Monthly Archives: April 2011

Not safe for work

Every Cinderella has a few stepsisters – or step-cousins – I guess.

Fashion FAIL.

Bank of America – who’s your Daddy?

I wonder what happened to the Wikileaks expose of Bank of America.

You may recall that shortly after the Wikileaks’ dump of US Military files (Bradley Manning),  Julian Assange promised that documents were coming showing illegal practices at Bank of America. One day later it was breathlessly reported that Assange is a pervert and rapist. Now those documents are yesterday’s news. Nothing’s been released.

You may also remember what  happened to Elliot Spitzer after he became governor? As Attorney General, he was known as The Sheriff of Wall Street where he was feared and loathed. As Governor he had power to hurt them with exposure and regulation. Voila! Another sexual perversion surfaces.

In February, after Assange’s announcement of Wikileak’s planned release – and the subsequent personal smears – this story appeared at their site:

Bank of America using Private Intel Firms to Attack Wikileaks

In a document titled “The WikiLeaks Threat” three data intelligence companies, Plantir Technologies, HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies, outline a plan to attack Wikileaks. They are acting upon request from Hunton and Williams, a law firm working for Bank of America. The Department of Justice recommended the law firm to Bank of America according to an article in The Tech Herald. The prosed attacks on WikiLeaks according to the slides include these actions:

  • Feed the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions of sabotage or discredit the opposing organizations. Submit fake documents and then call out the error.
  • Create concern over the security of the infrastructure. Create exposure stories. If the process is believed not to be secure they are done.
  • Cyber attacks against the infrastructure to get data on document submitters. This would kill the project. Since the servers are now in Sweden and France putting a team together to get access is more straightforward.
  • Media campaign to push the radial and reckless nature of WikiLeaks activities. Sustain pressure. Does nothing for the fanatics, but creates concern and doubt among moderates.
  • Search for leaks. Use social media to profile and identify risky behavior of employees.

And TPM has observed that:

. . . the Gitmo files could be Assange’s last hurrah. Wikileaks’ encrypted submission has been broken for more than a year now, which means no new juicy tidbits have been coming in.

It’s too easy.

Friday night oldie

Cut spending? How ’bout earning more?

Oh those Republicans! They hate taxes even when we’re starved for revenue. They don’t much like caring for ‘the least among us’ or – as modern reality would have it  – the sick, the poor and the elderly. They say they believe in education, but think every eight year old is able to set the course for a successful life – not the taxpayers problem. They love our hi tech future but don’t worry about who’s going to have the education and skills to fill those hi tech jobs. They’re big fans of moving Social Security from a defined benefit and exposing it to the volatile wonders of the ‘market’. Which worked so well for folks who pensions evaporated in ’08-’09.

A local city has for some time been dipping into their diminishing reserves to cover pensions for police and firemen. Now they’re actually considering tax increases. They (tea party favorites) – and the previous city council – refused till now to own the looming problem. Now it’s biting them in the butt.

As property tax revenue has plummeted along with values, the council for four years has not increased the tax rate as many communities have done. Instead it has relied on reserves to plug the hole. Now it does not have that option, especially as officials anticipate another pension shortfall next year.

Donald Trump as Ross Perot

Attention is a narcotic. And I think Trump is eating it up. I think Mr. Trump  wants it to go on.

He’ll never be the GOP candidate, but he could run as an independent. And if he does, it’ll be 1992 all over again. Ross Perot split the Republican vote in the Presidential election, getting  20,000,000 votes, most of which would otherwise have gone to GHW Bush.

Twenty. Million. Votes.

Twice in 20 years – could signal that the Republican Party is indeed dissolving from within.

Wonder what’s next?

So where was Pat Robertson?

I guess God was not amused when the good Rev forgot to pray for those rock solid Christian states of Alabama and Mississippi this week. Had he but remembered, all would have been well. After all, as he once told his viewers, it was his prayers that turned Hurricanes Gloria in ’85 and  Felix in ’95  away from Hampton Roads, where The 700 Club is headquartered.

In ’98 Robertson predicted God would send Hurricane Bonnie to Disney World as punishment for  their sins. But it skipped Orlando entirely and barrelled right into Robertson’s Hampton Roads. Oh that God – such a joker!

He agreed with Falwell [In 2001] when Falwell stated that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were caused by “pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Union and the People For the American Way.”[8][9]

On the June 8, 1998 edition of his show, Robertson . . . stated that the acceptance of homosexuality could result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombings and “possibly a meteor.” . . .

On the January 13, 2010 broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson blamed the Haitians for making a deal with the Devil during their 1791 slave rebellion, resulting in the Haitian Earthquake of January 12, 2010 and other misfortunes.

UPDATE: Maybe this is why the South felt God’s wrath. And the reason Rev Pat didn’t pray for them is because rape is kind of okay. Wimmin gettin’ so uppity and all these days.

Why can’t Democrats manage to say it this clearly?

via Bartcop

FOX tarts up Karen Tumulty

Karen Tumulty is one of the better print reporters who also appears on TV. I’ve become familiar with her from regular appearances on PBS – usually Washington Week in Review – and on some of the cable nets. Tonight she was in “the liberal seat” at FOX News between Charles Krauthammer and Steve Hadley on Special Report.

It appears Gretchen Carlson’s make up guru got at Tumulty because for women on FOX, I guess excellence isn’t enough. It’s all about the eyeliner.

If she appears on FOX again, I hope she has the good sense to politely say ‘come any closer and I’ll make you wish you never saw that makeup wand’.

Top 20 Tea Party Reactions

This one has to be my favorite – first time I’ve seen anyone question whether Obama was actually even born. Of woman.

And the doc dying? Now that’s cooperation.

FROM Buzzfeed:

That Trump! Impeccable sources!

I’m actually sorry Obama did this. I don’t believe in responding to conspiracy theorists with facts; it ends up making no difference. Wait for the newly minted pronouncements on what’s wrong with that birth certificate to emerge. They will.

Donald Trump wants to know how Obama got into those Ivy League colleges. He thinks it must be affirmative action, because Trump ‘heard’ that Obama’s grades weren’t all that great.

And so it goes

The last typewriter rolls out of the last typewriter factory.

Standing the test of time: The keyboard might not have changed in 100 years, but the typewriter itself has been superseded by the computer

Now if they’d stop right there and grow no more . . .

A sand castle under construction has their full attention

I got to hang around with Sean and Syd at the beach yesterday. It was just fine.

I even got to eat some of their Peeps, which I brought so I could have some.

Last of the grapefruit; first of the cherries

 Once a year, for just one to two weeks, I have cherries from my own two trees – sweet and warm from the sun and eaten almost as soon as they’re picked. The trees produce for more than two weeks, but competition with the birds shortens even that brief season. They swoop in at the first scent of sugar and start with the ripe ones  (just like I do but there are more of them). Once the birds have picked those clean, they happily move on to the unripened and at that point it is over. They win. They always do.

Right now though, there are abundant cherries and we all get a tummy full.

But it’s also goodbye to the grapefruit – my tree has been giving me sweet ruby reds since December and has earned its rest.

Easter weekend was fuller than usual. I got to spend a full day with a much loved nephew and his family.

Family and fruit has made me unbloggy. I feel like a lazy bee in the summer, riding the air and drunk with honey.

Back soon.

Hippity hoppity

Here comes Peter Cotton Tail

Hoppin’ down the bunny trail

Hippity hoppity Easter’s on its way.

Bringing every girl and boy

Baskets full of Easter joy

Things to make your Easter bright and gay.

There’ll be jelly beans for Bobby. Colored eggs for sister Sue.

There’s an orchid for your Mommy, and an Easter basket too!

Here comes Peter Cotton Tail . . .

Friday night oldie

Fats Domino – the piano loved him. So did the ALL-white crowd.

Kevin Drum is another smart man

He had a blog in the early ‘aught’s’ called Calpundit, which is now defunct. He blogged a column at The Washington Monthly for a few years and eventually landed at Mother Jones, a very good fit. Always worth a read.

I beleive Drum was also the one who originated ‘Friday Cat Blogging’ at Calpundit. (The kitteh is in his honor.)

Yesterday he posted a short piece called The Annoying Hypocrisy Trope after Obama was criticized for taking itemized deductions on his income tax filing, after saying he thought they should be phased out. 

Drum’s excellent as usual reasoning is especially relevant to those who call environmentalists hypocrites for using airplanes and cars.

The point of laws is to provide a level playing field, and no one is a hypocrite for following existing law even if they think it should be changed. That goes for congressmen who accept earmarks even though they think earmarks should be banned, it goes for drivers who park for free on city streets even though they think parking meters should be installed, and it goes for rich people who pay taxes at the current rate even though they think that rate is too low.

MENA – odd way of saying it

A post by Orhan and the discussion in comments reminded me this morning that the denominator “Middle East North Africa”  seems to have linguistically replaced our old friend, the ever volatile “Middle East”.  And I’m reminded too that another old ‘friend’, the war in Afghanistan is happening  further to the east of that area close to Pakistan (and thus India and the slow simmering rivalry over Kashmir).

This AfPak, India, Kashmir nexus is something we no longer even mention. And yet, and yet . . . a failure of the government in Pakistan probably presents as much if not more danger to us as MENA.

So let’s remind ourselves that in the midst of all that, today is the 198th day of the tenth year of our war in Afghanistan. (And we’re now in our eighth year in Iraq.)

Local economic turnaround?

Two headlines from my very fine local paper today (they won a Pulitzer Prize this week for investigative journalism – yeah Herald Trib!):

Sarasota-Bradenton condos selling like it’s 2005

Longboat Key mansion sells for record $12.5 million

Haven’t seen headlines like that in a while.

State terror in Bahrain


From Common Dreams:

The intimidation and detention of doctors treating dying and injured pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain is revealed today in a series of chilling emails obtained by The Independent.

At least 32 doctors, including surgeons, physicians, pediatricians and obstetricians, have been arrested and detained by Bahrain’s police in the last month in a campaign of intimidation that runs directly counter to the Geneva Convention guaranteeing medical care to people wounded in conflict. Doctors around the world have expressed their shock and outrage.

One doctor, an intensive care specialist, was held after she was photographed weeping over a dead protester. Another was arrested in the theater room while operating on a patient.

Many of the doctors, aged from 33 to 65, have been “disappeared” – held incommunicado or at undisclosed locations. Their families do not know where they are. Nurses, paramedics and ambulance staff have also been detained.

From The Angry Arab News Service:

A person with a Western NGO sent me this:

“Since I’m working for …organization…I would like to inform you about the situation in Bahrain concerning the access to medical care and medical facilities. When we arrive to the country, salmani the reference public hospital, though operational was totally empty. In fact during the demonstrations, people wounded, or having typical wounds resulting from demonstrations were arrested at the hospital, some of them beaten. So most of them are afraid to seek medical care. The chocking news is some shi’a sick people (non wounded) are now afraid to seek care at hospitals because they risk to be arrested . Simply the situation is very sad in arab medias remains silent. As a ..NGO, we had to keep a low profile attitude otherwise, we are at the risk to be kicked out as one official told us . I hope this information would be of your interest.
Best regards
M. ..
P.S: please cite without the name of the organization or my name”

Words I never hear anymore

  • Guess I’ll have to call back, the line is busy.
  • No answer. I’ll have to call them later.
  • I need directions to your house.
  • Why, it cost hundreds of dollars!
  • Whose turn is it to change the channel?
  • Where’s the fax machine?
  • I’ll check TV Guide.

Feel free to add .  . .

Must shrink government. Must shrink government.

via Digby, from a story at, here’s another example of how a flawed bit of received wisdom (probably originated with  Grover Norquist!) settles into lazy minds to be plucked out as necessary with no further examination required. Schieffer, whom I generally like, has obviously not bothered to inform himself beyond the universal script, but fer Elvis’ sake, Warner is a US Senator. My expectations are apparently too high.

On Face the Nation, Sen. Mark Warner was asked by host Bob Schieffer [what action] his ‘Gang of Six’ would take on Social Security reform . . . Warner gave. . .  the popular refrain that “part of this is just math: 16 workers for every one retiree 50 years ago, three workers for every retiree now.”

. . .  In fact, the high ratio of workers to retirees in 1950 was an anomaly, which resulted from the larger number of workers that were incorporated into the program at the time, such as millions of farm workers and domestic workers. Furthermore, because the program was still relatively new, the first workers to contribute to the program had not yet started to collect benefits. To demonstrate how meaningless the 16:1 number it, consider this: Only five years later [in 1955], the worker-to-beneficiary ratio was halved to 8:1, and by 1975 it was down to what it is today. And just ten years earlier, in 1940, the ratio  had been 149.5 workers for every one retiree!

. . .  The worker-to-retiree ratio has been stable for almost forty years and has not failed to supply adequate levels of benefits.

Betcha didn’t know that.

Obama now biggest tax cutter since Ike

The press can’t be bothered with ‘facts’ like this – lying eyes must be silenced. There are opinions to consider.

Beneath all of the Republican and Tea Party grumbling about taxes, one key fact continues to be ignored. According to the Tax Policy Center, Federal taxes are lower than at any time since 1955. Obama has now reduced taxes by more than any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

. . . In fact, most Americans have no idea that Barack Obama has lowered taxes. According to a 2010 CBS News/New York Times Poll, only 12% of Americans knew that Obama has lowered taxes. 53% thought that he kept taxes the same, and 24% believed that Obama has raised taxes.

. . . Not surprisingly, only 2% of Tea Party supporters knew that Obama had lowered taxes. 44% of them thought that the President has raised their taxes.

Some good statistics and links at the story remind us that “The US revenue gap could be closed immediately with a tax increase . . .”

But let us not speak of such things. Interferes with the script we so love. And socialism also. Must keep an eye on socialism.

Transporting in every way

Yup. I flew those babies!

Some weeks back I wrote about my 91 year old friend Bessie, with whom I walk most days (Bessie is pretty frisky so that’s not a problem). In another lifetime, during WWII, Bessie was a ‘ferry pilot’ for B-17’s, the workhorses of the war in Europe. She, and other women, flew the planes mostly within the US to get them wherever the Army needed them. Bessie’s about 5’1″ today and says she wasn’t much taller then. Wish I could have seen her in the cockpit!

And just now, old friend Jim sent this stunning video of that very plane. He’s an aeronautical engineer and this stuff is rock n’ roll for him. He says “one of the big reasons why we don’t speak German today.”

Worth a watch – go to full screen. From Jim’s email: [the plane] takes off from Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ and then flies over the Superstition Mountains. to the east of Apache Junction and then on to Roosevelt & Canyon lakes on the east edge of the Phoenix valley. The backdrops are stunning.  Music is from the mini series John Adams. 

H5 – WWII Bombers over Arizona Landscape from H5 Productions on Vimeo.

Donald: quack, quack, quack

This morning Kay – who scoops up good stuff every day – goes to Raw Story and brings back the Donald Trump of the first decade of the 21st century. But of course that was a long long time ago.

) “I probably identify more as Democrat.”
Interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, March 2004

2) “I’ve been around for a long time. And it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans.”
Interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, March 2004

3) “Nancy — you’re the best. Congrats. Donald.”
Handwritten note to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, January 2007

4) “Bush is probably the worst president in the history of the United States.”
Interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, March 2007

5) “I’m totally pro-choice.”
Interview with Fox News Sunday, October 1999

6) “I want to see the abortion issue removed from politics. I believe it is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors.”
Remarks to reporters, December 1999

7) “I’m very liberal when it comes to health care. I believe in universal health care.”
Interview with CNN’s Larry King, October 1999.

8) “The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans… We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan.”
Writing in his book, The America We Deserve, January 2000

9) “By imposing a one-time 14.25 percent net-worth tax on the richest individuals and trusts, we can put America on sound financial footing for the next century.”
Writing in his book, The America We Deserve, January 2000

10) “I think he [Obama] has a chance to go down as a great president.”
Interview with NY1, November 2008

Movin’ on down the road

Glenn Beck is crashing and burning. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these guys implode so quickly. He really is Lonesome Rhodes – except the rubes he’s been huckstering are his soul brothers in conservative media, mostly activists and bloggers. Even Andrew Breitbart, the new king of all media via his Big Government web base, is a little pissed. Beck’s been snatching unattributed content from his sites.

The full story is in The Daily Caller.

A number of conservative activists and bloggers say they’re furious at media magnate Glenn Beck for what they call content theft. Over the past several years, Beck has relied on video, audio and written content from others to fill his radio and television shows, as well as his websites. Often he has credited his fellow conservatives for their work. Yet in many other instances say dozens of conservative journalists who spoke to The Daily Caller, he has not, often taking elaborate steps to cloak the origins of the material.

. . .

A remarkably large number of conservative writers say they feel robbed. During the March 18 airing of his television program, for example, Beck ran a portion of video created by a Chicago-based blogger who calls himself Rebel Pundit. The blogger, who does not publicly reveal his name, says he was initially pleased to see Beck running his video, which featured left-wing protesters demanding amnesty for illegal immigrants. He was soon shocked, however, to see that Beck’s staff had obscured the watermark logo of his website,, from the tape.

Recall signatures for another Wisconsin Republican submitted


Today Wisconsin activists submitted over 100% of the signatures needed to “recall” Republican state senator Luther Olsen from office.

Signatures are now submitted against 3 Republicans — with local volunteers working to recall at least 3 more, according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Blog Blue Cheddar writes, “About 24,000 signatures were filed today with Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board by the “Committee to Recall Olsen”. The group needed to collect 14,733 signatures.”

As Orhan says, ‘we’ll see’

Kunstler, once again saying what no one but Jon Stewart says in public:

It was heartening at least to see a few signs of life “out there” in the karmic interstices. Senator Carl Levin of Michigan sent a memo to the Attorney General of the US – viz: something has been going on in Wall Street that merits your attention. As in most seemingly crucial turnings lately, echo answered. Can someone please check to see if Eric Holder over in the Department of Justice is leaking sawdust? He must be stuffed something. Styrofoam would just make him look lumpy. Could he be a computer graphic? Or is he just a simple slab of cardboard with a photo glued on. Perhaps Senator Levin’s next memo might be in the form of a subpoena to Mr. Holder, requesting his testimony as to how many trillions of dollars were snookered, swindled, and Ponzied out of the US public for the benefit of about a thousand guys in and around lower Manhattan (with branch offices in suburban Connecticut and New Jersey).

Those jobs are just rolling in

Maine and Arizona. Lovely states once known for scenery. Now known for governments that behave like kids protecting their special secret treehouse.

It’s getting embarrassing.

From Maine whose governor was last seen tearing down that mural in the Dept of Labor (the one celebrating the history of labor in Maine):

Just 100 days into Gov. Paul LePage’s Tea Party-fueled administration, his fellow Republicans are fighting back, defeating his push to bring back toxic baby bottles.

Baby bottles. Really.

On Monday, eight of 20 Republican state senators criticized the governor’s often bellicose behavior in an op-ed published by the state’s largest newspaper chain. The next day, LePage’s bisphenol-A  [those toxic baby bottles] initiative was rejected 35-0 in the state senate, after a 145-3 defeat in the House.

LePage returned fire, saying lawmakers “haven’t done a damn thing . . . I went on vacation last week [to Jamaica] because I had nothing to do,” he told an audience Thursday. “Because I’m waiting; I’m waiting for legislation.” His remarks provoked a rebuke from Republican House Speaker Robert Nutting, who told the Lewiston Sun Journal he was “sorry that the governor still doesn’t understand the legislative process and apparently nobody on his staff has explained it to him.”

And in Arizona (h/t Bill):

Part of the controversial Arizona birther bill passed on Wednesday makes a certificate of circumcision . . . . acceptable proof of American citizenship for presidential candidates. While candidates won’t be asked to “whip it out” in the State House, a documented circumcision will join a verified Christian baptism, postpartum hospital records and long-form birth certificates as proof that candidates are indeed Americans.

(They really just need reassurance that the candidate isn’t a Moosliiimmm!)

Upside for swooning neocons everywhere –  Bebe Netanyahu can be President.

Rush tea bags Obama’s base

The Daily RushVia MediaMatters, Rush on Obama’s base from his April 14 show:

…his base is made up of people even more vile than he is…walking human debris…those savages that make up the Obama base are fit to be tied…their orgasm is for Obama to savage us…

Etc., etc., etc….

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Maine State House Bombed


Maine Governor Paul LePage ordered a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history removed from the state Labor Department.

The mural depicts the Auburn and Lewiston mill strike of 1937, “Rosie the Riveter” who worked in real life at the Bath Iron Works, former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins (the first woman cabinet member in American history), and more.

Why the removal? A spokesman for the Governor said it was not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.”

Some good citizens attempt to put the mural back in its rightful place: