Friday, December 27, 2013

Best Suspension Ever.

We all knew this was bound to happen.

"A&E has lifted its suspension on 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson after less than two weeks...Last week, A&E stated that it was disappointed in Robertson and put him on hiatus. But in a statement to THR on Friday (Dec. 27), A&E said it was inviting him back. Because no filming took place during his suspension, Robertson will appear in all new episodes of the show.
'While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.'"
Shorter A&E: We'd be crazy to kill our cash cow, so Phil's back even though his suspension amounted to… no suspension. Besides, you idiots don't have the short term memory of a goldfish. By the way, aren't they adorable? Don't forget to buy our shit.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In The Name of All That Is Holy, No More "Reality" TV


| Movie Trailer | Review

This is an indictment of our society. What kind of people are we, that we would subject ourselves to this schadenfreude? And it's our own fault. If we would just stop tuning in to see the train wrecks that make us feel better about ourselves - Honey Boo Boo, The Real Housewives of Whatever Bumfuck Town We Pulled Into, The Bachelor, Jersey Shore, Storage Wars, Swamp People, and yes, this new monstrosity called Hollywood Hillbillies - then the networks would be forced to actually think of programming content and stop thinking about how to fill a half hour slot in the cheapest possible way.

Eons from now, when we've completely destroyed ourselves and future inhabitants of this planet wonder how we lived and what we did for entertainment, they'll find archival footage of a pudgy, little child beauty pageant contestant from a place called Georgia, and they'll immediately know how our civilization fell.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sarah Palin's First Amendment of Convenience

Phil Robertson's Comments Aren't Immune from Accountability

Here we go again. 

I tried. I really resisted the urge to write about the umpteenth time the right wing freaks out when someone exercises their First Amendment rights and the outrage when someone dares call them on their comments.

Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family and self described "white trash" was interviewed by GQ Magazine and said some pretty ignorant things regarding homosexuality and the African American experience in the South.  
"It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man's anus, that's just me," the reality star said.

"I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," he explained when asked by GQ's Drew Magary what exactly he considered sinful, "bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

A&E, the network that airs their show and probably makes a pretty penny doing so, suspended Robertson for the comments

Almost immediately, the hair on fire right wingers claimed a violation of freedom of speech and religious persecution. [Insert eye roll here.] Even a few of my Facebook friends, some of whom are gay, didn't see it as such a big deal and joined in a chorus of censorship. [Insert forehead slap here.]

In swoops MENSA member Sarah Palin with a tweet/Facebook status:
Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.
[Insert forehead smash into keyboard here.] Is "intolerants" a word now? No Pea Brain, it's not "taking on all of us." It's taking on the person making a public statement under their employ and the consequences those comments can have on their company.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (remember him?) weighed in with these pearls of wisdom:

"'I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended,' said Jindal in a prepared statement sent through email and Twitter this morning.


'The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views,' said Jindal.

When TV networks believed in the First Amendment? Well, except for the FCC and censorship rules. And yes, Scooter, everyone is entitled to express their views. That doesn't make everyone immune from the consequences of what they espouse. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism or accountability.  And if you're so hot to defend everyone's viewpoints, please show me your quotes in defense of Martin Bashir after he was suspended and resigned for the suggestions he made in regards to Sarah Palin. In fact, Palin should have been the first person to defend Bashir's right to free speech, right?

It was refreshing to see though, that many in the media did come out and say, ‘Look our standards have got to be higher than this,’” Palin said. “Those with that platform, with a microphone, a camera in their face, they have to have some more responsibility taken.”

Oh. Never mind. 

How many times must we go over this? The First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

It was written to protect the ordinary citizen from government censorship. Robertson stated his opinions and beliefs which is his right, but his employer, a private entity, decided it was not in their best interests. They have the RIGHT to do what they think is necessary to mitigate the blowback. This is different than the government stifling free speech, which is what the First Amendment is all about. But why is it that politicians, the very people that run government and should know the Constitution, consistently get this so wrong? That's rhetorical question of course. 

Everybody happy, happy, happy?

One more thing: If you ever find yourself in AGREEMENT with Sarah Palin, I can pretty much guarantee you that you're on the wrong side of the argument. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rep. Kuster's Last Stand?

If you don't know about New Hampshire Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH) yet, you will soon enough. Kuster had a town hall style meeting to discuss her trip to Israel and to talk about the Middle East. Unfortunately, a prerequisite for discussing certain topics means you have to have knowledge of said topic. And of course, since the Live Free or Die state has it's own brand of crazy, Benghazi came up. Like a deer in the headlights soon to be road kill on I-93, Kuster seemed like she didn't even know what Benghazi was.

Live Free or Die? I'm guessing Kuster would have chosen the latter at that point.

Okay, a few things:

The YouTube video title should not use the word "dodges," since to dodge a question means you don't want to answer and evade, but if you don't know anything about the subject you really can't dodge it, can you?

Also, can you imagine Kuster's office after she got back? I'm picturing her grabbing the first staffer she sees by the lapels and screaming, "What's a Benghazi?!" to which the staffer responds, "Isn't that one of those Jewish bagel things?"

Another aide rushes to the rescue: "No, that's a bialy. You're talking about that actor from the 50s, Ben Gazzy."

"No! That's Ben Gazzara!"

Poorly prepped and walking into a gauntlet of conspiracy loons at the town hall (because let's face it, there are some in every town hall) Kuster is a prime example of the idiots voters elect to represent them. In this instance, yes, it's a Democratic member of Congress, and had it been a Republican member of Congress, you probably would've gotten some gobbledygook about Hillary Clinton, a cover up, and because Obamacare!  

Kuster's office later put out a statement (strangely not posted on her government website) but it's too little, too late. She got caught with her pants down and had no clue what Benghazi was, which I find kind of amazing since the MSM and Congressional Republicans have had their hair on fire about it for a goddamn year.

What she should have said: "Of course, those who murdered four Americans at the embassy in Benghazi should be brought to justice and we should do everything we can to find them. But as far as HR 36 and a select committee is concerned, there have been exhaustive hearings and investigations on the Hill for the sole purpose of casting blame, looking for some kind of ineptness or for conspiracies of a cover up, and they've turned up absolutely nothing. Even the 60 Minutes broadcast a few weeks ago had to be completely retracted because they hinged on a false testimony. So no, I'd vote against HR 36 because it's a waste of time and taxpayer money as has been all the hearings led by Darrel Issa. What you should do is call Rep. Issa's office and ask him to look into how to help catch those responsible instead of whipping up some kind of conspiracy that doesn't exist for political purposes." 

And finally, I find the NRCC's statement very amusing:
“Let’s be clear – Annie Kuster is a United States Congresswoman,” NRCC spokesman Ian Prior wrote in a statement. “Four Americans died as a result of the attacks in Benghazi. For her not to even address a voter’s questions about what the United States government is doing to get answers on those terrorist attacks makes her unqualified for the office which she holds.”
Okay, Ian. While I agree that an incident like this may call Kuster's qualifications into question, take a step back and calm down. Before casting stones, take a look at your own glass nuthouse. You are currently the party of epic proportions of imbecility. Michele Bachmann, Louis Gohmert, Steve King and Steve Stockman? Please. If you really want to compare qualifications, I don't think your side will end up with the long end of the stick.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Same Old Tired Crap from Scarborough

Update: I posted this piece in May 2012, but this morning, as I was reading my twitter timeline, I soon realized Scarborough was rehashing his old meme--Pres. Obama was too inexperienced to run for president and too incompetent to be president.  I thought if Joe can rehash his BS, so can I.

Take That, Joe Scarborough

Joe Scarborough, the former Florida congressman, full-time pundit, and pseudo-journalist, claimed Sen. Marco Rubio isn't ready to be vice president just like "'Barack Obama wasn't ready to be president in 2008, just like Sarah Palin wasn't ready to be on the national ticket in 2008.'" So Scarborough thinks Rubio, Palin, and President Obama are and were similarly unprepared to be president and vice president. Shall we take a serious look at this comparison.

Scarborough is right about Sen. Rubio. In fact, he didn't go far enough. Rubio isn't just unprepared; he's the shallow GOP's pretty pet parrot. Compared to President Obama, Rubio is "Bush" league. Rubio attended Tarkio College, a now closed, bankrupt Missouri college and Santa Fe Community College in Florida. I'm not casting aspersions on community colleges since I was an English instructor at one for 10 years. However, Columbia they are not.

Rubio's biography claims he was a football star at Tarkio College in 1989-1990, when the team went 1-8. Seriously, I probably could have been a star on that team. Rubio transferred to Santa Fe Community College and then the University of Florida, where he graduated with a BA. In 1996 he graduated from the University of Miami with his law degree. My google searches failed to produce a single prestigious award he earned from any of his colleges.

Lawyer by trade but politician by profession, Rubio became a city commissioner and never looked back. Accordingly Rubio's wealth grew along with his political clout. In 2000, when he was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives, he made over $82,000, and by 2008, when he was elected Speaker of the House (FL), his income was over $399,000. As a United States Senator, he has sponsored 18 bills, which is the fewest bills of any senator. He has missed nearly 7% of senate votes this session, which is below the senate average attendance.

Shyster by trade and profession, Sarah Palin attended 5 (6 if you count the University of Idaho at Moscow twice) colleges and universities in 5 years. Frankly, I can't imagine how any of the colleges she attended could possibly have kept up with her grades, much less her credits.

Again her colleges were not Columbia. She went on to work as a sports reporter for an Anchorage TV station. She eventually won a seat on Wasilla, Alaska city council, a town of 7800 citizens. I would like to point out that I won a seat on the board of education in a town of 25,000, so I'm thinking that I could be .....oh skip it. Anyway, we are painfully aware of the rest of her story. Palin was catapulted onto the national stage in one of the most egregious, self-centered, damaging, not to mention unpatriotic, acts by a politician and his staff ever.

Palin's lack of general knowledge about American history, world history, world geography, and global politics was abysmal. She was and still is a divisive figure and should be an embarrassment to every American. Well, except to those who share the same qualities. Oh, and she wrote a book or maybe even two with a ghost writer.

From Occidental to Columbia to Harvard, where Barack Obama graduated magna cum laud and was president of Harvard Law Review, the President's academic record is certainly more impressive than the others to whom he has been compared. According to many who have participated in White House meetings, the President also possesses an eidetic memory. In fact, his frequent critic Keith Olbermann claims Pres. Obama is one of the 1000 most intelligent people in the United States. Those of us who have read President Obama's books know he is a self-actualizer who possesses an impressive intellect as well as profound, thoughtful insight into others. Lawrence Tribe, esteemed Harvard law professor, pronounced Barack Obama to be his best student ever.

Unlike Palin and Rubio, Barack Obama didn't become wealthy because of holding public office but because of his superior writing skills. In fact, his wealth doesn't compare to many politicians, say, such as Darryl Issa. (I know I veered slightly off subject, but I couldn't stop myself.) Both Rubio and Palin have been accused more than a few fabrications and found guilty of unethical and illegal behavior. The same certainly cannot be said of President Obama.

I believe it's fair to conclude that, in terms of both character and intellect, the President is far superior to the other two. However, Scarborough is probably referring to leadership skills possessed by the President, Palin, and Rubio. Well, then let's examine the President's leadership skills. He was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, a most prestigious and probably political position. In fact, being elected president of the law review at any law school is considered one of the highest honors at any university.   Pres. Obama's selection shows exceptional leadership when you consider this was over 25 years ago, not a time commonly known for Black men or women to be recognized at revered white institutions. (Remember his embrace of his African-American professor Derrick Bell--black on black hugging that gave Sean Hannity the vapors.)

And then there was that silly community organizing thingy, which, of course, you only think is silly if you don't give a damn about people. By the way, if any of you have attempted community organizing, you know it is like herding cats. Organizing any group of people with different opinions, desires, goals, etc. is a tough job. It's damn hard even when the people have similar goals and desires. I know. I was president of a local teachers' union. But the Republicans, ignoring the juggernaut of a campaign organization put together by a man with organizing skills, scoff at this experience as if it's nothing. Folks, that's not nothing to put together a machine that defeated both the Clinton team and the GOP. Besides President Obama did employ lots of people, so he should be called--wait for it--a job creator.

President Obama, a civil rights lawyer and professor, could have had, along with Mrs. Obama, a very lucrative career as a lawyer in powerful law firm. Instead President Obama entered politics as an Illinois state senator, a position he served in for 8 years. Get that---8 years, not half a term, and was elected by 46,000 voters. Later in the United States Senate, he served on both the international affairs and homeland and national security committees where he was well-suited with his degree in political science (emphasis on international relations) from Columbia. As a senator for nearly 4 years, Barack Obama sponsored--not co-sponsored--but sponsored 137 bills. As a comparison, look again at Sen. Rubio's rather lackluster accomplishments. In fact, if you compare their original pieces of legislation, I think you will find much more fluff and less substance in Rubio's offerings. If you do the math, at Sen. Rubio's pace, he will never be as productive or prolific a senator as Senator Obama.

Let's pretend for a minute ol' Joe reads my post, and he shoots holes in it-- in a sort of right wingy way-- I still have one more bit of proof that will separate President Obama from those two lightweights. Historians such as Doug Brinkley and Doris Kearns Goodwin have praised President Obama as one of the most productive presidents in history. His accomplishments would be historical even without some of the most intense obstructionism and extreme partisanship in American history. So don't tell me he was unprepared, Joe. Even if you disagree with his politics, you cannot deny that President Obama has been a pretty doggone amazing president. How else can you possibly explain his accomplishments. No one has the qualifications to be President unless they've been President. No occupation fully prepares one for such a job, but in President Obama we see a kind of "harmonic convergence" of intellect, curiosity, maturity, wisdom, leadership, and temperament. How else do you explain his preparedness but to conclude that Barack Obama was born ready to be President