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Man or Maniac?



Will it fly, Orville? Will it get off the ground? AM I A MAN OR AM I A MANIAC?



Updated: 2018-03-06T00:21:07.456-08:00

 



Careful Reading Those Labels

2013-12-20T09:28:20.221-08:00

So after a nine hour drive through storm-induced traffic, we stopped for dinner at this Applebee's in Marietta, Georgia.We were seated quite quickly.  We mulled over the order.  Chicken or steak?  Steak or shrimp?  Or should we get a burger.  Or a salad.  Or a burger.  Or a steak.  But eventually, we settled on a steak for me, and a turkey bacon club for my companion.  Something simple that would come out quickly.Our server came and took our order. And then we sipped our Sweet Tea and waited for dinner to arrive.  And waited.And waited.  A long while later, my dinner companion asked the waitress about our order, and she promised to check it out.About 15 minutes later, we asked again.  She apologized, and went back to the kitchen.  Five minutes went by.  Ten.She finally came back to report that the kitchen was out of turkey, a required ingredient of the Turkey Club Sandwich that was half of our order.  "Would you like to order something else?"   My companion stared at her blankly.  It had taken 15 minutes to choose the damned sandwich.  And now she had to pick something else out of the air?  It took our server a moment to realize that we didn't have a menu.  "Oh," she stammered, "Shall I get you a menu?""No," my dinner companion said, "just get me a burger.  You have burgers, right?  Do you still have hamburger back there?"  Hunger can make you cranky.  Very cranky.Our waitress- sorry, server - ran our order back to the kitchen, and immediately returned to let us know it would be right out.  We inquired about the status of the other half of our order; would an ice-cold steak show up with a hot burger?  We were assured that both entrees would be hot.The manager did come by to apologize, and explained that the kitchen staff really hadn't told our server that they were unable to complete the order.  It didn't sound like he went all Gordon Ramsay over anyone back there, but at least he tried to deflect blame from the server. Save that tip!Actually, he'd have chewed US out:"Applebees?  Are you fucking kidding me?What did you fucking expect?"It puts a whole new spin on the motto they proudly display out front, which we hadn't really paid attention to going in, but when I read it coming out the door, the irony was apparent:The actual sign out front.To be fair, that did feel about how long it took for dinner to arrive.  Order today, and you'll get it tomorrow.[...]



Jeremy Irony

2013-12-20T09:28:20.244-08:00

Jeremy Irons claims gay marriage laws could lead to a father marrying his son

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9972011/Jeremy-Irons-claims-gay-marriage-laws-could-lead-to-a-father-marrying-his-son.html

Just like current laws could lead to a father marrying his daughter.

Ahh, Jeremy, you're a pretty good actor, but a fairly stupid man.

posted from Bloggeroid




Loos Change

2013-12-20T09:28:20.229-08:00

http://m.nbcnews.com/travel/some-delta-onboard-loos-getting-little-smaller-1C9184100

So airlines want to make the facilities smaller for patrons who are generally getting larger. Just another indifferent slap in the face to the increasingly obese population.

OK, we know how to turn this around; let's mandate that airlines must divulge the size of their necessaries. We'll create a classification system based on the volume of the accommodations, so you can choose your flights accordingly.

Frankly, we should have done this when they started trying to cram more passengers on each plane. A for adequate, B for barely fit, and C for cattle-car. Force a little truth in advertising on the industry.

posted from Bloggeroid




They Don't Give A Damn About Bad Sequestration

2013-12-20T09:28:20.226-08:00

It's funny how everyone seems to have forgotten how sequestration came into our lives. And by "everyone," of course, I mean members of the Republican party.

It started with a bill to lift the nation's debt ceiling. Now, the debt ceiling was lifted a couple of dozen times during the administration of George W. Bush without incident. But once we elected a black man into office, it suddenly becomes a huge issue. Suddenly, the president who has actually spent the least amount of any president in recent history is "spending way too much" and our debt is "out of control." This, despite the fact that the prior administration spent way more and increased the national debt by far greater orders of magnitude than the current officeholder.

House Republicans threatened to vote against raising the debt limit; effectively arguing that the United States would not pay for the spending of the previous (Republican) administration, which predictably caused a drop in our national credit rating. Which House Republicans predictably blamed on the current (Democratic) administration. At the same time, the House failed to produce a budget that included a balance of spending cuts and revenue increases - an approach preferred by the the majority of U.S. voters.

So two major problems faced the nation; we were on the verge of defaulting on paying debt we had already incurred, and we were about to start the fiscal year without a budget.

A solution was offered; approve the debt ceiling, and as part of that approval, Congress would mandate a deadline with consequences: the Sequestration.

The consequences for the Democrats; spending would be cut from programs they supported, and no new revenues would be added. The consequences for Republicans; the spnding cuts would be across the board, equally, from every sector of the budget, including defense, long the sacred cow of the GOP.

Turns out that House Republicans don't give a shit about the consequences for the entire nation; economic collapse that will undermine what recovery we've made since the original collapse that occurred at the end of the Bush administration.

I'm reminded of The Mummy movies; the living mummy was cursed; he would be mummified alive, and remain conscious forever in his dessicated body. HOWEVER, it included a catch; if anyone ever freed the mummy for any reason (even unwittingly), he would gain the power of a god with the ability to destroy the entire planet. Which just goes to show that not only was Pharoah a vengeful tyrant, he was also a dumbass.

Which, when you think about it, is not unlike what we're getting; a penultimate punishment for Congress which does little harm to the members of Congress, but is now a threat to the livelihood of almost everyone in the nation.

What dumbass thought THAT was a good idea?



Why hasn't 50 State been fired yet?

2013-12-20T09:28:20.236-08:00

For the umpteenth time, 50 State Security has erroneously decided that it must stop photography in and around Miami MetroRail stations, even though the county has very clearly written policy that permits it.  Worse, the idiots in uniform assaulted photographer and civil rights activist Carlos Miller, according the Miami New Times.

Make no mistake; in the United States, photography is permitted in public places, and that specifically includes train stations.  There are no laws that restrict one's right to take photos in or around train stations.  Not one law.  The county has confirmed this on numerous occasions. You can even access the law online, and it's very clear that photography is permitted.

Worse, 50 State Security knows this.  They should have gotten the message in the wake of the incident where they illegally seized private property.

It is long past time for Miami Metrorail to fire these cretins and replace them with a reputable company that adheres to the actual law.  The citizens of Miami-Dade county deserve better than the clowns employed by 50 State Security.



Seen on The Internet

2013-12-20T09:28:20.239-08:00

I think it's a part of a program to help tourists find what they're looking for.

(image)



In, and Out

2013-12-20T09:28:20.233-08:00

(image) I voted today.

What did you think I was talking about?  Dirty bugger!

Anywho, I stopped in to vote today, on our actual Election Day.  Call me feckless, if you will.  But I figured with all the early voting over the last week, that it would be a breeze with all the voting stations in place, with a full complement of volunteers staffing a full complement of voting booths.

And as usual, I was right.

No line at the door.

I walked in, signed in, was handed my ballot, sent right to a booth, the pen worked, I went over to feed my 4 pages of ballot into the scanner, and got my "I Voted" sticker.

It took maybe ten minutes all told.  Of course, I already knew how I was voting on all the amendments, so that made it pretty simple.  If I'd had to figure out what each of the twelve amendments actually said from the ballot, I might still be there.

This means that I've earned the right to bitch about the government for at least another year.

Doesn't that give you a warm feeling?



But Does It Do Windows?

2013-12-20T09:28:20.208-08:00

Today's screen capture off of CNN:

(image)

Admit it, doesn't it make you picture something like this?

(image)



A Groaner

2013-12-20T09:28:20.259-08:00

(image)




CNN Gets It Wrong

2013-12-20T09:28:20.247-08:00

CNN was fact-checking the third presidential debate, a process I heartily endorse.

But only if you do it logically and honestly.  And on that score, CNN falls a bit short.

Take this one:
(image)

What CNN is refuting isn't what Obama actually said; helpfully, they've included the correct quote.  But whoever 'fact-checked' this one lacks basic reading comprehensions skills.

THE QUOTE:
"... you initially opposed a timetable in Afghanistan, now you're for it..."

What Romney actually did - again, from this same CNN article:
What Romney has disagreed with was the announcement of the withdrawal deadline...
What is a timetable?  A schedule of activity.  You can't have a timetable without deadlines, they are the point of a timetable.

So in fact, according to CNN's own fact checking, Obama's claim is clearly true.

The only way you can come to a different conclusion is if you completely mis-characterize Obama's statements.  Which, of course, is what happened here:
Obama accused Romney of initially being against a withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan in 2014.
Again, this is a different statement than the quote they presented:
"... you initially opposed a timetable in Afghanistan, now you're for it..."
The rest of their fact checking in this article... um.... checks out.



From the Unfortunate Juxtaposition Department

2013-12-20T09:28:20.255-08:00

I think these RSS feeds are random, but I'm not entirely sure.

Like this example, from today's  syndicated Daily Pulp feed on my Yahoo homepage:

(image)

Coincidence? 



Jack Welch's Jelly Brain

2013-12-20T09:28:20.211-08:00

On Friday, Welch seemed to be claiming that Obama or someone in his administration had manipulated the results of the recent jobs report on his twitter feed:Obama is from Chicago, and had just lost his first debate with Mitt Romney - or so I'm told.  I don't bother with such pointless charades.Well, as you can imagine, this created a minor uproar, with media outlets, politicians, and even business associates questioning the merit of such an accusation.  First, the report was actually published before the debate.  Second, all the raw data is available, so it's not something that can really be manipulated.  Experts basically concluded that Welch was talking out of his ass.So on Sunday, Welch sent out a new tweet:Well, maybe he didn't comment on the White House, but he certainly commented on the jobs report, and only moments before his claims that he hadn't made any comments about the White House.That link he posted leads to a story on AEIdeas, the public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute.  The article is titled "Economist: Unemployment drop ‘implausible … a statistical quirk’."  Welch's claims are disingenuous, at best. To accept Welch's comments, we have to find a plausible explanation for the first post; who are "these Chicago guys" that he's referring to, if it's not Obama, a former resident of Chicago?Could he be referring to the band Chicago?  Did this jazz/rock fusion group fudge the numbers?I know; It's the Moon Furies.  Their website even says that they are "Chicago Guys."Wait, he said they lost a debate.  So maybe it's......the Chicago Blackhawks!  Perhaps by "debate," he really meant "game. But they weren't mentioned in the "interesting view" of the jobs report.No, there's only one explanation of Welch's comment that makes any sense; he was, in fact, referring to President Obama, who has often been lambasted by conservatives for doing things "The Chicago Way," a reference to the violence and corruption of the government in the gangster era as depicted in The Untouchables.  Obama is from Chicago, and had just lost a debate, and certainly benefits from a positive jobs report.  This is the only context that fits.Jack Welch is lying to us.  And he's doing a pathetically poor job of it.  It's almost as pathetic as believing he could get away with claiming that the POTUS influenced the numbers without offering one shred of supporting evidence.If Jack Welch really believes that he can  simply wave away his comment by stating it wasn't about the White House,he must be keeping his brains in this jar >[...]



Liar/Liar

2013-12-20T09:28:20.252-08:00

"I really mean what I'm saying now."     "I was completely wrong about that."Mitt "Etch-a-Sketch Memory" Romney is now saying that he was "completely wrong" when he said that if he becomes president of the United States, his "job is not to worry about" 47% of the population of the country.  In case you've forgotten the details of the comments he made earlier this year at a fundraiser, let's refresh your memory:"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.""...my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center..."Of course, he initially defended his statements."This is a message I'm carrying day and day out and will carry over the coming months," Romney said on Fox News. "This is a decision about the course of America, where we're going to head. We've seen the president's policies play out over the last four years."And he tried to explain that he just didn't make his point clearly enough:"At a fundraiser you have people say, 'Governor how are you going to win this?' And so I respond 'Well, the president has his group, I have my group. I want to keep my team strong and motivated and I want to get those people in the middle.' That's something which fund-raising people who are parting with their monies are very interested in." His campaign suggested that the comments were taken out of context.  That is, until Mother Jones posted the entire video.So now Romney is saying that he was "completely wrong":“Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.”When he thought he was basically "off the record,"  he told a group of his supporters that he he was only concerned with people like themselves, and the handful of people on the fence.  In the glaring spotlight of public scrutiny, he says that he was wrong to say that, of course he's going to try to be the best president for everyone.We have no reason to believe that he wasn't being honest then to that audience of his supporters. We have no reason to believe him now when he claims that he didn't really mean it.Either he was lying then, to gain support from those supporters, or he's lying now, hoping that he doesn't lose more support.But make no mistake, either way, he's not being honest with us.[...]



Putting Mitt in Perspective: PBS

2013-12-20T09:28:20.204-08:00


For fiscal year 2012, PBS received $442 million dollars from the federal government.  That's an "m" in there. $442 million for the entire year.

That constitutes .012% of the entire Federal budget.  That's POINT zero one two percent, or less than 1/8 of 1%.


"But it's $400 million dollars" you say.  OK. Let's put that in perspective.

We're spending $300 million dollars PER DAY on the war in Afghanistan.  Obama is trying to remove our troops from Afghanistan in a safe and responsible manner.  Mitt says we shouldn't pull our troops out of Afghanistan just because it's expensive.

It seems to me that Mitt is saying we have to take Sesame Street away from inner city kids because we need to kill people on the other side of the planet.



Lyin' Ryan Sticks to the Broken Script.

2013-12-20T09:28:20.223-08:00

What do you do when you have no legitimate issues to put forth with your campaign?  You lie.And what do you do when your lies have been thoroughly debunked?  If you're Paul Ryan, you repeat the lie.  At least, that's what he was doing in Tampa yesterday.“Here’s the dirty little secret about Medicare they don’t want you to know,” he said. “The  biggest threat to Medicare is Obamacare.”--Tampa Bay Times, September 16, 2012Of course, the truth about the Affordable Care Act is that it extends Medicare funding by eight years.  It’s worth noting that there’s one area these cuts don’t touch: Medicare benefits. The  Affordable Care Act rolls back payment rates for hospitals and insurers. It does not,  however, change the basket of benefits that patients have access to.-- The Washington Post, August 14, 2012That's not entirely accurate: it also adds new benefits to to seniors currently enrolled in the program.  That's right; thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare costs less, provides more benefits, and the funding lasts longer. Which is exactly the opposite of what Paul Ryan is claiming.You see, back in 2003, the Medicare Modernization Act was passed, which underwrote the costs of many prescription drugs for seniors, and paid to put a number of seniors into private insurance plans, the theory being that by enrolling seniors in various private health plans, competition and market forces would lower the costs of care.  But costs for seniors in the private health plans rose, costing taxpayers an average of 117% compared to standard Medicare costs.  The Affordable Care Act eliminates these over-payments to bring them in line with the rest of Medicare coverage costs by re-negotiating reimbursement rates to the insurance companies.  It also negotiated savings from health care providers, further lowering costs.  So there aren't any cuts in coverage, only cuts in costs; what you and I would actually call "savings" instead of "cuts."The real "dirty secret" that the Romney campaign doesn't want you to know is that Paul Ryan  proposed to make exactly the same cuts in expenses....deciding who is cutting Medicare by $700 billion just requires looking at who is cutting Medicare by $700 billion. And at the moment, that’s both Obama and the Republican  budget.-- The Washington Post, August 14, 2012Well, not the only dirty secret.  They also don't want you to realize this:What Romney/Ryan are saying is that they then take the money saved from their cuts to Medicare and put it toward deficit reduction while Obama takes that money and spends it on health care for poor people... But Romney/Ryan also add a trillion dollars to the defense budget. And they have trillions of dollars in tax cuts they haven’t explained how they’re going to pay for. So those decisions make future cuts to Medicare more likely.-- The Washington Post, August 14, 2012But this might be the most important thing Ryan has said so far:"We're not going to spend the next four years blaming everything on everybody else. We're going to take responsibility," Ryan said. --Tampa Bay Times, September 16, 2012I have a great idea for you, Paul; why wait for the election?  Why don't you take responsibility for what Republicans have done to this country now?  Admit to three years of obstructing our economic recovery, own up to the damage done by the Bush administration and its record expansion of the national debt, accept that our current financial straits are the direct result of all the deregulation that the GOP has fostered over the last thirty years.Why wait to take responsibility?  If you're trul[...]



Race and the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

2013-12-20T09:28:20.185-08:00

Perhaps you've heard about the comments elementary school principal Verenice Gutierrez made during an interview with the Portland Tribune:“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” says Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School, a diverse school of 500 students in Northeast Portland’s Cully neighborhood.  “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.” While I can't find a quote where she flat-out states that a PB&J is racist, the article frames it as "example of a subtle form of racism in language..."Quoting the article again:"...the premise is that if educators can understand their own “white privilege,” then they can change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance."The implication we're getting is that by including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on school menus, schools are subtly pushing a diet that reinforces some kind of white privilege. Or at least, as some news sources are interpreting it; "Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwiches are Racist."Perhaps it's because most people use WHITE bread.Sound ridiculous?  It does sound unlikely.  But to simply claim that it's ridiculous isn't the same as debunking the statement.Let's look at the history of the sandwich, to see if it really is tied to some kind of privilege.And of course, we have to start with peanuts.The Origin of Peanut Butter: Part 1  Peanuts are native to the Americas; the Aztecs ground them into a paste for use in many dishes.  This mealy paste probably wasn't very spreadable, but it was certainly made of peanuts.  The Aztecs were not considered white, as far as I've been able to determine.  Neither were they Latino, although some people often confuse all denizens of Central and South America as being Latin or Hispanic, instead of Native American.I haven't been able to determine if Aztecs reserved peanuts in any form for the noble class.The Origin of Peanut Butter: Part 2 And it's still edible.In 1884, Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, was issued a U.S. Patent for a process of milling roasted peanuts between heated surfaces until they entered "a fluid or semi-fluid state."  The resultant product was described as having "a consistency like that of butter, lard, or ointment."Peanut butter as we know it in the USA is usually credited to Dr. John Kellogg.  Yes, the man who put corn flakes on our table also put peanut butter on our tables.  In the 1890s, he developed it as an alternative protein source to meat. In St. Louis, Dr. Ambrose Straub prescribed it to patients who had no teeth.  It was introduced to the world at large in 1904, when C.H. Sumner promoted it at his booth at the St. Louis Universal Exposition as a health food.  Heinz (yes, the ketchup company) advertised its health benefits in magazines.G.W. Carver, Man of Science But it took a black man to put peanut butter into large-scale production.  George Washington Carver was trying to help black farmers improve their land; their primary crop of cotton removed minerals from the ground which rendered it fallow.  By rotating crops of peanuts through their fields, the soil would be renewed for productive yields.  The farmers were reluctant to change their habits, so Carver worked out 105 practical uses for peanuts, including peanut butter.Once he demonstrated the usefulness of the legume, farmers were willing to take a chance on a crop that had not been in demand before then.The Origin of the PB&J SandwichPrior to [...]



Well SOMEBODY Has to Keep Track

2013-12-20T09:28:20.241-08:00

And luckily, it's not me.I don't have to list out all of the lies that Mitt Romney has told so far in this campaign because The Slacktivist has already done it for me:I suppose the other approach for Romney defenders who cannot bear to face the fact of those 533 facts will be to angrily pore over all of Benen’s lists, reading each one with a lawyerly eye.Have at it. Please. Cherry-pick. Spin. Split hairs. Hand-wave away whichever lies you wish as mere misdemeanors and not full-fledged felonies against honesty.But how many of those charges do you think you can get dismissed? 10 percent? 20 percent? Maybe, if you’re that sort of person and you work really hard at it — if you’re willing to get even more pedantic and semantic and technical than even you are usually comfortable with — maybe you could half convince yourself that 50 percent of those lies somehow shouldn’t really count against Romney.That still leaves more than 260 lies.And here are the links to the 30 columns outlining all 533 lies, as outlined by Stephen Benen: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX, XXX.[...]



Mitt Romney; Candidate of Empty Words

2013-12-20T09:28:20.214-08:00

It's no wonder the Republican Party has to argue with an empty chair; pressed for details, Mitt Romney's saying a lot of nothing.
(image)
He won't show us any more than two years of his tax returns; his own father originated the practice of sharing tax returns with the American people, saying that candidates who won't share their returns are hiding something.

He has criticized President Obama's handling of ending the war in Afghanistan.  Asked what he'd do different, all he can really offer is "the same thing - only I'd do it better."

And now, his plan to re-invent our tax plan is similarly lacking in substance. He'll lower taxes, but increase revenues by closing loopholes.  Which ones?  He can't say.  Can he give an example?  No, but they'll off-set the cuts in taxes.  How?  He can't say.

Even Fox "News" is getting tired of the evasive responses:


width='560' height='315' frameborder='0' allowfullscreen='' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/4fZkdjvsLxI'/>



Reaching Across the Aisle

2013-12-20T09:28:20.191-08:00

(image) In Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention, he mentioned that President Obama, contrary to some claims to the contrary, reaches across party lines:
One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation.
Let's take a quick look at these appointments:
  • Robert Gates served as Director of Central Intelligence under President George H.W. Bush.  He was appointed Secretary of Defense by George W. Bush to replace Donald Rumsfeld.  President Obama asked him to continue in the role under his administration.  When Gates retired in 2011, Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. the nation's highest civilian award.  Gates was in fact registered as an Independent, but publicly stated that he considered himself a Republican.
  • John McHugh was a ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he had been a harsh critic of Obama's Pentagon budget.
  • Ray LaHood served in the House of Representatives since 1994, representing Illinois's 18th Congressional District. He served in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 1995 until 2000.  He also served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Appropriations Committee.  In 1998, he presided over the impeachment of then President Bill Clinton.  LaHood has announced that he'll be retiring at the end of President Obama's first term, and that he does not plan to seek public office again.
So, two Republicans, and an Independent who worked for Republicans.  And some of those Republicans were harsh critics of the Democratic Party, or its elected officials.  Yet, President Obama still reached out to them.  They were great choices for their appointments, and possibly more so because of their opposing views.  And the President recognized this when he appointed them.

Contrast that with the Republican Party's decision to "reconstitute" the delegates from Maine.  Claiming that the primary process in Maine was flawed, the national party ruled that half the delegates - who happened to be supporters of Ron Paul - would be replaced with delegates who just happened to support Romney.  The Republican Party can't even cooperate with its own internal factions, and we're supposed to believe them when they say they can unite the country?



Time to Spurn Conventions

2013-12-20T09:28:20.200-08:00

(image) Here's an odd factoid: the Anti-Masonic Party started our tradition of holding a convention to choose the party's candidate for President back in 1831.  Samuel Hudson Fisher I, my great-great-great grandfather, was a founding member, and was one of the delegates from Pennsylvania at that convention.

The party itself was a single-issue organization; a reaction against the suspicious death of William Morgan, of Batavia, New York.  He was supposedly murdered by the  freemasons because he threatened to expose their secret rites.  It's "supposedly," because his body was never found.

But the man had indeed written an exposé, and he did vanish in 1826.  And that was enough to start hysteria.  It didn't last more than a few years, and its strongest influence seems to have been to undermine the campaign of Henry Clay.

But their legacy of the national party convention lived on, and for good reason. 

The practical telegraph would not be invented for another 6 years, and would take a couple of decades to come into common usage; so it was a time when information took weeks to propagate across the country.  Bringing all the delegates into one place to select the candidate made so much sense that the other major parties followed suit by the next presidential election.

Up through the twentieth century, no one really knew who the candidate would be until the national convention had hashed it out.  Often, candidates were completely unknown outside their own communities, let alone outside their state.  Getting all the party delegates together was really mandatory, in order to bring the number of candidates down to a figure that wouldn't overwhelm the ballot.

But with the advent of the information age, the convention has ceased to be a place where decisions are made and have devolved into a pointless show of affirmation.  The candidacy of Mitt Romney was really determined months ago.  Even John McCain's candidacy was a foregone conclusion.  Even George W. Bush wasn't that much of a longshot.

Instead of statesmanship, it is the most prominent example of how politics in the United States has become a dog-and-pony show.  In the last few Republican National Conventions, it's increasingly apparent that it's no longer an extension of democratic principles, but a time for everyone to toe the line - or get out.  When Maine sent some Ron Paul supporters with the delegation, they were not seated.  And that may be the only surprise decision to come out of it, and it sends a message we should take to heart:  the Republican Party cares so little for the voice of its own constituents, it's unlikely that they will respect those of non-Republicans.



Jon Stewart: Eastwood fits GOP

2013-12-20T09:28:20.250-08:00

Jon Stewart shows us that  Eastwood is actually a great spokesman for the GOP; not just because he's verging on senility.  Well, mostly that.

Part 1:
src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:cms:video:thedailyshow.com:418584" width="512" height="288" frameborder="0">

The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook



Part 2:
src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:cms:video:thedailyshow.com:418585" width="512" height="288" frameborder="0">

The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook






The Sad Truth about Creationism

2013-12-20T09:28:20.188-08:00

The ControversyYou've probably seen Bill Nye's YouTube video where he pleads with parents to stop preventing their children from learning about evolution."I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that's fine.  But don't make your kids do it.  Because we need them.  We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.  We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems."-- Bill NyeWhat is the Theory of Evolution?The Theory of Evolution is the basis of all our biological sciences; drugs work because we understand the biological processes that developed and continue to shape our internal chemistry.  New surgical procedures have been developed because we understand how our organs developed to work with each other, and we're even able to graft organs (or parts of organs) from other species because we understand how we're related to them.Consider vaccines; every vaccine ever developed sprang from the application of the Theory of Evolution. And when some vaccines stopped working, scientists weren't stumped because Evolution predicted that viruses would adapt to the vaccines.  Similarly, bacteria have adapted to many of the original crop of anti-biotics, so new drugs are developed - and they work, because Evolution explains how the bacteria they fight have adapted.That's because "theory" does not mean "we don't know so we made something up."  A scientific theory has to account for every variable of what it's trying to explain, it has to be proven through experimentation, AND we have to be able to make predictions with it.  To follow this discussion, you need to understand the basic concepts of science:Hypothesis: A hypothesis is an educated guess, based on observation. Usually, a hypothesis can be supported or refuted through experimentation or more observation. A hypothesis can be disproven, but not proven to be true. In other words, you may find the hypothesis to be untrue in many circumstances, but there may be circumstances you haven't tested yet.Theory: A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Law: A law generalizes a body of observations. At the time it is made, no exceptions have been found to a law. Scientific laws explain things, but they do not describe them. One way to tell a law and a theory apart is to ask if the description gives you a means to explain 'why'. One line of reasoning used by Creationists is that "evolution isn't true, because if it were, it would be a law."  But now that we have the definitions handy, we can see that theories and laws do different things.  Newton's Law of Gravity doesn't explain why the apple falls, it only says that it will.  Einstein's Theory of Gravity explains why the apple falls - and predicts how it will fall under other circumstances.Contrary to what rabid fundamentalists keep claiming, Evolution has proven itself time and time again, and at no time has it been dis-proven.  But what, actually, is the theory of evolution?  The most clear definition I've found is the one on About.com:Biological evolution is defined as any genetic change in a population that is inherited over several generations. These changes may be small or large, noticeable or not so noticeable.  In order for an event to be cons[...]



Dictionary Fun with Rob Moore.

2012-08-30T05:30:48.457-07:00

Yes, it's time for another round of Dictionary Fun!  Today, we'll be checking out the vocabulary skills of Rob Moore.Rob Moore is the CFO for Murray Energy, a company that operates coal mines in West Virginia.  He's also a fucking thug colossal prick and a miserable excuse for a human being an uncaring company stooge a cold-hearted business man, as we'll see.Mr. Moore came to our attention after a friend posted this photo on Facebook:Hard to believe, isn't it?  But some research lead us to recorded talk radio show on West Virginia's WWVA 1170 AM. If you don't have the 20 minutes to listen to the program, The Raw Story gives us a thorough good recap of the story.A group of coal miners in Ohio feel they would have been fired if they did not attend an Aug. 14 event with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and contribute to his campaign — and to make matters worse, they lost of day of pay for their trouble. “Yes, we were in fact told that the Romney event was mandatory and would be without pay, that the hours spent there would need to be made up my non-salaried employees outside of regular working hours, with the only other option being to take a pay cut for the equivalent time,” the employees told Blomquist. “Yes, letters have gone around with lists of names of employees who have not attended or donated to political events.”What did the company have to say about it?Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore told Blomquist that the charges were untrue.“There were no workers that were forced to attend the event,” Moore said. “We had managers that communicated to our work force that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event..." Hmmm. Attendance was mandatory.  But the employees weren't forced.  But if it was mandatory, doesn't that mean that they had to go?  Isn't that what "mandatory" means?Let's see what Merriam-Webster has to say about the word "mandatory:"MANDATORY (adjective)  1: required by a law or rule : obligatory So, yes, if attendance was mandatory, they were indeed expected to go.  That was the, um, mandate they were given.Moore did have more to say about the attendance:"... but no one was forced to attend the event. We had a pre-registration list. And employees were asked to put their names on a pre-registration list because they could not get into the event unless they were pre-registered and had a name tag to enter the premises.”Then why did you just say it was mandatory?  If there is confusion, Mr. Moore, it was created by Murray Energy, who told employees they had to attend, not the employees who are pissed that they were told they had to attend a political rally for someone whose record for labor is pretty dismal.But to add insult to injury:“Our management people wanted to attend the event..."We have cause to suspect that the fact that their boss told them they'd better be there had something to do with it, but heck, we'll play the game that they were all willing volunteers who not coerced in any way by the owner of the company who has donated over $900,000 to the Republican Party over the last year or so.So what's the problem with all the manager going to the rally?  Because there were no managers on site, the mine had to be closed for a day.  Or more precisely, because management closed the mine to attend a political rally, every mine[...]



George Washington on Government

2012-08-28T21:23:21.528-07:00

A people who ignore their history are doomed to repeat it; we're already repeating parts of it, and not for the first time.  But all that means is that the words of our founding fathers are still relevant, if not merely "relevant again."George Washington boast of our nation's liberalism in his letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, 1790:If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.He also spoke of the importance of working together in his Farewell Address, 1796:The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth...We haven't had any unity of government in the last two congresses; when the GOP got control of the House, the Republican leadership announced to its constituents that the party would no longer be working towards unity of purpose, but focusing solely on preventing the incumbent president from being re-elected.To that end, the Republican Party has been flat-out demonizing the Democratic Party, and any who support it.  And Washington warned us of this, too:...you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union... you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it... discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country... The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes. In Washington's times, factionalism was divided along regional origin; citizens tended to identify themselves by their state affiliation rather than Americans.  But the basic problem is still with us, even if we call ourselves "Democrats" and "Republicans" or "Liberals" or "Conservatives."  Washington was very clear that true patriots are Americans first, above and beyond any other affiliation.He was also insistent that we must work together, and that facts must be considered over insinuations:These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the Union as a[...]



George Washingon on Political Parties

2012-08-28T20:39:59.173-07:00

From George Washington's Farewell Address, 1796
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On political parties:
"Let me... warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party...

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But... in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume."
While it is true that both of the major parties are playing fast and loos with the truth, the fact is that the Republican Party isn't merely exaggerating, or mis-stating, facts.  It's making stuff up out of whole cloth.  And lying isn't something any of us should support.

But whatever your opinions on the matter, they do not matter if you do not vote.  Be sure to cast your vote this election day.