Sunday, September 29, 2013

We're Back!

Well, we're back a little sooner than anticipated. We've actually been back a few days now, but I've been staying off of the internet and avoiding any news for my own sanity. Mostly by binge-watching the entire first season of Orange is the New Black which is my new favorite show, holy shit is that show good.

Anyway, here's a few snapshots of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Since it is technically "illegal" to climb on an elk's back and ride him a round, there are no photos of us doing that.

photo 2.JPG by spudboy67
photo 2.JPG, a photo by spudboy67 on Flickr.
Young Black Bear, Great Smokey Mountains National Park

photo 4.JPG by spudboy67
photo 4.JPG, a photo by spudboy67 on Flickr.
Laurel Falls, Great Smokey Mountains National Park
photo 1.JPG by spudboy67
photo 1.JPG, a photo by spudboy67 on Flickr.

photo 3.JPG by spudboy67
photo 3.JPG, a photo by spudboy67 on Flickr.
Grazing Elk. Great Smokey Mountains National Park

photo 3.JPG by spudboy67
photo 3.JPG, a photo by spudboy67 on Flickr.

photo 4.JPG by spudboy67
photo 4.JPG, a photo by spudboy67 on Flickr.
Moss-covered rocks, Great Smokey Mountains National Park

photo 3.JPG by spudboy67
photo 3.JPG, a photo by spudboy67 on Flickr.
Meadow, Great Smokey Mountains National Park

photo 5.JPG by spudboy67
photo 5.JPG, a photo by spudboy67 on Flickr.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Going on Vacation

The Missus and I will be spending the next week at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so no posting until at least next Monday. I will probably be on the Twitter, though.

At least tweeting cool vacation pics. Last time we went, there were baby bears, but no promises.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Saying things out loud

Sometimes terrible people say things out loud that they're supposed to only think quietly inside their own horrible heads. Like when shriveled undead hate-beast Phyllis Schlafly said that of course we need restrictions on voting because they help Republicans win.

Well, it happened a couple more times recently.

First this guy:

This fat bag of douche came on the Thom Hartmann show to explain why the minimum wage should not be raised. Instead of reciting the company line of how the current minimum wage is plenty and folks earning it are living super comfortable lives buying steak and lobsters with their food stamps. this guy goes off script and says yeah, we know you can't survive on minimum wage and we're okay with that. We don't really want you to survive.

MOORE: But, why should every job pay enough to live on? The whole idea of a diverse economy is that there are many, many, many jobs on which you can make a living, and there are many jobs which are not intended -- they're at the bottom of the scale -- they're not jobs you're supposed to be able to live on.

HARTMANN: Every job should make enough to live on, because every human being is worth living

MOORE: No. When you're unskilled, you should not expect to be able to make a living off of your ordinary day's labor.

Stunning. Really, just shocking. I mean, we all pretty much figured that's what they were thinking, but to think you could say that out loud. . . wow!

Then there's the government of the state of Michigan, which is defending its anti-gay-marriage and anti-gay-adoption laws in court. This is what they are stating in their defense filing:

One of the paramount purposes of marriage in Michigan
and at least 37 other states that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman
is, and has always been, to regulate sexual relationships

Yeah, because, you know, small government! Freedommmmmmm!!!
they are seriously arguing that it is the role of the state government to regulate the sex lives of its citizens. Wow!

to regulate sexual relationships between men and women so that the unique procreative
capacity of such relationships benefits rather than harms society.

How keeping gay people from marrying is going to make sexual relationships benefit society and keep them from harming it goes unsaid. Like a lot of things probably should have.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Just How Screwed We All Are in 2 Headlines

Fewer Chicken Inspectors and More Chickens?

| Thu Sep. 12, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

I'm not sure how much good he was doing anyway.

USDA Seeks to Expand Pilot Program Which Leaves Meat Contaminated With Fecal Matter

 Tuesday, 17 September 2013 09:55
By Candice Bernd, Truthout | Report

 Like all of our regulatory agencies, theUSDA has been so completely captured by the industries it is supposed to oversee that one wonders what the point of its existence even is anymore.


The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has plans to expand a privatized meat inspection model that has been in place for 14 years at five hog plants in the United States and which has been found to fail time and time again at preventing contamination of meat - with fecal matter.

And what is this completely failed pilot program?

 The program. . . has been in place since the late 1990s and its expansion would replace almost half the USDA Food Safety Service inspectors in industrial meat plants with inspectors employed by those very same companies.


 So they get to inspect themselves. Who could possibly see anything going wrong with that program?

Okay, I mean besides "everybody."

The USDA is so beholden to the big agri-business companies, it's even starting to talk like them:

"The USDA all along has been saying that these pilots will prove that removing government inspectors and turning over [their] the responsibilities to the company employees will enhance food safety

The USDA has insisted that the novel inspection regime would improve the safety of the chicken and turkey cranked out by industrial-scale slaughterhouses,

Those are exactly the kinds of claims churned out by right-wing pro-industry "thinktanks" like the Competitive Enterprise Institute or Americans for Prosperity, or the Assface Institute. De-regulation will make food safer.  Clear-cutting is good for forests. Fracking is good for the environment. Up is down, black is white, Sarah Palin is qualified to hold public office. Why do we even have a USDA if they're just going to go around parroting this libertarian fantasy bullshit? I mean, they gotta know this is bullshit, right?

. . .[A] recent article in The Washington Post, reports that three out of the five pilot HIMP [the self-inspection model] plants were among the 10 worst health and safety violators in the country, according to a spring report by the USDA inspector general.

[T]he Agriculture Department has given a green light to Australia, Canada and New Zealand to use this experimental, privatized model of food inspection in meat plants whose products are for export to the United States, even though the foreign plants operating under processes considered equivalent to the HIMP program have experienced an epidemic of contamination-related problems within the past two years, including a Canadian plant which had to recall more than 8.8 million pounds of beef product fouled with E. coli.
So obviously this is a bad idea. And just as obviously, it's going to happen anyway.

I really need to look into veganism.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ready for Hillary?

I keep seeing these das pop up all over the interwebs, asking me if I'm ready for Hillary in 2016.

Am I ready for Hillary? No. No, I'm not and I'll tell you why.

I'm not ready for another DLC "centrist."

I'm not ready for someone who voted for the invasion of Iraq because she "trusted" George W. Bush. I'm just some guy, I have no inside info and I'm not especially bright and I knew that Bush and his crew were lying about everything.

I'm not ready for another friend of Larry Summers.

I'm  not ready for a president whose resume' includes being the designated hawk of the previous administration. (

I'm not ready for someone whose answer to the health-care crisis was "managed competition." I'm not ready for yet another president for whom single-payer is not on the table.

I'm not ready for someone who was a part of the administration that gave us NAFTA, GATT and the WTO. Granted, it was her husband, ol' what's his name Clinton that was in charge, but has she ever expressed any disagreement with the "free trade" conventional wisdom?

I am definitely ready for a female prez. I would love to see a President Elizabeth Warren, for instance. Why not a president Barbara Lee? Or Barbara Boxer? Or Barbara Erenreich? Or really anyone named Barbara, I guess? Anyway, I just want to make sure that no one misunderstands me and thinks that my objections to Hillary for president have anything to do with her gender. I would welcome a female president. Just not her.


Friday, September 13, 2013

A little insight into the mindset of Florida police

In Email, Zimmerman’s Local Police Chief Agrees He’s Another ‘Sandy Hook’ Waiting To Happen

By Judd Legum on September 12, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Police Chief Steve Bracknell, who is responsible for the Florida town where George Zimmerman resides, agreed in a series of emails that Zimmerman is a “ticking time bomb” and another “Sandy Hook” waiting to happen.
Bracknell expressed his views in response to two emails from Santiago Rodriguez, who reached Bracknell through a contact form on the police department’s website. Bracknell confirmed the emails’ authenticity


See, here's the thing. George Zimmerman is not a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. He has already exploded. He has already murdered a young man. But that apparently doesn't count in Florida. Now he has threatened his white estranged wife and her white parents, now suddenly he's become dangerous? Now he's a threat to "the community?"

He's already committed one murder, but I'm afraid that sooner or later he's going to became an actual problem. He's eventually going to end up killing someone. . . um, you know, someone who counts.


I swear, the more I learn about Ted Cruz the more he creeps me out.

First there was the story about Ted's father filling him with delusions of grandeur, telling him that he was God's chosen one or whatever.

Now I see this:

Ted Cruz: 'We Need 100 More Like Jesse Helms' In The Senate

And that's not even the crazy part. The crazy part is not that Ted Cruz thinks we need 100 retrograde racist homophobes in the Senate, that's pretty much to be expected from any teabagger. This is the crazy part:

"I’ll tell you something … the very first political contribution I ever made in my life was to Jesse Helms. When I was a kid, I sent $10 to Jesse Helms, ’cause they were beating up on him, they were coming after him hard and I thought it wasn’t right, and at the time my allowance was 50 cents a week,”

What kind of a 10-year-old  kid is even aware of Jesse Helms? Much less is a fan? And so much of a fan that he saves up 20 weeks worth of his allowance to send him a contribution? And how does a Hispanic kid choose to donate to one of the most virulent racists the Senate has ever seen?

Also, at 10 years old, little Teddy had already absorbed the Republican right-wing victim mentality. "Oh, they were beating up on him! Oh, they were coming after him! Oh, poor defenseless little Senator Asswwipe, we all must chip in to defend him against whoever 'they' are!""

Seriously, the more I learn about Ted Cruz, the more he creeps me out!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Right's Newest theme

With the mid-term elections looming just around the corner, the right has seemingly latched on to a new rallying cry:

Let Kids Go Hungry!

Seriously, it's all the rage these days!

Fox News Commentator Praises Child Hunger as a "Teaching Moment" for Parents

. . .. In response to a New Jersey school district choosing to withhold lunch from kids whose parents forgot to refill their lunch accounts, Thomas Kersting, who is alarmingly a school counselor, said, "You know, if one day a kid doesn’t have lunch, right, maybe that’s a teaching moment when that kid doesn’t have lunch. That may sound harsh saying that, but we’ve got to get people to start being responsible for themselves."

Yes, and nothing will teach those schoolkids responsibility like hunger! Maybe next time these damn children will get jobs and make money to buy food instead of "playing" and "doing homework." Little free-loading jerks!

And, you know, if it was just one nut on Fox, it might not be worth mentioning, but you know if one of these assholes has a talking point, they're all going to have it sooner than later.

Especially this asshole!
Limbaugh Compares Students Who Receive Free School Meals To Family Pets

Of course, as always when it comes to utter despicability, Rush was way ahead of the curve on this one:

Rush Limbaugh thinks hungry children should "dumpster dive" for their dinner

God, this is just -- we can't escape these people. We just can't escape them. They live in the utter deniability of basic human nature. They actually have it in their heads somehow that parents are so rotten that they will let their kids go hungry and starve, unless the schools take care of it.

I think, you know what we're going to do here, we're going to start a feature on this program: "Where to find food." For young demographics, where to find food. Now that school is out, where to find food. . .
. . .There's another place if none of these options work to find food; there's always the neighborhood dumpster. Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August.

And it's not just media types, either. Southern Beale brings us this story of  Kevin Kookogey, chair of the Williamson County Republican Party, coming out against the school breakfast program:

“This is not a complicated issue,” he said. “It is not the role of government to feed people. Government exists to protect and defend our God-given rights. Government fails when it usurps these bounds.

Hey, it's not government's problem if kids are going hungry! Guv'mint's only job is ta protect mah right ta bear arms, muthafukker!

Mindy McAlindon, first vice chair with the Williamson County Republican Party, agrees with Kookogey.
“It’s not the government’s job to feed students. It’s our job to provide for ourselves,” the Franklin home-school mom said. “The government is deciding where our money goes. And we should be deciding where our money goes.”

Yeah, if'n I don't want any of mah moneys goin' to feed no hungry young'uns, that's mah business!

Of course, these people don't understand how "government" works. We elect a government to represent us. If we want that government to give some food to hungry children then that is the government's job. If we would rather elect people who will let kids go hungry, then we can go ahead and vote them in in 2014. But the "government's job" is to do whatever the people damn well want it to do, within certain bounds. There is no set list of duties, no job description for "government." We elect them and they're supposed to do what we want them to do.

Anyway, how's that whole re-branding thing working out for you, Republicans? You're going to be the party of hungry kids now? Good luck with that!

Why do the three stooges think they get to make their own foreign policy now?

Tea party-backed Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) on Saturday held a press conference in Egypt to thank the country's military for overthrowing the elected government

What the hell are they even doing in Egypt?

"Thank you for overthrowing the democratically-elected government" is absolutely NOT our government's position on Egypt's military coup. Our official government stance on the Egyptian coup is, I believe, "coup? What coup?"

Can you imagine three Democratic congressmen going overseas during the Bush administration to contradict Bush's official foreign policy positions?

Honestly, none of these three should even be issued a passport, they're such embarrassments to the nation.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Least Surprising Headline of the Day

George Zimmerman questioned by police in Florida after alleged gun threat against wife Shellie Zimmerman
5:17 PM, Sep 9, 2013      

And because it's still Florida, the second least surprising headline of the day:

George Zimmerman won't be charged after alleged domestic incident

By Vivian Kuo, CNN
updated 6:10 PM EDT, Mon September 9, 2013
Fuck you, Florida.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bad Ads - Gumout

So Gumout's new ad slogan is "Think with your motorhead."

Wow. That is so stupid in so many ways.

First of all, it's just dumb. I mean, just look at these guys.

Second, those are not motors they have for heads, those are engines.

Third, a guy who's really into cars is called a "gearhead," not a "motorhead."

But most importantly, do you not know who IS called a motorhead? A speed freak.

Why do you think Lemmy chose the name "Motorhead" for his awesome amazing ass-kicking band? Because "Motorhead" was a slang term for an amphetamine abuser which Lemmy was. That's what "motorhead" means, not a person knowledgeable about motors.

Friday, September 6, 2013

They're at it again

Conservative nuts just wanna secede from everything!

Whenever things don't go their way, they want to pick up their bat and ball and go home.

Plans for the new state of "North Colorado" are, of course proceeding apace, by which I mean "will never have a snowball's chance in hell of happening."

But of course, they aren't the only ones. One county in the far northest part of California has just officially voted to pack up their belongings and move back in with their parents -- I mean form their own state.

State of Jefferson: California county votes for secession from state

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday for a declaration of secession, the Record Searchlight of Redding reported.

Residents of the majority-Republican [duh!] Siskiyou County lobbied the board in August to consider secession, according to the Record Searchlight. In addition to a lack of representation in Sacramento, they cited concerns about water rights and a rural fire prevention fee.

A lack of representation in Sacramento. Of course, they have the exact same amount of representation in Sacramento that every other Californian, but why should that get in the way of a piping-hot right-wing narrative?

And God forbid that anyone should pay a fee for fire protection! Who needs the fucking Nanny State when we've got garden hoses and buckets?
(By the way, the fee is a whopping $150 per year for fire prevention!)

Of course, there are other reasons for wanting to secede:

"We realize it is not a resolution; it is not an ordinance," Liz Bowen said. "We do appreciate the county board of supervisors knowing that our economy is really poor here. We're having a terrible time for a lot of reasons, and the biggest reason is over regulating."

Of course! Of course that's why the economy is suffering! The regulations! Just think how much better the local farmers would be doing if they were just allowed to sell e-coli flavored spinach! Or think of how much more money the local fisherman would bringing in if only the salmon had been allowed to go extinct like God intended!

So that's Colorado and California wingnuts trying to storm off in a huff and make it all by themselves on their own. Ball's in your court, Texas!

Powerful Texas Republican Advocates For Seceding From The United States

By Scott Keyes on September 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, who is running to be the next state Attorney General, is preparing his state to secede from the United States and become an “independent nation.”

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!

In an interview with WND, a right-wing birther hub, Smitherman argued that Texas not only has the capability to survive without the rest of the country, but is actively taking steps to prepare for that day. “Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation,” he declared. “I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity.”

Yeah, that would be a lot more impressive if you weren't currently incapable of paving your goddamm roads!

Texas can’t afford paved roads, replaces them with gravel

Published time: August 20, 2013 20:43

Officials in Texas this week began converting 83 miles of asphalt road to unpaved lanes of gravel. Years of heavy truck travel has ravaged entire routes in south and west Texas, and going back to gravel is for now the only affordable answer.

But sure, yeah, you're obviously pretty well-positioned to go off on your own.
Don't let me stop you!
Or reality. Don't let reality stop you!

Stupid marketing

The "French Fry Burger."

You put some French fries on  your burger.

Couldn't I just do that myself?

Couldn't I go to a good burger place and put some good French fries on a good burger?

Wouldn't that be just as easy?

Except it would taste good.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

This was actually published in a real newspaper

Seriously, this was actually published in a real newspaper!

Richard Cohen
Richard Cohen
Opinion Writer

Miley Cyrus, Steubenville and teen culture run amok

Now, what with you being a sane person and all, you're probably wondering what a second-rate pop singer has to do with a horrific rape case. Silly normal person, let Richard Cohen explain how it's all connected:

Miley Cyrus twerked. I had to look up the word since my indefatigable spell checker had no idea what I meant. . . That’s precisely what Cyrus did at the recent MTV Video Music Awards, for which she has been amply and justifiably criticized. She’s a cheap act, no doubt about it, but for me her performance was an opportunity to discuss one of the summer’s most arresting pieces of journalism — a long New Yorker account of what became known as the Steubenville Rape. Cyrus should read it.

Why would you need an "opportunity" to discuss a news story in a news paper? Has Cohen been aware of the case for the last year or so, but felt unable to discuss it in his column until he could find some sort of half-assed pop-culture tie-in?
So what take-aways does Cohen think we should get from this horrible case?

The first thing you should know about the so-called Steubenville Rape is that this was not a rape involving intercourse.

 Oh my God!
So I guess it's okay that this girl was horribly sexually violated because none of the perpetrators actually stuck his penis in?  So it's  a "so-called" rape? What the fuck?

The next thing you should know is that there weren’t many young men involved — just two were convicted

Oh, well, only two. What's everyone even so upset about?
Also, only two being convicted (convicted of RAPE by the way) does not mean only two were involved. Watch a Law & Order sometime, geez!

Then he starts talking about a New Yorker piece about the Steubenville case and kinda starts to seem like he's going to start making sense. Don't worry, it doesn't last long.

The New Yorker piece was done by Ariel Levy, a gifted writer. When I finished her story, I felt somewhat disconcerted — unhappily immersed in a teenage culture that was stupid, dirty and so incredibly and obliviously misogynistic that I felt like a visitor to a foreign country.

Okay, good. You've realized that rape culture is a thing that exists, that's the first step.

That country, such as it is, exists on the Internet — in e-mails and tweets and Facebook, which formed itself into a digital lynch mob that demanded the arrest of the innocent for a crime — gang rape — that had not been committed.

Wait, what? You were immersed in a culture of misogyny and you think that the misogynistic culture is what caused innocent young men to be charged with rape? How does that even make sense?

It also turned the victim into a reviled public figure, her name and picture (passed out, drunk) available with a Google query.

I don't think both can be true. I don't think the same societal factors that slimed the victim could also demand that the boys be punished for violating her. It's kinda gotta be one or the other.

And yet what indisputably did happen is troubling enough. A teenage girl, stone-drunk, was stripped and manhandled. She was photographed and the picture passed around. Obviously, she was sexually mistreated. And while many people knew about all of this, no one did anything about it. The girl was dehumanized.

So what's your problem with the perpetrators being arrested and convicted, exactly? And what the hell does any of this have to do with Miley?

Yeah, when do we start talking about Meeee?

Well, we have to skip ahead all the way to the very last paragraph for that:

So now back to Miley Cyrus and her twerking. I run the risk of old-fogeyness for suggesting the girl’s a tasteless twit — especially that bit with the foam finger. (Look it up, if you must.) But let me also suggest that acts such as hers not only objectify women but debase them. They encourage a teenage culture that has set the women’s movement back on its heels. What is being celebrated is not sexuality but sexual exploitation, a mean casualness that deprives intimacy of all intimacy. Cyrus taught me a word. Now let me teach her one: She’s a twerk.

I've read that paragraph over and over, trying to see the connection between Miley and the Steubenville case. I don't get it.
I guess it comes down to a bit from a little earlier in the column, when Cohen refers to

 . . . a teenage culture that was brutal and unfeeling, that treated the young woman as dirt. “ ‘She’s deader than O.J.’s wife. She’s deader than Caylee Anthony,’ ” one kid exulted in a YouTube posting. “ ‘They raped her harder than that cop raped Marsellus Wallace in “Pulp Fiction.”. . . She is so raped right now.’ ” Yes, I know, they were all drunk, woozy and disoriented from a tawdry cable TV and celebrity culture.

So I guess Richard Cohen is saying that women dancing suggestively on the television is what causes young men to commit rape? Because it can't possibly be their fault. There were never any bad people who committed horrible crimes before the invention of television and the young women dancing on it.  And this is honest to God printed in a real actual newspaper.