation (including myself) heads back to school today, here is my assessment of the current state of national education.

People in the United States crave simple solutions to complex problems. Their lives are filled with enough static that when it comes to issues like education, they desire the quick answer. In exploring the question of whose interests schools should serve, the response seems evident and merely one word: students. After all, the students’ education is the ultimate goal of each school. An education means that opportunity will arise and equality in the greater world will be achieved for each student that walks through its doors.

It is at this point, however, that the complexity begins to creep in. Each student is unique and wonderfully individualistic. They have their own personality which develops from their socialization process. Every student comes from a different culture. Their family, their community, their peers and how they interact with the mass media all combine with the school to contribute to how they are socialized. These interactions produce a plethora of diverse people that absolutely require differentiation which leads to a perpetual state of chaos in our country’s education system.

Invariably, this leads to far too many educators trying to “fix” the chaos. Instead what they should do is focus on managing the complexity of the chaos and recognize that it’s always going to be there. At the outset of this process, patience on the part of all parties involved is essential. If we are to serve the interest of the students as a primary function of the school, educators need to be patient with students and understand their socialization process. Who is in their family? What community do they live in? Who are their peers? To what degree is mass media involved in their lives?

The main area of exploration of each student’s unique nature should be their parents. Most parents today are employed and quite busy in their professional lives. So, some of the child rearing part of a student’s socialization has fallen to teachers. In some ways, we are viewed as “the help” and are now responsible for teaching children common courtesy and respect. At times, this is most difficult because the parents of many students don’t understand this concept themselves and are decidedly lacking in maturity. Therefore, it is vitally important that parents receive their own education through programs like ECFE or other forums in which they can learn how to actually parent. The parents of a student must be an integral part of the triangle of learning (student-teacher-parents) or students’ interest will not be served.

The secondary areas of exploration into each student’s unique nature are important as well. What is their socio-economic status? Do they work outside of school to help support their family? Students’ interests can’t be served if they are working late into the night to support their family and are responsible for 2-3 hours of homework every night, for example. The social cliques in which each student belong can be a support or a hindrance, depending upon the people in each group. Getting to know the peers that each student surrounds themselves can offer great insight. Finally, a student’s interaction with mass media, particularly technology driven media like smartphones and social media, can be illuminating in terms of serving their interest. If they spend excessive amounts of time engaged with technology, lesson plans can be altered to connect with them in that fashion.

If educators are going to serve the interests of their students, they must understand how to manage the complexity of the unique nature of each student. This begins with engaging the parents to be part of the education process and extends to understanding the community and the peers of each student. Socialization via the mass media is also important in understanding how to best serve the interests of each student. Certainly, these tasks are not simple and require a great deal of patience on all parties involved in mentoring students. Yet they must be pursued vigorously if educators want opportunity and equality for each of their students.

Monday, September 07, 2015

The Objective Reality of Raising the Minimum Wage

People laughed at Pizza Punch owners John Puckett and John Soranno two years ago when they raised their minimum wage to $10 an hour for entry level employees and $13 for management. Predictions of their demise were heard from the usual sources. Of course, that didn't happen

Instead, their company is doing quite well. In fact, they've opened two more restaurants bringing the total to 10 now in the Twin /Cities area. Puckett said the higher wages did not cause Punch to increase prices. He also said it “has had a big impact culturally in the company.” He said that retention of employees is up, which helps them save money on hiring and training. He estimates the average worker in the front — cashiers and waiters who are often students — work about three years, while the kitchen workers average five years of employment, which is very high for this transitory industry. “Our retention is light years ahead of most restaurants,” Puckett said.

“We just weren’t getting the quality of applicant before. Now we have a lot more applications that we don’t have jobs for. If you pay people more, I think you can demand more. When we did this, we got everybody together and said, we need to blow people away with our service.” Asked about those strange, angry calls when he increased raises, Puckett laughed.

“The cynics didn’t win,” he said.

Yet this is just one example in one state. It's also a micro examination. To find a macro example, one need look now further than Seattle which, one year ago, mandated a $15 an hour minimum wage. Those same critics claimed that unemployment would skyrocket as businesses would not be able to retain employees. When the law was passed, Seattle's unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. Today it's 3.7 percent.

I think their prediction on this Labor Day 2015 was not correct:)

Sunday, September 06, 2015

More Carolina Craziness

Later this month, a North Carolina high school student will appear in a state court and face five child pornography-related charges for engaging in consensual sexting with his girlfriend.

What’s strange is that of the five charges he faces, four of them are for taking and possessing nude photos of himself on his own phone—the final charge is for possessing one nude photo his girlfriend took for him. There is no evidence of coercion or further distribution of the images anywhere beyond the two teenagers’ phones.

Similarly, the young woman was originally charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor—but was listed on her warrant for arrest as both perpetrator and victim. The case illustrates a bizarre legal quand[a]ry that has resulted in state law being far behind technology and unable to distinguish between predatory child pornography and innocent (if ill-advised) behavior of teenagers.

On July 21, 2015, the young woman took a plea deal whereby the felony charges were dropped, but she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge, which will be expunged after she completes a year of probation. Over the next 11 months, she is not allowed to possess a cell phone, among other restrictions.
 What's even crazier?
The two teens have to face the charges as adults.

"You must keep in mind that juvenile court jurisdiction in North Carolina ends at age 16, so 16- and 17-year-olds, as in the Fayetteville case, will automatically be charged in adult criminal court with no option for adjudication in delinquency court," Tamar Birckhead, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, told Ars. "Another irony here is that these two teens could have legally had sex with each other in North Carolina, yet they are charged with felonies for texting sexually explicit photos of themselves to each other."
Huh? If they're adults, then this sexting is not child porn! 

This is clearly nonsense, and you have to wonder what these cops were thinking when they filed these charges. Well, wonder no longer:

These kids are black.

The cops just took it upon themselves to search these kids' phones, and when they found nekkid pitchers they finally had a way to get 'em.

Way to go, North Carolina. Not content with harassing blacks while they drive, shop, and walk down the street, your cops now invade teenagers' privacy and appoint themselves the sex police.

Jefferson on Guns

I think Thomas Jefferson was most illuminating when he wrote...

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. 

 ...I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. 

 ...But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. 

And lastly, let us provide in our constitution for its revision at stated periods. What these periods should be, nature herself indicates.

 (Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Quotations on the Jefferson Memorial)

We are clearly at the point of revision right now when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.

We have 30K deaths a year due to gun violence. There is a mass shooting every single day in this country. Far too many people have guns that shouldn't have them.

So, it's time to reform the 2nd Amendment by focusing first on the "well regulated" part of the right. As in Israel, people should have to demonstrate a valid and rational reason as to why they want to own a gun. There should be universal background checks on EVERY SINGLE gun purchase. The law should require high amounts of liability insurance on every gun purchase. Parents of children who end up accidentally shooting themselves should have as stringent of punishments as we have with zero tolerance drug laws. Anyone with a criminal record or mental health problems should be denied gun ownership.

 As Jefferson noted, we are living under a regimen of our barbarous ancestors. It's time to move on...

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Friday, September 04, 2015

The Donald's People

A new poll of people that support Donald Trump isn't really as surprising as the media is making it out to be.

Our new poll finds that Trump is benefiting from a GOP electorate that thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in another country, and that immigrant children should be deported. 66% of Trump's supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim to just 12% that grant he's a Christian. 61% think Obama was not born in the United States to only 21% who accept that he was. And 63% want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship, to only 20% who want to keep things the way they are.

So, at least now we know what happened to the Tea Party. This sort of severe xenophobia, one of the key traits of the American Taliban, simply can't win a general election any longer. Their demographics are shrinking which explains why they behave as they do. They are old and afraid. They are bitter about life and see the country progressing without them. Rather than embrace the change, they are pitching a fit.

And The Donald is tapping into that rage...

Thursday, September 03, 2015

If She Can't Do the Job She Should Just Get Fired

Though it makes utterly no sense, the clerk in Kentucky is going to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

This is just a stupid stunt on her part, the city's part and the judge's part. They're making a mountain out of a molehill: she's simply refusing to do her job. When people refuse to do their jobs, they should quit or be fired, not thrown in jail.

Her boss should have fired her the day the Supreme Court ruled against her. She shouldn't be in jail, she should be out on the street looking for a new job. If her religious beliefs make it impossible for her to fulfill her duties, then she should quit.

This same issue has come up innumerable times in the past. When Muslim clerks at Target refuse to ring up bacon for customers because they think pork is haram, they should be fired or quit their jobs. When Muslim cab drivers refuse to give rides to people bringing home alcohol from the airport because Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol, they should quit or be fired. When pharmacy clerks refuse to sell birth control pills to unmarried women, they should quit or be fired. It's pretty simple.

And this isn't the first time this exact issue has come up. When miscegenation laws, which forbade interracial marriages, were ruled unconstitutional in the 1960s by Loving vs. Virginia all the county clerks across the country who swore the Bible forbade racial mixing had to either quit or suck it up and do their jobs.

This is exactly the same thing. Issuing a marriage license doesn't mean you approve of or condone the wedding. It's just filling out some government paperwork.


Wednesday, September 02, 2015