Saturday, August 15, 2009


40 years ago? woodstock.
I didn't get to go.
I blame my parents.
I was 10.
Living in San Francisco.
But growing up, it looked like fun. We wished we could have been there.
But I wasn't there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why They Lie

The latest round of right-wing lies, the "death panels", shouldn't be a surprise. They know that this type of lies work. The "Willie Horton" ads worked. The "Swift Boat" ads worked. They were lies, but they managed to obscure the truth in enough minds to actually win. So this shouldn't come as any surprise, either:

Leaked memo shows energy industry execs sending employees to industry sponsored events to play average citizens outraged about cap-n-trade.

In short, expect the same type of lies, loudly shouted, as we move toward any attempt at energy reform. The screams of "euthanasia" and "socialism" have effectively scuttled any real health reform, and those who oppose energy reform will adopt the same tactics.
Because lying, loudly and repeatedly, works.

Boobie News

New friend Lockwood from Outside the Interzone (a very smart blog, which you should go read frequently) sent me this link to a new National Geographic article, telling me "These aren't the boobies you're looking for." The Tasman Boobie was thought to be extinct, but it now turns out that the Tasman Boobie and the Masked Boobie are the same. Nice to know that the Boobie's are still around.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today's Question

Zymurgian asked me: "How'd you get to be so old?"

Me: "By not dying"

So my question to all of you: How'd you get to be so old?

(added explanation: This conversation was about Zymurgian's angst upon approaching age 40. Since I'm 50, I qualified as "old" in his view. I don't feel that I'm old, except on certain mornings.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


From distributorcap

Sometimes I wonder if the media isn’t so much anti-Obama as it's just plain anti-intellectual and pro-toilet paper sales.

Couldn't say it better.


Here is the most basic evidence of why we need real healthcare reform:

The free medical clinic at the Forum in Inglewood reached capacity again Wednesday, as hundreds camped out overnight to receive medical and dental care.

More than 2,000 sought services on the first day of the medical clinic -- and hundreds were turned away. People were lined up Tuesday night, hoping to get in. The MTA announced it was extending service of Line 115 because of "overwhelming demand" for rides to the clinic, which runs for eight days.

On Tuesday, procedures included 95 tooth extractions, 22 oral surgeries, 470 fillings, prescriptions for 140 eyeglasses, 45 mammograms, 43 HIV tests and 96 Pap smears.

The Remote Area Medical Foundation is a trailer-equipped service that has staged health clinics in rural parts of the United States, Mexico and South America. It brought its health camp to urban Los Angeles County on Tuesday to begin a stint that the group's officials described as its first foray into a major urban setting.

Organizers expected big crowds in a county with high unemployment and an estimated 22% of working-age adults lacking health insurance.

On Tuesday, the turnout was so large that hundreds had to be turned away.

I'm still composing my thoughts on the whole "healthcare reform" debate, but this proves that what we're doing now isn't working.

Miers and Renzi

Ah, the old case gets more interesting...

In the House Judiciary investigation into the U.S. Attorney firings, Harriet Miers admitted to her role in helping re-elect Rick Renzi by hiding the corruption investigation of him:

It's just days before the mid-term elections, and you're sitting in the White House watching a close Congressional race when it bubbles up that the the Republican incumbent, long dogged by corruption rumors, is under federal investigation.

That's the situation the Bush White House found itself in when it was reported in late October 2006, first on blogs, that U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton was investigating Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ).

And that's when the damage control machine kicked into gear.

Scott Jennings, deputy to Karl Rove, and White House Counsel Harriet Miers intervened to try to get the Justice Department to throw cold water on the reports of an investigation, despite the DOJ's policy not to confirm or deny the existence of ongoing probes, according to e-mails released by the House Judiciary Committee today. (Read them here.)

In the two days following Miers and Jennings' emails, articles appeared in the press quoting DOJ officials saying the investigation was in "preliminary stage" -- which it was not.

One piece in the Arizona Republic, speculating that the news about the
investigation was politically-motivated, quoted a DOJ official: "I want to caution you not to chop this guy's (Renzi's) head off." That's the type of statement that surely helped Renzi in the heated days before the election.

Renzi went on to win reelection, but was indicted on wide-ranging corruption charges in April 2008. The case is still pending.

The Jennings/Miers e-mails make for rich reading. On October 24, Jennings wrote, under the subject "re: our call":

"The person I called you about [Renzi] said the USATTY in his area, as well as the local FBI office, said they were unaware of any investigation."

Miers replied, describing how she intervened to pressure the DOJ on its public stance:

Scott, I just finished speaking with [Deputy AG] Paul McNulty. He said what we suspected he would. He has been contacted by a number of frustrated members of the Congress asking why people can't be vindicated in the event nothing is going on. He acknowledged that the situation is frustrating, but reiterated their position that they cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation. He said the AG did an interview last week to put things in as good as a perspective as possible by explaining that no one should be talking and that a refusal to deny should be given no meaning beyond that Justice does not admit or deny the existence of an investigation. I observed that at some point, immediately preceding an election, unattributed statements about the existence of an investigation was rankly unfair. He is continuing to think about the situation, but I did not get a lot of encouragement that they will deviate from normal course.

In other words: despite being told it was DOJ policy not to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, Miers asked Paul McNulty, the deputy attorney general, to knock down the reports of a probe. But she "did not get a lot of encouragement that they will deviate from normal course."

In the next two days, the articles citing anonymous DOJ officials appeared, falsely reporting the probe was in early stages. It's still not known who made those leaks and whether anyone directed them to do it.

Renzi's corruption investigation was kept hidden until after the election for political reasons, a classic example of how the shrub administration operated (read the whole article for a lot more juicy details). Paul Charlton was fired in the Attorney purge, in hopes of killing the investigation of Renzi, and it almost worked. But Mr. Corruption's trial is scheduled for next month. I wonder if Harriet will be called to testify? That certainly could be worth watching.

And, (in keeping with the Pygalgia tradition with all things Renzi), Mr. Renzi, here's your pig:

(And read all about sleazy Karl Rove's roll in it all here:,0,6512321.story, here: Raw Story, here: NYTimes, and The full interview transcripts and documents can be found here.)

Finch Fighting?

This is a little old, but: weird news that I almost couldn't believe (except that I can):

SHELTON, Conn. -- Connecticut authorities say they arrested 19 people and seized more than 100 birds in a house raid on an alleged bird-fighting operation

Wayne Kasacek, of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and Shelton police Sgt. Robert Kozlowsky say most of the 150 confiscated birds were saffron finches and that a few were canaries. Kasacek say some of the birds had previous injuries, including blindness in at least one eye, and may have to be euthanized.

Police say they made the arrests Sunday just as spectators had placed bets and were getting ready to watch the birds fight at a home in Shelton, just west of New Haven. Authorities say they seized $8,000 in alleged betting money.

Saffron finches are small birds that are native to South America.

» Report on WSFB-TV
Channel 3 in Connecticut (video, photo slideshow)

There are a lot of strange people in this world, but the thought of watching and betting on small birds forced to tear each other apart boggles my mind. But...I'm not sure. When, at the local pub, I proposed "worm racing" for a slow night's entertainment, the owner said "no way. that's cruel". I think "Finch Fighting" is far more cruel than a worm race, but I might be wrong.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Note to Sweaterman: Your Gig's Been Stolen

Regular readers are familiar with co-blogger Sweaterman's great writing, but those of us who also know him in the meat world know that he also does a mean Dylan impersonation. One of the highlights of the local holiday season is getting a few beers in Sweaterman, and having him do the "Bob Dylan Christmas Songs", a guaranteed laugh riot. Now the joke is becoming a reality:

Bob Dylan is finally following Elvis Presley and Nat King Cole: He has made a Christmas album. The Dylan album will include Here Comes Santa Claus and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

That just sounds so wrong. It was great fun coming from Sweaterman, but from Dylan himself it feels like crass commercialism.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


August 9, 1974 was a really good day, for those of us old enough to remember.