Archive for April 15, 2010
My brother Eric, who died in 1988, was vehemently opposed to paying taxes to fund wars. You know — “big government” and the “military industrial complex” — and all that. What did he do? Come April 15, he did nothing. Period. He didn’t pay his taxes.
He had guts. And I miss him.
More on how to fight big government here.
That bucolic farm looks pretty darn vulnerable in the face of all that power.
MADISON, Wis.—A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional Thursday, saying the government cannot call for religious action.
Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics, filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2008 arguing the day violated the separation of church and state.
President Barack Obama’s administration has countered that the statute simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States. Obama issued a proclamation last year but did not hold public events with religious leaders as former President George W. Bush had done.
Government involvement in prayer is constitutional only as long as it does not call for religious action, which the prayer day does, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote in her ruling.
This seems obvious on its face to me. Don’t know why we’re haggling over it (oh yeah, forgot about the power of the right-wing).
Now this is a disturbing trend — the Fox “News” model comes to an area near you:
BOISE, Idaho – A growing number of conservative groups are bankrolling startup news organizations around the country, aggressively covering government and politics at a time when newspapers are cutting back their statehouse bureaus.
The phenomenon troubles some longtime journalists and media watchdogs, who worry about political biases and hidden agendas.
The news outlets have sprouted in larger numbers in recent months to fill a void created by the downsizing of traditional statehouse coverage and to win over readers, including those from the tea party movement who don’t trust the local paper or the TV news.
“Our state Capitol used to be bustling with the media,” said Matthew Brouillette, president of the Harrisburg, Pa.-based Commonwealth Foundation, whose news outlet, the Pennsylvania Independent, went live in January. “Now, you can swing a dead cat and not hit anybody in the state Capitol newsroom.”
The news outlets usually receive their money from right-leaning, free-market organizations. Idahoreporter.com, for example, is funded by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a think tank that has barraged local governments with public records requests since last year in an effort to expose waste.
Similar news operations are now in place in Washington state, Michigan, South Carolina, Montana, Wyoming, Florida, West Virginia, Arizona, Missouri, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio and elsewhere.
The outlets publish almost exclusively on the Internet and usually look like traditional news sites. For example, the front page of Idahoreporter.com recently featured stories about proposed tax increases, higher park fees, a labor report, and the funding of a college scholarship program. The lead stories all had accompanying graphics and photos; some stories have video.
Journalism watchdogs say they have not noticed any obvious slant in the coverage. But some of these news organizations have been barred from capitol press corps because of rules that forbid lobbyists from membership.
And there are fears that these organizations are trying to advance a certain agenda by the stories they decide to cover — even if the articles themselves are unbiased.
I swear to God. I’m glad I’m the age I am, and that I won’t be around in fifty years to see how screwed up this country has become. I pity the 2 and 3-year-old kids I know. They’re going to live in a country where all the “news” is right-wing propaganda and we’re all beaten-down, voiceless serfs who work for mega-corporation who treat us like dogs. Hey, in my opinion, we’re almost there already.
Victor Zapanta, a blogger at Think Progress, rendezvoused with Rep. Steve King (R-IA) today at the Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C. Zapanta wanted to ask King a follow-up question regarding his justification of Joseph Stack flying an airplane into the IRS building in Texas last month. Suffice it to say that King couldn’t handle it. (Which is what happens when certain congresspeople spend all their time on Fox being asked softball questions).
Here’s the video, and read more here.
Neil Cavuto, Fox’s “business news” guy, opened his 4:00 p.m. ET show today by announcing that he was live, in Atlanta, Georgia, “one of the premiere sites for our tax day protests.” (Freudian slip there to call them “our” tax day protests. It’s true — Fox has been the major promoter of them — but hey, you’re not supposed to admit that they’re yours Neil.)
And then, moving on to his first guest, lo and behold, as if he’d hired an actor to do it, Cavuto saddled up to an African-American who claimed he was a lifelong Democrat but dang if he didn’t feel the need to be there.
Now what are the chances of that? A lifelong Democrat, an Africa-American who just happened to be right there? They panned the crowd several times and there were no other African-Americans. None.
Fox is so sleazy I wouldn’t put it past them to have paid that guy to be a Tea Partier-for-a-day.
Gez, Fox is covering a high speed chase in California — the one thing, I guess, that’ll tear it away from the Tea Partiers.
I know this isn’t the most exciting or interesting break time post I’ve ever put up, but hey, look at that picture. I couldn’t resist.
Three curious red fox pups with their heads stuck in a storm drain grate, their mother screaming for them from their nearby den.
Solution: dishwashing detergent.
A Starkweather Road resident discovered the stranded pups Friday about 6 p.m. and called police. Animal Control Officer Karen Stone responded and called local firefighters for help.
The firefighters were able to pry the grate up a bit, but they had no tool to cut the thick metal, Stone said Monday. So she tried oiling their heads with Vaseline to push them back through. That didn’t work. Neither did corn oil.
Finally, Stone said, she soaped the pups’ heads with Dawn dishwashing detergent, and through a laborious process — the pups straining up the wrong way, biting at her gloved hands, the mother continuing to wail — she was able to push their ears down and through the grate. The third pup, which had a larger head than the other two, was the most difficult, Stone said.
Stone placed the pups in a dog crate in her van, drove them up near the den and released them. They scampered away toward home.
“Except for being a little soapy, I think they were OK,” she said.
Smoke is coming out of my ears:
Health insurer UnitedHealth Group overcame a sluggish economy last year to manage 28 percent profit growth and rewarded CEO Stephen Hemsley by more than doubling his total compensation.
An Associated Press analysis found that the 57-year-old executive received 2009 total compensation valued at $8.9 million from the Minnetonka, Minn., company, up from $3.2 million the year before.
But that doesn’t include the exercise of his stock options. When options are added in, the top dog at the nation’s largest health insurer by market capitalization made a cool $102 million.
The ruling class not only makes waaaay more than any of us do, never mind 2% or 3% pay raises, they get raises of 100 fucking percent!
Should we assume that the misspellings in the sign below are intentional?
New York Times/CBS News Poll: National Survey of Tea Party Supporters:
48% of the respondents receive Social Security and 48% are covered by Medicare.
How hypocritical is that?
Just came across this picture taken by Mike Madden, of Salon.com, who’s in D.C. at the Tea Party rally. It’s obviously an official Tea Party Express car and — youza! — it’s a Mercedes Benz. A Mercedes Benz?!
The Tea Party Express picks one of the most expensive cars on the planet — and a foreign-made one at that — as its official car? Why not a Chevy? Or a Ford?
Seems to me somebody blew this big time.
The big celebrity news this morning is that Larry King and his EIGHTH wife, Shawn Southwick, have filed for divorce.
What kind of a weirdo must Larry King be to have had eight wives and now, eight divorces?