Thursday, June 02, 2011

Beautiful Images From A Dying Planet Worth Saving: The Arctic Light

This was filmed between 29th April and 10th May 2011 in the Arctic, on the archipelago Lofoten in Norway.

My favorite natural phenomenon is one I do not even know the name of, even after talking to meteorologists and astrophysicists I am none the wiser.What I am talking about I have decided to call The Arctic Light and it is a natural phenomenon occurring 2-4 weeks before you can see the Midnight Sun.

The Sunset and Sunrise are connected in one magnificent show of color and light lasting from 8 to 12 hours. The sun is barely going below the horizon before coming up again. This is the most colorful light that I know, and the main reason I have been going up there for the last 4 years, at the exact same time of year, to photograph.
~ From the Norwegian landscape photographer TSO, who is a passionate landscape and video photographer since 2006.

Progressives Target NH Republican With Medicare Ad

This is what the GOP/Tea Party MONSTERS who voted to KILL Medicare have to look forward to from now till election day. Progressives started running this powerful ad in New Hampshire against Rep. Charlie Bass for his KILL-Medicare vote. You can run for the hills, you ratbastards, but you can't hide; we're coming for you and we will flip the House back to Democratic control.
TPM obtained results from a Public Policy Polling (D) survey conducted for PCCC/DFA this week. The poll of 534 likely voters in Bass' 2nd Congressional District shows voters there are not happy with Bass' support for the Ryan plan.

Just 25% say they approve of Bass' vote for the Ryan budget, as the progressive groups described it ("end the federal Medicare program as it exists today, and turn it into a voucher system where seniors are forced to buy private insurance.") An overwhelming majority, 64%, said they disapproved. The poll has a margin of error of 4.2%.

National polls have shown similarly broad disapproval of the Ryan plan with more neutral wording.

The PPP numbers suggest Bass is vulnerable to the same kind of ads that helped seal the win for Democrats in the New York special. The progressive groups aren't waiting around -- they're taking on Bass now, more than a year before the next election. The TV ad began on Thursday with a $25,000 run that will see it aired on broadcast and cable throughout New Hampshire.

To Be A Great Journalist Today, You Must Be Wonkishly Geeky ...

Here's what sets Rachel apart from the pack: The DEFINITIVE Anthony Weiner interview:

And here's the famous Leaning Tower of Weiner pic ... less than totemic. But even Lawrence would enthusiastically claim it to be "his" if only to impress Stephanie. (It's OK; she's cool with the joke.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TEA PARTY Remedial Ed: This Is What DEMOCRACY — 101 Looks Like

Yeah, I know, the Tea Party is moribund. But you never can tell with these ZOMBIES ... They have a way of rising up from the dead. So gather round, Teabaggers, I've got a little story to tell you:

You know all that stuff you read about our Founding Fathers (most of it lies and distortions, but we'll leave it be) that when government becomes "tyrannical" you have the right to petition your government for redress or, as you like to say, "I want my country back! Waaaaaahhhhh!!!"

Well, in the great state of Wisconsin, way before you enjoyed all the privileges government affords you today, e.g., Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, a group of idealistic "progressives" (you might call them liberals, or socialists, or Democrats, or even ... progressives(!) today) got together and decided they had to protect the people, common folks like you and me, from an abusive or "tyrannical" government. They also carried around copies of the U.S. Constitution but, unlike you, actually and fully understood what all the provisions in our governing document meant. This Bob LaFollette story from 1911 could have been written today:
"The greatest menace to competition at the present time is the control of credit and the concentration of money in the hands of those who control the trusts."
They enacted a law whereby elected state officials, from the governor to legislators to judges, could be recalled by the people in special elections if it was found they had committed grievous wrongs against their electoral mandate and the state and federal constitutions. All that was required was a sufficient number of citizens in said district(s) to agree by signing recall petitions.

Guess what, Teabaggers. After the short and tumultuous Scott Walker reign as king of Wisconsin, shoving through successive bills to strip public employee unions of their bargaining power while cutting taxes for his business cronies and making up the difference off the hides of Wisconsinites, not only did the Democratic 14 senators, aka The Wisconsin 14, revolt to deny him a quorum, but so did the people. In massive demonstrations 100,000 strong, the largest ever in the state's history, Wisconsinites rose up to protest Walker's dictatorial extremism. And then, not only was the union-stripping bill declared unconstitutional, but the demonstrations were followed through with GRASSROOTS (it was ALL grassroots) statewide drives to recall the Republican senators who voted against the unions.

The results are in, and they are TRULY STUNNING AND HISTORIC: Despite being outspent by factors of three or four to one (same as in NY-26) by Koch brothers money — the same jackals who are bankrolling your little dress-up adventures, Teabagger TOOLS — the people's campaign to recall the Republican-controlled Wisconsin senate delivered and has had certified SIX RECALL PETITIONS, THREE MORE THAN THE NUMBER OF RECALL ELECTIONS NEEDED TO FLIP THE WISCONSIN SENATE BACK TO THE DEMOCRATS. The Republican efforts, once again bankrolled by the Koch brothers, with illegal scams like trading shots of liquor for signatures, delivered EXACTLY ZERO PETITIONS TO RECALL DEMOCRATS.

Let this be a signal lesson to YOU, Teabaggers, about (a) what a pathetic, despicable fraud it is for you to represent yourselves as a grassroots movement; and (b) WHAT REAL GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE. We're taking our country back, Teabaggers, from the TYRANTS who wrested the statehouses from the people on false pretenses. In Florida, Tea Party governor Rick Scott is at 29% approval; rest assured, he's a one-term disaster; in Ohio, John Kasich's approval has taken a similar nosedive and a recall petition is underway; and in Wisconsin, Walker stands at 39% approval, with a recall petition looming. Polls indicate he would lose to the Democrat, any Democrat, in a landslide if they had an election do-over today.

Come election day, you'll have a decision to make, Teabaggers: Either stand with the people, or allow the corporate jackals to continue pulling your strings. It's not only something as lofty and inchoate as your country that's at stake — it's YOUR Social Security and Medicare, too.

Sarah Palin Does "Apocalypse Now"

All you movie buffs out there — Remember this famous, seminal scene from Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece, Apocalypse Now...? Chris will know:

Well, if you can believe it, here is Sarah Palin's take on one of film's most memorable lines. Was it by design? Who knows. The woman is like a pop culture sponge, a street theater performance ... artist?!? AAAaargh!

SLUTS, Writ Large: If You're Gonna Write/Whine About Misogyny, First Understand What IT Means

When Big Eddie essentially suspended himself for ten days from MSNBC to satisfy the sluts at NBC corporate for his referring to wingnut hate radio host Laura Ingraham as a "slut" and a "media slut"— which is a variation on the venerable "media whore" used to describe the media cancer, which has metastasized from a once healthy watchdog for the people to shilling for corporations and special interests — I personally felt what Ed said was quite offensive to all the decent sluts of good character I've known in my day. And I must say, they would most likely take offense at being compared to the revolting Laura Ingraham, with that nasal whine of hers that sounds like the plaintive tones of a sea lion in heat. (Can you imagine living with your own personal air raid siren?)

Of course, the wingnut media worked itself into a lather over this, digging for "a pattern of invective" on Big Eddie's part. To be a wingnut is to be cluelessly unironic and genuinely surprised and confused when a liberal slides off the rope-a-dope and strikes back with a combination body blow and left hook to their glass jaws. They crumple and whine a lot. It's really unseemly when guttersnipes dish out the invective 24/7 but can't take a hit. Unmacho too, which explains the "manly man" braggadocio from Laura's misogynistic pals. But these are the same folks, like our bud Poor Jeff over at the DC frat house, who consider BIG infrastructure projects such as Hoover Dam — featured in one of Rachel's promos for a return to "can-do" American greatness — as so much "Americana" relegated to the yard sales of the American spirit, a relic of a once great past. But thinking conservatives (they do exist) are appalled by the wingnut "meme" to sell off our assets to pay off our debt.

David Frum offers us a tortured defense of nonprivatization based on practicalities, with a complicated discussion of what constitutes "value." For liberals, it's very simple: Selling off  to the highest bidder (China?) what defines our greatness and our history, what must be nurtured and preserved, is tantamount to treason. Part of the American ethos is, when times are tough, we hold on to those things that define us as a people. One is our history. Another is the vast expanse of public lands set aside by act of Teddy Roosevelt, one of our greatest and most visionary presidents, as America's patrimony for future infinite generations of Americans to enjoy. Our history and our land are bound together in the greatness of what America is. They are not for sale.

Meanwhile, countries like Brazil and China are cleaning our clocks when it comes to infrastructure projects that will maximize their economic growth potential. Recently, Brazil moved to limit sales of its farmlands to foreign interests, China in particular. In fact, Brazil's leftist government has "edged closer to the United States" in its growing unease over China's neo-colonialist designs on its farmlands and the increasingly dependent economic relationship this has wrought:
While visiting China last month, Brazil’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, emphasized the need to sell higher-value products to China, and she has edged closer to the United States. “It is not by accident that there is a sort of effort to revalue the relationship with the United States,” said Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “China exposes Brazil’s vulnerabilities more than any other country in the world.”
No, I haven't strayed off-topic; only expanded the definition of "slut" to include examples of capitalist sluts — Chinese speculators — who own large portions of America's debt and hustle Brazil's economy with a quickie fix in exchange for its long-term assets and wealth. The ruling right wing elites who own much of our wealth and now seek total control of the government(s) —states, too — of the United States are more closely aligned to these Chinese speculators than to our own people and government. They would like nothing better than to sell off our national assets to the highest bidder — China, Russia whatever — as long as they make a buck. They have already devastated our industrial base, and would have allowed the Detroit Big Three automakers to go under, if not for the forceful intervention of the Obama administration. Today, our troubled automakers are resurgent and Chrysler has paid off its debt to the American government years ahead of schedule. The taxpayers actually made money on interest earned. And the partnership between business and unions was key to Detroit's rise like the Phoenix from the ashes of annihilation.

The Republican Party has been overrun by a radical, right wing element, the transnational capitalist sluts who would sell our patrimony to the highest bidder. Some thoughtful conservatives recognize the threat but are incapable of stopping it. Otherwise "reasonable" Republicans in government have become zombies of a sort — terrified of being "primaried" by Teabagger zealots — which lands them in the Crazies Zone and pretzel-twist contradictions on everything from the debt ceiling to governing rather than posturing for their money masters.

The radio media sluts Big Eddie spoke about, which includes Ms Ingraham, are the very well paid shills for this right wing element, whose ultimate loyalty is not to America but to the unencumbered movement of billions in investment funds overseas, with the warp speed of a gazillion electronic Bytes. These are the monuments the Right pays homage to, not the idyllic "Americana" concrete and steel monuments built during the FDR administration, when large government projects contributed not only to lifting us out of the Great Depression but to an unparalleled age of prosperity and growth for the Middle Class, one whose downward spiral fault line is traced to the election of Ronald Reagan.

Not surprisingly, Ingraham's reply to Big Eddie's heartfelt apology was a snarky rejoinder plugging the latest of her worthless books:
“Re. the crude comments made about me by Ed Schultz on his radio program: First, I was surprised to learn that Ed Schultz actually hosted a radio show. Is it only available online? Second, I have to get back to recording the audio edition of my new book “Of Thee I Zing.” Now I’m tempted to insert one additional zing–about men who preach civility but practice misogyny.”
First of all, Laura, you must be familiar with the old adage "sticks and stones may break my bones (but words will never hurt me)." It's your stock-in-trade: the "zinger." I don't recall you protesting the misogyny — i.e., hatred of women — of your colleagues, Beck and Linbaugh and Levin and Hannity and O'Reilly and, etc. (Oh, I get it now: As long as men don't "preach civility" it's okay to be hateful misogynists ... boys will be boys, right Laura? By this nonstandard, your colleagues are exempt.) But even worse, you've been woefully silent, along with most women on the right, on the GOP's war on women — from raising taxes to make women's access to health services more difficult, including abortion, to cutting programs that impact poor women and children in particular. This is real, legislative misogyny — not simply a well-meant insult hurled in a radio show. Where are you on this, Laura? Silence is consent. Considering your recent bout with breast cancer, you would deny less fortunate women the life-saving cancer screenings that saved yours.

Big Eddie, a mysogynist? Please. He's a happily married dude with six kids. So he made a mistake and let his mouth get ahead of his brain. It's a common affliction of wingnuts. Rachel will school you on the facts of life, Laura, you S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-hit for brains!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remember The Paul Ryan Tossing Granny Over The Cliff Ad? (Scroll Down)

The Idiot Puditocracy was "shocked," SHOCKED, I say, even as they replayed it several times. Which was GOOD. Well, apparently these Beltway idiots were too busy being shocked by graphic demonstrations of the TRUTH to cover the REAL-LIFE application of Republican policies to savage our seniors.  DO YOUR JOBS, MEDIA RATBASTARDS!

What's More Disgusting: Sarah Palin Or The Breathless Media Coverage She Attracts?

Sarah Palin's pathological self-promotion, co-opting the biker event in D.C. for her own narcissistic purposes, is just the latest in this sociopath's attention-craving stunts. The woman is truly repulsive. But what's most disgusting about her America-the-Stupid it's all about me campaign is the cottage industry of politics as celebrity entertainment fake "journalists" spawned by Mama Grizzly to cover her fake ... whatever self-promotion she's into next. Most of these fake "journalists" are fawning young women, breathlessly reporting on the "optics" and "cosmetics" (Media Pundictocracy buzzwords) of Palinworld. Almost to a person they breathlessly repeat the mantra that they "think" she's "running." And none of them have the vaguest notion of, or foundation in, American politics, history, and civics, which was how a cub reporter used to land such assignments back when the press was called the Fourth Estate. (What is it now?)

The Idiot Punditocracy has weighed in on the fake presidential aspirant's campaign and her evil twin from Iowa: "Tension between the camps," they say ... Oooh, this is really REALLY momentous "news." Can it get any shallower than this? Just get out of our face, Sarah, you sick, stupid, sociopathic narcissist. And take your little media acolytes and sycophants with you. Go to Alaska or Afghanistan, why don't you. Siberia, Chernobyl?


Beware fellow Americans. In case you haven't noticed, the CRAZIES have taken over the asylum. (Of course you have, once Paul 'Eddie Munster' Ryan terrorized the nation with his 'plan' to KILL MEDICARE.) After weeks of constituent pummeling over Ryan's "radical right wing social engineering" followed by the stunning Democratic victory in New York District 26 — since the 1800s an ironclad Republican stronghold — the GOP Beltway MUNSTERS still don't get it. Actually they do, but the Beltway MUNSTERS are pushing the line this is all a "messaging" issue ... So Paulie Munster gets out there with a Powerpoint presentation akin to the ones given by political hack and chief GOP propagandist, Michael Steele. His multimedia BULLSHIT must have impressed Marbles Mouth corporate, who hired him as an MSNBC "political analyst," hence ruining the network's tenuous grasp of progressive programming in its inexorable progression toward CNN-ization. MSNBC now has its Alex Castellanos.

Speaking of NBC and Idiot Punditocracy GOP tool David Gregory, did anyone notice that in Mitch McConnell's Sunday shows appearance (was it with Gregory, as usual for GOP leadership? ... I couldn't tell) he used the Obama campaign slogan "change" rather than END or KILL Medicare, which should have been Gregory's and the rest of his Idiot Punditocracy Beltway Media comrades' responsibility to correctly characterize what the Ryan plan to KILL MEDICARE would do? I alluded to it in this blog — how Gregory literally put talking points in Newt's mouth, including the highly misleading euphemism for KILL, "change"— but they couldn't have picked up on it here, since no one in those circles of HELL reads this blog (do they?) ... Still, it's aggravating to see the Gregorys of this world handing some McConnell Frank Luntzite factotum their Sunday talking point on Medicare: "Oh ... the Republicans are only going to change it." That's like saying the climate change tornado that tore through Joplin, MO claiming dozens, maybe hundreds, of lives ... "changed" the town's landscape. Just in time for the boss's appearance on Meet The Press. Remember, the Republican plan to KILL MEDICARE will KILL THOUSANDS OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS. David Gregory is a disgrace to journalism. Such as it is.

McConnell revealed the Republicans' new strategy in their war on the American people, which aims to destroy Medicare and Social Security: They're doubling down. They're not retreating from their Stalingrad, AKA, NY-26. McConnell's high-stakes poker game is to hold us, the American people, hostage to their radical schemes by linking any vote to raise the debt ceiling with deep cuts in Medicare. This requires leadership and spine from Democrats, to stand firm with 80 percent of the American people, and the message-vote from NY-26 that Medicare and Social Security are OFF THE TABLE. Here we go again.

In the meantime, Paul Ryan is thrilled to have gotten the most sought-after endorsement for any Republican — from the Lord of Darkness, Satan's Consigliere himself: