Monthly Archives: July 2014

“A Liturgy of Absolution”

From Album 5

That's Rick Perlstein's description of Ronaldus Magnus, and looks like I'll be adding his latest book to a reading list that's expanding almost as fast as my midsection. I'm just old enough to remember the man Steve Martin described as someone "who can make this country what it once was: a frozen wasteland covered in ice."

More seriously, I also recall the Gipper getting remarkably little flack at the time for his appalling visit and endorsement of States Rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi…a number of stories instead focused on Jimmy Carter mistakenly calling the town "the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan." Hmmm.

Anyway, Perlstein points out we're living with the consequences of Reagan's liturgy of absolution, from Central American refugees fleeing a region destabilized in the name of "fighting communism" to the head-in-the-sand-denial of climate change ("trees cause pollution") to blaming the poor for economic problems (as if the poor had that kind of money and power to begin with)…But I guess that's what happens when you've got a substantial number of people who flee reality for the comfort of cozy myths…

The Best You Can Get

In Mississippi: 

The next woman, the forty-three-year-old, already has two kids, plus she's recovering from thyroid cancer. "Actually, my tubes are tied," she tells him. "I really don't want any more kids."

"I hear you," he says.

She works at a religious hospital, she adds. "They don't know I'm doing this. That's why I want to do the pill. I just want to make it seem like I had a miscarriage."

In an ideal world, he tells her, her doctor could have done her abortion and fixed her tubes at the same time so she wouldn't have to go through the risk of two procedures. "But in Mississippi," he says, "you're getting the best you can get."

Let's be blunt about this. They are needlessly torturing women so they can feel good about themselves and that's all there is to it. 


Rachel Maddow on the OSA Invasion of NOLA Act Two

Here's more TRMS coverage with a Jackson, MS twist in the wake of the big court decision:



Pulp Fiction Thursday: I Killed Stalin

Time for some a Cold War revenge fantasy pulp. The first cover  seems to have very little to do with the title and the second variation gets the year wrong: Uncle Joe died in 1953. Or did the author extend his life to kill him? The mind reels.

2720401804_09a8b52024_o 2719577477_26fb02915e

I used Mr. Google and learned that I Killed Stalin was published in 1951, which makes this a near future sci-fi pulp. My mind is still reeling.

Dickless in Alabama?

I am obviously a horrible human being for finding this story so hilarious:

An attorney for two Alabama doctors accused in a lawsuit of amputating a man's penis in what was supposed to have been a routine circumcision filed a motion Tuesday seeking to dismiss the claims.

Attorney Mike Florie says his clients, Dr. Michael Bivins and Dr. Alan Aikens, never performed a circumcision on Johnny Lee Banks Jr. that involved the removal of tissue or the amputation of the man's penis. He said the suit's claims are false.

Banks' attorney, John Graves, filed the lawsuit on July 22, accusing the doctors and their medical groups of malpractice, negligence and other wrongdoing. It seeks an unspecified amount of money.

Graves says he stands firmly by the allegations but would not comment on specifics of the case.

Earlier this month, Will Axon, a lawyer defending the two doctors, said "When the facts become known this will be seen as an unfair attempt to damage the reputations of dedicated physicians and their outstanding clinics with sensational claims that are completely false," said Axon.

Axon declined to answer questions about specifics in the suit, including whether the man had a penis when he left the hospital.

Admit it, this is a funny story in an evil way. I hope it doesn't make me a schmuck or putz for finding it so perversely amusing. It should be easy to prove or disprove, all the plaintiff has to do is drop trou…

If I had more oomph, I'd write new lyrics to the state song/license plate slogan but I don't, so I won't:


Why aren’t you at work?

This summer is a sort of transitional period for me, between having been a TA and graduate student to being a faculty associate without the hassle of having to defend a dissertation. I taught a class for three weeks to a group of gifted and talented (and overwhelmingly upper middle class and white) kids, which paid me roughly what a summer of research assistanting would because ain't nothin' payin' like makin' privileged people's lives slightly more comfortable. I do have research to do, but no one is paying me to do that research.

What this boils down to: I have, essentially, a month and a half wherein I am completely without employment obligations for the first time since probably middle school. I blame Obama:

But Elmendorf backed Republicans' central argument — fewer people will work because of the law's subsidies. 

"The act [the ACA] creates a disincentive for people to work," Elmendorf said, under questioning from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. 

Ryan clarified that the CBO report found not that employers would lay people off, but that more individuals would choose not to work. 

"As a result … that [lower] labor supply lowers economic growth," Ryan said. 

Elmendorf answered: "Yes, that's right."

The fact that I'm not actively gainfully employed – that I'm sitting at home listening to construction equipment across the street and cars on their morning commute – is actually seriously distressing, despite the fact that I have all my bills taken care of until I start back up working again. I've been told to "take the time" and "enjoy it" by people who I know would all be feeling similarly restless and unfulfilled if they were in similar situations, because I have health insurance coverage, enough money to pay the bills, and I'm also kinda really fuckin' white.

However, my incentive not to work is not "because I will still be okay even if I'm not working", as Messrs Ryan and Elmendorf seem to think – that's just something enabling the decision, like what new parents are expected to do in this country. No, my incentives not to work are: to recover my sanity, to get in some reading and knitting, to clean up the house a little, and to be fresh and ready to go again come fall. Because I'm a people, and people need to do things like that sometimes. Other people have other incentives like "there are no jobs available right now" or "I don't want my kids to grow up while I'm off working" or "this book will turn out better if I just sit down and write it in one go".

As jobs become scarcer, it becomes more important to both enable and incentivise people to not work sometimes, because that's going to have to happen anyway. I'm aware that this concept rankles my betters and goes against everything Republican Jesus taught us, but maybe if more people had a bit of downtime to catch up on their families and housework and recreation, we'd all be just a bit more sane.


Rachel Maddow on the OSA Invasion of NOLA

I almost called the show TRMS but that would have been acronym overkill, which gives me a headache. Anyway, kindly Doc Maddow dispatched a producer and a film crew to New Orleans to cover the rebranded Operation Rescue's malakatude including the UU church invasion. There's a chilling reminder that Dr. George Tiller was killed at his own church, which makes OSA's mild condemnation of the NOLA incursion ring hollow:


Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Tubes

Some of the best rock albums have been seriously road tested. It's not unusual for a band's first to be their finest. That was the case with the Tubes eponymous 1975 debut.

As good as The Tubes is, it still doesn't capture the glory that was their 1970's stage show. I hoped to post a 1975 set on Sunday but the buggers at the Music Archive buggered off with it. I know the band doesn't disapprove of their shows being online: the Tubes Project at YouTube was initiated by original member Michael Cotten.

Back to the stage show. I saw them a lot back in the day. They were master satirists, neo-vaudevillains, social commentators, and a helluva rock band rolled into one. For example, they performed the Latin chestnut Malaguena Salerosa with Fee Waybill dressed as Che Guevara and Ree Styles as Patty Hearst and danced the tango. Ole without the tilde. End of old fart reverie.

The album cover was designed by synth player Michael Cotten and drummer Prairie Prince. The latter is the exception to my "most drummers are dumbasses" rule. He's one smart and very talented dude. The team of Prince and Cotten have created stage designs for artists such as Todd Rundgren, Bette Midler, Styx, and Billy Joel. Anyway, PP can drum, paint, design, you name it, he can do it. Here's the LP cover:

The Tubes

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Riffing with Nixon, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman

As everyone knows, I'm a Tricky Dick tape buff. Some of them are quite sinister and sometimes they're hilarious. There are times when Tricky Dick and his sycophants sound a bit like the MST3K gang with a dash of right wing paranoia.

This May 13, 1971 tape has been available for quite some time and has no bombshells whatsoever. It does, however, feature a hilarious and downright bizarre discussion of weed, All In The Family, and the Gay:

‘Some Liberal like Orrin Hatch’

Yes, that is a thing someone wrote. Take it away, Club for Growth: 

Tiahrt is now trying to retake his former seat, which is now held by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R). The Club for Growth supports Pompeo (and Tiahrt has actually endorsed Pompeo in the past, two times, according to Roll Call).

"Because some liberal like Orrin Hatch or Todd Tiahrt tries to juice their stats come election time doesn't mean they'll vote for pro-growth policy every time, and that's what matters," Keller said, according to the Journal. "Todd Tiahrt's lifetime 77 percent on the Club for Growth's congressional scorecard pales in comparison to Mike Pompeo's stellar 90 percent."

The Club for Growth has not spent any money in advertising for Pompeo so far.

Orrin Hatch, that flaming commie, is now too left-wing for these people. 

I think it would be okay, the inner Tea Party/Weak Tea Party strife that makes liberals out of people with 0% NARAL ratings, if they would just hurry up and get it over with. Just politically annihilate each other already. If it was quick, it might have fewer consequences for America and thus be more hilarious. As it stands, every day they drag this out is a day people not involved in their bullshit have to hold up on actual accomplishments while they throw their lunches at each other. 


A Fatal Lack Of Empathy

I bet you're surprised to see the E word in one of my post titles. I'm better known for smart assery and snark. I have never sung Kumbaya but I do believe in the power of empathy. A wise person, as well as a wise ass, is,uh, wise to try to walk a mile in the other guy's shoes to paraphrase the old hippie, dippy song. Many conflicts, large and small, can be avoided by understanding the other person's perspective and figuring out if can be accommodated. It's just good manners as well as common sense.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this. The world is suffering from an empathy crisis, gap or whatever the hell you want to call it. We see it every day in what passes for political discourse in our country. That's usually a non-lethal form of the empathy gap but a more deadly example is the latest Gaza Strip conflict.

Both sides are badly led and fixated on upholding their "principles" at all costs. The Israelis have better and more lethal weapons but Hamas would do the same if things were equal. That's why I always call it a death dance between two unreasonable parties who seem incapable of understanding the other side's perspective. The ones who suffer are the ordinary people . They're the ones who die when their leaders stick to their guns no matter the consequences.

It's hard to see a permanent solution to the Hamas-Netanyahu government dispute. Both sides are dominated by religious zealots whose ideological rigiidity is only exceeded by their ineptitude and stubbornness. Hamas is quite willing to absorb thousands of casualties because they know that the Israelis will be blamed. The Netanyahu government is convinced of the righteousness of their cause and keeps making enormous strategic mistakes such as allying themselves with the Republican right. 

It's no secret that more *secular* leaders are the ones who have made progress in the past from Sadat to Dayan and Begin to Rabin and Peres to Arafat and Abbas. The religious revival in the Middle East has been bad for the peace business and has made empathy a depressingly scarce commodity.

I just needed to vent my frustrations this morning. It would help if they'd see each other as human beings instead of asTHE ENEMY, but the death dance is likely to continue.

Tuesday Night Music: Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Even a serious post can give me an earworm. Here's the Bryan Ferry version:


Oh Spare Me, Now That You’ve Got Yours

He's not wrong about this: 

He turned out to be something else altogether. To blame Republicans ignores a glaring truth: Obama’s record is worst where they had little or no role to play. It wasn’t Republicans who prosecuted all those whistle-blowers and hired all those lobbyists; who authorized drone strikes or kept the NSA chugging along; who reneged on the public option, the minimum wage and aid to homeowners. It wasn’t even Republicans who turned a blind eye to Wall Street corruption and excessive executive compensation. It was Obama.

But for fuck's sake, this didn't happen in the past eight years alone: 

In the late ’70s, deregulation fever swept the nation. Carter deregulated trucks and airlines; Reagan broke up Ma Bell, ending real oversight of phone companies. But those forays paled next to the assaults of the late ’90s. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 had solid Democratic backing as did the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. The communications bill authorized a massive giveaway of public airwaves to big business and ended the ban on cross ownership of media. The resultant concentration of ownership hastened the rise of hate radio and demise of local news and public affairs programming across America. As for the “modernization” of financial services, suffice to say its effect proved even more devastating. Clinton signed and still defends both bills with seeming enthusiasm.

Where was this impassioned dissent when you were cashing Bill Clinton's checks? Did you fight against both those bills and the type of triangulating bullshit for which your employer was known? Or did you figure eh, politics, whaddayagonnado, and keep on getting paid? 

God, I am just so done with the "once I got my paycheck I realized everything my masters had done was horrible and wrong and I'm sorry" genre of political journalism. See also every Bush aide who has come out against the war in Iraq in recent months, saying they knew it was going to be a clusterfuck from the start but somehow just managed not to say anything at the time that would have stopped it. See also every post-campaign campaign manager confessional piece in which whoever is admitting his sins was of course the lone voice in the wildnerness, powerless to effect change in the campaign they were running. 

You know what? You see something happening you know is fucked up, you either stop it then and there (COLIN GODDAMN POWELL) or you spend the rest of your life making up for your failure not in your words in some airhead thinkpiece but in your actions. Jimmy Carter, God love him may he live a thousand years, went and built houses for poor people after he screwed the presidential pooch. Everybody else needs to heed his example and shut the fuck up. Nobody cares about your guilty consciences but you. 


My Husband Desires My Fertility


Perhaps I could have shared my own experience. You see, I don’t know what condom-sex feels like, but I can’t imagine it’s better than the au natural.

I only know what it is like to have sex with my husband without any barriers between us. By God’s grace I have been blessed to experience what it is to have a man cherish me for all I am and relish in the joy of conceiving child after child with me, and who desires all of me, including my fertility, in a passionate way.

My question to you, my dear, is this: isn’t that something you want for yourself? 

What in the seventh blue hell. Do you genuinely think that's a good argument to start with, when confronting a 20-something woman buying condoms? Child after child? Your man desires your fertility? Okay, until he doesn't anymore and CUTS OFF YOUR HEAD AND MARRIES SOMEONE ELSE when you get too old to keep having litters or whatever this is on about. 


Weekend Question Thread

Insomnia cures. Hit me with them. Have already tried Lord of the Rings again, and it didn't work. 

I was just saying in the comments to the Ferretblogging post that everybody assumes Kick is the problem with me sleeping when actually I am the problem with me sleeping. I'm coming off a long two weeks at the day job, got a couple other projects I'm trying to finish up, but none of that should result in staring at the walls until midnight every night when I have to get up at 6. 

(That still sounds like a lot of sleep to my inner 19-year-old, but she was 20 years ago and I'm desperate here.) 


Arcane Phrase Of The Week: Small Talk Edition

I was watching a bad 1933 Jimmy Cagney movie recently called Picture Snatcher. Actually, it had a decent idea at its core: Cagney is an ex-con turned tabloid photog/reporter, the Irish Weegee. Unfortunately, the script was terrible but it did contain a piece of '30's slang that made my ears perk up. Jeez, now I sound ike Oscar the cat.

Anyway, the Cagney character was gassing with his girlfriend's copper father, complaining about people who talked a lot and had nothing to say:

Some people waste a lot of time bumping gums.

It also sounds like an attack on gum chewing, which is something I cannot abide, but that's for another day. I'll let Elvis Costello have the last word:


Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Back to Abby Normal edition

All right, people – let's get back to it. Blowers on – airlock door open – stupid scrubbers on high – here we go!

You know, Terrible Ted Cruz is from my state (althought not my district), and I never get used to his inanity. I mean, every phrase that oozes from his pandering mouth just reeks of idiocy. I keep wondering when that stupidity (if it's not feigned) is going to splatter all over his master plan to march to retake the Sudetenland of Texas politics.

Sen. Ted Cruz Announces He Will Be Joining Glenn Beck at the Border This Weekend
The Blaze ^ | 07/18/2014 | Erica Ritz

Posted on ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎34‎:‎13‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he will be joining Glenn Beck and Mercury One at the border in McAllen, Texas, on Saturday to feed, clothe, and provide toys for illegal immigrant children.

Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the senator, told TheBlaze in an email: “Tens of thousands of children are being smuggled into the United States by dangerous drug cartels and transnational gangs – it is heartless to allow that to continue.”

“But while we work to reverse the policies that have caused this tragedy, it is important we recognize the human element of this crisis, and Sen. Cruz is glad to join Glenn Beck and Mercury One in that effort to provide some relief from the suffering this administration is causing,” Frazier continued.

1 posted on ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎34‎:‎13‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind

Exploding head


To: SeekAndFind

Ted Crux supports legalizing illegal aliens here now.

5 posted on ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎42‎:‎35‎ ‎PM by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
To: SeekAndFind

Is Beck trying to get on the Federal gravy train too?

7 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎47‎:‎02‎ ‎PM by mac_truck ( Aide toi et dieu t aidera)

To: SeekAndFind

I don’t trust Cruz.

8 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎47‎:‎09‎ ‎PM by laplata (Liberals don't get it …. their minds are diseased.)
To: SeekAndFind

Glenn Beck has proven himself a nut job.

I don’t know why Cruz is hooking up with him. SMH. Palin and Cruz are seen together quite a bit.

16 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎55‎:‎53‎ ‎PM by laffnatu
To: SeekAndFind

Feeding these people is the same as encouraging the actions. Cruz and Beck are both doing it for show and I think it’s a huge mistake for them.

20 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎57‎:‎11‎ ‎PM by miliantnutcase
To: laffnatu
Here you go partner. Please pay special attention to the last sentence in the first paragraph. Ted Cruz is okay with letting illegals stay permanently (and presumably work cheap and take American jobs. Did I mention his wife is a vice president at Goldman Sachs). He just doesn't want citizenship. I just want them gone. How about you? (please read the entire article. It ain't long)

…and, by the way, Cruz and Becks efforts will encourage more kids to come and more will die along the way. All these people are sick.

34 posted on ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎14‎:‎19‎ ‎PM by bramps (Go West America!)
So – I'm now waiting for that immortal phrase:
"Ted Cruz – RINO!!!"
Other Freepers try to walk it back:
To: miliantnutcase

RE: Feeding these people is the same as encouraging the actions.

So what do we do in the meantime, let them starve?

21 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎9‎:‎58‎:‎14‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
To: SeekAndFind

They won’t starve. To think they will is ridiculous.

24 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎02‎:‎54‎ ‎PM by miliantnutcase
True dat. It takes over a week to starve.
The cattle cars should have them back in Guatemala long before that.
Of course there's always 11th-dimensional chess:
To: leapfrog0202

My guess is that Cruz will make sure that our side benefits from his doing this.

54 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎32‎:‎46‎ ‎PM by ansel12 (LEGAL immigrants, 30 million 1980-2012, continues to remake the nation's electorate for democrats)
To: ansel12

My guess is that Cruz will make sure that our side benefits from his doing this.

That's my guess too. My God, some of the people on this thread are unbelievable. You DO realize the Libs spend about half their day demonizing conservatives as mean and uncaring, don't you?

That's a dirty lie. I seldom spend more than three hours a week.

The occasional charitable act by a conservative isn't going to hurt anything, and it may take some of the wind out of the Libs' sails for awhile.  amuse liberals mightily.


Aside from the obvious trolls, those posters who seek nothing less than absolute, complete, toe-the-line doctrinaire conservatism every second of the day from the already-outnumbered people on our side have become incredibly tiresome. They're the kind of people who get people like Obama elected.

63 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎48‎:‎26‎ ‎PM by JennysCool (My hypocrisy goes only so far)
From your mouth to God's ear.
So – are you idiots now running out of idiots to vote for?
To: leapfrog0202

And oh yeah, if Cruz is dead to FReepers as POTUS candidate because of what he’s doing with Beck, what about the other conservative, Mike Lee?

It just so happened that Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) dropped out of the trip with Beck, saying a scheduling conflict prevented him from attending.

Does this mean he could have joined Cruz and Beck if he had no scheduling conflict?

55 posted on 7‎/‎18‎/‎2014‎ ‎10‎:‎33‎:‎23‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
That's right, good people – Ted Cruz is now officially not crazy enough for the Freeperati to support, and they're reduced to licking the bottom of the barrel.
Some older stuff after the RINO…

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Kerry: How They See It

Kerry fought for peace, and failed: 

Kerry pressed on: “When I fought in Vietnam, I used to look at the faces of the local population and the looks they gave us. I’ll never forget it. It gave me clarity that we saw the situation in completely different ways.”

“This isn’t Vietnam!” Netanyahu shouted. “No one understands Israel but Israel.”

Kerry tried explaining himself again: “No one is saying it’s Vietnam. But I’ve been coming here for thirty years, and I’m telling you, what’s building up in the Palestinians has only gotten worse. I’ve seen it. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong; it just is. It can’t be solved if you can’t see it how they see it.”

Read the whole thing.