Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mad Cow Disease

Boy, do I ever envy the lucky bastard who ends up stuck with this ballbreaking dunce (via Balloon Juice commenter). "Smoke more pole, you dumb bitchez, we're falling behind!". Awesome.

Just funny. Glad we're not taking college too seriously or anything. Hope the 'rents are happy with how their not-so-hard-earned dollars are being spent. She'll be a (pain-in-the-) asset at whatever unlucky employer she lands.

While You Were Sleeping

I know we're all supposed to flex nuts over our mad constitutional law skills post-Boston, but let's take a shot that these issues might be a little bit more relevant to the daily lives of you, your neighbors, and your communities:
To recap: in the foreclosure deal, 13 banks agreed to pay a total of $9.3 billion to settle their liability in a number of areas, including robo-signing, which is just a euphemism for mass-perjury – robo-signing is the practice of having low-level bank employees sign documents attesting to full knowledge of case files in court foreclosure actions, when in fact they were signing hundreds of files per day, often having no idea whether the paperwork was correct or not.

It was done across the industry and turned housing cases across America into nightmares of jumbled and/or forged paperwork, in which even people who did not deserve to be thrown out of their homes were uprooted thanks to systematic errors by faceless bureaucrats who cut legal corners purely to save money.

All the major banks were guilty on a mass scale, but they worked with federal regulators like the Fed and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to secure this wide-ranging, industry-saving settlement, which not only covered the robosigning epidemic but a host of other bad or illegal practices, like the wrongful denial of modifications and the improper levying of (often hidden) fees.

Minus this crucial settlement, banks would have faced enormous uncertainty about their legal liability going forward, and getting a deal that not only gave these companies some legal closure but allowed them to pay pennies on the dollar for their illegal activity was a massive coup for the whole finance sector.

Only $3.6 billion was earmarked for cash payments to the nearly 4 million homeowners covered in the settlement. Most of the remainder of the deal was in other forms of non-cash relief, i.e. modifications or principal reductions.

Cowboy Up

So, uh, if there's any intellectual consistency at all to the Twittard dickwads, I assume they're screaming at the top of their wittle wungs to carpet-bomb Missuhsippuh, like, yesterday, right?

That's the great thing about the 82nd Chairborne -- they always keep you guessing.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Alternate Reality

While the usual snark flies over whether or not the George W. Bush Liberry 'n' Tackle Shop contains My Pet Goat and a couple of unfinished coloring books [spoiler:  it does!], we can compare the coverage -- the attempt to be "even-handed" versus the cold, hard truth. (Extra points to the Atlantic for its freakshow commenters, especially "Summer," who seems determined to respond to each and every post with precisely the same invective and straw-gathering.)

The things that really stand out about Bush's ultimate legacy are not the tremendously bad decisions (as always, depending on whether you're one of the have-mores or not), nor his inability to pronounce incredibly complicated words such as "nuclear". It's the pains he and his various dogsbodies always took to show how disinterested Himself was in politics to begin with -- which begs the obvious question why didn't he just go into baseball and spare the world from his bumbling indifference?

I doubt we'll ever know the answer to that question; he probably doesn't know the answer himself. This is, after all, a guy who held the most important job on the planet, and could not be bothered to know the difference between Sweden and Switzerland. More seriously, much like Sarah Palin, I can't recall a single instance where Bush exhibited anything but disdain for anything beyond the most superficial, facile analysis of any issue, foreign, domestic, financial, whatever. He took pride in going with his gut, and if it went wrong, well, fuck it -- someone else would pay the price, as always.

Forget the argument over whether Bush is intelligent or not. His intellectual acumen is less important than his intellectual perspective -- here is a guy who apparently had no interest in politics, yet became governor and then president; then did a terrible job by any objective measurement, and now claims not to care about history's assessment of his track record, yet is proud of his botchery all the same. Hokay then.

Scarier still is to look at the current model of the GOP, and consider that Shrub was a comparative moderate.

And as Faulkner said, the past isn't over, nor even past, not as long as there are at least two more Bushes jockeying to get back into office, so they can again parcel it out to their donors, rack up more debt for future generations to pay, then toddle off and act like they never wanted the job in the first place. This is precisely why this whitewashing matters, because American politics are dynastic, and have proven over and over again that from either party, there is no incompetence so wretched that it can't be elected if people know the name.

Please Donate

The good folks over at Balloon Juice have a fund going for this viciously abused dog. Give if you can, it's a damned fine cause.

Too bad they don't know who did it, because it would be worth chipping in another few bucks to eliminate the scum who torture pets for fun. The future gene pool will thank us. May everything they do to animals be revisited a thousand times upon them.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Church of Jesus H. Christ of Latter-Day Aints

I've heard rumors that they have newspapers and such like out in ol' West Virginny (as Stephen Colbert once said about Arkansas:  come for the meth, stay because you sold your car for meth), so you kinda wonder what sort of rock this high school principal lives under. First, that he never got the memo that the abstinence and slut-shaming routine doesn't work (especially in places like WV where, frankly, there's nothing else to do), then that he tried to coerce the student body president over her not attending their bullshit assembling. Gee, I wonder why the smart kids leave these festering hick towns and never look back.

Because yeah, I'm sure Wellesley going to be reeeal pissed that a young woman had the temerity to think and act in her own rational self-interest, rather than kowtowing to what some cornfed religious asshole tried to decide for her.

Dumb and Dumberer

Maybe we can all chip in and buy a nice atlas for the Twittard cowboys who can't tell the difference (and couldn't care less regardless) between Chechnya and the Czech Republic. Small distinction there, dipshits. Not to mention the slight possibility that, since so far it looks as if the bombings were committed by two individuals born in Chechnya, and not agents of the actual Chechen government, that a retributive act of war might be, um, como se dice, overreacting?

I promise you, if this had been some suburban asshole doped up on psychotropic meds, tuning up his daddy's AR15, and not a couple of idiots armed with pressure cookers and ball bearings, these same internet tough guys would be singing a different tune about the whole thing. You can use a gun to pile up a couple dozen bodies in a classroom or mall, and the most these guys will have to spew is the usual jabber about liberty, or how it would have been better if all the kids/mallrats had been armed. But a couple of swarthy malcontents cook up some incompetence in their basement kitchen, and we gotsta invade the wrong country, any country, like stat.

What happened in Boston is unbelievably awful, no two ways about it. But what's striking is that the folks who bray the loudest about "freedom" in the wake of gun massacres are the first to want to nuke something, anything, when any other weapon is used. And they're always the first to surrender every other freedom. The gubmint can read their emails and up-arm the local gendarmes, put cameras everywhere and confiscate nail clippers and shampoo in order to fly, so long as they don't get any bright ideas about doing background checks on felons and lunatics. Awesome. That makes sense.

And then you have the Twittard tough guys, as mentioned above, who can't even be bothered to consult a map before running their mouths. I thought war was supposed to be god's way of teaching 'murkins geography. Guess not. These are the sort of bozos who think Volvos are made in Switzerland.

Honestly, I'm amazed that some of these halfwits can remember to breathe. I'm assuming that they own no footwear that require tying laces. Shudder to think that any of them might have positions of any responsibility, or worse yet, children.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts for the Upcoming NFL Season

"In football, I root for the Oakland Raiders because they hire castoffs, outlaws, malcontents, and fuckups, they have lots of penalties, fights and paybacks, and because Al Davis told the rest of the pig NFL owners to go get fucked. Also, they don't have a lot of Christians kneeling down to pray after touchdowns. Christians are ruining sports. Someday, the Raiders will be strong again, and they will dip the ball in shit and shove it down the throats of the wholesome, white, heartland teams that pray together and don't deliver late hits." -- George Carlin, Brain Droppings

We'll see how next week's draft goes, but I'm cautiously optimistic (for a change) on the Raiders' chances this season. While it would have been an easy douche move to declare "16-0" right from the start, the schedule actually isn't that tough, and they should be able to swing at least seven of those games, maybe as many as nine. They're going to have to for Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen to keep their jobs, which may not be entirely fair, but is still the way it goes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mockalypse on Kindle

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I dunno, seems like something Kanye would say, n'est-ce pas?

In Other Music News

So apparently Rush got formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (otherwise known as NAMBLA) tonight, and there's some sort of rift amongst the faithful as to whether they should accept their anointed shit sandwich with a smile. Although, as a longtime fan of the band, I have been of the humble opinion that they should tell NAMBLA to go fuck themselves, I respect the fact that they have chosen to suck it up and accept the much-belated accolade. Congratulations, gents!

Also, too, this is a fun site, and despite its name is not totally Rush-related.

In Music News

They arrive on a sunny day
Offering the residents a better way
Before you know it you're in line
And chanting refrain
They reel you in and then they drown you out -- The Face

Clutch dropped Earth Rocker last month, so I've only listened to it about 20 times so far. I'll keep this review short and sweet -- it's excellent. Best straight-ahead, balls-to-the-wall, no-holds-barred rawk album of the year so far. You could maybe throw last year in as well.

The usual "all killer, no filler" schtick actually applies here, it's a concise set, clocking in at just under 45 minutes. But powered by Neil Fallon's primal roar, Tim Sult's powerful riffing, and the tragically underrated rhythm section of Dan Maines and Jean-Yves Guster, they make every second count, from the "if it isn't live it doesn't matter" ethos of the title track to the propulsive aggression of Unto the Breach to the pseudocryptic The Wolf Man Kindly Requests, they deliver huge. Fallon is one of rock's better storytellers, and he's in rare form throughout. This is easily Clutch's best album since the epic Blast Tyrant (and I really liked Strange Cousins from the West).

In an earlier, more innocent time, I would have said something to the effect that this would be the album that catapults Clutch into the rock stratosphere. I give up on such assessments; I have no clue what people consider when picking the theme music for banging milfs (or whatever they hell they do for their dining and dancing pleasure). All I know is that I've been rockin' the mike for untold centuries, and this is the real fuckin' deal. Go out and get it yesterday.

Shoot to Thrill

So there's a great deal of hand-wringing over the failure to pass a thoroughly mediocre background check law that might have stopped Jared Lee Loughner, but would definitely not have prevented the Sandy Hook shooting. The bill would not have passed the House in any case, but look -- it's well past time that this threaten-to-filibuster shit stops. Now.

The procedural rules of Congress need to change regardless. No more riders, on anything. Straight up-and-down votes, on everything, no more bills "losing" 54-46. You want to filibuster, get your fucking ass up there and take the time to do so.

This goes for both parties. Obama can get pissy about this if he wants, but he knows full well that his own party is complicit in this, that this bill got hung up in part because of several putatively Democratic senators. But those senators know there won't be any penalty for their perfidy, because the Democrats don't believe in enforcing party discipline.

As usual, both wings of the party of privilege are contributing to the problem. If you didn't know better, you might think this dysfunction was deliberate.


One thing the Boston terrorist attack has really driven home this week is the prevalence of "too much information" -- in both senses of the phrase. Maybe some people still watch the corporate evening news, when they're not fixing typewriters and fax machines. But I wager most of us, in this interactive world, get our information from news aggregators.

More often than not, that means subjecting ourselves to a toxic barrage of nonsense, a dynamic in which we're encouraged to commit and contribute our two cents, even if the actual opinion offered isn't worth that amount. Notions of intellectual honesty, or logical consistency and integrity, are completely disregarded, not even acknowledged.

This doesn't just apply to the usual retarded political sentiments, by the way -- the profusion of social media inanities is something that just a generation ago would not have been just technologically impossible, but conceptually impossible. The technologies, and the social mores that have cropped around them, have literally changed the way we think and perceive these interactions, in a way that, to someone born before, say, the mid-1980s, would have been truly inconceivable. The advancements in technology were foreseeable enough, it's the regression to the mean of basic interaction that would have been more difficult to prognosticate.

Or not. That other great '90s cultural phenomenon, The Jerry Springer Show and its innumerable bark-show brethren, presaged the now commonplace norm of televised human cockfighting. Anyone who might have not gotten the memo about some people being truly mean bastards, should have a clearer understanding now.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Never Forget

Public Shaming is rapidly becoming one of my new favorite things. Who knew that Twitter could provide such a steady compendium of utter stupidity? Best of all, the first Twittard in today's round is none other than good ol' Pat Dollard. Shocking, right?

Calling these bozos on the whole "uh, you do remember that 9/11 happened on Bush's watch" thing doesn't matter to them, since 9/11 was all Clinton's fault anyway. But the dead haven't even been buried yet, have barely even been identified for their families, and you have this human centipede of morons ready to nuke someone, anyone.

It's no wonder we ended up in Iraq so easily, to chase our tails down a rat-hole for a decade, even though none of the 9/11 hijackers came from Iraq, even though no connection between Saddam and 9/11 could be found (and lordy, did they pull every conceivable theory out of their asses). The selective hyperreactions are interesting, though -- we have murder-suicides and spree killings in malls and schools routinely, get a shoulder shrug from this crowd, but now they're primed for genocide, without even knowing who did it. Awesome.

At least their twitterventing means that they're not out actually causing any mischief. Maybe.

Spin City

Well, if Chris Dodd can do for the dry-heaving movie industry what he did for the ass-pounding predation of Wall Street finance, we should be balls deep in a huge vat of pig shit, torture porn, and reboots of comic book franchises in no time. You know, pretty much like we have been at the local cinemascope. CinemaCon indeed, these assholes work the long con, always.

This is how the movie industry functions:  for years they have been acting as if frowning at the portrayal of smoking a cigarette in a scene is a sign of moral fortitude. They might now do the same with the portrayal of guns, and the use thereof. [Ed.:  Good luck with that; are action heroes supposed to point a fucking banana at the villain and yell, "Bang!"?] This is known in the industry parlance as Being Seen Doing Something. Feel safer now?

The MPAA's supposed values have always been warped; a dozen people can get blown away in a barrage of gunfire in a PG-13 movie. You can have just shy of a metric fuckton of violence and maintain that rating, but Flying Spaghetti Monster help your sorry ass if the eff-word is dropped more than twice, or (gasp!shriek!) a nipple is viewed.

A female nipple, that is. Male nipples are fine, but apparently the sight of funbags, and the nozzle thereof, will send your tiny little brain into shock, and start an early rutting season. Why, even the shadow of areolae (probably the worst of the mid-'70s prog-rock albums) will get you the R, while as in the above linked example, you can pound a person's face into a table so that an implanted pencil rams through his eye, and keep that PG-13 rating.

Or again, consider the wave of grotesque torture porn schlock that proliferated through much of the last decade, assorted schlubs molested and butchered in the most gratuitous methods possible by unrepentant psychopaths, sometimes portrayed to be almost sympathetic characters. Same rating as the movie that showed a titty, or had a couple f-bombs. As bad aesthetically as it might be for a movie to have a scene where a kid fucks an apple pie, it seems somehow more benign than someone blowtorching a girl's eye out of her head. Yet those two movies have identical ratings. I am going to go out on an enormous limb and assert that if you want to lessen violence and improve people's happiness in entertainment product, make fewer movies about bright thing go boom, and more movies about Salma Hayek's prodigious cans (possibly NSFW).

Whatever's clever. What's a slam-dunk guarantee is that the MPAA, which is a lobbying organization cut from much of the same cloth as the NRA, will sooner rather than later skulk into Warshington seeking some sort of emolument or favor. This will be in return for its supposed concessions in this ricockulously arch aesthetic conceit, that if fewer guns are shown on-screen, if the violence is portrayed secondarily, that there will be some sort of societal benefit, fewer school massacres or what have you.

This is the same sort of moronic line of thought that, back in the '80s, presumed that heavy metal was "making" teenagers kill themselves, as if their shitty lives and meaningless futures had nothing to do with anything. The kids today, with their Call of Duty and their Grand Theft Auto, desensitizing their tiny little brains until they have no other option but to take Mommy's Glock to the local primary school and tune it up on a classroom of first-graders. Right?

We're all just easily impressionable automatons, hopelessly compelled to imitate our entertainment experiences, doomed to end up as YouTube fodder on Tosh.0 or Jackass, until some do-gooder asshole senator decides to Save The Children with a decree of holy writ that any entertainment product should be bowdlerized enough so that a seven-year-old can watch without getting traumatized. That seems to be the line of thought implicit in the actions and words of organizations such as the MPAA, which is infinitely more concerned about digital piracy of their lousy comic-book movies and public-domain retreads, than about anything else, such as whether their ratings system makes any sense in the first place.

This is your gubmint in a nutshell, friends 'n' neighbors -- mired in inertia and clutter, besotted by lobbyist pelf, they act as if they seriously think that taking some sort of pretend moral stand on gun violence might prevent actual gun violence. This is sort of like presuming that if they sought or even created newer and better source material, they would stop making the same shitty movies over and over again.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Darwin Was Wrong

So they're still mopping up blood in Boston, still trying to figure out whodunit, and boy howdy, the usual morans are out in full farce. Yeah, who wants to put up some cash that when it turns out to be another homegrown Tim McVeigh, a single one of these assholes will actually admit that they have no clue what the hell they're yapping about?

Forget Iran and North Korea -- maybe we need to turn certain corners of the fucking internets into a parking lot. It's a small consolation to assume that the mouthbreathing pseudo tough guys collected in the Public Shaming post are getting laughed out of whatever clown college they attend. If any of them actually have jobs, they might even get called on the carpet.

Maybe a portajohn will be reserved in their honor at the next Gathering of the Juggalos. In the meantime, are you sure it would be wrong to forcibly sterilize people like these?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pimp Slap

Wonder if Pool Boy Vandehei and Open Mike Allen have sore assholes after Charles Pierce just ripped 'em new ones. And of course Pierce, as always, is spot on; one doubts that anyone has ever looked askance at the variety of legislative NRA watercarriers cluttering the halls of Congress, yet there's an issue about the propriety of citizens using direct advocacy to put their agenda forth?

It's probably safe to assume that for Vandehei and Allen, the concern is not so much ideological as it is professional -- it costs so much to run for and stay in office, in a city where lobbyists outnumber legislators by four or five to one, that they are genuinely perplexed when amateurs attempt to get in on the racket. It makes sense that their coverage of this issue is vapid and insensitive and lacking in humanity; certainly it's the environment in which their craft has been honed.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Oceania Has Always Been At War With Eastasia

Looking for more reasons to love the successes of the American educational system?

Reason #1:

A war on the Korean Peninsula is unlikely after an American strike, but it is not inconceivable. The North Koreans might continue to escalate, and Mr. Kim might feel obligated to start a war to save face. Under these unfortunate circumstances, the United States and its allies would still be better off fighting a war with North Korea today, when the conflict could still be confined largely to the Korean Peninsula. As North Korea’s actions over the last two months have shown, Mr. Kim’s government is willing to escalate its threats much more rapidly than his father’s regime did. An unending crisis would merely postpone war to a later date, when the damage caused by North Korea would be even greater.

China’s role in a potential war on the Korean Peninsula is hard to predict. Beijing will continue to worry about the United States extending its influence up to the Chinese border. If armed hostilities erupt, President Obama should be prepared for direct and close consultations with Chinese leaders to negotiate a postwar settlement, in a larger multinational framework, that respects Beijing’s legitimate security interests in North Korea. The United States has no interest in occupying North Korea. The Chinese are unlikely to pursue an occupation of their own.


 I know, right? It's a bit of a challenge to determine objectively who the bigger dumbass is here -- the tenured professor at the state university, or the Herpes Shore candidate who probably flunked out of eighth grade.

Either way, as always, America wins, because we simply refuse to learn. We'll show the world that, despite pouring a decade's worth of blood and treasure into two epic failures, we're not afraid to start up two more, just because we can. I don't think we actually will, but the fact that people still want to indicates that Kim Jong Un and the mullahs aren't the only goofballs in this equation.

Roth and Roll Hero

Absolutely love this Buzzfeed profile of David Lee Roth. I came of age in the "classic" Van Halen era, and Roth was always goofy and weird in the most endearing rock 'n' roll manner possible. Certainly he can be a bit much after a while, but he's a true American original, and has managed to remember after all these years that it's supposed to be fun, that being able to jump up on stage and goof around and get a bunch of strangers -- whether it's twelve or 12,000 -- to get crazy to what you're doing, that's just about the best thing in the world.

Eddie and Alex don't seem like they've been having much fun for quite some time, but then they also seem somewhat more shy and reserved, and it's gotta be hard for even most extroverts to keep up with people like Roth or Hagar. Hopefully they have an album of completely new material to come, but in the meantime, Roth's energy and humor are welcome things in a fractured industry whose current stars are more concerned with brand-building than in the joys of creating and communicating.

Animal Farm and Other News

By popular demand, here are more photos of Dexter the Giant Wonder Kitten and Poppie the Ancient Watchdog:

Dexter, as you might be able to discern from his serious look, wants some canned food atop the kibble. Poppie's tail, despite her serious look, is actually in mid-wag. Again, Dexter is not even a year old yet, and already weighs in at just over 15 pounds. No, he has never had even a single table scrap.

At right is my back field; a neighbor has a small herd that rotates through nearby fields for grazing now and then. The cows are very enjoyable and peaceful to watch. Most of them are tame and let you pet them and feed them by hand. The black one laying down just left of center is actually an alarmingly tame water buffalo.

Dexter reeeeallly wants that can.

In other news, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to download Mockalypse and 12 in '12 during the free promo week. We had a few hundred downloads, which was more than I had anticipated, so hopefully that translates into some momentum going forward. We'll see. But thanks again regardless, the support is much appreciated.

Death and Texas

Texas Gooper mouthbreather (pardon the multiple redundancies) Steve, I say, Steve Stockman has a fresh, bold new slogan/bumper sticker for his perennial House campaign. Either that or he has some sort of weird bet with Louie Gohmert to see whose knuckles can make the most noise dragging on the Capitol Hill concrete.

It's not even worth deconstructing the sheer nonsense populating the entirety of Stockman's buffoonish slogan, except to point out that, again, I wish I had thought of it first, I'd have had a CafePress swag account going full-tilt to skim the rubes out of their disability checks. I would also say that Stockman forgot to shoehorn a gay marriage reference in there somewhere, so I assume the baby Jebus is crying now.

It is worth pointing out the primary logical flaw in this ham-fisted jabber (which of course would then be conflated by your usual conservaturd as further evidence of the "humorless" librul -- because har har, gun carryin' fetuses killin' their murderous mothers and the abortonazis that tricked 'em into it, amirite?). Both the Second Amendment and Roe v. Wade are matters of settled law, and interests from either side try to nibble at the margins of each.

But here's the thing -- virtually nobody (and I defy anyone to find a decent example proving otherwise) from the pro-choice side is a strict absolutist on the subject. It is very difficult to find anyone who seriously thinks that abortions should be allowed for any reason aside from the health of the mother beyond 20-24 weeks. Yet pro-life obsessives such as Stockman enjoy propagating the awful notion that "liberals" or "pro-choicers" believe as a bloc that live babies can be killed under the Roe rubric. I sure as fuck don't believe such a thing, and I don't know (or know of) any other pro-choice person who does, either.

This assumption is proven by the #gosnell hashtag on Stockman's Twitter comment introducing the bumper sticker. For those of you who don't spend every waking moment donating money to Pat Robertson, reading Chuck Norris columns, and self-flagellating over the American Holocaust, Kermit Gosnell is a Philadelphia abortion provider facing seven murder charges under a grand jury indictment. By all accounts, Gosnell is a butcher and a fiend and a fraud, and at 72 years of age, it is entirely likely that he will spend the rest of his rotten life pushing ass out of Club Fed. And good riddance to him. No reasonable person could read the report on Gosnell's gruesome operation and not be utterly repulsed.

But here's where Stockman's clumsy abortion-guns analogy, um, backfires (see what I did there?) on him. Second Amendment absolutists hasten to point at the near-constant spate of spree killings and firearm incidents involving children as mere outliers. It's a big, big country, and shit happens, y'know? Yet Gosnell's singular butchery is presented as prima facie evidence for both the supposedly routine nature of beheading live babies at Planned Parenthood, and the mendacious negligence of the lamestream media in failing to report every lurid detail of Gosnell's baby abattoir.

As far as the argument that the media sucks, well, it's hard to argue with that one. Is there a conspiracy to deny the 'murkin public their well-earned details of a scumbag abortion doctor's attempt to keep up with Jeffrey Dahmer? Sure, in the sense that the corporate media understand deeply that what their audience wants is meaningless fluff about royal babies and poop cruises. In other words, the conspiracy is driven by market considerations, not ideology.

The mission of the nightly news is not to give you news per se, it's to get you to buy automobiles and snacks and pharmaceuticals. Its goal is to get you to spend money you don't really have on stuff you don't really need or want. This is not exactly a secret. When they lose viewers, they lose sales. And nothing will lose viewers more quickly than some trumped-up bullshit about one whackjob abortionist in urban Philly operating a slaughterhouse filled with cat shit and baby parts. Hokay?

So the apparent lack of sufficient national coverage of the Gosnell case is indefensible, but hardly proof of an overarching conspiracy to protect the constantly beleaguered Planned Parenthood, especially since Gosnell was never a PP provider, as far as I've read. Certainly there's laziness involved there, but if it's a conspiracy, so far its accusers have yet to attribute whence said conspiracy originated. Reporters may tend to be liberal, but their bosses do not. Are we to assume that the conspiracy of silence is political? Then provide some proof, or even some evidence of this.

Obviously none of that will happen, this is merely a shithead southern congresscracker doing what they do, grandstanding on an issue that allows him to not have to explain to his poor cracker constituency why they're still broke and jobless, pretending that a tremendous outlier is standard operating procedure. And again, that is exactly what Gosnell's operation was -- an outlier, an aberration, a serial killer posing as a doctor. Gosnell is no more a typical example of reproductive health care than Jared Loughner or James Holmes or [fill in several dozen other spree killers off the top of your head] are examples of typical gun owners.

Yet that will be how it is presented. Just you watch. Pro-lifers and Second Amendment absolutists are birds of the same wretched feather; the verities of a single sentence written in the eighteenth century are as sure and unchanging (despite massive, unprecedented technological advancements since then) as the certainty that a fertilized egg is a fully-realized life whose minutes of existence trump any and all rights its host might have. The notion that maybe getting a deadly weapon and cop-killing ammunition ought to present as least as many challenges as, say, driving a car or obtaining allergy medication, are utterly foreign to them. Yet the idea of telling women what they can and can't do, even if they're only five or six weeks along, is as natural to them as masturbating to an Oral Roberts scrapbook.

And while we're at it, let's dispense with the implicit notion that a rabid pro-life stance means that they care more -- about anything. They don't care about the women they wish to force to have kids they don't want, and they don't care about the kids themselves once they're out of the womb. They don't care about the families who can't afford more mouths to feed, since they always support gutting social services, and will never lift a goddamned finger to help them improve their economic lives. They don't care about whether those kids are born to abusive parents, or have to attend shitty, underfunded school, or end up in soul-deadening jobs that don't pay enough to live on, or if they end up in prison.

Just as the universe is so much more than the Big Bang, the singularity that precipitated its existence, so is a human's life so much more than the instant of birth. But a pro-lifer couldn't care less about any of that shit -- their obsession is with the blessed event of the singularity. And all the other fully formed, fully realized lives are secondary -- or hell, of no consequence at all --- in their estimation.

As Barry O begins his typical punt-on-first-down tiptoe toward compromise on modest gun-control measures, such background checks, clip capacity limits, and mandatory liability insurance, look for Stockman's half-witted jabber to become the rallying cry of hundreds of teabaggers seeking re-election next year.

[Update 4/13/13 4:10 PDT:  What Mistermix (and the commenters) said. The anti-abortion crowd would like to believe and perpetuate the notion that the Gosnell case is evidence for overturning Roe, but as the Juicers say, Gosnell is actually a case for why Roe exists in the first place.

Pro-choice is really pro-life; pro-life is really just pro-fetus. Again, the anti-choice folks do not care about the rest of the family, or even about the child itself once it exits the womb. Once you're born, you're on your own.]

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just A Reminder

Remember, if any of you folks out there have a project or website of your own that you'd like to promote, you can pimp it in comments, or email me a link and I'll throw it on here for you.

Mockalypse / 12 in '12 Free Promo Week

OK, kids, here's the obligatory leg-humping for Mockalypse and 12 in '12, available now on Kindle. The free promo week is almost done; 12 in '12 is free through Friday, and Mockalypse is free through Saturday. Both will remain free through the Kindle Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime.

If you haven't done so already, and even if you did download the PDF version of Mockalypse previously, please take a moment and download these Kindle versions while they're free. While they do consist of previously released material, both ebooks have new forewords, and Mockalypse features a brief snippet of new commentary introducing each post in the collection.

Having the #4 and #5 niche rankings sounds nice, but out of 7 total in the free side of the niche -- eh, not so much. But getting some ranking going during the free week can generate momentum afterward, once hopefully more people get wind. I mean, look at the crap on the pay side of that niche there. I know I'm smarter, funnier, better looking, and just righter than [rolling eyes] Glenn Beck and Greg Gutfeld, or some guy recycling Ronald Reagan schtick.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you don't grab these free ebooks, and tell everyone you know to grab them, the terrorists win. Or at least smarmy douchebags like Greg Gutfeld and Glenn Beck, and the butt-baby you just know they're hiding in their kidnapped hitchhiker sex dungeon. They win. We can't have that, can we?

And these are completely DIY projects, providing a real learning experience for me in formatting (for general aesthetics, as well as specifically for Kindle), graphic design (admittedly crude for a first time), and getting everything squared to Kindle Direct Publishing specs. Hell, there may be another ebook project in giving a play-by-play of that whole process, from inception to completion.

As I've mentioned here and there over the past few months, I have been building another website, dedicated to rock and metal guitar playing and technique, and I am finishing up a couple of instructional ebooks to put up on KDP for a reasonable price, as well as a lot of free material and resources on the site. I'll be posting more on that site, and the projects, over the next week, if any of you are interested. Stay tuned!

Sex Type Thing

Looks like that skeevy fuck Scott DesJarlais is going to get his fat ass primaried out next year, but still -- if that can be in politics, then Anthony Weiner deserves another shot. After all, going through DesJarlais' laundry list of scumbaggery, his behavior is borderline criminal, and should at least have been unethical enough to cost him his license several times over. Maybe it's okey-doke with the Tennessee medical board (assuming they have one, other than the 2" x 4" type) to fuck your patients and pressure your paramours to get abortions.

On the other hand, Weiner was just an unbelievable dumbass. So he's a narcissist -- show me a politician who isn't. But during his House tenure, Weiner stood out as a guy with balls and principles, who might actually still do something useful.

Hell, even Diaper Dave Vitter is trying to redeem himself somewhat, and hopefully his and Sherrod Brown's TBTF bill succeeds in starting to rein in the thieving banksters. Weiner would be part of that effort as well, one hopes, and right now, that's an effort that needs every bit of help it can get.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Built to Spill

It's close enough to the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent environmental catastrophe that a rupture or puncture of a 65-year-old underground pipeline running across Arkansas rings a familiar tune. That tune, of course, is Tough shit, Hopalong.

The photo you see at right is exactly what it appears to be:  a metric fuckton of paper towels spread out over the Pegasus pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. It looks like a punchline, something from The Onion. Friends 'n' neighbors, it is not a fucking joke. It is real.

Imagine, just for a second, that that's your backyard, and that because that is technically not "oil" but tar sand bitumen, not only is it much more toxic to the environment to extract in the first place, and way more toxic to the environment it's spilled into than regular oil would have been, but a loophole exempting bitumen allows Exxon to not have to contribute to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Yes, seriously. Oh, they'll spring for paper towels and pressure washers and private security thugs to thump anyone with a camera. Are they also going to buy new houses for these people, a new water table for them to draw from? This is a bit more complicated than rinsing off a few ducks.

Look. We all use some energy, we all have computers, most of us have TVs and appliances, most of us have cars. Anytime someone has the nerve to point out the indifference of the energy industry to the environmental havoc they wreak, there's always some blustery asshole to pop up and declaim the supposed hypocrisy.

Well, no. There's nothing hypocritical in pointing out that tar sand extraction is inherently destructive, that this shit has to be steamed and solvented out of the ground, and that its hyperviscosity requires it to be diluted just to move through a pipeline. It doesn't flow; it's not oil. It's tar.

More pernicious is the idea that propagating this toxic sludge, and the inherent corporate media blackouts and no-fly zones that have naturally followed it, are not only normal, but necessary to maintain the twin capitalist holy grails of Jobs and Energy Independence. The pipelines, including the proposed giant Keystone XL pipeline, are not to transport the oil or bitumen to your friendly neighborhood Gas 'n' Go so's you kin save five cents a gallon driving your Excursion to the post office by yourself. The pipelines all run to Texas, because that's the simplest way to get it to the refinery and thence to a tanker to export it to the highest bidder.

There are really two (at least) huge questions which deserve to be discussed and thought through with some intention and deliberation, before just writing off other people's lives and homes to The Cost of Doing Business. First is the energy question itself, and while we may need fossil fuels for a variety of things for the time being, the fact is that if we can provide billions of dollars per year in tax writeoffs for oil companies, then we can sure as hell push some money into innovating solar tech to where it's more viable and affordable.

That's how the infamous Solyndra found itself out of business -- not because it was a ripoff or a boondoggle or an elaborate Obammy embezzlement scheme, but because the Chinese gubmint, using this principle called "economy of scale" which also happens to be available to our gubmint, dumped billions of dollars into it, and the measly $600M loan Solyndra had could never keep up with that, not in a country where 20% of the GDP -- which includes operating costs for any large business -- is gone down the poopchute of the health-care racket.

The other question does not solely relate to the Pegasus spill, though Exxon's behavior since the disaster certainly exemplifies the behavior -- the propensity for corporations, when caught fucking up or doing something they know is illegal or disgusting, rather than taking care of the problem and moving forward, either push people around to get their way, or simply get their dogsbodies in Congress to make it illegal to observe and report the evil shit they do.

There's no rhetorical question or call to action this time around, no cri de coeur asking you if you want to live in a country like that. It's not a question -- you live in a country exactly like that.

Which brings us full circle to the bullshit debate over the Keystone XL. The answer is the same as for fracking -- if you're not willing to have it in your own backyard, then shut the fuck up about putting it in everyone else's. When Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns -- a flyover-country Republican, mind you -- is balking at putting the Keystone through his state because of the small fact that it sits over one of the world's largest aquifers, maybe that's a clue to the kids in the cheap seats that this is not a bunch of tree-humping granola-munchers telling the world to ride bicycles for the rest of their lives.

It's what has become an annual alarm, as we head into another year of extreme weather events and corporate screw-ups and coverups and such like, of a brutalized, exploited planet plotting its eventual revenge. All the pseudo-debates between oil-company shill-scientists won't change the fact that nature bats last, always.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Mockalypse for Kindle

Check out the free promo week for 12 in '12 (Monday 4/8 through Friday 4/12) and Mockalypse (4/9-13). If you have Amazon Prime you can borrow both books from the Kindle lending library for free at any time. I'll fix the ad widget at the top right of the page soon as I figure out what the deal is with it, but the link works. If you don't own a Kindle, you can get the Kindle for PC app for free.

Even if you downloaded the Mockalypse PDF back when it was released in January, please download both of these links during the free promo period. The rankings will help once the promo is done. Tell a friend -- or better yet, a mortal enemy. And if you have the time, feel free to leave a review on the Amazon page.

I'll be posting reminders throughout the promo week, along with my usual nonsense. As always, thanks in advance for your support.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Armchair Quarterbacks

So apparently it's the tenth anniversary of Villager Michael Kelly's death in Iraq, which gives cause to review Kelly's pungent arglebargle supporting the aims of a clearly inept and venal administration, and lambasting its opponents. Ta-Nehisi Coates does a perfectly fine job in dismantling Kelly's pissy assertions, so I have nothing to add there.

One bit of easy speculation is as relevant as ever, though. Let's postulate an alternate universe in which Kelly came back from Iraq alive and well, and resumed his career, but the war and its aftermath went precisely as it has done. There should be no doubt that Kelly -- like Billy Kristol and the rest of the pigskin prognosticators who were wrong, wrong, wrong about anything and everything -- would have picked up right where he had left off, gotten back to his career of being smugly wrong about shit, and been well-paid and regularly employed for it. The Village takes care of its own.

Mockalypse / 12 in '12 Free Kindle Promo Update

I've set up free promos this week for Mockalypse and 12 in '12 at the Kindle Store. (The books will normally sell for $3.99 and 99 cents, respectively.) The 12 in '12 promo starts tomorrow morning and runs through Friday, and the Mockalypse promo will start Tuesday and run through Saturday. I will post links later tonight, when I've tested the 12 in '12 download link and have confirmed that the free promo has begun.

As I mentioned before, even if you already downloaded the PDF version of Mockalypse before, please take a minute and grab the free Kindle versions. What we're seeking here is ranking on the list, and every download will help immensely. Tell someone you know who might like the books. If you have the time, leave a review -- good or bad, as they say, as long as you spell the name right.

And if you didn't get the PDF when it was offered, I hope you'll give Mockalypse a try. Yes, it is a collection of posts from last year, but each post has a little intro written for it, so there is actually some new material there. I've been doing a lot of research on self-publishing over the last year, and it will be really interesting to see how this goes. It was fun and educational for me to put these books together.

So one more time (until I post again later tonight):  Please download both books. Please tell anyone you think might be interested. Spam open threads at other sites if need be (I will be doing that also, but I can only hit so many). Leave reviews at the Amazon pages.


Weekly Weird News

Not be an insensitive asshole (well, that's not true), but when your religious tradition involves closing a wound on a baby's penis by sucking it, and said tradition has been found to cause herpes, uh, it might be time to scrap said sacred gross act. Just a thought.

Get the Frack Out

The fracking mishegoss is quite simple to resolve -- if you support it, even in theory, you should be willing to rent out your backyard for it, then. Enjoy the sinkholes and poisoned water table. This is the biggest ripoff; they're going to pollute and wreck these towns and poison the inhabitants, and scuttle off with the profits, while the taxpayers foot the bill for the environmental cleanup and health-care costs.

This is wretchedly similar to the arguments surrounding the viability of the Keystone XL pipeline. Let's break that one down to exactly what it is -- an expensive, unwieldy system designed to move low-EROEI oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to be exported. It does nothing for domestic energy stability, it merely puts more money in the pockets of the have-mores, at the expense of the people who have live near its 1,500-mile length.

But the precious few jobs it creates for a couple years is better than nothing at all, right? Especially when everyone else will foot the eventual cleanup bill.

The Ballad of Frito Pendejo

Looks like 'murka's ongoing love affair with watching nobodies sort their sock drawers is safe for the time being, praise Jebus:
“I don't see anything mind-blowing this year,” says Karoline Spodsberg of Banijay International. “The trend, if you can call it a trend – is that people are reworking already existing genres and existing shows. Almost everything “new” is set in something we already know and already is successful.”
Sooo....the laziest conceivable form of popular entertainment is going to continue down that discount path, saving tons of money on talent (writers, actors, directors, etc.) while charging the same ad rates for all those boner pills and pick'em up trucks? Color this hombre shocked.
It's not like anyone expected anything else, but I suppose the characterization of anything being potentially "mind-blowing" is, well, a bit weird, even by the depressingly low standards of the industry. Was anyone's mind really "blown" by the Candid-Camera-meets-Lord-of-the-Flies aesthetic of Survivor when it mutated the prime-time landscape, then metastasizing into the myriad indistinguishable karaoke-dancing-bachelor contest shows that now proliferate?
Perhaps they were blown away by the realization that people would actually tune in to what appears to be roughly ten minutes of actual content stretched into an hour with pregnant pauses and an overabundance of commercials. Surely the money they're raking in hand over fist, peddling total dreck, is pretty mind-blowing, I'll grant them that.
A charitable way to observe the phenomenon might be to note that the extreme abundance of satellite channels basically provides something for just about anyone at almost any time. (This is not exactly true, at least in my case -- I'm willing to watch a variety of stuff if I'm in the house, working on the laptop, whatever. But there is never going to be a situation where I would leave, say, Baby Geniuses 2 -- yes, sadly, it is a real movie -- going, even as background noise, yet I'm paying HBO $15/month to lard their extra channels such crap, presumably so that they can then afford Game of Thrones and Bill Maher. But I digress.)
Rather than endlessly kvetching about the nonstop ludicrousness of the whole operation, or engaging in pointless chacun à son gout diversions, the meta aspects are more interesting to observe. I am old enough to remember watching (for example) Hee Haw on the teevee on Sundays when it wasn't football season, but there were no computers or video games, and we had literally only three channels in Northern California. (Even in Los Angeles, in the early '70s, I think we only had maybe 8-10 channels.) So we didn't have much else to choose from.
I am unable to just sit and passively watch the teevee; even if it's something I genuinely enjoy and look forward to -- Daily Show, GoT, Justified -- I have the laptop or a book handy, or a pad and paper to take notes on whatever project I have going. (I know, I must be a really fun date, right?) I honestly can't conceive of just sitting and watching a dancing show or an infomercial, unless they bring in weapons for the participants to use on each other. But they're on, so even with all the other cool choices, someone's got that kind of time on their hands. I can't disparage it, because it's just incomprehensible to me. But society and the workplace have a way of burning people out to where they just sit and accept, I suppose.
It's not all dreck; technology has enabled so much high-quality content, from video games to books to music, it's impossible to get to it all. And it's actually a bit strange that so many people continue to bother with old-format teevee and movies. Length of format is one thing that is ripe for change -- why does a show have to be an hour or half-hour, or a movie 90-120 min.? -- especially as mainstream content becomes more and more repetitive, recursive, ripped from comic books or board games or what have you.
That's the blessing and curse of having infinity channels:  something for everyone, but also the overall dilution of the importance of creativity, originality, quality. I have probably 400 channels at my disposal; I don't think I use more than nine or ten of them, like ever. I suspect we're all in that boat, of paying a thousand dollars a year for content we might value at a tenth of that. And hell, it may the sole remaining choice of employment before too much longer.
You can catch my upcoming reality-fest, Sortin' Sock Drawers with the Kardashians, on the E! Channel next summer.

Saturday, April 06, 2013


Boy, you have to hand it to the usual "pro-life" legislators out in flyover country, doncha? You'd think they'd eventually run out of new and interesting ways to obsess over When Life Begins and What Our Sacred Tax Dollars Should Be Spent On. But they just never stop, because it never fails with their constituencies, who at this point have nothing else to look forward to in life.

There's almost no variance in their strategies anymore. You can't even credit it as "old wine, new bottles" or "same shit, different shovel." Nothing ever changes with them; if any of them had an original thought on the subject, it would die of loneliness.

The one thing in the Kansas proposal that I imagine most people -- including myself -- can agree with is the provision regarding gender-selection abortion, at least in principle. But aside from the efforts of pro-life hoaxsters, there doesn't seem to be a spate of gender-selection abortions going on in the US. This is an answer to a question that no one aside from the obsessives was asking.

The endless efforts to invent a "crisis" or a domestic "holocaust", in order to deprive women of their agency to make independent decisions, belie their true intent as simple control mechanisms. A person who was genuinely invested in reducing the number of abortions -- as one would think just about any decent person is -- could approach the issue from a variety of angles, not just the clumsy overtures to "counseling" and declaring a fertilized egg as a full human being.

For all the tedious jabber about children being the future and families being the cornerstone of civilization, the fact is that this country, and its component states, do precious little in the way of real action to back up those words. I'm not just talking about adequately funding social services, I mean opportunities for decent education and employment, the ability to plan and create a viable future that doesn't require making life decisions out of desperation.

They would much rather coerce and bully women into having children they can't afford, than to find ways to actually support these families once the kids come along. It's a hideous combination of miserliness and cheap moralism. The best way to prevent abortions is to actively create conditions where women have more viable options.

Mockalypse / 12 in '12 Update

Mockalypse is up on Amazon in Kindle format now, as is the Kindle Single version of Assholes of 2012, now called 12 in '12. Soon as I get the KDP free promo week set up, I will post links, stay tuned.

The Inevitability Dance

I get that there are folks who want Hillary! for all the "right" reasons, but let's just say it now:  No more Clintons, no more Bushes, no more dynasties. That is all. There are 320 million people in this goddamned country, is there some compelling reason that one or two names are always shortlisted for this dog-and-pony show?

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, why is it the Dems can't develop their bench between now and this June, when the next interminable preznitential campaign will begin? Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom, Julian Castro, maybe a random guy in the stands at a San Jose Sabercats game? No, let's automatically anoint the more conservative half of the Triangulation Team, who will be 69 years old on Election Day 2016.

I know. The 'pugs will vomit a Brownback/Gohmert ticket or such like, so we'll feel grateful for being allowed to vote for Second Verse Same as the First, while we wait yet another four years for someone who might not take marching orders from Big Finance and Big Pharma and Big Insurance and Big Secondary Ed and all the other rackets that run this country straight into the ground.

Credit where credit is due -- Clinton did perfectly well in her role as the most peripatetic Secretary of State evar. And the complete and utter ricockulousness of the ratfuckers and calumniators who made an industry out of persecuting her husband's administration is well-established, and acknowledged by all but the most intellectually dishonest people.

But at some point, the Democratic Party has to decide whether it truly aspires to its rhetoric of preserving the structural integrity of what's left of the American middle class, or if it is merely content to be the tepid bulwark against the predations of Republican psychopaths. Because frankly, the Dems fucking suck in both those areas.

Let's not forget that it was during Saint Bill Clinton's administration that Glass-Steagall was repealed. And let's not forget that, were it not for his inability to keep his cock in his pants, Clinton was working on a deal with the great philosopher-king Newt Gingrich to privatize Social Security. I know the ripe claque of Clinton hagiographers wish to continue their ongoing characterization of the Nineties as the Golden Age of Pericles (if Pericles sprayed his seed in the White House sink because doing it down an intern's throat would have been cheating, y'all). But it was only a golden age for the moneyed classes who bankroll this wretched system at everyone else's expense.

It is not lack of ideological purity that keeps doing in this country and its "liberal" party. It's lack of imagination, and an overabundance of "eh, whaddaya gonna do?". Sigh. I hear Costa Rica is nice. I can't take this Plutocrat A vs. Plutocrat B shit anymore. I'm 45 now and I can see myself when I'm 70 falling for the same "maybe next time" shit, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I'm convinced it's the number-one reason -- even moreso than apathy or ignorance -- that people just don't even bother anymore.

To loosely paraphrase Burke, the only thing necessary for the same shit to keep triumphing over and over and fucking over again, is for good people to either keep voting for it, or to do nothing at all about the "choices" they're given. It's a funny thing how Congress rarely rates above 15% public approval, yet over 95% get re-elected every stinking time.