23 dec 2011. The Big Lie. Joe Nocera, NYT. How the right wing builds a big lie, using the example of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
So this is how the Big Lie works.
 You begin with a hypothesis that has a certain surface plausibility. You find an ally whose background suggests that he’s an “expert”; out of thin air, he devises “data.” You write articles in sympathetic publications, repeating the data endlessly; in time, some of these publications make your cause their own. Like-minded congressmen pick up your mantra and invite you to testify at hearings.
 You’re chosen for an investigative panel related to your topic. When other panel members, after inspecting your evidence, reject your thesis, you claim that they did so for ideological reasons. This, too, is repeated by your allies. Soon, the echo chamber you created drowns out dissenting views; even presidential candidates begin repeating the Big Lie.
 Thus has Peter Wallison, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a former member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, almost single-handedly created the myth that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the financial crisis. His partner in crime is another A.E.I. scholar, Edward Pinto

22 Dec 2011 - testing Google AdSense - should be a banner ad - we'll see whether the ads are interesting, relevant, or bring in a little income.
   Hmm, I messed up something - the header and title went away and AdSense does not appear.

Preview of When Harry Met Sally 2 - hilarious.

pitcherI collect some memorabilia from long-ago Wellfleet, and Cape Cod in general. However, this is silly: a 4-inch tall souvenir mini-pitcher of Wellfleet's Chequesset Inn just sold for $500 on eBay. I bid $7.

Fraught, etymology and evolution: 21 may 2010, Ben Zimmer, NYT
W.F. Young asks: "Long ago I developed the expectation that on encountering the word fraught, I'd find it associated with a prepositional phrase, 'with [something].'  Now, in old age, I find that expectation dashed, often.  Can you say what it was based on and anything about when, how or by whom it was undercut?"

    Here we have a case of a very old word undergoing a rapid shift in contemporary usage. In Middle English, fraught (an etymological cousin of freight) was a verb meaning "to load (a ship)," and the identical form could serve as a past participle meaning "laden (with)." While the verb dropped out of the language almost entirely, the past participle stuck around, typically followed by "with" and an object -- often a burden, whether real or figurative.
    Fraught as a standalone adjective meaning "distressed, anxious, tense," without an accompanying prepositional phrase, is a 20th-century innovation.
     By the nineteenth century, the metaphorical extension of the word had developed a new twist. Instead of the traditional phrasing, fraught with followed by an object (something usually unpleasant or unfortunate), the object could appear before fraught in a hyphenated compound, such as danger-fraught, pain-fraught or war-fraught.
[In the early 1990's] only about 9 percent of the instances of fraught do not take the preposition with. From 2005 to 2009, however, the rate jumps to a whopping 30 percent.  No doubt about it, we're living in fraught times.

29 nov 2011 Merchant of death slanders Marine hero
     BAE Systems sells weapons to just about anyone (sometimes with government approval.)

Saying Newt Gringrich is the intellectual GOP candidate is like saying Mo is the intellectual one of the Three Stooges.

28 nov 2011 Voting Rights Advocate Held At Gunpoint By SWAT Team With No Warrant

Rawstory has a story on Ron Paul getting mic-checked, with hundreds of Paulista comments defending the loon. A result of deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill, I think.
"The Libertarian Party is much like pornography, trying to find any redeeming social value in it is problematic.

insert libertarian cartoonEleven Signs Your Loved Ones May Be A Libertarian, from Rack Jite.  
1)      Do they refer to Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin as liberals?
2)      Did they spend most of their youth shut in their bedrooms sitting on empty boxes of Clearasil in front of a computer?
3)      Do you consider them loners with no friends to speak of?
4)      Do they fair poorly with the opposite sex?
5)      Have the words “statist” and “statism” been added to their rhetoric?
6)      Have they reduced the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution to two: The Second and the Tenth?
7)      Do you ever hear them say “States’ Rights yesterday, States’ Rights today and States’ Rights forever?”
8)      Are you beginning to see magazines like Soldier of Fortune, Guns & Ammo, The American Spectator, CATO Institute position papers and travel brochures from Western Montana and Northern Idaho in their rooms?
9)      Do they seem to have no concern for others, society, or even the planet itself?
10)    Have you noticed that their rhetoric and writings include the words; I, me, my or mine at least twice per sentence?
11)    Are they over 30, single and still living at home?
If so, dial 911 and ask for help. For a loser is a terrible thing to mind.

21 nov 2011 No surprise:
(Another) Study Shows Fox News Viewers Less Informed on Major Stories
University Prof: No news - better than Fox News when it comes to information.
By Josh Voorhees, Slate

A Quick Word About Deficits, by Dave Johnson at ourfuture.org
Never forget that 11 years ago we had a huge budget surplus and were on track to pay off the entire debt in 10 years. Then came the Bush tax cuts for the rich and a huge military spending boost. And we didn't have these deficits and this huge debt at all before Reagan cut taxes for the rich, and his huge military spending boost. That should always, always be the first thing understood about our deficit "emergency."

c November - I've had a Facebook page for more than a year, but done very little with it until the past week. I hadn't realized how my Youtube favorites were being iinked in multiple times. It sure is easy to link in lots of material, and it's nice to see who is potentially interested in my life or thoughts, but I have no easy way to format it..

12 nov 2011 Same as the old boss... The Gestapo is using secret court orders to investigate WikiLeaks, documents the subjects are not allowed to see. How is this Constitutional?

9 nov 2011 Just in time, or too late?

pogyPanel Votes to Reduce a Forage Fish Catch

Abby Goodnough, NYT
    BOSTON — A fishing oversight group voted Wednesday to sharply reduce the allowable East Coast catch of menhaden, an oily forage fish that does not show up on dinner plates but is vital, scientists say, to the ocean ecosystem.
    The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which includes representatives from 15 Eastern states and the federal government, voted to reduce the menhaden harvest by as much as 37 percent compared with 2010 levels after a review found the species had been overfished and needed to rebuild.
    Millions of pounds of menhaden are caught along the Atlantic Seaboard each year, most by Omega Protein, a company that grinds it and reduces it to fish meal and oil that goes into fertilizer, feed for  livestock and farmed fish, pet food and even dietary supplements. But menhaden — which is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and is also known as bunker or pogy, depending where you live — is also an ecological building block, serving as a crucial food for larger fish like tuna, striped bass and bluefish, as well as birds and marine mammals. ...
Ben Landry, a spokesman for Omega Protein, said the company was disappointed and felt the commission was responding to pressure from environmentalists and recreational fishermen. [duh, who else would care?] ...
    Several recreational fishermen at the meeting said they were deeply encouraged by the vote, which came after the commission received more than 90,000 public comments, mostly in favor of steep catch reductions.
    “I think it’s great that so many states recognize how vital this fish is,” said Paul Eidman, a fishing guide based in Sandy Hook, N.J. “It’s just a start, but it’s an important one.” ...
    But H. Bruce Franklin, who wrote “The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America,” said a better step would have been to get rid of the so-called reduction fishing industry — harvesting menhaden for the manufacture of meal and oil — altogether.  “There’s no rational reason for this industry to exist,” he said. “If the maximum measures were taken right now, it might still be a little bit too late. But we’re hoping it’s not.”

c  I occasionally search for song lyrics, sometimes to understand them, but mostly to accurately quote them. I find most of the search results are fake, come-ons to sell ring-tones. A case in point is James Keelaghan's Small Rebellion, about the Bienfait massacre, at the Souris coal field, Saskatchewan, in 1931.

Peace may be signed between two nations
But for protection of your rights
My friend it's always battle stations

    - James Keelaghan, Small Rebellion

I’m curious: can anyone give a good rational reason why performing in pornography should diminish one’s credibility in the public eye? Is it a more morally reprehensible line of work than, say, investment banker or Fox News host?
comment at Pharyngula

3 nov 2011 Looks like the Mass. legislature is somewhat serious about pension reform, although it allows the pigs already at the trough to continue gorging.

2 nov 2011  News from Dumbshitistan
no special
                      rights for superstitiousRep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) told his colleagues that “There are few things Congress could do that would be more important than passing this resolution,” in reference to a bill that reaffirms ‘In God We Trust’ as the official motto of the United States.
Nearly all the members of our Native Criminal Class went along with it, including the one from my district.
HarperCollins announced Monday that it had "entered into a definitive agreement" with Thomas Nelson Inc., a 200-year-old publisher currently based in Nashville. Thomas Nelson has released numerous editions of the Bible and published the current top seller "Heaven is for Real," by Todd Burpo. Harper, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., already runs another leading religious publisher, Zondervan.

Georgia Klan Georgia wingnut terrorists "Just another isolated incident," inspired by Fox News

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that four members of a fringe militia used a book written by Fox News “expert” Mike Vanderboegh as a basis for a plot to commit domestic terrorism.
Federal law enforcement authorities on Tuesday arrested four Georgia senior citizens for allegedly plotting to kill government officials and spread terror with guns, explosives and the toxin ricin.
An FBI criminal complaint claimed that Frederick Thomas cited Vanderboegh’s book Absolved as a model for the group’s actions.
“The plot of Absolved involves small groups citizens attacking United States federal law enforcement representatives and federal judges,” special agent David Wylie explained.

[How far into into insanity do you have to be to be a "fringe militia," given that "normal militia" are gun-humping droolers already?]

Enough of acting the infant who has been told so often how he was found under a cabbage that in the end he remembers the exact spot in the garden and the kind of life he led there before joining the family circle.
  Samuel Beckett
Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.
Sinclair Lewis
25 oct 2011, NYT    So Much for Small Government
House Republicans usually claim to be champions of both small government and states’ rights, which makes it hypocritical, and downright reckless, that they are obsessed with taking away the authority of states to decide who is allowed to carry a concealed and loaded handgun.
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19 to 11 for a measure that would do exactly that. Only one Republican, Representative Dan Lungren of California, joined the committee’s Democratic members in voting against the bill.
This extreme legislation, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, would obliterate state and local eligibility rules for concealed weapons and the state’s discretion to decide whether to honor another’s permits.

    It is because it is more egotistical that the patriotism of the American is more easily roused and more easily affronted. He has been educated to despise all other countries and to look upon his own as the first in the world; he has been taught that all other nations are slaves to despots and that the American citizen only is free, and this is never contradicted. For although thousands may in their own hearts feel the falsehood of their assertions, there is not one who will venture to express his opinion. The government sets the example, the press follows it, and the people receive the incense of flattery, which in other countries is offered to the court alone, and if it were not for the occasional compunctions and doubts, which his real good sense will sometimes visit him with, the more enlightened American would be happy in his own delusions, as the majority most certainly may be said to be. . . . — (Chap. 47, Patriotism, p. 442-3), Capt. Frederick Marryat, A Diary in America, with remarks on its Institutions, 1838

millennia BCE
alienalienLeviticus 19.33-34
  When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God

better late reposted than never: "Ron Paul is a hideous cross between white power authoritarianism, fundamentalist dominionism, libertarian deregulation fantasies and survivalist gold standard gibbering.   That this monstrous amalgamation of fear and hatred has come to the same conclusion about the Iraq occupation as us Dirty Fucking Hippies says volumes about the sheer and utter wrongness of invading Iraq in the first place." comment at Pharyngula by stogoe, 1/11/2008

police goons25 oct 2011 Uniformed, unionized goons are attacking demonstrators in Oakland, Denver, Atlanta, New York, Oregon ... for exercising their First Amendment rights to peacably assemble and petition the government.
   “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.”
- Jay Gould

commie 'BamaThe drug-addled Jabba-the-Pope reigning over the Rethuglicans defends the vilest terrorists in the world today as victims of Obama!
And I don't mean Orange-man, Cantor and Ryan.

24 oct 2011 Occupy Portland was attacked with a small bomb by goons.C&L
   A week later - no followup seen.

In Bizarro world, Paul Ryan is going to give a speech rejecting the  'Politics of Division' at the Heritage Foundation.
Rethuglicans wreck economy
GOP Plan

    "When men no longer have the least fear of saying something untrue, they very soon have no fear whatsoever of doing something unjust."  --Theodor Haecker

htrae edoc

A new poll from CNN shows Occupy Wall Street with a favorable rating of 32 percent and an unfavorable rating of 29 percent, with positive numbers among moderates and independents. Also, large majorities say Wall Street bankers and brokers are greedy (80 percent), overpaid (77 percent) and dishonest (65 percent).

23 oct 2011 Predictable hypocrisy from the usual suspects:
 John McCain and other Republican talking heads seem to have forgotten the December 31, 2011 Iraq withdrawal date from the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement signed by President Bush.

Speaking of which, your quote of the day: ”Well, if that scenario evolves, then I think it's obvious that we would have to leave because - if it was an elected government of Iraq…I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.” (John McCain, April 22, 2004) Crooks and Liars
But then, the corrupt, senile warmonger lies about lots of things, and flipflops about others. Today he's for overthrowing the Syrian government, but he'll change his mind if Obama tries it.

23 oct 2011 Occupy Wall Street is not difficult to understand by Hunter at DailyKos

    Here's a helpful tip: if you are a political pundit and you still don't know what Occupy Wall Street stands for, you are an idiot. If you purport to make your living analyzing the political landscape, or from parsing the effectiveness of various political messages, or if you write columns explaining what the American people want based on your deep, intimate knowledge of what the American people want, but you still, after a month, cannot quite grasp what these uncouth people in the streets are going on about, then you are categorically bad at your job. If you find yourself tuttering and tsking over how the protestors are merely a group of fringe figures, and you do not notice or care to notice the polls expressing wide support for the message, you are a fraud.

    It really is that simple, at this point. No supposed "pundit" should be able to say with a straight face that they cannot possibly understand what message the protestors have. Here, I will give it to you in a mere few words: the Occupy Wall Street movement is a protest against rampant income inequality, against corporate excesses, and against a government rigged to protect and worsen both.

    It is a protest specifically against the members of the financial sector, who were bailed out at taxpayer expense after wrecking the economy with self-perpetuated fraudulent schemes against one another, and who have learned not one damn thing from the experience, but instead have continued on their merry, privileged way. They assert themselves to be masters of the universe, and pay themselves accordingly, and whether the world they supposedly run hums like clockwork or burns to the ground makes no particular difference to them. [a great list of well-stated positions continues]           CCH

c  Sad: One of my favorite people was polling people at Occupy Boston, and was shocked to find them as ignorant and delusional as the teatards.
Statistics should be forthcoming when the data are analyzed.

23 oct 2011 'We Don't Need Warrants, We're ICE'  by Susie Madrak at C&L

    Wingnuts are so fixated on the Second Amendment, they completely miss the Fourth. With the increasing militarization of police departments and federal agencies, such legal formalities as warrants go right out the window:
    On the night of October 20, 2010, Angel Enrique and Jesus Antonio were in bed in their small, two-bedroom apartment in the Clairmont complex in Nashville. The doors and windows were all shut and locked.
    Suddenly there was a loud banging at the door and voices shouting "Police!" and "Policia!" When no one answered, the agents tried to force the door open. Scared, Jesus hid in a closet. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began hitting objects against the bedroom windows, trying to break in. Without a search warrant and without consent, the ICE agents eventually knocked in the front door and shattered a window, shouting racial slurs and storming into the bedrooms, holding guns to their heads. When asked if they had a warrant, one agent reportedly said, "We don't need a warrant, we're ICE," and, gesturing to his genitals, "the warrant is coming out of my balls."
    The Fourth Amendment strictly prohibits warrantless intrusions into private homes and the Constitution's protections apply to both citizens and non-citizens alike. In the absence of a judicially authorized warrant, there must be voluntary and knowing consent; ICE officers forcing themselves into someone's home does not constitute consent.
    The ACLU and ACLU of Tennessee this week filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of fifteen residents of the apartment complex who were subjected to this large-scale, warrantless raid by ICE agents and Metro Nashville police officers.

23 oct 2011 Corporate whore of the week
    In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court said corporations and other organizations could make unlimited independent expenditures in political campaigns. But the court said it was not overturning the ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates’ campaigns.
     Flouting that precedent, Judge Cacheris ruled that the “logic” of “Citizens United requires that corporations and individuals be afforded equal rights to political speech, unqualified.” He also flouted a 2003 Supreme Court case upholding the ban on direct corporate donations. Judge Cacheris has no basis for rejecting those two decisions, which bind the lower courts until the Supreme Court overturns them. from NYT

Elizabeth Warren The more I read about Elizabeth Warren, the more I am impressed. And I get to vote for her. leaf


The worst part of fall for me is having to listen to the dickheads using leafblowers.

17 oct 2011 BBC
Every five hours a child dies from abuse or neglect in the US.  The latest government figures show an estimated 1,770 children were killed as a result of maltreatment in 2009.  A recent congressional report concludes the real number could be nearer 2,500.  In fact, America has the worst child abuse record in the industrialised world. Why? The BBC's Natalia Antelava investigates.

14 oct 2011 Matt Taibbi has a list of solutions OWS can promote:
1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called "Too Big to Fail" financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term "Systemically Dangerous Institutions" – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled [...]

2. Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about [...]

3. No public money for private lobbying. A company that receives a public bailout should not be allowed to use the taxpayer's own money to lobby against him. You can either suck on the public teat or influence the next presidential race, but you can't do both [...]

4. Tax hedge-fund gamblers. For starters, we need an immediate repeal of the preposterous and indefensible carried-interest tax break, which allows hedge-fund titans like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson to pay taxes of only 15 percent on their billions in gambling income, while ordinary Americans pay twice that for teaching kids and putting out fires [...]

5. Change the way bankers get paid. We need new laws preventing Wall Street executives from getting bonuses upfront for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later. It should be: You make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem two or three years from now. That forces everyone to be invested in his own company's long-term health – no more Joe Cassanos pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses for destroying the AIGs of the world.

"FOX News is rich people paying other rich people to tell middle class people to blame poor people" -- The World According to Atlas

"Part and parcel of American right wing thinking is the ability to believe that liberals are simultaneously weak, ineffectual ninnies, and a nefarious and ruthless threat." -- comment on Pharyngula

Wall Street might not be growing tulips, but it's still spreading manure, by Mark Summer at DailyKos
[historical background on Tulip mania ...]
    Many people went broke during the tulip trade. A few got very rich, but the wealth of the nation did not increase. It didn't increase during the collapse, but it also didn't increase during the rise of tulip prices. After all, whether we're talking tulip futures or credit default swaps, these are instruments of wealth concentration, not wealth creation.  At the end of the deal you have no more value than what came into the market from outside, it's just in fewer hands. What happened is that people who had been doing productive work that created items of lasting value, instead turned to the market as a way to make a living. Even in good times, that's a net loss.

    Somewhere along the line Wall Street has decided that among the hands involved in the markets, theirs should never come up empty, but writing in the Harvard Business Review, Umair Haque makes an excellent case for discounting the value of Wall Street.
If I had to pin those realities down, I'd say the following deserve a place on the list: That the wealth of a nation isn't merely the sum of its tradable riches; that a thriving marketplace isn't a big box store; that industrial output matters less than human outcomes; that work that matters yields accomplishments that endure; that Goldman Sachs probably shouldn't be as profitable as Apple, because builders should earn more than shufflers; that the worth of an enduring achievement is denominated in more than mere profit; that how we feel about our lives is worth more than how enviably glamorous they look; that tomorrow matters more — not less — than today.
   The idea that we can not live without the current generation of Wall Street institutions is as much an illusion as the value of Semper Augustus... and a lot less pretty.
Semper Augustus
Semper Augustus

26 Sep 2011 White House petitions
The Obama administration has a site for online petitions. I don't think they are censored, but most of the 64 there today are on the liberalish end of the spectrum. Some are stupid, or trivial, but none are obvious batshit crazy teabagger ideas. I signed a bunch of them.

23 Sep 2011 Shit for Brains: NRA claims ‘massive Obama conspiracy’ not to ban guns

22 sep 2011
In the most straightforward statement of the sort to date, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, bluntly linked Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's spy agency, to last week's attacks by insurgents on the American embassy in Kabul.
 “With ISI support, Haqqani operatives planned and conducted that truck bomb attack, as well as the assault on our embassy,” Mullen told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing on Thursday. “We also have credible evidence that they were behind the June 28th attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations.”
 In short, he said, “the Haqqani network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.”

19 Sep 2011
Breitbart the cowardly lying teabagger: "There are times when I’m not thinking as clearly as I should, and in those unclear moments, I always think to myself, ‘Fire the first shot. Bring it on.’ Because I know who’s on our side." Youtube
These are the kinds of people who want unfettered access to firearms. 

point17 Sep 2011  Personal matters and a computer crash have kept me from updating since May. I used MS Word to modify this file recently, before reinstalling SeaMonkey as the HTML editor - big mistake. It botched the picture links and bloated the code; this will take time and effort to fix. I'm adding some material collected meanwhile.

                    needle, money    Seems like most Christian fundagelicals are cafeteria conservatives, taking whatever Biblical concepts they agree with and leaving the others on ice, especially the OT drivel. How about the prohibitions on blended fabrics, planting seed except by broadcasting, eating ham & cheese or mollusks, praying loudly in public, being productive on the Sabbath ...? They often believe in beating children and wives, but how many believe in forcing rapists to marry their daughters, killing children for disobedience, shunning women during their periods ...? Seems like the Prosperity Gospel is particularly heretical - a combination of Randian theology, shallow Puritanism and Social Darwinism. How about that camel and needle? Rejecting your family and possessions to follow Jebus? Chasing the money changers out of the temple?


 "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." -- G K Chesterton


They only call it Class Warfare when we fight back.


On Sept. 17, 1862, Union forces hurled back a Confederate invasion of Maryland in the Civil War battle of Antietam. With 23,100 killed, wounded or captured, it remains the bloodiest day in U.S. military history. Gen. George McClellan botched an opportunity to end the war early. Wiki
                      dead, Bloody Lane, Antietam

Romney, pandering to 'baggers:
     "I saw Vice President Dick Cheney and he was being asked questions about a whole host of issues -- following 9/11, the affairs in various countries in the world," Romney recalled, according to NBC's First Read.
 "And I listened to him speak and said whether you agree or disagree with him, this a man of wisdom and judgment, and he could have been president of the United States," he said, adding, "That's the kind of person I'd like to have -- a person of wisdom and judgment."
 At the same time, Romney did not rule out picking a "tea party person" for the VP slot.
 Romney has also called Cheney's 2009 criticism of President Barack Obama's national security policy "direct, well-reasoned, and convincing." Rawstory

 Obama, pandering to Mrs. Grundy:
  Ten years after the nation was unified in horror, President Barack Obama honored the legacy of Sept. 11 victims on Sunday by personally tracing the trail of the terrorist attacks, proudly declaring that the decade since has proven “America does not give in to fear.”

 13 Sep 2011 Thomas L. Friedman gets a lot of flack for being a Villager, but he sometimes says sensible things:
"Would you rather cut Social Security and Medicare or pay a little more per gallon of gas and make the country stronger, safer and healthier? It still amazes me that our politicians have the courage to send our citizens to war but not to ask the public that question." NYT

"Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen

 Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
 Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
 Everybody knows that the war is over
 Everybody knows the good guys lost
 Everybody knows the fight was fixed
 The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
 That's how it goes
 Everybody knows

 Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
 Everybody knows that the captain lied
 Everybody got this broken feeling
 Like their father or their dog just died
Leonard Cohen


point9 Sep 2011 - Comment on story of Haley Barbour joining Rove's Crossroads brothel:
Crossroads, like an urban neighborhood where the cops are paid to stay away, while the Kochs sell tea crack and Rove pimps out diseased politicians. Boarded-up and smashed windows of neglected infrastructure, tea crack overdoses every day, and the ambulance crews are shot at or robbed by the NRA gangs. TPM

                    piglets suckling casino sow9 Sep 2011 - Note to Deval Patrick:
 Since it is obvious to me, it probably is to you, that casinos are an inefficient revenue stream, where nearly all the profits are sent to the out-of-state billionaires who finance them. There is no positive reason to allow casinos other than a handful of construction jobs, then a group of poorly paid employees. State-supported gambling is a tax on addicts and people who can't do math. Casinos bring with them unhealthy, unsavory behaviors such as drug consumption, prostitution, loan-sharking, even more political and law-enforcement corruption and family disruption. These negative effects, for an activity which is absolutely unproductive, get short change in the proponents' unrealistic proposals. We should not be in a race to the bottom of the slime with other states.
 As a liberal, educated Democrat, I virtually never vote for Republicans, but I also don't vote for Democrats who support this disgusting, corrupt gaming enterprise.


"Pray in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills faster"


point  Sep - Listening to relatives and their friends - stories of small-town government justice, malfeasance, neighborliness and crime from insiders. Hearing about the mental patients hijacking town government in Orleans. Seeing an off-duty Worcester cop park his giant pickup in the fire lane outside the packy as he buys his liquor. Wingers who rail about the government but think disability payments are their due. Rural Maine makes Cape Cod seem as crowded, sophisticated and bureaucratic as any suburb, for better or worse. At the local level, it's easy to see the creeping corruption and abuses of public employees and unions, but then I step back and see how petty that is compared to the trillions stolen by the banks, credit and mortgage companies, bond and derivative traders. I see this as hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance, not as "everyone does it."

Hadwen Arboretum is a small site in Worcester, owned by Clark University, near my current apartment. There are blazed and unmarked trails through it. It has a good number of impressive old trees, but is poorly maintained as just a forest. The university uses it as a yard-work dump/compost, and the neighbors dump their old appliances and tires in it. There is a small community garden in the middle. The linked site mentions a project to control invasive garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed, but does not mention the large amount of Euonymus and Oriental bittersweet. And Multiflora and poison ivy.

XKCD 894 - on teaching
tip: Always read the mouse-overs at XKCD!
"I tell my children it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. I'm trying to take the edge off their competitive drive to ensure that I can always beat them."

31 Aug 2011 MoveOn.org petition:
         Sweetheart Deal for Wall Street on Mortgage Fraud?
 Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is pushing a settlement with the big banks and Wall Street firms that caused the mortgage crisis—letting them get away with a slap on the wrist.
     Unbelievably, Geithner wants state attorneys general to agree to a sweetheart deal where these banks would pay only $20 billion—a fraction of what they could owe if fully prosecuted—and would get immunity from investigation and prosecution of the criminal greed, negligence, and fraud that caused this crisis. This would eliminate any leverage regulators have to pressure banks to help out the homeowners they've hurt.
     Eric Schneiderman and Beau Biden, the attorneys general of New York and Delaware, are holding strong despite enormous pressure from the Obama administration to accept the deal. Schneiderman's insistence that these crimes be investigated and prosecuted has now gotten him kicked off the settlement committee.
     Owning a home is part of the American Dream, and justice for homeowners is part of the American Dream movement. We have to stand behind Schneiderman, Biden, and other state attorneys general, and not let Geithner and a yes-man settlement committee brush banks' criminal behavior under the rug.
   point23 Aug 2011
 Liberals cheer David Letterman for defying terrorist threats. Tea-tards continue to wet their pants at thoughts of Muslims, sharia, homos, evolution, Mexicans, socialism, literacy.

The fundamentalist culture ... revels in glorifying death.
     The classic story of glorifying death is the Big Boat event. They tell that to children because it is so cute. It has a Big Boat and animals and stuff. It’s a story about the invention of genocide. A Sky Monster kills all humans but 8 and destroys the world.
     This was supposed to teach people a lesson. It also didn’t work. The Sky Monster had a plan B though, which involved sending himself down to be killed. That didn’t work either. Plan C is to show up someday and kill everyone again.
     The Sky Monster’s kludgy fixes usually end up with a lot of dead people. - Raven, at Pharyngula 
Conan the Barbarian
Kill one man
    and you are a murderer.
Kill millions
    and you are a conqueror.
Kill everyone
    and you are a God.

 — Jean Rostand and/or Conrad Bland
Egyptian lolcat
Bush and Cheney trashed the country
28 Aug 2011    Three Charts To Email To Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law
 By Dave Johnson
 (cleaning up the Bush-Cheney mess)

sniffing santorum
sniffing the santorum
July requiem for the manned space program as the last Shuttle flies

Apollo Earth Moon

25 May 2011
  Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-03) tweeted tonight: "The GOP debates defunding NPR for hours, but limits debate on Afghanistan to 5 minutes."

Squandering Medicare’s Money, by Rita F Redberg, NYT
     MEDICARE has suddenly taken center stage in American politics, with Democrats now trying to score an advantage from the unpopularity of the Republican plan to overhaul the government health insurance program. Apart from the politics, though, Medicare’s financing challenges are worsening: this month, Medicare’s trustees projected that the insurance program would become insolvent by 2024, five years earlier than previously estimated.
      Much has been said about the growing gap between the program’s spending and revenues — a gap that will widen as baby boomers retire — but little attention has been focused on a problem staring us in the face: Medicare spends a fortune each year on procedures that have no proven benefit and should not be covered. Examples abound ...

BrounshirtThinkProgress captures yet another hostage-taking, pro-default Republican congressman:
 At a town hall event last week in Georgia, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) had a particularly absurd ransom to demand for raising the debt limit. In an exchange recorded by True South Radio and uploaded on YouTube, Broun said that he wouldn’t vote to hike the ceiling without major cuts. When asked what those cuts would be, Broun said he wants to see the Departments of Education and Energy abolished. via RawStory

Followup - That proved to be small change compared to the summer's Congressional fascist and teatard willingness to destroy the world economy to score political points. There was little vertebrate opposition.
gall half full

tinfoil hatsAppearing on MSNBC’s The Last Word on Tuesday night, filmmaker Michael Moore discussed the Republican’s plan to privatize Medicare and withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
 Moore suggested that Democrats should stick firm to their platform and tell Republicans that “we will negotiate when you take your tin foil hats off.”


A Simple Favor
 Part of the 48 Hour Guerilla Film Festival 2011, featuring my favorite movie maker on YouTube

Corbicula clams clone themselves, by hijacking eggs of other clam species?! So says Wired, referencing PNAS.

 Also, an intriguing correllation of ulcers, (often, usually, mostly?) caused by Heliobacter pylori, with Parkinson's disease.


 "Looking for answers down tornado alley
 The latest tornado in Missouri has experts asking why 2011 has spawned so many deadly storms, with many blasting through heavily populated areas."

It's clearly learned behavior: tornados, which previously preyed mainly on trailer parks, are now going after cities.

20 May 2011, NYT Was LinkedIn Scammed?, by Joe Nocera
      If there’s one thing we’ve all learned in the aftermath of the financial crisis, it’s that stiffing your client is not a crime. Not if you’re an investment bank. ...
     The fact that the stock more than doubled on its first day of trading — something the investment bankers, with their fingers on the pulse of the market, absolutely must have known would happen — means that hundreds of millions of additional dollars that should have gone to LinkedIn wound up in the hands of investors that Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch wanted to do favors for. Most of those investors, I guarantee, sold the stock during the morning run-up. It’s the easiest money you can make on Wall Street.
      As Eric Tilenius, the general manager of Zynga, wrote on Facebook: “A huge opening-day pop is not a sign of a successful I.P.O., but rather a massively mispriced one. Bankers are rewarding their friends and themselves instead of doing their fiduciary duty to their clients.” ...

point19 May 2011. The "Patriot Act" is being extended again, by bipartisan consensus of Congress. A handful of members protest that there is very little oversight of the targeting by the security apparatus.
     Yet, at the same time, wingers are apopleptic at TSA patdowns - Texas passed a bill to criminalize them! And at scanners, the alternative! Wingers think it's only brown people and foreigners who should be inspected, investigated, and groped. Yet they're the ones wetting their pants about jihad, Sharia, Mexicans, terrorism, gun rights ... Runs right into the Scalia Court's negating the 4th Amendment.

Barnstable Patriot, 10 sep 1861
 "Superior Court.
 The September term of this Court for the County of Barnstable, commenced its session in this village on Tuesday last, Judge Vose presiding. The juries were empanelled and the docket of continued cases called, but there being no case ready for trial the Court adjourned till Wednesday morning, to await the action of the Grand Jury.

 The following are the names of the jurors, the Grand Jury drawn at the April term serving through the year;
 Grand Jrors--Jona. Nickerson, Jr., foreman, Andrus Bearse, Eben. Bearse, Franklin Bearse, Andrew W. Bennett, Benj. F. Bourne, Timo. Crocker, Samuel Eldredge, Sylvanus S. Gross, Eliakim Higgins, Godfrey Hopkins, David Howes, 2d., Jos. Hoxie, Luther Hurd, Stephen C. Kelley, Sylvester Kendrick, Braddock Matthews, James M. Mott, Phillip N. Small, David Smith, Abraham C. Small, Eliakim Studley, Lindley M. Wing.

 Juries of Trials--First Jury--Chas. H. Bursley, Foreman, Cyrus Baker, Sylvester Baker, Elijah Baxter, Sylvester Bearse, James Cobb, Anthony S. Collins, Rufus Conant, Jr., David Crocker, Francis Davis, Heman Fish, Thomas Hamblin.

 Second Jury--Joseph W. Rogers, foreman, Salatheil Hamilton, Thomas C Harlow, James S. Hatch, George W. Higgins, Levi Long, 2d., Reuben S. Loveland, Benj. F. Newcomb, Franklin Nye, Freeman Rogers, Seth Ryder, John K. Sears.
 Supernumaries--Amos Sherman, Calvin Snow, C.C. P. Waterman, Freeman A. Wiley, Kenelm WInslow.

 The following criminial business was disposed of:
 Commonwealth vs. Monzo Stevens.--Indicted for breaking into a store in Harwich. Verdict guilty, and sentenced to one day's solitary confinement and eighteen months imprisonment in the State Prison. Dist. Att'y Marston for Com'th; King for def't.

 Commonwealth vs. Jerremiah Walker, Jr., for store breaking. Verdict not guilty. Dist. Att'y Marston for Com'th; King for def't.

 Commonwealth vs. Jeremiah Walker, Jr., and Asa Chase, for store breaking. Verdict guilty. New trial granted in case of Walker. Chase sentenced to two years in the State Prison. Dist Att'y Marston for Com'th; King for def't.

 Commonwealth vs. Daniel Walker, for store breaking. Verdict guilty and sentenced to one year's confinement in the House of Correction. Dist Att'y Marston for Com'th; King for def't.

 Commonwealth vs. Samuel Robbins, of Yarmouth, for keeping a disorderly house. Verdict of guilty, and sentenced to eight months confinement in the House of Correction. Dist/ Att'y Marston for Com'th. Robbins conducted his own defence and addressed the jury with more effect upon the audience than on the Court and jury.

 Commonwealth vs. George W. Young. This was an indictment for an assault on Samuel H. Young, of Chatham. Verdict guilty. Sentenced to pay a fine of five dollars and coasts of prosecution.

 Commonwealth vs. Charles H. Walley and Simeon H. Handy, for breaking into and stealing from Yarmouth Depot.--Verdict guilty of breaking in and stealing, but not "in the night time" as alleged. Walley was sentenced to confinement for one year and Handy for two years in the State Prison. Dist. Att'y Marston for Com'th; Day for def't.

 Commonwealth vs. Bridget Gaffney.--Indictment for larceny from the person of Mrs. Brady, of about $50 in bills. Verdict guilty and sentenced to one year in the House of Correction.
 Dist. Att'y marston for Com'th; Day for def't.

 On Thursday and Friday the Court was engaged in the trial of the case of Caleb Lombard vs. Benj. Oliver and als, Selectmen of Wellfleet in 1859, for refusing to place his name on the voting list and allow him to vote in that town. The Jury after being out nearly all night found a verdict for the plaintiff and assessed damages at the sum of $600.--The case goes to the Supreme Court on exceptions.
 B.F. Hallett and Geo. Marston for pl'ff; H.A. Scudder and J.M. Day for def't.

 Frederick Sherman vs. Henry Tobey. This is an action of trespass for making a drain across the plaintiff's land. Defendent justified under a decree of the County Commissioners authorizing and and location the drain. Verdict for the pl'ff. Damages assessed at $25. The case goes to the Supreme Court on exceptions. T.M. Stetson for pl'ff; Gep. Marston for def't.

 Alexander Kenrick vs. Jesse Snow.--This was an action for trespassing upon a piece of land lying upon an arm of the sea in Orleans, and using it for a landing place. Defence was that the place was a common and public landing place. Verdict, for Def't. J.M. Day, for Pl'ff; Geo. Marston, for Def't.
 Frederick P. Jones vs. Noble P. Swift. Replevin of a horse. Verdict for plaintiff. Day for pl'ff; King for def't.

 Nancy J. Lovell vs. Lucius H. Wakefield.--This was an action for breach of a promise of marriage. The plaintiff resides in Osterville, in this town, and the defendent is a lawyer residing at Hopkinton in Middlesex County. The aggravating circumstance in the case was, that the def't continues to correspond with the pl'ff, and, to arrange for a marriage, for a long time after he was actually married to another person.--Judgment was entered for the plaintiff, by consent, for $3000.
 F.F. Hallett for pl'ff; J.M. Day, for the def't

 The Court adjourned yesterday afternoon about 4 o'clock."

The searchable archives of Barnstable Patriot are online at Sturgis Library, Barnstable
To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists. - John Ashcroft, 2001

 "Ashcroft went on to say that our way of life is being threatened by a group of radical religious fanatics who are armed and dangerous. And then he called for prayers in the schools and an end to gun control" - Jay Leno

    And wingers have no problem with mandatory drug testing of students and welfare recipients.
     Followup, 9 Sep 2011 - testing welfare recipients is an expensive failure in Florida, but moron Gov. Haley of South Carolina is eager to do it there: "I so want drug testing. I so want it," with a completely fabricated story of illiterate and drugged-up applicants for work at the Savannah River nuclear complex. HuffPo
     Followup 2, 20 Sep 2011 - Haley admitted her story was wrong, but continues push for drug testing anyway.

ACLU objects to school’s plan to test every student for alcohol at prom

16 May 2011 Rawstory: ACLU: National Defense Authorization Act permits ‘worldwide war without end’ by Eric W. Dolan
 A little noticed provision in the House Armed Services Committee's National Defense Authorization Act would authorize the United States to use military force anywhere there are terrorism suspects, including within the U.S. itself, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
     Section 1034 was added to the bill by the committee's chairman, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA).
     "Congress may soon vote on a new declaration of worldwide war without end, and without clear enemies," the ACLU warned in a statement. "A 'sleeper provision' deep inside defense bills pending before Congress could become the single biggest hand-over of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history."
     The only opposition to the provision has come from Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), who offered an amendment to strike Section 1034 while the House Armed Services Committee was reviewing the bill. The committee passed the National Defense Authorization Act by a 60 to 1 vote -- without the proposed amendment -- with Garamendi as the sole dissenter.
     Garamendi said he plans to introduce the amendment again on the House floor, where debate on the bill will begin the week of May 23.
Jim Koch
good Koch
Bircher Koch
evil Koch

We have cut our budget this year to what we feel is the lowest point possible without taking from the children things that they should have, bearing in mind that although we are experiencing a depression such as we have never known before, that our children should not be deprived of a foundation that will enable them to hold their place in the world. What we take from a growing child now we can never give back after this depression is over. The Committee feel that the Schools were created for and maintained solely for the CHILDREN and to this end all other factors entering into the School System must be a secondary consideration.

     Wellfleet, Massachusetts School Committee Report, 1933
         Everett W Lombard
         Cyril W Downs
         Leroy B Wiles (my grandfather)

To those who say that our expenditures for Public Works and other means for recovery are a waste that we cannot afford, I answer that no country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources…
    In our efforts for recovery we have avoided on the one hand the theory that business should and must be taken over into an all-embracing Government. We have avoided on the other hand the equally untenable theory that it is an interference with liberty to offer reasonable help when private enterprise is in need of help. The course we have followed fits the American practice of Government — a practice of taking action step by step, of regulating only to meet concrete needs — a practice of courageous recognition of change. I believe with Abraham Lincoln, that “The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all or cannot do so well for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.”
 Franklin Delano Roosevelt

     A poor education will lead you to this; "Johns Hopkins health facts"
miliary spending
prisoner rate
social spending per family
We're #1 -- Ten Depressing Ways America Is Exceptional
  America is exceptional in the advantages we’ve had over other nations, not what we’ve done with those advantages. by David Morris, Alternet

fasces 13 may 2011 Indiana fascists negate the Fourth Amendment:
 INDIANAPOLIS | Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes. In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry. "We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence," David said. "We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest." David said a person arrested following an unlawful entry by police still can be released on bail and has plenty of opportunities to protest the illegal entry through the court system [for the only real 'Mericans: white, Baptist and rich].
Don't expect a reversal by the Scalia Court, happily warping the country to fascism.
        14 aspects of fascism

10 may 2011, Bad Bargains, by Thomas L Friedman, NYT
     So Osama bin Laden was living in a specially built villa in Pakistan. I wonder where he got the money to buy it? Cashed in his Saudi 401(k)? A Pakistani subprime mortgage, perhaps? No. I suspect we will find that it all came from the same place most of Al Qaeda’s funds come from: some combination of private Saudi donations spent under the watchful eye of the Pakistani Army.
     Why should we care? Because this is the heart of the matter; that’s why. It was both just and strategically vital that we killed Bin Laden, who inspired 9/11. I just wish it were as easy to eliminate the two bad bargains that really made that attack possible, funded it and provided the key plotters and foot soldiers who carried it out. We are talking about the ruling bargains in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which are alive and well.

Down with Tyranny: Why Weren't Fascist Coup Plotters Irénée du Pont, J.P. Morgan And Prescott Bush Executed For Treason?
    3-part BBC documentary: first, second, third
 "None were ever even tried, although they were the financial backers of a coup against FDR that sought to install a fascist dictatorship in the U.S. similar to the ones they were backing in Germany and Italy. Even after the war started and Bush's shipping company, which had been used for years to smuggle arms to Hitler and to smuggle Nazi spies into America, was seized, Bush managed to walk away relatively unscathed.
 ... the scope of the coup attempt by some of the biggest names in Big Business who were every bit as disloyal and fascist-oriented then as our current batch of plutocrats and corporate bigwigs are today "

In 1940, Professor Gaetano Salvemini of Harvard was quote as saying that 100 percent of American big business was sympathetic to fascism. Corporate America's support for fascism was so great that U.S. Ambassador to Germany William Dodd proclaimed:
 "A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime...

 Certain American industrialists [Mellons, duPonts, Rockefellers, Bushes, Fords, Morgans...] has a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism to occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there.

 Propagandists for the fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the institutions of our government compel them to comply with the provisions.

NYT: Gingrich the slimeball

Religion: the ultimate tyranny, Paula Kirby


All religions, with their gods, demigods, prophets, messiahs and saints, are the product of the fancy and credulity of men who have not yet reached the full development and complete personality of their intellectual powers. -- Mikhail A. Bakunin


Aslan"I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.
     And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme -- whose highest claim is to reasonable prudence -- the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication." --  C.S. Lewis, surprisingly


2 May 2011

Fox &
                      loons"Why is Ronald Reagan not getting more credit for the killing of Osama? He did invent helicopters and gun powder and shoes. He put the whole operation in motion." - Sandy Underpants at The Aristocrats

 "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
 - G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

 Tomorrow's headline: Osama Dead Obama Still Black
- comment on picture at Crooks and Liars

...And in what some see as conclusive proof that Osama bin Laden is dead, Dick Cheney appeared on Fox to take credit for it.

"Yes, bin Laden the man is dead. But he achieved all he set out to achieve, and  a hell of a lot more. He forever changed who we are as a country, and for  the worse. Mostly because we let him. That isn’t something a special  ops team can fix." – Radley Balko

 'The bipartisan normalization and legitimation of the National Surveillance State' by Laurence Lewis, 1 may 2011   

25 apr 2001 - The terrorists are winning: US State Department wants lifetime employment history from passport applicants

NY Times editorial on the Obama birth certificate: "So it will not quiet the most avid attackers. Several quickly questioned its authenticity. That’s because the birther question was never really about citizenship; it was simply a proxy for those who never accepted the president’s legitimacy, for a toxic mix of reasons involving ideology, deep political anger and, most insidious of all, race. It was originally promulgated by fringe figures of the radical right, but mainstream Republican leaders allowed it to simmer to satisfy those who are inflamed by Mr. Obama’s presence in the White House.
 It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president."

nh And in fact it was John McCain who was not born in the United States, which the birthers only admit when they try to deny their racism.
 Clinton's legitimacy was questioned by the right wing noise machine for his whole Presidency, based on his getting less than 50% of the popular vote, never mind that it was more than George I received. Then the popular vote argument went out the window, when Al Bore got many more votes than George II, but was rejected by the Supreme Court.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert Green. Ingersoll
It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible, and that all who look upon that book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation of our country. The truth is, our government is not founded upon the rights of gods, but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have nothing to do. And yet there are some judges dishonest and cowardly enough to solemly decide that this is a Christian country, and that our free institutions are based upon the infamous laws of Jehovah.
  - Robert G. Ingersoll

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”
  - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814
Robertson evil shit

Cote d'Ivoire' s murderous Ghagbo had a fan club including Robertson, Beck, Imhofe.
The Plumline:
 "James Madison had perhaps as large a hand as any in drafting the Constitution, and this is what he wrote in his “Detached Memoranda” from 1820:
 “Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and & Gov’t in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.” (Detached Memoranda, circa 1820)

 And he wrote this in a letter to Baptist Churches in North Carolina:
 “Having always regarded the practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government as essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, I could not have otherwise discharged my duty on the occasion which presented itself.” (Letter to Baptist Churches in North Carolina, June 3, 1811)

 But I guess that means Madison was a radical liberal." 
Tory ignorance

The `wall of separation between church and state' is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.
 - Chief Justice William Rehnquist

 Quite often you hear people say, 'What about separation of church and state?' There is no such thing. I mean it just does not exist, and it does not exist in America for a purpose, because we are a Christian nation. We are a nation based on Christian principles and ideals, and those are the things that guarantee our liberties. It is one of those things that is so fundamental to the freedoms that we have that when you begin to restrict our belief and our attestation to our Christian values you begin to restrict our liberties. You simply cannot continue a nation as America without that Christian base of liberty.
  -Dan Severson, Minnesota Republican Secretary of State candidate, 10-2010

The legend of Easter
Like, say Easter is an important holiday. It commemorates the battle between Jesus and the Vampire King, and Jesus' rescue by Eostre's bunny rabbits. Jesus was getting his ass kicked, shouted for help to Odin, but the Norse Gods were too drunk to help. Eostre, goddess of Rabbits and Flowers and Other shiat Like That was hanging around and heard, and sent her bunnies to help. The bunnies savaged the Vampire King and licked Jesus' wounds clean. As they rescued Jesus, however, evil groundhogs stole the scattered, bloody bits of the Vampire King and encased them in Pheonix Eggs so he might one day be reborn. Eostre's Bunnies were sent to dig out the eggs and cover them in chocolate, which increases endorphin production in the brain and increases general happiness, happiness being the counterspell to the Vampire Kings evil. Therefore we celebrate Groundhog Day by watching for the surly, perfidious creature to peer around aboveground and the triumph of Eostre's Bunnies months later with the arrival of spring. - Fark comment
Henry Wallace warns of fascism

21 apr 2011 - Agribusiness using Thai slave labor in California and Oregon

 Not new, but very relevant: How Ayn Rand Became an American Icon

The perverse allure of a damaged woman.
     by Johann Hari,  Monday, Nov. 2, 2009
 Ayn Rand is one of America's great mysteries. She was an amphetamine-addicted author of sub-Dan Brown potboilers, who in her spare time wrote lavish torrents of praise for serial killers and the Bernie Madoff-style embezzlers of her day. She opposed democracy on the grounds that "the masses"—her readers—were "lice" and "parasites" who scarcely deserved to live. Yet she remains one of the most popular writers in the United States, still selling 800,000 books a year from beyond the grave. Since the great crash of 2008, her writing has had another Benzedrine rush, as Rush Limbaugh hails her as a prophetess. With her assertions that government is "evil" and selfishness is "the only virtue," she is the patron saint of the tea-partiers and the death panel doomsters. So how did this little Russian bomb of pure immorality in a black wig become an American icon? [continues]

GOP in uterusAs Maureen [Dowd] mentions, the Republicans, especially Republican primary voters have to be reminded that Ayn Rand slept around, was a hardcore Atheist and was one of the primary advocates of wholesale abortion of her time. So it is not her taking the moral high ground with her book The Virtue of Selfishness or as that times spokesperson for Social Darwinism alone that makes her so popular these days. It is a simple ideology of rewarding the wealthy and letting the poor drop dead.
     A reminder. It is the CATO Institute that is behind this resurrection of Ayn Rand and feeding us silly Libertarian clowns like Ron and Rand Paul. The CATO Institute was founded with money from the Koch Brothers who still fund it with $16 million a year.  - Rack Jite   

skskThe Republican Party is just a turd with a flag lapel pin on it.
And of course with the image of Christ on it if you look at it upside down.
 Rack Jite

Patriotic teen fails Spanish - video

Texas - Six-year-old drops gun at Texas school, three hurt

 "An armed society is a polite society." Really? Defecating dog sparks US shootout.

17 apr 2011  The Civil War: 'A conspiracy of amnesia. Romantic fables of a "Lost Cause" began 150 years ago and continue to this day. Leonard Pitts

Another reposted but topical comment:
 "In a country where every man is a politican, and flatters himself that he is assisting to govern the country, political animosities must of course be carried to the greatest lengths, and the press is the vehicle for party violence; ...
      But let me add the authority of Americans. Mr. Webster, in his celebrated speech on the public lands, observes in that powerful and nervous language for which he is so celebrated:

It is one of the thousand calumnies with which the press teemed, during an excited political canvass. It was a charge, of which there was not only no proof or probability, but which was, in itself, wholly impossible to be true. No man of common information ever believed a syllable of it. Yet it was of that class of falsehoods, which by continued repetition, through all the organs of detraction and abuse, are capable of misleading those who are already far misled, and of farther fanning passion, already kindled into flame. Doubtless, it served in its day, and, in greater or less degree, the end designed by it. Having done that, it has sunk into the general mass of stale and loathed calumnies. It is the very cast-off slough of a polluted and shameless press." 

A Diary in America, with remarks on its Institutions, by Capt. Frederick Marryat, 1838 (p. 411)

 [Beck, Bachmann and Palin are traditionalists! Who knew?]   

16 Apr 2011  Saw a wonderful collection of 16th-Century Dutch and Flemish art (mostly paintings) at the Peabody-Essex Museum today. The museum even lends magnifying glasses to see the minute detail painted into scenes of village and urban life, and the fine age lines of an older woman by Rembrandt. There until 19 June.
     In light of the recent conservatard kerfuffle about a mother painting her 5-year-old son's toemails pink, it is amusing to see what was considered masculine attire in  17th-Century Europe - yards of lace, silk stockings, colorful pumps with big bows, ornate plumed hats. The 'tards have always complained about dress, without any historical perspective. In mid-20th Century US, pink was an "aggressive" color associated with boys. In the 1960s and 1970s the 'tards were apopleptic over women wearing pants. Yet, they seem to have quickly accepted the idea of both genders getting tattooed, even though their holy book forbids it. How about men with earrings? A generation ago, a man with an earring was an artist, gay and/or a wanne-be pirate.
     And I thought of Nevada teabagger Angle when I examined a painting of a barber-surgeon treating a peasant's foot, with the rooster he had brought as payment alongside.   


Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) claimed President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inspired by the Soviet Union under Stalin and sought to recreate its policies in the U.S. when pushing for the New Deal.
     “Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent his advisers, his close friends, his Cabinet people to go visit with Stalin in communist Russia to study what he was doing, what Stalin was doing there, so that FDR could replicate it here in the United States. And he did everything that he possibly could to do so,” Broun said on the House floor.

  Paul Ryan's Roadmap for the Future of the Ruling Class epitomizes what Woody Guthrie was talking about when he wrote the lyrics, "Some will rob you with a six-gun/And some with a fountain pen." Meteor Blades at DailyKos

pointJust wondering: The participants in the 1773 Boston Tea Party "disguised" themselves as Mohawks. Why don't the Teabaggers do that?
 Well, they'd look stupid{er} for trying. Also, they fancy themselves "real Americans," and they can't see that Indians are, too.
George Hewes and the Tea Party.

Playing Indian. 1998. Philip Joseph Deloria - Among other things, Indians as Outsiders, outside the rules of "civilization."

 13 Apr 2011 Rick Perry, the teabagger governor of Texas, always ranting about federal gummint interference and taxes, is upset because Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett tried to hold him responsible for proper use of federal Dept. Education funds.

AUSTIN, Texas —  The federal budget deal negotiated to avoid a government shutdown would remove the strings a Democratic congressman had attached to $830 million in funds for public education in Texas.
     If passed into law as expected later this week, the bill would remove a requirement that Republican Gov. Rick Perry use the funds to supplement existing school spending rather than just replace state funds in order to balance the budget.

There are foreign loons, too: Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on [22 mar 2011].

"I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet," Chavez said in speech to mark World Water Day.


Tim Minchin's Storm, the Animated Movie

Tax time: the Mass. Dept. Revenue has its mailing addresses buried layers deep in its web site. That's just incompetent.
 Spam is still way down from last year, but creeping up again. Almost as many get through the filters as get caught by them, but it's 3/day instead of 300/day caught.

 the Palin-Bachmann ticket

Thinking of batshit:

From the World of Beck
  As you know, the federal Health Care Reform act empowered President Obama to raise his own private Health Care Reform militia. And now Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) thinks that the Libya campaign may be part of a plot to allow President Obama's Health Care Reform militia to take over the country and put it under martial law. --Josh Marshall

 The horrors of deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill - they run for Congress and state legislatures, and get elected by teabaggers.

Language is a virus - Tom Tomrrow
 Jonathan Swift for the 21st Century.   
It is our innate solidarity, and not some despotism of the sky, which is the source of our morality and our sense of decency. 
 That essential sense of decency is outraged every day. Our theocratic enemy is in plain view. Protean in form, it extends from the overt menace of nuclear-armed mullahs to the insidious campaigns to have stultifying pseudo-science taught in American schools.  - Christopher Hitchens, 2011


point Genealogy is a basically conservative exercise, but I do it anyway. A major free site is Rootsweb, hosted by Ancestry.com, a definitely-for-profit company. Rootsweb runs ads geared to old people with right-wing politics, such as a pseudo-poll by Newsmax on "Obamacare" actually designed to just get responders onto its mailing list.
Covert Operations
 The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.
by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker

 They, and other seditious fascists, such as the DeVos and Scaife families, are also actively working to destroy the country's educational system. The education system has problems - it has always had problems - but these people are trying to completely destroy it.

 "The leaders of many of these DeVos/Koch/Scaife-funded institutes openly voice their ideological objections to all forms of public education. Some even proudly display their support for a proclamation posted at the Alliance for Separation of School and State, which reads,

"I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education."

The DeVos fortune comes largely from the Amway scam. Erik Prince, founder of the murderous Blackwater mercenaries, is a family member, too. Emma Berry

 Thom Hartmann Tells the Real History of the Tea Party youtube

Our government only works to the extent that it's allowed to work. Laws and regulations are not created in a vacuum, they're created out of need. They represent hard won knowledge developed in the battlefield of trial and error. It's only right that the court act to protect the framework of the Constitution, and to excise those laws that impinge on individual rights. It's wholly wrong that the court use the bludgeon of original intent to cripple the possibility of effective government. The Supreme Court, like other federal officials, may take an oath to preserve the Constitution of the United States, but it's a safe bet that the word was never meant to imply sealing the document in a Mason jar and holding it in the cellar like last year's pickled beets. - Mark Summer, DailyKos, 3 apr 2011

point2 Apr 2011

 Religious insanity, and responsibility for mass murder:

 Dozens of innocent people, so far, have been murdered because this man is insane and irresponsible. I expect the American theocrats to be completely behind him.

 April - The attention whore has been in Detroit, trying to cause trouble, while denying it, of course,   

 point1 Apr 2011
 Last snow storm of the season, probably. Good thing too - the handle of our second snow-shovel rusted through as I cleared a path to the cars. A certain dim-wit broke the other one earlier, and hasn't mentioned it or replaced it.

 15 Mar 2011 Bachmann and Palin aren't the only Rethuglicans ignorant of our history: today it's Santorum, lying about Kennedy, separation of church and state, and Thomas Jefferson.

And Gomer Huckabee said "I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced — at gun point no less — to listen to every David Barton message." Barton is a far-right extremist who has his own imaginary fundie Christian version of American history. He is a Tenther so extreme that other Tenthers disavow his ideas. But most of the loons love him, because he tells them they're special.

point13 Mar 2011  Turns out that NPR was Breitbarted - another completely dishonest editing lie from O'Keefe, yet the NPR bosses and reporters just accepted it, and panicked. And Glen Beck's staff reported the fraud?!
     We just started a Sunday subscription to the Boston Globe, after a lapse of some years. Jeff Jacoby is still torturing logic and distorting reality to support the reactionaries. Interesting review of Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands.
     There has been a hoopla by the credulous and inane media over supposed bacteria in meteorites, but the story is debunked over and over and over, again. Then there's another "finding of Atlantis," this one in Spain.

 12 Mar 2011: Michele Bachmann, batshit nutter harpy, fails history and geography class again -- doesn't know New Hampshire from Massachusetts:  "What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord." bio comment
  When last heard from, she was claiming the Founding Fathers fought tirelessly to end slavery.
 "Her value, principles, and what she has put forward as an agenda is definitely something we would like to see." -- Andrew Hemingway, chairman of Republican Liberty [sic] Caucus of New Hampshire, Boston Globe, 13 Mar 2011, p. B4
G-Rex, the Team 190 FIRST robot
demo video


Mar 2011 There are insane right-wingers in Massachusetts, too: 2,000 rounds of ammo found during traffic stop

WORCESTER —  A traffic stop on Interstate 290 last week led to the discovery of 2,000 rounds of ammunition in a Westfield man’s trunk, court records filed after the man was arraigned yesterday show.
 David M. Phillips, 54, of 48 White St., Westfield, was charged in Central District Court with four counts of possession of a large capacity feeding device, and possession of ammunition without a Firearm Identification Card.
 Police reports and search warrant affidavits on file in court said Officer Nathan LaFleche was on Grafton Street March 3 around 1:15 a.m. when he saw a Lincoln Town Car with a license plate that appeared not to be from the United States.
 The officer got a closer look at the plate when the car sped down Harding Street toward Kelley Square. Officer LaFleche caught up to the car on I-290 and pulled it over.
 Mr. Phillips allegedly told the officer he was exempt from having to register or insure his car in Massachusetts. Dressed in Army fatigues, Mr. Phillips refused to tell the officer why a set of handcuffs were near his steering wheel, the officer wrote.
 A police scanner and police baton were also in the car. Police said they also found a 6-inch hunting knife. Mr. Phillips was asked to exit the car and he began to argue, Officer LaFleche wrote.
 The car was towed and eventually officers opened the truck. Police allegedly found several green military-style ammunition boxes. The boxes were marked showing different types of ammunition. Police then filed a search warrant for the items.
 An inventory of items seized from the trunk showed nine large-capacity ammunition magazines along with 2,156 rounds of varies types of ammunition.
 Officer LaFleche wrote in the court records that Mr. Phillips did not have a Firearm Identification Card. He had one revoked by the town of Sturbridge, the officer wrote.
 Mr. Phillips was held on $25,000 cash bail. His case was continued to March 31.

pointQuestion: Are the "sovereign citizens" usually this dumb, or is just the dumb ones who get noticed? The license plate isn't described, but was silly enough to attract police attention. This one is critcized by the goldbugs/gun droolers for not being invisible.
 Possibly related: The police seem to frequently find large quantities of drugs in cars pulled over for driving violations. Are the criminals that dumb, or do the police have other information, and make up excuses to stop them to protect sources?

 Alaska "sovereign citizens"/ "militia" loons arrested for plots to kill police and Federal judge, from C&L:

Militia activist Schaeffer Cox and four associates who reportedly stockpiled weapons were arrested on Thursday for allegedly conspiring to kill multiple Alaska State Troopers and a federal judge.
     The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the group -- Cox, Lonnie. G. Vernon and his wife Karen Vernon, as well as Coleman Barney of North Pole and Michael Anderson -- were taken into custody by state police. All five face several state charges, including "conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit arson, misconduct involving weapons in the third degree, hindering prosecution in the first degree and tampering with evidence," according to a press release by the Alaska State Troopers.
     Only one of the individuals, Lonnie G. Vernon, has been charged on the federal level so far. He's alleged to have threatened to murder U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline from on or about Feb. 4, continuing through Feb. 16.

Barnstable Patriot, 5 may 1891

Provincetown--A nice lot of garden soil has arrived by the schr. J.G. Hamlin from New Haven, and our people are using it for the benefit of their gardens and cemetery lots.

pointLiberal news media have been pointing out that Rep. Peter King (KKK-NY) is selective in which terrorists he supports. The MSM and reich-wing noise machine ignores this. King is also trying to steal American ham radio.
 Updated: Peter King's favorite terrorists are still killing and trying to kill many people in 2011.
 Updated again: His heroes are still at it, his first McCarthy star chamber failed, but he's continuing anyway.
Update 3, Sep: Testifying on terrorism before the British Parliament, he was asked questions about his own support of terrorism, and sounded stupid and hypocritical.

 9 Mar 2011 Tom Toles

Waste not, want not. Not
 Small-car sales are picking up in response to higher gas prices! There's a surprise. But people don't WANT small cars, we were told, until they do. Depends on what you really want.
 But people only want small cars when gas is expensive! And it wasn't expensive before! Of course, we could have raised gasoline taxes and reduced the deficit. Reducing the deficit is the thing that everybody says they want more than anything else in the whole wide world. Except cars that waste gasoline. They want cars that waste gasoline just a little bit more than reducing the deficit that they say will bankrupt the nation into Third World status and ruin the lives of their very children and grandchildren. That's a worthy concern, too, to be sure, except when compared to a car that wastes gasoline.
 Oh, and not wasting gas would also help curb climate destruction. Whoa, there, pal! Not so fast! You going to put THAT up against a car that wastes gasoline?? Where are your VALUES, dude? --Tom Toles

28 Feb 2011 David Brooks made some sense!: the Rethuglicans target children and the future, because they don't vote and have no constituency.
Where schools are not vigorously and honourably encouraged, whole colonies will sink apace into a degenerate and contemptible condition, and at last become horribly barbarous; and the first instance of their barbarity will be, that they will be undone for want of men, but not see and own what it is that undid them.--- Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana (1702)


21 Feb 2011 Texas, the state with the highest murder rate, decides to multiply that record by allowing guns on college campuses. Because Mexicans and Negroes are all around them.

 20 Feb 2011
Breitbarting Wisconsin, at Rackjite:
     All power must be given to the employer in a Republican free market system. All tax benefits must go to the wealthiest or they will take their money and run. Every one who votes Republican should be forced to work - along with their children - 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for whatever an employer deems fair. Free Market! If you vote for it then live by it you friggin' morons.  
     Watching this video one is reminded of what dishonest, lying, ugly and truly disgusting people Teabaggers are. Listen to this man who's entire life is dedicated to destroying black organizations and individuals. Its all he does. And if you call him exactly what he is, a Racist, they somehow, as you see, that makes you the racist and him not a racist. It's the nature of the Beast.
     Andrew Breitbart Tea Party spokesman here claims teachers are lazy socialists who have no business teaching our kids. TEA BAG HOME SCHOOLING! He claims the week long rally has been populated by busing in anarchists from out of state.  He claims the protesters are violent racists. On and on the bold and bald faced lies go on. Lies are what drives the Right in America which the get away with because for a generation they have had their own media to back their lies up while the mains stream media quietly hides under the beds going along to save share.    

They only call it Class War when we fight back.

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

Andrew Wakefield fraud
Jenny McCarthy body count

We are fortunate that soccer is a minor sport here:

Guatemala football club Xinabajul executive shot dead
 The vice-president of a Guatemalan football club has been shot dead, after receiving death threats over the team's poor performance.

point    We are also fortunate that most of the teabaggers are such abject cowards, spewing their venom and lies, boasting of their guns and intentions, but so few actually get up off the couch to practice what they preach. So far, whenever the exteme ones do act out, they are then claimed by the "mainstream" teabaggers to be mentally ill or common criminals. Will that last?
     But giving back the Southwest to Mexico might help. On the other hand, Mexico might consider it an act of war.
    A perhaps easy matter for historians and psychologists to explore: why are the Rethuglicans, neocons and teabaggers such belligerent jingoists, yet such pants-wetters about 'socialism,' 'terrorism' and religions that are not their own. They live in fear of others - other ideas, other cultures, other people, even though domestic American violence is way down and American culture and business permeates the world.

Goldman Sachs is "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." --Matt Taibbi, in Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, 2010

This is a libel on vampire squid, of course.

18 Feb 2011  In Puerto Rico, Protests End Short Peace at University
 This has been going on for months, but it's the first I've heard of it. Riot police have been on campus as students protest fee increases. This would be big news if it were on a US campus, with the teacrackers urging shoot-to-kill orders. The fees in question are trivial by mainland standards. And I'll mention again that Puerto Rico as an American problem is an early example of Republican imperialism and right-wing press jingoism.
 Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the Rethuglicans deliberately caused a state budget crisis, and are trying to use it to kill public unions, except for the ones that backed them in the elections. The usual crackers are ranting against the unions, the teachers in particular.
     As far as I can see, the politicians are as much at fault as the unions for the main potential crisis, the unfunded pension and medical plans, since they signed the contracts and passed the laws. Maybe all such things should be directly voted on by the public. This country does not have honest discussions and analyses of these matters (or any others.)

 14 Feb 2011    I walked a half mile toward downtown Worcester along the major road, and found a number of properties that had never cleared their sidewalks, weeks after the snow. Snow was still two feet deep, and at least one owner had even plowed his driveway snow onto the sidewalks.  Several more corners and crosswalks were not cleared, forcing walkers to climb over the mounds of ice. This is a major route for schoolkids.
     On 18 Feb, downtown, many crosswalks had not been cleared. The city has not even tried to clear some miles of sidewalk that are its responsibility, but downtown crosswalks should be a priority.


Life in research -- a great parody

4 Feb 2011   Wow!

"In a strong statement of support for anti-government protesters in Egypt, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution, introduced by two key senators, calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately.
     Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., and Senate Armed Services ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz., authored the resolution that was passed by unanimous consent Thursday evening."

     But later, Sen. Depends went on the talk shows to say Obama was unprepared for the Arab unrest, which is untrue, and presumably a lie. Obama ordered an analysis last summer, which, it seems, predicted events fairly well.

point3 Feb 2011
 Worcester, Mass., city incompetence or deliberate policy? We refinanced the house at a better rate, and an appraisal set its value down about 25% from its assessed value. So, some weeks ago we asked Worcester's tax office for the real estate abatement form, and was told it would be mailed right away. It didn't come, it wasn't our immediate problem, and I didn't pursue it until yesterday. Patricia A. Johnson says the deadline was 1 Feb, so it's too late to apply.
 George W Bush said something truthful and accurate!, and the teabaggers are furious:

Bush: What's interesting about our country, if you study history, is that there are some 'isms' that occasionally pop up -- pop up. One is isolationism and its evil twin protectionism and its evil triplet nativism. So if you study the '20s, for example, there was -- there was an American first policy that said who cares what happens in Europe?...And there was an immigration policy that I think during this period argued we had too many Jews and too many Italians; therefore we should have no immigrants. And my point is that we've been through this kind of period of isolationism, protectionism and Nativism. I'm a little concerned that we may be going through the same period."

Ultra-Zionist wankery:

WASHINGTON – Former President Jimmy Carter has become the target of a class action lawsuit over ostensibly mean things he said about Israel in his best-selling 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
     The lawsuit, filed in New York by an Israeli firm, alleges that the book "contained numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author's agenda of anti-Israel propaganda and to deceive the reading public instead of presenting accurate information as advertised."
     The five American plaintiffs, two of whom are dual citizens of the US and Israel, seek $5 million n                                                                              in damages over the book (which is being sold for less than $10 on Amazon) on the basis that its criticisms of Israel violated consumer protection safeguards.

2 Feb 2011 Republican pro-rape bill, 2d story. Followup: they blinked.
     Repugs to allow neo-Nazi terror  Peter King's history of publicly supporting terrorism largely ignored.
         Brisenia Flores murder by "militia" is hardly noticed. story story story [update: militia leader and tea-cracker Shawna Forde was convicted on all counts.]

     WikiLeaks: FBI hunts the 9/11 gang that got away, Qatari group that was in Los Angeles
     4 Feb 2011. FBI more or less denies story.

 1 Feb 2011 CPAC to honor war criminal
 Speakers scheduled to address CPAC 2011 included bloviating Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, whoring hypocrite Newt Gingrich, half-term Gov. Sarah Palin, psycho-by-proxy Liz Cheney, loonitarian Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), batshit Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. So much concentrated insanity, yet the worst bigots won't attend, because CPAC now tolerates gays.
     ""I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of Defense in history." - John McCain, Feb 2011

pointProtests in African and Arab countries - Tunisian dictator overthrown - dangerous times. Most rebellions fail to become revolutions, and most revolutions are hijacked by opportunists and radicals. I recall fellow students being happy at the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, and their being surprised at my prediction of a theocracy. But it was clear to anyone paying any attention that Khomeini intended that.
 Millions of unemployed people - revolution won't change that for the better, so what then? The teabagger comments promising this sort of action here show how deluded they are. Curiously, major Republican politicians are prasing Obama & Clinton's handling of the situation - the whores at Faux are aghast. The comments that I've on news stories have a huge element of teabagger insanity, with an overlapping set of international conspiracy gibberish, largely anti-Semitic. These blame the US/CIA - Israel/Mossad for supporting Mubarak, and for overthrowing him - the usual self-contradictory drool - anything bad is the fault of The Others, anything good is the righteous expression of Our Destiny.
     The right-wing nuts' guide to Egypt
     30 Jan 2010  An exiled Tunisian Islamist has returned home. Hundreds of jailed Egyption Islamists have been broken out of their cells. There is good reason to think the violence and anarchy are mostly caused by police agents.  The Muslim Brotherhood was apparently caught flat-footed, but I expect them to try to to take over the revolution. The military would fight that, I think, and it might just seize control as soldiers have been doing for millennia. Mubarak was an air force general; Sadat and Nassar were army officers when they overthrew the monarchy in 1952.

The Lost Prophesies of Nostradamus

   The US military in general, and the Air Force Academy, in particular, are pushing fundamentalist Christianity on all its members. Protesters are punished.
Onward Christian Soldiers ... To Hypocrisy, by William Pitt Rivers

 27 Jan 2011   Even the looniest can sometimes make sense:
 "Why should we fear the Truth? Why should we label Julian Assange an Enemy of the State? Once it becomes acceptable to equate Truth with Treason, we can no longer call ourselves a Free Society" - Rep. Ron Paul
 Ron Paul quotes diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks confirming what has long been suspected, that under then President GHW Bush Ambassador April Glassby gave the green light to Saddam to invade Kuwait, thus providing the pretext for the US to begin the 20 year war against Iraq.

 Ron Paul Explains How Iraq Was Made Into An Enemy In Order To "Redesign The Middle East"

point Yes, the 2010 Census is still in operation, tying up loose ends with statistical research. I'm one of 5 enumerators covering Worcester County.

 As usual, I am not given enough work.

 25 Jan 2011, NYT
Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Finds

WASHINGTON — The 2008 financial crisis was an “avoidable” disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a federal inquiry.   
     The commission that investigated the crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.
     “The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done,” the panel wrote in the report’s conclusions. “If we accept this notion, it will happen again.”
     While the panel, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, accuses several financial institutions of greed, ineptitude or both, some of its gravest conclusions concern government failings, with embarrassing implications for both parties. But the panel was itself divided along partisan lines, which could blunt the impact of its findings.   
     Many of the conclusions have been widely described, but the synthesis of interviews, documents and testimony, along with its government imprimatur, give the report — to be released on Thursday as a 576-page book — a conclusive sweep and authority.


Jan. 26, 2011 -- In what mission scientists are calling an "exceptional flyby," the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter has taken stunning close-up photographs of Mars' largest moon Phobos.

 Flying within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the moon's surface in Jan. 9, the body's countless craters can be seen in detail. Although this isn't the sharpest set of photographs taken by a spacecraft passing Phobos, the new pictures capture the previous and current planned landing sites of the ambitious Russian Phobos-Grunt mission. link
 full resolution photos at mission website

 26 Jan 2011   "Darrell "The Arsonist" Issa already has tarred his committee's hearing process when he wouldn't allow the ranking Democrat to make his opening statement because it was aimed at JPMorgan Chase's role in the foreclosure fraud.

Ryan Grimm:

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa's investigation into the foreclosure crisis is off to a rough start. On Wednesday, the ranking Democrat on the oversight panel, Elijah Cummings (Md.), planned to use his opening statement to charge Issa with blocking the summoning of a witness from JPMorgan Chase to explain the bank's role in alleged foreclosure fraud.

The assholes at USPS have taken 3 months to return a letter whose address they didn't like. The letter was addressed to our credit union and included 2 checks, which therefore were not in my account. The delay caused a significant problem. It was partly my fault for not having a return address.

 25 Jan 2011 No Manning-Assange link found

News reports late last year indicated that the US was trying to build a criminal conspiracy case against Assange through evidence that he aided Manning when the Army private allegedly copied more than a quarter million classified State Department cables onto CD and walked away with them.
     But according to military officials who spoke to NBC News, the US has failed to find evidence proving that link:

The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure.

The news appears to jibe with what Assange himself has said. In an interview with ABC News, Assange said he had "never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press."

Texas governor Perry railed against ‘bailouts’ on same day he requested one


Furry Old Lobster, by Jonathan Coulton

 Crazy Watering Can, by vaniaHey


 21 Jan 2011 PolitiFact: Bachmann’s claims false more often than any other politician

By David Edwards, at Rawstory
 Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann isn't letting her lack of credibility get in the way of her presidential ambitions.
     Only a day before the congresswoman's Friday visit to Iowa, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact noted that she had made false statements more often than any public official.
     "We have checked her 13 times, and seven of her claims to be false and six have been found to be ridiculously false," PolitiFact editor Bill Adair told Minnesota Public Radio.
     He added that no other politician had been fact checked as often as Bachmann without saying something that was found to be true.
     "I don't know anyone else that we have checked, more than a couple times, that has never earned anything above a false," Adair said. "She is unusual in that regard that she has never gotten a rating higher than false."
     When PolitiFact last checked the congresswoman, they gave her a "Pants on fire" rating for claiming President Barack Obama wanted to give a "massive" tax hike to businesses with $250,000 in gross sales.
     "We first fact-checked similar claims during the 2008 election, when Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, worried he'd get a tax increase under Obama's plan if he bought a company that took in around $250,000 a year," PolitiFact noted.

    "It wasn't true then, and it isn't true now," the fact checkers said.

Russian Orthodox Church calls for dress code, says miniskirts cause 'madness'
     In a sign of the growing political ambitions of the Russian Orthodox Church, a top official wants a national dress code for men and women. It would forbid men from wearing T-shirts or track suits in public. Islamic groups have come out in support of the idea. CSMonitor

Uncle Thomas breaks the law, year after year after year:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to report his wife's income from a conservative think tank on financial disclosure forms for at least five years, the watchdog group Common Cause said Friday.
     Between 2003 and 2007, Virginia Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the foundation's IRS records. Thomas failed to note the income in his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms for those years, instead checking a box labeled "none" where "spousal noninvestment income" would be disclosed.
     A Supreme Court spokesperson could not be reached for comment late Friday. But Virginia Thomas' employment by the Heritage Foundation was well known at the time.
     Virginia Thomas also has been active in the group Liberty Central, an organization she founded to restore the "founding principles" of limited government and individual liberty.
     In his 2009 disclosure, Justice Thomas also reported spousal income as "none." Common Cause contends that Liberty Central paid Virginia Thomas an unknown salary that year.
     Federal judges are bound by law to disclose the source of spousal income, according to Stephen Gillers, a professor at NYU School of Law. Thomas' omission — which could be interpreted as a violation of that law — could lead to some form of penalty, Gillers said.
     "It wasn't a miscalculation; he simply omitted his wife's source of income for six years, which is a rather dramatic omission," Gillers said. "It could not have been an oversight." -- from LA Times, and others

 "The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same." -- Stendhal, (01/23/1783 – 03/23/1842) French writer

    The 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2010

 19 Jan Court Rules Government Can Continue To Suppress Detainee Statements Describing Torture And Abuse

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court today ruled that the government can continue suppressing transcripts in which former CIA prisoners now held at Guantánamo Bay describe abuse and torture they suffered in CIA custody. The ruling came in an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain uncensored transcripts from Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs) used to determine if Guantánamo detainees qualify as "enemy combatants." [continues]

racist dirtbag

from Politicususa:
Listening to Palin’s sliding of meanings one can understand why. A sliding of meanings is “defensive remolding of linguistic meaning to preserve the narcissist’s primitive sense of perfection.” Notice how it’s very tough to call Palin out for anything because of the word salad she spews? This linguistic folly is said to be indicative of the narcissist’s handy escape for accountability. But dumb she appears and so dumb she has been labeled.

 Palindrome: The act of complaining vociferously about a wrong being done to you while casually committing said wrong yourself with no awareness. - Jon Stewart [video]

 Anthony Weiner (D-NY) today on healthcare repeal: "For all of you sitting and watching at home, playing the drinking game where you take a shot every time a republican lies; you better get a designated driver."

 Beck video, "You're going to have to shoot them in the head."

18 Jan 2011 - Good news - Holy Joe will retire at the end of his term.

 Whatever happened to that preposterous pretense that teabaggers were neither Republican nor Democrat?
 It's amusing to see how upset some of them get at being called "teabaggers."  As far I've seen, they called themselves that first, then denied it after the liberal press noted its sexual definition and the mainstream press caught on. There are plenty of supporting photos and docs.

 Wired Q&A: Astronomer Mike Brown on How He Killed Pluto

Mike Brown set out to expand the galaxy, not shrink it. He spent much of his childhood surveying the night sky, hunting for alien worlds in the outer reaches of the solar system. Then he grew up to become a planetary astronomer at Caltech and really did find something. He called it Eris, but being only slightly bigger than Pluto and three times as far from the sun, it just didn’t seem worthy of planet status. And this caused a major problem. If Eris didn’t qualify as a planet, then neither did Pluto. The result: Pluto officially lost its planet title in 2006. In his new book, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming, Brown describes his sordid role in the biggest astronomical controversy since Sinbad’s appearance on Star Search.  [contimues]

"The layman's constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn't like is unconstitutional." -- Hugo L. Black (02/27/1886 – 09/25/1971)

 "As science pushes forward, ignorance and superstition gallop around the flanks and bite science in the rear with big dark teeth." -- Philip Jose Farmer (01/26/1918 – 02/25/2009)


 17 Jan 2011 Teabagger politician in action

Newly minted Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said in a lecture posted to his YouTube channel that Congressional laws banning child labor are forbidden by the US Constitution. [continues at Rawstory]

Caligula's tomb found after police arrest man trying to smuggle statue
 Police arrest tomb raider loading part of 2.5 metre statue into lorry near Lake Nemi, south of Rome, where Caligula had a villa

Loughner, the Villagers and right-wing hate

 David Frum:
  "The thing I worry about is not rhetoric. It’s the construction of paranoid narratives," a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush who now runs his own blog, said on CNN's "Reliable Sources."
     "When people say that Barack Obama is deliberately trying to destroy the economy of the United States in order to overthrow the constitution and lead us to a Marxist dictatorship – you can say that without a single harsh syllable or negative adjective, but it's a false and paranoid narrative, and that attacks the governance of the country," Frum said.

 Eisenhower's farewell address, the "military-industrial complex" speech

14 Jan 2011  Fatherland Security Cancels ‘Virtual Fence’ After $1 Billion Is Spent

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday canceled a project to build a technology-based “virtual fence” across the Southwest border, saying that the effort — on which $1 billion has already been spent — was ineffective and too costly.
     Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, said she had decided to end the five-year-old project, known as SBI-Net, because it “does not meet current standards for viability and cost effectiveness.” In a statement, Ms. Napolitano said border agents would instead use less expensive technology that is already part of their surveillance equipment, tailoring it to the specific terrain where they will be scouting for illegal border crossers and drug traffickers.
     Ms. Napolitano’s decision brought a long-expected close to a project carried out by the Boeing Corporation under a contract first signed in 2005 under President George W. Bush, which had been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Originally estimated to cost more than $7 billion to cover the 2,000-mile length of the border, it was the subject of more than a dozen scathing reports by the Government Accountability Office. [continues at NYT]

pointAnnual beef - Snow rules: We live in the snow belt, in a city, so there are city laws about parking, snow removal and sidewalks. But they don't make complete sense, and are very selectively enforced.  We are reqired to remove snow from sidewalks within 10 hours after the snow stops falling - how is "stops falling" defined? We do a better job than many people do, although we have 200 feet of sidewalk to clear. Some people do literally nothing at all. We are supposed to clear a path 4 feet wide, which is ridiculous, since the Barnard St sidewalk is only 2 feet wide, the common situation in residential ares. Plows hired by the city throw up snow from the street into our driveway and often onto the sidewalks, and this stuff is denser and icier than the rest, so we have to shovel again. And the corner crossing is supposed to be cleared, although that's where the plows throw up the highest mounds of ice. Around this neighborhood, at least, the majority of abutters don't try to cut through those, but cut a path nearby, which requires pedestrians to walk out in the street. The city always threatens, but does not go looking for scofflaws: the police sometimes respond to complaints. (We had a complaint against us, 2 or 3 years ago, that was completely wrong.) The city itself does a bad and incomplete job in many places.

 Unverified quotes on politics
 "When they call the roll in the Senate, the senators do not know whether to answer present or not guilty." -- Theodore Roosevelt

 "Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." -- Ambrose Bierce

 "Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them." -- Paul Valery

 "All politics are based on the indifference of the majority." -- Scotty Reston

 "A Conservative government is an organized hypocrisy." -- Benjamin Disraeli

 "Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

 "Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power." -- Aldous Huxley

 "It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." -- G K Chesterton

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives.The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." -- GK Chesterton

 "Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." -- George Orwell

 "When the churches literally ruled society, the human drama encompassed: (a) slavery; (b) the cruel subjection of women; (c) the most savage forms of legal punishment; (d) the absurd belief that kings ruled by divine right; (e) the daily imposition of physical abuse; (f) cold heartlessness for the sufferings of the poor; as well as (g) assorted pogroms ("ethnic cleansing" wars) between rival religions, capital punishment for literally hundreds of offenses, and countless other daily imposed moral outrages … it was the free-thinking, challenging work by people of conscience, who almost invariably had to defy the religious and political status quo of their times, that brought us out of such darkness." -- Steve Allen

 "Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less." -- Susan B. Anthony

Farm Animals Get 80 Percent of Antibiotics Sold in U.S.
 "The proportion of antibiotics sold in the United States each year that go to animals turns out to be not 70 percent, but rather 80 percent. Here’s CLF’s Ralph Loglisci, who got the confirmatory numbers from the FDA:
     In accordance with a 2008 amendment to the Animal Drug User Fee Act, for the first time the FDA released last week an annual amount of antimicrobial drugs sold and distributed for use in food animals. The grand total for 2009 is 13.1 million kilograms or 28.8 million pounds. I … contacted the FDA for an estimate of the volume of antibiotics sold for human use in 2009. This is what a spokesperson told me:
     “Our Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology just finished an analysis based on IMS Health data. Sales data in kilograms sold for selected antibacterial drugs were obtained as a surrogate of human antibacterial drug use in the U.S. market. Approximately 3.3 million kilograms of antibacterial drugs were sold in year 2009. OSE states that all data in this analysis have been cleared for public use by IMS Health, IMS National Sales Perspectives™.”

A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand. — Bertrand Russell, The History of Western Philosophy (1945)

 I pledge impertinence to the flag waving, of the unindicted co-conspirators of America, and to the republicans for which I can't stand, one abomination, underhanded fraud, indefensible, with Liberty and Justice… Forget it.-- Matt Groening

 My reason taught me that I could not have made one of my own qualities- they were forced upon me by Nature; that my language, religion, and habits were forced upon me by Society; and that I was entirely the child of Nature and Society; that Nature gave the qualities and Society directed them. Thus was I forced, through seeing the error of their foundation, to abandon all belief in every religion which had been taught by man.-- Robert Owen, (1771-1858)]


 Rep. Darrell Issa has promised hundreds of investigations of Obama supporters and policies. Interesting choice for Congressional persecutor-in-chief:
Rep. Issa: A Past Filled With Suspected Arson, Weapons Charges & Auto Theft also

To rebel against a powerful political, economic, religious, or social establishment is very dangerous and very few people do it, except, perhaps, as part of a mob. To rebel against the "scientific" establishment, however, is the easiest thing in the world, and anyone can do it and feel enormously brave, without risking as much as a hangnail. Thus, the vast majority, who believe in astrology and think that the planets have nothing better to do than form a code that will tell them whether tomorrow is a good day to close a business deal or not, become all the more excited and enthusiastic about the bilge when a group of astronomers denounces it. -- Isaac Asimov

 Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial. -- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: 126

16 Jan 2011 NYT editorial supporting elimination of farming subsidies. Fat chance.
     $10-30 billion per year, it says, apparently depending on what gets counted among multiple programs. Does it count the corn-ethanol boondoggle, or is that a separate crime?

If conservative talk radio fans really felt what they claim they feel, and had any courage at all, they already would have taken up arms against the government, liberal media, and anyone else they don't like. They have, for the most part, not done so. Therefore:
 (1) Conservatives don't believe their own propaganda, or
 (2) Conservatives are cowards, or
 (3) Both (1) and (2).
     QED. -- Fark comment, Jan 2011   

point15 Jan 2011 We watched Waiting for Superman, a ducumentary on the failure of the American education system.
     The statistics are horrifying: low graduation rates are a problem, abysmal literacy and numeracy rates are horrifying.
     The teachers' unions take a big hit as the major impediments to education reform.
     The social context is largely ignored. I think schools stink when the public doesn't care, and politicians pander to the unions on one hand and teabaggers on the other.
     The political context is completely ignored, apart from all the recent presidents, except Nixon, calling for or promising education reform.
     There are schools which work, even in the poorest urban settings, but their methods are barely touched on.
Followup: Michelle Rhee is bouncing from bed to bed with the anti-union thugs all over the country, and they sure don't give a positive damn about education.

 The New York Times is running Disunion, a great series on the events leading up to the Civil War. Some of the comments are excellent, too, but others are revisionist, apologist, and teabagger lies, misdirection, irrelevancies and bullshit.
 The Washington Post is also running a series, Civil War 150.
      Five myths about why the South seceded   

Addicted to Hate, a detailed report on Fred Phelps, the sick monster of "Westboro Baptist Church.". (backup at CCH)

 14 Jan 2011

Published on The Smirking Chimp
 Impressed With Speech, Fox Names Obama an Honorary American
    By Andy Borowitz

 NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) - Impressed by his speech at the University of Arizona last night, the Fox News Channel today took the extraordinary step of naming President Barack Obama an honorary American.
     "Let's face it, he's earned it," said Fox host Glenn Beck. "I don't care where he came from, he's one of us now."
     Naming President Obama an honorary American was only one of a series of conciliatory moves made today by what promises to be a kinder, gentler Fox News.
     A network spokesman said that starting this week, Fox would air one minute of civil discourse every Sunday at 4 AM.

12 jan 2011 CNN story on Wakefield fraud

 -- The author of a now-retracted study linking autism to childhood vaccines expected a related medical test to rack up sales of up to $43 million a year, a British medical journal reported Tuesday.
    The report in the medical journal BMJ is the second in a series sharply critical of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who reported the link in 1998. It follows the journal's declaration last week that the 1998 paper in which Wakefield first suggested a connection between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine was an "elaborate fraud."
     The venture "was to be launched off the back of the vaccine scare, diagnosing a purported -- and still unsubstantiated -- 'new syndrome,'" BMJ reported Tuesday. A prospectus for potential investors suggested that a test for the disorder Wakefield dubbed "autistic enterocolitis" could produce as much as 28 million pounds ($43 million U.S.) in revenue, the journal reported, with "litigation driven testing" of patients in the United States and Britain its initial market.
     Among his partners in the enterprise was the father of one of the 12 children in the 1998 study that launched the controversy, the journal reported. [continues]

Dr. Andrew Wakefield expected his test to be used in 'litigation driven" cases, BMJ says
 Tuesday's report is the second in a BMJ series sharply critical of the researcher
 Wakefield has denied any wrongdoing and attacked the author of the series
 Wakefield's paper linking vaccines to autism has been retracted

If abuses are destroyed, man must destroy them. If slaves are freed, man must free them. If new truths are discovered, man must discover them. If the naked are clothed; if the hungry are fed; if justice is done; if labor is rewarded; if superstition is driven from the mind; if the defenseless are protected and if the right finally triumphs, all must be the work of man. The grand victories of the future must be won by man, and by man alone. - Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods, 1872

 11 Jan 2011
    chalcolithic winemaking in Armenia

Winemaking was known 6000 years ago. Gregory Areshian, J. Archeological Science


Sick, sick pigs: Limbaugh and Foxx   


10 Jan 2011

Wired: Twitter’s Response to WikiLeaks Subpoena Should Be the Industry Standard
 ANALYSIS — Twitter introduced a new feature last month without telling anyone about it, and the rest of the tech world should take note and come up with their own version of it.

Twitter beta-tested a spine.

 On Friday it emerged that the U.S. government recently got a court order demanding that Twitter turn over information about a number of people connected to WikiLeaks, including founder Julian Assange, accused leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning, former WikiLeaks spokeswoman Birgitta Jonsdottir, and WikiLeaks activist Jacob Appelbaum.
     The request was approved by a magistrate judge in Alexandria, Virginia where a federal grand jury is looking into charges against WikiLeaks related to its acquisition and publishing of U.S. government classified information.
     The court order came with a gag order that prevented Twitter from telling anyone, especially the target of the order, about the order’s existence.
     To Twitter’s credit, the company didn’t just open up its database, find the information the feds were seeking (such as the IP and e-mail addresses used by the targets) and quietly continue on with building new features. Instead the company successfully challenged the gag order in court, and then told the targets that their data was being requested, giving them time to try and quash the order themselves.

comments regarding the assassination attempt and murders in Tucson, at Mike Stanfill's farleftside, via Pharyngula:

If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he be sitting right now? Just asking. - Michael Moore

 A physician cannot treat an illness s/he willfully refuses to diagnose. Violent political rhetoric is not fault of "both sides." - Tom Tomorrow

 Inspiring that our media pundits are so quick to reach for "everyone's to blame" when no conservative events have been terrorized by gunmen. - Jeffrey Feldman

 Weird: rightwingers say movies, video games affect behavior -- but real world violent rhetoric from leaders & radio talkers have NO impact! - Tom Tomorrow

 Jared Lougnner: drug arrests, too crazy for Army or for college or anything else, but getting a legal gun? No problem. - Tom Tomorrow

 I find it abhorrent that Sarah Palin would stoke the coals of extremism with dangerous messaging, then delete it when something bad happens. - Jason Pollock

Sure, Sarah Palin didn't pull the trigger. But then, neither did Charles Manson. - auntbeast

 Christina Taylor Green was Born on September 11, 2001, and killed today by terrorist fuckheads in Arizona. Irony much? - geeksofdoom

 Sarah Palin rummages online frantically erasing her rabble-rousing Tweets like a Stalinist trimming non-persons out of photos. - Roger Ebert

 I'll say this, if your first instinct after hearing about a tragedy is to scrub yr websites, you have a problem as a political movement. - digby56

 Teaparty asses have been asking for this to happen, and how they're pissed off that we're calling them out on it. - TLW3

And the same rightwingers and teacrackers have been calling for the murder of Julian Assange.


 A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider godfearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. -- Aristotle, Politics


David Frum, former Bush speechwriter: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.”

9 Jan 2011

 from Rackjite:
Iowa Steve King tells Congress Jesus hates Health Care Reform

"We will carry on this struggle until in God’s good time, with all his power and might, he steps forth to the rescue and liberation of our God-given American liberty." Steve King (R - Iowa)
     The above quote was not from a Tea Party rally Mr King often attends, but a speech he made the other day from the Well of congress.
     So much for Health Care reform! God has weighed in and is against it. Jesus Christ himself is spitting mad that we would give health care to children, to the poor, to the homeless for the unemployed! Such things REALLY are not only unAmerican but unchristian as well.
     Some may ask when exactly did Jesus become such an asshole? The exact answer to that of course is 1979. When Jerry Falwell founded the political action group The Moral Majority and handed over the newest and largest voting bloc in America - WHITE Evangelical Christians - to Ronald Reagan who rode the wave to the White House. From that moment on Jesus Christ became an intolerant, bigoted, armed, nastyass, overweight white prick. Which has been the dominate force in American politics ever since.
     Republican Steve King has been the dumbest and dullest boob we have in Congress for quite some time now. But with 30 or more new Republican Tea Baggers now in attendance his reign may be short lived. 

9 Jan 2011  Republicans banish ‘civil rights’ and ‘civil liberties’ from House subcommittee

Rawstory, by Eric W. Dolan
     Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) blasted Republicans for planning to change the name of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties to the "Constitution Subcommittee."
     "Once again, the new Republican majority has shown that it isn't quite as committed to the Constitution as its recent lofty rhetoric would indicate," Rep. Nadler, who has served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties since 2007, said.
     "It has yet again shown its contempt for key portions of the document – the areas of civil rights and civil liberties – by banishing those words from the title of the Constitution Subcommittee."
     The Subcommittee on the Constitution is one of five subcommittees of the US House Committee on the Judiciary. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over constitutional amendments, constitutional rights, federal civil rights, ethics in government, and related matters.

terrorist Republicans MEK3 Jan 2011 Leading conservatives call for Obama to back terrorist group
A group of prominent Republicans may have actually committed a crime last month when they traveled to Paris to speak to an Iranian opposition group that the US has deemed to be terrorists.
     Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser Fran Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey all attended a forum organized by supporters of Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK).
     The MEK is a communist group that helped Saddam Hussein carry out attacks against Iraq's Shiite population in the 1990s. The group attacked Americans in Iran in the 1980s and helped with the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran.
     The US designated the MEK a foreign terrorist organization in January 2009.

Grayson go get
                      'em, GraysonAlan Grayson: Republicans are "a hopeless sellout party that will never do anything constructive for ordinary people in this country."

 The only recent comment on my politics page was from a teacher in Maine, with an inane teabagger rant, apparently serious.   

Time for a new page.

 Older material: 2010, 2008-9, 2004-7, 2000-4
scam and conviction in Worcester
        My personal beef is with Bill Pusateri, but from talking to the police and a business victim, there are several local dishonest contractors still in business, just not as blatant.
Paving contractors are exempt from Mass. consumer protection laws!

15 Oct 2010
 We were asked by a neighbor a number of times over the years to have his company repair our driveway. Finally, this August, I said yes to a patch job, because it's getting to be a problem. This was going to be an under-the-table side job, with materials "left over" from a commercial job. He "just needed some cash to quickly cover a family situation." In a few days this escalated to a cheap full job, with more cash up front. Six weeks later, nothing has been done.
 I should have checked before giving him anything, of course - turns out the company has a bad reputation, and paving contractors are exempt from Mass. consumer protection laws! My calls have been answered with excuses and promises of "in a couple of days."

Other examples, from neighbors

Pusateri douchebagBill Pusateri
BKJ Paving  BBB report
 cell 774-242-5155 ["temporarily out of service" since August at least]
 home 508-963-5688
 2 Ashburnham rd, Worcester, MA 01605

 18 Nov 2010
     I put a sign on the front lawn yesterday, with the text: "driveway not done by Bill Pusateri or BKJ Paving."
    A neighbor stopped by to say she's been waiting since July for Pusateri to do promised work, and an email from another person saying he's been cheated, too, and contemplating small-claims court.
 20 Nov 2010
    My sign disappeared during the day. Time to make at least 2 more.
 21 Nov 2010
    New sign, same text.
 22 Nov 2010
    Another neighbor came by to say Pusateri did an incomplete, awful, sloppy job on 2 driveways for him, difficult to repair. He thinks a sign of his own might be a good idea. Everyone has similar tales of his patter and excuses.
    BKJ owner (he said) came by, seeming upset with Pusateri for putting his business in a bad light. Said he'd be back quickly. More lies.
 23 Nov 2010
    Sign #2 vanished, mid-day again. I don't wonder who.
    It costs $40 to file a small-claims case for under $500.
 27 Nov 2010
 Sign #3: Pusateri Paving Fraud
    It gets knocked down, but hasn't gone missing yet. But I got some phone blah, blah, blah from Pusateri.
 1 Dec 2010
    Sign vanished, mid-morning. Bill's scams are now featured on Facebook, too.
 4 Dec 2010
    A neighbor stopped by to say the police are looking into his activities. Left a message with the detective.
 7 Dec 2010
    Received a phone call from another scammed person. She is looking into a petition/letter to the Attorney General to get the law changed, so such assholes are not exempt from contracting laws.
    Put up sign #4. It didn't last to next morning. I'm getting rid of lots of old panels in my cellar this way.
 8 Dec 2010.
    Sign #5. Vanished night of 12 Dec.

Police are putting together a case.

13 Dec 2010
   Sign #6. Now I number them. Heard a story of another neighbor being scammed $1000, and Pusateri being so numb that he came around again with a new $500 offer.

16 Dec 2010 Telegram Scam suspect charged with assault, larceny
 WORCESTER —  An Ashburnham Road man was arrested yesterday after police said he used a paving scam to defraud a city resident, and then assaulted the resident when he asked for his money back.
     William Pusateri, 43, of 2 Ashburnham Road, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of more than $250; and intimidation of a witness. He is being held on $2,540 cash bail and will be arraigned today in Central District Court, police said. [continues]

25 Dec 2010
    8:45 am, I saw the supposed owner of BKJ throw the small sign across the yard, and heard him yell, "Merry fucking Christmas," and drive up the street.
    Placed the small sign against the house, facing the driveway, and put the big removed sign #6 at the driveway.

 Feb 2011
    A&M Asphalt was a victim of Pusateri, too. He stole blank contracts and used them for phony bids to get money from homeowners. A&M had a good reputation beforehand, and the owner has been cheated of his reputation and a lot of money.
May 2011 Complaint form for Mass. Attorney General's office
    Only has about 1000 chars for the complaint so it helps to type up the complaint in Word, do a word count and then fill/ submit the form online.
Aug 2011
    Released on bail apparently posted by his enabling mother, Pusateri promptly repeated his scams, and was rearrested. Next court date in Sept.
Oct 2011
    Pusateri convicted for scams and assault, sentenced to 3 years plus a day, parole for 5 years, ordered to pay restitution of $29,400. (I don't expect to ever see my bit.)

Consumer comments

good service, bad service, restaurants, hotels

Service Magic - semi-guarantor of good service from tradespeople - So far I've had a prompt but somewhat pricey plumber, a very good driveway paver and another plumber, also prompt but cheaper.(jun 2011)
 Savers - won't refund for electronics, even when they they don't work at all  (jan 2011)
 Once again I am reminded how much HP software sux balls. (jan 2011, etc)
 Campbell's chunky "New England style clam chowder" is pathetic clam-flavored potato soup.
Craigslist - moving my household. Movers chosen almost at random were poorly prepared and careless of wall damage, but came on time on short notice. (aug 2011)

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