Friday, January 14, 2011

Reince Priebus Now The Face of The GOP - And He's White!

It comes as no surprise to me that the GOPs experiment with inclusion has ended a factious chairmanship of Michael Steele.  Steele's election during the year Barack Obama was running for President seemed to me an obvious attempt at tokenism and apparently most of the GOP power-brokers agreed.

Steele's term was marred with controversy from the start and his interview in GQ only added fule to the flames.  Steele offered the statement that abortion is "absolutely... an individual choice".  That won him the ire of the far right and often during his tenure he made news because of his gaffes and off message positions.

Now the Republican National Committee has elected Reince Priebus as party chair to lead the debt-ridden party organization through the 2012 election cycle.  Aside from an unpronounceable name, Priebus is much more what I would expect from the GOP.  White, conservative and an attorney.  It should be interesting to see if he can dig the GOP out of the red.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

TSA Worker Sentenced to Prison for Planting Malware in Screening Computer Network

In the continuing theater that is the Transportation Safety Administration screening procedures comes this dandy little tidbit.  Douglas Duchak, an employee at the TSA’s Colorado Springs Operations Center, was convicted of planting what has been described as a "logic bomb" or malware in the data base of the system used to screen airline passengers.

Security records show that Mr. Duchak, after learning he was being terminated in 2009, entered the facility late at night and injected the code into the database.  Luckily the program was found by other workers before it activated and scrambled records. 

Now do you feel safer?  One guy with a thumb drive and a few lines of code could have screwed up the whole nation's system for screening passengers, or worse, he could have changed a couple of critical records that might have changed the "no-fly" list. 

Perhaps the TSA might learn that when they are terminating someone, pay them for 2 weeks, but don't let them hang around, especially if they work in a sensitive area. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How About a Nice Steaming Bowl of Naga Viper Chili?

Apologies to the advertising folks who coined that question for Wolf Brand Chili, but it had to be asked.  The elusive title of hottest pepper looks like it is going to the Naga Viper, and judging by its rating on the Scoville scale, 1,359,000, it's will never be an ingredient in my chili con carne.

The Naga Viper edged out the Bhut Jolokia as the hottest chili pepper on Earth by 357,696 SHUs (Scoville Heat Units)!  That's one incendiary pepper.  The Scoville scale for those not in the know is a measure of the amount of capsaicin in a pepper.  A Bell pepper or sweet pepper rates a zero while a jalepeno rates between 2000 - 8000.  Now you understand why this pepper is so amazing!

The pepper was cultivated and invented by Gerald Fowler, owner of the Chilli Pepper Company.

Margaret Whiting - Jazz Singer and Wife of Jack Wrangler Dies

Margaret Whitings voice was crystal clear. Her duet with Johnny Mercer, "Baby it's Cold Outside" stayed on the Billboard charts for 19 weeks in 1949.  Later in life she appeared on TV on variety and music shows with stars from Red Skelton to Nat King Cole.  She continued her career in the 1960s in cabaret and night clubs as well as in touring productions of Broadway shows.

Whiting is best known to baby boomers as the woman who married gay porn star Jack Wrangler.  22 years younger than her they made an unlikely pair, but their marriage lasted 15 years until Wrangler died of emphysema in 2009. She wrote about their relationship in an autobiography, “It Might as Well Be Spring”.

Ms. Whiting died in Englewood, N.J. She was 86.

Just in Case You Are Wondering, This Guy is Not Related

A guy named Charles Turner Habermann has been making threats against Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott.  Habermann lives in Palm Springs and is absolutely no relation to me, that I know of.  So, just in case you are wondering....He's NOT!  One more wacko that is not in my family tree, what a relief!

Enough Violence!

OK, I have officially had it from politicians and pundits, myself included.  So much crap has been flying around from the right and the left in the wake of the Arizona shootings there seems to be no point in trying to speak in softer tones.  Palin is unrepentant and even used the term Blood Libel, which is a not so veiled anti-Semitic dig whether she realizes it or not.

From now on I will try my best to ignore the wackos and people advocating violence in future posts. That kind of discourse has no place here or anywhere.

So, sorry for the past activities that might have fed into that craziness.  Just not going to do it anymore.

That said, there are lots of political, spiritual and sexual topics that don't include crazy talk and most especially guns.  Sound like I am fed up with it, yup you betcha!

Arizona Republican Resign In Wake of Threats From Tea Party Blogs

It seems that Arizona Republicans are understanding the meaning of the Proverb "He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind".  The Tea Party folks in Arizona have been energized by the tragic shootings and instead of toning it down, have stepped it up.

Arizona Republican Legislative District chairman Anthony Miller, has announced his resignation.  He cites repeated threats and Internet blog posts by some local members with Tea Party ties made him worry about his family’s safety. 

"I wasn't going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday," Miller said in a quote to "I love the Republican Party but I don't want to take a bullet for anyone."

According to a post on
The newly-elected Dist. 20 Republican secretary, Sophia Johnson of Ahwatukee, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson of Tempe and Jeff Kolb, the former district spokesman from Ahwatukee, also quit. "This singular focus on 'getting' Anthony (Miller) was one of the main reasons I chose to resign," Kolb said in an e-mail to another party activist. Kolb confirmed the contents of the e-mail to the Republic.

Assault Rifle Seller Engraves "You Lie" On Automatic Weapons

So much for civil discourse, at least in South Carolina.  There a gun manufacturer is making commemorative assault rifle components with the words, "you lie" etched in the lower receivers.  The limited edition assault rifles are commemorating Republican Representative Joe Wilson's infamous heckle of President Obama during an address to Congress.

The gun manufacturer issued the following "promotional" statement:
"Palmetto State Armory would like to honor our esteemed congressman Joe Wilson with the release of our new 'You Lie' AR-15 lower receiver.... Only 999 of these will be produced, get yours before they are gone!"
I would expect if the inscription had been in Arabic with something like "Allah is Great" the manufacturer and all employees would be in Guantanamo already.  Why are these kind of not-so-veiled threats legal?  Where is the Secret Service on this?

Note: The statement which appeared on the company's web site is now mysteriously missing.  I wonder if someone from Washington might have had a word with them about their crazy idea?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gun Sales Soar After Arizona Shooting

I guess I should not be surprised by this but according to Bloomberg News Glock Sales have surged.
"After a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8, Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols -- popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters -- flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix."
Oh joy!  More guns, that's the answer to violence!  (For the irony impared, I am being sarcastic here.)

Jon Stewart Reacts to Arizona Shootings - Insightful Video

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Arizona Shootings Reaction
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Two Assassinations, Two Gay Heroes

By now most folks have hear of the heroic actions of intern, Daniel Hernandez and his acts that may have saved Congresswoman Giffords life.  By now most people also know he was gay.  That is not the story today, the heroism is and that tells me a lot about how far we have come. 

35 years ago another gay man, Oliver Sipple saved the life of President Gerald Ford during an assassination attempt and for his heroism he got estranged from his family and controversy. The LA Times has the stories of both Hernandez and Sipple here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tom Delay Headed to the Big House

Former Republican power broker and House Majority LeaderTom Delay was sentenced to 3 years in prison for his role in the scam to funnel campaign money illegally to candidates in 2002.

According to a story in Huffington Post:
Senior Judge Pat Priest sentenced him to the three-year term on the conspiracy charge. He also sentenced him to five years in prison on the money laundering charge but allowed DeLay to accept 10 years of probation instead of more prison time.
I hope this will send a message to all politicians they cannot play fast and loose with the rules...oh yeah, they changed to rules! Now corporations can fill candidates pockets without breaking the law!  Does this all sound like some kind of weird alter-universe? 

Palin Aide Falsely Claims Cross-Hairs on Map Were Not Bullseyes.

Apparently being duplicitous is standard operating procedure for Republicans.  Sarah Palin's aids are now saying that the cross-hairs on the infamous bullseye map on her website were never intended to be gun sights.  If you believe that, they have a failed Governor to sell you.

The statement runs absolutely counter to Palin herself.  Gun toting Mama Grizzlie made a statement on her twitter account saying, "Don't retreat, RELOAD!"  and on her Facebook page she boasted of defeating 18 of the 20 members on her "bullseye" list.  I think the intent was pretty clear, and if you don't get it you might just be in need of remedial reading classes.

Furthermore, if the Bullseye Map was so innocent, why was it removed immediately after the shooting in Arizona? Frankly, I am surprised Sarah didn't post a "Mission Accomplished" banner on her homepage.

Am I being unfair?  Not the least.  The kind of fiery rhetoric being used by Palin and her ilk is a quick way to drum up a frenzy in a rally, but she is playing with fire.  I have stated this before and will again, SHE IS PLAYING WITH FIRE.

Now innocent people are being burned because of right-wing rhetoric and rabble-rousing. I am reminded of a truism I learned years ago, many people are unable to understand irony and in many cases metaphors.  These are the same people who insist on a "literal" reading if the Bible, so why should we expect any more nuanced understanding of political speeches.  When they hear "target" they think "shoot".

Though a vast majority of conservatives in this country would never pick up a gun to do something this crazy, there are unstable folks who will.  Those people may not have a particularly well developed ideology, but are easily moved by strong emotionally charged language and need very little catalyst to go into action.  When politicians begin tossing around gun metaphors you can be sure someone will take them literally and act out.