Saturday, March 28, 2009

McKay Time

Feministing was pointing to this great video of musician and song writer Nellie McKay doing what she does best, asking good witty music.

When is it time for Nellie McKay? ...Anytime!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reprieve in TX

No, not anything death penalty related. That never happens.

This is about the State Board of Education. It has been a long fight over trying to foist religious beliefs on to the curriculum in various ways, including ridiculously bad textbooks.

But there has been some good news.

Incredible news out of Texas: creationists have lost a big battle to destroy science education in the Lone Star State!

The State Board of Education voted on the science standards — the list of basic scientific knowledge students should have at various grade levels, like knowing that atoms are the basic building blocks of matter, the Earth goes around the Sun, and — say — evolution is the basic and most fundamental aspect upon which all of modern biology is based.

Creationists on the board (and there are many) tried to water down the standards by creating a phony baloney "strengths and weaknesses" amendment, a totally bogus and arbitrary rule that says that teachers have to point out where a theory has faults. They did this specifically to weaken the teaching of evolution in biology classes. They don’t actually care if the students get a solid education on the fact of evolution, they only care to tear down real science and replace it with Biblical literalism.

And they failed. According to the fantastic science-based Texas Freedom Network, which has been live-blogging the vote, the creationist amendment lost in a 7-7 vote. They could not add the amendment without an actual victory, so the tie means the garbage amendment goes down.

But before you dance in the streets, have a mind that the vote was tied 7-7. In other words, half the people on the Texas State School Board of Education thought it was fine and dandy that evolution, a foundation of modern science and shown to be fact beyond reasonable doubt, be taught as being weak and flawed.


The Bushvilles

They are so named to honor the last dark time large tent cities sprung up around the country. Hoovervilles. Now, for Bush, Bushvilles.


At the press conference Tuesday night, NBC's Chuck Todd asked Obama why he hadn't asked the American people for specific sacrifices. And, Todd wanted something specific. I thought it was an odd question considering how many jobs and homes have been lost across the country. Almost everyone who has a 401-k has watched it tank. Things just aren't good. But, Todd wants more. Obama basically told him the American people are suffering enough. That seemed lost on Todd. That exchange revealed just how deep the chasm is between reality and the DC elite.

Perhaps Mr. Todd could visit one of the tent cities springing up around the country. Obama was asked about them, too, on Tuesday, by Kevin Chappell from Ebony who noted "With shelters at full capacity, tent cities are sprouting up across the country." But, that question might have gone over the heads of Todd and his colleagues.

Today's NY Times reports on the growth of tent cities across the country. Atrios calls them "Bushvilles." I imagine the people living in Bushvilles would consider it a sacrifice.



Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shanty towns. At his news conference on Tuesday night, President Obama was asked directly about the tent cities and responded by saying that it was “not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours.”While encampments and street living have always been a part of the landscape in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, these new tent cities have taken root — or grown from smaller enclaves of the homeless as more people lose jobs and housing — in such disparate places as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla.

Going down to the Queen Mary (no, the ship)

The Skeptologist visited the Queen Mary (ship/hotel). They were looking for ghost and to take a look at the whole ghost hunting phenomena.

Here is a description of trip. Part 1 / Part 2

And here is an extra bit that happen, but has been left out of the pilot. Ryan Johnson explains the mystery of the Green Room.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Denziens of this new age

There have been a number of troubling stories as the economic situation has worsened.

Some sad and tragic. Like a story told at an event Ed Schultz had. Where a man told the story of the state of his family. They were well off, he had a business that was doing well. Then his wife became sick. They tried to find answers in Arizona with no luck. The insurance company was no help, and as we all know these days, hostile. When they wanted to go to Mayo in Minnesota, but that was a no no for insurance. But that is where the specialist were, and the family wanted to help mom. So they went and found some answers. But it is draining what money they saved. Even when you are financially well off and a hard worker, insurance companies are looking for pre-existing conditions (Jindal thought this was a funny thing?) and loop holes to get out of doing there function.

HEALTHCARE...Yeah we need to deal with it to.

Then their are more pathetic ones.

Like an example that came up on Break Room Live. Where this husband had a VERY nice job a few years back, enough to have half a million at least stashed away for the better than any of us. Well, he quit that job to go and become a solo hedge fund manager...yeah, really. SO that didn't go well. Now they have apparently burned through all of that savings. They also are more than 100,000 in debt. So they lament he is forced to deliver pizza now. And they are worried about their extremely expensive car, expensive house, the pair of jet skis in the garage gathering dust, and the kids in their expensive private schools...really. So before going into debt blowing through the retirement cash, they never thought, and still don't think it is worth it to sell the car, house, or jet ski's, or putting the kids in public school. And this guy is hoping for a few big breaks that he can ride...back. He is in denial and unwilling to admit his life has changed radically. That is pathetic.

Also we have the public resignation from AIG...AIU now. They exec is upset. He got picked on by the boss and by Congress. How unfair. His division worked, and made money. Sure the whole company nearly collapsed, but he wants his money. Sure in other businesses and for other workers, a loss of benefits or pay is expected (see the unions), but not him. What galls me more about his 1 buck a year salary, compensated by the bonus he gets of 750 grand. Isn't this what the rich do to avoid taxes? Take a buck, to get out of income tax and protect their actual income. And he is complaining about his victim hood.

Yeesch. Just yeesch.

The media and its questions

Following on the press conference last night it is interesting to reflect on how the media handled the little outing.

The NYT...

The president was "not...fiery and inspirational," write Peter Baker and Adam Nagourney in the morning NYT. "Placid and unsmiling, he was the professor in chief, offering familiar arguments in long paragraphs -- often introduced with the phrase, 'as I said before' -- sounding like the teacher speaking in the stillness of a classroom where students are restlessly waiting for the ring of the bell.

"This was Mr. Obama as more enervating than energizing."

In one Baker-Nagourney sentence, even a compliment is only a prologue to a dig that, come to think of it, might help explain why they're so petulant:
He showed his usual comfort with a wide array of subjects, even as he
excluded the nation's big newspapers from the questioning in favor of a more
eclectic mix.

My italics but their pique. Take that, Barack Obama, you pompous pedagogue, stringing together whole sentences and indeed paragraphs as if Americans were entitled to hear a line of reasoning. Take that if you dare to exclude "the nation's big newspapers" even as they prove less big every day.

FOX's Brett Baier's first impression of President Obama's National Press Conference after telling us how long it was and how many questions he took was to cut to a shot of the massive screen in the back and middle of the room and he said that Obama read his opening statement there. Wow. Did the media focus on President Bush's use of the teleprompter, ever?

Critics say Obama relies too heavily on his teleprompter. As Politico notes:

"Obama's reliance on the teleprompter is unusual -- not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small."
They make an interesting point, why would a president want to be prepared and careful about what he says? The guy who had the job for the last eight years didn't need no stinkin' teleprompter!
Charles K thought Obama was workmanlike.

As usual BillO had on Karl Rove for some crackling FOX News analysis, even though he's one of the men responsible for the mess this country faces. He said President Obama just mailed it in.

Bill, as I predicted, was just so bored by it all. Karl said he was an arrogant guy...

Chuck Todd Apparently Thinks Americans Haven't Suffered Enough

Here is what I thought was one of the more infuriating moments of last night's press conference. Chuck Todd with this doozie:
Todd: Some have compared this financial crisis to a war and in times of war past Presidents have called for some form of sacrifice. Some of your programs whether main street or Wall Street have actually cushioned the blow for those that were irresponsible during this economic period of prosperity, supposed prosperity that you were talking about. Why, given this new era of responsibility that you're asking for why haven't you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?
Really, Chuck Todd? You're joking, right? If you had asked what he should have asked Wall Street to sacrifice, that would have been one thing. But the public? Unbelievable.


Probably the funniest and saddest moment from the press conference last night: President Obama's response to Ed Henry's 'gotcha' question.
Henry: Why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage? It seems like the action is coming out of New York and the Attorney General's office. It took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say look we're outraged. Why did it....

Obama: Look it took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak. Alright?
Apparently Henry wasn't satisfied when he didn't respond to the question the first time around. ...
Alex Castellanos: Tonight You Saw the First Hint of a President Who Could Be a One Termer

Yes, a right wing hack who hasn't seen too low a blow yet against an opponent thinks the president looks testy.

First the President was too serious on the economy, then the media screams he is too glib for cracking a single joke. He is too cool to some, now that he didn't care for frivolous questions he's loosing it.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I'm outta heres

Time to take some Spring Break time off in ole England. Hopefully I will return a bit saner.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Thanks Vatican

Well in the wake of the horrible rape of a 9 year old in Brazil, the Church threatened and warned those that might seek to end a pregnancy that came to be because of it. This disturbed many.

Now that an abortion has happen. The Church decided to pass out the old papal pink slips.
Excommunications for everybody! So now everyone that has acted to help this small child in the wake of her rape are being given the grandest of punishments. May I remind you this is the church that just re embraced a holocaust denier and hides pedophiles in there midst.

Thankfully, the president of Brazil is ticked. Nice to see more willingness in leaders in South America stand up to bullying from the Vatican. One can only hope it is a trend.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

History and hysterics

Crooks and Liars offers a useful reminder for the day (and a nice cartoon). Obama and the plan for the economy are taking a lot of flak.

But it is nothing that Roosevelt didn't have to deal with in his time.
With the endless drone of hate and vitriol spilling out of last weeks CPAC cabal, it's comforting (somewhat) to realize the amped-up hysteria and whining is just what history does, and does over and over. It's never civilized, it's never constructive and it is always based on fear and paranoia.


A nice reminder to all of us. And I do love some old cartoons from the day.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Let's call the whole thing off.

Former Senator Coleman seems determined to retain his seat. He tried to call off a recount, he's tried to reshape the recount, and then he tried to sue his way back in. None of that worked, so now he wants a do over.

Coleman Continues To Cast Doubt On Election Result

Coleman Lawyer Floats New Possibility To Judges: Throwing Out The Election

The recount was a burden on the citizens of the state, but now he wants a truly major expense.

Franken Lawyers To Court: Throwing Out The Election Is Not A Legal Option

Monday, March 02, 2009

Explainin' Religion

I forgot MacFarlane was doing these shorts online. Watch as dad explains monkey God and monkey Jesus.

Mettle of their Steele

It is funny to see how quickly Republican leaders bend their knees before Rush Limbaugh...actually it is sad. It used to be a joke, that the RNC lived in fearful obedience. Not it is just them that are the joke.

Now it's Steele, leader of the RNC, which is an adjunct of The Rush Limbaugh Show.

He actually challenged Rush's words and attitude. Kind of like how he talked up embracing new voters and outsiders, like homosexuals.

Then Limbaugh reacted. Limbaugh blasts GOP party head Steele, questions why any Republican would ever give a dime to the RNC.

But TPM saw what was coming. Another Ritual Mea Culpa Coming?

Then reality hit him, like with gay rights, he ran back to the base.

Steele caves, apologizes to GOP party chair Rush Limbaugh

Steele Apologizes To Limbaugh, Praises His Leadership

Steele's Re-Education Complete!

Steele Reports To The Politburo

This is the RNC, and the true voice of Conservatism. How sad.