Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hitchens at his best

It's articles like these that I'm going to miss when Hitch is gone. In this case, he scratches the scratch-n-sniff and we get a whiff of the rotting underbelly of the right wing in America--a bunch of dolts who have to dig up their old-time hatreds because they're just to lazy to come up with anything original.

And the calling out of Douthat (who is reportedly pissed off about being called out) is just gravy on this bit of deliciousness from Hitch. Savor every word.

in reference to:

"Things that had hidden under stones are being dug up and re-released. And why? So as to teach us anew about the dangers of “spending and deficits”? It’s enough to make a cat laugh. No, a whole new audience has been created, including many impressionable young people, for ideas that are viciously anti-democratic and ahistorical. The full effect of this will be felt farther down the road, where we will need it even less."
- Tea'd Off | Politics | Vanity Fair (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Helen gets it right on the war mongers

Margaret and Helen are one of the best reads in the blog world, and this quote is yet another gem from Helen... Go read the whole thing!

in reference to:

"I have learned that when Democrats over-reach, we end up providing health insurance coverage for children who have pre-existing conditions.  When Republicans over-reach, we go to war."
- Higher Ground « Margaret and Helen (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The W is for War Criminal

The real kicker is how oblivious Bush is. He's so convinced of his righteousness that he can't see the obvious.

Well, no, the real kicker is that he isn't in the Hague.

in reference to:

"British officials said today there was no evidence to support claims by George Bush, the former US president, that information extracted by "waterboarding" saved British lives by foiling attacks on Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf. In his memoirs, Bush said the practice – condemned by Downing Street as torture – was used in CIA interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US."
- British deny George Bush's claims that torture helped foil terror plots | World news | The Guardian (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, November 08, 2010

It's the infrastructure, stupid (or: Republicans kill jobs, again)

I hardly ever read Republican columnists, but this bit by Douthat caught my eye:
While the Bush administration overspent, it wasn’t spending and deficits that turned the country against conservative domestic policy between 2004 and 2008. It was the fact that the Republican majority seemed to have no answers to Middle America’s economic struggles, and no appetite for the structural reforms required to keep the United States competitive.
Put that in the context of new Republican leaders saying no to infrastructure, and you get yourself a nice replay of idiot Republicans once again unable to lead. They say jobs are the most important thing, but they think they will magically appear without actually doing anything to create them. There is no structural reform more important than infrastructure (the cost of which is really cheap right now).

And people like Douthat keep voting for Republicans anyway.

How many bridges will collapse before we hire some people to fix them?

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Most Historic Election

"When you have the most historic election in over 60-70 years, you would think that the other party would understand that the American people have clearly repudiated the policies that they put forward the last two years."--John Boehner

This is more proof that Republicans are delusional. The most historic election in the last 60-70 years put a black man in the White House and large, productive majorities of Democrats in the House and Senate. A bunch of hicks showing up in larger numbers for a mid-term isn't even close in historical significance. Hell, they couldn't even take the Senate!

The only thing that this proves is what I've always known: Americans are lousy drivers. Once they get going at a pretty good pace to actually move this old jalopy down the road, they tap the breaks. Now that they've slowed down, they'll have a chance to smell the stench of Republican asbestos pads wearing down, and the'll hit the gas again in two years.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blaming Bush's Budget Busters on Obama

Not only did we make money on the bail outs, but Obama's spending is dwarfed by Bush's. Stopping runaway spending by electing more Republicans is like stopping a runaway train by putting grease on the tracks.

in reference to:

"Calculations by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent fiscal experts show that the $1.1 trillion cost over the next 10 years of the Medicare prescription drug program, which the Republican-controlled Congress adopted in 2003, by itself would add more to the deficit than the combined costs of the bailout, the stimulus and the health care law."
- As G.O.P. Seeks Spending Cuts, Details Are Scarce - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Who? Me?

It's a good thing recession is keeping our emissions down, because if it was up to the people there'd be a lot of bumbling around wondering WTF? Learning about something takes effort, and effort is hard when people are just trying to get by in this world.

Someday the recession will end, our emissions will increase again, and the world will just keep getting hotter. Maybe then people will start paying attention, and maybe by then it will be too damn late.

I blame the Republicans. Only a few of them would have come to their senses to do something about this now, and they would not. Now those few have screwed us all.

"Human history becomes more and more a race
between education and catastrophe."—HG Wells

in reference to:

"we found that 63 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, but many do not understand why."
- Yale F&ES Project on Climate Change Communication (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Put on your hip boots and pity the poor

Because of all the science-flunky climate change deniers (with more to come in the new tea party house), we are all fucked.

Now we're officially giving up on slowing down the warming, and we're being told to start preparing for the inevitable results of ignorant fucks getting their way.

Like we didn't learn that from George Bush and Dick Cheney already.

in reference to:

"The Obama administration, which has been unable to push climate-change legislation through Congress, is urging government agencies to prepare for the “inevitable effects” of global warming."
- U.S. Agencies Urged to Plan for the `Inevitable Effects' of Global Warming - Bloomberg (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Supreme Court Rules for Bush Again

The Bush Five still have their lips planted firmly on Bush's flight-suit bulge.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a decision dismissing a lawsuit filed by two people who were ejected from a speech by President George W. Bush in 2005. They had arrived in a car bearing a bumper sticker that said “No More Blood for Oil,” and they claimed that their First Amendment rights were violated when they were marched out of the event.
Free speech is only for corporations now.

Friday, October 01, 2010

A Little Balloon Juice for Organic Kona Coffee Beans

John Cole of Balloon Juice gave a nice mention to my organic Kona coffee bean growing buddies on the big island of Hawaii today. Thanks, John. These guys are working their asses off trying to keep their small, sustainable coffee farming operation in business during these tough times where people can barely afford Folgers, much less Kona.

As John points out, they roast the beans on Sunday and ship on Monday, so it's going to be seriously fresh roasted Kona beans. Of course, if you really want fresh roast, you could order green Kona coffee beans and roast them yourself! If you're really into rare and special coffee, check out the peaberry Kona coffee beans!

In case you're wondering if Kona coffee is really worth the price, here's what Mark Twain had to say about it:
The ride through the district of Kona to Kealakekua Bay took us through the famous coffee and orange section. I think the Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other, be it grown where it may and call it by what name you please.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Republicans Are Liars

I'm shocked, shocked to hear that Republicans are lying...

in reference to:

"The Republican “Pledge to America,” released Sept. 23, contains some dubious factual claims: It declares that “the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.” Not true. So far this year government employment has declined slightly, while private sector employment has increased by 763,000 jobs."
- FactChecking ‘The Pledge’ | (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cheney-Bush-Rumsfeld lied us into Iraq (and some other disasters)

This is why I won't even talk to Republicans. They're liars who don't care about facts. They have caused the deaths of millions, and won't even admit they were wrong. Wrong about war. Wrong about pollution. Wrong about global warming. Wrong about stem cells. Wrong about the economy. Wrong about everything.

Remember that the new crop of teatards is even more conservative, supporting, for instance, jailing women who abort their rapist's baby.

So, yeah, Republicans: shove it. You want to turn us into the Confederate States of America. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Creating Jobs

Great article on the value of Facebook's super users, and the potential for a business built on paying its users what they're worth.

in reference to:

"If we awarded 4/5 ths of the value of Facebook (and the same exercise could be done with Google at a couple of million superusers) to its superusers, leaving the tool managers $5 billion in value, each superuser would now be worth $200,000 from their contributions to this tool alone.  But they aren't.  They haven't earned a penny for their effort."
- COGNITIVE SLAVES - Global Guerrillas (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GOP So Wrong and Yet So Loud

Krugman says it best...

Suppose you had spent the last five years actually believing what you read from the usual suspects — the WSJ opinion pages, National Review, right-wing economists, etc.. Here’s what would have happened:
In 2006 you would have believed that there was no housing bubble.
In 2007 you would have believed that the troubles of subprime couldn’t possibly spread to the financial system as a whole.
In 2008 you would have believed that we weren’t in a recession — and that the failure of Lehman was unlikely to have bad consequences for the real economy.
In 2009 you would have believed that high inflation was just around the corner.
At the beginning of 2010 you would have believed that sky-high interest rates were just around the corner.
What the hell is wrong with people who will vote for people who are so consistently wrong?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Record Hurricane Season Already

Funny that we haven't heard more about this...

Obviously being powered by very warm surface temps in the ocean, hurricanes are both very powerful this year, and very numerous. Now, what were those predictions of hurricane activity based on a warmer planet?

in reference to:

"hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University told CWG (Capital Weather Gang) that between August 27 and September 15 there have been four (Danielle, Earl, Igor, and Julia) category 4 hurricanes -- the most on record in such a short period."
- Hurricanes keep avoiding U.S., will it continue? - Capital Weather Gang (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, September 13, 2010

That Sound You Hear at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois Lincoln rolling in his tomb over the recent turmoil regarding religious freedom in this country.

Get this abstract background photograph by Robin Supak at our computer backgrounds blog. It makes for a great background for protest signs, web pages, or any graphic art. Just give us a link to if you use it!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

And we're worried about Koran Burning

Now if someone really wanted to start some shit, they could pile up all the religious books they could find, from every religion, and turn them to ash with a giant flamethrower. Or, they could send an army of young people, without enough training or oversight, into a very angry place and start killing civilians indiscriminantly. Either way, you wind up with some very pissed off people, but, at least in the case of the pile of smoldering Bibles and Korans, you wouldn't have any corpses to collect the fingers from.

in reference to: US soldiers 'killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies' | World news | The Guardian (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Clowns to the Right of Me!

Got a great letter from an old friend (aka Sargent PSOPS) the other day...

I went to the Berlin Contemporary art museum today.  The had a retrospective of artist Bruce Nauman.   I'll call his work non traditional.  I arrived at the museum just in time for a tour in English.  Included in the group  were some 12th grade art students from an English language school.  They were a cross section, Asian, Muslim, German, etc.
One of the artists "events" was a 20 x20 dark room with videos of clowns.  Each end had a projected large image, wall 3 had 4 video screens, the 4th wall was the audience.  One of the projected clowns was talking loudly and unintelligibly except one word could be heard repeated over and over.  I don't remember the word, it is unimportant.  The tite of the installation event was "torture of the clowns."
When we stepped out to discuss what we had seen I offered that if done today the artist might have called it Fox News Channel.
They got it.  12th graders know that Fox news blabs and blabs with constant throwing in of one intelligible word which propagandizes the audience.  Words like, Muslim, socialist, not legally born, abortion, or whatever the propaganda  buzzword of the day is that corporate elites hand down.
12th graders here better understand the propagandizing of American better than many Americans.  Maybe they are equally propagandized by the same elites.
And that is the way it is in the 2010 election cycle.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Perfectly Safe...

How long until some Republican says (again) that offshore drilling is perfectly safe, we don't need a moratorium, and anyone who says we do is a commie bastard?

It sickens me to think of all the "reasonable" people who are planning to vote GOP in November. Screw the future, eh? Anyone who would even consider voting GOP is a sociopath.

in reference to: BBC News - Explosion on Gulf of Mexico rig (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun with the Rude Pundit on the Beck-Us Festival

The only attention I've paid to the thousands of people who rode buses cross country to listen to Beck/Palin gobbledygook is reading the hilarious and interesting blogging picking apart the scab that is Glenn Beck and his sheep. Note this irresistible fun from the Rude Pundit on "Glenn Beck's Tent Revival Meeting and Hoveround Demonstration":

The best analogy the Rude Pundit can come up with for the whole goddamn ridiculous waste of time is the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. For what was this but a journey from across the nation of Christians going to the city of our stone holy sites in order to pray.

Enough to make me want to pre-order Markos's upcoming book American Taliban.

Of course, the reason I love the Rude Pundit is that he's a keen observer of what many people miss, to wit:

Fun juxtaposition:
Glenn Beck, speaking on Friday at the Kennedy Center, just before raping a kitten, using his tears for lube: "We are 12 hours away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."
Sarah Palin, speaking at the Beckture: "We must not fundamentally transform America, as some would want."

Finally, the Rude One asks a question:

 If anyone can tell the Rude Pundit how that was an important or interesting event at all, please do it. Because, in all honestly, he's boggled and confused.

Again, I didn't watch the thing, although I'm willing to bet is was as interesting as ear wax. As for important, well, it's certainly important in the sense that the code word "honor" coinciding with the MLK anniversary is a huge flashing neon sign of confederatism, a blatant hint that they believe humans can, and should, be owned.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment

A quick note to say that today, the 90th anniversary of women getting the right to vote via the 19th amendment, is a great day to make sure all the women you know have the right to vote. Especially considering that many of the GOP candidates out there are against abortion IN ALL CASES, meaning they want to force rape victims who get pregnant to have their rapists' babies. Meaning they want women at risk to die rather than have an abortion. Meaning they're fascist fucks who want the government involved in your personal decisions while they scream about limiting government.

So make sure all the women you know are aware of this and are registered to vote.

Now, for some history on how women got the right to vote, in a story guaranteed to choke up even the codgiest old dudes like me, read Gail Collins' piece, My Favorite August.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Addiction Treatment Blog

My friends at Reelizations Media have started a blog about addiction treatment. If you are involved in addiction treatment, you'll find this to be a helpful blog where addiction treatment professionals share thoughts, frustrations,  challenges and strategies. Today's post on thereapuetic communities explores why some are dying out, while others are thriving.

Just what is Reelizations Media? From their home page:
Reelizations Media provides video resources for drug abuse intervention and addiction treatment and education. Our videos and other addiction educational resources help alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation counselors, life skills coaches, clinical directors, therapists, social workers, and psychologists who work in hospitals, prisons, jails, correctional institutions, drug treatment centers, halfway houses, shelters, mental health centers, county governments, community centers, and addiction treatment programs.
Reelizations has a huge video catalog of addiction treatment videos covering all kinds of addictions from drugs to gambling. They also specialize in prisoner re-entry education, women's issues, work readiness, and life skills. If you're involved in these fields, please check out the new Reelizations Blog, Addiction Treatment Central, and join in the discussion!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fair fines

I love this story... If the idea of a speeding ticket is to cause financial pain in order to prevent people from speeding, then a flat fine is stupid, because rich people will just pay the relatively small fine in order to speed (or park in a handicapped spot, or whatever).

Having tickets indexed to the income or wealth of the perp just makes sense if we want the tickets to be fair for everyone. Governments looking for new sources of revenue should explore making fines progressive.

in reference to: BBC News - Swede faces world-record $1m speeding penalty (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More proof that the right will hate Obama no matter what he does

Record deportations are exactly what a lot of racist assholes want Obama to do, but do you think those people will read this story? If they do, will they believe it? After all, Faux News tells them that the opposite is true.

Obama could deport every illegal in this country and the right wing would still howl that he's not doing enough. This is proof that actual facts about policies don't matter at all to these people. They hate Obama, period, and no facts are going to get into the way of that bias.

in reference to:

"the deportation trend does run counter to many perceptions in border states and beyond about federal anti-illegal immigration efforts."
- Obama as border cop: He's deported record numbers of illegal immigrants - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Tony Perkins Says A Majority Can Discriminate

Say 80% of Californians voted to make mixed race marriages illegal. Does that mean we have to do it? What if the majority wanted to force black kids into their own schools? Would the fact that a majority of voters said so make it OK? Would they be right?

Judge Vaughan Walker does know better than the people who voted for Prop 8 what should be the level of protection for minorities, based on the laws of the land as they are now. Tony Perkins could have testified and told us all why he thinks bigots, if they're in the majority, have a right to discriminate. But he didn't. Instead, he lies and whines.

Even if a majority of people voted to put Tony Perkins in a concentration camp, it would still be wrong to do it. He has a right to be a flaming idiot and to lie all he wants. But he does not have a right to discriminate, no matter how many voters say he does.

That's America, Tony. People have rights that voters cannot take away. Love it or leave it.

in reference to:

""I think what you have is one judge who thinks he knows - and a district level judge and an openly-homosexual judge at that - who says he knows better than not only 7 million voters in the state of California, but voters in 30 states across the nation that have passed marriage amendments. This is far from over.""
- Same-Sex Marriage Decision: "Far From Over" - Face The Nation - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Civil War Monuments

I live in a town with a monument to the Civil War dead from here. Many towns in upstate NY have them. I even see bumper stickers for daughters of the Civil War--that's how seriously people up here still take their fight against the south.

So, I wish there was going to be a tea party protest up here near me, because as someone who grew up in the south and knows damn well that this flag represents slavery, not state's rights or some other conservative bullshit, I would really like to see this symbol of racism die. I would like to see the flames engulf this disgusting relic, and I would like to watch the faces of the racists while it burned.

Anyone who does this should be prepared for a fight, especially in the south, where this cloth that isn't fit to wipe my ass carries all kinds of emotional baggage for the Obama haters, many of whom probably don't even realize how racist they are. We've all seen it: someone who seems like a tolerant person suddenly engulfed in the flames of their Republican talking points on hate crimes, or welfare, or ACORN, or Obama's birth certificate...

Fact is, they can't stand the fact that a black man got elected. They can't stand the fact that he's managed to do OK despite the crap sandwich he's been handed. They can't stand the fact that their precious GOP is a rump party that represents less and less of the country. So they get mad, and they try to say they're mad about spending, or mandates, or some other misdirection, when it's all, really, about that southern flag, and, ultimately, slavery.

They don't want a federal government telling them how to treat the "lesser" race. They believe the Bell Curve crap. They buy into the supremacy.

And they hate to see it burn.

in reference to:

"An anonymous liberal blogger in Washington state hopes that progressives across the country will show up to tea party rallies on September 12 and -- if it's legal -- light up a confederate flag so tea partiers can watch it burn."
- One Progressive's Nat'l Scheme To Burn Confederate Flags At Tea Party Rallies | TPMDC (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Government that at least tries

"The last time any president did this much in office, booze was illegal. If you believe in policy, if you believe in government that addresses problems, cheers to that."--Rachel Maddow

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner Was a Republican Crook

Wait. That's redundant.

From Time Magazine's list of The 10 Most Notorious Presidential Pardons, coming in at number 7:

Indicted on 14 criminal counts on April 5, 1974, the owner of the New York Yankees plead guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiring to make illegal contributions to President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. Steinbrenner, a major Republican donor, allegedly knew the money he was donating was not going through regular election procedures. Not wanting to appear soft on crime, President Ronald Reagan would only pardon Steinbrenner if the Yankees' owner admitted to the crime.
 He spent the rest of his life giving money to Republicans, supposedly legally. He was an ass, and he won't be missed here. In fact, he's one less rich Republican to donate mostly to Republican causes (a quick search at Open Secrets reveals that he did give money to Democrats).  All the contributions for President went to all the recent Republican candidates. So fuck him.

One odd note, his Yankees only won the World Series under Democratic Presidents.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Head for the Hills

A good friend and client who is a Los Angeles caterer tells me the majority of calls and emails she gets these days are from people looking for work. Of the calls and letters from people who want to hire her, almost all are looking for discount catering: party platters, box lunches, and cupcakes. In a recent exchange of work mail, she sent a letter from a kid who sounded pretty desperate looking for work, and she sent along this little gem:

When the unemployment runs out, head for the hills, because the streets won't be safe.

It's what I used to tell my Republican Dad: the more you suck from the bottom to the top, the more pissed the bottom will get. But maybe I was wrong about what those pissed off people will do. Because the vast majority of them are gun-toting troglodytes who believe the lies from the likes of Limbaugh and Beck, instead of getting mad and voting for liberals who will tax the rich and extend unemployment, they're actually toying with the idea of voting for the very same people who got us in this mess.

I should never underestimate the ignorance that permeates among Republicans, or even potential Republican voters. Because if you're considering voting for the same people who brought you the Trillion Dollar Adventure in Mesopotamia, the Great Recession, the BP Oil Spill, and all kinds of other problems, then you certainly deserve what you get. The rest of us will just have to suffer along with you because you can't pull your head out of your ass.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Something about that year 2007

Hmmm... This article could mention the fact that it was Bush appointees running MMS and Wildlife, that they'd been guarding the hen house since 2001, they had gutted the regulatory power of the agencies and, in the case of MMS, staffers were literally snorting coke of oil industry asses.

This is what Dick Cheney wanted.

in reference to:
"But in a letter dated Sept. 14, 2007, and obtained by The New York Times, the wildlife agency agreed with the minerals service’s characterization that the chances that deepwater drilling would result in a spill that would pollute critical habitat was “low.”"
- Agency Agreed That Spill Risk to Wildlife Was Low - (view on Google Sidewiki)

A Little Organic Search Work

As you may know, I do SEO for a few clients' web sites, like these Los Angeles caterers. In my new post at my Internet Marketing Blog, I mention that we're in the middle of a link buidling campaign for them. So, any of you Los Angelinos with an LA web site might want to get in touch with me to swap links with them.

Culinary Delight Catering has been around for a while now, and has quite a following! I'm always amazed at the number and quality of the good catering reviews they get. Emma Tate, who runs the company, is the best client I could ever hope for--actively involved in creating content, getting links, prompting clients to send in letters of recommendation, and coming up with new promotions and sales that keep interest up. She's constantly providing things to put on her Los Angeles Catering blog. And she always pays her bill on time.

So if your LA or food-based web site needs a little Google Boost, let me know. We'll do some link swaps and everyone will be happier with their ranking. For more information on how to get higher search engine ranks, be sure to check out my SEO business site at that last link.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Republicans want to argue with this guy?

Seriously. People love this guy. Besides, activist judges are defined by the majority in Bush v. Gore, not by those who helped fix great injustices.

in reference to:

""the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.""
- Thurgood Marshall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (view on Google Sidewiki)

Lil' Help on Byrd for Josh Marshall

In his excellent look into racism in the US Senate following the passing of Robert Byrd, Josh Marshall wonders if you can ever really know what someone feels in their heart in regard to racism. I think Josh isn't giving himself credit for having just estimated quite accurately, I would wager.
People change over the course of their lives. This we know. Whether they change out of conviction or opportunism is very difficult to judge. Indeed, it's often a false dichotomy because overtime we come to believe what we find it convenient and expedient to believe. I think the operative question is what they do. 
People eventually do what's in their hearts. I'm from Arkansas, which was a lot like West Virginia (mining, union jobs, middle class, religious).  I knew older men Byrd's age, some relatives. They were kind, gentle, intelligent, and ambitious. They won WWII. They grew up in a different age. They told racist jokes. They treated other races like a novelty, an oddity, almost like a afliction--like the handicapped. They grew up apart from other races, and as they realized (as they were being forced together by the Civil Rights laws) that other people were just that: people.

I think they were embarrassed by their former selves, and many went on to make great strides for the people they had ignored and ridiculed for so long. People do change. Some for the better. Others, like Trent Lott, don't. They just occasionally say something that tips you off to what they think, but long ago learned to not say in public.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This is what Dick Cheney wanted

While Dick Cheney is laying in his hospital bed, thinking over his life's accomplishments (millions killed, oil all over the Gulf of Mexico, economy wrecked, friends made much richer) I don't expect him to think much about the warnings he and Georgie boy must've gotten about drilling for oil in deep water. After all, Dick ran Halliburton, the company that KBR is part of, and KBR had a history of stopping oil leaks.


I don't expect Dick to think much about how much damage this gusher has done to the environment and the people who depended on that environment for their jobs and livelihoods. I don't expect Dick to think about these things because I don't think Dick thinks much at all really. He's made up his mind on issues like this. If you care about the environment, or Iraqis, or US economic growth and job creation, his attitude has, and always will be, "Go fuck yourself."

When I worked as a stagehand, a lot of people I worked with joked that our union motto was, due to the dwindling amount of union jobs: " I got mine: fuck you."

Well, Dick's motto was, and always has been, "I'm getting more: fuck you." The more they were after in this case was a Mount Everest down from the ocean surface, under methane at 100,000 psi pressure. It was impossible to do safely, and yet the Bush administration had made new drilling priority one from day one, putting foxes in all the hen houses, and pushing for drilling like this to go forward no matter what the risks.

These are the facts. This is how the Bush Administration did business. They risked it all for the benefit of their rich donors, and they blew it. And anyone who says otherwise probably denies global warming, evolution, and the holocaust too.

in reference to: petroleumworld (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How's That Fossily-Fuelie Thing Working Out For You?

That's a quote from my wife, Robin, after she picked her jaw up off the floor and held back a new round of tears over this picture--a graphic slap in the face to the Dick Cheney School of Government.

A close-cropped picture of the gulf oil slick from NASA made the rounds to a few big blogs yesterday, but I followed the source links to an even more heart-wrenching high definition large view of the entire gulf of Mexico that gives you a better idea of the scope of this damn thing. Then I cropped it and came up with this startling image--sans the handy place labels, but even the geographically challenged will notice the gulf coast of Texas and Florida (left and right respectively).

Anyone who voted for Bush/Cheney Oil Incorporated shouldn't even look at me right now. Anyone who wants to tell me there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans needs to stare at this for a while, print it out, roll it up nice and tight, and shove it. Every last Republican voter is responsible for this. They put foxes in the hen houses, and this is what it got us.

If you have access to a Republican's computer, go get the big version and use it as desktop wallpaper. Print it out and make a post card and send it to anyone who even ever thought about voting for the Grand Oil Party.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Trees Are Stealing Our Water!

I don't listen to Rush. He still thinks we [members of Congress] don't pay into Social Security... I don't listen to talk radio. I don't have the time. --Rep. Darrell Issa, via TPM
What does it take to get a Republican to denounce Rush Limbaugh? 80 million gallons of oil spewed into the gulf of Mexico and Limbaugh's continued defense of BP, apparently. The TPM story is the first I've seen noting an earthquake in the GOP that had been building for a while, due to the increased pressure between the two tectonic plates of the GOP: The Limbaugh crazies and the crazies who's job it is to get Republicans elected. This clash of landmasses is going to do even more magnitudes of damage to a party that, if it knew shit from shinola, should be taking back the House and Senate this year.

At the rate they're going, I'd be surprised if they could take back their toys at the end of the day.

Perhaps more telling than the rift between the Limbaugh Lemmings and the Issa Idiots is the story of Karl Rove's adventures in alternative fund raising for the GOP:

A new 527 group conceived by veteran GOP hands Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie and launched this year with predictions that it would raise $52 million to support Republican candidates has thus far failed to live up to the fundraising hype.
The group, American Crossroads, raised only $200 last month, according to a report it filed Monday with the Internal Revenue Service, bringing its total raised since launching in March to a little more than $1.25 million. It spent $76,000 in May, primarily on legal fees and salaries, bringing its total spending to $140,000.

All those tax cuts to the rich and Karl Rove can't raise money? Well, as Turd Blossom himself once said, "You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math. I'm entitled to 'the' math."

The Math for Republicans is not good these days. The other main alternative fundraising apparatus, The Tea Baggers, aren't doing much better, although at $4.5 million, they make the Shit Flower look like he needs some water. Or more shit. Maybe the GOP donors, many of them pissed that they've been used to fund a neo-con agenda that didn't result in crucifying gays, forcing prayer in school, putting abortion doctors on death row, restarting prohibition, and planting a 40 ton set of stones with the ten commandments on the White House lawn, just don't want to pony up to Karl, or anyone else for that matter. But whadya bet it's just another con job on the right? They'll throw them some bones here and there, then work for their corporate overlords.

There's a perfect example of all kinds of Republican crazy on display in this month's Harper's Magazine article by Ken Silverstein, Tea party in the Sonora: For the future of G.O.P. governance, look to Arizona:
Then there was Sylvia Allen, a real estate broker from the town of Snowflake, who, in 2008, was appointed by the local Republican Party to finish the term of a respected conservative who had died in office. Allen, who retained her seat in an election that fall, has since gained minor notoriety after calling for more uranium mining, saying in a speech that “this earth has been here 6,000 years, long before anybody had environmental laws, and somehow it hasn’t been done away with.” She also has complained that trees are “stealing Arizona’s water supply” and sponsored a new law that allows carriers of concealed weapons to forego safety training and the indignity of background checks.
 Just imagine this kind of institutionalized crazy, which is really pretty typical of the GOP, combined with this kind of corporate arrogance:
“It’s my opinion that Mr. Barton and Mr. Price’s comments were more of a reaction to the arrogance in President Obama’s speech, where he said he was going to ‘inform’ BP that they would set aside this separate compensation fund to be controlled by a third party,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). “Under our laws and Constitution, the president does not possess the power or authority to make such an arrogant command to a private company.”
OK, then. Anyone who votes for these political Neanderthals deserves the kind of Arizonan dystopia they so deeply desire, where they pay private companies to do what their taxes used to do. If all Republicans would all just move to the land of cheap housing and $500 electric bills, the rest of us could get on with the kind of hard work that running a country requires.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The largest environmental disaster in history?

My Dad was a Republican, although he died before the GW Bush "Presidency," so, who knows what he would think about the screw-the-planet-because-Jesus-is-coming-back-soon lunatics in the GOP now. I like to think that he would be like Charles Barkley, a former "Money Republican" like Dad who said, "I used to be a Republican until they lost their minds."

But who knows. Maybe he'd be a crazy tea bagger, in which case we wouldn't talk anymore. Politics isn't a polite sport for me. I know someone's a wingnut, I give them a blast of my best stuff, and then I eliminate any connections with them. Just ask the Guvernator fans in my family.

But one thing I would ask my Dad, what I ask any old person who might have experienced it directly, is what they knew about the dust bowl. After reading this NYT article, Where Gulf Spill Might Place on the Roll of Disasters, I've been researching man-made environmental disasters, and the dust bowl keeps coming up.

Still, for sheer disruption to human lives, several of them could think of no environmental problem in American history quite equaling the calamity known as the Dust Bowl.
“The Dust Bowl is arguably one of the worst ecological blunders in world history,” said Ted Steinberg, a historian at Case Western Reserve University.
Across the High Plains, stretching from the Texas Panhandle to the Dakotas, poor farming practices in the early part of the 20th century stripped away the native grasses that held moisture and soil in place. A drought that began in 1930 exposed the folly.
Boiling clouds of dust whipped up by harsh winds buried homes and cars, destroyed crops, choked farm animals to death and sent children to the hospital with pneumonia. At first the crisis was ignored in Washington, but then the apocalyptic clouds began to blow all the way to New York, Buffalo and Chicago. A hearing in Congress on the disaster was interrupted by the arrival of a dust storm.
By the mid-1930s, people started to give up on the region in droves. The Dust Bowl refugees joined a larger stream of migrants displaced by agricultural mechanization, and by 1940 more than two million people had left the Great Plains States.

Pretty serious stuff. In the last few days in my role as Captain Bringdown as my wife refers to me, I've been reading about Bohpal, Chernobyl, the Johnstown Flood, The Three Gorges Damn, and various oil spills, nuclear contamination sites, deforestation, climate change, and the near extinction of the North American Buffalo. How can anyone decide what the worst is? They're all awful. Many lives are still being claimed by some of these catastrophes, when you take malnutrition, bad water, cancer, and birth defects into account.

So what's my conclusion about the worst man-made environmental catastrophe in history? Homo Sapiens.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Those Damn Trial Lawyers Republicans Hate So Much


Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is rolling out a fundraising campaign for a private legal defense fund to represent the state against legal challenges to its new immigration law.

Yes, please, more money to trial lawyers from Republicans. I love it.

Great graphic on energy use in the US

Note the amount of energy "lost" in transmission and distribution. Note the huge amounts of oil, gas, and coal, and the tiny amounts of renewable sources. This is a travesty.

Also note that a lot, if not most of solar, is made where it's used, so there's a lot less loss from transmission. This is one of the main reasons I support decentralized power production. Make the power where it's going to be used and you save a ton on transmission. Make the place it's used more efficient (conserve more) and you save a ton on distribution.

This great graphic makes it easy to see where the problems are. Now we just have to stop people from voting for Republicans. If only there was a graphic to help visualize that...

in reference to: (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Peter Baker doesn't understand what makes cars go

In his injuriously slanted article against the president, Peter Baker's ignorance couldn't be more clear. This story belongs in the opinion section, with all the other never-miss-a-chance-to-mention-Rev.-Wright stories. Nice, too, the way he works in Boehner's "job-killer" quote without mentioning the millions of jobs clean energy would provide.

But first, someone should fact check this messy little tirade. While Mr. Baker is right that windmills and solar panels won't fill gas tanks, they will fill batteries, and batteries can make cars go too.

Perhaps we need an Apollo project to train better reporters.

in reference to:

"The connection to the spill, of course, goes only so far. While he called for more wind turbines and solar panels, for instance, neither fills gasoline tanks in cars and trucks, and so their expansion would not particularly reduce the need for the sort of deepwater drilling that resulted in the spill."
- News Analysis - With Call to Arms, Obama Seeks to Shift Arc of Oil Crisis - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I got your implication right here

Ignoring the obvious beginnings of a feeding frenzy in some oxygen deprived waters by the heads of these other oil companies, who have locked in on the bleeding person-hood of BP with their shark-like senses, I find this implication that somehow Mr. Tillerson's company is immune to Murphy's law disgustingly ballsy.

Here's the question: how big of a spill is so big that it's not worth the risk of more? At what point do you just say, screw it, it's too hard to do safely? 100 million gallons? A billion? I'd like to hear some Oil CEO with a carbon footprint the size of Alaska put a number on it.

OK, I'd settle for a person who might lose their job in a moratorium. Let's hear their number. When we get to that number, I'll support a bill to retrain you for building windmills.
in reference to:
"Rex W. Tillerson, chairman of Exxon Mobil, testified that if companies follow proper well design, drilling, maintenance and training procedures accidents like Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20 “should not occur,” implying that BP had failed to do so."
- Oil Executives Try to Explain Differences From BP - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jacques Cousteau's 100th Birthday

"We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."—Jacques-Yves Cousteau

That quote has graced the top of our free desktop wallpaper home page for a very long time now. It is by far my favorite quote. Every time we get another black swan event like Dick Cheney's Katrina down in the gulf, I think of that quote.

Cousteau would, of course, be horrified that his 100th birthday (today) would be marred by this catastrophe. He would be angry at the myopic logic that got us to such a disaster. But, judging from that quote, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be surprised.

Despite the sorrow born of a clear understanding of the terrifying challenges that await us, Captain Cousteau always thought that humanity has a chance, for he believed deeply in the capacity of humans to adapt, to create, to invent solutions that would save the future. This lucid and creative optimism, united with a great affection for life, allowed him to show us paths that many have begun to adopt: the Rights of Future Generations, a holistic and thoughtful long-term approach to risk-taking, the conservation of biodiversity, the determined search for clean energy and especially solar energy, integrated management of large aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, the resolution of problems of intervention between States to establish compatible and effective legal practices in environmental regulation …
I agree we have a chance. But when I see Republicans (and corporatist Democrats), who many people are thinking about voting for, standing up and saying this is not a catastrophe, standing up to defend BP, I come to the conclusion that the chance is minuscule and getting microscopic by the minute. If people can be so guided by their own bigotry and greed that they vote against their own interests for more myopic logic and more resultant absurdities, then what hope can there be that those of us who do have the capacity to adapt, create, and invent solutions will be able to overcome the power and corruption of the ruling corporate class?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slow Money Grows Slow Food

It probably won't be the next bubble--in fact, that's the idea--but if you're looking to make your money do some good while it makes more money, this might be worth looking into. (It doesn't look like they're taking investments yet.)

The Slow Money Alliance says:

* What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?
* What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?
* What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?

I'm not holding my breath on the giving away of profits, but I'm sure there are plenty of companies and investors who understand that if we do the other two, we would have more sustainable communities.

In reference to: Slow Money: Investment strategies appropriate to the realities of the 21st century - Home (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Dangerous complex technology with no way to clean up the mess

Yes, deep water oil drilling is a dangerous and complex technology that lets a very messy genie out of its bottle. But one of the proposed alternatives to our fossil fuel addiction is an even more complex technology with an even more dangerous genie, and even less remediation possibilities if that genie gets out.

The Davis-Besse nuclear reactor in Oak Harbor Ohio just had the same problem it had in 2002, where acid has eaten away the vessel head, allowing cooling water to leak out. This has been described as a "startling near-miss" and it's happened twice now at this reactor.

This same corrosion has happened to other vessel heads at other plants, though not as seriously. Considering the assurances we got from the "experts" that deep water oil wells were safe, how can we possibly believe "experts" telling us that nuclear energy is safe.

I can easily prove that Dick Cheney's covert energy meetings and resulting lax regulation and oversight, combined with Bush appointments of foxes into hen houses, resulted in "Cheney's Katrina" now spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. It will be similarly easy to label any future nuclear accident "Obama's Chernobyl."

We desperately need to simplify and decentralize our energy production, with emphasis on renewable sources and conservation.

in reference to:

"a nuclear reactor where a hidden leak caused near-catastrophic corrosion in 2002 has experienced a second bout of the same problem."
- An Old Nuclear Problem Creeps Back - Green Blog - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Why does Carly Fiorina hate the Armed Forces?

Fiorina, in her new commercial: "Terrorism kills. And Barbara Boxer wants to talk about the weather..."

Well, the Pentagon thinks global warming could prove a greater risk to the world than terrorism. Any of you idiot Republicans have a response for the Pentagon?

in reference to:
"a Pentagon study raised the possibility that global warming could prove a greater risk to the world than terrorism."
- Climate-Related Core Issues - Pentagon study on consequences of climate change (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Who would even think about voting Republican?

The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has the live oil geyser cam. Wonder if that would happen under the Republican Chairman, assuming they get one. Just watch that thing for a few minutes, think about the fact that it's been going for 40 days like that, and then think about voting Republican.

Sorry if that made you feel sick. I'll spare you the Greenpeace photos link. You know how to find it. Make sure possible Republican voters see that and remember who's philosophy put foxes in all the hen houses.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Fission, Baby, Fission

"We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Hordes of logic-challenged, central-scrutinizer, authoritarian types love having big, centralized power generation and fuel drilling corporations in charge of our energy production. I hope they all go grab some dish-washing liquid and head to the gulf. But they won't. They'll wait a while, blame environmentalists for the Deepwater Horizon spill, and then they'll be back with Sarah "Spill, Baby, Spill" Palin calling for drilling in our back yards-- right now.

But maybe a few more thoughtful "conservatives" will look at the root of the word they use to describe themselves, and think for a minute. To help them with this noble endeavor, I suggest they read Dimitry's piece comparing The Deepwater Horizon accident to Chernobyl.

The political challenges, in both cases, centered on the inability of the political establishment to acquiesce to the fact that a key source of energy (nuclear power or deep-water oil) relied on technology that was unsafe and prone to catastrophic failure. The Chernobyl disaster caused irreparable damage to the reputation of the nuclear industry and foreclosed any further developments in this area. The Deepwater Horizon disaster is likely to do the same for the oil industry, curtailing any possible expansion of drilling in deep water, where much of the remaining oil is to be found, and perhaps even shutting down the projects that have already started. In turn, this is likely to hasten the onset of the terminal global oil shortage, which the US Department of Energy and the Pentagon have forecast for 2012.

As Chernobyl fades away into the myopic logic of short term thinking, and as oil and gas become less popular (for a while), I expect to hear even more war cries for nukes. The right, and even some of the left, will beat their shields and swords: telling us how much safer nukes are (thanks to all that regulation they're against); how there are no greenhouse gas emissions from nukes; how we've solved the problems of waste and security; how accidents don't happen to large complex systems that use extremely hazardous nuclear material to boil water.

Small, localized, publicly-owned, renewable power generating facilities powering resilient communities is the simple, less catastrophe-prone answer to these problems. Decentralization makes us more immune to corporate rip-offs like a "terminal global oil shortage", and more able to withstand the crashes that are endemic of globally inter-connected systems like the world's oil-driven economy.

But with corporations running the show, I'm afraid we're doomed to the failure their shareholders seem oblivious to.  Millions of Americans are about to vote for Republicans, potentially swinging the majority in the House of Representatives; don't expect a big push back against these multi-national entities now free to spend as much as they want to own a few congressmen. Don't be surprised, or fooled, when those corporate mouthpieces start to spew their radioactive spiels for more nukes. Sure, nukes are big and complex, they will tell us, but they're a lot safer than those big, complex oil wells that they were telling us were safe.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blog Round Up

Here's a quick review of the blogs I'm involved in producing...

Organic Gardening Blog. I've been gardening organically for most of my life, and blogging about the experience for many years now. I offer organic gardening advice, products, best practices, and more.

Internet Marketing and Organic SEO. I make web sites get higher search engine rankings, and I blog about how to do it so you can learn for free what to do to your websites to get higher ranks.

Free Desktop Wallpaper and Computer Backgrounds Photography. We've been posting free desktop wallpaper on our sites since we started in 1996. We have cityscapes, high resolution nature photos, Hawaii pictures, and more at the Photog Blog.

Hawaii Blog. Hawaii vacations information and all the latest on everything Hawaiian that we post on any of our sites. Occasionally features guest bloggers from Hawaii.

Satan Wrote the Bible. This blog is written by a friend of mine and is full of Bible commentaries that serve as thought exercise for people who are so sure about what one cannot, by definition, be sure about.

Bush Treason Blog. That's right: I believe George Bush and many of his administration committed treason when they ignored warnings of an impending 9-11, pulled out of Tora Bora and let Bin Laden go, and lied us into a war against a country that had nothing to do with 9-11.

Los Angeles Catering Blog. Culinary Delight Catering in Los Angeles provides delicious food for any event at a reasonable price. No matter how fancy or simple the festivities, they can provide exactly the right catered food or craft services, including organic.

Grass-fed Beef Jerky Blog. We've started a small-batch, hand-made, grass-fed beef jerky business, and we now have a blog about grass-fed jerky and why eating grass-fed beef is better for you, the animal, and the planet.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another Rejected Poem of Winter

Anti-Yungian Death Sentence

The road-side snow grows hollow, wrinkled, shrivled,
carved by snowmobiles, shrunken by sun,
scraped off and piled, gray like road scum,
like the cinder block clouds it came from...

The mountain-side snow stands sculpted
into place, determined to stay, hiding from sun
that only briefly reaches through the scrum
of trees protecting it. Each rock is a crumb

of homicidal heat in marshmallow--s'mored
by sappy maples, buds nearly toward sun
melting sugary white with yellow tongue.
The trees--like an albino's eyelashes--hum,

providing contrast, vibrating on white-skinned
shadows--abraded and afraid of the ascending sun
come to make it bleed before it finally succumbs
to the ubiquitous, incessant, violent green young.

Scott Supak

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Deep Discounts for Doing the Wrong Thing

We're big believers in doing the right thing. We stopped eating pigs on the Chinese New Year of the Pig a few years back now. This year we stopped eating factory farmed beef. We recycle. We compost. We have a garden. We keep our tires properly inflated. We only had two kids.

So it really pisses me off when I get into situations where I see people get rewarded for doing the wrong thing, while I'm paying more for organic food and green products in general. There are many examples, but the granddaddy of them all is a reward for having more kids.

Now I'm not talking welfare here. I'm a firm believer that every kid on this planet deserves a fair share. But I'm sick of pricing in the market that makes me pay more than someone with 8 kids. I don't know if penalizing the prodigious populators is constructive, since it would inevitably punish the children, but damnit, I should not be punished for having less children!

The latest example is shopping for dental insurance, a luxury in this day and age where 1/3 of Americans don't have dental coverage, but something we were looking into since we haven't seen a dentist in a long time due to our recent prolonged poverty.

The best plan I could find has costs about $1500 per year in premiums for a family, while capping the per person payout per year at $1500. So, with our family of three, we would get a maximum of $4500 worth of dental coverage per year, while a family of eight would get $12,000.

That means we're subsidizing that family. WTF? I thought there were too many people on the planet. Add this to the fact that conservatives have more children than liberals and that means when this child bonus does take money out of my pocket, more often than not it goes to conservatives--the very people who complain when people take things out of their pockets.

No wonder Republicans want to protect the big insurance industry.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Right Wingers are Violence Prone

For a personal take on the recent violence and terroristic threatening coming from the "conservatives" in this country lately, head over to my R rated post at the Bush Treason Blog. If you didn't care for Joe Biden's F-bomb, you'll want to move on. Nothing to see here.

If you thought it was about time someone got real on a National Level and just said what most of us were thinking, then head on over and read the post about how I put up with assaults on a regular basis because of the bumper stickers you see here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Global Warming Quote of the Year (so far)

Anybody that is a global-warming denier at this point in time has got their head so deeply up their ass I’m not sure they could hear me.--James Cameron

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

RIP Mark "Big Ferb" Ferber, Hollywood Bowl Production Supervisor

If you ever went backstage at the Hollywood Bowl, you probably had some kind of run-in with Big Ferb. Even if you just saw a show at the Bowl, you were still familiar with Mark. To millions of concert goers, Mark Ferber was the voice of the Bowl:

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Hollywood Bowl."

When I was a kid, I spent my summers hanging around the Hollywood Bowl, where my Dad, Frank Supak, was the head soundman. Mark was the go-to guy for just about anything you needed, especially our comp tickets. He was the perfect guy to hold crew tickets, because you could see him from anywhere (he must've been 6'6"). We called him Big Ferb, like Big Bird, because I remember when Sesame Street did a show at the Bowl, Mark and Big Bird were about the same size.

He leaves a big tuxedo to fill.

Mark's LA Times obituary says he died from injuries sustained in a fall. I don't know the details yet, but it is the off season, so the fall was probably not a result of his running around backstage.

"I'm a detail man," Ferber said at the time. "I run around backstage and make sure everything goes correctly."

He was no stranger to tragedy: his first wife, Elaine Welton Hill, died of cancer in 1999. He was survived by his second wife, Suzanne Friedline Ferber, and his son Daniel, 5... I just choked up thinking that Daniel will never get to really appreciate his Dad, or see him at work--so comfortable doing what he did.

It was like Mark actually enjoyed every moment of his 45 years at the Bowl, even the bad ones, like when an airplane would inevitably fly over during a quiet passage in a symphony. He took everything in stride, and it is a real shame that his son won't learn from one of the coolest heads the business has ever known.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Very Long Wake for Alex Chilton

Even though I spent a lot of time and money in Memphis when I was young, I never heard of Alex Chilton until I met my wife, Robin. She made me a mix tape that had Bangkok on it (to this day, after I hear Bangkok (originally a single, but on the album Stuff) I expect to hear Robyn Hitchcock's My Favourite Buildings.

After listening to hours of Chilton yesterday--and honestly, Big Star is exactly the kind of rock with a twang that I just can't get enough of--I kept coming back to his more punk sound, and Bangkok is fucktastically hard and irreverent, with a great beat that you can definitely dance to, Dick.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What's New At

Just a quick note to note that we now have a blog just for what's new at It's going to be a history from the what's new section of our home page, so people can go see all the new things that have been posted there, which, in the past, were just lost to the black hole of bytes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's not so much that liberals and atheists are smarter...

It's that smarter people tend to be monogamous, liberal, and atheistic.

Imagine the evolutionarily novel brain it took to create this cave painting. 
I have parking-lot-snow-sized piles of anecdotal evidence for this phenomenon, but I'm going to go here to the science pen and pull out some peer reviewed reason and logic, not that Science will impress the mostly religious dumbasses who still think they know better than science. None-the-less, here goes.

My friend Thomas D. blogged about this article from Science Daily that explores a new study from Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Even if you don't believe in evolution, or, for the Scientologists out there, psychology, it's hard to ignore the data from this study.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values. The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years."

"Evolutionarily novel" preferences and values are those that humans are not biologically designed to have and our ancestors probably did not possess. In contrast, those that our ancestors had for millions of years are "evolutionarily familiar."

When we were living in caves, we were paranoid about the slightest thing, from wild animals to thunder. So, we developed cute little stories to make ourselves, and our families, less paranoid about them. We invented Gods who held our fate in their hands, thereby alleviating ourselves of any responsibility for What Happened. As we evolved further, we could go to war with our neighbors and just say, hey, God told me to.

Explains George Bush, doesn't it?

Kanazawa's study looked at the IQ of adolescents, and sorted them out according to self-described liberals and conservatives, and, voila: the higher IQ's were more liberal and less religous.

In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa's hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as "very liberal" have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as "very conservative" have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.


Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.

The story goes on to mention that monogamy is also evolutionarily new, and practiced more by intelligent people, which certainly explains why it's mostly Republican politicians who cheat on their wives

This whole line of thought is not so much shocking to me as expected; further proof that those of us who think are more likely to think something everyone else doesn't. Those of us who flock to church every Sunday to listen to a watered down version of Rush Limbaugh are less likely to come up with anything new. They will simply regurgitate the hate, injecting their Biblically-backed venom into the same veins, exhausting those of us who would like to progress, and, at least in the case of climate change, dooming us all to a self-fulfilling Eschatological prophecy that it seems they actually want, rather than a reasoned, logical, and much less painful path toward sustainability.

Fucking idiots.

What does amaze me is how much effort the more intelligent people put into trying to convince these neo troglodytes that they should think outside the cave. It's time to stop bipartisanship efforts. They don't think like we do. They never will. Climate deniers (and evolution deniers and George-Bush-is-a-war-criminal deniers) are just not that smart, and we're wasting time and effort trying to bring them up to speed. It's time they were left behind, for the sake of the rest of us who have managed to pull our heads out of our asses long enough to look around, see the world as it really is, and do something about it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Great Photographs Touched Up to Be Even Greater

About a month ago, my Maui bed and breakfast friend Cherie sent some pictures from a friend of hers, Mike Eilers, so I posted a few of them. Great shots of whales, dolphins, and this sea turtle.

But this isn't the original photo. This picture was retouched by Mike's friend, Carl Bringas, who has a great photography site full of his work--photographs retouched to become very web-ready works of art.

These artistically retouched photographs make great desktop wallpaper, and I've added them to a Carl Bringas Gallery of retouched photographs (both his and Mike Eilers's) over at the computer backgrounds blog.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Yet another attempt at poetry rejected by the gods of words...

What's Left is Miraculously Ordinary

A not-that-old man grudgingly wakes
to a wine hangover, high-mileage joints
wail Rice Crispy sounds as he warily climbs
out of the warm bed to return what's left

of the fermented liquid to the ecosystem.
He eats eggs and toast with spread, combs
over what's left of his hair, straps down
an ear flap hat and the gear in his truck bed

bereft of the tools for tending grape vines
on hills now spotted with McMansion views
of the corn monument field of rusting harrows,
subsoilers, cultivators, and trailed foragers--

like giraffes still tall near the decomposing barn.
He taps the brakes--slow on the frozen driveway--
drives as if in tow behind the snow plow,
veers to slide down the side road through

white walled woods to the lake like a salt flat
where he walks on the water--still fueled by
the warm eggs and bread with spread--where a shed
over a hole evolves into a fish factory, while snow
falls like cotton on what's left of the vines.

Scott Supak

Friday, March 05, 2010

Hollywood Downside Up

My Dad, who was the soundman at the Hollywood Bowl for a couple of decades, died 10 years ago on March 3, and while I didn't publish anything about it, I did have a drink and listen to Jazz at Oberlin and Kind of Blue. They remind me of summers growing up in Hollywood, riding my bike around and marveling at the fact that it was a very dreary place (and probably still is, although I haven't been back in a while now). Everywhere you look, under the bright billboards, marquees, theaters, and lights was a pervasive kind of crumbling concrete gray. The kind of gray where you break the cinder block and the dust is the same color as the brick, just as drab and plain on the inside.

It was also about 10 years ago that I started my Hollywood Downside Up photography series, which resulted in a bunch of free desktop wallpaper pictures of Hollywood that you can download, use as your computer background, or print as a post card. The series tries to capture the underbelly of Hollywood, not so much behind the scenes as under them, the greasy wheels of addiction and despair that fuel the machine.

I spent the day fixing some of the CSS issues that were screwing the site up, and it's presentable again, full of ads for things you photographers need, or just things to click on for the sake of helping a high-mileage lump of Hollywood Blvd. road kill.

Monday, March 01, 2010

How Much to Mail a Letter to the States?

I actually heard an overly made-up, clashily-dressed middle-aged woman say that in a post office line in Hawaii once. Nobody laughed because they were sick of that kind of thing. In fact, there were more than a few heel-of-the-palm-to-the-forehead reactions. And yet it goes on.

Contrary to the opinion of 6% of Tea Baggers, Hawaii is a US State (4% are unsure). But enough about them. Really. Way enough. I have something more important to talk about. But then, just about anything is more important than them.

Buy Gourmet Organic American Coffee!

Not only can you buy domestic coffee in the US, but it is, as Mark Twain put it, the best damn coffee in the world. OK, Twain didn't put it that way. Here's what he actually said:
The ride through the district of Kona to Kealakekua Bay took us through the famous coffee and orange section. I think the Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other, be it grown where it may and call it by what name you please.
Now click yourself over to do your duty as a patriotic citizen of the United States and buy some organic Kona coffee beans. It's a little more expensive than Folgers, but you'll drink less and it's better for you, the people growing the coffee, and the planet.

I'm sure those 10% of teabaggers who doubt Hawaii's statehood don't have a clue, but they might be onto something... Seems that back when the US made Hawaii a territory, there was some doubt as to the legitimacy of the transfer of authority (yes I said that South Parky). The Hawaiian Independence Action Alliance protested the 50th anniversary of Hawaiian statehood last year. According to the Hawaii Kingdom Independence Blog, Hawaii is not a state because the prolonged occupation of Hawaii, going back to before the islands were a territory, was and is illegal.

So, I suppose if the tea baggers wanted to smarten up their argument a little, they could join forces with some of the ardent leftists, who actually have a decent argument, if you ignore Stare decisis, as the current court is apt to do. Good luck with that. Even if you managed to get a court to agree that the occupation was illegal, therefore the becoming of a territory was illegal, therefore the statehood is illegal, therefore Obama was born in the Kingdom of Hawaii not the state, you'd still have a hell of a time getting him out of the White House, what with him being such a fascist and all.

For the rest of us, who enjoy a good lefty argument (like the illegal occupation of Hawaii voiding the US's claims to the islands) for the sake of argument, but with no real expectation that anything will ever come of it, I suggest you check out my big site full of Hawaii Stuff, where you can decide which of the illegally occupied islands to visit. I suggest you start with a few days at this Kauai beach house, followed by at least a week in an organic Maui bed and breakfast, and then finish off with some time in an affordable Kona vacation rental on the Big Island, where the best damn coffee in the world is grown.

And don't forget the Hawaiian post cards!