Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PETA does porn

Just when you think that things can’t get any weirder, people step up and do something insane, apparently just to keep you confused.

This time, it’s our friends in PETA. They’ve decided that just having nekkid celebs isn’t good enough. It’s time to have a full blown (heh) porn site.

On Slate, Hannah Rubenstein has an important point:
What kind of target audiences are these? Porn-seeking individuals who, after being assaulted by images of beak-less chickens and eyeless rabbits, feel disgusted and betrayed by the site, or, even worse, porn-seeking individuals who aren’t deterred by images depicting the graphic mistreatment of animals? How does this help PETA’s stated cause for the porn site: to promote veganism?
But really, you know that PETA is just doing it for the publicity. And obviously they’ve managed that one pretty well.

So I’m thinking, probably no donkey show. But what’s their stand on furries?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Math is hard, Barbie!

The Trophy Wife asked me a question, which turned out to have a slightly different answer than she thought. Her question was "When was the last hurricane to hit New York?"

Because Irene got more media attention than normal, she figured it had been a while.

As it turns out, there have been 84 "tropical or subtropical cyclones that have affected the state of New York since the 17th century." About one a year, recently.

However, looking over the list, I noticed something. The groups seemed roughly the same size, but the last one, up to modern day, was a decade. The groups preceding it were quarter centuries. Then a half century. Then a century.

So I charted it (thank you, Excel). Filtering out Irene (to keep it in even decades), the X Axis (that's the horizontal line, for those of you with a standard American education) is decades. The Y Axis (that's the other one) is the number of storms. (Feel free to do the math yourself.)

I'm not saying it means anything. Because we all know that climate change (a.k.a. "global warming") is a myth, right? Just because there have been increasing numbers of storms hitting New York since the Industrial Era? Coincidence, right?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Race and Politics in the 21st Century

It's somewhat jarring to be reading, say, the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and stumble across the following exchange.
In gay conversation over our wine, after supper, he told us, jokingly, that he much admir'd the idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give him a government, requested it might be a government of blacks, as then, if he could not agree with his people, he might sell them. One of his friends, who sat next to me, says, "Franklin, why do you continue to side with these damn'd Quakers? Had not you better sell them? The proprietor would give you a good price."

"The governor," says I, "has not yet blacked them enough." He, indeed, had labored hard to blacken the Assembly in all his messages, but they wip'd off his coloring as fast as he laid it on, and plac'd it, in return, thick upon his own face; so that, finding he was likely to be negrofied himself, he, as well as Mr. Hamilton, grew tir'd of the contest, and quitted the government.
This is not to say that Benjamin Franklin was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, just that he was no more racist than other white people of the time.

People occasionally complain that the meaning of words has changed over time. But it's not just words, it's attitudes that evolve, as well. Ideas and terms that used to be completely acceptable are now things that you want to avoid.

But because it's hard to argue that racism doesn't exist, the right-wing now has to hide, disguise, and lie about their own bigotry in order to keep pushing us boldly backwards into the 19th Century.

Now, you should understand that I'm not trying to claim that all Republicans are racist. But when you're fishing for trout, you go to a river, not a sandbox.

It’s funny how often the right wing has to apologize for calling Obama "tar baby" or "boy, but for some reason, they keep using those very same terms. Why is that?

The answer, of course, is that it’s all about "dog whistle terminology" – the simple stereotypes that racists prefer; terms that they can slip into conversation or speeches to alert other racists that they've found a "fellow traveler."

Our friends at World Net Daily are fond of the stereotype of Obama as lazy. Last week, WND publisher Joseph Farah wrote a column where he said "You won't hear me complain that Obama is taking his 17th vacation in the last two-and-half years... We should be grateful the man has no work ethic. Just imagine the damage he would have done to the country if he did."

That's just another example of the Republican Party’s badly-hidden language of racism. Because, in reality, we know how lazy Obama is, right?

This strategy was explained in 1981 by Reagan advisor Lee Atwater.
You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" - that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
Sometimes, racism comes with collateral damage. In New Jersey, for example, Assemblyman Pat Delaney resigned from his position representing the eighth district last July, when, not he, but his wife, sent an email to challenger (and former Olympic Gold medalist) Carl Lewis, which included the line "Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equalled (sic) knowing something about politics." (I wonder if it equalled knowing something about spellcheck?)

The right-wing efforts to keep race in the forefront of what we laughingly call "people's minds" take a relatively predictable course. They have to present Obama as different from "you and me," like he's somehow alien, and therefore dangerous.

One of the most infamous efforts of recent times would have to be Fox Nation's front page from two weeks ago, reprinting a story from Politico.

Have to give them points for accuracy: Obama's birthday party didn't create jobs. On the other hand, neither did John Boehner's golf game, Haley Barbour's Klan rally or Mitch McConnell masturbating to pictures of sea turtles. But since it was an unreasonable comparison, we'll ignore that part.

The primary slant to the story is the specific mention of "hip-hop" (with its connotations of "scary black thug"). Odd how Fox "News" zips past mention of hip-hop luminaries like Nancy Pelosi, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and completely ignores things like a performance by all-white pop group OK Go.

As Chris Good put it in The Atlantic:
There doesn't seem to have been a whole lot of hip hop at this BBQ, based on Politico's account, except that a DJ played some of it, along with Motown and '70s and '80s R&B -- which sounds, and correct me if I'm wrong, because I don't go to a lot of these, kind of like the musical sampling at a contemporary bar mitzvah party.
Of course, that was Fox Nation, and Media Matters documented Fox Nation’s curiously high number of race-baiting headlines. But it's all part of the same strategy. It's why they kept talking about Obama going to a "black power" church (and why they're going to be talking about it again, coming into the 2012 election).

Because he's black. And therefore, he's a scary thug.

(Incidentally, do a quick google for "obama+thug" - you might be surprised at the number of hits you get).

It's actually an on-going strategy (as you might have guessed from fact that Lee Atwater explained it 30 years ago.) Pat Buchanan, for example, has a long history of making racially-questionable comments, but he recently wrote an article where he made the following curious turn of phrase.
Mocked by The Wall Street Journal and Sen. John McCain as the little people of the Lord of the Rings books, the Tea Party "Hobbits" are indeed returning to Middle Earth -- to nail the coonskin to the wall.
He didn’t just pull that particular word out of thin air – it doesn’t relate to anything else in the article.

Perhaps, if GOP members don’t want to be accused of racism, they should avoid passing around racist pictures. Especially if they've been caught doing the same thing before.

(Incidentally, please stop saying "I can't be racist! I have black friends!" That's not an excuse - that's an old joke.)

But as that great philosopher Lee Papa is wont to point out, the one thing we know about motherfuckers is that they will fuck their mothers.

Being the group of greasy lying assbags that they are, our friends on the right wing will open their eyes wide, wave their hands in distress, and say that their words are being taken out of context, that people are too sensitive (or "playing the race card"), and that liberals take an "innocent joke" and blow it all out of proportion.

And that might even be a valid point, if this only happened once in a while. But when it happens over and over on a continuous basis, that denial starts to stink worse than the decaying corpse of their collective conscience.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Clutching of Tea-stained Pearls

Three California House members held a "Kitchen Table Summit" ("Town Halls" are so passé), and Maxine Waters did what so few of our congresscritters are willing to do. She took a stand.

"I'm not afraid of anybody. This is a tough game. You can't be intimidated. You can't be frightened. And as far as I'm concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to hell."
Personally, I think she should have gone with "Teabaggers," but, you know, decorum and shit.

I have no problem with what she said (particularly since her statement has been an unspoken theme in many of my blog posts over the last two years or so). But interestingly, it seems that some people got their panties all knotted up when her harsh words assaulted their delicate, shell-like ears.
Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, co-founders of the Tea Party Patriots, are calling on President Obama and leaders of the Democratic Party to "censure their own." They lambasted previous comments from Democrats that Tea Party supporters are "terrorists" and "hostage takers."

"Is civility required only of their opponents?" Martin and Meckler said in a statement. "...The president's silence on these latest violations of civility has been deafening, but not surprising."
Or to translate: "She said mean things and he didn't do anything!"

I suppose we should ignore that Obama's been staying out of almost all of the partisan infighting. And I guarantee that we're supposed to ignore all of the following statements:
"(An) Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug" ~~ Mark Williams, national spokesman for the Tea Party Express (2009-2010), on President Obama

"You lie!" ~~ Joe Wilson (R-SC; member, Tea Party Caucus), interrupting Obama's address before a joint session of Congress, after Obama said his health care plan would not cover illegal immigrants (Sept. 9, 2009)

"He has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity." ~~ Trent Franks (R-AZ; member, Tea Party Caucus), on President Obama (Sept. 26, 2009)

"We're on to them; we're on to this gangster government... I'd say it's time for these little piggies to go home," ~~ Michele Bachmann (R-MN; founder and chair, Tea Party Caucus), at the Tea Party's Tax Day protest in Washington, D.C. (April 15, 2010)
Please note: only one quote from Bachmann, despite reams of the stuff, from "death panels" to calling members of Congress "anti-American"
"You know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out." ~~ Nevada GOP candidate and Tea Party darling Sharron Angle (Jan. 14, 2010)
And yes, only one Sharron Angle quote, too. She also had a raft of 'em, but she didn't get elected.

And to be fair, she
might have meant "take out" as in "take out of office." Unless you take the whole quote in context, that is...
"As your governor, you're going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell." ~~ Governor Paul LePage (then Tea Party-backed candidate LePage, Sept. 29, 2010)
And I'm not saying that particular quote sounds familiar or anything...
"The radical Islamists, the al-Qaida … would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror" ~~ Iowa Rep. Steve King (member, Tea Party Caucus), on the result of candidate Obama getting elected president (Mar. 8, 2008)
Please note that I mostly avoided any failed Tea Party Candidate (except Angle, who was too wide-eyed and drooling to avoid). Like Glen Urquhart, who asked why liberals were Nazis (very common among the unhinged Right), or... really, Christine O'Donnell was one of the only Tea Party candidates who didn't spend most of her time vilifying her opponents - she was too busy proving herself to be a science-hating fundamentalist, with no real talent for either logic or statistics.

I'm not saying it means anything. I'm just saying that it's interesting.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Yes, my mind does work that way...

So I saw this graphic at (via Infidel753):

But I've got this bad habit of thinking about stuff.

$1,250, at $10 a minute, is only a little over two hours of actual work... of suckage... of... of having random people clamp themselves on one of your fake nipples. So that's not too bad, I guess, for walking around the beach, getting some fascinating tan marks, for eight to ten hours.

Mother's milk is... body-temperature margaritas? Really? I guess that explains why babies do nothing but sleep, drink and cry.

This is not a job for large-breasted women, though - the flatter you are, the more storage capacity you'll have.

To be exact, $1,250 is 125 minutes (roughly 62 minutes per fake tit). 125 different people (assuming nobody goes for seconds). How do you sanitize a fake nipple? Does she even bother? She probably should, but I'm thinking that a bleach wipe-down might affect the flavor of the margarita.

Looking at her, she probably hasn't breast-fed a baby (I could be wrong, but let's just move past that). Will she ever, now? Wouldn't that cause some weird feelings about the whole experience?

I know where the fundies will come down on this issue: running in smaller and smaller circles, shrieking "Sin! Sign of the the end times! Whore!" However, from a vaguely more enlightened standpoint, I'm not sure what I think about this. Is she being exploited for her sexuality? Or is she exploiting the guys for being prisoners of their hormones?

What, exactly, is the back of the booze-bra made of? I know that a lot of guys hope for clear plastic, but considering sweating and vinyl... and sticking... ewww... just ewww!

And most importantly, does she prorate? If you only want 30 seconds of margarita, can you get that for five dollars?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Little Ricky

It seems that our friends in the media are now considering Governor Goodhair to be a viable candidate for President. Well, sure. He might be some mutant version of a "serious statesman." Why the fuck not? Hell, if Michelle "Batshit Crazy" Bachmann is a viable candidate, why not Rick Perry, right?

And, really, while I know that the media is too scared of accusations of "liberal bias" to get tough with the man, I have some questions that I'd like to hear somebody ask. Like the following:

Now, Governor, you keep hinting that Texas should secede. You never quite say "the s-word," but you come so close, because you know the crazy people love that shit.

Now, if you think that Texas should split off from America, but then you say you want to be the President of that same United States... how do you balance those two thoughts?

In fact, if you think about it, Governor, despite your rhetoric that Obama was taking us over the edge, we're still here. Haven't gone over any edge. And not likely to, either. But you felt that the American people would allow themselves, to be taken in (hell, already had been) by a demagogue. Why do you think that everybody who doesn't believe just like you do is stupid and easily-led? Why don't you believe in America, Ricky?

Of course, right after saying that government was too big and spent too much money and Texas should (consider that maybe they might, if they wanted to) secede, you told Obama that you wanted half a million dollars worth of Tamiflu, and later told Obama he wasn't sending enough troops to secure the border... a border that you would have to secure for yourself...

I'm sorry, Governor. I was having a hard time wrapping my head around that. Anyway, I hope that by this time you're aware that the whole "Texas can secede!" thing is a steaming pile of lies, right? And that the other politicians in Texas are laughing at you over this, right?

First of all, Governor, I'd just like to say that your hair looks spectacular. Of course, it always does, doesn't it? Now, there's a rumor that's been following you for several years now, that you might be gay. Although I don't believe that there's anything more than a passing resemblance between you and one of the Village People, I was wondering if you'd care to comment on that?

Recently, your college transcript was leaked to the press, and it turns out that at Texas A&M, you could barely pull a C average: couple of F's, a lot of D's, and only two A's, one of them in something called Improv. of Learning - what exactly is that, Governor? Is that a remedial course or something? Never mind; it doesn't matter. But anyway, Governor, Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University is not an Ivy League institution (seriously, somebody should look up what Texans mean when they call somebody an "Aggie"); so, if it's true that your time there "helped shape who (you are) today," and you spent that time trying to flunk out of school, who exactly does that make you?

On that subject, a Bachelor's Degree is also called a "four-year degree" - you took five years at Texas Pigs & Tractors, from 1968 to 1972, to earn your Animal Science degree. Does your leadership as governor for the last decade have anything to do with Texas now leading the nation in percentage of adults without a high school diploma?

You've been pushing the power of prayer a lot; you seem to feel that people should talk to God. On April 21, you called on the citizens of Texas to pray for rain. At that point, about 15% of Texas was experiencing what's called "exceptional" drought conditions. By August 9th, that had increased to almost 80%. What was God telling you then, Rick?

You seem very proud of Texas. You seem to think you've done great things for the state, as it's longest-running governor. And you have. Texas leads the rest of the nation in a number of areas. It has the fourth highest poverty rate; last year, it tied with Mississippi for the largest percentage of workers in minimum-wage jobs; you lead the country in percentage of workers without health insurance, and kids without health insurance (and since Texas is less healthy than 80% of the country, think about what that means).

Face facts, Perry. In the same way Bush wrecked the country during his tenure as President, he ass-raped Texas during his time as governor. The difference is, in Texas, his successor only made things worse.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Interesting phrasing of the day

OK, so there's this astoundingly rare genetic mutation that causes some very (very, very) few people to be born without fingerprints.

Quick complete-geek aside.
...people with a rare disease known as adermatoglyphia do not have fingerprints from birth. Affecting only four known extended families worldwide, the condition is also called immigration-delay disease, since a lack of fingerprints makes it difficult for people to cross international borders.

In an effort to find the cause of the disease, dermatologist Eli Sprecher sequenced the DNA of 16 members of one family with adermatoglyphia in Switzerland. Seven had normal fingerprints, and the other nine did not.
Sorry. I live for shit like that. It's the ultimate trivia answer. But that's not the point here.

Neither is the fact that the article goes on to explain that "immigration-delay disease doesn't come with any side effects besides a minor reduction in the ability to sweat." It seems that there are other print-suppressing conditions that also come with other side effects. So that sucks.

I just want to know one thing. When Rachel Kaufman wrote this for National Geographic, did she intentionally write the following sentence?
After investigating a number of genes to find evidence of mutation, the researchers came up empty-handed

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Turkey In the Straw

So, Michelle Bachmann has won the Iowa Straw Poll. What does this mean for the country?

She's gotten more coverage in the last few weeks than she could've hoped for. On the basis of his showing in the straw poll, Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race. Our submissive media has been trumpeting this particular "first American caucus" as if it were the most important indicator of the election.

Well, I think it's important to note one little detail about the history of this particular poll.

The Ames Straw Pole has been held a total of six times (in 1979, and then in 1987, 1995, 1999, 2007 and now in 2011). In all that time, it correctly predicted the upcoming president of the United States once. In real terms, that is an accuracy rate of 17%.

It's roughly as accurate as throwing a handful of corn over a list of candidates, and letting the chicken choose the winner.

So the results mean less than nothing, and we can expect to see the GOP continue to do what they've always done.

That, my friends, is the importance to the American political landscape of the Ames Straw Poll.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Romney vs Heston

OK, so Mittens exposed himself in public this week.

So, we know where he stands in the fight between people and our corporate overlords, right?

By the way, doesn't that statement sound awfully familiar?

Yeah, somebody else got that idea, too.

And then there's this post. And I think we'll be seeing more of it as time goes on.

Now, we need to keep this quote out there in front of people (yeah, it's sad when Mitt Romney looks like a reasonable candidate, but look at the rest of the field...), but I suppose we should think about things carefully, though.

How long before a meme just gets worn out? Will this one stick to Romney's shoe like a 4' piece of errant toilet paper? (Anybody remember the Howard Dean Scream?) Or will this one just get old and stale before the 2012 elections?

Just spitballin' here.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Time for an investigation

It's unfortunate that the GOP has enough power that they've neutered most consumer protection agencies in their attempts to allow rich people to continue stealing from the poor.

The question of the moment, though, is whether they can cover up fraud.

What you might have missed last week, during the debate over the debt ceiling being raised, was the trigger for a huge dip in the bond market. Someone placed a single buy of one billion dollars on the bond futures market. One of the largest single purchases in recent history, betting on the US economy getting worse and our credit rating getting downgraded.

The question that needs to be asked is, was it insider trading?
I believe what happened is a debt-ceiling deal was done in Washington and leaked to a major proprietary trader. Everyone knows the debt negotiations in Washington have been an extreme game of brinksmanship between political parties, but now someone knows how that game played out.

This had the hallmarks of one of the largest bond shops in the world knowing something the rest of the market didn't.

The number of shops or even central banks that can take on this level of market risk is extremely small.
So, who was willing to bet that, two weeks later, the US credit rating would be downgraded from AAA to AA+?

For that matter, was it somebody in Congress? Somebody who had a hand in the idiotic behavior of the GOP these past few months, which directly caused the downgrade?

For example, Eric Cantor was one of the key reasons that the budget ceiling negotiations didn't reach an agreement for so long, and when the economy took a hit like it just did, Cantor made a bundle.

(Here's a new phrase for you: "Conflict of interest." Look it up.)

After all, if insider trading is illegal on Wall Street, it seems to me that it should be illegal in Congress, too. It isn't, but it should be.

It's never going to happen. Why would a Congresscritter vote to stop making money based on the laws he's passing? Which leads to a similar question: why would Congress vote to raise taxes on the richest Americans, when the majority of them - including most of the new Teabaggers - are millionaires?

Friday, August 05, 2011

Asshats of the Week

OK, so this couple in Nebraska, the Alstatt's, took a legal immigrant from Laos named Ae Xaypanya, and used him as an indentured servant.
Xaypanya said the Alstatts took his green card, passport and Social Security card and, at one point, demanded $25,000 for them. They also set up a joint bank account with him and withdrew his wages...

Xaypanya then went to the Alstatts’ tailor shop in Omaha to retrieve his documents and signed a contract saying he’d pay $9,000 for them...

Xaypanya also learned that papers he previously signed thinking they were medical insurance forms were actually life insurance documents, naming the Alstatts’ daughter as the beneficiary.

In a 2009 search of the Alstatts’ home and business, agents found hundreds of files on foreign nationals containing immigration documents, court records say. Investigators also found blank Laotian birth certificates, altered identity documents and evidence that the couple was practicing writing other people’s signatures...

Immigration officers tried to interview other alleged victims but found they were reluctant to speak against the couple. Some immediately called the Alstatts after being interviewed, according to court documents. One woman who allegedly worked for the Alstatts without pay told authorities she was afraid to testify against them.
They aren't slavers. They're just good capitalists.

You can bet they vote Republican.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

NZ woman loses hand in Croatian yacht sex

A New Zealand woman nearly died after her hand was accidentally severed during holiday sex on a yacht in Croatia.
(Note: that sentence originally read "after her hand has accidentally severed" - apparently, that's how they talk in Kiwi Land.)
The 28-year-old woman was having sex with a British man on a bathroom sink aboard the yacht when the sink broke, severing her hand when she fell, the Croatian Times reported...

"It appears they were engaged in a passionate act in the bathroom where at some stage the sink broke -- leaving a jagged edge that severed the woman's hand when she fell to the floor," police spokesman Kraljevic Gudelj said.
I wouldn't have thought you needed to point this out: if you lose a limb during sex, you're probably doing it wrong.

You want some santorum on your toast?

It seems to me, anyway, that if somebody had the "Google problem" that Santorum does, he might just back off a little. You know, stop being the most outspoken gay basher outside of the Westboro Baptist Church, maybe. (Especially now that Dan Savage is threatening to make it worse.)

Especially as we approach the 2012 election season, the frothy mixture would love to change the results you get when you google his name, but he really doesn't have that option (short of hiring a mob of hackers to roam the internet, chopping out all references to his name anywhere near any mention of anal sex, anyway).

But, considering the nature of his problem, don't you think it would be smart to avoid certain actions? For example, wouldn't it be smart for him not to offer to hand out free samples of Santorum Jelly at the Ames Straw Poll?

It's just a thought.

Update: (8/14/11) Oh, for Christ's sake!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The price of propaganda

OK, let's be real.

What is the effect of years of anti-Muslim bigotry being spewed, screaming about "sharia law is taking over!" and "they won't stop until every Christian is dead!" and every other ignorant statement puked up by Pam Geller and her ilk?

A blond Norwegian Christian kills other Norwegian non-Muslims on the theory that he was fighting a war against the encroachment of Islam.

But that was an easy one, right?

OK, then. What is the effect of years of people shouting "baby killer!" and "abortion is murder!" and trying to defund or destroy Planned Parenthood at every opportunity?

Some toothless inbreeder tries to firebomb a Planned Parenthood clinic, apparently not aware that diesel fuel is a terrible accelerant, as it does not explode and has a flashpoint of 143°F. Which is why he caused minimal damage.

Oh, and diesel is currently more expensive than gasoline.

Oh, and one more thing: that particular Planned Parenthood clinic didn't perform abortions!

One wonders how humanity manages to survive, when they seem to be racing headlong back toward the feces-flinging stage.