Thursday, October 07, 2010

With Liberty and Justice For All?

Can you be jailed for failing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance?

If you're a lawyer in a Mississippi tyrant's courtroom, apparently you can.

Here's hoping that judge finds a new line of work outside of government. Sounds like this guy should be managing a Burger King or something.

Totally Unproductive

This short article in the Denver Post cracked me up.

I will reprint it in its entirety:
Beleaguered GOP gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes met Tuesday in Morrison with conservative rival Tom Tancredo, who has repeatedly called for the Republican to exit the race. On the agenda: A Maes exit stage right.

Maes campaign spokesman Nate Strauch characterized the meeting as "totally unproductive."
Pretty much sums up the candidacy of both of these clowns.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

True Story: Culture War Edition

Two days ago, Fox News got wind of a controversial picture of Jesus getting a blowjob up in Loveland. (The artwork also includes a picture of the prophet Mohamed kneeling before a pair of tranny pigs, but since mocking depictions of Mohamed are "in," no one's bitching about that.)

Fox ran this segment:

Notice how the main complaint seems to be the nature of the artwork, depicting Jesus in a lewd way, but it slowly morphs into a complaint about tax dollars. It's like they can't admit, even to themselves, why they're really mad.

The funny thing, although it's not really funny, is that today some nutjob from Montana broke into the museum case and destroyed the controversial exhibit. Too bad it was just a print, eh? Good job, genius. You destroyed a photocopy.

Shades of the Buddhas of Bamyan? Yeah, a little bit. When you destroy art based on religious objections, how can you escape the comparison?

PS. This statement from Bud Shark, the organizer of the display, is right on:
"The destruction of the Enrique Chagoya 'The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals' at the Loveland Museum/Gallery today is the direct result of the inflammatory and false descriptions of the piece in the press and by those protesting it's inclusion in our exhibition. The controversial image has been demonized as 'pornographic,' 'obscene' and 'depicting Jesus in a sex act' when none of this is true," Shark wrote. "I deplore the violence and intolerance of this act and call upon those organizing the protests against this piece to restrain their angry mob at once."
Again, note the timeline. On the 4th, Fox News started talking about it.

On the 6th, a crazy lady does something about it. Coincidence or correlation?

Damn You, Ridley Scott

So I'm watching Ridley Scott's revisionist epic Robin Hood last night and things are going well. It's a bit long, but I'm enjoying it. But then we get to the part where the French are invading and they're coming ashore on the medieval version of the Higgins boat.

If you've seen Saving Private Ryan, you can probably guess what happens next. That's right, the medieval version of the beach landing, complete with underwater shots of arrows whizzing by, men flailing in the sea, men dying as soon as they hit the sand.

And to make it all more absurd, the French decide to land on a beach facing a sheer cliff, and as the film makes clear from the conspirators literally lighting their way, this was no accident. It's as if they were saying, "You know that spot where they can park their archers on the cliff and flank us with their cavalry? Let's land there."

When the English, led by Russell Crowe and William Hurt show up, the defense strategy is obvious to all but the King. "Archers to the clifftop, cavalry to the beach."

No shit, Sherlock. What else were you going to do?

I can imagine the meetings as the film-makers were planning this sequence.

Location scouting, they find the cliff. "Wow, this looks fantastic," Ridley Scott says. Someone says, "Yeah, but who would land their army here? There's cliffs and cavalry can easily flank you over there." "Yeah," Ridley says, "we should put that in the movie." The assistant offers up a weak dissent, "But no one would land here. It doesn't make sense." Ridley says, "Yeah, but it would look great, no?"

In script meetings, Ridley says, "You have the French just kind of landing and then standing around bonfires. That's not very cinematic. We should have them yelling battle cries and swinging swords." The screenwriter frowns and says, "But they're not expecting any resistance. They're just expecting to land and then march on London." "Yeah, yeah, but that's a bit boring visually, no?"

On the day of shooting, they finish one shot and go to the video village to look at it. "Wow," Ridley says, "That's amazing. It's just like Saving Private Ryan."

Yes, yes it is. Only Saving Private Ryan made sense.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

More Gold From Matt Taibbi

It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists. What they are, in truth, are narcissists. They're completely blind to how offensive the very nature of their rhetoric is to the rest of the country. I'm an ordinary middle-aged guy who pays taxes and lives in the suburbs with his wife and dog — and I'm a radical communist? I don't love my country? I'm a redcoat? Fuck you! These are the kinds of thoughts that go through your head as you listen to Tea Partiers expound at awesome length upon their cultural victimhood, surrounded as they are by America-haters like you and me or, in the case of foreign-born president Barack Obama, people who are literally not Americans in the way they are.
I feel the same way.

My Grandpa was born in Wyoming, lived most of his life in Colorado, served honorably in the Marine Corps, retired from the Marine Corps, married my Grandma, raised some kids, and he's a good man. He didn't speak English until grade school and throughout his life, he had the complexion and the last name that would keep him off any Tea Bagger's "real American" list.

To the Tea Baggers, I say FUCK YOU, with both middle fingers.

Quote of the Day

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.
Matt Taibbi being mean, as usual.

Come on, Matt. Wouldn't a tri-corn hat and a drum/fife band represent them just as well? Jeez, man. Don't be so hard on right-wing cosplay.

Turning the knife on Rand Paul, Taibbi continues being mean:
Early in his campaign, Dr. Paul, the son of the uncompromising libertarian hero Ron Paul, denounced Medicare as "socialized medicine." But this spring, when confronted with the idea of reducing Medicare payments to doctors like himself — half of his patients are on Medicare — he balked. This candidate, a man ostensibly so against government power in all its forms that he wants to gut the Americans With Disabilities Act and abolish the departments of Education and Energy, was unwilling to reduce his own government compensation, for a very logical reason. "Physicians," he said, "should be allowed to make a comfortable living."
These contradictions go over the head of most right-wingers.

In 2005, a mere 5 years ago, Republicans were tripping over themselves trying to convince the American public that the media wasn't paying attention to all the good things we were doing in Iraq. We're building schools, roads, rebuilding bridges, building power plants and water treatment facilities, they said. Dick Cheney's handing out no-bid contracts to companies he used to work for, shoveling billions of dollars of taxpayer money to his buddies.

And now? Now they're going to be the responsible stewards of my money? Do I look like I born yesterday?

Now Republicans want to extend the Bush tax cuts, arguing that raising taxes in a recession is a bad thing. Yeah, it is, but how else are we going to balance the budget? The Republican answer: We're going to borrow $4 trillion.

Um, no. Raise taxes instead, you idiots. What's worse? The economic effects of a slightly higher tax rate? Or the economic effects of adding $4 trillion in more debt? Do the math.

Republicans are falling all over themselves telling you where they'll cut government. But they are lying to you. Given the keys, we know how they will drive. They will drive us straight into the fucking ditch.

When Streamlining Goes Bad

Primary Hypothesis: Seeking to starve the government of resources will only result in a less effective government.

Secondary Hypothesis: This is not a good thing.


On a side note, I witnessed a stunningly effective law enforcement effort the other day. Instead of parking on the shoulder and setting up speed traps (which I regard as little more than ATM machines for whatever agency is doing the speed trapping), a state patrol car got in front of a line of traffic on the highway, straddled both lanes with its lights on, and made everyone slow down.

I don't think this should be an everyday occurrence --Imagine the gridlock on the city's highways if most people weren't speeding!-- but I can tell you that on that stretch of road, for that particular time, 100% of the cars were going the speed limit.

Effective enforcement? I'd say so. Not only was no one speeding, but no one had to stand in long lines at court either.

State of the Neighborhood

I was talking to my brother on the phone yesterday when a guy came to the door and handed me a packet of political flyers for basically the entire Democratic ticket in the state.

Just to needle my brother, I told the guy I was planning on voting Democrat pretty much down the line, which may or may not be true but did result in a groan from my brother.

This is the second time someone has come to my house and handed me political flyers. The first time, the flyer didn't identify the candidate's party but when I looked her up, she was a Democrat.

So far, no Republicans have come by and the question to ask is why. Out of context, it seems like a fair question, but in context, the answer is obvious.

I live in a neighborhood that's mostly populated by minorities. Over 50% of them are Hispanic, 15% black. I'm not saying Republicans are racist, but these are not the types of voters the Republican party actively courts.

I suspect that the average Republican voter would demand to see my neighbors' papers, and if they were proven to be in the United States legally, would then demand they speak English or start turning in their illegal cousins. (Don't believe me? Just listen to an anti-immigrant type spout off about English being the language of this country. See, I thought you were upset about their border crossing procedures, but turns out you have larger, more cultural axes to grind. Okay, then.)

The blacks? Well, they're not just black. They're probably poor and on welfare, and if they aren't, they're probably in some kind of gang.

Basically, the Republicans aren't conceding this neighborhood. They just don't care about it.

Monday, October 04, 2010

True Grit

I ain't gonna lie. The new Cohen Brothers movie has just what I've been looking for.

From what I understand, this is not a remake of the John Wayne classic, per se, but I don't see any way out of the comparison. It certainly looks different. Indeed, it looks pretty damn good.

A White Boy Ristra

I made this with some kite string and three varieties of pepper from the garden: Thai hot, Anaheim, and Cascabella. My tying technique is, um, amateur, but this particular ristra isn't decorative.
I want the seeds.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

State of the Union - Weed Edition

Interesting info-graphic I stole from the Denver Post.
Just a few observations:

A) Medical marijuana appears to be a regional phenomenon. The entire west coast of the United States, including Alaska, approves of it. On the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, there's another band of approval. Then a few pockets in the northeast. But that's it. The midwest (except for Michigan)? The south? Fuggetaboutit.

B) Of the top ten states in the "use rate" chart, most are states with small populations. Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are the only ones with populations over 2 million.

C) According to my crude Excel-enhanced calculations, there are an estimated 14,823,000 pot smokers in the US. That's equivalent to the combined populations of Nebraska, Idaho, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, Washington DC, and the US territories. 13 states, the capital, and the islands.

Also, there are more dope smokers in the US than there are people in Illinois (population 12.9 million).

14.8 million out of 300+ is still a very small minority, but it's still a lot of people.