Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scandal Fodder for Wingnuts

Perhaps congress will investigate...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Here's a four dollar christmas tree. It's all I can affor. Be merry!

Friday, December 21, 2012

As The Solstice Arrives

If you're reading this, that most likely proves that another apocalypse has failed to occur. I've lost count of how many apocalypses, raptures, and ends of the world I've survived in my lifetime, but after this many I gave up on worrying about them long ago. Heck, climate change is the thing that's most likely to destroy civilization, but that is a slow process without a dramatic end date. So our society will continue to ignore it.
Any way, it's another Winter Solstice (6:12am, EST), which is always something to celebrate. Days will now start getting longer, and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy "Three Dozen Day"

I do like when we have days with interesting numbers, and today is 12/12/12. Since many cool things come in dozens, today is a triple good day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Repeal Day!

Happy Repeal Day! On Dec. 5th, 1933 prohibition was repealed. So I suggest that we have a drink to celebrate.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

I hope you are all well fed, around those who matter most, and enjoying your holiday in the way you choose. I'm about to start cooking a feast, which makes me very happy. Best wishes to you all!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

St. Sleazy McCain Out Does Himself

As I noted in my previous post, St. Sleazy McCain has been calling for a congressional investigation on the Benghazi attack. As all the political talk shows will tell you, Sen. McCain is a very serious person. In fact, he's so serious that when the Senate Homeland Security Committee (on which he sits) received a closed door briefing on Benghazi yesterday, he failed to show up.
If there's anyone in Washington who would benefit from a detailed briefing on what actually transpired in Benghazi in September, it's the senator who's throwing fits over what he thinks happened in Benghazi in September.
As luck would have it, the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which McCain is a member of, received a classified, closed-door briefing for nearly two hours yesterday, receiving up-to-date information. What did McCain learn from the briefing? Nothing -- according to the Republican ranking member on the committee, McCain failed to show up.
But what's unclear is why McCain didn't bother to attend the lengthy briefing on a subject he claims to care so deeply about. McCain had time yesterday to appear in front of cameras to talk about Benghazi, but didn't have time to get more information about Benghazi?
Update: According to a CNN report, McCain hosted his press conference demanding more information during the hearing in which he could have received more information.
Second Update: Josh Rogin also reported, "[A]lthough McCain had time to speak on the Senate floor and on television about the lack of information provided to Congress about the attack, he didn't attend the classified briefing."
"If you want answers, a good first step is to show up and ask a question," an administration official told Rogin. "That's what a senator does."
Instead, St. Sleazy was holding his own press conference demanding more information. He was too busy grandstanding to actually hear the information he was requesting. Unless he's actually completely senile, this is flat out rank hypocrisy at its worst.
Added: His staff now says it was a "scheduling error." Alrighty, then...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Second Term Scandal Search Starts

Now that Obama has won a second term, it's time for the rethugs to  try to find a scandal, even if they have to make one up. So far, Benghazi and Petraeus are the early entries.
Benghazi may have been a security miscalculation, but I can't see how this adds up to a "scandal". Yes, it was a tragedy. Yes, the consulate wasn't secure enough given how unstable Libya still is. But you cannot conduct diplomacy by insulating behind walls and marines. A risk was taken, and, sadly, we lost four people. But somehow St. Sleazy McCain and Ms. Lindsay Graham want to make this the new Watergate. They're starting by attacking Susan Rice, although I find it odd that they feel the UN Ambassador is somehow responsible. The investigation will be a carnival sideshow, with plenty of grandstanding, but in the end Benghazi is a tragedy, not a scandal.
(BTW: If you really want to find a diplomatic scandal with a woman named "Rice", I suggest you look into the previous administration.)
Then we have the Petraeus/Kelly/Broadwell/Allen soap opera...I'm not quite sure how they'll blame Obama for this, but I'm sure somehow the right wing will. There is sex involved, so the media loves this story. I'll admit, I'm not comfortable with the CIA director having affairs that become public, but that's because I prefer a chief spy who can keep a secret. I'm old fashioned that way. Expect long hearings in the House on this one, but no real scandal.
Remember the Clinton years? Investigate everything, regardless of the facts. What started with a bad real estate deal (the Clintons lost $30,000 on whitewater) led to the travel office, then the Christmas Card list, before they finally found a blow job. It took years, but they finally found a "scandal".
In reality, Obama, like Clinton, is guilty of being President while a member of the Democratic party. And the repubs are going to do their very best to convict him of it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winning elections is fun. We should do it more often.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

OK, it's finally election day. Obviously, you should get out and vote (if you haven't already), preferably for the good guys. If nothing else, your vote buys you the right to complain for the next four years.
I'm not much for predictions, but I'm guessing that Obama holds on to a win via the electoral college. Nothing profound there; I tend to trust Nate Silver's math (he was a baseball statistician before moving into politics, which makes me confident) more than the pundit class. Also, I can't believe that a majority of Americans are stupid enough to believe Willard's non-stop lies. At least, I hope not.
If nothing else, today will bring the end of the campaign ad season. Which should be a relief for us all. (1,463 days until election day 2016, BTW.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Some Stuff

                                         (picture is unrelated*, but I like it)
As we close in on election day, I find myself again amazed at the only country I've lived in. In the wake of a major disaster, our current president has done a great job of marshaling a federal government response. His rival staged a photo op collecting canned goods (which aren't needed) that now has proven to be mostly faked. Yet the polls are still mostly tied.
New Jersey Governor Kris Krispy Chris Christie (I would usually mock him, but today he's doing the right thing), who gave an anti-Obama keynote speech at the republican convention, is now heaping quite effusive praise on Obama and the federal government response. I disagree with Gov. Christie on most things, but he has proven that he takes his job seriously and is trying to do right by his people.
I sometimes make fun of President Obama, calling him "Sober Panda Time", but the real fact is he's doing a decent job of running the country. Not my 'ideal', but my 'ideal' could never get elected in this country. And he is currently managing the response to this disaster perfectly. He's being "The President" quite well.
Willard, on the other hand, spent $5,000 on stuff to stage a campaign rally that he called a "relief" event. Last time I looked, Willard R-Money was really fornicating rich; maybe he could actually cut a check to the American Red Cross that might actually help. Not gonna happen.
(BTW: if you really want to help, AMERICAN RED CROSS The Red Cross is providing shelter, clothes, supplies, food and blood, as needed, for the victims of Sandy. You can donate blood, but in terms of items, you’ll be doing more for those in need by donating money instead of physical goods.Text message: Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. As in the case with other donations via mobile, the donation will show up on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your balance if you have a prepaid phone. You need to be 18 or older, or have parental permission, to donate this way. (If you change your mind, text the word STOP to 90999.)Phone: 800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767); for Spanish speakers, 800-257-7575; for TDD,  800-220-4095.To donate blood: Visit this Red Cross Web page. Online: American Red Cross)
This election does truly matter. Instead of "the lesser of two evils" we have a choice between an honest, dedicated, competent, if mediocre, candidate or a corporate greedhead evil candidate. I'll be spending most of election day working a GOTV phone bank, myself.
(*bonus point to anyone who can identify the source of that photo in the comments)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Disaster

That is one damn big storm. Reports on Sandy are currently listing at least 16 dead (update: now listed as 33 50 dead) and 7.5 million without power, and it's still very early in the damage assessment. Along with the human tragedy, the economic impact is going to be huge for quite a while.
Calls for disaster relief will be going up soon, and all our prayers and good wishes go out to those effected by the storm. From all that I've read, our current President is doing everything possible to get aid to those in need, and it's good to have a competent administration in charge at times like this. This is the kind of thing we need a Federal Government for, conservatives!
In the aftermath, can we begin to address global climate change, maybe? Might be a good idea.
Scenes from Sandy through Monday here, and more epic pics are here. Incredible scenes.
I'm sure I'll have more comments soon, but for now I'm just trying to wrap my head around the scope of this disaster. Be safe, people!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Champions Again!

For the second time in three years, the San Francisco Giants have won the World Series! I'm actually rather surprised; I didn't have a lot of faith in this years team. Considering that, until 2010, the Giants hadn't won it all during my lifetime, I'm used to being disappointed. I'll be smiling for at least a week!
Now, if my 49er's can keep winning football games and the "good guys" can win on election day...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


My beloved San Francisco Giants are going to the World Series for the second time in three years. I admit that I had pretty much given up hope during the playoffs, both against the Reds and the Cardinals. Facing elimination in both series, they managed to win three in a row each time for a total of six wins in elimination games, which is virtually impossible. Amazing.
Now they get to face the Detroit Tigers for the championship. On paper, the Tigers look like the better team by a wide margin. But the Giants seem to defy odds, so it should be an interesting series.
Go Giants!
Added: Some baseball history that I wasn't aware of:
Sean Kirst notes that this is the first time the Giants and Tigers have met in the World Series, despite their status as ancient teams. These two teams had plenty of success, the Tigers appearing in ten World Series prior to 2012, the Giants in sixteen (modern era). The teams tended to just miss each other. For example, the Giants were in the series in 1905, then from 1911-1913. The Tigers played in three straight from 1907-1909. The the Tigers went back-to-back in 1934 and 1935, while the Giants played in 1933, 1936, and 1937.
Another example of the beauty of the game; even with over 130 years of history, something totally new can happen.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

McGovern Memory

Sadly, good old George Mcgovern passed away this morning, and we'll all miss him. He was the first presidential candidate that I actually cared about (not that I could vote for him; I was 13 in 1972,) I liked him; he always seemed like a "good, decent" guy (as opposed to Richard Nixon, who was a truly unlikable man.) While I was aware of some politics in previous elections, Nixon versus McGovern was when I truly felt it mattered.
And we lost, big time. Which set me on a life long path of cynicism. Nixon was evil, McGovern was decently good (read Doc, "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" if you have any doubts), but evil won big. That's when I began to understand America.
I once thought that we would never elect someone worse than Nixon, but along came Shrub. Heck, Ol' Ronnie R was plenty bad enough.
I guess we get the government we deserve.
We have an election coming up. We have a choice. I hope you all know which way George McGovern would vote.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Yeah, about that war

So, yesterday there was a local protest against the war in Afghanistan, which I attended with my friend. Along with about eight other people (although one of them may have only joined to bum smokes). Not sure if there actually was a "march", as my friend and I decided that entering a pub for a cool beverage was a better use of a Sunday.
Afghanistan is certainly no Vietnam, as the lack of a real "anti-war" movement proves, but we've been fighting this stupid thing for eleven years now. Has anybody noticed?
It's a sad commentary when even an old hippie like me finds himself drinking beer and watching football instead of protesting...but at least my beloved 49ers won big.
And, later, we had a really good pizza.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


                                                 (If watching the debates, you need this)
            So I get out of class early tonight, told to watch the debate. Um, "yay!", maybe? We are assigned to write a paper on "what is said about health care?" instead.
Yeah, that sounds tough.
            And, since I'm posting, my beloved Giants eliminated the hated Dodgers from the playoffs last night. That feels good.
            I'm about to watch this debate between Willard and Sober Panda Time...
More beer, please.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Election Math

One of the fun things about an election year (if you're as warped a political junkie as I am) is watching which creative numbers get use to predict the outcome. I may have an odd sense of humor, but I used it to find this at Bad Attitudes , by Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution :

After all the speeches and campaign ads and debates, politics comes down to cold hard numbers. It always has; it always will.
In my model, as in most such models, we start with the basics: The number of women to whom the GOP candidate’s grandfather was married at any one time, which in this case would be (4). You multiply that by the number of extramarital affairs conducted over a lifetime by the spouse of the current secretary of state (237). (CAUTION: This number could shift at any moment.)
You then add the number of emails sent in the past four years depicting the Democratic nominee with a bone through his nose, which would be 457,283. You divide that by the total number of beers and cigarettes tried by the GOP nominee in his lifetime (2), divided again by the total number of beers and cigarettes consumed by the Democrat (58,399).
You multiply that by the square root of the number of hair follicles transplanted into the Democratic VP (√6,798=83.53) divided by the best marathon time fraudulently claimed by the Republican VP nominee (2.55).
Subtract the percentage of Americans gratuitously insulted by the GOP nominee (47), add the number of times in a best-two-out-of-three match that the First Lady would beat you arm-wrestling (3), and then also add the number of dog-lover votes — in units of tens of thousands — lost by the Republican for transporting an aptly named Irish setter (Seamus) on the station-wagon roof (236.5).
Finally, you add the number of percentage points that all polls but Rasmussen are skewed in favor of Democrats (10). Voila!

You now have the mortal-lock number of electoral college votes that the Democratic nominee will win in any given year.

– Jay Bookman
Now, the only factor he forgot to include in his calculation is: the number of mindless pundits with hair good enough to get them onto TV (623, but subject to change between now and the election) divided by the number of unstable leaders in the Middle East and North Africa (17, but variable), and add that number for the total electoral votes of whomever the eventual winner is. Simple, isn't it?
(If you understood and enjoyed this post...well...I guess that's why you're reading this blog. Get help.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Willard's Latest Stupid Idea

When I first read this, I thought it was some kind of satire. I really didn't believe that Willard could really be stupid enough to actually suggest this (in the wake of his wife being on a flight on Friday that had a minor cabin fire):
When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.

That's right, he really said that you should be able to open the windows on a commercial airplane. Which would allow you to breathe for, oh, maybe three seconds before explosive decompression sucked you and fellow passengers out of the plane.
Well, physics is just another science with a liberal bias, so Willard is against it. Just what we need running the country.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

American Patriot

Couldn't help but notice another great moment in hypocrisy...this week, senate rethuglicans blocked the Veterans Jobs Act, a bill to help those who served gain decent employment. One of the "NO" votes was cast by former POW, St. Sleazy, John McCain. Seems like it was only four years ago that he was campaigning loudly about "support our troops" pro-war heroism. I guess St. Sleazy believes patriotic words should count for more than actual deeds.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Not Elegantly Stated"

Yeah, Willard, you should have found a more 'elegant' phrase to explain that poor people are losers, unworthy of your attention. Really, the peasants must be made to understand that their role is to serve their betters without question. And Willard would really prefer if the elderly and disabled would have the decency to crawl off and die quietly so he can continue to avoid hearing about them. If they can't be decent servants,who needs them? Willard bravely stands for "Government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich", and if you're not one of the rich, well, that's your own damned fault.
Speaking of people who Willard can't be bothered with, Palestinians. Willard plans to kick their can down the road, and hope for some decent outcome in the future. Preferably one where they can either be used for slave factory labor in an outsourced manufacturing plant, or quietly dead so as to stop inconveniencing the Israelis.
Well, for possibly the first time in his campaign for Oligarch, Willard said something that was actually true: "not elegantly stated" is an honest motto for his platform.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'll Propose A Deal

I would be willing to accept a ban on gay couples getting married if we can also ban ignorant people, stupid racist people, and anybody else "we" don't like from getting married.
Otherwise, equal rights for all.
(I guess that even means including republicans getting married. Uh...yuck.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Um, Willard, Just Shut Up.

The Willard Rmoney unit should really avoid talking about anything relating to foreign policy. Given that absolutely nothing that he's said in response to the Libyan protest tragedy has any basis in facts, and that trying to use the death of an American ambassador for political gain is horribly inappropriate, he really should Just Shut Up(!) if he hopes to buy the presidency.
All Willard actually knows about foreign policy is which countries are cheapest to move American jobs to, and where to find the best offshore tax havens for your millions of dollars. He might have some idea which countries he'd like to start a war with (not ones where he keeps his money), but anything more complex is beyond his comprehension.
It scares me to think that there are people who will vote for him. Years ago, I thought I'd never see a president who was worse than Nixon. Shrub came along and proved me wrong. Now we have Willard, who actually looks worse (and even dumber) than Shrub. Words fail....
Added: Romney's Incendiary Response to US Embassy Deaths in Libya Proves Him Incapable of Being Commander in Chief

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why is he even bothering?

Judging by the convention speeches, I'm really starting to wonder why Willard is even bothering to run for president. I mean, when you're that filthy rich, why degrade yourself in public for a position where you'll have less power and freedom than you currently have and take a major pay cut? If he really wants the attention of a nation full of fawning acolytes (which I think he does), he could just go out and buy a country. There are quite a few nations that would be within his price range, and many of them have very nice climates where the population has never known of a "minimum wage". Some of them even speak English.
Trust me, Willard, if you actually do end up buying the presidency you're going to end up with a serious case of 'buyer's remorse'. You're not going to be able to turn this country into a gated country club, and the American peasantry will never really "learn their place".

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm a Sad Case

"Uh, Hi! My name is Pygalgia, and I'm an addict"
I'm a sad case. It's time to admit it: I'm a political junkie. I'd been trying to stay off of the stuff, but tonight I got home from school (evening classes this semester), and I turned on NPR. Live from the looney bin (R) convention. And, well, I ended up listening to it. Which is not a healthy thing to do. It's one thing to browse political blogs on occasion, but to actually sit and mainline Mrs. Williard and Chris Chrustie, the governor of high fructose corn syrup, in one sitting...sad.
Kids, I really hope you'll stay away from politics. It's a terrible habit, and once you're hooked, it just might ruin your mind.
(since most of my readers aren't exactly "kids", and likely are already heavily abusing politics, you'll understand the advice was purely satirical.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This Election has Become Surreal

I'm beginning to wonder if someone is putting powerful hallucinogens in the water of this country. It's seems like each day brings campaign news that sounds like something only Lewis Carrol would create. We have rethuglicans saying that they're the ones who will "defend Medicare" from Sober Panda Time, that "mean, angry man running a campaign of hate", who's somehow stealing from Medicare by saving it money over the next decade. See, it's really, really mean of Obama to point out when Willard Rmoney is lying (which is "always"), and also he's an evil Muslim who eats pork chops and brews beer in the White House.
Now Willard and Ayn Rand that spooky Catholic creep are also campaigning against women and sex. Really, they are. Beyond the Todd Akin "gaffe" of actually saying what most rethuglicans actually think, one need only look at their party platform. Full civil rights for all Zygotes, period. No abortion (or many forms of birth control), regardless of the circumstances of conception, including rape.
"I believe and I think that the right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless, in a very broken way, a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving to you." said Rick Santorum (the guy who came in second in the GOP craziness derby). Also, Ryan has repeatedly vowed to put Planned Parenthood "out of business".
Maybe I hang out with a different kind of woman, but the women I know enjoy sex, and are against forced pregnancy. You know; "normal". So it boggles my mind that the mega-millionaire and the mini-millionaire might actually win while campaigning against sex and for forced pregnancy. I'm not surprised that a Mormon and a Catholic would support misogyny; just that they might actually succeed.
I don't think I like whatever this drug is.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A 'Politics and Beer' Post

Haven't posted much lately, I know, especially about politics. I just can't seem to get beyond sputtering "bwa-huh-wha?" at the absolutely surreal outrageous lies that are repeatedly spewed by Willard R-money. I mean, I've been a political junkie for decades, so I'm not surprised when a politician lies. But most of the lies are based on some slant of reality; there's usually some sort of factual connection within the lie. The Willard unit seems to have no connection to reality when he lies, and yet he still has a very good chance of being elected President. I find this extremely confounding.
So I'd rather post about something that makes more sense to me: beer! Did you know that Sober Panda Time  stocks his campaign bus  with his own homebrew? It's true:
In perhaps the most startling revelation so far in Obama’s three-day bus tour across Iowa, it was revealed this morning that the White House brews its own beer, and that the presidential bus is stocked with bottles of that beer.

So there's your choice, voters: the incumbent is a homebrewer, the challenger is a Mormon. Who would you (this is the most foolish political question to ever become a 'meme', but I'll ask it anyway) rather have a beer with?
(p.s. A brief personal note for those who care: I'm fine, on break from school. Solid 4.0 last semester, and next semester starts in two weeks. The ongoing life in poverty is getting to be a drag, so I really hope this education pays off in the end.)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

No Surprise, Really

Looks like America is about to get shut out on medals in whitewater at the Olympics once again. No surprise, as the IOC drug testing regime keeps all our best whitewater kayakers out by testing for THC which it calls a 'performance enhancing drug'. Which I suppose it is for whitewater. Certainly, all the best boaters I've known would have a hard time passing clean urine.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Ramadan

(photo by George Breed)
Well, Happy Ramadan if you're Sunni. If you're Shia, you have to wait until tomorrow. If you're Michelle Bachman, you're full blown batshit psychotic either day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Republicans being Republicans

I really shouldn't be surprised when the party of greedheads behave like the greedhead bastards that they really are, but I did sort of think that they'd be a little more subtle about it during the election season. Yet, the senate republicans actually came right out and filibustered the "Bring Jobs Home" act:
Washington (CNN) -- Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the No.1 item on the president's congressional "to-do-list," refusing to allow a vote on a bill that would give tax breaks for companies that "insource" jobs to the U.S. from overseas while eliminating tax deductions for companies that move jobs abroad.
With job creation the top issue this campaign season, and outsourcing being blamed as a big contributor to the high unemployment rate, Democrats saw the bill as an election-year winner. Sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, who is running for reelection, the bill made it to the top of the "to-do list" for Congress President Barack Obama unveiled earlier this year.

The Bring Jobs Home Act would provide a 20% tax break for the costs of moving jobs back to the United States and would rescind business expense deductions available to companies that are associated with the cost of moving operations overseas.
It would be somewhat amusing to keep a scorecard of how many of these same republican senators campaign on the issue of "jobs", and blame Sober Panda Time for the weak employment numbers. In fact, I'm ready to give a (very small and worthless) prize for the first time McConnell or one of his cohorts says "Jobs, jobs, jobs" during a campaign speech. Because you know they will.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How Do I Get That Kind of Job?

OK, dear readers who keep stopping by, here's a long overdue political post.
If you're paying any attention to today's news, you've heard that Ol' Willard R-Money is catching a bit of flak over whether he stopped running Bain Capital (the bane of the working person) in 1999 or not. My favorite response to this comes from Booman at the Booman Tribune (one of the best on the blogroll), who notes this:
If, as Romney claims, he did no work for Bain Capital between February 1999 and 2003 then he received roughly $400,000 for work he didn't do.   The alternative is that he committed a felony, which even his defenders at acknowledge. The $400,000 is significant because it was salary or compensation for work, and not interest payments or dividends or some other capital gain. But that doesn't mean that Romney didn't make a fortune on the roughly 6,000 jobs (at a minimum) his company destroyed in the four years in question. Let's be clear about this. Whether or not Mitt Romney was actually making day-to-day decisions for Bain Capital in the 1999-2003 time period, he was the CEO, chairman of the board, lone stockholder, and 100% owner of the firm. Even if he wasn't doing any work, he was being paid for work. Even if he didn't even look at the deals that cost at least 6,000 Americans their jobs, he profited from those transactions.
That's what makes it strange that he would use his absentee ownership as an excuse. If his partners had made bad deals and lost Bain Capital all its money, does anyone think Romney wouldn't have been upset?
Who gets paid nearly a half a million dollars to do nothing?
Yeah, that's the kind of job I need: one that pays me $400,000 for doing nothing. Sure would beat being a poor college student. It's for reasons like this that, despite all his flaws, I support Sober Panda Time in 2012.
(also, Happy 100th Birthday to Woody Guthrie on Saturday.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Giant Wombats

Yeah, I haven't been able to put up many posts lately. So I hope you'll appreciate a prehistoric giant wombat as a token reminder that this blog still exists.
A mass grave of prehistoric “giant wombats” – a marsupial the size of a rhinoceros – has been discovered in Australia, according to reports.
The discovery of about 50 diprotodon skeletons was the biggest to date and could shed light on why the animal become extinct, BBC News reported.
Diprotodon, a relative of the modern wombat, was the largest marsupial that ever lived and had a pouch that was large enough to carry an adult human.

According to the Australian Museum, it was “widespread across Australia when the first indigenous people arrived, co-existing with them for thousands of years before becoming extinct about 25,000 years ago.” Fortunately for the people, diprotodon ate plants.
(a mass grave of three-ton wombats found)
To heck with cloning mammoths or dinosaurs. This world needs three ton giant wombats!
(Perhaps we could send several to this year's republican national convention, just for fun.)
Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not Dead Yet!

Since I haven't posted anything for about six weeks, here's a quick post to say:
"I'm not dead yet! I'm feeling better!"
Short story: I'm in school full time, and enjoying it. Minneapolis is way too humid when it gets hot. I don't have regular internet access, and I have a hard time thinking about posting while I'm in the library or the school computer lab. Hopefully, I'll have this all remedied soon and can share more drivel with you. Thanks again to those who dropped money on me. It has really helped.
And, above all else, remember this: Homemade pizza should always have at least four different toppings!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Supermoon! (and fresh blegging)

On Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 p.m. EDT, the moon will officially turn full. And only 25 minutes later the moon will also arrive at perigee, its closest approach to Earth — a distance of 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) away
So, tonight is a "supermoon", which, naturally, I wont see. Ever since I moved to Minnesota, anytime there's an interesting astronomy event the weather is guaranteed to be cloudy. Meteor shower? Total overcast. Eclipse? Worst (and the only big) storm of the winter. Tonight? Completely cloudy with rain all night. I'm beginning to think Minnesota doesn't allow sky watching. It's also Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby day, so there's plenty to celebrate.
Blegging: I know that it was only a couple of months ago that I blegged at you (and I'm totally grateful to those who gave donations. I hope you all got my "thank you" emails), but it's a new month, and again I'm struggling to meet my bills.
On a positive note, after way too many months of beating my head against the wall of underemployment I have decided to change my direction. I'm going back to school! From talking to my advisor, I guess being a 53 year old college student is a new trend. I'm going to start with recertifying in some old skills that I haven't used in over thirty years, and then expand into an exciting new modern field (medical records technology networking, if you really want to know) where I can hopefully find a decent job!
Which is another reason why I'm blegging: before I can actually collect financial aid, I have to pay a variety of fees for admission, registration, and transcripts (having attended seven different colleges seemed like a fine idea at the time, but now I have to pay for seven different transcript requests) which aren't that big individually, but add up to a challenge while I'm having trouble keeping the lights on. Once I get through these next few hoops, I'll be fine for the future (although I'll get to have a wonderfully large amount of student loan debt, which is a new American trend) and hopefully engaging in a whole new future. I just need some help right now.
I know this is a tough economy, and times are tough for most everybody (damn, I forgot to have any friends in the top 1%!), but any help you can drop on the paypal button on the right will be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Odd, but very cool

I've been a lifelong fan of Bob Dylan, but I never thought of him as someone on whom a Presidential Medal of Freedom would be bestowed. Looks like 'Sober Panda Time' has pretty good taste, judging by his choices:
The White House announced a slate of 13 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients Thursday — a list that includes folk singer Bob Dylan, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former Israeli president Shimon Peres, novelist Toni Morrison, and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Other notable recipients include astronaut and former Sen. John Glenn, University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low (posthumously), and Polish resistance figure Jan Karski (posthumously).

The Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is presented to individuals "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

"These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our Nation. They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award," President Obama said in a

The ceremony will be in "late spring," according to the White House.

Dylan has had a 50 year long recording career, which is pretty remarkable all by itself, but I doubt that he ever expected this honor.
Added: While Dylan has done some movie bits over the years (I still enjoy his role in "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid"), today's music stars are only suited for playing aliens on screen.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I Knew It!

I was always certain of this, but now science confirms: beer makes men smarter. From a study at the University of Illinois, Chicago:

a recent study published by the University of Illinois in Chicago claims that drinking only a few beers may, in fact, make men more intelligent.

The results of the test were quite interesting to say the least. Participants who consumed two pints of beer finished their problems in a cool 12 seconds, compared to non-drinkers who required 15.5 seconds.

"We found at 0.07 blood alcohol, people were worse at working memory tasks, but they were better at creative problem-solving tasks," psychologist Jennifer Wiley explained.

"We have this assumption, that being able to focus on one part of a problem or having a lot of expertise is better for problem solving," she continued. "But that’s not necessarily true. Innovation may happen when people are not so focused. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted."

The study participants who drank beer also solved 40% more of the problems posed to them compared to non-drinkers. "Sometimes the really creative stuff comes out when you’re having a glass of wine over dinner, or when you’re taking a shower," Wiley added.


Anybody who's ever hung out at a bar with me knows that I'm great at problem solving after a couple of pints. And my friends are, too. In fact, we can usually solve most any problem by the third pint.
(BTW: sorry about the paucity of posts. Life is trying to test me, but I'm still kicking.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Posting What I Post

(Alternative title: "I like to post about the things I post about when I post about the the things I post about when I post about things).
I recently read that on average 2 million blog posts are generated each day. Which I'm certainly not responsible for. But it did get me thinking about "what I post, and why I post it" and if I should be doing it better. I tend to lay off posting about the "controversy du jour", as among those millions of posts someone said what I'm thinking better than I would say it. Or has a "LOL Cat" of it. Also, I'm lazy. For example, just putting up a post that basically says "racism is bad, and it killed this kid in Florida" has a kind of pointless point to it, as many other blogs have already made the point more eloquently.
So instead, I tend to post things that interest me that are not mainstream. For example: Jane Fonda will play Nancy Reagan in new film. I find that to be a delicious irony. "Hanoi Jane" as the wife of republican saint Ronald Reagan. That's the kind of thing you couldn't make up in a piece of fiction. Fiction has to be believable.
Also, this reminds me that some of what I find amusing doesn't translate well across generations. The woman I live with (who is 21 years younger than I am) didn't see any humor in Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan. For her the Vietnam War was a chapter in her history book, and Ronald Reagan was president when she was born rather than an actor who shared a movie with a chimpanzee. The humor was lost on her, but she did agree that I should include it in a blog post, because "most of the people who read your blog are older" she said. Which is likely true, and I think I like that.
So, just because I haven't posted about 'something' doesn't mean I don't care about it. It just means I don't have anything original to say about it. Or, this is "my blog" so I can be as lame as I want to. And I really thank you for reading it (cuz' you only had 1,999,999 other posts to choose from.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GOP Agenda: Death to the Poor

OK, I'll admit that I really don't understand republican thinking. After the whole "war on women" series of completely misogynist proposals, I figured they'd try to tone down the crazy. But now they've doubled down with Paul Ryan's latest "budget plan", a dangerous, intentionally vague proposal that goes beyond brutality toward anyone who isn't rich. Just read the analysis from the CBPP's Robert Greenstein:
The new Ryan budget is a remarkable document -- one that, for most of the past half-century, would have been outside the bounds of mainstream discussion due to its extreme nature. In essence, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse -- on steroids. It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nation's history).
Every single one of the worst ideas the GOP has ever had are all in the package. Give tax breaks to the richest Americans, while raising taxes on the poor and middle class. Obviously, cuts vital programs while expanding military spending. Privatize Medicare, dismantle Medicaid, virtually eliminate food stamps, and defund every other domestic government program. Heck, it even has a feature to sell off millions of acres of public lands. And, of course, the plan will actually increase the debt.
The Ryan plan isn't going to pass. It's DOA in the senate, so Sober Panda Time won't need to ink up the veto pen. But that doesn't mean that it isn't important. In case you hadn't noticed, this is an election year, and the republicans intend to use the Ryan plan as a campaign focal point. They really believe that they can sell this gilded turd to the voting public. That's the part I just don't get: you're running a campaign that has already attacked people of color, women, anyone who enjoys sex, and educated people, and now your attacking anyone who isn't rich? How do you sell that to voters? "Death to the Poor" isn't a campaign slogan that I thought would ever be a winner. But that is literally what the republicans are running with.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vernal Equinox

Happy first day of Spring. I'm always happy to see Winter leave, even if here in Minnesota it's been the mildest winter in over 20 years. I'm not a fan of cold. Instead, I'll now be bitching about hay fever.
Added: And just to make some of us feel old, Bob Dylan’s first album was released 50 years ago today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

RIP, Peter Bregman

Sad news that we've lost peter bergman, of firesign theater. While I usually shy away from eulogies, if you're among those of us who mispent many hours smoking herbs and listening to firesign theatre, then you understand that the world will be a less absurdly silly place without him.
("No, only half a key. I had to split it with the sound effects man")
As I was lamenting the loss of Bergman to the woman I live with, I came to realize that firesign theatre is a unique type of humor. I played a few vignettes for her, and she said "I don't get it" while I was laughing. It's truly one of those things where you can divide the folks who "get it" from those who don't. Perhaps it was the times (and the herbs), but the Bergman influence has always been a part of how I view the world.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Can We Have An Adult Conversation About Iran?

(Because the American president with a funny name met with the Isaerli prime minister with a funny name to discuss the Iranian president with a funny name)

One current political issue that keeps driving me into episodes of screaming crazies is the whole topic of Iran and nukes. It's like the media and the politicians are going through a bitter divorce with reality, so they deny even the most basic facts about the situation. Both AIPAC and the republican presidential candidates would have you believe that Iran is just about to start WWW3, nuking Tel Aviv sometime next week, regardless of the real facts.

Let's start with a simple reality, as shown in the chart above: The US and Russia have the vast majority of the nuclear weapons on this planet, by such a magnitude that if Israel and France piled all there nukes together it would still be only a tiny fractional threat. Fact number two: Iran is only approaching the capability of low enriched uranium, which is a long way short of weapons grade (damn, I need Sweaterman to give me numbers on this) uranium. And, as North Korea has proven, having weapons grade uranium doesn't mean you have a working nuclear weapon. But the third, greatest, fact to me is: why would Iran want to commit suicide by using a nuke against Israel? Yes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has used some very provocative rhetoric, but he's not in charge of Iran. Clerical Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is, and a week and a half ago, Khamenei gave a major foreign policy speech in which he said:

“The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”

Now, you don't have to believe him. But let's use some basic logic: what would Iran actually gain by attacking Israel with a nuclear weapon? There is, simply, no profit for Iran in such an attack. Far more likely is that Iran would like to develop the capacity to build a weapon, which would then be a far more valuable bargaining chip toward ending sanctions.

Don't get me wrong; Iran is not our friend. They're hostile (with some justification) to America's and Israel's interests throughout the region. Sanctions have made our relationship even more adversarial, but we're still a long way from any legitimate grounds for war.

So let's consider what would actually happen if, worst case scenario, Iran actually did develop a nuclear weapon: regional escalation. Saudi Arabia (Sunni) would most certainly want a nuclear deterrent to (Shia) Iran, as would most likely Turkey. The risk of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists or extremists would increase (although the greatest risk would still be from Pakistan and the unsecured remnants from the former Soviet Union) slightly.

Then, let's compare the risks of military action against Iran by either Israel or the US...(think about it for a while. I'll save that for another post.)

(BTW: Thanks to those who've hit the Paypal button. Any additional help is greatly appreciated)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Missed Anniversary (And Blegging)

Somehow I completely missed this blog's fifth anniversary, back on Jan. 28th. Which proves that I'm not very good at blogging. Still, five years is a long time for a blog, and at least a few of the posts have been worth reading (I hope).
Which brings me to the 'blegging': I'm asking for help. After having almost no work in January, I haven't gotten any work in February (even through the temp agencies), and I'm now desperate. A new month brings a fresh set of rent and bills, but I'm broke. So I'm hoping someone would be able to drop something on the Paypal button on the right.
I last asked my readers for help about four years ago, and several of you were able to make small donations, which was huge at the time. I realize that most of my readers are struggling, too, so I'm not expecting much. Over the past four years, I've had a few times where I was able to drop a few coins on other poor bloggers as a way of repaying the help I received, and I'm really hoping to be back in that position soon. But right now, I'm desperate. If you can help me, anything you can drop in my Paypal account would be greatly appreciated.
Also, if any of you are looking for an inflatable kayak, I have my Saturn for sale on Craigslist: 13' Inflatable Whitewater Kayak. It's a great little duckie that I didn't get to paddle very much.
Thank you for reading me, and I hope to keep this blog going for many years to come.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Ah, that wonderful extra day that gives us an excuse to hold the Summer Olympics and the presidential election. One of which I really enjoy while the other is a bad addiction that I've never managed to kick.
One special reason I enjoy Leap Day is that it's one of my nieces birthday, specifically her sixth birthday. She deserves a birthday drink, as not many kids celebrate their sixth birthday while in college.
Also, be sure to look before you leap today.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Party Platform - Cliff Notes Version

The republican presidential candidates in two sentences:

"Don't regulate corporations.
Do regulate Women."

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day

Um, 'Happy President's Day', I guess. I'm old enough to remember when we celebrated Washington's birthday and Lincoln's birthday as individual holidays. But now we get one holiday to celebrate all our presidents, even the ones we'd rather forget (would anyone say "Happy Nixon Day"?). So today, I'm celebrating Millard Fillmore, our 13th president, because I doubt anyone else will. Ol' Millard should best be remembered for this:

Fillmore was also a staunch defender against foreign intervention in Hawaii. France's Napoleon III attempted to annex the Hawaiian Islands, but was forced to withdraw after a strongly worded message from Fillmore suggesting that "the United States would not stand for any such action."[17]

Yes, he saved Hawaii from the French for us. Also, I seriously doubt we'll ever have another president named "Millard". Although we are at risk of a "Willard".

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Really Grand Larceny

Sometimes there are things in the news that go way beyond my small brain capacity to comprehend, like when I read that in Italy police seize $6 trillion of fake U.S. T-bonds. I mean, counterfeiting $100 dollar bills I can grasp. But phony billion dollar T-bills? You can't spend those at the liquor store; the clerk wont have change. The total scope is amazing to me.

The fake securities, worth more than a third of U.S. national debt, were seized in January from a Swiss trust company where they were held in three large trunks.

Most of us (unless Bill Gates or Warren Buffet happen to be reading this) would consider a million dollars an amazing sum to have. We fantasize about what we'd do if we won the lottery, but it's usually a fairly mundane level fantasy: travel, buy a yacht, indulge our family and friends, that kind of luxury. With 6 million million, you could easily buy several countries. Or finance a couple of major wars...wait a minute...has anybody dusted those bills for Cheney's fingerprints?
(h/t to Pissed on Politics for the link)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Republican Valentine, 2012

Last week, I posted about the republican attack on contraceptives, calling them The Forced Chastity Party . They really want to stake their position as the "anti-sex" party, I guess. Now the top republican presidential candidates are all vowing to

The conservative group Morality In Media is head over heels today after all three top Republican candidates promised to go war against the distribution of porn. In a written statement, Rick Santorum said, “Federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced. If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so.”

Not to be outdone, Mitt Romney gave a statement to the group that said, “(I)t is imperative that we cultivate the promotion of fundamental family values. This can be accomplished with increased parental involvement and enhanced supervision of our children. It includes strict enforcement of our nation’s obscenity laws, as well as the promotion of parental software controls that guard our children from Internet pornography.”

That's right, folks: just in time for Valentine's Day, 2012, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich All Promise To Ban Porn. I'm quite certain that they actually believe this will be a winning issue for them, but here in modern reality lots of regular folk enjoy porn (if you believe the Internet, anyway). As an election issue...well, it could make the debates more entertaining.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sober Panda Time

Attention America: There's an election in 2012, and you have to make a choice.

I've taken to referring to President Obama as "sober panda time" (for an explanation see: Anagram Fun ), but the reality is he's still our best choice. Not great, but, I mean, consider the alternatives:

Mitt RoMoney...he reminds me of Kryten from Red Dwarf, but he's a simple rich corporate bastard who will promote the corporate interests and pander to a theocracy. And go to war with Iran for no good reason.

Newt "the newt" Gingrich...a thieving hypocritical bastard who will promote the corporate interests and pander to the theocracy. And go to war with Iran for no good reason.

"Santorum" (yeah, go ahead and google it)...a straight ahead theocrat, with a side of pork barrel corporate interests. And would start a war with Iran for no good reason.

Ron Paul...will never win. A racist who would legalize pot, but ban abortion. Although, he probably wouldn't go to war with Iran.

And that's it. That's all that is on the menu. Your choice is between sober panda time, who's been decidedly mediocre, but is sane, or a bunch of loonies. I (as an extreme liberal) am not thrilled with sober panda time, but he's been reasonably competent. The alternatives are flat out insane. So this is my political position for the rest of the election cycle: Vote for Sober Panda Time! Re-elect Sober Panda Time! At least he's not insane, greedy, or likely to start a war with Iran.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Forced Chastity Party

Hard to believe, but somehow there's a roaring political battle about insurance coverage of contraceptives. In 2012. The republicans are couching the debate in terms of religion, but their real goal is banning contraception coverage in ALL insurance plans for ALL women. Because, in their world, women shouldn't be having non-procreative sex.

This may come as a shock to the right wing prudes, but women enjoy sex (at least, in my experience), too. Human beings enjoy sex. Regardless of what your sky god tells you. And we're just not realistically going to limit our sex to making more human beings, regardless of someones religion. Buddy badtux the snarky penguin says it well in his header "Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped."

See, it's one thing to debate abortion (though I'm sure you can guess where I stand): nobody "enjoys" an abortion. Abortion is "yucky" (in reality, all internal medicine is "yucky". The insides of a human being are not aesthetically pleasing). But now the anti-abortion people are taking their anti-sex crusade to the thing most likely to prevent abortion. Because they really are opposed to sex.

(It should be noted that these same fundies are also anti-homosexuality, which rarely leads to abortion.)

I just can't see how this is a 'winning' issue for them. Maybe it's because I'm an old 'free love' hippie from the sixties, but I just don't see the opposition to sex as popular. Most of us want our fucking contraceptives.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Advanced Weapons Systems

Oh, the President has access to an extreme marshmallow cannon. Do we really want to trust this President with this kind of firepower?

(Actual story: Obama explained at the annual White House Science Fair his pledge to use the White House to honor achievers in science.)

And cue the next wingnut outrage line: "Obama is shooting marshmallows!", or something like that. Leave better lines in the comments, if you would, please.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blogroll Amnesty Day

A tradition begun by skippy the bush kangaroo and the late, much missed, jon swift, blogroll amnesty day is a great time to link to blogs that deserve more attention. Or, in my case, to update a blogroll that hadn't been touched in quite a while. I deleted a few blogs that have gone 'dark' but left some who just haven't posted for a while. And I've added blogs that might interest you, because they interest me. The logic is something like: hey, if you're 'here', you might also like it 'there'. So here are some places you might want to check out:

  • Critter's Crap: Jerry Critter shares a lot of my political attitudes and sense of humor.

  • Disaffected and it Feels So Good: more politics, both liberal and cynical.

  • HISTORIES OF THINGS TO COME: Very cool reads, odd and historical.

  • Infidel753: Finds all kinds of news that you'd otherwise miss.

  • Jaybird's Jottings: He's a Giants fan. Also, Washington DC history.

  • of mule dung and ash: I can't believe I didn't have mulebreath on the blogroll before now! Oversight corrected.

  • Owl Farm Blog: Anita Thompson's blog. That should be enough reason to check it out.

  • Poison Your Mind: Wrong ideas that appeal to you.

  • PoliticusUSA: More politics.

  • the burned over district: Montag is another who should have been on the blogroll long ago.

  • Wonders & Marvels: Yes, they are.

  • Zen Comix: The source for the cartoon above, and a great cartoonist in general.

  • Backwaterlinks: Another good read.

  • And the rest of the blogroll are all really smart, cool people who you should check out. Also, if you have a blog you'd like to share, leave a link in the comments and I'll be happy to add it. No commercial sites, please (unless they're paying me a very large bribe).