Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I So Want This Not To Be True

There are stories flying everywhere that Pope Francis met secretly with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk that refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay people, while he was in the United States.

Words that come to mind are "deceit" and "cowardice".


Tom Friedman gives some perspective on Putin's move in Syria:
[T]oday’s reigning cliché is that the wily fox, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, has once again outmaneuvered the flat-footed Americans, by deploying some troops, planes and tanks to Syria to buttress the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and to fight the Islamic State forces threatening him. If only we had a president who was so daring, so tough, so smart.
Really? Well think about this: Let’s say the U.S. did nothing right now, and just let Putin start bombing ISIS and bolstering Assad. How long before every Sunni Muslim in the Middle East, not to mention every jihadist, has Putin’s picture in a bull’s eye on his cellphone?
The Sunni Muslims are the vast majority in Syria. They are the dominant sect in the Arab world. Putin and Russia would be seen as going all-in to protect Assad, a pro-Iranian, Alawite/Shiite genocidal war criminal. Putin would alienate the entire Sunni Muslim world, including Russian Muslims.
Moreover, let’s say by some miracle the Russians defeat ISIS. The only way to keep them defeated is by replacing them with moderate Sunnis. Which moderate Sunnis are going to align with Russia while Putin is seen as the prime defender of the barrel-bombing murderer of more Sunnis than anyone on the planet, Bashar al-Assad?
Putin stupidly went into Syria looking for a cheap sugar high to show his people that Russia is still a world power. Well, now he’s up a tree. Obama and John Kerry should just leave him up there for a month — him and Assad, fighting ISIS alone — and watch him become public enemy No. 1 in the Sunni Muslim world. “Yo, Vladimir, how’s that working for you?”

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why Does Fox Still Have a License to Broadcast?

They've done it again. The Ministry of Propaganda ... er, I mean, Fox News ... has phonied up a video to tell lies.

They were caught lying once or twice before, weren't they?

John Oliver has it here:

How many times do these guys get to do this?

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Gail Collins covers Boehner's announcement the best:

Farewell, John Boehner, farewell.
These departures are a little wearying. It was not long ago that we said adieu to Rick Perry. And then Scott Walker. And of course we are gearing up for the moment when the political world says goodbye forever to Donald Trump.
Good times, all.
Boehner’s leave-taking is a bit more of a mixed bag. The surprise announcement came the day after he sat proudly in the background while Pope Francis gave his address to Congress. You will not be stunned to hear that crying occurred, none of it involving Francis.
And there was a private meeting, in which reliable sources said the pope admired Boehner’s tie. But there is no indication he grabbed the speaker by the shoulders and cried: “You’re surrounded by crazy people! Get out while you can, my son!”
Not that it couldn’t have happened. The pope is infallible.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ben Carson

Face it: the Republican Party is never going to nominate a Ben Carson for president in 2016, just like they're never going to nominate Donald Trump. Both men will have their time in the polls, but remember last primary season, when Michele Bachmann, Herb Cain, and "Oops!" each had the polling lead for a while?  None of the three holds political office in 2015.

Carson and Trump have been leading the polls because big chunks of the GOP are stark, raving mad: Anti-Muslim, anti-Black, climate change deniers, libertarians, evolution deniers, "birthers", anti-immigrant, etc. Is there an end to it? Although all the chunks together might make a majority, many of those chunks will have nothing to do with some of the others.

Dr. Carson's chunk is the Christian right. They love what he says, even though they're very uneasy about the black thing. They will turn off completely, though, when they learn he is a Seventh Day Adventist. That's just the way they are. So he'll get support for a while, but it will fade away as we get closer to next year's election. Like, maybe, next month.

And do we need to say that there is a huge chunk of the Republican Party that wouldn't vote for a black man under any circumstances?

While we watch the air go out of his balloon, here's a sample, via BuzzFeed, of Dr. Carson's thinking:
“Now what about the big bang theory,” said Carson at speech to fellow Seventh-day Adventists titled “Celebration of Creation,” about the theory for the origin of the universe.
“I find the big bang, really quite fascinating. I mean, here you have all these highfalutin scientists and they’re saying it was this gigantic explosion and everything came into perfect order. Now these are the same scientists that go around touting the second law of thermodynamics, which is entropy, which says that things move toward a state of disorganization.
“So now you’re gonna have this big explosion and everything becomes perfectly organized and when you ask them about it they say, ‘Well we can explain this, based on probability theory because if there’s enough big explosions, over a long period of time, billions and billions of years, one of them will be the perfect explosion,” continued Carson. “So I say what you’re telling me is if I blow a hurricane through a junkyard enough times over billions and billions of years, eventually after one of those hurricanes there will be a 747 fully loaded and ready to fly.”
Carson added that he believed the big bang was “even more ridiculous” because there is order to the universe.
“Well, I mean, it’s even more ridiculous than that ‘cause our solar system, not to mention the universe outside of that, is extraordinarily well organized, to the point where we can predict 70 years away when a comet is coming,” he said. “Now that type of organization to just come out of an explosion? I mean, you want to talk about fairy tales, that is amazing.”
Later, Carson said he personally believed Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was encouraged by the devil.
“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary, and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct,” said Carson.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Too Depressing

I'm only writing about these items in case I'm the butterfly that needs to flap its wings in order to put this world back in order. I just don't have the energy or time to deal with these people. And they depress me to no end. I sure hope Hillary, Joe, and Bernie go after them.

First, there's this story about a twit hedge fund manager who raises the prices of life-saving prescription drugs because he can. Most recently, he raised the price of a drug that's been on the market for 62 years, from $13.50 to $750 a tablet.

Then there's the Volkswagen story, wherein the company admitted that for many years it had installed software in its diesel cars that was designed to cheat on emissions tests. The company is putting aside huge sums for correcting the problem and for civil damages.  It is getting battered in the stock market. Sadly for the thousands of innocent people whose livelihoods depend on Volkswagen, the company may not survive this. I don't see how company management can or should stay out of prison. Really sad.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Perspective on Guns

From the Daily Kos:

Since the end of the Reagan administration, more Americans have been killed by guns than have died in battle while serving in the U.S. military in the entirety of U.S. history. It isn't close. In fact, the time scale of the U.S. military deaths begins at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, which was actually before the United States was officially founded.

 The chart comes from a report (pdf) by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, titled:

Right of Reagan How the Extremism of Today’s Republican Presidential Candidates Sets Them Apart from Their Conservative Idol
The report contains a wealth of important and disturbing information, and this is just one example. Reagan once was considered on the far right fringe, and although he did usually side with the NRA he also supported the Brady Bill, and explicitly supported background checks and an assault weapons ban. Compared to the modern Republican Party, he was a hippie liberal.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

You Want Trump? I'll Give You Trump.

This was Thursday, September 17, 2015. 

Nothin' funny about Trump.

A New Blog!

My nephew Jared, who is a smart high school kid, has started a blog that I can recommend to you.  In his second post, he discusses a video that has become viral and some of the questions it raises, links to a Jimmy Kimmel satire of YouTube gaming videos (do you even know what they are?), and introduces a YouTube couple whose private lives are now grist for the YouTube mill.
None of these things are from my world, and I appreciate being introduced to them.

Jared's blog is at

Just Sayin' ...

I watched as much of the Republican loony show last night as I could (social obligations made it impossible to watch it all).

It would be hard to trivialize it more than it managed to do itself, but Jake Tapper sure tried when he announced the debate as the "Main Event."

The NYTimes Editorial Board summed up the evening pretty well:  Crazy Talk at the Republican Debate.

Who's to Blame for the Republican Clown Car? You'll Never Guess!

Michael Barone was one of the original authors of the biannual Almanac of American Politics, which is every true political junkie's favorite reference book. I bought the first edition of it decades ago, and spent hours, no, DAYS!, buried in its pages. Sadly, it has long since priced itself off my bookshelf.

So even though he's a conservative, I've been very patient with the guy as he has tried so hard to make Reaganism sound like some brilliant philosophy.

But there are times when you just have to laugh, and this is one of these times.

In a recent column, Barone bemoans the fact that the Republican Presidential field is full of "challengers who would have been considered laughable in earlier years." Well, I'm with you so far, Michael!

So where does he place the blame for the GOP clown car? Why, right where all tightly reasoned conservative analysis places the blame for everything.


My God. Tightly reasoned conservative analysis is so easy! I'd write more, but I'm laughing so hard I keep hitting the wrong keys.

The Spiders Among Us

Okay, I don't know who John Snow is, but Colbert is great in this one:

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Wisconsin Weasel

From Forbes:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants taxpayers to help pay for a new $500 million arena for the Milwaukee Bucks that would serve as the linchpin for a $1 billion entertainment complex.
Back in January, Walker proposed a plan that would have the state sell $220 million general appropriation bonds (to be repaid by tax revenue from the Milwaukee Bucks and visiting NBA players) with $150 million from Bucks owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry and $100 million from Herb Kohl, the previous owner of the team. Walker pitched the deal as a ”common-sense, fiscally conservative approach.”
Is it? Depends how you count.
The article continues here.

One of the owners is a developer named Jon Hammes, who also happens to be national finance co-chairman of Walker's presidential campaign, and a contributor of $150,000 to Walker's PAC.

And it just keeps getting worse.

Crooks & Liars has the best run-down.

Wackos Will Decide the Next GOP Nominee

According to Public Policy Polling:
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.
Trump's beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate. 51% overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States. That's less than the 40% who think Canadian born Ted Cruz was born in the United States.
Trump's supporters aren't alone in those attitudes though. Only among supporters of John Kasich (58/13), Jeb Bush (56/18), Chris Christie (59/33), and Marco Rubio (42/30) are there more people who think President Obama was born in the United States than that he wasn't. And when you look at whose supporters are more inclined to think that the President is a Christian than a Muslim the list shrinks to just Christie (55/29), Kasich (41/22), and Bush (29/22).
 There's more, but it's not for the faint of heart.