Monthly Archives: December 2010

My Favorite Mashup of 2010

Smells Like Rockin Robin


But this mega-mashup, called "Miracles" ain't bad:


1. Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are
2. B.O.B. feat. Bruno Mars – Nothing On You
3. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
4. Britney Spears – Hit Me, Baby, One More Time
5. Jason Derulo – In My Head
6. Justin Timberlake – My Love
7. Lady Gaga – Just Dance
8. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
9. Ne-Yo – So Sick
10. Michael Jackson – Black Or White
11. Snoop Dogg – Sexual Eruption
12. Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
13. Taylor Swift – Fifteen
14. Taylor Swift – Fearless
15. Savage Garden – The Animal Song
16. Snoop Dogg feat. Justin Timberlake – Signs

Question of The Day

Two pictures of Katy Perry?  One picture of Katy Perry and one of Zooey Daschanel?  Or two Zooey Daschanels?


This is why I don't pay much attention to celebrities anymore.

2010 Meme of the Year

I was aware of this, but it never grabbed me.  But it involves the Gregory Brothers, so that's cool.

Anyway, if you want to know what the meme of the year is, or what a "meme" is, watch:


RIP, “We Can Do It” Lady

From WaPo:

PH20 Geraldine Doyle, 86, who as a 17-year-old factory worker became the inspiration for a popular World War II recruitment poster that evoked female power and independence under the slogan "We Can Do It!," died Dec. 26 at a hospice in Lansing, Mich.

Her daughter, Stephanie Gregg, said the cause of death was complications from severe arthritis.

For millions of Americans throughout the decades since World War II, the stunning brunette in the red and white polka-dot bandanna was Rosie the Riveter.

Rosie's rolled-up sleeves and flexed right arm came to represent the newfound strength of the 18 million women who worked during the war and later made her a figure of the feminist movement.

But the woman in the patriotic poster was never named Rosie, nor was she a riveter. All along it was Mrs. Doyle, who after graduating from high school in Ann Arbor, Mich., took a job at a metal factory, her family said.

One day, a photographer representing United Press International came to her factory and captured Mrs. Doyle leaning over a piece of machinery and wearing a red and white polka-dot bandanna over her hair.

In early 1942, the Westinghouse Corp. commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to produce several morale-boosting posters to be displayed inside its buildings. The project was funded by the government as a way to motivate workers and perhaps recruit new ones for the war effort.

Smitten with the UPI photo, Miller reportedly was said to have decided to base one of his posters on the anonymous, slender metal worker – Mrs. Doyle.

For four decades, this fact escaped Mrs. Doyle, who shortly after the photo was taken left her job at the factory. She barely lasted two weeks.

A cellist, Mrs. Doyle was horrified to learn that a previous worker at the factory had badly injured her hands working at the machines. She found safer employment at a soda fountain and bookshop in Ann Arbor, where she wooed a young dental school student and later became his wife.

2010 Mashup

The United State of Pop annual mashup of the Top 25 Hits of 2010, according to Billboard Magazine:


Here are the hits, if you didn't know….

Ke$ha – Tik Tok
Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
Train – Hey, Soul Sister
Katy Perry Featuring Snoop Dogg – California Gurls
Usher Featuring – OMG
B.O.B. Featuring Hayley Williams – Airplanes
Eminem Featuring Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie
Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
Taio Cruz – Dynamite
Taio Cruz Featuring Ludacris – Break Your Heart
B.O.B. Featuring Bruno Mars – Nothin' On You
Enrique Iglesias Featuring Pitbull – I Like It
Young Money Featuring Lloyd – Bedrock
Jason Derulo – In My Head
Rihanna – Rude Boy
Lady Gaga Featuring Beyonce – Telephone
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
Bruno Mars – Just the Way You Are
Mike Posner – Cooler Than Me
The Black Eyed Peas – Imma Be
Jay-Z + Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
Usher Featuring Pitbull – DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love
Travie McCoy Featuring Bruno Mars – Billionaire
Eminem – Not Afraid
Iyaz – Replay

CPAC Dying From Gay Coodies

Every February, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) fourishes in Washington D.C. — it is the right-wing event of the year, and heavy hitters from the conservative movement and the Republican Party are anxious to be a part of it.  You name it; they are there. Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Cheney, etc.

And with their gains in the Senate and House this past election to 2011 CPAC was expected to be a real hootenanny.

But there's a cloud on the horizon.  Huge and notable sponsors are dropping out.  And why?  Because this year, CPAC is letting in the gays:

Two of the nation's premier moral issues organizations, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, are refusing to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in February because a homosexual activist group, GOProud, has been invited.

"We've been very involved in CPAC for over a decade and have managed a couple of popular sessions. However, we will no longer be involved with CPAC because of the organization's financial mismanagement and movement away from conservative principles," said Tom McClusky, senior vice president for FRCAction.

"CWA has decided not to participate in part because of GOProud," CWA President Penny Nance told WND.

FRC and CWA join the American Principles Project, American Values, Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage in withdrawing from CPAC.

There's long been an ideological spectrum of modern conservative thought, including subsets like libertarians, neocons, paleocons, Birchers, and theocrats. But for these religious right groups boycotting CPAC, there's apparently a rule: if you're gay, you can't be conservative.

The Next Right Wing Freakout

Here it comes…. you ready?  I keep my ear pretty close to the crazy ground, so I think this might have some legs.  From the people that brought you "death panels", the next big fear.

And it goes something like this:


You see, on December 16, the President announced that the U.S. would reverse course and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The Declaration was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2007, but the U.S., under President Bush, opposed it.

The UN Declaration — known as Article 26 – says:

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

The fringe right has seized on this, as well as the fact that Obama was made an honorary member of certain Indian tribes during the 2008 campaign.

And first up to bat the loony theory?  The World Net Daily, of course, which puts in the form of a question

Obama to give Manhattan back to Native Americans?

Give a week or two, and that question mark will be an exclamation point.

Palin Responds to Aaron Sorkin

So here's the clip…


First of all, it's clear that Palin has never heard of Sorkin.  She can't remember his first name, and (with an assist from the GMA interviewer) chalks him up as a Hollywood producer.  Yes, technically co-produces some of TV shows, but he's mainly known as a writer, and calling him a "movie producer" is like calling Edison a "movie director".

Secondly, Palin scoffs at the "producer" Sorkin because he's from Hollywood where they make movies where guns are pointed at people.  And shooting innocent caribou is better because it's not people.  Yes, there was a LOT of gunplay on "Sports Night", Sarah.

And finally, Palin insinuates that she would never shoot anything for fun or for fashion.  "It's for food", that's why we hunt she insists.

It's too bad that the camera didn't pull back when she said that, because then we would have all seen this:


Yup.  That's a bearskin rug, complete with head.

McCain On DADT

Well, the repeal of DADT passed.

And this made McCain cry.  The Washington Post recounts the ugliness:

In the end, McCain lost eight Republicans as the ban was easily overturned. This wasn't entirely surprising, because Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Bush administration holdover) and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen both argued passionately for repeal, and a Pentagon study forecast that a repeal would not bring significant harm.

McCain clung to the dissenting view of the Marine commandant, Gen. James Amos, who had warned that lifting the ban would create a "distraction" that could lead to battlefield injuries for U.S. troops. But assurances by Gates were good enough for Republican senators such as George Voinovich (Ohio), who defended his yes vote by saying he expects repeal "will be implemented in a common-sense way."

The loss of Republican votes, no doubt, made McCain even angrier. When it came time for his closing argument before the day's key vote, McCain spoke for only a few seconds: "Today's a very sad day. The commandant of the United States Marine Corps says when your life hangs on the line, you don't want anything distracting. . . . I don't want to permit that opportunity to happen and I'll tell you why. You go up to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Marines are up there with no legs, none. You've got Marines at Walter Reed with no limbs."

McCain turned and, without another word, walked into the cloakroom.

Let's reflect on this for a moment.

Those Marines that McCain was talking about.  The ones at Bethesda.  They lost limbs because they were distracted?  Isn't is possible some of them, if not (oh) all of them, lost limbs while fully alert?  I mean, a roadside bomb goes off and I don't care how alert you are — if your Humvee is driving over it, it's going to hit you.

And then you wonder…. is having gay people in the service distracting?  And by "distracting" I mean "so distracting that you are likely to have your limbs blown off"?  Because that's what McCain is saying.

What a weirdo.  Face it, Johnnie.  You don't like repeal of DADT because you don't like gay people.

Tonight’s Lunar Eclipse

For us on the East Coast:

  • Starts at 1:15 a.m.
  • Clear sliver will be seen on the moon by 1:33 a.m.
  • Moon will be in total blackout phase for 72 minutes starting at 2:41 a.m.

This is an eclipse where the moon goes through the Earth's shadow.  

Reconsidering My Favorite Things

  • Raindrops on roses – I suppose it would be nice, if I was in the mood to do photography or something.  Generally though, I'm not much of a nature photographer.
  • Whiskers on kittens – All kitten have whiskers. I'm underwhelmed.
  • Bright copper kettles – I don't really know what I would use a kettle for.  Especially a copper one.
  • Warm woolen mittens – What am I?  Four years old?  Gloves for me, please.
  • Brown paper packages tied up with string – Sounds like a terrorist bomb.  My Favorite Things FAIL
  • Cream colored ponies – Oh, God.  Not those My Little Pony things.  
  • Crisp apple strudels – Like them   Not among my favorite things in the world, but maybe in the top 500.
  • Doorbells – They serve a function.  I can't get jazzed about them.
  • Sleigh bells – Annoying after a few minutes.
  • Schnitzel with noodles – Don't know what schnitzel is.
  • Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings – Nice photo op, I guess.
  • Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes – Depends on the girl.
  • Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes – This is what most people call "frostbite".  Therefore, one of my LEAST favorite things.
  • Silver white winters that melt into springs – Silver white?  How many colors is winter?  Anyway, thawing is nice, albeit a little muddy.  So, not a favorite thing.

Lie Of The Year

I love these year-end retrospectives.  Everyone's doing them.  Politifact, the unit of the St. Petersberg Times which won a Pultizer Prize in Journalism for being about accuracy (a rather sad commentary on the state of journalism), picks out the biggest lie of 2010:

In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to overhaul America's health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a "government takeover."

"Takeovers are like coups," Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. "They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom."

The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the "public option" concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan.

But as Republicans smelled serious opportunity in the midterm elections, they didn't let facts get in the way of a great punchline. And few in the press challenged their frequent assertion that under Obama, the government was going to take over the health care industry.

PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen "government takeover of health care" as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats' shellacking in the November elections.

Readers of PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times' independent fact-checking website, also chose it as the year's most significant falsehood by an overwhelming margin. (Their second-place choice was Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim that Obama was going to spend $200 million a day on a trip to India, a falsity that still sprouts.)

By selecting "government takeover' as Lie of the Year, PolitiFact is not making a judgment on whether the health care law is good policy.

The phrase is simply not true.

I still hear it though.

Top Ten Plays/Musicals Performed By High Schools

From Playbill:

Top 10 Plays
1) Almost, Maine
2) A Midsummer Night's Dream
3) You Can't Take It With You
4) Noises Off
5) Twelve Angry Men
6) Alice in Wonderland (various adaptations)

7) The Crucible
8) Our Town
9) Neil Simon’s Fools
10) A Christmas Carol (various adaptations)

Top 10 Musicals
Disney's Beauty and the Beast
2) Seussical
3) Grease
4) Into the Woods
5) Footloose
6) The Wizard of Oz (multiple adaptations)

7) You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
8) The Music Man
9) Once upon a Mattress
10) Thoroughly Modern Millie

I'm very surprised about Almost, Maine and Noises Off.  But the rest?  Yeah.


More Evidence of Fox News Bias Emerges

About a year ago, Fox News correspondent Wendell Goler delivered a live report from Copenhagen and told viewers the truth. The United Nations' World Meteorological Organization, Goler said, had announced that that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record."

Not quite 15 minutes later, another memo was sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon.

In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." […]

Sammon's orders for Fox journalists to cast doubt on climate science came amid the network's relentless promotion of the fabricated "Climategate" scandal, which revolved around misrepresentations of emails sent to and from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. 

Note this: Sammon's marching orders were sent to the network's news division, not its opinion shows.

So in other words, Sammon was arguing that since there is a "debate" about global warming (there isn't actually, at least not among scientists), you should slant any news evidence which resolves that "debate".  Riiiiight.

This is the second interesting revelation in as many weeks about Sammon's political agenda at Fox News. Last week, it was his memo about how the network should characterize the public option during the health care debate. This week, it's reports on global warming.

Time’s Person of The Year 2010

Mark Zuckerberg.

I actually don't have a problem with Time's choice.  You got to give props to someone who comes up with something that 1 out of every 12 people in the world subscribe to.  550 million.  Yes, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism (but not any other religion) are each larger, but on the other hand, they've been around for thousands of years.  Facebook?  Totally non-existant even ten years ago.

The funny thing is, like the movie said, we still don't really know what it IS yet.  I mean, it is a place for people to connect.  Is that it?  THEN what?

On the other hand, maybe that's it.  When people hooked up to the Internet in the 1990s, it was a vast crowded oasis of, well, everything.  Too much of everything.  And Zuckerberg, in his own way, brought order to it — or, at least, to how we reach out to each other on it.  

So yeah.  Time's Person of the Year.  Why not?

Computers To Play “Jeopardy”

I'm not talking about computer games of Jeopardy; I'm talking about the game show itself:

The game show "Jeopardy" will pit man versus machine this winter in a competition that will show how successful scientists are in creating a computer that can mimic human intelligence.

Two of the venerable game show's most successful champions — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter — will play two games against "Watson," a computer program developed by IBM's artificial intelligence team. The matches will be spread over three days that will air Feb. 14-16, the game show said on Tuesday.


The computer has already been tested in some 50 games against past "Jeopardy" champions. But neither IBM nor "Jeopardy" representatives would say what "Watson's" record was.

The winner gets a $1 million prize. IBM said it would donate its winnings to charity, while Jennings and Rutter said they would give half of their prize money away.

Jennings had the game show's longest winning streak, taking 74 games in a row during the 2004-2005 season. Rutter has won more money than any other "Jeopardy" player, nearly $3.3 million during his original appearance and three subsequent tournaments.

I don't know. It might be worth tuning in.  Sort of a modern day version of John Henry.

Someone Tell The Black Eyes Peas To Stop It

First, they take a perfectly good classic like "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (from Dirty Dancing) and rape it with the long probe of a techno-funk-hip-hop beat so dischordant that it causes my dog to run full speed into walls.

Which is bad enough.

And then they mash it up with "The Little Drummer Boy".  Because… well, because it's Christmas and when I think of "The Time of My Life", I think of "The Little Drummer Boy".

And then they drop this large stinkpile of shit on Oprah.


YouTube Videos of 2010

There's still a few weeks left in 2010, but it looks like the most watched YouTube videos of 2010 are as follows:

  1. BED INTRUDER SONG!!! (now on iTunes)
  2. TIK TOK KESHA Parody: Glitter Puke – Key of Awe$ome #13
  3. Greyson Chance Singing Paparazzi
  4. Annoying Orange Wazzup
  5. Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
  6. Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10
  7. OK Go – This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine version
  9. Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fan
  10. Ken Block's Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome

I'm a big fan of the Autotune the News guys, so I'm glad they did so well… although I didn't actually like the Bed Intruder Song very much.  In fact, I only like the Greyson Chance video, the Double Rainbow video, and the Ok Go video (all of which I put on this blog at one time or another).

Doing It Old School


Sanders, currently in his fifth sixth hour of speaking on the Senate floor against the Obama-crafted tax cut compromise with Republicans, is getting lots of web buzz from filibuster enthusiasts and progressives irked at the president for cutting the deal.

An independent who caucuses with Democrats, Sanders has threatened to speak out against the extension of cuts for the very wealthy – which he called “a moral outrage” earlier this week – for “as long as possible” on the Senate floor.

“You can call what I am doing today whatever you want,” he said. “You can it call it a filibuster, you can call it a very long speech.”

Not quite a filibuster, in all honesty, because…

Sanders’ speech isn’t actually stopping any particular Senate business from happening today.

There are no votes scheduled today, nor are there other senators wishing to speak.

If it were a true filibuster, he would be blocking Republicans from conducting business or speaking. And those Republicans would be angry.

But Republican senators aren't even in the chamber today. Not one has been or the floor or sought time to talk on the floor.

Sanders is one of many senators whose objections will require a cloture vote to break the filibuster on Monday. And his roadblock of the bill would be in place whether he’d spoken for seven minutes or seven hours today.

Still, it makes for great CSPAN-2 viewing.

And good for Sanders, who is trending now on Twitter.

2011 Dead Pool

Here it is.  These are the ones off the top of my head (minus the ones I removed from the list because, as it turns out, they're already dead).  None of these are terrible surprising.

  • Zsa-Zsa Gabor
  • Bob Barker
  • Mike Wallace
  • Jack LaLanne
  • Harry Morgan
  • Olivia de Havilland
  • Michael Dukakis
  • Billy Graham
  • Betty Garrett
  • Eli Wallach
  • Stan Musual
  • Abe Vagoda 
  • Nancy Reagan 
  • Both Kirk and Michael Douglas
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Al Jarreau
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Norman Lear
  • Jean Stapleton
  • Yogi Berra
  • James Garner
  • Lauren Becall
  • Jack Klugman
  • Both Mickey and Andy Rooney
  • Jeff Conaway
  • Both Garry and Penny Marshall
  • Dick Clark
  • Gene Wilder
  • Fidel Castro

I know, it's just a random list, and I could add more to it.

There IS an actual "Dead Pool" game though.  What you do is pick ten famous people to die in 2011.  If they die, then you take 100 minus their age when they died.  So if someone 75 years old dies, you get 25 points. Someone 98 years old dies? Oh! That's a two pointer.  Person with the highest number on January 1, 2012, wins.

Strategically, I like to pick "younger" people (60-70 year olds) who have been sick lately, mix them in with a few octogenarians (or older) who really should be dead this coming year barring a miracle, and then throw in an Amy Winehouse or a Charlie Sheen (for obvious reasons).

So here's my "competition" dead pool list for 2011:

  1. Zsa Zsa Gabor (born 2/06/1917)
  2. Billy Graham (born 11/7/1918)
  3. Dick Clark (born 11/30/1929)
  4. Al Jarreau (born 3/12/1940)
  5. Dick Cheney (born 1/30/1941)
  6. Aretha Franklin (born 3/25/1942)
  7. Penny Marshall (born 10/15/1942)
  8. Michael Douglas (born 9/25/1944)
  9. Jeff Conaway (born 10/5/1950)
  10. Amy Winehouse (born 9/14/1983)

In Which I Weigh In On The Obama Compromise Tax Plan

No, of course I don't like it.  What was Obama thinking????

Here, in a nutshell, is the deal that Obama worked out with the Republicans:  In exchange for a two-year extension of all the tax cuts — including those for households making more than $250,000 per year — the deal includes a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits, a two percent cut in the employee side of the payroll tax for one year, and a retention of some expanded tax credits included in the 2009 Recovery Act.  To get Republicans on board, Obama also agreed to a two-year cut in the estate tax (which he characterized in a statement as a “more generous treatment of the estate tax than I think is wise or warranted”).  As an aside, these Republicans want an estate tax which only benefits millionaires are the same Republicans who think spending $7.6 billion to help the 9/11 rescuers (firemen, police, etc) who have contracted diseases, is wasteful and "job-killing".

In other words, to get some unemployment relief to the (mostly) middle class, Obama agreed to tax cuts for a very small number of wealthy people.

For comparison’s sake, here is a chart detailing both the number of people (in millions) who benefit from each side’s priorities, as well as the total cost (in billions). Obama’s components of the tax deal (extended unemployment benefits, the payroll tax cut, and the extended credits) will cost $214 billion to aid 156 million people. The Republicans priorities (extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and cutting the estate tax), meanwhile, will cost $133 billion, but only benefit roughly 4.8 million people.  Or, in graph form….

Excluded from this analysis is extension of the broad-based Bush tax cuts, on which everyone agreed. 

And you can see what's happened — Obama's priorities will cost a lot more, but it will help more.  Whereas the Republican priorities will cost half as much, but help practically nobody.

On a per-person level, the GOP's tax cuts are much larger. An individual billionaire is getting a far better deal than an individual unemployed American. And that's galling. 

Now, let's look at the snowman graph, which I've shown on here before.  At the left is Obama's original plan, the GOP's original plan, and the compromise plan of this week.  The graph shows the average tax cut for a person living at each income level.  Click to embiggen.


Bottom line?  Under the compromise plan, the wealthiest of the wealthy do better than the original GOP plan.

The problem with the original GOP plan and the Obama tax plan compromise of this week is that the tax cuts benefit the wealthy on a disproportionate level — the wealthy being, typically, the ones least effected by the recession.

Does that make sense to anyone other than greedy Republicans?

UPDATE:  House Dems reject Obama's compromise plan.

Christian Advice On How To Pick Up Women

The only real question here is which of these three "openers" will be most creepy when put into practice by various impressionable Christian youths. 

"Are you in a motorcycle gang?" strikes me as pretty creepy.


How Fox Slants The News

During the heated health care debates last year, the Washington editor of Fox News sent a memo to Fox News employees instructing them not to call it the "public option", but to call it the "government option".  Why?  Because polls showed that people had a much more negative reaction to "government option".

From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
To: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Subject: friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the "public option"

1)      Please use the term "government-run health insurance" or, when brevity is a concern, "government option," whenever possible.

2)      When it is necessary to use the term "public option" (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation's lexicon), use the qualifier "so-called," as in "the so-called public option."

3)      Here's another way to phrase it: "The public option, which is the government-run plan."

4)      When newsmakers and sources use the term "public option" in our stories, there's not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct.


It's interesting to note that he acknowledges that he admits that the term "public option" is ensconced in the nation's lexicon, but he wants his news people to avoid the phrase anyway.

No, I Don’t Think So


(CNN) - Members of the Westboro Baptist Church announced Thursday plans to picket Saturday's funeral for Elizabeth Edwards in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Kansas-based Church – monitored by anti-hate groups such as the Anti-Defamation league and the Southern Poverty Law Center – is known for its extremist opposition to homosexuals, Jews and other groups.

The church members also oppose the War in Iraq.

According to the church's website, members will hold a protest from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Edwards, the estranged wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, died Tuesday after a six-year battle with breast cancer.


Not That Anybody South Of Connecticut Cares….

but the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford, which is a good thing.  He'll be hitting third.  When you couple that with the acquisition of Gonzalez, this may be the strongest Red Sox lineup in the past few years.

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Pedroia,  2B
3. Crawford, LF
4. Gonzalez, 1B
5. Youkilis, 3B
6. Ortiz, DH
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Drew, RF
9. Scutaro, SS

Now, Theo needs to work on the bullpen…

Aaron Sorkin Has A Response For Sarah Palin

Man has a way with words:

"Unless you've never worn leather shoes, sat upon a leather chair or eaten meat, save your condemnation."

You're right, Sarah, we'll all just go fuck ourselves now.

The snotty quote was posted by Sarah Palin on (like all the great frontier women who've come before her) her Facebook page to respond to the criticism she knew and hoped would be coming after she hunted, killed and carved up a Caribou during a segment of her truly awful reality show, Sarah Palin's Alaska, broadcast on The-Now-Hilariously-Titled Learning Channel.

I eat meat, chicken and fish, have shoes and furniture made of leather, and PETA is not ever going to put me on the cover of their brochure and for these reasons Palin thinks it's hypocritical of me to find what she did heart-stoppingly disgusting. I don't think it is, and here's why.

Like 95% of the people I know, I don't have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt. But like absolutely everybody I know, I don't relish the idea of torturing animals. I don't enjoy the fact that they're dead and I certainly don't want to volunteer to be the one to kill them and if I were picked to be the one to kill them in some kind of Lottery-from-Hell, I wouldn't do a little dance of joy while I was slicing the animal apart.

I'm able to make a distinction between you and me without feeling the least bit hypocritical. I don't watch snuff films and you make them. You weren't killing that animal for food or shelter or even fashion, you were killing it for fun. You enjoy killing animals. I can make the distinction between the two of us but I've tried and tried and for the life of me, I can't make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doing. I'm able to make the distinction with no pangs of hypocrisy even though I get happy every time one of you faux-macho shitheads accidentally shoots another one of you in the face.

So I don't think I will save my condemnation, you phony pioneer girl. (I'm in film and television, Cruella, and there was an insert close-up of your manicure while you were roughing it in God's country. I know exactly how many feet off camera your hair and make-up trailer was.)

It's nice to see Sorkin blogging now that his movie is done.

Christine O’Donnell On The Extension of Unemployment Benefits

It's sad that she lost the election and had to return to the witch's coven, because Christine O'Donnell would have been, well, lots of fun.

Not that's she not fun now.  Facing irrelevancy, O’Donnell is forming a new issues-oriented political action committee called “Christine PAC”.  At a launch event for the group in Virginia yesterday, O’Donnell called the extension of jobless benefits a “tragedy,” comparing it to Pearl Harbor and the death of Elizabeth Edwards:

“Today marks a lot of tragedy. … Tragedy comes in threes,” O’Donnell said. “Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards’s passing and Barack Obama’s announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits.”


First of all, much as I loved Elizabeth Edwards, I wouldn't put her passing in the same breath as Pearl Harbor, but, I suppose, reasonable minds can disagree.

But extending unemployment benefits?  That's a tragedy like Pearl Harbor?

Theodore Olson Rocks

I happen to be listening to C-SPAN's live coverage of the oral arguments in Perry v. Schwartzenagger (the "California Prop 18/Gay marriage" case), and I have to say that listening to (conservative) appellate lawyer Ted Olson ply his craft…. it's amazing.  He's getting hard questions and he's responding like the legal equivalent of Michael Jordan.

I'm glad he's on the right side of this one.

Cartoon Character Facebook Meme

It started a couple of weeks ago on by Facebook users from Greece, who started posting pictures of their favorite childhood cartoon characters, simply wanting to remove all humans form Facebook profile pictures. It spread pretty quickly and Cartoon Network created a Facebook page called "Choose a Cartoon Character as Your Profile Picture for a Week" (Nov. 21 – Nov. 28). Since last week, the meme started to serve a greater purpose: raising awareness about violence against children or child abuse.

Which is nice.  I'm glad it has raised awareness about child abuse.

But…. I don't want to change my Facebook profile picture. Okay?  Can I do this without being thought of as being pro-child abuse?

Make Way For Ducklings

One of my favorite childhood books was about a mother duck walking her ducklings through Boston.

Here's an actual video, from last month, of a mother duck walking her ducklings through Boston.  Not as easy as it sounds.



Do you wish your phone service provider provided 4G service?

Wait….. you don't know what 4G service is, do you…..

No, I didn't think so.  You probably know this: it is better than 3G service.  As Nigel Tufnel might say, it 4G is "um…. one better" than 3G.

And you would be correct.  4G is better than 3G.

But guess what?  Nobody right now is providing what any telecom engineer would call true 4G service.  Here's an explanation.

Yes, you're being duped.  For example, T-Mobile basically rebranded its faster network as a "4G" network, but it really isn't.

Not to worry though.  The faux 4G we're hearing about now is faster than 3G. For example, Verizon's "4G' network is 10x faster than its 3G.

But here's the thing: 4G ain't the same among service providers.  Which brings me (finally) to the point of this post:

It looks like Verizon's faux 4G service is the best of the bunch (so far), although it's going to take a while for it to roll out.

That is all.

Why Bristol Did DWTS

Margaret Cho, who was on DWTS this last season, has no bone to pick with Bristol Palin.  In fact, they became friends, Cho says:

I really like Bristol as a person. She’s warm and incredibly supportive, and I think that she looks beautiful out on the dance floor. It’s heartbreaking that people are so awful to her about her weight. I think she looks fantastic, and why does everybody think they have a right to comment on our bodies?

But Cho also says this:

Why did Bristol do Dancing with the Stars? I heard from someone who really should know (really should seriously know the dirt really really) that the only reason Bristol was on the show was because Sarah Palin forced her to do it. Sarah supposedly blames Bristol harshly and openly (in the circles that I heard it from) for not winning the election, and so she told Bristol she “owed” it to her to do DWTS so that “America would fall in love with her again” and make it possible for Sarah Palin to run in 2012 with America behind her all the way. Instead of being supposedly “handicapped” by the presence of her teen mom daughter, now Bristol is going to be an “asset” – a celebrity beloved for her dancing. I am sure the show wasn’t in on this (but who knows anything really).

It wouldn't surprise me.

Good, Because I Have A Few Things I Want To Say To Him


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – In his first visit to the Triad since becoming president in 2008, Barack Obama will visit Winston-Salem on Monday. 

Sources confirmed to WXII that the president will be attending an event at the west campus of Forsyth Technical Community College on Bolton Street. 

Details about the visit weren't immediately available. 

The source said White House officials were in town already to prepare for the visit. 

Obama was last in Winston-Salem during his presidential campaign.


From The People Who Brought You The Creation Museum

Press release:

Ark-encounter Frankfort, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2010)—Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear today joined the Ark Encounter LLC to announce the planned construction of a full-scale Noah’s Ark tourist attraction in northern Kentucky. Partnering with the Ark Encounter is Answers in Genesis, which is most widely known for its high-tech and popular Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

“We are excited to join with the Ark Encounter group as it seeks to provide this unique, family friendly tourist attraction to the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “Bringing new jobs to Kentucky is my top priority, and with the estimated 900 jobs this project will create, I am happy about the economic impact this project will have on the Northern Kentucky region.”

The Ark Encounter is scheduled to open in spring 2014 in northern Kentucky. Multiple sites are being considered, although property in Grant County off I-75 is at the top of the list. A feasibility study conducted by the renowned America’s Research Group has indicated that the Ark Encounter may attract 1.6 million visitors in the first year and is expected to employ up to 900 full- and part-time staff.

The for-profit Ark Encounter project will be privately funded at an estimated cost of $150 million. The final site selection for the Ark Encounter is subject to the ability to acquire all of the land needed for the project, and the approval of certain state and local incentives and other assistance for the project.

“We are very pleased to be a part of this new project,” said Ken Ham, president and founder of AiG and the Creation Museum. “AiG has been blessed to see the Creation Museum host over one million guests in three years. Based on our experience and success operating the large, state-of-the-art Creation Museum, our board believes the time is right to partner with the Ark Encounter in building a full-scale Noah's Ark. We hope that this fun and educational complex called the Ark Encounter will become another popular tourist destination for the state.”

In addition to the full-size Ark, the complex will include a walled city much like those found in ancient times, live animal shows, a children’s interactive play area, a replica of the Tower of Babel with exhibits, a 500-seat 5-D special effects theater, an aviary, and a first-century Middle Eastern village.

My random thoughts:

(1)  Opening in Spring 2014?  Why so long?  Look… according to Answers in Genesis (the people behind the ark project and the press release), it took Noah and his sons a maximum time of 75 years to build the ark.  That roughly 20 man-years of work, which means that 40 guys could build the ark in 6 months, and 80 guys could do it in 3 months.  Why so long?

(2)  On the other hand, how can they possibly get it open by Spring of 2014, if they intend on building a replica of the Tower of Babel?  A scaled-down model — fine.  But a replica?  I don't think so.  The Book of Jubilees contains one of the most detailed accounts found anywhere of the Tower:

And they began to build, and in the fourth week they made brick with fire, and the bricks served them for stone, and the clay with which they cemented them together was asphalt which comes out of the sea, and out of the fountains of water in the land of Shinar. And they built it: forty and three years were they building it; its breadth was 203 bricks, and the height [of a brick] was the third of one; its height amounted to 5433 cubits and 2 palms, and [the extent of one wall was] thirteen stades [and of the other thirty stades]. (Jubilees 10:20-21, Charles' 1913 translation) 

Cubits translate to 1 1/2 ft. each. And one stade (short for the greek 'stadium', the length from one end of the stadium to the other) is 629.9 ft.

Therefore, the Tower of Babel is 8149.5 ft tall, or 1.54346 miles, and the extent of one wall is 8,188 ft. or to 1.55075 mi., much bigger than depicted historically.


… which is to say nothing of the Middle Eastern village around it.  So…. good luck with that.

(3)  A "500 seat 5-D theater"?  What the hell is "5-D"?  They're going to show films in five dimensions?  Or is it going to be a 500 seat theater for….


Oh, man — that would be awesome.

Why The “War on Christmas” Isn’t That Big This Year

Here it is — December 1 — and you are hearing almost NOTHING about the "War on Christmas".  What gives.

Sam Summers, a social psychologist at Tufts University*, has the answer:

According to recent reports, the "War on Christmas" may be in its final throes, and contrary to the fears of many, Christmas is winning. 

In fact, one of the groups that has lobbied most vocally on this issue, the American Family Association, faced a challenge this year even finding a Public Retail Enemy #1 to boycott. Indeed, only 8 stores remain on their 2010 "Companies against Christmas" list, headed by Dick's Sporting Goods. And what was Dick's heinous crime? An on-line collection referred to generically as the "Holiday Shop," which failed to make use of Christmas-specific nomenclature.

Oh, wait a minute… scratch that… Dick's has announced that as of November 28th, they'll be rolling out their "Christmas 2010" advertising campaign. And already today, on their official website, the "Holiday Store" is no more.

Phew. Boycott averted. Make that just 7 stores left to raise arms together in the increasingly lonely offensive being mounted against all that is righteous and good.

Yup.  There's not much of a War on Christmas this year because the Christ forces have won.

But I like what Dr. Summers continues to say:

Taking a step back, this whole notion of the "War on Christmas" reflects an interesting psychology underlying victimhood. Ever notice that people get pretty territorial when it comes to their own group's role as victims? I've heard many Jews bristle at the application of the term "Holocaust" to other examples of genocide. Same goes for the resistance of some African-Americans to recognize, say, the current same-sex marriage movement as a matter of civil rights. It seems that we often view victimization as a zero-sum game: more for you means less for me.

Now keep in mind, I'm not equating feelings about genocide, slavery, or institutionalized racism to the Christmas debate. But these examples certainly illustrate how defensive we can be when thinking about our own group's misfortunes. And in recent years, we've reached the point where the traditionally empowered majority wants to stake its claim to a piece of this victimhood pie as well.  Woe is me, just as much as it is you, the argument seems to go.

This all ties into to the origins of the "War on Christmas" idea. It's an effort–this time employed by factions of the majority group–to say, hey, you may think you've got problems, but so do we! By claiming victim status, we not only draw attention to our priorities and preferences, but we also give ourselves a ready-made excuse the next time we want to oppose or refute a claim of bias by other groups. As in, tough luck; we all get the short end of the stick sometimes, so deal with it.

Sure, in previous years some companies went overboard in their efforts at inclusion: I mean, really, why call it a holiday tree when we all know it's a Christmas tree? But still, what is there about a generic "Happy Holidays" that could possibly offend anyone? Or would, in any way, infringe upon people's ability to enjoy Christmas? In the past few years, have there really been that many conversations ending with, "Kids, I'm sorry to say we can't have Christmas this year–the grocery store receipt only saysWishing You a Happy Holiday Season"?

Of course not. Freedom of religion or the right to celebrate as you see fit have never been the issues here. After all, for years my family (and millions of others who don't celebrate Christmas) have had perfectly joyous celebrations of our own winter holidays without having the names of those occasions spelled out for us in store mailers, billboards, and websites.

50928-40681 You see, if this movement were really about restoring the importance and meaning of Christmas, then who in their right minds would ever couch it in the parlance of religious "war"? Nothing like a good military allusion to conjure up the true spirit of Christmas, right?

No, the "War on Christmas" has never been about religious freedom, individual rights, or even the supposed scourge of political correctness. Rather, it's just an attempt to get attention, jockey for victimhood, and make sure that other groups aren't passing yours by. The ability to celebrate as you and your loved ones wish to celebrate has never been at issue–unless your family had a tradition of meeting for Midnight Mass at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Yup.  So maybe it is a good thing that the "War on Christmas" has come to an end.  Now we won't have to here whiny religious organizations complain about how oppressed they are when they have to endure the degrading "Happy Holidays" banners at Walmart.

* I majored in social psychology at Tufts University, so I'm happy to throw this over to a social psychologist at Tufts University


Perhaps I spoke too soon:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Tuesday that he won't participate in Tulsa's Holiday Parade of Lights until organizers put "Christ" back in the event's title. 

"Last year, the forces of political correctness removed the word 'Christmas' and replaced it with 'Holiday' instead," the Oklahoma Republican said. "I am deeply saddened and disappointed by this change." 

Inhofe, who was Tulsa's mayor from 1978 to 1984, said he had participated in the parade annually, riding a horse as his children and grandchildren watched. 

"I did not do so last year because I'm not going to ride in a Christmas parade that doesn't recognize Christmas," he said. "I am hopeful that the good people of Tulsa and the city's leadership will demand a correction to this shameful attempt to take Christ, the true reason for our celebration, out of the parade's title. Until the parade is again named the Christmas Parade of Lights, I will not participate." 

McGain Moves Goalposts on DADT

Steve Benen reports it:

The anti-gay senator started by saying we can't repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" until the Secretary of Defense says it's a good idea.

When the Pentagon chief did just that, McCain shifted gears and said repeal should wait for the go-ahead from the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. When the chairman did just that, McCain said he'd take his cues from Colin Powell. When Powell endorsed repeal, McCain said he'd honor the opinions of servicemen and women.

And now that service members are on board with repeal, McCain told NBC News yesterday, "I'm paying attention to the commandant of the Marine Corps."

It's bordering on amusing.

It is beyond amusing.  One gets the feeling that one day, McCain will be saying: "Mrs. Edna Grovefield of Callabash, Washington is opposed to repeal of DADT, and I'm going with whatever she says."

I would have more respect for McCain if he would just come out and say "I don't want to let gays in the military", instead of trying to hide behind others who have that opinion.

But note what else McCain said yesterday:

"In all due respect, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is not directly in charge of the troops. The Secretary of Defense is a political appointee who's never been in the military. And the president, obviously, has had no background or experience in the military whatsoever."

Let's take these one at a time.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the nation's highest-ranking military officer. For McCain to dismiss his relevance in a debate over military service requirements is pretty outrageous.

The Secretary of Defense was originally appointed by a Republican, who happened to earn John McCain's confirmation vote. And when McCain told a national television audience that Robert Gates has "never been in the military," McCain was lying — Gates was a second lieutenant in the Air Force.

And finally, when McCain says President Obama "has had no background or experience in the military whatsoever," that, too, is a lie. The president has served for nearly two years as the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces in a time of two foreign wars. McCain is easily confused, but commanding the finest fighting force in the world counts as "experience in the military."

Oh, John.  You're just senile now.