Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Rules For Confirmation Hearings

Rule # 1: If you are incapable of pronouncing the word "accurate," you are not allowed to question a Supreme Court nominee.

Rule # 2: If you use your allotted time to ask a Jewish woman where she celebrated Christmas, you are no longer to be allotted any time at any future hearing.

Rule # 3: If you use any portion of your allotted time to ask the nominee about "Twilight," you are no longer permitted to speak in public on any subject, and must resign in disgrace.

Congratulations, US Workers!

From Bloomberg News:

Jobless Produce U.S. Profit on Productivity

With Less Inflation

The 6.8 million Americans out of work for 27 weeks or longer -- a record 46 percent of all the unemployed -- are providing U.S. companies with an eager, skilled and cheap labor pool. This is allowing businesses to retool their workforces, boosting efficiency and profits following the deepest recession since the 1930s, and contributing to a 61 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since March 2009.

So, quit whining about not being able to find work. You're helping to increase corporate stock prices! And isn't that really what matters?

“Companies are getting higher-productivity employees for the same or lower wage rate they were paying a marginal employee,” said James Paulsen, who helps oversee about $375 billion as chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis. “Not only are employees higher skilled, you have a better skill match. You have a more productive and more adaptive labor force.

Translation: "more productive" = doing more work for the same pay.
"more adaptive" = these people are so afraid of losing their jobs, they'll figure out
a way to deal with whatever shit you throw at them!

No more coal for you, Cratchit! And you shall labor on Christmas Day and like it!

U.S. productivity gains averaged 2.9 percent from 2000 through the first quarter of 2010, compared with 2.1 percent in 1990-1999 and 1.5 percent in 1980-1989, according to the Labor Department. The increased efficiency has helped improve earnings, with more than 80 percent of companies in the S&P 500 index reporting profits that exceeded the consensus analysts’ estimates during the most recent quarter, Bloomberg data show.

So the bad news is you're working harder than ever, but the good news is, your company's profits are way up!
“Very specific skill sets is what will get people hired these days,” said Gary Townsend, president of Hill-Townsend Capital LLC in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a hedge fund that specializes in financial firms. “Companies are able to slice off the weakest members of the team and find very highly qualified and motivated [read: desperate] replacements. There is very little wage pressure.”
So, cheer up, American workers! Because higher stock prices means the economy is better! Whether you have a decent job or not is not really relevant.

P.S. Here's one more line from the Bloomberg article, lest we forget:
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter, less than the 3 percent estimate issued last month, according to Commerce Department data released June 25. The economy contracted in five quarters during the recession that began in December 2007, the worst performance since the Great Depression.

So no, FOXies, history didn't begin in January 2009.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Apologize to Texas

Sorry, Texas.

I shouldn't have said that you make the rest of us look sane by comparison. At least not before getting a gander at the Idaho GOP platform.

Take for instance, Resolution 2010-02:
Whereas the county sheriff is the chief law enforcement office of the county; therefore Resolved, assert the Tenth Amendment and put the US Government and Idaho State on notice, that all police Actions be under and approved by the sheriff - including - but not limited to FBI, ATF, state Highway Patrol, and USFS. . . .

That's right, FBI, ATF, etc. you will all respect the authoritah of the County Sheriff!
Thet's right, boy, I'm in charge of this here investigation! Step aside, Agent Cooper!

Although I must say I'm not sure why Idaho State has to be put on notice.

Or there's the section entitled Sound Currency:

We recognized the failure of the Federal Reserved [sic] System to maintain a sound US dollar and the danger of merchantile [sic] controlling the issuance of our currency. We believe the Federal Reserve Bank should be abolished. . . and encourage citizens to engage in a systematic acquisition of precious metals which represent real value as opposed to paper currencies.

Let free Idahoans pay taxes, and other fees due to the State, County and City in silver and or gold in any form. Payments to City, County, or State employees requested to be paid in silver and or gold, Will be complied with.

Oh, that's going to be fun. Let's see, I owe you $1200 dollars, I believe this bag of gold nuggets will cover that. Gold! Gold, I tells ya, Gooooold!

This party platform brought to you by Goldline International!

We. . . affirm the right of voters to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Okay, that sounds great. Very nice. Probably unnecessary, but still. Very nice. But wait. what was that in the previous paragraph?

We support to restore the constitution's checks and balances and to protect the rights and sovereignty of the states by repealing the 17th Amendment.
[atrocious syntax in original]

What the hell? You don't want people to be able to vote for their Senators? I thought you were big on voters and democracy and all that good stuff. Why would anyone want to repeal the 17th Amendment?

So, anyway, they go on about the State of Idaho should nullify any Federal Laws that they don't like, and how jurors should be able to interpret the law as they see fit, not as some fancy-pants judge tells them to, cause what does he know, he just went to Law School and spent his adult life in the courtroom. I figger I know just as good as him!

And they resolve that the Iowa legislature should pass a "Health Care Nullification Act," because they got it into their heads that they only have to follow laws that they like.

So, Texas. I apologize. Maybe you're not any crazier than anyone else. And besides, you did give us Molly Ivins, Willie Nelson, and King of the Hill.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Texas is still crazy!

Texas has problems, just like any other state. There's crime, there's pollution, and having a section of your state lie along the Gulf Coast right about now has got to be somewhat worrisome. But when the Texas GOP released its platform, they zeroed in on the real problems facing their state. Making sure that no one gets a blowjob or sees a naked lady.

edc_Pole_Dancer_1940322.jpg Pole Dancer image by cherokee_Maiden
Here are a few excerpts: (The entire document can be found here)

Pornography – We urge our governmental bodies to enforce laws regarding all forms of pornography. We urge more stringent legislation to prohibit all pornography including virtual pornography and operation of sexually–oriented businesses.
But where will the RNC hold their fundraisers?
We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.

Maybe someone who is a little more versed on the subject can enlighten me here, but I don't believe that Congress has such authority.

(and yes, sodomy does include oral sex, even between married couples. We ain't havin' none of that in Texas!)

Further, we urge Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights.

Again, I'm pretty sure that they can't do that. Otherwise, couldn't they just pass unconstitutional laws and forbid the courts to review them?

Our policy [on Israel] is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise.

And that's just a sound basis for a foreign policy. Also, individual states don't really have a foreign policy, but what the hell, you've already gone this far off the deep end!

We oppose a one-world government in direct opposition to our basic principles and eroding our sovereignty. We oppose the implementation of one world currency.

Also, we oppose allowing Earth to join the Federation of Planets.
We Believe in:
1. Strict adherence to the Declaration of Independence and U.S. and Texas Constitutions

Okay, the Declaration is not a legal document, it was an exercise in public relations, but if you want to adhere to it, you might want to know that for a lot of people the "pursuit of happiness" includes occasional sodomy.

3. Limiting the expanse of Government Power.

We want to limit Government Power. Also, the government should have the power to decide what couples may or may not do in bed. And the power to shut down strip clubs and ban X-rated movies.

Constitution in Public Schools – We believe that all state-funded schools should read and teach the constitutions of the
United States of America and the State of Texas.

That's going to be a little hard to do without mentioning Thomas Jefferson!

View Image

Conscience Clause – We believe that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, any employees of hospitals and insurance companies, health care organizations, medical and scientific research students, and any employee should be protected by Texas law if they conscientiously object to participate in practices that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs,
including but not limited to abortion, the prescription for and dispensing of drugs with abortifacient potential, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, eugenic screenings. .

Let's set aside for the moment that human cloning and eugenics screenings are not really in the realm of the um, things that might happen. If you're going to let people do only the parts of their jobs which they don't find objectionable, does that mean a Muslim deli clerk can refuse to handle pork products. "sorry, folks, chicken and beef only until Jim-Bob gets back from his smoke break!"
Could a Boeing employee decide that he only wants to work on civilian aircraft because he finds warfare offensive to his pacifist beliefs?

Companion Animal Welfare – We support legislation to license and regulate large-scale commercial dog and cat breeding
facilities to ensure the humane handling and care of dogs and cats in those facilities.

Okay, who the fuck snuck that one in there? Was it you, Berkeley Jim?
Ethics in Broadcasting – We call upon the Federal Communications Commission to revoke broadcast licenses of stations
that air programs and advertisements in violation of existing laws and FCC guidelines. We further oppose reinstatement of
the Fairness Doctrine and any similar concept, which would limit outlets for free speech.

We are also strongly opposed to having any sense of irony, apparently.

Oh, Texas! We can always count on you to make everyone else seem sane by comparison.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thomas Sowell thinks that the, um. . . HITLER!!!

He's at it again!

Hmmm, look how pensive I can Be. You know, I think. . . HITLER!!! Stalin!!!

Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?


Well, I guess the short answer would be "no." The long answer would be "hell no, what are you, fucking insane?"

When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s. . . .

Stop! Okay, just stop there. There's no good way out of this. You can't begin with a Hitler analogy and end up anywhere other than crazyville. Cut your losses and stop now!
When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics.

So anyone who seeks to get people interested in politics is, um, wait. . .I know this one, Hitler? No, wait Stalin! No, Hitler. Final answer.

Rock the Vote: Hitler. League of Women Voters: Hitler. Got it!

"Useful idiots" was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.

Ooh, the daily double! I'll take Pol Pot for the win!

In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.

Yes, why aren't more people concerned with imaginary, made-up threats to the nation? I for one am losing a lot of sleep over the army of Yetis amassing at the Canadian border, but no one else seems too concerned.

The president's poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies.

Really? Fundamental damage? Like when President Obama decided that he could wiretap Americans without a warrant, make habeus corpus optional and expose an undercover CIA agent out of spite. . .Oh, wait! That wasn't him. That was the last guy, so those changes are not bad in any significant way. It's a good thing ya done that, George, a real good thing!
Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation?

The same place it says that a citizen can be declared an "enemy combatant" and held indefinitely without charges?

And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sure, if by "precisely" you mean "not really."

But our government is supposed to be "a government of laws and not of men."

If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion — or $50 billion or $100 billion — then so be it.

But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without "due process of law."

Of course, nothing was "confiscated," but I'm going to go ahead and just assume that that won't be a relevant distinction.

Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

No it isn't! You can't just say "oh, well there's no difference," as if saying makes it so! You can't complain about property being confiscated and then say that the fact that it has not been confiscated is not relevant.

Hello, police? I'd like to report my car stolen. Well, technically, I traded it in on a newer model, but that hardly seems germane to the matter at hand!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Giant Middle Finger

A couple days ago, this story showed up buried on page 5 or 6 or something in the Atl. Journal-Constitution:

Jerusalem revives plan to raze homes

A Jerusalem planning body this week approved a plan to raze 22 Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem

Oh, bulldozing more Palestinian homes? Well, it must be a matter of vital national security, maybe rooting out terrorists, or I don't know, something super important. They wouldn't just destroy peoples' homes without a damn good reason, right?

A Jerusalem planning body this week approved a plan to raze 22 Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem to make room for a tourist center

I'm sorry, what?

The plan calls for the construction of shops, restaurants, art galleries and a large community center on the site where some say the biblical King David wrote his psalms. The 22 displaced families would be allowed to build homes elsewhere in the neighborhood, though it is not clear who would pay for them.

So this is just bulldozing homes because, fuck you, we'll do what we want? And you're going to allow these people to build new homes and maybe even pay for them, but probably not? Really? And you wonder why these people resort to terrorist tactics aginst you?

Back in March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pressured Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to hold up the plan so authorities could consult with Palestinians losing their homes — a delay that appeared to be aimed at fending off U.S. criticism.

Right, because if you're going to destroy peoples' homes for the most frivolous of reasons, you have to worry that the US may possibly criticize you!
And how exactly do you consult with someone whose house is facing the wrecking ball that you sent to knock it down? What the hell is there to discuss?

This is just a giant middle finger from Israel to the rest of the world.

Least Surprising headline of the Week

Sarah Palin Defense Fund Was
Created Illegally,
According To Ethics Probe
RACHEL D'ORO | 06/24/10 08:47 PM | AP

Sarah Palin did something dishonest? You don't say!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sometimes TIVO Tapes The Wrong Channel

Which is why I now know what an odious bit of offal is the show "Cougartown."

Cougartown is an alleged comedy which feels like it was created by comittee or focus group. It's like they had Courtney Cox and couldn't think of what to do with her, so they went to the "Trending Now" section of the Yahoo front page nad said "what are people talking about at this second in history? What subject is the most 'now'?" And someone saw "Cougars" and said "Eureka! Cougars are the hot new trend! Let's base a show on that!"

What is supposed to be so fascinating about the "cougars" is the shocking thought that women who are over 40 might still have an interest in the old bow-chicka-bow-wow, if you know what I mean. And who's over 40? Why, Courtney Cox is, My God! It's all coming together.

So the main point of the show seems to be that Cox is in remarkable physical condition and is therefore able to attract virile young men.
Sound intriguing? No, of course it doesn't.

(And the above picture pretty much sums up the ham-fisted approach to, well, everything in this show.)

So Courtney Cox is the lead actress, and she may be the most utterly charmless actress ever to grace the small screen. Altogether devoid of charm, charisma or likability, she mugs and flounces and generally overacts her way through the entire 5 or 6 minutes I was able to sit through. Really, just an awful, embarrassing performance.

Christa Miller, so good in SCRUBS, and Ian Gomez are thoroughly wasted in the supporting roles of a husband and wife who, get this, the husband, okay, he wants to have sex with his wife more often than she wants to have sex with him! Isn't that hilarious?
No, of course it isn't. But that's what they are reduced to.

And they were both funny on the Drew Carey Show.

Not that the Drew Carey Show is exactly a huge gold star on the old resume' but, Lord, it was better than "Friends."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two Awesome Kids

While riding down Peachtree Battle Street in Atlanta, Mrs. Chaos and I happened across two young kids with a lemonade stand.'s not them. These kids were a bit older.

So we stopped to buy lemonade, thinking we were helping out young entrepeneurs, when we discovered that the purpose of the stand was to raise money not for themselves, but for oil-spill relief! I know! When I was that age, it never would have occurred to me to work for money to give to someone else.

Mrs. Chaos asked the little girl if they had a charity lined up to give the money to, and she said "last night on CNN, they had a number to call, and they gave us a place to send it to." (or words to that effect.

"You watch CNN?!?" I asked the girl.

"Well, my brother was watching."

So, I'm already in awe of these kids, neither of whom could be much more than ten, when their mother came out of the house to tell them to start packing it in. She said that the had brought in around $80 that day, and that a few weeks ago, they had done the same to raise money for Haiti.

I know!

So, if you are near the North side of Atlanta, come down to Peachtree Battle Street, between Moore's Mill Rd and Howell Mill St.* and buy some lemonade. They also have iced tea, and they said they'd have smoothies tomorrow. You'll be glad you did, and you'll meet a couple of awesome kids.

*I know, we have funny street names in Atlanta.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Remember When George Will Used to be Not-Insane?

From Crooks and Liars:

TAPPER: George, I want to start with you. I know you don't agree with what Republican Texas Congressman Joe Barton had to say, but does the idea of this $20 billion escrow account make you uncomfortable?

WILL: It does. Look, there is no defense of BP which has an execrable safety record in this country, from the refinery disaster in Texas in '05, the Morris Slope leak in '06, all of that and so no apology from BP. But if you don't want to live in a Northern Hemisphere Venezuela, you ought to be a little queasy about the fact that a president, any president of any party, using raw political power, without recourse to courts that exist for this sort of thing. . .

Oh, the courts! Suddenly, the right is all in favor of people using the courts to have their grievances redressed! You know, Torts? The righties just loooooove torts!

. . . under laws, with due process, essentially confiscates $20 billion from a publicly held corporation, about half of its shares held by Americans, to be dispensed, again, with out judicial supervision, as the political branch sees fit.

Supervision by judges? What if they're activist judges? Since when has the right wing had any respect for the judicial branch?

That is worrisome. Even, they have even said that BP maybe held responsible for the lost wages caused by, not BP, but the administration's own moratorium, six-months moratorium, on deepwater drilling. Which maybe more costly to the economy of the Gulf than the spill itself.

Really? A six-month moratorium on drilling more costly than having the shrimping, fishing, and tourism industries destroyed for at least a generation? Really? That's what you're going with? You're gonna just go ahead and stick with that, then, hmm? Yeah? The six month thing, more costly than the giant catastrophe? Yeah? Really?

WILL: Well, among those asking, upon what meat doeth [sic] our Caesar feed that he has grown so great?, is "The Economist" of London, which I think we have all accept as a mainstream publication. They say, in a section of their lead editorial, called "Vladimir Obama", "The collapse of BP's share prices suggest he has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding. If the president does not stand up for due process he will frighten investors across the board. The damage to Americans environment is bad enough, the president risks damaging the economy, too." That's not a partisan outfit, "The Economist".

I think that if you title your editorial "Vladimir Obama," you've pretty much given up all claim to being a mainstream non-partisan outfit. And by the way, BP's stock price only ever went down as low as $32 a share, that's hardly a collapse.

And the editorial in the Economist is a pretty blatant attempt to deflect any blame from BP:

Vilifying BP also gets in the way of identifying other culprits, one of which is the government. BP operates in one of the most regulated industries on earth with some of the most perverse rules, subsidies and incentives. Shoddy oversight clearly contributed to the spill, and an energy policy which reduced the demand for oil would do more to avert future environmental horrors than fierce retribution.

See, it's not BP's fault that it cut corners on safety and got shoddy and careless. The government should have stopped them. This is the sort of defense that routinely gets laughed out of the "courtroom" on Judge Judy. It's the sort of thing children come up with. "yeah, I took the car and crashed it, but mom and dad should have hidden the keys better." It's pathetic.

It seems to me that George Will used to be more sensible than this, before he started writing masturbatory odes to the splendor of baseball. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but he's definitely slipped into FOX territory now.

Happy Solstice!

 A picture of a Russian pagan putting on a fiery show at Kupalo, one of the summer solstice 2010 celebrations.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Find The Kitty

Believe it or not, there is at least one kitty hidden each of the following pictures.

See how many you can spot!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nominees for Horrible, Disgusting Scumbag of the Year

1) Graydon Smith of Seattle, Washington
Wash. man claims contract allowed him to beat pregnant teen lover

SEATTLE -- A 31-year-old man arrested for domestic violence-related crimes claims he had a
The Seattle Weekly blog reports that a 31-year-old Seattle man, Graydon R. Smith, in jail awaiting trial on domestic violence charges had previously admitted to making his 19-year-old girlfriend sign a contract giving him permission to beat her up anywhere but on her pregnant belly. Yes, he forced his teenage girlfriend to sign a contract intended to legalize his freedom to assault her when the whim took him.

Back in April, Smith's girlfriend called the police stating that her boyfriend had threatened to kill her. She told them that she believed this was a real threat, because he'd assaulted her and forced her to sign a contract permitting him to attack her. So police gave Smith a ring, and while he denied making the death threats, he readily owned up to requiring the abuse contract. In a display of severe problems with our legal system, law enforcement went oh, sure, an abuse contract, that's not suspicious at all, and decided not to arrest him. (emphasis added)

At the end of last month, they were called again, this time by Smith's stepfather, who was punched when he tried to stop his stepson from choking his girlfriend. Police arrived to find the girlfriend bleeding severely. This time, they did what they should have done in the first place, and which would have spared the pregnant teenager further violence: they arrested Smith.


2) Dr. Dix P. Poppas, Cornell University

Alternet reports: . . .the head of the pediatric urology department at Cornell University's New York Presbyterian Hospital -- which is often ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the country -- has been operating on young girls who suffer from what he (and likely the girls' guardians) have decided is "clitorimegaly," or oversized clitorises.

In order to relieve these girls from what seems like little more than a cosmestic issue, Dr. Dix P. Poppas cuts out parts of the clitoris' shaft, saving the glans, or tip, for reattachment. Poppas triumphantly calls the procedure -- rebranded a clitoroplasty -- a "nerve sparing" one unlike the FGMs practiced in other countries.

How does the good doctor know that nerves have been spared? Well, Poppas and his nurse practitioner developed a series of sensory followup tests involving Q-tips, their fingernails and vibrators. But don't worry, a family member was always present in the room. As the resulting journal article notes, management of such situations requires a "compassionate and multidisciplinary approach."

3) Gail Posner, Late of Miami Beach, Florida: conchita.jpg

When Ms. Posner died in March at age 67, Conchita and two other dogs inherited the right to live in her seven-bedroom, $8.3 million Miami Beach mansion, their comfort ensured by a $3 million trust fund.

In a 2009 interview with a blogger for, Ms. Posner said Conchita typically accompanied her on lunch dates and then shopping. Ms. Posner said she at one point considered getting the dog her own Range Rover, for transportation to the animal's weekly spa appointments for manicures and pedicures, but Ms. Posner decided to get herself a new car and gave the dog her gold Cadillac Escalade, she told the blogger.

(editor's note: by the way, she never earned a goddamned cent of that money. She inherited it from her late father, who was, according to the Wall Street Journal, "A master of the hostile takeover who became one of America's highest-paid executives, Mr. Posner pleaded no contest to tax evasion charges in 1987 and was later barred from involvement with public companies.")

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Joe Barton is a Pathetic Little Kiss-Ass

From The Atlantic:

Texas's Rep. Joe Barton gave the opening statement for Republicans at today's House Energy and Commerce hearing on the BP oil spill. He immediately sparked controversy by calling yesterday's plan to establish a $20 billion claims fund for the oil spill a "tragedy of the first proportion" and "a $20 billion shakedown." Barton proceeded to personally apologize to witness Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, for the "slush fund" President Obama forced him to agree to:

I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that, again, in my words, amounts to some sort of a shakedown.

You know, this was his opening remark. He had time to think about what he was going to say, to write it down, to read it to his wife and ask "how's that sound, hon?" It's not like this was some off-the-cuff remark, or an answer to some unexpected "gotcha" question, where maybe he could say that his words just came out wrong. This is what he meant to say.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) seems to think that BP is owed an apology. Not because they were being unfairly blamed for something that was not their fault, no he clearly acknowledges that BP has done "something that is legitimately wrong," he just apparently thinks that requiring them to pay for the damage that they have caused is just beyond the pale!

Paying for damage that your own wrongdoing has caused? Why that's nothing but a shakedown! I'm so sorry, Mr. BP. If I had my way, you'd be free to pollute any body of water in the Goddamned U S of A without having to worry about consequences. Why, a man like you should be allowed to plunder our villages, ravish our women and make slaves of our children! Why, it's the least you're entitled to! To think that you should be forced to pay for destroying the meager livelihoods of some beastly commoners, it just sickens me!

So, someone explained to Barton that this might not look great on his political resume' so he pretty quickly tried to walk it back:

From Yahoo News:

By midafternoon, Barton was back on the dais with a statement that was something short of what the leaders had demanded.

"I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident," he said. "If anything I said this morning has been misconstrued, in opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction."

okay, see, that's really not the issue. You never said or implied that they were not responsible for the spill, you just apologized to the person responsible for the very idea that he should pay for the damage for which you freely admit he was responsible. See, that's worse. If you thought that BP was somehow not responsible for the disaster, then it's just a problem of you being stupid and/or ignorant. But when you acknowledge that BP is indeed responsible, then there's no excuse for your stance.

Barton then issued, and House Republican leader John Boehner's office forwarded out a somewhat different written statement.

"I apologize for using the term 'shakedown' with regard to yesterday's actions at the White House this morning, and I retract my apology to BP," it began, and finished: "I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident."

NO. No, you didn't imply that they shouldn't have to pay. You apologized and called it a "shakedown." What the hell would motivate a person to act like this?

Barton has received $100,470 in campaign donations from oil and gas interests since the beginning of 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Ah. Say no more. Please, say no more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Advice For R&B Singers

Based largely on having heard Boyz II Men's version of "Misty Blue" on the Muzak at work.
There is no need to slide up and down the scale like a vaudeville trombone whenever a note is held for more than one beat. It's cheap, it's annoying, and it's cheesy. You never heard Aretha Franklin pull that crap, did you? Did you ever hear Sam Cooke do that kind of BS? Or Otis Redding, or Diana Ross, or Wilson Pickett? No. But then, they were the kind of singers that you would call, um, what's the word, good! They were good. They didn't have to resort to that cheap wankery to try to show off their vocal control, they just sang really, really well. You know who does do that? Hacks. American Idol contestants. Mariah Carey. It's weak and stupid, just knock it off.

2) Not every song needs to be remade. If it was good the first time, you're only going to suffer in comparison. If it sucked the first time, your version probably isn't going to suck any less. Now if you are a young Whitney Houston and you want to tear up Dolly Parton's "I will always love you," by all means go ahead! If you are a young Whitney Houston, you are going to sing the hell out of that song, and raise it to a whole new level. But you are probably not a young Whitney Houston, so try writing a new song.

3) If you do write a new song, try giving it a tune. Or a Melody. Maybe then you won't have to glissade over every note like Sideshow Mel's slide whistle.

4) Turn off the auto-tuner. I can not emphasize this enough. If you can't carry a tune on your own, maybe singing isn't for you.

And there is nothing clever about turning the auto-tuner up so that you sound like a robot. You're probably too young to remember Midnight Star, but this is from 1983:

And they probably weren't the first to do the robot voice. Either way, it's not original, it's not clever, and it's irritating as hell. Stop it.

Addendum: Of course they weren't the first, I totally forgot about Kraftwerk