Friday, May 22, 2009

Right Wing Radio's Waterloo: "ABSOLUTELY TORTURE"

This is the Chicago shock jock, Mancow Muller, who once called President Obama a Muslim, and who has incessantly shouted the right wing (radio) mantra that waterboarding is not torture. Well, the tables were turned on the shock jock when he was subjected to an all too brief shock of his own: TORTURE.

At least Mancow was honest enough (I was going to say man enough, but he's not so big or manly, hell he's a winger) to admit the truth, having experienced it. He lasted less than SIX seconds; I counted FOUR. Too bad. In the back of my mind I wanted the winger's torture to last longer than their average premature ejaculations. Oh well.

Mancow Waterboarded, Admits It's Torture

"It is way worse than I thought it would be"


And so it went Friday morning when WLS radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller decided to subject himself to the controversial practice of waterboarding live on his show.

Mancow decided to tackle the divisive issue head on -- actually it was head down, while restrained and reclining.

"I want to find out if it's torture," Mancow told his listeners Friday morning, adding that he hoped his on-air test would help prove that waterboarding did not, in fact, constitute torture.

"The average person can take this for 14 seconds," Marine Sergeant Clay South answered, adding, "He's going to wiggle, he's going to scream, he's going to wish he never did this."

With a Chicago Fire Department paramedic on hand, Mancow was placed on a 7-foot long table, his legs were elevated, and his feet were tied up.

Turns out the stunt wasn't so funny. Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop. He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds.

"It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke,"Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."

"I wanted to prove it wasn't torture," Mancow said. "They cut off our heads, we put water on their face...I got voted to do this but I really thought 'I'm going to laugh this off.' "

Last year, Vanity Fair writer Christopher Hitchens endured the same experiment -- and came to a similar conclusion. The conservative writer said he found the treatment terrifying, and was haunted by it for months afterward.

"Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture," Hitchens concluded in the article.

POSTCRIPT: Keith Olbermann who had offered to donate $1,000 for every second Sean Hannity endured waterboarding withdrew his offer after Mancow had the "guts" to go through with it. Mancow's program contacted KO as to whether the offer was still on the table, and the answer was YES. Olbermann has donated $10,000 to a charity for military families in the radio shock jock's name (the winger with a smidgeon of guts). GOOD MAN, Keith.

Is Dick Cheney the Most Hideously Traitorous VEEP since Aaron Burr?

Worse, I'd say. At least Burr was a better shot.

Dick Cheney’s speech yesterday was filled with so many lies that it would be impossible to name them all in context in this limited space. But here’s a start.

My favorite reaction to Cheney's speech came from former CIA analyst, Jack White:

"He beat the CIA for year after year like a PiƱata, and then all of a sudden he's going to become their champion?!?"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No we can't! No we can't!

Beer tax on tap for health care?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers in the United States may have to hand over nearly $2 more for a case of beer to help provide health insurance for all.

Details of the proposed beer tax are described in a Senate Finance Committee document that will be used to brief lawmakers Wednesday at a closed-door meeting.

Taxes on wine and hard liquor would also go up. And there might be a new tax on soda and other sugary drinks blamed for contributing to obesity. No taxes on diet drinks, however.

Beer taxes would go up by 48 cents a six-pack, wine taxes would rise by 49 cents per bottle, and the tax on hard liquor would increase by 40 cents per fifth. Proceeds from the new taxes would help cover an estimated 50 million uninsured Americans.

Science and Bad Movies

Tom Hanks was on The Daily Show last night to talk about Angels and Demons, and the discussion into the science of antimatter was, not to put too fine a point on it, excruciating. I now know not to ask Tom Hanks or Jon Stewart any physics questions.

I must correct the scientific record - I think it's in my contract or something.

What actually happens is that the amount of antimatter that is created is very small (it's a bunch of antiprotons, and they're smaller than 10^-15 meters across), and it needs to be held in a magnetic field to remain stable - it actually moves around a storage ring at very high speeds. The explosions that the antiprotons make when they collide with protons wouldn't really be visible at all, since none of the particles they create are large enough to see and they don't emit light in the visible range. The detectors that we use to see the products of the collision are huge, expensive, and very complicated. You couldn't walk around with a vial of antimatter, because you need something to generate the magnetic field to hold the antiprotons away from so-called normal matter.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A delightful Sean Hannity Ass-Kicking

Kudos Jesse Ventura!

And in this corner...

We have Randy Rossi of Grayslake, Illinois. This constitutional scholar demonstrated his brilliance to the world this morning in the local paper, lamenting how, with regard to poor little Miss California, that "[w]e didn't hear from the ACLU defending her rights to her personal opinion."

Randy, here's a tip for you. Don't wast any time waiting for the phone to ring with news of one of those "genius grants."

THE ACLU??? Why would they get involved? Where have her civil rights been violated? Was she arrested? No. Was her speech suppressed in any way by state action? Of course not. She has a right to be heard without government interference and we have the right to say that there is little difference between her bust size and her IQ. And Randy, before embarrassing yourself in public, turn off Fox News, brush up on some basic civics and

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nancy Pelosi the Target of Right Wing Sexism

It comes as no surprise that sexism is alive and well in the male-dominated worlds of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, right wing radio, and Fox-Lite wannabes like CNN. (Shame on MSNBC for joining this lineup.) What's really disgusting is the ferocity of the attacks. At least, President Obama's election has had the salutary effect of unmasking the true nature of the right wing mullahs. Sunlight, as they say, is the best disinfectant.

One wonders what those hard-edged, coiffed women working at Fox think about this, above and beyond the daily indignities they suffer, along with all working women. They're either sublimely hypocritical opportunists like Greta Van Susteren, who prefers the legal beat but toes the party line on politics, or the vacuous, vaguely ideological 'Stepford' blonde anchors favored by Murdoch and Ailes.

Beauty pageants are fertile launching pads for women seeking a right wing career path: Sarah Palin was a Miss Alaska runner-up, and just recently Miss California got her big shot on Fox and Friends, standing in for a former Miss America.

By the way, Carrie Prejean was not criticized for her views against gay marriage -- she has the right to free speech -- but rather for breaking pageant rules, lying about past indiscretions, and lending her name to a political activist group engaged in defeating gay marriage. So her Profile in Hypocrisy is a perfect match for Faux News, isn't it?

Whether or not Nancy Pelosi has had Botox injections or a facelift (hell, Joe Biden has very bad hair plugs) is irrelevant to her position. Nancy Pelosi is not a participant in a beauty contest seeking a political or media position; she earned her place as the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in our nation's history.

One gets the distinct impression that these wingers were just chomping at the bit for the first opportunity to launch sexist attacks on Pelosi. It's so hard for conservative white males to go against their nature. They're an endangered species (thanks be to the Goddess!), but they have served notice they will not go quietly into the night.

Time to change our SOX?

No, not the White or Red Sox, but what we in my line of work refer to as "SOX"--the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

This was a huge and somewhat hastily-passed piece of legislation to deal with the Enron, WorldCom, etc. scandals (ah, it was such a simpler time when companies merely engaged in "creative accounting" rather than turning Wall Street into a giant financial casino.) Well, today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear (in legalese, granted a petition for certiorari) a challenge to a key part of that act, the establishment and empowering of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

The legal points are somewhat obtuse, dealing with the constitutional "appointments clause." But let's be serious for a moment. The groups funding this (headed by our old pal Ken Starr) don't give a damn about accounting regulation and oversight. They want to overturn the entire Sarbanes-Oxley Act, with its corporate accountability provisions.

Granting cert means that 4 justices wanted to hear it (hmmm, Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia?). SO the fate of financial regulation in America rests on--Mr. Swing Vote, Justice Kennedy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Your Armchair Movie Critic

If you liked the book, you'll hate the movie. If you didn't read the book, you will be underwhelmed by the movie.