Monday, March 30, 2009

You know what? I am going to take a blogging Sabbatical for a while.

This might last one or two months. I fully intend to come back in the near future, as it obviously fulfills some sort of need within me. I feel I really should come back eventually, for no other reason than for all the bloggers with much bigger and more influential blogs than I have who very nicely gave Barking Rabbits a link from their blogs (e.g., Needlenose, I Don’t Like You Either, Jon Swift, Seeing the Forest, Edicts of Nancy, etc.). Many thanks to you for those links.

I am just worn out. I was running on energy and pissed-offed-ness prior to the 2008 election. After that occurred, I found that any sort of momentum I had developed on this blog sort of collapsed. There is just too much going on to comprehend and try to write something that I feel is both a) coherent and b) interesting to someone else. Reading the daily news stories and blogs makes it difficult to believe that the end (e.g., environmentally, financially, intellectually) really isn’t near. Coming up with something to post, be it serious or just a stupid humorous reference, was becoming more of a chore than a pleasure. Plus, lots of stuff to do at work and remodeling the guest bathroom at home sort of has taken up a lot of my time of late. So, it appears that a little time off might be in order.

Thanks to everyone who looks in here and finds something they find interesting. Keep coming back, I’ll be back eventually. Or else try poking around the archives for a while. I think there is some interesting stuff in there that no longer shows up on the main page (even limited to the last 100 posts).

Keep it clean, kiddies.

Photo from here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Republicans enthusiastically embrace new technology.

“This giant Pop-O-Matic will most certainly help win elections!”

Friday, March 27, 2009

How about that? An e-mail delivery service for those people who have been Raptured away.

Certainly, when Jesus swoops down to carry the deserving off to Heaven (which will no doubt happen any day now), people are not going to have time to stop and do mundane stuff like make sure the stove is turned off or maybe e-mail your friends and relatives, telling them just why they aren’t going to be seeing you around much anymore.

From OnePissedOffVet:

Ya gotta hand it to those Fundo-Xian folks. They're nothing if not thoughtful -- downright thoughty, as my old Granny used to say. They even have a website where the faithful can have a post-Rapture email sent to their friends and family who are "left behind".

Here's the URL: -- I didn't make it a clickable link because I don't want to drive up their Google stats. In it you will see the following:

This message has been sent to you by a friend or a relative who has recently disappeared along with millions and millions of people around the world. The reason they chose to send you this letter is because they cared about you and would like you to know the truth about where they went.

This may come as a shock to you, but the one who sent you this has been taken up to heaven.

Etc etc etc blah blah blah

They promise to send out this letter on the first Friday following the Rapture, and every Friday thereafter until...well, I guess until Hell freezes over. Or whatever. And, of course, "free will donations" to the cause are gladly accepted (checks, cash, major credit card or PayPal).


I guess either these people have a very dependable automated e-mailing system, or else the people who are selling this fine service aren’t going to be included in Group Ascending but figure that a little pocket change after the Apocalypse isn’t such a bad thing.

I am just amazed at the absolute arrogance and smug certainty that it takes to actually subscribe to this service. Buyers of this are absolutely certain that THEY will be among the chosen and those they are sending e-mails to won’t be. Otherwise, it might be a bit awkward up in Heaven. “Oh, hi, Aunt Harriet! Uh, what are YOU doing here? No, I didn’t mean that. Uh, no. I didn’t send you an e-mail… Say, you haven’t seen Bill Whittaker, have you? I owed him $20 back on Earth.”

And there is also the “gloat” factor involved in all of this. Yes, the sender of this e-mail went to Heaven. You didn’t. Nenernenernener…

I have a bit of an upset stomach right about now.

UPDATE: I actually thought of something that would be even MORE embarrassing. How about the case where you sent out all these e-mails to everyone you cared about (and probably also the ones you didn't like very much, just for the "gloat" factor I alluded to above), and then YOU DIDN'T GET CHOSEN! YOU WEREN'T RAPTURED AWAY! Now, that would be awkward. "Geez, Bill. What's with that e-mail? It said Jesus came down and took you to Heaven last week. Whatcha still doing here? Oh. Yeah, I see... Naw, that's perfectly understandable. I don't always pay my bills on time either."

Many times in life, Event A must precede Event B.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Some things are just difficult to comprehend without the use of a visual aid.

Here, for instance, is a good visual aid to help understand the state of our ecomony.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Voting fraud is real, and it isn’t coming from the Democratic side.

We all sort of suspected things like this were going on. I had read something a while back about county officials from Alabama just sort of “finding” a whole box of new ballots that just happened to tip the victory to Republicans. (No, I don’t have the link. It was during the 2006 elections, I am pretty certain.) But when Republican county officials from Kentucky are arrested for actual vote tampering, among some other very serious charges, one really needs to start wondering how deep this actually goes and what we can possibly do about it to fix this, or if fixing it is even possible.

From bradblog:

Five Clay County officials, including the circuit court judge, the county clerk, and election officers were arrested Thursday after they were indicted on federal charges accusing them of using corrupt tactics to obtain political power and personal gain.

The 10-count indictment, unsealed Thursday, accused the defendants of a conspiracy from March 2002 until November 2006 that violated the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). RICO is a federal statute that prosecutors use to combat organized crime. The defendants were also indicted for extortion, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to injure voters' rights and conspiracy to commit voter fraud.

According to the indictment, these alleged criminal actions affected the outcome of federal, local, and state primary and general elections in 2002, 2004, and 2006.
The article goes on to list some of the criminal actions listed in the indictment. Among them [emphasis added]:

· Clay County Clerk, Freddy Thompson, 45, allegedly provided money to election officers to be distributed by the officers to buy votes and he also instructed officers how to change votes at the voting machine.

· Election officer William E. Stivers, 56, allegedly marked votes or issued tickets to voters who had sold their votes and changed votes at the voting machine.


· Paul E. Bishop, 60, allegedly marked voters or issued tickets to voters who sold their votes and he also hosted alleged meetings at his home where money was pooled together by candidates and distributed to election officers, including himself. He was also accused of instructing the officers how to change votes at the voting machine.

Yet, we have loudmouth Republicans and conservative “pundits” that have been spewing nonsense about how Acorn is destroying American democracy. See my earlier post on what CPAC was saying about this. And then look at what they are doing. If a Republican is complaining about something they assert the Democrats are doing, you can bet your next paycheck on the fact that the Republicans are doing it themselves. If I were a Republican, I would be very hesitant to utter the words “stealing the election” ever again, lest it remind the listener of Florida 2000 and Ohio in 2004.

Take a moment to really contemplate what these charges really mean. These people were teaching others how to change votes at the voting machines and were actively buying votes. So, just how different is this from your basic Banana Republic, where votes are routinely fixed, or the old Soviet Union, where the “candidate” would win with 99% of the vote? In what bizarre form of democracy is this acceptable behavior? How do these people justify their actions to themselves when they try to sleep at night? This isn’t democracy.

Here is my very depressing conclusion about all this. We can try to make all the changes we can think of to the voting procedures, in oversight and in tamper-proof voting machines. However, there is no guarantee we are ever going to have anything that closely resembles a true democracy that is “for the people and by the people” unless the overall mindset of this country is changed. Elections are not some game that you can do anything you want in order for your side to win. People need to recognize the underlying rules and abide by them. Both sides must be willing to accept their losses gracefully and recognize what the voting public is saying. Democracy is not just a mechanism that can be manipulated in order to shove someone’s ideology down the nation’s throat.

I really don’t know if we are ever going to truly recover from the reign of George W. Bush. All this stuff that is going on now is embedded culturally in the far right of the Republican party. When you have nutcases like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin doing everything in their power to advance the notion that liberals are evil and must be defeated by any means possible, then that just further cements this concept that “everything is legal until you get caught” is THE way. Maybe the election of Barack Obama and the overall trend that shows Democrats are more popular and trustworthy than Republicans are good signs. (No, I am not providing links. You can easily go look them up yourselves.) Maybe the American people are not going to take this nonsense anymore. Maybe we really have reached the tipping point and are starting to really push back.

I am not so certain that, in the long run, we are going to be successful.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

So, the wingnuts are now all FOR AIG bonuses.

These guys took huge financial risks with house money, because all possibilities penalties for failing have been removed. They ran their company into the ground and, in the process, made a huge contribution to sending the U.S. economy into the tank. They failed as completely as anyone can possibly fail, and they STILL believe that they are somehow entitled to huge bonuses, more money in one chuck, than most ordinary people will ever see in their lifetimes. And this money is coming from the taxpayers, which a lot of people supported because we believed then and still believe now, that we needed to do this or else our economy would melt down completely.

Ah, but since many people, including Democrats, liberals and the President of the United States, have expressed outrage over this, the wingnut right has decided that, due to their unwavering principles, they MUST support anything that the Democrats oppose.

From Washington Monthly, here are some examples:

Rush Limbaugh recently said: "I am all for the AIG bonuses" and attacked the Obama administration for trying to undo them. He also blasted Dem efforts to get the names of the AIG bonus recipients as "McCarthyism."

Fox News followed suit, also comparing Dems to "Joe McCarthy." And Sean Hannity has now derided efforts to tax the execs by saying: "In other words, we're going to just steal their money."

There's not really a direct contradiction between the GOP leaders' professed outrage over the bonuses and the conservative media's condemnation of efforts to recoup them. But the conservative attack on Dems is rooted in free market orthodoxy, which GOP leaders have implicitly ditched in order to get outraged.

This split could muddy the GOP message and even compromise the party's efforts to use AIG to damage Obama.

“McCarthyism.” That’s pretty rich, coming from Rush Limbaugh. These people are so out to lunch, they will oppose or support absolutely anything based solely on the fact that their sworn enemies have expressed an opposing position. These people are absolutely insane.

Photo from Christy at Firedoglake.

UPDATE: If you have read this far and are interested in my rant, you might want to go check out the comments. Someone called me a "retard" and went on to take issue with my post. I then responded... *Sniff* Why can't I meet NICE guys on this blog? Everyone just calls me names and then leaves...

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer goes softly into the night.

I know that many newspapers are in dire straits these days. The Rocky Mountain News just closed its doors several weeks ago, and many other companies operating newspapers in major cities are on the doorstep of bankruptcy. Now, it is the turn of the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

The Seattle P-I has been around, in one form or another, since December 10, 1863. This week, on Tuesday, March 17, the P-I will stop publishing a printed version of the paper. It will, as currently being reported, continue with an on-line version only operating with a “much reduced” staff. Some of the local stories have made it plain that those few people who have been offered a place on the web-based PI were unhappy with significantly reduced salaries and benefits that came with those offers. Not that this wasn’t expected. Still, it’s difficult to see how this “web based” version is going to be anything near the quality of the print version. David Horsey is an wonderful political cartoonist who has won two Pulitzers for his work. Art Thiel is an extraordinarily gifted columnist whose main job involves writing about sports, but always seems to be able to include a lot of “big picture” information. He was usually able to get in a few jabs in the political arena as well, which I enjoyed greatly. Those two alone were worth the subscription price of the P-I. (I have since heard on the radio that both of these professionals will be part of the on-line version. It remains to be seen what that really is going to look like. I also heard that this latest incarnation will make use of local "citizen journalists". Meaning lots of free content for them.)

Seattle will now be a one-newspaper town. The Seattle Times is also a pretty good paper. However, it is rightly considered to be the more conservative of the two and sometimes takes some editorial positions that I don’t really care for at all. But, if Seattle is to have only a single newspaper, then the Times is a whole lot better than nothing at all.

But there’s the rub. McClatchy, which owns a significant share of the Times, has been letting their staff go left and right, and there is a lot of reporting going on that the Times might go under as well. They have been losing millions of dollars per year for quite some time. Seattle could possibly go from a two newspaper city to one that has no major dailies in the space of a year or less. That would be a disaster, in my mind.

I am much in favor of maintaining the printed news capabilities of this country, and I am not talking about a stupid rag like U.S.A. Today, whose major usefulness is being able to see sports scores when traveling out of town and for lining a parakeet’s birdcage. Bloggers get a bad rap for many things which I believe are really unjustified. I am talking about the “good” blogs, not this stupid little one that I have. Firedoglake is a very good example. Talking Points Memo is another. But as much digging as they do starting from a very specific point of view, they cannot replace the access and reporting ability that newspapers have. Or, at least that they used to have back when newspaper editors truly believed their first and foremost responsibility was to the public and not to some nameless corporate ownership group that also might require reporting from a “certain political point of view.” To have a major city like Seattle face the prospect of having no daily newspapers would be nothing short of a calamity.

About the only good news that I can see is that the prospects of the outlaying newspapers like the Tacoma Tribune (although that is also partly owned by McClatchy) and the Everett Herald would be looking up.

I am extremely unhappy about this development. In the last few years, the Seattle area lost its first professional franchise in the NBA Supersonics to Oklahoma City, of all places, the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train, where you could take a leisurely train ride from Renton to the Columbia winery in Woodinville in vintage, restored railcars and enjoy a very fine dinner while watching some really cool scenery roll by, the waterfront trolley car, which made getting around the very long waterfront area very easy while you parked your car somewhere not terribly convenient to the rest of the waterfront, Boeing corporate headquarters, which moved to Chicago for some still not terribly clear reasons, and now one of its two daily newspapers. What’s next? Will the Space Needle be repossessed? Will Microsoft relocate to India? It seems as if the Puget Sound area is slowly losing some really vital parts of what really makes this a unique, vibrant place to live.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Shih-Tzu and raccoon blogging

"Boy, I sure showed that raccoon, didn't I? Where's my treat?"

If this isn’t terrorism, I don’t know what is.

This is from Crooks and Liars.

Progressives around the country can breathe a little easier today: James Adkisson has been sentenced to life behind bars for the deaths of Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger, the Unitarian Universalist martyrs who died during his assault on their church in Knoxville, TN last July.

Many of us intuited at the time that Adkisson's rampage was exactly the kind of rancid fruit that would inevitably take root in an American countryside thickly composted with two decades of hate radio bullshit, freshly turned and watered with growing middle-class frustration over the failing economy. That suspicion that was verified in the days that followed, when police searched Adkisson's apartment and found it filled with books and newsletters penned by Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and other right-wing hate talkers.

But Monday, Adkisson told us himself -- in his own words -- just how central right-wing eliminationism was in driving him to his shooting spree. Shortly after he was sentenced Monday, he released a four-page handwritten "manifesto" -- which he'd intended to be his suicide note -- to the Knoxville News (the full .pdf can be downloaded here). In it, he unleashes the full measure of his hatred for liberals -- and encourages other would-be right-wing warriors to take up arms and follow him into battle.

Some choice excerpts:

"Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country & these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them....

"This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn't get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people.

Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It's the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence."

"I thought I'd do something good for this Country Kill Democrats til the cops kill me....Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I'd like to encourage other like minded people to do what I've done. If life aint worth living anymore don't just kill yourself. do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.


Among Adkisson's ranting was a clear statement: "This was an act of political protest." Which means that it was, by definition and his own admission, an act of domestic terrorism.

Our radio hate talkers incited a man to commit an act of terrorism. Just sit a minute and take that in. And the next time you hear them foaming on about how liberals are "soft on terrorism," reflect on the fact that they'd better hope to hell we don't get any more serious about it -- because if we do, their asses are going to be the first ones in the dockets.

“Go kill liberals…” See, there’s the thing. Since this terrible incident involves domestic terrorism by someone who obviously subscribed to some very conservative thinking (i.e., all liberals are evil and should be killed), then no one wants to admit that’s terrorism. That would be admitting several things at once. One thing they would have to admit is that many people on the fringes of the conservative point of view are absolutely insane and view killing as a very reasonable response to liberals. Another is that some terrorists intent on doing bodily harm to citizens of the United States of America come from America! They are not scary Arabs or Latinos. They are, in many cases, white Anglo-Saxon Christians. Or at least they believe they are Christians. I am not sure the Jesus I envision would endorse this concept. They are also people who firmly believe that they are true “patriots”, whatever that means these days. Finally, people would have to admit that many people and organizations in our mainstream media are complicit in this terrible tragedy. Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. etc. all had a hand in opening Pandora’s Box. It’s going to be a bitch to get it closed again.

Therefore, no one is really going to ever call this what it really was, which is domestic terrorism, even though this “Shooter’s Manifesto” flat out admits that is what drove this guy to do what he did. He hated liberals and thinks we should all die. But there will not be a story or article in the “serious” media about this. It’s just something that cannot be talked about. It must be dismissed. Ignored. This is the same blind eye that lets people pretend that blowing up family planning clinics or shooting doctors who perform legal abortions is either somehow heroic and patriotic or some outlaying nutcase that doesn’t merit any more than a couple of seconds of consideration. Ditto for the right wing “militias” who are armed to the teeth, waiting for a target to become available. No one, ever, is going to admit that this is going on, that terrorism can come in the form of right wing conservative insanity.

Just contemplate, for a moment, the reaction of the media if this shooter had been a liberal and had gone into some Baptist church in Oklahoma or Alabama, killed several of the worshippers present and left behind a “manifesto” that decried the evil of conservatives and a belief that conservatives should be killed?

How long before someone takes a real shot at President Obama? All that hatred and vitriol has to find release somewhere. And all this not even three months into Obama’s presidency. What might this all look like in about a year from now? Can these lunatics get even more wound up than they are now?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Joe Sudbay at Americablog nails Rush Limbaugh, EXACTLY.

"Rush is the GOP's Supreme Leader. I think he's combination of the fat, fiery head in the Wizard of Oz and Kim Jong-Il."


What is it with Oklahoma anyway?

I don’t really mind insulting individual persons, like the truly insane James Inhofe, senator from Oklahoma. However, one person’s insanity shouldn’t really be used to come to a blanket conclusion regarding a large population of people. But really. I am really beginning to wonder about who votes in the elections in Oklahoma. Do they really believe we are still in the 1700’s?

The state house in Oklahoma is considering a couple of bills. One of them registers their disapproval of teaching modern biology at the Univesity of Oklahoma. The other registers their disapproval that UO has invited Richard Dawkins (the author of “The God Delusion” and “The Selfish Gene”) to speak.

Here are some excerpts from the two bills. (From religionclause.blogspot via Washington Monthly.)

[T]he Oklahoma House of Representatives hereby expresses its disapproval of the current indoctrination of the Darwinian theory of evolution at the University of Oklahoma and further requests that an open, dignified, and fair discussion of this idea and all other ideas be engaged in on campus which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma

...[T]he Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

One very astute commenter at religionclause noted the following:

Umm . . . aren't these two statements in open contradiction? The first statement valorizes the "open, dignified, and fair discussion of [evolution] and all other ideas." The second condemns Univ. Oklahoma for inviting Richard Dawkins to campus, presumably for . . . an open, dignified and fair discussion of his ideas. Seems the OK legislature needs to bone up on it's logic.

I am not a religious person and do not really understand the seemingly basic need to explain the universe in other-than-scientific terms. But I do try to be mindful of other people’s beliefs, and I try not to say insulting things (unless they insult my beliefs, or lack thereof, first). But really, folks. When fundamentalists start objecting to teaching biology, that isn’t being supportive of your religion. That is trying to impose a religion of ignorance on everyone else. I’m sure UO won’t buckle to these small-minded buffoons, but just ponder where a mindset like this might take us. Are we to go back to the days of blood letting (along with getting a haircut) as a way of maintaining good health? Shall we all go back to believing that the Earth is the center of the universe, because do to otherwise would infer that human beings aren’t all that important in the grand scheme of things?

I thought we, as a civilization, had dispensed with this nonsense hundreds of years ago. Sheesh.

UPDATE: More crazy, crazy stuff from Oklahoma. From Americablog.

Dunkley and his father, Daniel Reddy, who live in Tulsa, went to Broken Arrow on Tuesday night for a hunter safety course normally required to get an Oklahoma hunting license....

But when father and son arrived at the lesson, the volunteer instructor, Kell Wolf, asked if any of the students voted for President Barack Obama.

Reddy, a transplanted Californian — and former Marine — raised his hand.

According to Reddy and others in the room, Wolf called Obama "the next thing to the Antichrist" and ordered Reddy and Dunkley from the room. When Reddy refused, Wolf said he would not teach "liberals" and would cancel the course if Reddy didn't leave.

So Reddy and Dunkley left, as did a few others.

I've said it before and will no doubt say it again. The hardcore conservatives of this country have determined that liberals are not even humans. We are not to be tolerated, we are not to be cooperated with, there is nothing that can be gained from exchanging ideas with a liberal... No doubt if people like this were given total control, we would end up sewing a yellow capital "L" onto our clothes.

And people call liberals "angry".

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Asteriod narrowly misses Rush Limbaugh. Catestrophe averted.

"I dunno, Earl. I was just about ready to sit down and listen to Rush on the radio when this here rock came right through the ceiling and dun squashed my favorite chair.!"

Apparently, the Earth just had a near miss (or actually, a “near hit” is more appropriate) with a cosmic visitor. From Yahoo News:

PASADENA, Calif. – An asteroid about the size of one that blasted Siberia a century ago just buzzed by Earth.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported that the asteroid zoomed past Monday morning.

The asteroid named 2009 DD45 was about 48,800 miles from Earth. That is just twice the height of some telecommunications satellites and about a fifth of the distance to the Moon.

The space ball measured between 69 feet and 154 feet in diameter. The Planetary Society said that made it the same size as an asteroid that exploded over Siberia in 1908 and leveled more than 800 square miles of forest.

Most people probably didn't notice the cosmic close call. The asteroid was only spotted two days ago and at its closest point passed over the Pacific Ocean near Tahiti.

You know, as comsic distances go, that’s pretty close. I suppose we can all do a collective “Whew!” and wiped our brows. It’s really only a matter of time, I suppose, before we take a direct hit. It may be next year, and it may not be for several hundred million. I still like our odds, even though an event like that gives one pause.

One upside of taking a hit from an asteriod, though, is that it might do wonders to clear up that nasty “global warming” thing we have going on.

Here's one, master! It belonged to someone named Limbaugh!