Archive for December, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

Bye-bye 2011.  You won’t be missed.

As for 2012?  Let’s buckle-up and hold on to each other.  It’s going to be a rough year economically, environmentally and politically.

Rest up.

December 31, 2011 at 10:20 PM 2 comments

Let’s See Near-Naked Men in 2012

Insofar as photos like this

are ubiquitous, come 2012, I want to see photos like this everywhere I look too:

All or none.

Enough of this:

Come on men.  Show how big or small or toned (or not) you are.

Need Botox?  Got Botox?  Dye your hair?  Need a Brazilian?  Got one?  On a diet?  Excercise?  No?  Why not?  Got fat?  Why can’t you lose it?  Eat too much? What’s your problem?  No self-control?  Let me see your nails. What!  No pedicure?  You’re letting yourself go.  Lazy thing!

December 31, 2011 at 9:17 PM 1 comment

Obama: Why I Might Not Vote For You In November / #17

Here’s yet another act on President Obama’s part that (don’t forget, he’s a “Constitutional lawyer”) is making me think twice about how I’ll vote in November:

Obama Makes It Official: Suspected Terrorists Can Be Indefinitely Detained Without a Trial

Despite having once threatened to veto the bill due to controversial language about the treatment of suspected terrorists, the president signed the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on Saturday. Barack Obama did not keep his lingering concerns about aspects of the bill law a secret, however. In justifying his decision to sign NDAA into law, Obama said in a statement, “I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed.” He continued, “The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.”

Obama:  If you have “serious reservations” about a bill, you veto it.  Period.

And bear in mind — nut cases could become president who could abuse this new law to no end.

More on how you and I might land in indefinite detention as a result of this bill here and here.

Oh, and talk about Friday afternoon DC “document dumps.”  This is even worse.  It’s Saturday and it’s New Year’s Eve.  The White House is clearly worried about this yet hey, they think we’re idiots and we won’t notice.

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011 at 8:22 PM Leave a comment

Magic Animals

Look at that face!

It’s just too tempting, isn’t it? You see an unattended camera and before you know it, you’re snapping away. Possibly that was what was going through this cheeky macaque’s mind as he posed for this hilarious self-portrait in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, after photographer David Slater left his camera for a few minutes.

More here:  From Anne the elephant saved by Mail readers to Boo, the world’s cutest dog. 2011 was the year of animal magic.

December 31, 2011 at 5:55 PM Leave a comment

Greenpeace: Year in Pictures

Greenpeace is so cool.

December 31, 2011 at 1:57 PM Leave a comment

Greatest Hits 2011 — Republican Style

Yo, Republicans, you must be proud so proud (hee hee and wink, wink):

December 30, 2011 at 8:49 PM Leave a comment

Newt Gingrich is Such a Kidder

Geezus, talk about pandering:

Last night during a tele-town hall hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, a caller asked Newt Gingrich if he would consider choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate if he wins the Republican nomination:

Gingrich:  She is certainly one of the people you would look at. I am a great admirer of hers and she was a remarkable reform governor of Alaska, she’s somebody who I think brings a great deal to the possibility of helping in government and that would be one of the possibilities. There are also some very important Cabinet positions that she could fill very, very well. I can’t imagine anybody who would do a better job of driving us to an energy solution than Gov. Palin, for example. Tell her that she would certainly be on the list of one of the people we would consider.

Listen to the audio here.

Yeah, rrright.  Newt, you expect us to believe this?

 

 

December 30, 2011 at 7:27 PM Leave a comment

“Progressive:” The Most Popular Political Term

This is pretty darn interesting (and you can be sure you won’t hear about it from the corporate media):

More at Pew here.

December 30, 2011 at 10:27 AM Leave a comment

Occupy Wall Street — The Film

I don’t know if it’s time to do an Occupy Wall Street film just yet because I think the movement has a lot of life left in it, but…

99 Percent: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film is a documentary film project founded by independent filmmakers working in conjunction across the country. Among them are the directors, producers, editors and cinematographers of many award-winning, internationally distributed films. They’ve come together and pledged their time, skills and gear to document the events taking place in NYC and across America. And they’re inviting you to do it with them.

More here.

 

December 30, 2011 at 10:19 AM Leave a comment

Republicans Are “Speed Dating” Their Presidential Candidates

Here’s my favorite quote of the day, via Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post just now on the Rachel Maddow Show:

It’s as if Republicans have been “speed dating all of these candidates.”

The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty on 'Top Line'

That’s it.

Perfect.

December 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM Leave a comment

Verizon’s New “Convenience Charge” — Calling George Orwell

Pray tell Verizon, how is charging me $2.00 to make an online payment a “convenience charge?”  For thee or for me?

Verizon to Charge $2 Fee for Paying Online

Fee applies to customers who make one-time bill payments

Verizon Wireless will soon make some customers pay for the privilege of paying their bills.

The nation’s largest wireless company is instituting a $2 “convenience charge” for those customers who make one-time bill payments using a debit or credit card, either online or by telephone. The fee will go into effect on Jan. 15.

There are three ways for customers to avoid the charge: Customers can make a one-time payment using an electronic check, they can pay their bill using their home banking accounts, such as Citibank Online, or they can use a Verizon gift card or rebate card. Otherwise, single telephone and online payments will incur a $2 fee.

“The fee will help allow us to continue to support these single bill payment options … and is designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make single bill payments,” the company said in a statement.

How many times do I have to read this before the spin sinks in?  I.e., I’m supposed to love Verizon for thinking of me and making it “convenient” to pay bills online but I have to pay $2 to do it?

Gee.  Is that whiplash I’m feelin’?

 

December 29, 2011 at 7:50 PM 2 comments

The SEC and Citigroup F**k a US District Court Judge and He’s Pissed

I’m making dinner (macaroni and cheeeeeeese!) so this is a quickie:

SEC Chided Again by Judge in Citigroup Fraud Case

(Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission got a fresh dressing-down from the judge who rejected its $285 million settlement with Citigroup Inc, as he said the regulator kept him out of the loop on its efforts to salvage the case.

In his latest sharply-worded order, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff chastised the SEC for not telling him it had filed an emergency request with an appeals court to put the case on hold, after making the same request to him.

So when Rakoff on Tuesday issued a ruling opposing any delay in the case, he was beaten to the punch; 78 seconds earlier, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had granted the SEC the temporary halt it sought.

He also accused the SEC and Citigroup of potentially “misleading” the court, saying they called him around 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT) on Tuesday to discuss the case, without mentioning the filing with the 2nd Circuit.

Less than an hour later, the 2nd Circuit ruled, and so did Rakoff. That 2nd Circuit order negated the work Rakoff said he had done over the weekend to get a ruling to the SEC as quickly as he could.

Rakoff wrote that he “spent the intervening Christmas holiday considering the parties’ positions and drafting an opinion, so that (the court) could file it on December 27, i.e. the first business day after the Christmas holiday.”

To prevent a recurrence, Rakoff ordered the SEC and Citigroup to “promptly notify” him of any filings they make in the appeals court.

Regarding the text in bold, as a former paralegal, I can tell you that’s just dirty, low ball stuff on the SEC’s part.  It’s also known as judge shopping.

And since when does a judge have to issue an order that parties to a case have to “promptly notify” him that they’ve filed a new case?  That’s route and expected.  No wonder he’s furious.

The arrogance of the SEC and Citigroup is indicative of a climate wherein the rich and powerful don’t think they have to follow the rules.

As for the rest of us?  How about 12 years in prison for selling a $31 bag of pot.

 

December 29, 2011 at 6:57 PM Leave a comment

Must See: Sacha Baron Cohen Punks Ron Paul — Paul Flips Out

Drat, I can’t get this video to embed so go here and watch Sacha Baron Cohen punk Ron Paul [2009].  I mean really, really, REALLY punk him.

It’s hilarious.

Oh, and yes, Paul is clearly homophobic but above all, acutely humorless.

December 29, 2011 at 5:37 PM Leave a comment

Tea Party Governor Hopes to Improve the “Mood” in So. Carolina Via Telephone Greeting

Geezus.  This is par for the course in terms of what Republicans have to offer to help alleviate the suffering going on around here during this God awful recession depression:

Two South Carolina legislators say state employees shouldn’t have to answer the phone with Gov. Nikki Haley’s mandated cheery greeting unless it’s truly a great day in South Carolina.
Democratic state Reps. John Richard King and Wendell Gilliard have filed legislation saying no state agency can force its employees to answer the phone with, “It’s a great day in South Carolina,” as long as state unemployment is 5 percent or higher. Their bill also would prohibit requiring the greeting as long as all South Carolinians don’t have health insurance.
At a September meeting, Haley ordered her Cabinet agencies to embrace the greeting, saying it could help change the mood of state government.
A Haley spokesman says the Republican governor stands by the greeting.
Bravo to those Democrats.  Great way to make a point.
And Nikki, you gotta work way harder.  What a joke.

December 29, 2011 at 4:58 PM Leave a comment

Remember When Ashleigh Banfield Was a Pariah?

TVNewser is reporting today that two new morning shows will debut on CNN on Monday, one starring Ashley Banfield:

Photo: Evan Agostini/Getty Images Entertainment

CNN will be launching its new 4-hour morning show Monday, the day before the Iowa Caucuses. Soledad O’Brien will anchor the 7-9am hours from Des Moines Monday and Tuesday with Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin anchoring the 5-7am hours from New York.

Remember when Ashleigh Banfield was a pariah in medialand because she criticized its abysmal coverage of the Iraq war?

Banfield, in a speech at Kansas State University [in 2003], had lashed out at “cable news operators who wrap themselves in the American flag and go after a certain target demographic.”

Banfield also claimed in her speech TV should have shown the gruesome results of coalition force in Iraq.

“We didn’t see what happen when Marines fired M-16s,” Banfield said. “We didn’t see what happened after mortars landed, only the puff of smoke. There were horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism? Or was this coverage?”

Reporters embedded with troops said there was little or no opportunity to film the “blood and guts” of the war due to logistical reasons. Many did not see much combat action.

Banfield’s address also suggested some cable TV networks skewed their coverage to please advertisers.

“It was a grand and glorious picture that had a lot of people watching,” Banfield said, “and a lot of advertisers excited about cable TV news. But it wasn’t journalism, because I’m not sure Americans are hesitant to do this again – to fight another war, because it looked to them like a courageous and terrific endeavor.”

I thought she was a terrific reporter and I liked her even more for the guts it took to speak out.  Glad to see her back (though I don’t know if even she can make me watch CNN again).  Hopefully she’ll show the same spunk she had in 2003.  I hope that hasn’t been intimidated out of her.

December 29, 2011 at 2:51 PM 1 comment

Trekking Wolf 10 Miles North of California Border

This is a cool story:

B-300, the mother of OR7, gets used to its new radio collar after it was attached in northeast Oregon in July 2009. Like her son OR7, which may become California's first wild wolf in nearly a century, B-300 is something of a pioneer. In 2008, she became the first wolf to return to Oregon, migrating there from Idaho. Photo: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The wandering wolf that crossed the entire state of Oregon this fall is on the move again – and now even closer to California.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday reported that the wolf known as OR7 is now south of Keno, Ore., a town less than 10 miles from the California border along Highway 97. If OR7 keeps moving south, he could become the first gray wolf confirmed in California in more than 90 years.

“There is no way to predict if OR7 will actually cross into California,” Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon wildlife agency, said via email. “He could very well turn around and go right back to where he has been spending time in Klamath and Jackson counties the last month or so, or even back to northeast Oregon.”

The 2-year-old male wolf migrated 730 miles across Oregon over two months beginning in September. He had spent the past month in an area of the Siskiyou National Forest, northeast of Medford.

Given the mother’s history (see photo caption), OR7 seems to come from an exceptional family. I wish him luck and continued cunning and I hope he lives a long, happy life.  Fingers crossed.

December 29, 2011 at 2:22 PM Leave a comment

Enough of This Pink Stuff For Girls!

Here’s an approximately 3-year-old girl named Riley who thoroughly grasps how corporations market to little kids:

I never much liked pink either.

Riley for President!

December 29, 2011 at 12:38 PM Leave a comment

Fox Cleans Up Its Language for FoxNews / Latino

Check out this headline that is up at Fox News Latino this morning:

(Read the article here.)

“Undocumented immigrants?”  How quaint.  Watch Fox and you hear “undocumented immigrants” referred to almost solely as “illegals.”  Major bootlicking going on here.

 

 

December 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM Leave a comment

Hate and Fear

I know it’s early but this would be our Tweet of the Day:

And apropos of that, there’s this:

Santa got me an assault rifle for Christmas: Record numbers of guns bought by Americans during the festive season.

December 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM Leave a comment

Jon Stewart Tops Fox

Finally, some good news for the ol’ US of A:

By losing 9% of their audience in 2011, Fox News’ prime time lineup now averages fewer viewers than Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.

According to TVNewser, Fox News averaged 1.868 million total viewers in prime time compared to 2.3 million for The Daily Show.

The more people who get their news from Jon Stewart instead of Fox, the better.

Bravo to us!

December 29, 2011 at 10:02 AM Leave a comment

How to Treat a Hangover

Think you might be hungover on New Year’s Day?  My hubby was watching the Dr. Oz Show six-or-so weeks ago and he saw a segment about the best way to treat a hangover.

Voila:

Stock up now.

Good luck!

December 29, 2011 at 8:14 AM Leave a comment

Santorum “Surges” in Iowa

Remember this next Tuesday:

December 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM Leave a comment

Give Me Your Tired and Poor?

This is our Tweet of the Day:

Follow.  Jeff.  Sacks ;)

December 28, 2011 at 10:22 PM Leave a comment

Love the National Geographic Channel

Love the National Geographic Channel?

Inconvenient truth:  Rupert Murdoch owns it.

Yep,

that Rupert Murdoch.

December 28, 2011 at 9:29 PM Leave a comment

No to Tar Sands!

Given how ingenious and creative we humans can be, do you mean to tell me we have to tear up the planet like this because we can’t wean ourselves off of oil?  The answer is apparently yes, because the damn oil and gas lobby owns the place.

Look at this beautiful forest, then and now:

Here’s what happens when you turn a carbon sink like the Boreal Forest into a carbon-spewing pit of tar sands.

(Via.)

December 28, 2011 at 5:24 PM Leave a comment

Judge Orders Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Follow the Constitution

Back in the day when I monitored Fox for Outfoxed and the Newshounds, Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a frequent guest on Your World w/Neil Cavuto (what he had to do with “business news” is something I never figured out), and he was touted one tough, God-and-country kind of dude.  Yes siree, he was a flag wavin’ Amerrrican:

The rule of law and how Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs his office are often mutually exclusive.

Arpaio, whose jurisdiction includes the sprawling Phoenix metropolitan area, has been labeled by supporters as “America’s toughest sheriff.” Unfortunately, he achieved that moniker by routinely violating the human rights of jail inmates and ignoring the constitutional protections of those he swore to protect.

[...]

Now, enough may finally be enough. Last Friday, the U.S. District Court in Phoenix issued an injunction to stop Arpaio’s office from detaining or arresting people based only on suspicion of being in the U.S. illegally without any evidence of criminal activity. The court also certified the four-year-old civil rights lawsuit, for which the ACLU is co-counsel, as a class action. This allows any Latino who has been stopped or detained by the sheriff’s office since 2007 (or anyone who might be in the future) to enforce the court order.

The suit seeks to change how Arpaio enforces immigration laws and does not ask for monetary damages.

“The district court ruled that the sheriff’s policy of detaining people merely based on a suspicion that they are in the U.S. unlawfully violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

More…

If you stop someone because you think they might be in the U.S. unlawfully, you’re a hero on Fox.  The Constitution?  That’s for sissies.

 

December 28, 2011 at 3:44 PM Leave a comment

Stores Targeting People Who Shop While Drunk

Don’t know why we should be surprised by this:

Photo: Los Angeles Times

After enjoying a few drinks, some people go dancing. Others order food. And for some, it’s time to shop online.

“I have my account linked to my phone, so it’s really easy,” said Tiffany Whitten, of Dayton, Ohio, whose most recent tipsy purchase made on her smartphone — a phone cover — arrived from Amazon much to her surprise. “I was drunk and I bought it, and I forgot about it, and it showed up in the mail, and I was really excited.”

[...]

“Post-bar, inhibitions can be impacted, and that can cause shopping, and hopefully healthy impulse buying,” said Andy Page, the president of Gilt Groupe, an online retailer that is adding more sales starting at 9 p.m. to respond to high traffic then — perhaps some of it by shoppers under the influence.

On eBay, the busiest time of day is from 6:30 to 10:30 in each time zone. Asked if drinking might be a factor, Steve Yankovich, vice president for mobile for eBay, said, “Absolutely.” He added: “I mean, if you think about what most people do when they get home from work in the evening, it’s decompression time. The consumer’s in a good mood.”

[...]

At QVC, the television shopping channel, traffic and viewers rise around noon, then quiet down until after 7 p.m. Then items like cosmetics and accessories sell briskly. “Call them girl treats — they seem to attract a really strong following once you get past dinnertime,” said Doug Rose, senior vice president for multichannel programming and marketing for the company. “You can probably come to your own conclusion as to what’s motivating her.”

More…

Take a look at QVC after oh, say, 9:00 p.m.  Chances are they’re hawking rings that sell for over $200.00 that are so gaudy I can’t imagine anyone actually wearing them.  It’s sad.

December 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM Leave a comment

Another Reason Why I Might Not Vote for Barack Obama

Salmonella Bacteria -- Photo: Janice Haney Carr / CDC

 

Earlier this month, the Maine-based grocery chain Hannaford issued a ground beef recall after at least 14 people were infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella. Chances are this is the first you’ve heard of it. After all, it’s not much compared to the 76 illnesses and one death back in August that led Cargill to recall almost 36 million pounds of ground turkey products potentially contaminated with drug-resistant salmonella. The particulars get confusing, but the trend is unmistakable: our meat supply is frequently contaminated with bacteria that can’t readily be treated by antibiotics.

[...]
It’s not like this is happening without a reason; the little germs have plenty of practice fighting the drugs designed to kill them in the industrially raised animals to which antibiotics are routinely fed. And although it’s economical for producers to drug animals prophylactically[1], there are many strong arguments against the use of those drugs, including their declining efficacy in humans.

Probably you’d agree with the couple of people I described this situation to earlier this week, one of whom said something like, “Ugh, that’s crazy,” and the other simply, “They gotta do something about that!”

The thing is, “they” did. In 1977.

That’s when the Food and Drug Administration, aware of the health risks of administering antibiotics to healthy farm animals, proposed to withdraw its prior approval of putting penicillin and tetracycline in animal feed. Per their procedure, the F.D.A. then issued two “notices of opportunity for a hearing,” which were put on hold by Congress until further research could be conducted. On hold is exactly where the F.D.A.’s requests have been since your dad had sideburns.

Until last week, when the agency decided to withdraw them.

That would be the change-we-can-believe-in Obama administration’s FDA, bowing to corporate pressure.  It’s disgusting.

Read more gory details here.  I’m a meat eater but what’s going on behind the scenes in the American meat industry is horrifying.  It’s enough to make me think about becoming a vegetarian.

December 28, 2011 at 11:55 AM Leave a comment

Relying on Fox News Stunts the Growth of Republican Candidates

Time and time again we see Republican candidates — who are feted on Fox — crawl out into the real world and get clobbered.  When will they ever learn?

I love these few paragraphs from Politicususa that perfectly explains their problem:

The real lesson here isn’t that Newt can’t hide, but that all candidates can’t hide from their past. Conservative candidates need to realize that just because the base likes them and just because Fox News is willing to weave fabrications about their past for their horrifically misinformed audience doesn’t mean that the national press will do so. It appears the national press was somewhat chagrined by the Palin 2008 debacle and are may be trying to atone by actually vetting the Republicans this time around, even if they claim to be God’s divinely chosen one.

Time and time again, we see conservative candidates beloved as the One True Conservative plunging in the polls after being vetted via the press and the circus like debates of the GOP 2012 race.

If the Republican Party is to survive, they need to take off the Fox training wheels that give them a false sense of security and control over their messaging. Out here in the real world, they do not control the message. They don’t get to announce that God has forgiven them and move on. If they want an electable national candidate, they’re going to have to ride on the big kid bikes like everyone else.

Folks like Palin and Huckabee and Newt spend their time being coddled by the folks at Fox.  Fox is a cocoon.  It’s a sterile environment.  When Republican candidates walk out the door of the Fox studios and they’re hit with “tough” questions, they scream “gotcha” and don’t know what to do.

Believe me.  The media ain’t liberal.  I wish to God it were.  The thing is, Republicans hit the real world and they’re unprepared because they’ve been living in the fantasy of the Fox sphere.  And it’s their own damn fault.  The Fox world isn’t the real world.

December 27, 2011 at 8:43 PM Leave a comment

Newt Gingrich is Too Ugly to Be President

Newt Gingrich divorced his first wife because she wasn’t pretty enough, an aide has claimed.

The source told CNN that the GOP presidential candidate dumped Jackie Battley because she wasn’t ‘young or pretty enough’ to be the wife of the leader of the country.

Court records now contradict his version of events when it comes to the end of his first marriage, as they show that his then-wife Battley did not want to get a divorce like he has claimed previously.

In an effort to lessen the blow that his tumultuous private life has had on his image as a God-loving conservative, Mr Gingrich has repeatedly claimed that both he and Jackie wanted a divorce, and he filed the complaint after she asked him to.

The original court records that CNN found, however, dispute that version of events.
Read more disgusting and juicy details here.
I can’t imagine the primal pain Jackie Battley must have felt being tossed aside because she wasn’t “pretty enough.”  And tossed aside, at that, by a fat, sweaty-looking ugly guy.
Gingrich has — to say the least — an undeserved, unrealistic, outsized ego.  He should take a look in the mirror.  Talk about not being pretty.

December 27, 2011 at 7:37 PM Leave a comment

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