Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I have rejoined the living, although I’m sitting in a chair in the corner wrapped in a blanket and dozing off between nose blows. I’m a total wuss when it comes to getting sick. But for you, my darlings, I have dragged myself from my sickbed (which is super-comfy now that The Stench has been conquered and the memory foam mattress topper’s in place). I have put aside my convenient excuse to do nothing but lie about reading. I have perused the intertoobz, and discovered that no one has any consideration at all for sick bloggers on a Monday. The stupid, it is relentless.

Of course, most of teh stoopid’s been concentrated around health care reform, but we’ve got some grade-a dumbfuckery out there on other fronts. Such as the dumbfuck who posted an assassination poll on Facebook:

The Secret Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding an eye-opening Facebook poll that asked whether Obama should be assassinated, a Secret Service spokesman confirms to us.

“We are taking the appropriate investigative steps,” the spokesman, Ed Donovan, told our reporter, Amanda Erickson. “We are aware of it.”

The poll asked: “Should Obama be killed?” It offered four choices: No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.

And you thought Faux News polls were outrageously stupid. I don’t imagine the feckless idiot who posted this is a terribly serious threat, except to the nation’s average intelligence. Even the most basic dumbshit should realize that posting a poll asking whether the President should be assassinated will attract the wrong sort of attention from the friendly folks at the Secret Service.

It’s also a little hard to be sanguine about such things when you’ve got morons at right-wing conferences basically advocating armed insurgency against the government:

At the How To Take Back America Conference last weekend, conservative speaker Kitty Werthmann led a workshop called “How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists.” Announcing the panel in a column preceding the conference, talk show host Janet Porter gushed how Werthmann’s description of Austria in the 1930s is a “mirror to America” today — noting “They had Joseph Goebbels; we have Mark Lloyd, the diversity czar.” The room was packed over capacity to hear Werthmann, who grew up as a Christian in Austria and serves as Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum South Dakota President.

During her session, Werthmann went through a litany of examples of how President Obama is like Adolf Hitler. She noted that Hitler, who acted “like an American politician,” was “elected in a 100% Christian nation.” Although she failed to once mention Antisemitism or militarism, Werthmann explained how universal healthcare, an Equal Rights Amendment, and increased taxes were telltale signs of Nazism. Werthmann also warned the audience:

If we had our guns, we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. […] Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. […] And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.

I’m too damned tired to unpack all of the stupidity contained therein. Let me just say: Marxism and fascism don’t border each other, lots of countries manage things like equal rights, tax increases and universal healthcare without becoming Nazi Germany, and if this is the tone of the fucking conference, elected officials shouldn’t be within a thousand miles of the thing – although several Cons were proud to be there. Fuck, if you visit the link, you’ll even see Bachmann’s autograph on that fucktard’s CD.

And Rep. Trent Franks was up there happy to tell all and sundry that Obama hates America:

In an interview with the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel at the How To Take Back America conference this weekend, Franks said that he believes Obama is American, “even if he acts un-American”:

FRANKS: That solved the issue for me. I said, you know, I can’t — I believe he’s a natural born citizen of the United States under the Constitution. And therefore, even if he acts un-American and he seems to go against American interests, I’d still believe he’s a natural-born American citizen.

Fantastic. Way to throw fuel on the fire, there, Trent. Word to my home state: kick this stupid fucker out of Washington.

And then we have right-wing fucktards smearing a dead man with no evidence at all:

I only wish I were kidding here, folks. From JLFinch at Daily Kos and Wonkette, we find out that Dan Riehl is pulling a Peggy Noonan It-Is-Irresponsible-Not-To-Speculate smear job on a dead guy who can’t fight back:

Was Census Worker Bill Sparkman A Child Predator?

Update: Before any more people start going bonkers that I’m accusing Sparkman of anything, take a breath. … . …All I’m doing is looking at any and all possibilities. … Why strip him naked and bind and gag him, which has serious sexual overtones?

I have no idea what happened, but from the reporting I’ve seen, neither does anyone else. If he adopted a boy as a single man, or was married and split with the wife and kids, who knows. But I never assume I know a story or motive until I know it. Right now we don’t. I’m simply speculating on one possible alternative, however impolite.

Well, golly, Mr. Riehl, I’m sure Mr. Sparkman’s wife and son must really enjoy your coy little efforts to smear their tortured-to-death husband and father…

If you think the ellipses in the above exonerate the fucktard, they don’t. He’s just trying to shore up his irresponsible, reprehensible bullshit by saying he’s been a crime writer for a long time and besides, other people are speculating about meth labs, so his douchebaggery is totally okay.

It’s not. But these assholes are too far gone to realize it.

And while the right wing gets ever more rabid, the Con 2012 hopefuls ratchet up the batshit insanity trying to win them over. Lessee, we have Huck wanting to chuck the UN in the river:

On Saturday, Mike Huckabee gave the keynote address at Phyllis Schlafly’s How To Take Back America conference. Huckabee praised Schafly, calling her book “Choice not an Echo” an inspiration when he was a teenager.

Huckabee spent a considerable amount of his address railing against the United Nations, calling it the “international equivalent of ACORN” and demanding that America should withdraw. As Dave Weigel noted, the crowd greeted Huckabee’s anti-UN rhetoric with a standing ovation:

HUCKABEE: It’s time to get a jackhammer and to simply chip that part of New York City. Let it float into the East River, never to be seen again. [STANDING OVATION] […]

It’s time to say enough of the American taxpayer dollar being spent that may have had a noble idea, but it has become a disgrace. It has become the international equivalent of ACORN, and it’s time to say enough.

Oh, wait, Huck’s had a better idea! Send the UN to Saudi instead!

But then Huckabee backpedaled from outright destruction of the U.N. to simply moving it to sunny Riyadh.

“Let’s end the diplomatic excesses that these people enjoy,” he said. “Let any country that is willing to spend the money that the United States is hosting–let them have it. Give it to the Saudis and let these diplomats suck the sand out of the Saudi desert for a few summers and see if that’s where they’d like to go, and make their ridiculous speeches.

Now this sophomoric, wingnut radio talk-show level of U.N. bashing is red-meat for the base, but this isn’t how serious candidates for president talk. Either Huck’s trying to out-flank Palin, or he knows he can’t peel enough fundies away from her, and is just pumping up ad sales for his shitty show.

I don’t doubt that this fucktard thinks he can do it all, including run for the presidency after proving what a right-wing jackass he is, because he’s an amusing guest on The Daily Show. And people like him are oblivious to reality anyway – they’re wrapped in their own little bubble of crazy, and they think nearly everybody’s in there with them.

If you’re expecting the hopefuls to distance themselves from fanatics, disabuse yourself of that notion. They’re flocking around Bob “Women Should be Barefoot and Pregnant Just Like the Bible Intended” McDonnell:

Pretty interesting development: Despite the controversy over Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell’s master’s thesis pillorying women’s and gay rights (or perhaps partly because of it?) the 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls are falling all over themselves to be seen campaigning at his side.

[snip]

These days the top GOP wannabees for 2012 love being seen with the man:

* Bobby Jindal is headlinging a fundraiser tonight that’s expected to raise $250,000 for McDonnell.

* Newt Gingrich hosted a campaign breakfast with him this morning.

* Mitt Romney hosted a fundraiser that netted $100,000 for McDonnell last week.

* Tim Pawlenty stumped for McDonnell in Virginia earlier this month.

Pathetic and disgusting – par for the course with the GOP lately.

So where’s Sarah Palin been? Mistaking a taste of Tehran for Anchorage:

Sarah Palin’s trip to Hong Kong last week was promoted heavily, while her speech was kept as little reported as possible (well except for Rich Lowry’s fapping). There were only sketchy reports of her appearance and attempt to acquire gravitas. However, as usual in Palin-land there was a big failing of plans. For who should show up for her speech last week but British professional bs detector Robert Fiske:

It was then we realised that whoever wrote the Palin sermon for her, they had – mercilessly – allowed some of the real Sarah to show through. Even husband Todd got a mention. He had flown with her into Hong Kong. And – here was a reference to the Alaska fish and caviar consumed in this “beautiful”, “magnificent” and “libertarian” part of China – “some of the fruits of our labour, mine and Todd’s, ended up on tables here”. The caviar at the Hyatt, it should be added, comes from Iran.

Oh dear, looks like Sarah Palin is living the high life with terrorists.

Unless something really dramatic happens, these are the people the Cons will be resting their hopes for retaking the White House on. If my fellow Americans are dumbshit enough to elect one of these assclowns, I shall know we are beyond help.

Finally, an amusing tidbit, because I do so love it when Cons subside into embarrassed silence:

In July, a variety of conservative Republican lawmakers were outraged by the official U.S. government opposition to the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Honduras. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) officially endorsed the military-backed coup, and a variety of House Republicans organized a “congressional coup caucus” in support of the new, unelected government.

Oddly enough, we’re not hearing much from this GOP crowd anymore. I wonder why that is.

The de facto government that’s in power in Honduras closed down television and radio stations Monday morning that are aligned with ousted President Manuel Zelaya. […]

The moves by interim President Roberto Micheletti came hours after the government announced a decree suspending constitutional civil liberties, an attempt to keep supporters of Zelaya off the streets Monday.

So much for all that freedom and democracy the coup was bringing to Honduras, eh? Oops.

I wish I knew what it was like to live in a country where the opposition isn’t quite so frothing insane and spectacularly bloody stupid.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I am in Day 2 of this cold, which means I’m at the stage where one feels as though one has been beaten by very large sumo wrestlers, thoughts wander about like drunk kittens, exhaustion comes on with the insistence of a used car salesman, and taste is but a distant memory, as is breathing.

But hey. At least it’s not the swine flu.

In other words, Happy Hour shall be short, it’ll contain Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity, and aside from the Carnival, it’s all you’re getting from me. Well, probably.

The “aggressive but not ideological” Faux Nation website is beloved by (who else?) Cons. Shocker, I know. One gets the feeling a dictionary is needed in Faux News headquarters, because they love to toss around words without really comprehending their actual meaning.

The National Review puts out a piece that sounds like WorldNut Daily mashed up with Faux News and then flambéed with some neocon sauce.

Chris Wallace actually spanks Bob McDonnell for saying that his right-wing frothing fundie thesis wasn’t a “radical agenda.”

Cons are on about regime change in Iran. Because we all know how well regime change went the last time we forced it.

And, in the best comment I heard all day, Defense Secretary Gates implies he didn’t enjoy working for W by saying, “I very much enjoy working for this one.” Oh, snap!

In Health Care Reform Stupidity news, we have Congressional Cons whining that the White House just doesn’t love them anymore. Yes, again. I think these people need to speak to relationship counselors, who might be able to explain them why people they’ve shat on repeatedly might have decided not to be shat upon anymore.

A WaPo columnist believes there’s no constituency for health care. I think the Villagers need to get out more.

Ben Nelson nearly gave me cardiac arrest by suggesting something I actually agree with, while Sen. Tom Carper steps up to shill for drug companies.

The CBO sez the public option saves even more than they thought. That’s bad news for industry shills masquerading as fiscal scolds.

And I’m sure there’s plenty more, but that’s all I’ve got the energy for just now. Feel free to drop links to other tidbits in comments, my darlings.

Summer’s End

Nothing lasts, not planets nor stars nor the universe itself. And even summers end. So says the leaf at Lord Hill, lying there in the sun with its blush of fall colors, but holding on to a last bit of green there at the end. A nice metaphor. And for a while there, it seemed like the only good I was going to get out of my new pack o’ batteries, but that’s a scene from later in the story.

Let’s go back to the beginning, when I decided to take Thursday off in order to wring one last precious drop from summer, and woke up to dark gray skies and a cold wind.

Damn you, Murphy!

My intrepid companion and I had planned to go to Tiger Mountain, where it’s rumored there are views all the way from the Issaquah Alps to Seattle itself. We stood out on my porch looking at the solid cloud cover stretching from horizon to horizon and decided the hell with hiking six miles up a mountain to a viewpoint with no view. Although Weather.com assured us there’d be sunshine later in the day, well, weathermen have been wrong before. So we decided to head out to St. Edwards State Park, where there are too many trees for clouds or lack thereof to really make a difference. I didn’t bring my camera. Dark, dank day, why bother?

Damn you again, Murphy!

By the time we got there, the clouds were breaking up. Once we’d descended the hill by the Grotto trail and arrived at Lake Washington, there wasn’t a single damned cloud to be seen, the water was glorious blue, and everything was sparkly and warm. Considerably more sparkly and warm than the last time I’d been there, which was in the spring of 2007, when I’d actually had my camera with me.

So you shall have to use your imaginations to paint in a deep blue sky, sparkling blue water, and a speedboat anchored peacefully nearby. The water, aside from those moments when passing boats disturbed it, lapped peacefully up against the shore, and by the rocks it had gathered in limpid little pools that showed off the sandy, pebbly bottom quite nicely. Nothing for it but to take off ye olde shoes, roll up ye olde jeans, and go wading.

Me being me, there was also rockhounding involved. I found not one, but two, pieces of beautiful gray mica schist lying about, and a bit of smoky quartz, and other sundry treasures still awaiting identification.

After lingering there for a very long time, we headed to downtown Kirkland, where I gave in to temptation and am now the proud owner of a bit of rhyolite with two perfectly-formed garnets in it. And I fell for the piece of lingrite from Grand Reef Mine in Arizona. And the agate limb cast. And a bit of Biggs jasper with patterns that make it look as though ferns are growing in it. And the wee sprig of amethyst in red hematite dug up in Thunder Bay by the owner hisownself.

Got off lightly that time, really.

Friday being all sun-shiny, we decided for a reprise, this time at Lord Hill, where there’s rumored to be a view of both the Cascades and the Olympics. There was indeed a view at the first viewpoint we went to – of tiny fragments of mountains through a bunch of damned trees. So there we were, having trudged over a mile through dank, dark forest, dodging piles of horse shit, rewarded with nothing but more tree trunks. It hardly seemed worth it.

Luckily, we did not give up, but decided we’d attempt the second rumored viewpoint along the Pipeline cutoff trail. Worth it? Why, yes, I should think so. You take a little side trail that looks like it goes nowhere, make a steep climb, and come to a big mossy outcrop of limestone where you have to scramble over the last few feet:

And then, once you’re over that bit, you’re on Lord Hill’s bald spot with a view to die for. There are the Olympics across the valley to the right:


And Mt. Rainier across the valley to the left:


But that’s not the whole story, by far. If you take one of the little barely-there trails trekking along through the bushes and short trees on the hilltop, you’ll come to a cliff, and there the Cascades are, swept out in a line that begs for a panorama. My camera can’t do panoramas, so this shall have to do:

This as well:


Is that or is that not perfectly awesome?

And so there it is, the last drop of summer. How do I know it’s the last? Two things: Weather.com says next week’s going to get rainy and chilly, and I started developing a head cold early this morning. That is what we call a clue around these parts.

It’s been an amazing summer. But now, it’s time to go inside, ease back into writing by watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended editions, of course), and follow the cat’s lead by contemplating this summer’s treasures:


There are worse ways to spend a winter. And then, at winter’s end, it shall be summer again.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I’ve stopped asking if the right wing can get any more ridiculous. Of course they can.

For instance, they’re on about dolls now:

Just when you think the right wing’s ability to freak out over imaginary outrages can’t possibly get any more ridiculous(death panels, Obama’s fake birth certificate, census data being used to take our guns away and put us all in FEMA interment camps), they go and top themselves again:

An outraged Andrea Peyser writes in the NY Post today:

And while you were snoozing, the creators of American Girl, which is sold by Mattel, got bold. They engaged in all-out political indoctrination.

Snuck into the collection is a doll that comes with a biography that is weird and potentially offensive enough to keep Mom running to the Maalox. Gwen, you see, is harboring a terrible secret.

She is homeless. A homeless doll.

(…)

What message is being sent with Gwen?

For starters, men are bad. Fathers abandon women without cause. She’s also telling me that women are helpless. And that children in this great country, where dolls sell for nearly 100 bucks a pop, are allowed to sleep in motor vehicles. But mothers don’t lose custody over this injustice. Because, you see, they are victims, too.

ZOMG! Our poor innocent children could be exposed to the fact that there are homeless people! Where will this liberal perfidy end?

Horrible how we evil libruls acknowledge people the right would rather pretend didn’t exist, innit?

And speaking of indoctrination, the right is also in hysterics over children having a sing-song about the President – despite the fact they had no hysterics when the sing-song was about Bush:

Conservatives have been up in arms over a tape showing schoolchildren in New Jersey singing a song in praise of President Obama. Glenn Beck said the tape showed “indoctrination that is going on.” Sean Hannity ranted, “This video makes me mad…Mao would be proud.” Typical of this overblown outrage was this statement from RNC Chairman Michael Steele:

Friend, this is the type of propaganda you would see in Stalin’s Russia or Kim Jong Il’s North Korea. I never thought the day would come when I’d see it here in America.

But as Huffington Post recalls, “back in 2006 children from Gulf Coast states serenaded First Lady Laura Bush with a song praising the President, Congress, and Federal Emergency Management Agency for their response to — of all things — Hurricane Katrina.”

IOKIYAR. Even taking the unprecedented step of naming a school full of kiddies after the President is fine – as long as it’s Bush:

Attending a school named after a sitting president: patriotism.

Stockton school officials said they believe theirs will be the first school in the nation named for the president. The White House did not respond to requests for confirmation.

To one school board member, Clem Lee, a Republican, the Bush name is an expression of patriotism.

“It was an expression of the sentiment ‘America Now’ for me,” Lee said. “There’s probably some post-9/11 stuff mixed in there. We have a president who is facing really an unprecedented challenge. So my vote was informed by a culmination of all those things.

“I am the first person to admit that it might be premature to honor a sitting president,” he said. “But it’s quite defensible.

It always is.

It probably wouldn’t be so annoying if these people showed any sign of self-awareness. Just something simple, like “I know I’m being a hypocrite, but…” Yet they don’t. They seriously don’t seem to see any disconnect between believing the praise and adulation of Bush was right and good, and any hint Obama’s being given the same treatment is horrible and evil. Sometimes, I wonder if they have some mild form of Korsakoff’s Syndrome, causing them to forget how they were all perfectly fine with the shit they’re screaming about before a Democratic butt got to sit upon the Oval Office desk chair.

That Democrat, incidentally, has turned FEMA right around:

Many parts of Georgia have been devastated this week by what’s been described as a “once in 500 years flood.” It’s affected 20 counties, killed at least nine people, and caused about $250 million in damages. Vice President Biden appeared alongside members of Congress and federal officials in an Atlanta suburb yesterday, where the American Red Cross had set up a shelter.

By all accounts, officials are responding effectively, and federal aid made available by the administration will be used for recovery programs, including temporary housing and low-cost loans. After a half-hour helicopter tour of the area, Biden vowed that there would be no “bureaucratic stalling and shuffling” as officials addressed the emergency.

I was also struck by the willingness of two very conservative Republican senators — Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss — to credit “the White House’s quick response” and commend the administration’s efforts.

Chambliss praised the Obama Administration for a response that was both “magnificent” and “quick.” Isakson said he had spent last night on the phone with local officials, all of whom reported FEMA workers on the ground.

Apparently, the response isn’t “magnificent” or “quick” enough for the Teabaggers:

It’s pretty much a given that Georgia is a red state, chock full of teabaggers and states rights foamers who fuss constantly about socialism, the intrusive federal government, and abolishing all taxes. The opinion blogs on the AJC are full of rants about how evil the Democrats are, Obama wasn’t born in this country, and we’re all going to hell in a handbasket because of the meddlers in Washington, DC.

Then we had a flood.

You guessed it.

The cry has changed from “Obama’s a socialist!” to “Give me a FEMA check!!” and complaining that the federal disaster declarations didn’t go out fast enough and don’t cover a wide enough area.

Keep your guvmint hands off my FEMA check, eh? Nice. I can’t wait to bring this up next time Georgia starts making noise about secession.

Cons will probably see nothing wrong with Georgia Cons screaming secession one minute and then screaming for federal disaster relief the next. After all, they can’t see anything wrong with lending credence to the most unhinged elements of the right:

The radicals running the How To Take Back America Conference are so nutty, you’d think GOP lawmakers and leaders would want nothing to do with them.

Take Janet Folger Porter, for example, who’s helping run the event. Porter, a leading right-wing activist and talk-show host, believes the United States is “cursed” for having elected President Obama, who took office as the result of a communist conspiracy. She’s told her audience that the H1N1 flu vaccine is really a nefarious plot by the government to kill millions of Americans, and that the Obama administration is creating internment camps for conservatives.

Porter is just one of the truly unhinged conservatives who helped make this weekend’s event a reality, along with other nutty activists like Phyllis Schlafly, Joseph Farah, Mat Staver, and Rick Scarborough.

Are Republicans keeping their distance? Some are, some aren’t. Four sitting Republican members of Congress — Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Steve King (Iowa), Tom Price (Ga.), and Tom McClintock (Calif.) — will be addressing the conference today. Former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) will headline the event this evening.

Once again, IOKIYAR. Faux News won’t be howling non-stop about your extremist associations for the next several months because they, too, share your special kind of myopia.

And they’re aided and abetted by people so busy panicking they forget how to think. Like TNR’s Michael Crowley, who’s apparently been watching way too much teevee lately:

If it were up to me, I don’t know what I would do; I would need to know more facts. I am not a proponent of torture, which I think has done enormous harm to America’s image abroad and moral fiber at home. But I ride the subways these guys may have been planning to attack and I would like to be quite sure we’ve found all of them. At a minimum, this is a good opportunity to stress-test the debate about interrogation techniques, because it may be that life can imitate 24 after all.

Oh yessss. It would be irresponsible not to.

Why do I increasingly feel like the last seven or eight years never happened and I’ve awakened sometime in early 2002? More 24 bullshit? Really? What, did Crowley miss out on the post 9/11 pants peeing extravaganza or is this is some kind of retro panic chic? (Can’t you just feel the breathless, macho arousal in his words?) Jesus.

Somebody needs to tell Crowley that we’ve had the debate and we don’t need any “stress testing.” It was “tested” on quite a few subjects and it didn’t work no matter how fast Dick Cheney dances on the head of a pin. Plus there’s this.

24 has become the Godwin’s Law of torture talk. And I’m sorry, but if you whip out 24 in all seriousness, you’ve just invalidated your own argument.

Better countrymen, please.