Friday, May 22, 2015

Flashback Friday -- The Fall

A couple days ago Debra posted about Victoria Day, which is a holiday in Canada and probably England I think? Maybe Australia? Anyway, that made me think of The Fall's version of the cong "Victoria" which made me think about how long it had been since I'd listened to The Fall which sent me to the YouTube. Enjoy! Or don't. Some people hate them.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Teabagger changes his mind. No, really!

Remember Luis Lang?

 The guy whose incipient blindness was totally all Obama's fault?

Well, he seems to have maybe changed his mind.

Luis Lang, who is currently crowdfunding for medical expenses that he can’t afford because he didn’t sign up for insurance under Obamacare, has become a viral sensation. However, the 49-year-old South Carolina resident says he doesn’t want to be the poster child for the Republican Party’s opposition to health care reform anymore.

. . . he also said that, thanks in part to a flood of media attention that led him to learn more about health care policy, he doesn’t identify with the GOP anymore. “Now that I’m looking at what each party represents, my wife and I are both saying — hey, we’re not Republicans!”

It's amazing this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. It's a testament to the right's talent for obfuscating the issues and controlling the debate. They've managed to convince a large percentage of the electorate that Democrat = "Liberal" and "Liberal" = Bad.

A lot of liberal/progressive positions poll really well.
For instance :

75 percent of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage to $12.50 by 2020, including
  • 92 percent of Democrats
  • 73 percent of Independents
  • 53 percent of Republicans
A majority of Republicans favor raising the minimum wage. Yet they support a party who not only oppose raising the minimum wage, but isn't really sure we ought to have one at all.

45% of Republicans support universal background checks for all gun purchases. (Gallup) Yet they support a party that not only will never allow this to happen, they'd like to roll back what few restrictions still remain on gun ownership.

Why? Well, it's just one dope's opinion, but I assume it has to do with the fact that the right has so poisoned the word "liberal" that all they have to do is say that liberals support something or it's a liberal idea and the FOX Nation will instinctively be against it. Because they've spent the last 50 years or so painting anything "liberal" or progressive as "big evil government taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to the 'blah' people."

They did the same thing with the word "feminist." They've made it that a lot of women who support equal pay for equal work, a harassment-free  workplace, etc. as obvious no-brainer ideas will still say "oh, but I'm not a feminist, though!" Underwood
"I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a feminist, that can come off as a negative connotation. But I am a strong female."

And the reason for that is because they've managed to give the word such a negative connotation.

I remember an old Bloom County strip where Steve Dallas asked his girlfriend how she defined "feminist" and she replied "fat, manless and hairy-legged." That's what they've done to what should be a completely positive word. A word that means someone who believes in gender equality they've managed to re-define as "man-hater" or "strident, humorless ball-buster." Or "sexless" or "slutty." which should be contradictory, but it doesn't matter. The point is, that they've poisoned the word. They're very good at this.

They've poisoned the word "environment" "environmentalist" "environmentalism," etc. What should mean "someone who cares about the air we breathe and the water we drink" has been re-defined as "someone who wants to destroy Free Enterprise to protect some endangered tapeworm or spotted newt or just because they hate capitalism or whatever.

I read recently that someone did a study and if you tell people that CFL or LED bulbs use less electricity and will therefore save you money on your utility bills, people are all for 'em. If you mention that using less electricity is good for the environment, they're much less enthused. Because they've been conditioned to think that anyone who cares about the environment, (ie the air we breathe and water we drink) is some sort of bleeding-heart, tree-hugging  hippie liberal and we all know that liberals are bad. We don't necessarily know why, but they're bad. Just suspiciously un-American or not completely masculine, or something.

So, anyway, back to Luis Lang.

He wasn't alone in his irrational fear and loathing of "Obamacare." Most polls have shown that people generally like all the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but a large percentage still oppose "Obamacare." Because it's associated with the "liberal" Barack Obama, who is not only a Democrat, but black! And yes, I know Obama is no liberal, but the right has successfully portrayed him as being just to the left of Gus Hall.

But Lang’s main complaint is the fact that the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion should be optional, which has given Republican lawmakers the opportunity to refuse to implement the policy on the state level. That’s led to a coverage gap preventing millions of Americans from accessing affordable insurance whatsoever. Because Lang’s income has recently dried up, now that his deteriorating vision prevents him from working, he now falls into that gap.
“I put the blame on everyone — Republican and Democrat. But I do mainly blame Republicans for their pigheadedness,” Lang said. “They’re blocking policies that could help everyone. I’m in the situation I’m in because they chose not to expand Medicaid for political reasons. And I know I’m not the only one.”

So why is it that Luis Lang, who doesn't seem especially bright, could figure this out and so many others can't (or won't)?

Maybe it's because "Lang said he’s read almost every comment on his GoFundMe page." In other words, he actually got some information that didn't come out of the right-wing  noise machine. And used that new information to re-assess his viewpoint. Most people who live inside the FOX bubble will never do this. They will never have their assumptions challenged.  And as long as we keep saying things like "Well, I'm not a liberal, but. . ." or "I'm not a feminist, but. . ." they're going to keep winning the hearts and minds, well hearts, anyway, of a large swath of the public. And they're the swath that votes.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm back. What did I miss?

1. John Bolton announced that he will not be running for President.

To which, a stunned nation responded "really? You were thinking of running - seriously? For President?"

2. Jeb Bush once again proved himself incapable of answering a simple question.
First he said that yeah, of course he would have invaded Iraq even knowing what we now know. And no one asked him how that could possibly be the case, since what we dnow know includes the fact that the invasion of Iraq was the biggest debacle in the history of American foreign policy.

Then he said he had misunderstood the question. And no one asked him how one could possibly misunderstand so simple a question.

Then he said that he would rather not answer the question, as to do so would be a "disservice" to the brave men and women who had sacrificed so much. And no one asked him in what way answering a simple question could do d disservice to our troops or how it could possibly be more of a disservice than sending them off to die in a foreign land for no good goddamm reason.

Then 4 days later, he finally realized what he should have said in the first place
"If we're all supposed to answer hypotheticals,” Bush said at a town hall meeting in Tempe, Arizona, today. “I would not, have engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq."

 How hard was that?
And remember, he's the "smart Bush.."

3. We learned that the air pressure inside a football is a topic worthy of the kind of investigation and dissection that the claims leading into the Iraq War never got. You know, I've been watching football all my life and I had no idea that there even was a rule about how much air had to be in the ball. Who the hell cares? Oh, everyone? At least everyone on tv seems to think that this is a national crisis of some sort.
It's also worth noting that Tom Brady will serve a suspension 4 games longer than Jameis Winston got for raping someone.

4. A bunch of scumbag bikers got into a huge gang brawl that left at least 9 people dead. 170 bikers were arrested. None was shot in the back or choked to death. No one has criticized the lack of positive role models in the biker trash community, or complained that their culture doesn't teach proper respect for authority. None of the dead bikers have had their criminal records published or been called a "thug."
The National Guard was not called out and the police did not show up dressed like shock troops.

5.  An Amtrak train derailed killing 8 people, partly due to the fact that we haven't spent the money to implement a safety feature that could have prevented this. The NEXT DAY Republicans in Congress voted to cut funding to Amtrak.

6. Trent Franks took the lead in the race to be crowned America's Stupidest Government Official

I mean, you know, unless you count all that stuff that Jesus guy said.

7. Verizon paid $4.4 Billion to acquire AOL messenger, shocking many business experts who had no idea AOL was still around.

8. South Carolina has produced the most  quintessential teabagger in the history of teabagging.
Luis Lang, Mr. Self-Sufficiency 2014, was such a rugged individualist, that he never bothered to get insurance. Even when he knew that the law required it. He scoffed at the law. Then he had a series of strokes. And started to go blind. Suddenly, Obamacare maybe didn't sound like such a terrible idea after all! So he tried to sign up. But open enrollment had already ended, which wouldn't have been a problem had he signed up when he was supposed to, but he didn't need no dang guv'mint help with his healthcare. Until he did.

Anyway, he is unable to work and can't get a subsidy to buy a policy because there isn't a subsidy big enough for someone who earns zero dollars. What there is, is Medicaid. Well, in decent states there's Medicaid, but the Teabagging conservatives that folks like Lang have voted into office refused Medicaid expansion on the grounds that it might help people and they might like it and then maybe not hate Obama enough, even though he stubbornly continues to be black!

So Lang is screwed. Because of his own dickishness, basically.  And is Mr. Lang aware that he has no one but himself to blame? Haha, of course not!

Obamacare-Hating Conservative Blames Obama Because He’s Going Blind And Broke 

Lang, a Republican, says he knew the act required him to get coverage but he chose not to do so. But he thought help would be available in an emergency. He and his wife blame President Obama and Congressional Democrats for passing a complex and flawed bill.

Well, yes, the bill is complex and flawed. That is true. Mainly because of President Obama's pathological need to try and please right-wing Republicans and big business. But I'm not sure it's really the President's fault that you decided to be a free-rider, not paying in to insurance until you needed them to pay out. I mean, far be it from me to defend a goddamm insurance company, but you were really trying to rip them off.
And, yes the bill is complex and flawed, but prior to the passage of the ACA, do you honestly think that you could have gotten insurance at all, at any price? You think if you had called up Aetna and said "Hi, I've never had insurance, but now that I need an expensive procedure to save my eyesight, I'd like to sign up now, please" and they'd have taken you?
Also, as I like to say whenever anyone points out problems with the ACA, "yeah, that's  problem. You know where they don't have that problem? Canada!" If we just had a universal healthcare system like the rest of the civilized world, you could have kept your eyesight without being reduced to beggary (which you have been). But that would be scary, scary SOCIALISM!!! Bwahhhh!!

“(My husband) should be at the front of the line because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues,” Lang’s wife, Mary, said. “We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.”

Yes, he should totally be given special treatment by the law he opposed and proudly broke. That makes total sense.  I mean, in the same way that it makes sense to believe that Obama is both going to legalize gay marriage and institute Sharia Law.
Also, you gotta work on your zingers, there, Mary. The "Not Fair Healthcare Act?" That's weak. No imagination. Just really a sad attempt.

Anyway, I'm sure I missed a bunch more things, but I know for sure I missed at least one episode of Orphan Black and Tivo calls!

Friday, May 8, 2015

I believe I'll go to Florida and get some sand in my shoes.

Yes, once again it is time for the Missus and your humble correspondent to make our sorta annual trek to the Redneck Riviera, aka the Florida Panhandle. So there probably won't be much if any posting for about a week.

But before we go, one quick thing.

I saw this on No More Mr. Nice Blog, who saw it on Newsmax.

Rush Limbaugh: Sharia Law Already Happening in US

In light of the fallout from the recent shooting in Texas, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh says Sharia law is already happening. Limbaugh said on his radio show Thursday that on "one of the networks this morning somebody was defending Pam Geller and started saying, 'If we're not careful, Sharia law is gonna happen,'" and the co-host responded, saying that "'There isn't gonna be Sharia law in the United States of America. Just isn't gonna happen. Come on, get real, get real, it's silly.'" But Limbaugh said that "Sharia law has already been implemented in this country." "Are you aware that in New Jersey a judge found that an Islamic man could not be accused of the rape of his wife?" the conservative radio host asked his audience. "A judge in New Jersey found that he could not be charged with it, much less found guilty, because there's no rape in his religion," he explained. "Well, hello. That's Sharia. "Now, it's not Sharia that has become American law, but it's been implemented," he added. "It's been used."
  Professor Chaos said...
Oh, no wonder all the Christian churches have been shut down! And my wife has been busy burqa shopping! It all makes sense now! Because for the first time in American history, a male judge has found an excuse to let a rapist off the hook!

And, as Steve M. pointed out, that ruling was almost immediately overturned. But at this point in the article, I'm thinking "well, thank Allah that this was New Jersey , not Indiana, because under their "religious freedom" law, that decision might have been upheld, if the man in question had a sincerely-held religious belief that he should be allowed to force his wife into sex whenever he wanted. And, sure, that law is only supposed to apply to homophobic Christian wedding cake bakers, but once you establish that your religious beliefs can exempt you from having to follow the law, why wouldn't that principle apply in a case like this?

Anyway, the ruling was overturned, sanity was restored and Sharia Law went back to being something that Americans neend't concern themselves with, and we all lived happily ever after with no Sharia law at all.

But Limbaugh wasn't finished. He apparently also saw the parallel with the Indiana Religious Freedom law. Except he saw it in a completely stupid and insane way.

I would even go so far as to point out that what happened in Indiana when they had their religious freedom law pass there, remember the outrage that occurred as a result of that? The media is running around going door-to-door looking for a bigot. They found this young woman and her family that owned a pizzeria. The people at the pizzeria had never said anything about whether or not they would cater a gay wedding. It had never come up. But the media goes door-to-door, starts asking, and in response a question, this young woman who thinks that the media is really interested in what she's saying, doesn't realize she's being set up, says, "No, we would not cater a gay wedding. It's against our religious principle." And, bammo, the sewer that is Twitter blew up. Everybody in the country came descending on the state of Indiana. That's an example of what Sharia would be like.

Right, right, except no. Everything about that is wrong. The pizza lady was not "set up,' she wanted to become a famous martyr with a GoFundMe account and that's exactly what she did, raising around 3/4 of a million dollars to support her bigotry. The pizza family (and Gawd, could you imagine what pizza made by Indiana white trash must taste like? **shudder**) voluntarily shut down their business because begging for handouts from their fellow bigots is way more lucrative.

And I really think that you have zero idea of what Sharia law is if you think that its practitioners would come flocking to Indiana to shame homophobes. In a Sharia law country, the question "would you cater a gay wedding" would never be asked. Because there would be no such thing as a gay wedding. There would officially not be any such thing as a gay person, all the suspected gay persons having already been put to death. And certainly no one who practices Sharia law would ever ever defend the rights of gay persons to marry. You moron.

So that's it for this week. Heading off to the beach. Back in a week, more or less.

Oh, and since it's Friday, here's a quick Friday Flashback with Rockpile:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

This guy's up on the latest developments in the sports world.

Leland Faust Headshot

Macho Men, Run and Hide -- The Closer Is Coming
Posted: Updated: 

As baseball season gets into full swing, we hear lots of buzz about the closer -- baseball's newest position. Is the newly-minted closer worth the adulation and the money, or is the mystique just a myth?

Baseball's newest position!






Has this guy been asleep since the Nixon administration? The "closer" is the "newly-minted" "newest position in baseball?"

Next week, an in-depth look at the "slam-dunk," basketball's newest shot.

And stay tuned for "The Forward Pass: Sure to Revolutionize the Game of Football!"