“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Friday, January 26, 2007

Web round up - less often, but at the same price

Hi all, sorry about the lack of posts. Things have been hectic. I'm only going to post these once a month. Maybe I can keep that goal.

First up is a cool application showing a tag cloud of words used in presidential speeches, pretty interesting: U.S. Presidential Speeches Tag Cloud. Drag the gray button with green brackets to view other SOTU speeches.

Following is an economics blog (The Big Picture) discussing inflation. Give Your personal inflation rate and The Sordid Truth about Inflation a view. My favorite part is about hedonic adjustments. Hedonic adjustments basically discount inflation if the products you buy now are of better quality that the products you bought 10 years ago. Regardless of the fact that the products from 10 years ago can not be purchased today. I hear this argument a lot from our brethren on the the right.

Behind the Counter is a funny blog about the trial and tribulations of working for Walmart. If you enjoy her/his writing go back and read the archives. There are some pretty good stories to be found.

What 1.2 trillion can buy (registration required) informs us of how all the money spent on the Republican's Occupation Of Iraq(tm) could have been used here.

Juicy gossip about the GREATEST SHOW ON TV.

The L.A Times has a good article about how career choices can deny you the opportunity to buy health insurance.

Four amendments and a Funeral follows Rep. Bernie Sanders and a couple of bills around the house. Favorite quote: "Like an evil, adult version of Schoolhouse Rock,".

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Amarillo Drinking Liberally, January

Calling all progressives! We will be having a Drinking Liberally event, Friday the 26th of January at:

800 S. Polk
7:30 pm

Friday the 26th of January
Look for our mascot, Howard the Star-Spangled Donkey.

What is Drinking Liberally?

from the national website:
"An informal, inclusive progressive drinking club. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk politics.

Bars are democratic spaces - you talk to strangers, you share booths, you feel the bond of common ground. Bring democratic discourse to your local democratic space - build democracy one drink at a time."
Come prepared to relax and talk politics with friends of a similar mindset in a
Low Stress Environment. The first pitcher is on us!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

screw you, I watch 24

God, it seems a freaking lifetime ago that I argued with a sign-carrying religious rightie at the premiere of The Last Temptation of Christ. I asked him if he'd even seen the movie, and, of course, he said he hadn't. I scoffed. All us liberals, I was quite sure, were more intellectually honest than that. I am, in short, so old that I remember when liberals got upset about people who criticized things they didn't watch.

Not that there were many liberals in those days of Reagan and the first Bush. The few of us who existed hid in art galleries and the fringes of punk clubs. We've come so far since then.

But we've lost our soul.

Unless you believe that we're godless atheists who never had souls to begin with, in which case we've lost something even worse. We've lost our intellects.

You know it's bad when the most intelligent thing anyone has said about 24 so far was a joke on Bob and Tom's radio show.1 They were talking about people who name their cars and they had one of their fake call-ins from Jack Bauer. He said, "I name every one of my cars the same thing: YOURS. GET OUT!" So at least someone had seen the show.

I'm guessing that Keith Olbermann-- whom I normally respect and have watched since The Big Show, when the Days of Monica gradually drove him mad on-air-- probably actually watched some of it. But so many of the other critics have not, by their own admission. The girls on The View, apparently, didn't watch but felt free to criticize. They claimed the show instills fear and missed the point by saying it wouldn't be entertaining to watch nuclear explosions in L.A. (Since it was Valencia, not L.A., perhaps they didn't even talk to anyone who had seen the show.) They also claimed the show "plays into racial stereotypes of terrorists". A number of Daily Kos diaries (sporting badly-punctuated titles like No More "24" for Me, Thanks, '24' now driving the War on Terror, and Fox admits to (Right-Wing Scare) Agenda for "24" [based on a drudge post!]) felt free to announce that they weren't watching, and that you shouldn't either. At least Panhandle Truth Squad naysayers, who at least understand the difference between fantasy and reality, will only try to start a gen-X Clerks-style argument that the Flash or Aquaman or somebody could beat up Jack Bauer.

The wingnuts are mad, too. Too many characters advocate civil liberties in the new season. Jack is allied with the terrorist Assad, who now wants to morph into a peaceful, political leader. Jack even shot the bipolar agent Curtis because Curtis was going to take matters into his own hands and kill Assad. The fact that 24 is growing increasingly ambivalent about torture. Political correctness. Appeasing terrorists. Jack showing emotion. Blah. Blah. Blah. And the new President has "hipster facial hair."

I guess that's what they mean by "controversial," but, people, not everything is political. Even politically-charged fiction can be just entertainment. And some of us out here have reached the point at which-- if we have to be outraged about one more thing-- if we have to take sides one more time-- if we have to sort every last person, story and opinion into the good box or the evil box, our faces will explode like something out of an early Cronenburg movie.

And some of us, obviously, are addicted to outrage.


1 I loathe Bob and Tom, but my carpool listens. I heard this when I removed my earphones as we came into town.

every yellow rose has its thorn

Mac Thornberry amuses Capital Annex.

But we're stuck with the polecat sumbitch.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

you know, I can almost picture them at the round-up saloon

We posted about the Emperor's post-presidency abandonment of the Crawford Ranch when it was just gossip. Now apparently it's pretty much confirmed.

Any thoughts on why the Dallas gay scene had the story before anyone else?


Friday, January 12, 2007

they blinded me with science

Emptypockets over at The Next Hurrah has a great post about the "mad scientist" frame employed by opposers of stem-cell research and detruthers1 mendacitaters [thanks, expat] of climate change and evolution, including a three-step plan for fighting the meme.

I'm in, but I don't know how much hope I hold out that the Great Unwashed can be educated about science. We're already too far down the road that will eventually divide our species into tall, intelligent, creatives and the short, stupid goblins.2 To a depressingly large number of people, much of the technology that makes our lives possible is already magic. And magic is either white or black, right? In the neo-Manichaeanism of George Bush's America, the moral indifference of science is as far beyond the ken of most citizens as recombinant DNA.


1 Anybody have a better word with this meaning: "debunkers of something that isn't bunk"?

2 Having applied emptypocket's standards to the report I cite, I employ it as a metaphor only.


The number of days until the flag will have been flying at half mast for Gerald Ford longer than he actually served as President.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

"a newspaper may be forgiven for lack of wisdom but never for lack of courage"

I have to say that yesterday, when page 1A of the local paper was blazoned with the words "Chicken restriction, leash law pass," I was sorely tempted to make some sort of snarky comment along the lines of "You know your town has a serious redneck problem when . . . "

But I resisted.

And, having resisted, you can't seriously expect me to keep quiet about this.

Oh, my, no. There are so many things the Globe-News has gotten wrong, down through the long and twisted years. So many, many apologies have gone unmade, so many retractions unretracted. But now we know that there are journalistic standards that even the Amarillo Globe-News won't ignore, lines in the newsprint that even the corporate Republican apologists at 900 S. Harrison will not cross.

So let the word go forth to a new generation of Fox News wanna-bes:

Blindly support Republicans all you want. Think provincially. Accept the words of Bivinses, Whittenburgs, and Marmadukes without question. Always, always, always take the corporate line.

Just don't get it wrong about the freaking chickens, okay?


Condi Loves Fox News

It's easy to love someone when they agree with everything you do, never criticize your boneheaded mistakes, and convince millions of people that they are fair and balanced. If you're a Republican how can you not love a network that posts an offhand comment by John Kerry as the top story on their "Year in Review Page"... Fair and Balanced...lol...rofl...roflmao

Monday, January 01, 2007

Stranded: The Pictures: Day Four

In Which I told y'all that Clines Corners was the nexus of evil in the universe.




First star on the right, straight on 'til morning.


Stranded: The Pictures: Day Three

In Which We Take A Wrong Turn To Albuquoique.

Our car, dug out.

On the Road.

Yet another night, yet another hotel. (con't)

Stranded: The Pictures: Day Two

In Which, Stricken by Cabin Fever, We Strike Out Into the Wilderness.

Our car. Note Texas Democrat sticker, now barely visible.

Still snowing . . .

The Railyard.

Another night . . . (con't)

Stranded: The Pictures: Day One

Anyone for a swim?

Our car. Note Texas Democrat sticker, still visible.

Our refrigerator.

Good night . . . and good luck. (con't)

Stranded: The Pictures: Prologue

In Which an Engaged Couple Innocently Travel to Santa Fe to Plan a Wedding.

A light dusting.

In the Ore House.

Holidays on the Plaza.

At Swig.

Walking back to the hotel.

This could get bad . . . (con't)