Monday, April 27, 2015

Supporting the Troops

Mike Huckabee is a jackass.

I probably could leave it at that, and most would nod in agreement and go about their lives, but I'll explain further.  Mike Huckabee is a jackass, this time, because of comments he made during a radio interview in regards to people joining the military.

During the interview, Huckabee made numerous comments; about how the President has ordered all Bibles hidden in the military, that military chaplains are prevented from praying to Jesus, and there's an overall hostility to Christians in the US military today.  Basically he made up a bunch of stuff that old, white voters want to believe about the President and ran with it.  He lied, Huckabee is liar, and I encourage him to take me to court and prove that Obama has ordered all the things he alleged.  If I'm wrong, he has me dead to rights, but I won't hold my breath for a court summons.

The overall insanely stupid argument Huckabee is making is that you shouldn't join the military until President Obama is out of office, as the current military is hostile to Christians.  Mike Huckabee believes a Conservative President would place Christian soldiers over all others, restoring the armed forces of the United States to some Christian standard he thinks is supposed to exist.  With that sentiment, Huckabee joins the dumbest of the dumb, a guy so tone deaf to anything but his own talking points, he doesn't hear the disrespect his comments have for the men and women who have fought for the Stars and Stripes.

Currently, the military has 61 "Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers."  Here is a link:  That's right, the US military recognizes 61 different headstone markings, not just the numerous Christian denominations, but Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, Wiccan, Native American, Shinto, and even the Hammer of Thor, to name just a few options.

The military doesn't have these options just for show.  They have people buried in military cemeteries, people who fought in combat, who died protecting America and her interests, who fought for the Red, White and Blue, who were proud Americans, whose gravestones have these symbols on them.  The military is not a Christian fighting force, and anyone who even indirectly implies something so outrageous is disrespecting the honor and valor those military personnel earned, whether in combat or during peacetime.  To even suggest any non-Christian soldier is a lesser soldier, or less patriotic, is moronic.

Maybe Mike Huckabee wants to go into the military cemeteries of this country at night, under cover of darkness, with mallet and chisel in hand, and desecrate the graves of our military, in an attempt to remove the symbols he has deemed too blasphemous.  Maybe he'll grab a shovel and dig up the non-Christian military dead and chuck them over the cemetery wall.  In his world, you can only be Christian and proud of the military.  It's all or nothing.  Anyone who died serving our country but dared participate in the freedom of religion this country supposedly embraces, deciding to be a different religion, or not embrace a religion at all, is apparently not worthy of Mike Huckabee's respect.

In review, Mike Huckabee is a jackass.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Why You Condemn

A story from this week you might have seen pop up on your news feed is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide, slaughter, and systematic killing of one and a half million Armenian Christians.  Two things I want to point out about this story.  First is the number.  One and a half million people were targeted solely because they were Armenian, accused of working against Turkish interests.  This ethnic/religious cleansing is one of the worst historical injustices, ever.

The second is the word I intentionally used to describe the carnage, genocide.  This was genocide, without a doubt, but for some reason Turkey, the United States, and other countries refuse to label these deaths correctly.

There is no vindictive pride in my voice when I bring up an injustice, like what happened to the Armenia Christians, and call it a genocide.  It's what it was.  The history of the world is full of cases where governments and people have attempted to eliminate other groups of people, whether their false validation was due to the religion they practiced, the geographical region they came from, a false superiority ingratiated, or the color of their skin.  The United States government was truly horrible to the Native American population which resided here centuries before sails came from Europe.  What we did to them was genocide.  I'm not trying to shame my ancestors by pointing that out.  They shamed themselves.  What I am trying to do is acknowledge the horror, putting it in context, a scream to all, in an attempt to make sure we never revisit an abomination like it again.  If all voices do the same, we'll go along way to ensure it never does.

In his justification for his atrocious actions, Adolf Hitler, in 1939, specifically pointed to the slaughter of the Armenian Christians and said:  "who still talks nowadays about the Armenians?"  He used the world's silence on that slaughter to defend his own crimes against humanity.  No, the Turks did not cause the Holocaust and World War II, but the world's neglect to condemn the genocide from 100 years ago was used as corroboration to authorize the Nazi's actions.

The failure to stop the genocide of nearly 6 millions Jews is the world's darkest legacy, a legacy which should hang heavy on all of our hearts.  That was genocide, as was what happened to the Armenians.  End of story.

We should never candy coat history, regardless of whether it's among the world's worst failures or smaller in scale.  We should always label history truthfully and accurately.  It's why what we did after 9/11 needs to be labeled torture.  It's why the war in Iraq should be labeled unjustified.  It's why the use of drones in combat zones should be labeled unsupervised and extremely reckless.  It's why the collection of data on all Americans the last 12 years should be labeled repulsive.  And it's why we must label the deterioration of the rights of workers in this country as repugnant.  If we don't, how long before someone else uses the actions of others to justify their actions?

Take my pleas as my voice to be added to the choir, an attempt to ensure we don't repeat bad history.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Friday Link for 4/24/15

It's been pretty light this week on the blog.  I could make up some lie about doing something important, but all I did was lounge on the couch, watching Orphan Black and eating my middle class tax break Funyuns and Yoo-Hoo (Thanks MNGOP!).  I promise blog posts ripping on Huckabee and the racist Representative from Becker sometime this weekend.

It's been nice to revisit my old friend the TV, now being presented in a wide variety of formats.  I binge watched the new series from Yahoo Screen, Other Space, which my guest from Thursday's show, Trace Beaulieu, is a cast member.  I knew after the Morning Grind on Thursday, I wanted to feature Trace in some capacity on this week's Friday Link.  Other Space is brand new, and very good.  Here is a link for the series:

I highly recommend the entire season, but episode three and four are especially great.  By the way, if you didn't hear the interview from Thursday's show (I sound like a 13 year old at a One Direction concert), here's the link for it:

I thought about featuring Cinematic Titanic as well this week, the revisiting of movie riffing from Trace, Joel, Josh, Frank and Mary Jo, but there are two problems with doing so.  The first is I featured them on a Friday Link awhile back, posting one of their promos for Rattlers.  I don't want to go to the well to often.  Plus, I really encourage you to buy the entire DVD collection and prepare yourself to laugh your caboose off.  Go buy them all!  OBEY ME!

So let me go back to the golden days, to June of 1991, a revisit one of my all time favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000's.  Cave Dwellers!  Never has a nipple made a funnier doorbell sound.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Aggressive Progressive

I love passion.  Heart is what makes us more than analytical robots.  Dreams, goals, and hopes are necessary for the betterment of human kind, and it's one of the reasons I find myself on the Progressive side of politics.  I don't ever want to squelch an individual's enthusiasm, but we have to have a talk.

Last week, an individual, Doug Hughes, landed a gyrocopter on the Capitol grounds in an effort to bring awareness to the toxic nature of excessive money in politics.  He wanted to deliver 535 letters to every member of Congress, but his letters won't ever get to the addressees.  They instead will go to an evidence locker to be used against Mr. Hughes at his trial.  Why?  Because regardless of how much you like his message, he picked a horrible way to deliver it, evacuating the Capitol building as fears of a potential terrorist strike were taken seriously.  Not exactly harmless fun.

I've come under attack myself for not promoting Mr. Hughes as a true American hero.  I won't praise him.  Even though his message is one I whole heartedly agree with, the truth is, his reckless and ignorant method of making his point needs to be condemned.  He endangered the lives of numerous people and caused a panic.  What he did was no better than an expert in world policy explaining his brilliant strategy for peace, while performing a public act of self gratification.  The benefits of his peace plan get lost in the insanity surrounding his delivery method.

This is what got James O'Keefe in trouble with members of the far right in this country.  Conservatives loved his edited tapes and how he embarrassed left leaning causes, but when he broke into Senator Mary Landrieu's office and tried to bug her phone lines, even they backed away, quickly, from his criminal actions.  When it's violating Federal laws, even they had to call him on it.  Imagine what Mr. Hughes' champions would be saying if instead of campaign finance reform, he was preaching for more open gun laws, mandatory Christian religion, or trickle down economics.  Would they still be applauding his initiative then?

And this doesn't even take into account the fact Mr Hughes has diminished the entirety of the campaign finance reform movement.  The people who love the Citizens United ruling want to dismiss, diminish, berate and belittle their opponents and now they can by just using Mr Hughes as an unhinged poster child.  And, he has shown people who might want to initiate a terrorist strike on the Capitol building a way to get real close.  Good thinking!

Still, even though I'm stating valid negatives, it doesn't stop the fervent left from insisting I'm wrong for not worshipping this guy.  With my disagreement, they completely dismiss my opinion, and no longer see me as one of the few left leaning radio voices still on-air.  They don't see me agreeing with them 90 to 95% of the time.  Nope, I become the instant bad guy, no better than the conservative media in this country because I didn't espouse Doug Hughes as a modern day founding father.

Liberal radio in this country has taken it in the trousers.  LA and New York have far larger liberal populations than Minneapolis/St. Paul, but they can't support a liberal talk station?  San Francisco, Miami, Houston or Denver can't support one?  The truth is they can, but because there is a concerted effort to limit the populations exposure to left leaning opinion, radio stations in those markets opt to carry the fourth or fifth conservative talk or sports network.  There's no way possible they're getting better ratings or making more money with such superfluous fare.

As there are fewer and fewer left leaning talkers in the US, a small, passionate element of the far left wants the remaining to become something they dream of, the plucky broadcaster who has their peach crate and old Marconi microphone, setting up shop wherever there's trouble in this world, an electric picket line, with angry fist ready to be waived in whatever direction they feel injustice is coming from.  I love a good left leaning, modern day William Jennings Bryan, populist like the next guy, but that political and social landscape doesn't exist anymore.  It's an adage of a time gone by, like the guy who wants to save the farm by getting a curtain, cow, and a banjo, putting on a show to stave of the bank from foreclosing.

When you try to tell them it won't work, how you can't sell that stream of outrage as a viable product, or if you just point out their heroes did something foolish on the way to immortality, they double down, accusing you of being no better than Fox News.  They become committed to fighting with outlets which closely mimic their beliefs because it's easier to attack the ones willing to give them a podium, as opposed to fight the overwhelming conservative media machine which would never even let them in the door.

Progressives have to 1) understand the political playing field, 2) understand the modern rule book of how the game is played, and 3) be smart.  Get rid of your "strongly worded memos' and climactic 'Revenge of the Nerds' speeches.  It's Democrats using an antiquated playbook which is one of the main reasons they've fallen so far out of power in the last 40 years.  Stand up for what you believe in and don't back down, but if you're reckless, you endanger the issue, movement or remaining few public outlets you have left.  Progressives aren't going to regain control by sitting in a reclining chair eating Funyuns and Yoo Hoo, but they surely won't make legitimate gains by buzzing secure Federal government buildings in a homemade flying machine.  This is going to take a modern game plan and lot of hard work.  Think about the fight in Minnesota to get rid of the anti-gay marriage amendment in 2012, and double it.  It's a good starting point.

I stand by my critique.  Doug Hughes was a fool and shouldn't be hailed as a conquering hero.  If that's what turns you against me, so be it.  Meanwhile, I'll hang onto my passion and dreams; of one day seeing a Progressive movement which doesn't get stuck in individual self promotion and fulfills the potential it has always danced around, becoming the party which leads America, as a whole, into a better future.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Friday Link for 4/17/15

Mel Brooks made the funniest movies.  At points they are so offensive to everyone it's unbelievable they were released, and no one else today could EVER get away with trying to remake them.  I look at them not only as outrageous comedy, but movies that helped move the country forward.

The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, some of his earliest movies, are all riots.  Another one I like is History of the World Part I, a movie which I remember some people insisted the Monty Python guys ripped off with Meaning of Life.  I don't see it, but ironically Brooks took The Producers and, with the help of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, made a musical for the ages, only to be followed up afterwards by Spamalot from parts of the Monty Python crew.

After History of the World, he started to fall off as far as the bang for the buck he got with his movies.  The last one I saw which I thought had any good laughs was the one I am bringing up tonight, Spaceballs.  This Star Wars rip off had a lot of laugh free zones, but was saved, single handedly, by Rick Moranis. His Dark Helmet, a Darth Vader inspired character was brilliant.  What's funny is his facial expressions throughout the movie, like a janitor who has taken over the battleship and realizes he is woefully outmatched, but it doesn't stop him from trying.  Brilliant!

Here is a clip of the movie where Dark Helmet takes the controls.  Enjoy!

Warning - one bad word for sure.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tax Day

I'll be honest, it does sting to write out the checks (one Federal, one to Minnesota) on April 15th.  In my case, due to my personal circumstances, it's usually four figures, but I do it, and frankly as easy as it is to complain about it, the evidence of my tax dollars being wisely spent are all around me.

It's amazing the bang for the buck you get from your taxes.  Mostly everything used for transportation of any kind (roads, sidewalks, bike paths, nature trails, street signs, traffic lights, bridges, rest stops, mass transportation, airports, harbors, trains, ect.), almost all emergency services (police, fire, water rescue, hazmat teams, partial funding for ambulances, air evac, forest fire fighters, military, national guard, ect.), public education (schools, some colleges, libraries, after school programs, some pre-school programs, continuing education, ect.) public entertainment (parks, nature areas, developed lakefronts, public docks and launches, stadiums, community bandshells and stages, public art, public gardens, national monuments, historical areas, ect.), needed services (post office, job training and placement, healthcare, medicare, medicaid, social security, the current inadequate veterans services, food stamps, housing assistance, community advisory programs, ect.) the stuff you take for granted (sewers, water services, mosquito control, plowing, fishery programs, wildlife management, the weather service, ect.).  And then there is the safety and security provided by the military, a security most of the world doesn't have, a security many, including the vast majority of our ultra wealthy, take for granted.  Plus there are thousands of other government services I'm not mentioning which are covered completely, mostly or partially by these two checks.  Yes, I look at the money I spend and realize only a fool would think they don't get an incredible return on investment.

Before you blindly rail against your taxes, stop and think.  Are you going to be the guy who demands their taxes back, and then wonders why their street hasn't been repaired.  Are you going to be the guy who insists you shouldn't have to pay for education because you don't have any kids, but then complain about how hard it is to find affordable, educated, trained, competent people to provide services for you.  Are you the guy who insists government stay out of your life, and then bemoan when the DNR has not stocked your lake with the fish you want to catch.  You want to complain about your taxes, fine, but don't be a surprised when I remind you of everything your tax dollars pay for.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Haters Gonna Hate

It was a lot of fun filling in for Mike Malloy on Thursday and Friday night.  That was the first time I had hosted a national show.  I was a little nervous to begin with, but the two nights flew by.  On Friday night, I walked into the station with a bit of trepidation.  On Friday, Hillary Clinton announced she was going to officially announce (?!) her run for President on Sunday, something I knew was going to cause a lot of Hillary Clinton haters to howl.  My apprehension was well placed.

I spent the final two hours Friday night beating back fringe callers and chat room commentators, all of whom insisted Hillary Clinton was ten times worse than ANY Republican.  She would get us into multiple wars, would allow Wall Street to take our houses, money and livelihood, and apparently she's the secret love partner of Henry Kissinger (the last point being made repeatedly by some person in the Mike Malloy chat room).  The endgame of all of these complaints was an insistence the Democrats, if Hillary would be nominated, would be no different from whichever troll the Republicans nominate.  I had a headache at the end of the show

First, you're an idiot if you really do think there's no difference between the Democrats and Republicans.  I'll repeat that, you're an idiot.  There's a big difference; just look at my blog to see the multitude of ways I've pointed out.  The 2016 election is going to come down to the Republican nominee verses the Democratic nominee.  That's it.  No third party candidate or plucky independent; D v. R!  If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, even if you can't stand her, there are four major points which demand you vote Democrat:  1) 3 to 4 Supreme Court appointments, 2) the right's dream of war with Iran, 3) the future of the Affordable Care Act and 4) GLBT and minority rights.  Those four points alone make any person manifesting their temper tantrum about her getting the nod into not voting in 2016 (in my opinion) irrational and foolish.

I believe half of the "anti-Clinton Democrats" are fake.  I think they're plants, bought and paid for by Republican supporters.  The GOP can't win a fair fight, so they need to outspend the left and fix the system to win.  Part of their plan is to discourage Democrats from voting.  To do so, they'll disguise themselves as 'concerned Democratic callers' who really have 'major concerns' with Hillary Clinton.  They'll call in, stoking the fires of frustration, editorializing with their fake outrage, and then insist the only real option is to, "not vote at all!"  These righto lemmings are being encouraged to do this because if a large portion of Democrats stay home, the GOP wins.  Mark my word, we'll hear a lot of this made up outrage on the day one of the candidates clinches the Democratic nomination, regardless of whom it is.

The other complaints, the ones from actual Democrats, and people from further to the left on the political spectrum, are wrapped in a lot of frustration.  You can dislike Hillary Clinton.  This is not about whether a person is allowed to dislike a political candidate.  If you really don't like her, more power to you.  If the thought of her winning the nomination, and then the Presidency, angers you so much you protest by either not voting or voting for a third party candidate who has no chance, I disagree with you, but that's your right.

That's what happened in 2000.  In one state, Florida, anti-Democrat/anti-Gore voters on the left forgot A) we elect Presidents via the electoral college, B) the race between Gore v. Bush was going to be very close in Florida and nationwide, and C) the right was spending a ton of money promoting Ralph Nader, hoping they could swing enough Democratic votes to the fringe candidate.  The right succeeded in making the race close enough to where they could use the pro-Republican Supreme Court to award the state of Florida to Bush, and hence the Presidency.  This led to 9/11, two wars, torture, the economic collapse, the Katrina response and the US government being used as an tool for Cheney's self gratification.

In Florida in 2000, there were not only people who, in hindsight, foolishly gave their vote to a candidate who had NO CHANCE, but there were also a lot of Democrats in the state who insisted on not voting to, "send a message."  You sent one alright, and your misgivings and guilt about what you did have been felt by us all.  Even if you did protest with your vote, what did you do to follow it up?  Nothing!  You didn't formulate a more organized third party or fight for a more progressive Democratic party.  Nope, you just went home, hiding from your fraudulent legacy, pouting, insisting in your chat rooms, "if only the rest of world would do exactly what I wanted, how we'd all be so much better."  To the protest voters who are revving their engines again, we did it your way and it ended up screwing us all.  Pardon me if I don't welcome you with open arms

Clinton haters, left leaning Democratic Party haters, countrymen, lend me your ears.  If you want me to take you seriously, then show me something serious.  Start by getting true, far left, Wellstonian Progressives on the stage with the rest of the Democratic candidates during the debates, and make those debates a beacon to the country, showing them how good it could be.  If you really don't like the Democratic Party, then start cultivating the Occupy sentiment, still alive and well, into a fully functioning, multi faceted political party with a full platform, not a party based on a one trick pony or a "I don't like their candidate so I am taking my toys and going home" pity party.  It'll take a hell of a lot of work, but if you are determined and committed, you might be able to field a candidate for president in 2024.

Hillary Clinton is not my first choice for the top of the Democratic ticket, but rest assured, if she does become the nominee, nothing will keep me from voting for her in 2016.  I'll even have a proud smile on my face as I cast my vote.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Friday Link for 4/10/15

I know this blog has been a little sparse this week.  Sorry, tremendously busy.  I did finish helping a friend proofread her first novel (you'll be hearing more about that later!), I had a good friend ask for a huge last minute favor (hey, I did say a good friend), got my taxes done today and then there's this whole filling in on Mike Malloy's show last night and tonight.  A ton of fun, but I'm sleepy.  I slept three hours during the middle of the day today, something I usually can't do.

This tiredness does remind me of when I first moved back to Minneapolis and how many "little" jobs I was doing.  I remember some weekends where I would wake up on a Friday, go bake all of the food from scratch at the old coffee shop Pekoe and Java in Hopkins, leave there around 9:30 AM, go to Metro Traffic where I was working part time at that point, work noon to 8 PM, then I would go do the overnight shift at Mix 104.1 (the old 80's station).  At 6 AM on Saturday, I'd head from the radio station back over to bake at the coffee shop, go home and sleep for a few hours, then go to metro for a noon to 8 PM Saturday shift.  Then back to 104 for a Saturday to Sunday morning, midnight to 6 AM shift, back to the coffee shop to bake the Sunday morning goodies, then a noon to 6 PM shift at Metro traffic.  How I didn't keel over I'll never know.  I remember my very young son being sad his dad was too tired to play with him.  I did that schedule four or five weekends.  His tears was the reason I stopped doing it.

But this blog demands my attention!  It is a Friday, and thanks to the Direct TV ads featuring Rob Lowe being yanked from the air, I've got my link.

First a disclaimer.  I personally would not get Direct TV, so this is in no way an endorsement for their product of any kind.

Back around the Super Bowl, I commented about how there were not a lot of good commercials anymore.  These Direct TV ads are one of the few exceptions, purely because of Rob Lowe, an extremely underrated performer.  His normal Rob Lowe verses strangely off Rob Lowe ads are catchy and funny with creepy, poor decision making and deadbeat Rob Lowe's being my favorite.

The cable companies who protested the Direct TV ads are insisting their problem with the ads stems from the claims the normal Rob Lowe makes, but it seems they're more upset with being associated with the weirder versions of Rob Lowe.  At the end of the day, the real problem for them is these ads are clearly working, and that's what has sent the cable companies into a hissy fit.

Here's a compilation of the ads.  Enjoy them while you can because I have zero doubt the cable companies will try to get this video yanked from the YouTube as soon as possible.  It's your Friday link!

Talk to you tonight on the Mike Malloy Show!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Quick Hits - 4/6/15

*** First off, two things about the Faribault Dance line story.  Last week we heard two of the schools involved, Lakeville South and Wayzata, had actually punished the coaches involved in the coordinated attack on the Faribault High School Dance Team, which won the state tournament competition at Target Center on Valentine's Day.  We know that four of the protesting teams, Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Eastview and Chaska, all wanted to boycott the finals completely, but the fifth school, Lakeville South, wanted to compete because they had never been before.  The coaches and parents of those five teams planned ahead of time to shame Faribault for not being disqualified for cheating, something the Minnesota State High School League had investigated and found to not be true.  I've heard reports from multiple people of boos and cat calls aimed towards Faribault during the actual competition, and the other teams intentionally blackballed Faribault at state.  The five other teams refused to take the floor when Faribault was announced as the winner, ran Faribault off the Target Center floor before they could even snap a photo, apparently bullied and taunted Faribault throughout the arena, bragged about their unbelievably, atrocious behavior on social media, and then frantically hit delete keys like cowards when they realized their actions were disgusting.

The first point I want to make:  the coach for Wayzata, and numerous people at Lakeville South, including coaches and an athletic director, received letters of reprimand from the school districts, and the Wayzata coach was suspended for two matches.  One of the punishing schools said it best; the crime here is adults using children as weapons against other children because they were upset by the actions of other adults.  Amen to that, but I personally feel the coaches should all be fired and not allowed to compete in high school dance team competition again.  This was a violation of everything these coaches are supposed to teach and represent.  When I brought this up on-air and a caller said you shouldn't call for anyone's job, as that's going too far, I stood firm saying you don't allow someone to hold a position they so clearly failed to fulfill.  My position was reaffirmed when I remembered these are the same coaches and parents who took to social media to call for the firing of the Faribault coaches and all of the MSHSL people who didn't disqualify Faribault, the same social media posts they desperately deleted when they realized public opinion was not on their side.  They opened the door to this level of "call to action," so once again, I reiterate, "Fire Them All!"

The second point is a lesson:  kids, by nature, are good hearted.  My son made an excellent comment to me after I explained the whole fiasco.  "Dad, maybe instead of spending all of their time before the finals plotting to get Faribault, they could've practiced and worked really hard to try to win the title.  Maybe the reason those teams lost was because they weren't really trying to win."  He's exactly right.  These five coaches were not trying to win; they quit, and pretty much told their teams to quit, setting an even more horrible example for the students they're responsible for. This as well validates my call for firings.  The first job of any coach is to try to win, something these coaches didn't seem too concerned about, as they were focused on their primary objective, shaming a bunch of teen age girls from Faribault.

*** There is a significant point about the Indiana gay discrimination law that's being missed.  The law supporters insist it was only there to prevent people from being forced to provide a product or service, for an event they don't agree with, due to their religious faith, and tried to validate it by insisting, "shouldn't a gay printer be able to deny having to print anti-gay literature?"  First, the Indiana law didn't defend GLBT people from refusing service in that scenario, as the new law specifically talked about religious misgivings being the validation for denying service.  Indiana law, if I understand it correctly, wouldn't allow a gay printer from using 'being offended' as an excuse to not print the anti-gay materials, forcing them to keep their personal objections private.  But since they could say, "I'm sorry, we're booked.  We can't help you," they still have the ability to refuse service.

Which brings up the real purpose of the Indiana gay discrimination law.  I'm against discrimination, period.  If a gay couple went into a florist, or baker, or pizza shop (???), I would hope the businesses, seeing clients and money come through the door, would be good little capitalists and embrace their own popularity, instead of wallowing in their own bigotry.  But in truth, the business could easily say, "A wedding?  Great!  Who's the groom?  And the bride's name?  Oh, no bride, a second groom?  Okay.  What day would you like that for?  Oh, I'm sorry, we are completely booked that day.  I do have some other florists I recommend who might be able to help you out."  This real word example is not something I endorse, but in the end, this is the option, whether truthful or not, which allows these businesses to opt out of providing a service they couldn't, or wouldn't, want to deliver.  The Indiana gay discrimination law validates screaming homophobia, legally, directly into the face of the GLBT community.  "A wedding?  Great!  Who's the groom?  And the bride's name?  Oh, no bride, a second groom?  Well you are a sinner, you're going to burn in hell and get out because I won't serve gay people because my interpretation of Jesus says I don't have to!"  At the end of the day, that is all this law did.

Racism, bigotry, antisemitism, homophobia, and discrimination are horrible.  Trying to validate it behind a thin layer of religion in unconscionable.  Having a state write laws which make it legal is the worst kind of evil.

*** The Twins are not going to be good this year.  I listened to the opening day game.  We lost 4-0 at Detroit.  It's the earliest I have ever said this...damn Twins...

On the plus side, my son reminded me we have a lot of talent coming up in the minor leagues...(sigh)...

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Friday Link for 4/3/15

Snoopy!  I love Snoopy, something enforced by my sister when my kids ask their auntie if she liked the Peanuts characters, and she replied "yes, we all did, but none more than your dad."

Easter is a holiday I love too.  It's important for me and my family, but that's because we're Catholic.  I do understand many people aren't, but how do I convey a little Good Friday fun without getting too preachy.  Snoopy saves the day.

It's the Easter Beagle Charlie Brown is a classic holiday cartoon, which does not have too much religious symbolism in it, or so I thought.  Watching it again when I had kids, there is clearly a message being sent when Snoopy is staring sternly at the audience with Woodstock's nest on his head.  Watch it yourself and tell me that Schultz isn't making a reference to the crown of thorns.

For the Friday link, let me check the religion at the door.  Here is the classic scene where Snoopy is dancing with bunnies.  Enjoy and have a great weekend regardless of what you are up too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Washington US Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, walked into a rake, a rake she herself left in her political yard.  She wanted Obamacare horror stories from her constituents, so she headed to Facebook to beg for juicy negativity.  Instead, she got a lot of praise from her eastern Washington district for Obama's health care package, not realizing it actually has helped a lot of people.  The rake she walked into was made up of the rhetoric Republicans throw around at their closed pep rallies, rhetoric which has no basis in reality, something McMorris Rodgers is very aware of now.  More on that in a sec, but first...

The GOP is at a turning point.  After 35 years of cutting taxes and slashing governmental budgets, all in an effort to find money they can shift to the uber-wealthy in their delusional trickle down economic fantasies, they've come to a point where they can't hide their agenda anymore, showing their outright favoritism to the financial endowed, in stunningly grotesque displays.

Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, went out of his way to make sure he gave a sweetheart deal to Exxon Mobile, an oil company who had polluted the landscape of the Jersey shore, lost in court repeatedly and we're told to pay up billions in damages, only to have Christie himself slash the penalty to a mere fraction of what they owed.  Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, was caught pretty much red handed awarding favors, and copious amounts of Wisconsinite tax dollars, to a major donor who gave the Walker campaign money through a dark money group, something seemingly coordinated illegally through the governor's office itself.  There is no fog on this; this is a direct rewarding of monies to a wealthy donor who helped his campaign; quid pro quo.

And then there is the US House GOP budget.  It gives most of the tax breaks and money to the wealthiest in the USA, at least 5% of a millionaire's salary ($50,000), and rewards people who make $75,000 or less with, at most, $10 in tax breaks, enough for Funyuns and Yoohoo!

They can't hide this payoff system anymore.  Everything they do is geared towards staying in power, something achieved with insane amounts of money donated to them by a handful of individuals, and the end result, the blatant GOP political money handout back to the wealthy, is becoming something even the most stalwart Republican voter won't be able to gloss over for too much longer.

Let's run the modern GOP system:

1)  Promise the wealthy they'll enact the wealthy's legislation and shovel tax payer money back into their coffers once they get elected.

2) Coordinate the donations through legitimate and dark money avenues to give the right an obscene money advantage during elections, at least 15 to 1.

3) Once elected, begin shoveling the money back to the donors, through mutated, hyper-aggressive trickle down economics, destruction of workers rights, the gutting of every budget they can, and then borrowing money recklessly, just so they can hand that loan to wealthy folks, making sure everyone else pays it back with interest.

4) Buy the media, so they can dictate the message the majority of Americans read, see, and hear (this is why they are furious over a free Internet).

5) Find a loyal group of followers (in this case the far right religious, the racists, the homophobes, and the tea party/Nuevo-libertarians) who they can convince to follow them by compromising on one or two issues, or by selling them a bill of goods they'll never deliver on, or by wallowing in the politics of hatred and bigotry, or by honing in on the extreme voter's own disappointments, giving them a fake boogie man they can blame for all of their woes (the Democrats).  By giving these people, considered a political laughing stock until the 1990's, a legitimate seat at the table and the ear of the Republican party, these voters were easily won over and it's nearly impossible to change their minds.

6)  Fix the election system so it's virtually impossible for them to lose, through gerrymandering, trying to change the electoral college, restricting voter rights, and limiting access to voting for the people likely to vote against them.

This plan has worked well for them, but never forget the main goal of all Republican politicians; stay in power at all costs.  This is why we're at where we're at.  They need to keep the ultra wealthy happy.  If they lose their money advantage, not only will they lose their re-election campaigns, they'll lose the seven figure lobbying gig they're banking on, the real reason they're in politics, a stepping stone to a cushy job representing the individuals they so eagerly strapped on knee pads for while they "served their constituents."

Cliven Bundy, anti-gay legislation, birth certificates, immigrant hate, Hobby Lobby, anti-tax promises, convincing their followers they're the persecuted ones, the never ending litany of name calling they do to make themselves 'righteous'...all of it is window dressing.  They need the delusional as their voting base, so they'll say and support almost anything the delusional want to believe.  Heck, they even have a few politicians who believe the crazy talk themselves.  Anything to keep the Republican lemmings happy.  When the rest of the world openly condemns their narrow minded, antiquated and bigoted ideals, the extremists are so incensed the majority doesn't agree with them, they accuse their critics of violating their freedom of speech, something which has never been subdued.  Political operatives, who need the fringe, enable them, so they in turn can reward the wealthy people who are holding a place for the politicians in the wealthy's high court.

But here's the right's problem; the voters they need to stay in power not only want a seat at the table, they want to drive the political parties agenda and direction.  Since the GOP needs these votes, they pander to them, but when the extreme right's agenda butts up against the agenda of the wealthy, or against reality, it leads to hilarious outcomes.  Look at the train wreck which is Indiana.  They pandered to the extremist right by trying to make homophobia legal in the state, but when the free market judged their actions, quickly, to be unacceptable, potentially costing their finical supporters a ton, Governor Pence and the Republicans were caught in the middle.  In Arkansas, all it took was Walmart telling the Governor to veto their version of the same bill, sending the Arkansas right into a frantic panic.  The GOP will always side with money, hence the speed at which they're rushing back to fix these bills they knowingly passed.

Which brings us back to McMorris Rodgers.  When she went about her fan fiction search, she forgot it's all a made up facade, a story she herself began to believe, a made up reality to encourage the zealots who vote for her, a narrative which can never be allowed to be engaged freely with the masses, as the fantasy deteriorates when real Americans are asked to speak freely, outside of a hand picked "town hall meeting."  She didn't upset her money people, but in turn, she did the 2nd worst thing a Republican can do, compare the real world to the made up one her voters believe.

Imagine where our economy would be if we had Republicans actually caring about the people they represented.  Imagine what would've been if they would've tried to work with Obama, instead of their self imposed gridlock.  Imagine where this country would be if we didn't have the GOP plotting to undermine the President at every turn, not because they thought he was wrong, but rather because he was right and they didn't want the American people to see the benefit of his leadership and ideas.

How long will it take for the Republican voter to finally say, "we've given the Republicans 35 years and they haven't delivered on anything they've promised; maybe I should rethink my vote"?

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Sorry it's been light this week.  My kids are on Spring Break and I'm going to goof off with them, if I can justify it, so...