Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

So Long, Levon

The Band's great drummer/singer Levon Helm died today. He will be missed. Here he is performing his signature song,
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down:

Now I don't mind chopping wood
And I don't care if my money's no good
You take what you need and you leave the rest
But they should never have taken
The very best.

RIP, Levon.

American Exceptionalism: Our Military Continue Being EXPENDABLE Human Guinea Pigs

Back in February, Lawrence O'Donnell hosted an MSNBC documentary on the tainted water supply at Camp Lejeune, NC, which poisoned Marines and their families causing death and disease to those exposed to the toxins. Today, there are alarming reports of the widespread contamination of our seafood around the BP Gulf oil spill, covered up by corporate LIES in slick advertisements of happy people eating scrumptious video-enhanced Louisiana seafood, as if nothing had happened. The depravity, the immorality of this culture of corporate-profits-at-any-cost which sweeps under the rug, behind slick surreal advertising LIES, the toxic effects of ingesting tainted seafood is nothing short of appalling.

What good is the mounting evidence of academic studies if the oil and gas behemoths have the power to suppress a proactive response by purchasing government to prevent action that protects the people's health and regulates the safety of our food supply? Why should it take a foreign news organization, Al Jazeera, to report in detail on Gulf seafood deformities? But this AP report takes the cake: "Despite sales dropping precipitously following the spill, the Gulf's seafood industry was given a boost after the government's Defense Commissary Agency began selling Gulf seafood products on 72 East Coast military bases in early 2011." How different is this from the criminal neglect for the health and safety of our military personnel through their direct exposure to radiation from atomic test blasts in the 1950s? It's not as if the effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs weren't known by then.

Our government can no longer claim ignorance of the Camp Lejeune contaminated water or of the deliberate, profit-driven exposure of our troops to tainted seafood. This is what happens under criminal corporate-Republican government when they gut and defund the agencies responsible for regulating the safety of the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. It is SHAMEFUL and CRIMINAL. American exceptionalism. Indeed.


CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER to the Huffington Post for its pioneering Pulitzer Prize, a recognition of excellence in online journalism, come of age. The Huff Post's Pulitzer was won the old-fashioned way: for national reporting in a 10-part series on returning war veterans. As for the POLITICO Pulitzer, awarded for editorial cartooning, congratulations to the talented artist, Matt Wuerker. Is it just me, or is there a certain perverse, amusing logic in that the first Pulitzer awarded to the publication of record of the laugh-a-minute Beltway Media and its cable "news" frontispiece, the IDIOT PUNDITOCRACY, should go to its outstanding political cartoonist?

This is not to denigrate political, or editorial, cartooning. It is a venerable ingredient of journalism, often carrying the entire organization, like its star franchise player, or the "straw that stirs the drink" at your favorite DC watering hole, if you will. Somehow, I've got to believe that Matt Wuerker has found himself the dream creative environment for producing "his consistently fresh, funny cartoons, especially memorable for lampooning the partisan conflict that engulfed Washington." If only he could lampoon his colleagues, too. Those cartoons must be stowed away in a secure vault for future publication once he is free of the John Harris gravitational pull. It's a small, insular, incestuous world, is the Beltway Media.

You can smile now, Maggie. It's okay. Really, it is. We know you're no idiot; a serious journalist through and through. If they ever award a Pulitzer for political punditry, you'll be at the top of my list for being earnestly funny in your unwavering quest for seriousness of purpose. Along with Jonathan Capehart, whose fussy sartorial elegance and honest "PostPartisan" blogging take the inside track for Zeitgeist irony, and chutzpah.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Alex Wags Lets Wingnut FRACK On Carole King's Moment

SOME NO-NAME PUDGY WINGNUT — COSTA, Portuguese surname, OTÁRIO da direita! — had the audacity to FRACK on the Alex show, in plain sight of the DIVINE Ms Carole King: "Republicans have the upper hand ... But on shale, on FRACKING, and on the Keystone pipeline, I think they have some real political points to score against the President, who has been boxed into a corner by environmentalists ..."

EARTH TO ALEX: your response was totally INADEQUATE. Wingnuts are incredibly devious in their use of language as propaganda. How could you let fatso pork chop get away with the "FRACKING" reference, and not immediately challenge it, Alex?! It's infuriating.

The Costa OTÁRIO sings the praises of FRACKING to a wide-eyed Carole King sitting in stunned silence while Alex replies with jaw-rattling *CRICKETS* ... Well, Alex rallied somewhat, a day late, fiercely defending Dick Lugar from the Teabagger infestation {eye-roll}, calling the GROTESQUE ROCK FASCIST Ted Nugent a silly name {etc.}, and this time correcting another wingnut who claimed Americans aren't concerned about income inequality ... WOW! Fortunately, there's Carole King to tell us in song what happens when FRACKING comes to town — for the romantic in Robert 'OTÁRIO' Costa:


TODAY AT THE "BIG A." Even after blowing the turn THE THINKER proved to be the class of the field, winning for fun over his hapless opponents. So we only paid $2.80 to win. Sorry, no longshots in this stable. Nothing but class. Yes, of course I had a WIN bet on this horse!

THE THINKER Takes No Prisoners, Makes Mincemeat of Opposition.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chris Ventures Way Down South of The Rio Grande ...

FINDS ENLIGHTENMENT AND POSSIBLE "STUNNED" REDEMPTION. Why quibble with our friend (I mean it!) Chris Matthews, who is always open and willing to learn. Okay, so maybe he mixed up his Americas ... "I just returned from Colombia, in the heart of Central America" ... Um Chris, FYI, here's a map of Central America:

See the gray area down at the bottom, bordering the southernmost country in Central America, Panama (in purple), Chris? That's Colombia, and it is located in South America. By the way, you should also know that "Americans" are referred to in South America as "North Americans" or "norte-americanos" as distinct from "South Americans." But, really, we are all one big, happy, united family of "Americans."
Central America (Spanish: América Central or Centroamérica) is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent. Central America consists of the seven states of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Central America is part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which extends from northern Guatemala through central Panama. It is bordered by Mexico to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, the North Pacific Ocean to the west, and Colombia to the south-east.
And here's how Chris's enlightened colleagues in the Beltway Media view a map of the world (kidding, maybe). In case anyone wonders why I should refer to these narcissistic IDIOTS (besides the obvious, whenever they open their mouths) as the IDIOT PUNDITOCRACY:

So here's Chris, back from his excellent adventure to South America. It was nice of Chris to mention to President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil that the Colossus of South America, with a population of 200 million, whose beauty prompts Brazilians to claim "God is Brazilian" has this year surpassed the UK as the world's sixth economy. Nice soccer reference, too, to archrivals Argentina, known good-naturedly in Brazil as "Los Hermanos." It is such an intense century-old sports rivalry that in the more than 100 international matches between the two countries, Brazil and Argentina are practically even-steven in number of victories, with only a slight edge going to Brazil.

It should be noted that while Chris was most impressed by the "centrist" president of Colombia (he can't help it, harkening back to when Chris was a Goldwater Republican), South America's booming democracies are driven by governments of the left — the few center-right outliers being Colombia, Peru, and, arguably Chile (following the leftist government of Michele Bachelet, who was tortured by Henry Kissinger's Frankenstein, the monster Gen. Augusto Pinochet). The others, Mexico and El Salvador, ahem ... are in North and Central America. While Chris might be "stunned" by the Latin American democracies' commitment to openness and free markets, to bringing people up from the bottom — the "base of the pyramid"— this is the very cornerstone of progressive politics.

 Surprise, surprise, Chris. Once the beacon of freedom and democracy, America is lurching backward toward turn-of-the-19th Century income inequality and genuine oligarchy, proposing a transfer of wealth from the bottom to the very stratified top, cloaked in a mythical ideology that has never worked and when applied in the real world has failed catastrophically. By contrast, the democracies of South America represent the results-oriented creed of liberal, progressive politics, which has always worked in the real world to promote the greater good and growing prosperity for all peoples. The principles of American democracy and the U.S. Constitution are under siege by the right wing and the Republican Party — the new oligarchy — but are alive and well in South America. Vibrantly so.

Yet, Chris wouldn't be Chris without stubborn adherence to old, reactionary notions, once again referring to tiny Cuba, with a population about the size of New York City, as the "BIG non-democracy down there." Typical U.S. bully lingo reflecting the calcified attitudes of old Cold Warriors in the Cuban-American community, the most privileged "immigrants" in America. By any measure of comparison among the wider Latino community and outside our borders, Cuban-Americans are inordinately influential beyond their actual numbers. They hold the key to Florida presidential politics. One might even say that Cuban-Americans are the closest thing to a special interest community with corporate privileges as "corporations are people" that have so distorted our politics following the Citizens United decision. Florida's Cuban-American community is a perfect example of the "tail wagging the dog"— in which provincial presidential politics trumps wider United States regional, geopolitical and Latin American policy interests.

Chris claims "Cuba has all the power in the world" to join the community of democracies in the hemisphere. But the United States has all the power in the world to normalize relations with Cuba and end its crippling, counterproductive economic embargo of the small island-nation. Every other nation in the Americas has normalized relations with Cuba, including Canada, which, despite siding with the U.S. in barring Cuba's participation in the Summit of the Americas, has normal relations with Cuba and trade totaling almost $1 billion.

If you ask South America's leaders, Chris, the consensus is that the embargo is irrational, short-sighted domestic politics at the expense of the benefit to all the Americas that an opening to Cuba, rapprochement and lifting of the embargo would bring. South American leaders regard the U.S. as a boorish, slow to change bully which must be led by the hand to do the right thing. Nothing would boost the prospects of democracy in Cuba more than lifting the embargo, thus removing the regime's singular pretext for resisting democratic reforms — the colossal "Yanqui" threat to its north, which is real in that it has tried to assassinate Fidel Castro and undermine his government on countless occasions. It's a stupid and unsightly remnant of the Cold War that must end.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mittens Utters Losing Campaign KISS OF DEATH: "Start Packing" ...

HERE'S MITT RAWMONEY being interviewed by the equally insufferable Diane Sawyer, who asked him what message he had for President Obama. This is what Mittens said: "Start packing" ... [HAR-HAR-HAR.]

Although the Beltway Media reports it in advance of the interview as if this is a new and original Mittens crie de guerre, with adjectives like "aggressive" and "feisty," the phrase is neither original nor predictive. In fact, considering this attractive 1964 offering in a lenticular flasher from the Goldwater campaign, superstitious Romney operatives might have reason for concern and lost sleep:


Hmm ... The premature pixie dust crowing didn't work out so well for the Goldwaters. Barry "Mr. Conservative" Goldwater lost to LBJ by 61% to 38%.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

CATNIP: Jon Stewart Trots Out Hoodie Kitty To Mock NBC Critics


Predictably, our favorite right wing rag, The Daily Caller, has been posting innocuous teenage tweets from the slain teen, a typical DC smear to further violate his grieving family with attempted character assassination of the dead kid. Jim Treacher, their c&p minimalist spitblogger has continued the strained false equivalence analogies, some downright offensive, per the whitebread wingnut frat boys' MO.

Consider this Treach posting, without comment other than the usual warning of “disturbing” video to get one to watch the beating of a white tourist, a young dude, in Baltimore by a group of black guys who robbed him of his belongings. Thankfully, the mugging victim was not seriously injured. Significantly, the people on the streets interviews were with decent African American citizens, who decried the event. Treach’s outrageous header reads:

Presumably, it’s an outrageous allusion to the President’s statement that the slain teen, Trayvon Martin, could be his son. So what’s your point, Treach? If it’s that it would have been better had Trayvon been only beaten and robbed by a mugger rather than shot to death by a racist, I CONCUR. Somehow, I think that’s not what you meant to say. And, by the way, the fact the Baltimore mugging victim was literally stripped and robbed of his belongings makes it highly unlikely a racial hate crime charge can be brought against the muggers. I doubt it will. Based on available facts, the same cannot be said of the Trayvon shooting. Nice try, bud but you FAIL.

Next, Treach accuses NBC of putting “George Zimmerman and everyone around him on trial — even people who have nothing to do with it, like the McClain family” but now is “protecting the identity of whoever faked evidence against Zimmerman.” Jesus, man, your wingnut brain works in really, REALLY bizarre ways. Let’s parse this statement, shall we?

First of all, Treach, any NEWS organization worth its salt, such as NBC, is expected to put the principals in a case with such explosive implications “on trial” in the court of public opinion. They have a responsibility to shine the spotlight on the killer’s conduct and motivation, as well as how police and local authorities handled the case to date — given that local authorities had done nothing until the media stepped in. That’s what the media are supposed to do — be the people’s watchdog.

Second, NBC wasn't responsible for Spike Lee’s outrageous retweet of an elderly couple’s info as George Zimmerman’s. Last I checked, Spike Lee isn’t an NBC employee. He filmed some commercials for MSNBC hosts, and that’s about it. His action (and that of the original tweeter) are totally reprehensible and unacceptable. Those who willy-nilly divulge personal information of private citizens — the Daily Caller comes to mind — are despicable. Projecting again, Treach?

Third, regarding its fired producer, the story here isn’t that someone at NBC violated its standards of journalistic practice, but that NBC promptly fired the individual after an internal investigation. It’s unfortunate, but their choice not to disclose the individual’s name is correct and in keeping with generally accepted practice in these matters. The real story is that right wing media, which harbors no responsibility for reporting the truth whatsoever, have never fired their personnel for violating standards of journalism practice, because they have none — unless firing women employees alleging sexual harassment against sacred wingnut cows counts.

Fourth, Treach whines MSNBC “went to battle stations when James O’Keefe committed a misdemeanor. They called it ‘Watergate Jr.’ But when one of their own manufactures evidence in a racially charged shooting that’s become a nationwide scandal? Crickets. Guess they don’t want to step on Al Sharpton’s toes.” Why are wingnuts such whiners?! Not even worth a reply. To compare a criminal prankster wingnut and sexual harasser, whose legal problems are only just beginning, to civil rights protesters is beyond stupid and offensive. And Treach, to understand David Schuster’s point you need to understand “irony.” Look it up, pal. Man, are wingnuts so pathetically dense.

In the meantime, Henri the French existential cat, who finds it all so tedious ...

... Might just be in love!