Friday, August 31, 2012

Outlawing the Outlawing in Texas and Mitt Rambles On

"Chalk up another victory for fraud."
Texas Governor Rick Perry

That is one way to look at the recent federal court ruling that struck down Texas' new voter ID law. Of course every independent study done so far has shown there is no evidence whatsoever of wide spread voter fraud in Texas or anyplace else. You'll never convince someone like Rick Perry of that. To him and the rest of the howling right, wide spread fraud is the only plausible reason Barak Obama became president of the United States. After all, everyone they know voted for the other guy.

Thank God for another Texan, Lyndon Baines Johnson. He is the president who pushed through the voting rights act in 1965 that forces a state to answer to the federal government when it attempts some vile chicanery such as this. U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder put the Texas law on hold when he stated, "Texas failed to show the law will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race."

The court agreed. The ruling among other things, states the law will, "impose strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor." The ruling also points out that African Americans and Hispanics make up a disproportionate percentage of the poor in Texas.

This whole voter ID movement is nothing but a cruel attempt to disenfranchise millions of American citizens, to forcibly keep them from voting, to return the demographics of the electorate to the shade of skim milk. To believe otherwise is to be naive, out right delusional, or part of the evil putsch.

Up in Pennsylvania the republican controlled legislature passed a similar measure, only they were up front about their motives. The speaker of the state house bragged about it openly in a meeting. He crowed that the immediate effect of the law will, "...allow Governor Romney to win Pennsylvania." 

A state court has upheld the law in Pennsylvania. Hopefully the federal courts will put a stop to that nonsense like they did in Texas.

Meanwhile in Tampa Mitt Romney made his acceptance speech after a rather bizarre, quite nearly Dadaesque, introduction by Clint Eastwood. NBC News called the speech by Romney full of nostalgic optimism. Actually it seemed to be more of the same bullshit that got us into this economic quagmire in the first place. Yes, yes, more and better use of domestic energy reserves, make sure Americans have proper job skills, encourage free trade, cut the deficit and lower taxes. Yada, yada, yada. Can you say, George Walker Bush? Well of course you can, even if the republicans themselves were extremely careful not to mention the former president at any point during the proceedings.

Romney's remarks regarding foreign policy were equally vague. He mentioned something about returning to the Reagan vision of diplomacy and action. He failed to mention, if he was aware of it at all, that Reagan's foreign policy drove us deep into national debt, despite Dutch's caterwauling about fiscal responsibility. Well logic has never been the strong point of the republicans. The governor didn't mention Afghanistan at all, which probably means he hasn't a clue when it comes to that exercise in futility.

Well we're off and running. It is clear that there is a wide spread attempt to make sure millions of Obama supporters don't get to vote and the GOP's candidate is harking to a time that existed only in places like Mayberry, the Cleaver's living room, and Ozzy and Harriet's kitchen. A time when, in reality, African Americans were routinely denied access to lunch counters and the voting booths, not to mention vast numbers of state universities across the south. Yes, the good old days weren't so hot for millions of Americans of color, but only a handful of them are going to vote for Mitt anyway, so screw 'em.

Next up, the democrats in Charlotte.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Queen Elizabeth II is a Thug: Where is George Zimmerman When We Really Need Him?

So while the republicans foam at the mouth in Tampa, Hurricane Isaac slams the Gulf Coast, and some guy in India opens a clothing store named "Hitler" with a swastika dotting the "i", The Today Show has uncovered an awful truth tucked away in Britain.

The other day the show aired photos of one Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor tooling around behind the wheel of a black Range Rover while wearing an ominous gray hoodie. Yes, Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and of Her Other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith was on the street with members of her posse and obviously up to no good.

It was unclear if the Queen was out looking to score some Skittles, or searching for a condo to burglarize. However her actions were highly suspicious since it is well known that British Royalty wearing hoodies are nothing but a bunch of cheap jack thugs living the gangster life style.

British police have not released any reports regarding her shady past, or gang affiliations. Photos posted on her Facebook page and cell phone records have not yet been made public. It certainly appears Scotland Yard isn't nearly as efficient as their American counterparts and the media there is not on the ball like it is here in the states. If she had been acting with such dubious motives in Florida, where there are gun regulations that can deal properly with people like her, all kinds of drastic shit would have hit the fan.

Unfortunately George Zimmerman is currently unavailable to keep an eye on the possible felon so there is no telling what she is up to as I type. What we do know is that we need to exercise extreme caution when she approaches. If she is coming toward you, cross to the other side of the street so she can't shake you down for your money or credit cards. Keep an eye on her hands to make sure she doesn't reach for a piece, because it is common knowledge that all these Windsor mother fuckers are strapped with 9 millimeter Glocks.

I'm telling you it is a world gone mad. The Royals simply don't respect anyone or anything and they're everywhere.

Unfortunately, as brother Zimmerman told police dispatch one rainy night, "These punks, they always get away."

Well, hopefully some off duty neighborhood watch "captain" will run her to ground and teach her a lesson she'll never forget.

Sic Semper Gangstas.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Matthews and Priebus Have At It: Clinton For President in 2016

So if Mitt Romney makes a joke about how no one asks to see his birth certificate, is it funny? MSNBC's Chris Matthews doesn't think so. He jumped all over RNC chair Reince Priebus on the cable channel's show, "Morning Joe", accusing Priebus' candidate of race baiting. Priebus was immediately on his heels shrilly claiming that Mitt's joke, while it may have been awkward, was simply that.

Matthews was having none of it. He pointed out what many of us have been thinking for more than just a little while. The republican party establishment has picked up on the discredited birther issue and while those in charge say they don't actually believe Obama was born outside of the United States, they hint, rather ham handedly, that he isn't American. In speech after speech you can catch the glimpses of it. "If Obama only knew how America worked," "Obama doesn't understand America." Romney uses phrases like these continually. Catch the drift? This African American president isn't one of us, even if he was born here. Romney's boy, Donald Trump continues to hammer on the birther thing, while funneling money to Super Pacs that support the former Massachusetts governor. Romney says he disagrees with The Trump, but only after the checks have cleared the bank.

Even during the heat of the denials Priebus couldn't help but go to that same rank well. "Obama is looking for guidance from Europe when it comes to health care, spending, and stimulus," driving home the notion that Obama is somehow a foreigner, or at keast has a philosophy that unamerican. At that point Mr. Matthews asked Mr. Priebus if he was insane. No, he is just reinforcing the idea that Obama is some sort of alien threat. Swift boats are swarming in the waters and their engines frenzied roar have just begun.

Meanwhile vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan was making a call on Sheldon Adelson who is the really big money man behind the Romney campaign now. Adelson has pledged to spend as much as $100 million to defeat Obama, much of it coming from the profits he has made from his Chinese casinos. No doubt promises were made during the meeting and there was a moment, not for the squeamish, when Ryan had to kneel and kiss Adelson's ring.

On the other side the Obama people have released an ad featuring former president, Bill Clinton. Clinton, after sitting out the last election, is suddenly off the sidelines and swinging away for the incumbent. There could be a couple of reasons for this. One is that he is genuinely pissed off that Romney used his name in an ad about welfare reform that has proven to be a blatant, not to mention, despicable lie.The other is far more Clintonian and my personal favorite. Billy Jeff's wife has claimed she is not interested in running for president four years from now. I don't believe that hokum for a minute. In four years Hillary Rodham Clinton will be 69 years old, which is on the cusp of being a bit too ripe for the job. However, if Obama wins a second term he can't run again and Mitt will be just a fading memory. No one in their right mind thinks Biden will be the democrat's guy during the next round, so the field will be wide open on both sides. Bill and Hillary aren't particularly altruistic when it comes to politics and they aren't stupid. They know that the odds go straight to even money if there is no sitting president to contend with. Get rid of Mitt Romney now and in a couple of years break out the buttons that say, "Clinton for President 2016!" Hey, no one has ever said either of them is short on chutzpah.

Yes it is a strange and Byzantine business filled with big money, big lies and chicanery that would make the Borgias blush. The faint of heart and idealists should seek shelter immediately. This isn't a time for either of them, or for that matter, amateurs. The pros are in charge now. The process has begun in earnest.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Judge Tom Head Has Concerns in Lubbock

It would seem the current republican philosophy is that you can never go too far, never be too utterly insane. On the heels of Todd Akin's brutal assessment of "legitimate" rape and the ability of a woman to suppress an unwanted pregnancy on her own, comes the Honorable Tom Head, of Lubbock, Texas.

Head is a judge out there in the wild flat country of west Texas. He is also the Lubbock County director of emergency management. Regarding the current election process, his honor has some deep concerns. He told a Lubbock TV station that, "I have some opinions of what they're doing (they being Barak Obama and a democratic controlled senate) and what they're trying to do if they stay in power. I have to prepare for that."

His Honor went on to say he is fully aware of the president's nefarious plan. "He is going to try to hand the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N. and what is going to happen when that happens? I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington and Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy. Now what 's going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that?. He's going to send in U.N. troops."

I want a hit of the acid this guy is on. It looks to be really, really good.

Judge Head also claims he has spoken with Lubbock county sheriff Kelly Rowe about the situation and Rowe assures him that his department is behind him all the way. According to the judge, Rowe said that he'll need experienced officers to back him up, not a bunch of rookies. Rowe, knowing a severe psychotic when he sees one, told the Lubbock newspaper that the conversation never happened.

When the shit hit the fan, Head claimed his remarks were taken "out of context." What context that might be was left unexplained.

Head is not unfamiliar with controversy. In 2009, county commissioners had to pull down a poster on a public bulletin board put there by him that showed several African American men wearing Obama campaign buttons and tee shirts. The caption beneath the photos suggested that all of them had committed armed robberies and smoked crack.

Lubbock County GOP chair, Carl Tepper told the press that democrats were guilty of "opportunism" when they called for Head's, well, head and that he'd phoned the judge and left a message for him offering his "moral support."

How can anyone justify this bullshit? How can anyone on the planet earth think that the republican party isn't fatally infested with a bunch of complete lunatics? Just listen to what these monsters are saying, look at what they believe. The brute racism, the complete detachment from reality is staggering.

Excuse me, but I have to go spit. It is the only real answer I have to people like this.



Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Dispatches: Islamic Hijinks in Mali, Neo Nazis in Westphalia, Breivik is of Sound Mind, Jimmy Holmes College Dropout, and More Fun With Guns

Well things are deteriorating so quickly this week it is hard to keep up.

In Mali, Islamic extremists, most of whom are not from Mali, continue to destroy every historically significant piece of the local culture they can lay their hands on. They occupy the northern part of the country, but no one believes they'll stop there. NBC News reports that they recently declared the vibrant music industry in the African nation to be satanic. The local military apparently hasn't the means to stop these goofs, much less run them out of the country, meaning someone else is going to have to step in to do it for them. Yes, another day, another war. Someone call the Germans and tell them its their turn.

Or maybe not. In the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia the local government has begun raiding the hangouts of the National Democratic Party, or NDP as it is commonly called. The NDP has been described as being, among other things, xenophobic, racist, anti Semitic, revisionist and inspired by Herr Hitler and the ideology of the the Nazi party. Most of its members are described as young, unemployed, and with little formal education. The party holds seats in a couple of state parliaments, but not in the national government. At least not yet. See if this sounds a tad familiar, they howl the loudest about immigration, claiming immigrants are the cause of most crime and unemployment.

Speaking of people who don't like immigrants, our pal Anders Breivik was declared to be "of a sound mind" by a Norwegian court. He was given the maximum of ten to twenty one years for the murder of 77 people, none of whom happened to be actual immigrants. Breivik justified his rampage by saying his victims were guilty of promoting immigration and multi culturalism. He will be held in solitary at a place called Ila prison. He'll have access to a computer, newspapers, and a separate exercise room. Technically he will be eligible for release in ten years. Under Norwegian law, however, his sentence can be extended indefinitely if he is determined to still be a danger at the end of his term. Norwegian experts expect Mr. Breivik's stay at Ila to be about as long as he lasts on the planet.

Not to be outdone by those rank amateurs in Norway, prosecutors have begun laying the foundation of their argument that Jimmy Holmes is also of sound mind. They are fighting to get a look at Holmes' University of Colorado records. The theory is that once Holmes flunked an important oral exam he began to plot revenge. Prosecutor Karen Pearson claims UC professors became disturbed enough by Holmes reaction to his sinking grades they sought to ban him from their labs. They also had UC police run a background check on him, which of course turned up nothing at all except a traffic ticket. The unanswered question is why, during all of this, didn't someone from UC go to the real cops with their suspicions. No time line has yet been provided to show exactly when young Mr. Holmes began to amass the arsenal he used to booby trap his apartment and open fire in the packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. There is also no word as to whether he owned a copy of J.D. Salinger's novel, "Catcher in the Rye."

Finally, in today's breaking news, New York City police have identified Jeffery Johnson, age 58 as the man who opened fire outside of the Empire State Building. Johnson killed one person before being killed by New York cops. Nine were wounded in the incident, although police have admitted their gunfire may have been the cause of some, if not all, of the injuries. Johnson's job was downsized out of existence last year and apparently he had previously threatened his victim, the vice president of his former company. NBC news is reporting that NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg stated that Johnson, "doesn't appear to have a criminal record." Well of course not. They never do. Just ask them in Norway and Aurora.

It has been a long week and in a precious few hours the republicans will storm through the streets of Tampa carrying torches while howling for blood. In short it isn't going to get any better any time soon.

Keep low and don't bunch together. That way they won't be able to get us all with a single burst.

sic vita est


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Zombie Flash Mob in Florida

They will be gathering in Tampa soon. The decadent rich, the perpetually put upon Caucasians, the howlers and screechers, the outraged and the sanctimonious. All of them will descend upon the west coast of Florida like a vast swarm of locusts and despite their different economic and social stations, despite their mistrust of even their own candidate they will have at least one thing in common. Each man and woman there will loathe the president of the United States.

Make no mistake about it. This is not a gathering of the loyal opposition. The people who will scream until they are hoarse in Tampa want Barak Obama's head literally on a platter. He is, to them, a threat to their entire way of life. He is the first true and tangible signal that the American WASP is losing control of the nation, going the way of the Dodo, and they don't like it.

The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has degenerated into a cesspool of crude hatred, intolerance, rudeness, and out right insanity. Republican hecklers routinely interrupt the speeches of the president like one did in North Las Vegas the other day. Large numbers of them babble on about Obama's birth place. Others rant about imaginary "death panels." and forced euthanasia. As the north pole ice cap has melted away to its lowest point ever, their vice presidential nominee claims global warming is a lie aimed at crippling the industrial might of the republic.

Despite their angst and bile regarding all things Obamian and democratic, NBC News is reporting the latest polls show little change in the last month. Romney's numbers received a slight bump with the Ryan selection in Wisconsin and Florida, but both states remain a toss up. Obama still maintains a slim lead in Ryan's home state and in places like Ohio and Virginia.

Actually a touch of panic may have all ready set in. In a move that seems tinged with desperation the party honchos are trying to make amends to the Ron Paul crowd. Instead of utterly ignoring them like they did four and eight years ago, they are making a big play to bring them back in the fold. In fact his son, Rand is making a prime time speech to the mob on Monday evening. There are rumors that a video tribute to the old man will be presented to the convention on Tuesday.

Paul himself is holding a rally at the University of South Florida on Sunday. It is an 11,000 seat venue and is sold out. The original plan was that after Paul the elder addressed the crowd, it would be bussed en mass to the RNC welcome gathering at Tropicana Field. Those plans had to be scrapped because of "security measures" so a grand entrance of over 10,000 decidedly eccentric members of the party will not happen. Yes, a video tribute is one thing. Allowing a Florida version of the sort of thing Albert Speer used to coordinate is a different animal altogether. You can't give the unwashed everything you know. NBC reports that the Paul people themselves are so mistrusting of the party establishment that their rank and file have been given instructions to be, "respectful, but defend your position and don't be pushed around." The prospects of a full scale riot among all these pasty faced clods are slim, but one can always hope.

Meanwhile tropical storm Isaac is barreling through the Caribbean and is predicted to reach hurricane strength by tomorrow. The Underground Weather people are saying that there is a 9% chance of gale force winds and heavy rains hitting Tampa Sunday/Monday. No doubt the republicans will drag Pat Robertson out of the closet to pray it over toward New Orleans or someplace else while the faithful gather. No chances can be taken next week. There cannot be any distractions from the message that Obama must go. That is why people like Sarah Palin and Todd Akin won't be allowed any further south than Panama City for the next seven days.

Yes, it will be ugliness in the extreme--a sort of zombie flash mob gone wild. Don't be surprised if effigies of the president are hung and burned on numerous occasions. Everyone will wrap themselves in flags and call themselves patriots. Fox News personalities will have visible erections. The champagne will be on Sheldon Addelson.

To avoid all this nonsense I think I'll go skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee. Why not? Many respectable people have done it lately and I understand the fishing is good there. Well that is what I've read anyway.

Panem et circenses.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Everyone Hates Todd, The GOP Platform, and No Money, No Campaign

Missouri U.S. senate candidate Todd Akin has flushed the quail. Birds are scattering every which direction. Thanks to his brutish language the republicans are now dealing with an issue they would have just as soon stayed mum about.

To say Akin is an aberration in the GOP is completely misleading. He just had the misfortune, or, perhaps more accurately, the stupidity, to brag about the party's stated position on the question of a woman's choice. Take away the bizarre notion that a woman's body can shut down an unwanted pregnancy plus the whole legitimate vs illegitimate thing, he didn't say a thing that Paul Ryan would disagree with

NBC News has reported that the current draft of the republican party platform calls for a "Human Life Amendment" to the constitution which outlaws ALL abortion no matter what the circumstances. This particular plank of the platform would fit right in with Paul Ryan's philosophy, but would be at odds with Mitt Romney's stance that the government should allow women to receive abortions in the case of rape, incest, or danger to their lives.

It is the type of conundrum that causes foreign observers to scratch their heads and wander away in a daze. Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus tried to explain it this way. "This is the platform of the republican party," he said, "it is not the platform of Mitt Romney." Ah, well that clears it up. The republican party's nominee and the party itself are separate entities and really don't have anything to do with each other. I understand the concept I suppose, although I keep getting this picture in my head of the old Soviet Union putting Ray Kroc in charge of the politburo.

Priebus went on to say that, "I really don't buy the fact that a pro abortion stance means you're pro women. I think the pro life position is a positive for us with women." Yeah, well try that line on the mother of a fourteen year old girl who has become pregnant by a drooling serial rapist. There is a reason Obama enjoys a large lead among women voters and it isn't just his looks.

Meanwhile our pal Todd claims he is in it for the long haul. He has apologized for his wording, not his content and he is pushing onward. Good luck, congressman.

Look for Clair McCaskill, the incumbent democrat, to begin running ads about every ten minutes that show dozens of republicans from near and far saying Akin is completely unfit for office.

Actually that is the least of Brother Akin's problems. It is being reported that the GOP National Senatorial Committee is putting a stop on the $5 million it was going to donate to the Missouri senate race if Akin doesn't get out. In addition Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS has all ready pulled pro Akin ads scheduled to begin tomorrow. You know you've hit a new moral low when you've pissed off the likes of Karl Rove. You also know you can't run a campaign with out cash.

Yes, if the money goes, Akin is done. In fact the GOP movers and shakers can't get rid of him fast enough. They want all this pro choice, pro life talk to stop immediately. It won't happen with him hanging around the streets of St. Louis handing out campaign buttons to the homeless.

It has been a rough couple of days for the republicans, although not necessarily the Romney-Ryan duo. It could get that way though, especially if the democrats begin to hammer Ryan specifically and the GOP in general on the issue of a woman's right to choose. They have painted themselves into a corner over the question and there is no where to run, or hide.

Duck and cover, Mitt. It is just about all you can do with this one. And you have no one to blame except those clowns who didn't vote for you in the primaries in the first place. Those cases of Zantac you ordered are being loaded onto the trucks as I type. You probably want to stay away from the roughage for a while.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Todd Akin Steps In It and Stay Tuned For Paul Ryan's Big Tap Dance

How do republicans find these guys and why do people keep voting for them? In Missouri a fellow named Todd Akin is the GOP's man facing democratic Senator Clair McCaskill this November. Akin is, of course, anti choice because apparently the republicans won't let you join their party if you aren't.

The other day in an interview he was asked about a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy that was caused by rape. He was quoted on a Missouri TV station as saying, "People always want to make it into one of those things--well how do you slice the tough ethical question? First of all from what I understand from doctors is that pregnancy from rape is rare. If it is legitimate rape the female body has ways to shut the whole thing down."

He went on to state, "But lets assume that maybe that didn't work or something. Then there should be some punishment, but the punishment should be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

Mr. Akin did not give the names of the doctors who told him that the female body has ways to, "shut the whole thing down," or say where they received their medical degrees from. Although I suppose some med school in Paraguay run by Josef Mengele  could be a possibility. He also failed to mention what his concept of "legitimate" rape is, or what he believes constitutes an illegitimate rape. I'm sure in his mind it is a very fine line.

Shortly after letting us in on this relatively unknown bit of medical trivia and the ethical conundrum of what is legitimate and what isn't, the shit hit the fan. It hit it in a big way. McCaskill was all over him and so was just about every other civilized human being who'd heard or read his rather cold blooded dissection of the issue. Even as brain dead as he is, Akin, or at least his people, realized he'd stepped in it. He quickly issued a statement saying, "In reviewing my off the cuff remarks it is clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect my deep empathy for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year." Yeah well, Todd, despite your deep empathy we now know what you really think. We also know you want the authorities to force a woman to carry her rapist's fetus to full term, which is pretty much the definition of one big ass government.

Fellow republican are running away from this guy so fast that you'd think he was carrying the Ebola virus. Two sitting republican senators and one candidate have called on him to quit the race. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who is in charge of GOP senate election efforts, said, Akin "should carefully consider what is best for him and the republican party..." That sounds an awful lot like offer that shouldn't be refused.

The Romney people consider this crazed goof's views so potentially damaging that they issued this release, "Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape."

I hope Mitt's people sent a copy of that to Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin representative has consistently said that the only time a woman should be allowed to end a pregnancy is when her life is in danger. In 2010 he wrote an essay comparing the Roe v. Wade decision to the pre civil war Dred Scott ruling in which African Americans were judged legally to not be people. He also has voted against a measure that would allow female military members to secure an abortion at a military hospital.

And it doesn't stop there. Last year Ryan was a co sponsor of what was called the Sanctity of Life Act. This piece of legislation would have declared that at the very moment a woman's egg becomes fertilized it possesses all the same rights as every human being in the nation. It would, in effect, outlaw ALL abortions and several different types of contraception, not to mention in vitro fertilization. It is such an over reaching and poorly thought out piece of law making that similar measures have been killed in the arch conservative enclaves of Mississippi and Oklahoma.

As he was running for governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney seemed to signal he was pro choice. Then when he got it in his head to run for president he backed away from that knowing he was going to have to sell his soul to the far right to lock up the nomination. Officially right now he is against abortion except in cases of rape, presumably the legitimate ones, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger.

So, in the final analysis what we have here is a senate candidate who, in a crude way, said exactly what Paul Ryan is thinking each and every day. In fact Ryan's very presence on the ticket is a nod to everyone who believes that what Akin said is the truth and the whole truth, so help them God. Mitt needs those people at the polls in November. He also desperately needs them to keep their mouths shut until after that fateful Tuesday.

Bets are Akin goes under the bus and Paul Ryan learns a lesson in political reality. Sometimes it isn't the message, but the delivery and loose lips sink ships. Watch for some tap dancing by Mr. Ryan that will knock your socks off. Hard questions should follow this debacle and he isn't going to want to answer any of them.


Friday, August 17, 2012

St. Paul is a Randy Sort of Guy

Here in Oklahoma City the daily paper, which is just a shade to the right of Ronald Reagan's ghost, has for the past week or so been running op-ed pieces and political cartoons that portray republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan as somewhere between Thomas Jefferson, a boy scout, and Christ Jesus Himself. Indeed, according to The Oklahoman Ryan is pure good pitched against the evil demagoguery of Barak Obama. The editors of The Oklahoman are so utterly enthralled with him they seem to think anyone speaking ill of congressman Ryan is in effect martyring a saint.

Well they should probably refrain from reading "The Street" online because their boy isn't faring too well there. In an opinion piece that was posted on August 13th, Gary Weiss has a somewhat different view of Mr. Ryan. As noted here before, Paul Ryan used to brag that his political philosophy was formed by and based on the writings of Ayn Rand. She is most famous for her novels "The Fountain Head" and "Atlas Shrugged." Her vision of America was that of a nation with a near non-existent government, one ruled by an untaxed super elite of industrialists, bankers, and real estate barons. She was also a wildly enthusiastic atheist. Lately, Ryan has claimed to have rejected her philosophy. Weiss, who is not a fan of either Rand, or Ryan, says outright that the Wisconsin congressman is lying. No, not flipping on the issue, not simply distancing himself from some youthful dalliance, but flat out lying.

According to Weiss, Ryan was quoted in the National Review as saying, "These Rand slams are part of effort on the left to paint me as a cold blooded objectivist." He goes on to tell the Review that, "You know you have arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about yourself and this one is mine."

Weiss then quotes Ryan who spoke to a gathering of Rand groupies back in 2005 known as The Atlas Society. Among other things Ryan said this, "I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It inspired me so much that is required reading in my office for all my interns and staff."

Weiss then points out that Ryan's proposed budget plan beats the lower and middle classes over the head with a rather large club while the rich get out of making any sort of contribution at all, which is, of course, the very essence of Randism.

In an August 14th post, The Street lays out some brutally cold figures to support Weiss' view. It notes that under the Ryan proposals any American with enough money in investments, or cash in existing accounts who can live off those dividends, or interest wouldn't pay any taxes at all. That is because Ryan wants to eliminate capital gains taxes, estate taxes and all taxes on dividends and interest. Not bad work if you can get it, unfortunately roughly 99% of us can't.

In fact, The Street uses this example. If Ryan's budget had been in place two years ago, Mitt Romney would have paid $177,650 in taxes on an income of $21,661,344. In the mean time any earnings his $200,000,000 in stocks, bonds and whatever made would be tax free. The Street then compared this to a first year heart surgeon with the income of $710,600, but saddled with $600,000 in student and medical school loan debt. The surgeon's tax bill? Why $176,650, the exact same as Uncle Mitt's.

What this means is that while you and I pay anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of our income on taxes, the dudes in the boardrooms can work for a buck a year while the rest their salaries come in stock options that earn them millions in nontaxable income.

The Street estimates this little Randonian exercise will increase the national debt for the next three decades. That would be the same debt Ryan claims he wants to get rid of.

No wonder the people who own The Oklahoman love this guy. With his budget they win the lottery. Or to paraphrase a line from a very old and obscure movie, "They get the uranium mine and we get the shaft."

There are reasons there are democrats. Paul Ryan is one of them. Ayn Rand is another. Although to be honest, I'm going to have to go with Gary Weiss here, they are both starting to look to be one in the same to me.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Carina Saunders' Autopsy and a Swift Boat By Any Other Name: An Ugly Thursday

Grotesque things are going down.

In today's Oklahoman, Andrew Knittle writes that the Carina Saunders autopsy report has been made public. His story, which was contributed to by Tim Willert, sheds little new light on the brutal killing, although it fills in some of the gruesome details. The medical examiner feels there was some attempt, obviously not successful, to conceal Saunders' identity after her death. Her hands and feet were missing, she was, as we know, decapitated, and apparently there was an attempt to either remove a tell tale tattoo on her back, or at least disfigure it to the point of being unrecognizable. According to the story dental records were used to confirm it was Saunders.

Knittle's story quotes the report as saying, "The body parts were wrapped with plastic wrap, in a laundry bag and a duffel bag." It is believed she was alive when this barbarity began. The speculation remains that she was murdered simply so others would see what would happen to them if they didn't cooperate with the perpetrator's drug and prostitution business. There has been, however, a hint that Saunders was more than just a random selection for this ghastly crime. A July 24th story by The Oklahoman's Tim Willert, cites a woman named Stephanie Howard as saying one of the accused killers, Luis Ruiz had told her that Saunders was going to be "dealt with." Why Ruiz felt that way is a matter of pure speculation, although bets are the police know and just aren't saying at this time.

The issue of whether or not a video of the murder exists either on a cell phone, or other media is still dangling in the suddenly foul breeze. It is reported that a woman named Tia Downour, who was sharing a motel room with Ruiz at one point, snuck a look at his cell phone while he was in the bathroom. According to her someone had recorded Ruiz starting to dismember Saunders. Shaken, she turned it off as Saunders began to scream. So far there has been no word as to whether anyone else has seen the video, or if it still exists, or frankly, if it ever did.

What we do know right now is that Ruiz and Jimmy Massey have been charged with the murder and are currently awaiting trial. As repulsive as this saga is at the moment, it can only get worse as more details trickle out over the next few months. Jury members are going to need strong stomachs just to get through each day of the coming proceedings. This horror isn't for the faint of heart.

Meanwhile, on the national scene, the New York Times is reporting that a group calling itself OPSEC has established a web site. The site is currently running a 22 minute video heavily criticizing Barak Obama for a number of security leaks. The leaks have to do with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and other security matters. According to the Times the video tries to portray Obama as a braggart who is shamelessly using national security issues for political gain.

The group is peopled with former CIA and special operations personnel and claims to be non-partisan. Well that would be non-partisan so long as you're are a screaming, bug eyed, right wing troll. A guy named Chad Kolton is the mouthpiece for this bunch. He was a former spokesperson for the Director of National Intelligence during the Bush administration. Other members include Benjamin Smith a former Navy special ops guy who also happened to be, for a while, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express. Also there is Scott Taylor who is the president of the group. Taylor was an unsuccessful republican congressional candidate in Virginia. In addition the Times points out the organization shares an office suite in Virginia with a republican consulting firm know as the "Trailblazer Group."

Kolton says that because the outfit is classified as an educational group they are under no requirement to list donors or the amounts given. The video reportedly carefully edits Obama's remarks to the nation after the bin Laden raid, deftly removing his reference to the "ten years of tireless and heroic work of our military and counter terrorism professionals."

Can you say swift boat?

On CNN, Admiral William H. McRaven, the man who oversaw the raid, was quoted as saying, "The president and his national security team--I'm not a political guy, but will tell you as an interested party--they were magnificent in how they handled it (the raid) from start to finish." He went on to say, "At the end of the day, make no mistake about it, it was the president of the United States who shouldered the burden for the operation, that made the hard decisions, that was instrumental in the planning process, because I pitched every plan to him."

In addition the Times reports that the Obama administration has "overseen an unprecedented number of prosecutions for press disclosures". In fact two months ago, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered two different U.S. attorneys to investigate the leaks these mutant clowns are just now complaining about.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at such a naked attempt to discredit Obama for an operation that, if it had failed, would have probably cost him the oval office. It is typical republican misinformation and deviant propaganda. Herr Goebbels would have been proud.

Yes, this has indeed been an ugly Thursday on two different fronts. Large doses of Dramamine and a Louisville Slugger will be required to deal with all those involved. Sometimes, in the end, they are the only things that work.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Voter Fraud is a Fraud: The Fix Is In

So up in Pennsylvania and in other republican controlled state houses they are doing their best to make it tough to vote. They have passed stringent laws requiring a state issued voter ID to be presented before a ballot can be cast. They are doing so in the name of preventing in person voter fraud which they seem to believe is an overwhelming problem. Well that is what they are saying publicly anyway.

An outfit called News 21 is working on this and has been compiling all sorts of figures
on a national scale. The conclusion reached by their research is that there isn't any evidence of an in person voter fraud conspiracy. In fact there isn't even any evidence that wide spread in person voter fraud exists at all.

News 21 quotes David Schultz, a Professor of public policy at Hamline School of Business in St. Paul, Minnesota as saying, "Voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections." He goes on to say, "There is absolutely no evidence that voter in person fraud has affected the out come of any election in the United States."

The Republican National Lawyer Association claims to have identified 375 cases of voter fraud cases. That wouldn't be in some New York City precinct, or East Los Angeles barrio, or even in the wilds of Edmond, Oklahoma. That would be nation wide. Of those cases, News 21 found only 77 of those cases were actual alleged fraud by voters.

In fact News 21 found the most frequent cases of fraud occurred with registration and absentee ballots, which voter ID's could not have prevented in the first place.

So what is all the buzz? Why this sudden rush to make sure we solve a problem that doesn't actually exist?

Well here is what Pennsylvania house majority leader, Mike Turzai, a republican, had to say about that to a gathering of fellow travelers. He gushed about the new law and its immediate effect, "which is going to allow Governor Romney to win Pennsylvania."

Now we're to the nut of it. Don't let the fuckers who will vote for Obama into the booths. News 21 through NBC News is reporting that with less than two months to go before the election 785,000 people, or roughly 9% of Pennsylvania voters don't have the IDs that will be required at the polls. The majority of them are lower income workers, minorities, and senior citizens.

In other words the fix is in.

The ACLU is suing Pennsylvania over all this and the feds are questioning other voter ID laws. In Harrisburg the state Attorney General could not identify any recent cases of in person voter fraud to the media. In fact the last known case was in 2000. In addition the state of Pennsylvania is apparently not ready to offer any evidence that in person voter fraud will occur in November without the IDs.

This is starting to look like a back door putsch engineered by a desperate and ruthless gang of brutes. They are making the American election process look less reliable than ones in say Venezuela, or Zimbabwe.

Every now and then I start to think I can put up with these right wing clods, but then they always show themselves to be utterly opposed to democracy. Quite honestly this is a throw back to the Jim Crow laws that required you to prove that your grandfather once voted in order for you to receive a ballot.

They dishonor the country, the Constitution, and themselves. They are, quite simply, a disgrace to everything that is American. Unfortunately that has never stopped them and apparently it never will.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Dinos in Madill, Ryan and Rand, Mitt and the Truth

The wild ride has officially begun. The wonks are babbling and the candidates are screeching. Everyone wants to know more about Paul Ryan's wife, seemingly even more than they want to know about his plan to screw everyone under the age of 55 when it comes to medicare.

Ryan's wife is from Madill, Oklahoma. It is a crusty dump of a place down near the Red River and once home of the world famous Lake Texoma Sand Bass Festival. A big deal is being made about her coming from a "democratic family." Well, sort of. Her cousin is Dan Boren who is retiring from congress this year after voting far more times with the republican majority than his own party. For a time her uncle by marriage was David Boren, the former governor and senator and current University of Oklahoma president. David Boren, a brother skull and bones man with both Bush the senior and the younger was generally considered a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oklahoma Publishing Company when he held office. Mrs. Ryan's grandfather Reuel Little ran for governor on The American Party ticket. The American Party was founded so that segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace could run for president. Down here in Oklahoma we have a name for such people. We call them Dinos. Democrats in name only.

But enough of that. She seems like a very nice woman and she isn't the one who will be the proverbial heartbeat away from the presidency. Her husband Paul, who put together a budget four years ago that was so universally detested it never got out of committee, is that person. He once claimed he got into public service because he was inspired by the works of Ayn Rand. Later however, after officials of the Catholic church pointed out that Rand, among other things, was a stark raving atheist, he backed off from that sentiment.

Of course there is a lot of that going around lately. Mitt Romney has been desperately running from the health care plan that he instituted in Massachusetts when he was governor for ages now. Currently he is also howling that Barak Obama is running a "campaign of smear, dirt, and deception.

He failed to mention that his ad claiming Obama is trying to let welfare recipients sit around without working while they collect their checks has been called, "a drastic distortion" by Independent Fact Checker. He also insists that Obama has cut medicare spending by $700 billion, letting people think that the president is the one gutting the program. First Read has said that what Obama did was reduce the rate of growth in non essential services and increased the premiums for higher income recipients. Benefits that current and future seniors will receive will not be affected, unlike Brother Ryan's fixed cap voucher plan. In that scenario there is a limit to what can be spent that doesn't take into account rising medical costs, or radical treatments. Say good bye to the pancreas and don't even think about that lung transplant unless you own a large chunk of Haliburton.

Yes, the attacks have begun and waiting in the wings to make a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention is Billy Jeff Clinton. The former president has a 66% approval rating and can move the troops to action like no other. Every time I think of him addressing the Romney-Ryan candidacy the word "evisceration" comes to mind.

We are beginning the final leg of this crude and expensive relay. We are only a month and a half away from October surprises and Internet rumors that Obama himself is a cross dresser. Every week will bring more poll numbers and accusations. Watch for local republican officials to challenge every voter who isn't a lighter shade of pale.

Ugly won't even begin to describe it.

It can't get over with quick enough.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Paul Ryan is the Man

Well it had to happen quickly and it did. Mitt Romney's numbers were sliding and the far right was more than grumbling. So now we have his choice for a running mate. It is congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a seven term pro who has specific ideas on the budget, or rather what should be removed from the budget.

The good news for Mitt is that he is from a swing state and Mitt desperately needs swing states. If he can steal Ryan's Wisconsin, Colorado where he leads right now and maybe Michigan which is his defacto home state, Sheldon Addelson can make plans to take up permanent residence in the Lincoln bedroom. The Koch brothers in Wichita will be dancing in the street. Rush Limbaugh will be doing to jelly belly live on Pennsylvania Avenue.

All that being said, make no mistake about it, this was also a move to the tea party right and possibly a shift in focus for the campaign. Paul Ryan is going to howl long and hard about the deficit. He is going to pound on it daily. Lets face it, the economy thing just isn't working for Mr. Romney. After all it was his party who got us into the mess in the first place and now, nearly four years into the Obama administration the recovery has been slow, but it has been progressing at a steady pace. What Obama can't deny is the that the deficit is the elephant in the living room.

Mr. Ryan has some plans in regard to reducing the spending. One is to privatize social security another is to eliminate medicare for everyone born after 1975. He wants to replace it with fixed sum vouchers that will allow people to buy private insurance. That is, of course, if the insurance companies will accept them. There will still be that pesky old pre existing conditions thing and since there is no place in the Ryan plan to adjust the  amount of  the vouchers as the cost of medical care goes up things could get dicey when it comes paying for that liver transplant a few years down the line.

Being a republican Mr. Ryan also advocates the elimination of corporate income taxes, the estate tax, capital gains taxes, and taxes on dividends and interest. In other words he believes he can have the best of both worlds. As the big boys pay trillions less the deficit will magically go away. One suspects that to accomplish this deft economic turn around the middle and lower income groups are going to get screwed, glued, and tattooed. However such things have never concerned people such as Paul Ryan. They know who pays for the campaign signs and TV spots and it isn't the middle and lower classes.

So there we have it. Mitt has his man. He has no foreign policy experience whatsoever, meaning that neither of them do, but the electorate doesn't seem to care about that. In fact, the average American voter apparently doesn't give a rat's ass about diplomacy, or even if a candidate has a rudimentary knowledge of world geography. The middle east? Why it is in the middle of....the east, I guess. Besides, as long as we have bombs and the planes to deliver them we have a viable foreign policy.

Look for a bump in Romney's numbers. For the first time in a week republicans have something to get excited about.

The train, ladies and gentlemen, has just pulled out of the station. Brace yourselves for the ride.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Right Wing Still Doesn't Like Their Guy, Mitt Caught in a Lie, and The Beginning of the End

Those of the pure belief are raging. All the suspicions that Mitt Romney is a closet liberal have come bubbling up once more like foul smelling belches of sulfur in a volcanic blow hole.

NBC reports that a superpac which supports Obama has begun running ads linking a woman's death from cancer to Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. The ad apparently says that when Bain, under Romney's command, took over her husband's company they shoved him out the door in fit of cost cutting. This caused him to lose his medical coverage. Then, because his wife was deemed to have a pre existing condition no other carrier would insure them, so she had to go woefully under treated hastening her demise.

Ugly stuff, right? Romney spokeswoman, Andrea Saul addressed the ad this way, "If (those) people had been in Massachusetts under Governor Romney's health care plan they would have had health care."

Ouch. In other words universal health care, a keystone of the Obama administration and something the Mittster has been desperately distancing himself from for nearly a year, would have solved the problem and possibly saved the woman's life.

The reaction from the GOP far right was swift and filled with hysteria. The vampire Ann Coulter went on Laura Ingraham's radio show and demanded that Saul be fired at once. Ingraham herself reportedly said, "Saul wins the etch a sketch award of the day." Erik Erikson of Red State wrote, "Consider the scab picked, the wound opened and the distrust trickling out again." Recovering drug addict, Rush Limbaugh believes the statement provides Obama supporters with a, "gold mine."

Yes, it is the sum of all fears for those who prefer a capitalist system that calls for the poor, infirm, and unemployed to die of curable diseases on the streets. This stench of liberalism is the reason the primary season lasted as long as it did. If the far right crowd had been able to find anyone half way literate they would have beaten Romney like an unwanted stepchild. But they couldn't and now they are stuck with him. He is the guy and once again he is proving himself completely unworthy of their support.

In the mean time Romney has begun to run an ad that should ease some of the pain and suffering. The spot accuses Obama of undermining bi partisan welfare reform by removing the requirement that recipients work to receive payments. The ad even invokes the name of William Jefferson Clinton as being the good type of democrat who knows how to work with the other party.

Clinton's initial response to the charge that Obama wants a welfare state full of people sitting on their arses while cashing checks? "Its not true." This ad may backfire on Mitt even worse than Andrea Saul's little gaffe. Saul only angered the hard core right. If Clinton goes after Romney, like only Clinton can, when he speaks at the Democratic Convention, Mitt is not only going to look like a fool, but an abject liar. Only this time it will be swing voters questioning the GOP candidate's honesty and intellect rather than just the Sturmabteilung.

Actually it might not even take that long. First Read is calling the ad "mis-leading." Independent Fact Checker goes a bit further. It says the ad is a "drastic distortion." According to them by granting waivers to states Obama is "trying to make welfare to work programs more successful rather than ending them."

So the last week hasn't been the best of times for Mr. Romney. Recent polls show him trailing in every battleground state except for one. He has managed to piss off a major portion of his own party while giving the Obama people an easy target to hit back at. And, independent analysts are saying he is twisting the truth so ruthlessly that he might as well be an out right liar.

Bets are he'll pick a vice presidential candidate sooner that later. That announcement will shift the focus and invigorate the growing number  of less than enthusiastic supporters in his camp.

The conventions are not that far away. Look for desperation on both sides. The mad rush toward the finish line is growing so close you can almost smell the sweat. Tens of millions are being spent and promises are being made. Back room deals and unholy alliances are blooming as I type.

The end game, it would seem, is afoot. There will be no prisoners taken.



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

America, Home of the Deranged

It is now official. Each and every person in the country, except for you and I, has gone dangerously insane and quite frankly, I'm starting to worry about you.

On Saturday night in Crocker Park, Ohio it is reported that Mr. Scott A. Smith bought a ticket to the 10pm showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." As he made his way toward the auditorium an off duty police officer working security and the theater manager noticed he was carrying a beige satchel. These days being what they are the officer entered the theater and saw that Mr. Smith had taken a center seat in the back row. This is known as an advantageous tactical position. At that moment he was the only one there. To make a long story short, the bag contained a loaded 9 mm hand gun, two full spare magazines and three knives. A fourth knife was found on Smith as he was patted down. Smith's record is completely clean except for a few traffic violations, which certainly sounds familiar. He is currently in the cooler while prosecutors try to decide what to charge him with.

In the big apple Mike Tyson's one man Broadway show (who knew?) has been the subject of anonymous tweets. Among the postings is this gem, "This shit ain't no joke yo--I'm serious people are gonna die like Aurora." On July 29th the first tweet was posted which said, "I might just shoot up this theater in New York. I know they leave their exit doors unlocked. Ha now I gotta plan it step by step."

The NYPD are currently in the process of obtaining a subpoena because the civil libertarians at Twitter are claiming some sort of mutant Doctor/patient privilege. In a statement they told police that, "it did not appear the tweet in question fell within the parameters for invoking emergency disclosure procedures." Police have added extra security at the theater.

Finally, up in Oak Creek, Wisconsin officials are still trying to figure out why Wade Michael Page, a skin head musician, walked into a Sikh temple Sunday and opened fire. Six were killed and another four, including a responding police officer, were wounded. A spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League has described Page as a member of "The Hammerskins", one of the oldest and largest skin head/neo Nazi tribes.

Page, who sometimes went by the stage name, Jack Boot (get it, a Nazi named Jack Boot) was busted out of the army after a six year career. The dishonorable discharge apparently had to do with a drinking problem.

The Sikh population, which is guessed at around 500,000 in the U.S, is routinely mistaken for Muslims because of their turbans and beards. It is unclear as to whether Page made that mistake, or if the deadly geek just picked out the temple because the people there simply didn't look like him.

Page's weapon of choice? Why a 9mm semi automatic of course. He legally purchased it about ten days before the shooting, proving once again that current gun laws make the nation a safe place to live and worship.

So in the past few days another mass murderer has laid waste to a peaceful gathering. A second man, armed to the teeth and with dubious intentions, was nabbed before anything evil happened. In New York, Twitter is safe guarding an American's right to privacy no matter how crazy he or she is. And, we landed a one ton scientific wonder on Mars.

What is wrong with this picture? Can you say schizophrenia? How can we be so brilliant one moment and so savagely brutal the rest of the time? America is starting to scare me. There is the terrible beast within us that simply cannot be quelled. All the greatness is being diminished, no, destroyed by our blood lust.

We've gone nuts and we're able to buy guns. Nothing we do, or find on Mars will smooth over that terrible reality. Any honest history of this nation written a century from now will not be kind.

The summer has been long, hot, and violent. Unfortunately there is more to come. It is the one thing we can count on.

Sic vita est.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Viva Curiosity

I will admit to a number of vices great and small. Some, like the cigars and the gin and tonics are not the best things for the human body. Others, like the addiction to college football, in particular Oklahoma University football, while not normally physically taxing, take up huge chunks of time and have been known to raise the blood pressure to stroke levels on occasion. The same can be said about the OKC Thunder NBA basketball franchise. Baseball used to be in the mix, but that passion has waned. I now look at the sport with the same nostalgic wistfulness I reserve for aged aunts and uncles. Namely people who were large parts of my early years, but currently dwell in retirement homes while wandering about in dementia induced fogs.

A very long time ago one of my Christmas gifts was a small reflecting telescope. It didn't even have a tripod. You had to take a kitchen chair out into the yard and mount the thing on the back rest and then try to focus in on one of those bright little lights in the night sky.

Of course that was back in an age when the night sky was filled with stars. The city hadn't expanded and the lighting wasn't as cruelly efficient as it is now. Years ago you could actually see the delicate haze of the Milky Way snaking its way across the heavens.

All that being said, I have been and always will be a huge fan of space exploration. I take some heat from many of my left leaning friends because of this and now days from some right wing people, mainly the Ron Paul wankers. Everyone on the left wants to spend the money on the poor and everyone on the right doesn't want to spend the money at all.

My attitude is screw 'em. I want to see someone chugging around the surface of the moon in a rover. I want to see a Jovian flyby. I want to watch volcanoes erupt on Io. I want to see photos of the Martian surface and test the soil and look for life, be it short, big headed dudes with long spindly arms, or simply microbial. And, to be honest, I don't care what it costs.

So when NASA landed the mobile research lab Curiosity on the Martian surface last night I was enthralled. It was a feat of incredible skill and the technology involved is simply breathtaking.

Curiosity traveled eight months through space, then automatically landed itself with a system of cables and a hovering crane that lifted itself away from the landing site once the lab was on the ground. To be honest the whole operation looked like something Wile E. Coyote might have bought from the ubiquitous Acme Company. However it worked like a charm. To put the distance into perspective it takes fourteen minutes for whatever information it sends to reach this planet. Conversely it takes those same fourteen minutes for us to issue it a command it can react to.

To me it was worth every bit of the $2.5 billion it cost and it may give us clues as to what went wrong there and what may go wrong here. It may show us life was once there, or incredibly that life in some form is still there. For those captains of industry out there, it may give us another eco system to foul up some day through colonization. Think of it, if we eventually find oil on Mars, Exxon and the like will be falling all over themselves to pay for future ventures.

So yes, I know it costs a lot of money and I know something terrible could still go wrong and the whole adventure could end in the blink of an eye. And yes I was in love with Star Trek when I was growing up, but no I've never attended a convention of Trekkies, or Trekkers, or whatever it is they call themselves.

I simply think we need to find out more about how the universe works and what has transpired on planets other than our own. I don't think we can put a price on that sort of knowledge, at least I'm not willing to.

So there you have it. My guilty pleasure is expensive and subject to all manner of conspiracy theories. Trust me, right now there are some people out there claiming NASA has faked the whole deal. These same clowns still think the moon landings were scams.

But I don't care. All I care about are the photos that will be flooding into the JPL in Pasadena. All I care about is what we find there, in a place we have never been before.

Bravo, NASA. Viva Curiosity.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

More Fun With Guns

So what is one to do on a hot, lazy, Sunday afternoon? Well for a news junkie such as myself the answer is simple. Crank down the thermostat on the AC, shut all the blinds, and turn on some classical music while cruising the net for more reports of people having fun with guns.

It didn't take much to find a numbingly long list.

First off smiling Jared Loughner, the guy who shot congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Tucson, reportedly wants to plead guilty on Tuesday. He has been under the care of prison psychiatrists since the attack and NBC News reports his doctors are prepared to testify that he is now mentally competent to make the plea. The judge will ask Loughner a series of questions to determine if he's aware of what he is doing. That list of queries would include one that makes sure he understands a guilty plea means he gives up all rights to appeal no matter what sentence he is handed. Giffords was wounded so severely she had to spend months in rehab and retire from her seat in congress. Six others were killed.

A week ago in Jonesboro, Arkansas an officer pulled over a pickup truck for a traffic violation. He found baggies and an amount of marijuana on board. Twenty-one year old Chavis Carter was a passenger in the truck. When police ran a check on him they found he had an outstanding warrant in Mississippi. Mr. Carter was promptly patted down and his hands cuffed and double locked behind his back. He was then placed in a squad car. According to police reports officers then heard a shot. Police believe, or say they believe Carter had managed to get hold of a hidden gun that they had missed during their body search. Then in an incredible act of contortion he shot himself in the right temple, committing suicide. The FBI is now involved in investigating the shooting. Chavis Carter's mother is on record as saying her son was left handed, not suicidal and that the cops murdered her kid.

Here in OKC sixteen year old Avery Myers, who is accused of shooting 8 people after a NBA playoff game, is pleading self defense. He claims to have felt threatened by a group of girls who were confronting him about a stolen cell phone. Proving he isn't the greatest of shots, young Mr. Myers missed the girls at nearly point blank range while hitting all manner of innocent passersby, including Norman Richards II. Richards spent 33 days in the hospital and lost portions of his stomach, lower intestines, and pancreas. Myers public defender says the girls are more culpable than prosecutors are saying and that they loved to fight. The girls, all of them in their mid teens, were unarmed.

Down in Florida--where else?--Cristobal Palacio also plead self defense in the 2008 shooting death of Paul Winter. Mr. Winter was married to Mr. Palacio's ex-wife. In a moment of pure deja vu Palacio claimed he thought Winter, who was unarmed, was going for a gun. "He comes out like he's so pissed off," Palacio is reported to have testified. The jury wasn't buying it and convicted Palacio on two counts of 2nd degree murder and two counts of child abuse. Defense attorney Michael Walsh was out raged. He was quoted as saying, "I don't know what case they (the jury) watched. I don't know what facts they listened to." Mr. Winter was shot six times, including twice in the back. The child abuse convictions were because Cristobal Palacio committed the crime in front of his ex-wife's two kids.

And that brings us to today where the breaking news is that at least four people, possibly more, were shot at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The shooter is apparently still on the loose. He is described by witnesses as being a heavy set, bald, white guy wearing a sleeveless tee shirt. The attack occurred about an hour and a half before religious services were to begin.

Americans love their guns. Unfortunately we also love to use them. Actually I'm surprised we don't all have one. So is the ancient rocker Ted Nugent who claims that this brutal nonsense would stop if everyone was packing a piece.

I guess if we were to follow that sage advice all these self defense pleas would hold more water. Think of it, if everyone had a gun there wouldn't be any more inconveniently unarmed victims would there?

Oh well, I suppose we can't have everything. It is an imperfect world at best.

Onward into the week.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

James Holmes and the Hints to What Was Coming

"Experts say Holmes' mental state may be a key issue at trial."

NBC News

One wonders how much of a retainer NBC News is paying these experts to come up with astute observations such as that. If they would have emailed me I would have given them that tidbit of insight for an incredibly cheap fee.

No, when a guy dresses in black body armor, dyes his hair bright red, loads up with four different weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition, booby traps his apartment, then opens fire in a crowded movie theater any questions about him being a tad funny in the head are moot. The only real debate will be whether we lock him away in a padded cell forever, or slip him the needle and be done with it.

Well, it won't quite be that simple, at least not for those who knew young Mr. Holmes might be teetering on the edge of something perfectly awful.

According to NBC, The Denver Post is reporting that back in June Holmes' psychiatrist gave his name to the University of Colorado's Threat Assessment Team. Dr. Lynne Fenton, who is medical director for student mental health services, had been seeing Holmes and became alarmed enough by his behavior to alert university authorities.

Denver TV station KMGH reported that school officials didn't take action because Holmes was in the process of dropping out of school.

You can almost hear lawyers throughout the Rocky Mountains sharpening their knives. U.C. Chancellor Don Elliman knows the scent of money is in the air. He issued this statement: "I believe, until it has been demonstrated otherwise, our people did what they should have done."

Yes, but if university personnel considered Jimmy Holmes a danger and did nothing about it simply because he was dropping out--ie "he's no longer our student, so he's no longer our problem,"--more than one slick attorney is going to have a field day. It won't take much to argue that if Aurora police had been alerted by the school to take a look at Holmes the whole nightmare might have been prevented.

The feds require psychiatrists such as Fenton to notify police if they learn of a patient's specific plot to harm others. Holmes sent her a package with a notebook before he went on his deadly rampage. Apparently it got hung up in the university's mail system and she didn't see it.

So now we are suddenly looking at a cascading series of events that opened the door for the self described Joker. Alarm bells were going off in Fenton's head. She notified the people who are supposed to address such concerns. For whatever reason they did not act and what have might of been a complete schematic of the brutal crime was lost in the mail room. Then finally, in what is becoming a tiresomely gruesome trend, no one at an institute of higher learning thought to contact the police.

As I type James Holmes sits in a cell somewhere dreaming whatever it is that lunatics dream. His next scheduled appearance in court is September 27th. There aren't any doubts regarding his guilt. However there are an increasing number of questions arising as to why this sick twist was able to stumble around for the last few months amassing an arsenal of weapons, ammunition, and explosive material.

Jimmy Holmes is going to answer for his crimes one way or the other. The real questions are who knew what about him and when. And, why in God's name didn't they do, or say anything before the shooting began.

Prepare for a blizzard of denials and then the inevitable fog of litigation. An entire generation could grow of age before we're through with this one.

Sic vita est.