Saturday, January 08, 2011

Giffords Shooting Incited by Sarah Palin?

The kind of loud mouthed irresponsible rhetoric that has been vomited from folks like Sarah Palin and Glen Beck needs to end.  This graphic appears on Palin's web site and the cross-hairs are an unmistakable death threat.  She needs to be arrested and prosecuted for inciting violence.

Now Representative Giffords has been shot in the head along with bystanders and members of her staff.  How else can we interpret this event?

Marty Kaplan at Huffington Post has an opinion.

Muslims Protect Christians in Egypt

After the bombing of a Coptic Christian Church in Egypt, the last thing the terrorists expected were the events of Christmas Eve (Coptic Christmas - Thursday night).  Many people in the Muslim community came together to protect Coptic churches around the country and act as "human shileds" against any possible attacks.  Even the sons of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak showed up to help out.

From Ahram Online:
“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural center distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.
“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Border Fence - Billions to Build, Seconds to Climb Over!

While cruising around YouTube I found this gem.  It shows our multi-billion dollar border fence.  This structure, though very neat and impressive is easily conquered by two teenage girls in less than 18 seconds.  This shows the downright lame brained "build a wall" approach to border security is useless.

I understand this won't matter to the Tea Party or anyone else eager to use jingoistic talking points, but the proof is in the video, the fence was a boondoggle and made a whole lot of money for contractors and did absolutely nothing!

Bill O'Reilly & David Silverman Are Both Idiots.

The video that is making the viral rounds now with Bill O'Reilly and David Silverman, president of the American Atheist Group is getting a lot of play because both of these loudmouths can't seem to understand that the tides are caused by the gravitational effects of the moon (that is a very short version. My problem with the whole thing is this:

First, Bill O'Reilly as a spokesman and apologist for religion is like having Soupy Sales as the defender of genteel humor. He is not anyone who I would want defending my faith, and as a Christian I find him annoying and pretty much an example of how NOT to be a Christian.

Second, Silverman is an equally incompetent spokesperson for any kind of rational atheism. If he can't even defend the "tides" statement, he needs to find someone who can. Additionally, he like many who profess atheism seem to thing science negates religion. Science only negates those who profess biblical literalism, and that is a straw-man argument.

If you can stand almost 10 minutes of blathering ignorance on both sides, watch the clip below.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2 Days Into New GOP Controlled House & They Are Already Breaking Promises!

I rarely get too excited about the Republican Party lying, but this one is amazingly bold.  Only a couple of days into their control of the House and they are breaking three of their key promises.  And Fox News?  They are, not surprisingly, silent about this. 

From the Center for American Progress:
Republicans have already walked back three key promises they touted up through the end of 111th Congress:
– Open Amendment Process Now Closed: Republicans have long complained that Democrats “abused their power in bypassing regular debate” by ignoring “the open rule” which “allows for nearly unlimited amendments and debate.” After a victorious November election, GOP leaders promised “to treat the Democratic minority far differently” by ensuring an open rules process. After all, they had included it in their “Pledge to America.” But now, with their first legislation to repeal the health care law, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is suggesting the GOP will skip the open rule to avoid potentially embarrassing Democratic amendments. The excuse? It’s a “straightforward document” of a “two-page, straight repeal” so “there’s nothing to amend.” According to Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), “there’s no ability” to have open rules because “if you want to have an up-or-down vote, this is how you have to do it. And that is what our pledge was: an up-or-down vote.” Despite demanding the same of the Democrats last year, Republicans now think “some things you don’t need a hearing on.” In response to backlash over his backtrack, Boehner said, “I promised a more open process. I didn’t promise that every single bill was going to be an open bill.”
$100 Billion Spending Cuts Now “Hypothetical”: Confidently touting their “Pledge to America,” Boehner and his Young Gun squadron reiterated the promise that they’d “save $100 billion dollars in the first year.” Just yesterday, Cantor told reporters that Republicans will soon “spell out” the cuts to obtain that number. But, according to Republican aides, that promise is more “hypothetical” than literal and the actual number “is about HALF the original estimate.” When asked by how much, Ryan said “I can’t tell you by what amount.” When Fox News pressed Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) about GOP waffling, Pence said anyone who focuses on the $100 billion figure is just “number crunching” and trying to “parse words.”
Public Access Committee Attendance Now Unfair: In the name of transparency, the initial rule package the House GOP proposed included a provision to make committee attendance public. But (fittingly) “behind closed doors” in the House GOP conference meeting yesterday night, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) stripped the provision. The excuse? Committees have to stop scheduling hearings at the same time first. Also, “some GOP lawmakers were concerned about getting slammed for missing hearings when they may have extenuating circumstances.” “That’s not a matter of transparency. It’s a matter of inherent unfairness,” Gohmert said.

New "Gentlemens" Club Causes Uproar at DFW Airport

It's always funny to hear protestations about strip clubs.  Arlington tried to block one by keeping them from getting a liquor license, so the club opened without serving liquor and had fully nude dancers!  Surprise Arlington.
Now DFW is all up in arms about the new club.

Grow up people, it's a strip club and they are going to be with us forever.

Utah Considers Dropping 12th Grade To Fix Budget

Gosh, I certainly hope the Texas Legislature doesn't start reading the news.  If they do, they might read about Utah, where in order to fix the state budget there actually is a serious proposal to drop the 12th grade from state high schools!

Heck, who needs more than an 11th grade education anyway?  Besides, rich folks will still be able to educate their kids in private schools, so this will only hurt the "under-class".  Those kids should be getting jobs by 17 anyway and stop being a burden to society. Bah Humbug!

If history tells me anything, it is that the Texas Legislature is second to none when it comes to lame-brained ideas, so look for this to be floated soon.  Meanwhile, keep an eye on Perry and the legislature to find more ways to funnel money into big business and away from the public good.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Homeless Man With the Golden Voice May Have Landed a Job!

I have worked in radio in the dim past and the truth is often that the man or woman behind the voice looks nothing like you would imagine.  Thus is the case of a Columbus, Ohio man named Ted Williams.  Homeless, but 2 years sober he was standing by a freeway "auditioning" for any kind of radio or TV gig he could find while panhandling.  His voice and appearance on the internet may have indeed landed him a job.

Word on the street is the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered him a job as an announcer.  When you watch the video you will hear why!

Republicans Read the Constitution - Finally!

In a move that is pure political theater, the Republican members of the House will read the Constitution on the floor of the chamber.  Of course this is to show that they are "behind the constitution" and the Democrats are not.  After much wrangling the Democrats were invited to join in.

My question is this, "when the Republicans get to that part in the Bill of Rights about, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." I wonder if they will chokeThese are the same politicians who have falsely claimed that America is a "Christian nation".  Our founding fathers must be rolling in their deist graves!

The good thing is for many of the new lawmakers this will be the first time they have ever actually read the document.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Another Texan Cleared by DNA Evidence

It took 30 years but finally, even after parole Cornelius Dupree wanted his name cleared of a crime he didn't commit. Accused and convicted of kidnapping, rape and robbery, State District Judge Don Adams declared Cornelius Dupree "free to go".  His family and friends cheered.

Dupree got a 75 year sentence even after the rape victim and her companion misidentified him in a lineup.  The Texas justice system has a history of pushing convictions even without sufficient evidence and the recent developments in DNA mapping have served to exonerate numerous wrongly convicted people. 

Though the ruling comes 30 years too late for Dupree, it's a good thing his name has been cleared.  The man deserves massive restitution!

Republicans Threaten to Defund Food Safety

It amazes me how little the Republican Party actually cares about Americans and their safety.  First the threaten to kill the health care reform measures and now the want to defund the Food Safety Bill before it is even signed.

The bill will provide more inspectors and will actually create new jobs as it makes our food supply safer.  It is a deficit neutral bill, which means it raises fees to offset its cost.  What's not to like?  Safer food and more jobs and no additional deficit. 

Ah, but that's not enough for the new Republicans.  They want to block any advances the Obama administration makes so when 2012 rolls around they can gloat at the inability of the Democrats to do anything.  In reality it is the GOP who has tried again and again to block EVERYTHING!

And as far as food safety goes, well how about this? (from the Center for American Progress)
"At the moment, one out of six Americans suffers from a food-borne illness every year, with 128,000 of those resulting in hospitalization. Ultimately, 3,000 people die from food-borne illness each year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The law gives the FDA the ability to force recalls, which it currently is barred from doing, and do more to inspect food coming into the country."
Again, what is not to like?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Anne Francis Dies at 80

The woman who shared the screen with Robbie the Robot in the 1950's Si-Fi classic Forbidden Planet has died.  Anne Francis, an actress whose career spanned both TV and motion pictures was a former child model and radio actress.  She got her first role with Mickey Rooney in the MGM film "Summer Holiday" and moved into television during its infancy.

Her biggest TV role was her series "Honey West" where she played a female private eye.  Surprisingly one of her most memorable roles was in a Twilight Zone episode where she played a department store mannequin who came to life.

Personally, I will always remember her as Altair, the daughter of Walter Pidgeon in Forbidden Planet. One of the other stars of that movie, Leslie Nielson died in late 2010.  I can hear the Theramin music now!

Obama Signs Zadroga Bill Into Law

It took the haranguing by comedian Jon Stewart, but the Republicans blocking the "James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act" finally relented and the bill to help first responders to the 9/11 disaster passed Congress before the recess.  President Obama signed the bill into law yesterday in Hawaii.  His statement follows:
"I was honored to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that rescue and recovery workers, residents, students, and others suffering from health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster have access to the medical monitoring and treatment they need.  We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who risked their lives to save others. I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks."
Makes you wonder why any member of Congress, Republican or Democrat would block this bill.  I guess the GOP values subsidies for Billionaires over doing what is right for the people who gave so much during a national emergency.

Blackbirds Fall From Sky - End Times?

OK, though it sounds pretty strange the rain of dead birds that fell on Beebe, Arkansas may not be so strange.  As a weather watcher and storm chaser, I was watching the radar as quite a few nasty supercells moved over northwestern Arkansas on Friday.  Storms crossed much of the rest of the state for most of the day on New Year's Eve.  It isn't out of the realm of possibility that the flock of birds ended up being pulled into a thunderstorm updraft and then pummeled to death with hail stones. Wildlife experts suspect lightning might have played a role.

Either way it's not the end times.  I looked at the radar and the four horsemen were not showing up anywhere in North America.  Stranger things have fallen from the sky, like these frogs raining down in the UK.