Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Gift Ideas for Those With Too Much Money

UPDATE: See also Neiman Marcus, The 2013 Christmas Book And Fantasy Gifts

In case you needed an idea, take a look at this "holiday catalog, which features extravagant gifts for customers with deep pockets. Gifts included on the list this year range from a $30,000 walk-on role in a Broadway musical to a set of 18-carat gold watches (which come with a trip to Paris and Geneva) for $1 million."  See the Washington Post, Neiman Marcus unveils 2012 'fantasy gifts' list

I'll take the first gift.

See also Just in Time for Christmas.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fear the Goat!

Go Navy, Beat Army!


From a fellow alum:

A guy walks into a bar in wearing an Army Football jersey and carrying a cat that also has an Army jersey on with a little Army helmet on his head too.

The guy says to the bartender, "Can my cat and I watch the Army-Navy game here? My TV at home broke down and my cat and I always watch the game together."

The bartender replies, "Normally, cats wouldn't be allowed in my bar, but it's not very busy in here right now, so you and the cat can have a seat at the end of the bar. But, if there's any trouble with you or the cat, I'll have to ask you to leave."

The guy agrees, and he and his cat start watching the game. Pretty soon Army manages to kick a field goal and the excited cat jumps up on the bar, walks all the way down and gives everyone a high five.

The bartender says, "Hey, that's pretty cool! What does he do for a touchdown?"

The guys answers, "I don't know, I've only had him for 3 years.""


Sorry Republi-CONs, Jesus Would Be Be a Democrat

UPDATE II:  And sorry Republi-cons, "Jesus was, like most first-century Jews, probably a dark-skinned man. If he were taking the red-eye flight from San Francisco to New York today, Jesus might be profiled for additional security screening by TSA."

Read The Atlantic, Insisting Jesus Was White Is Bad History and Bad Theology.

He's more like Santa, "the result of wild imaginations and creative input from many people across centuries . . . utterly divorced from his religious and historical roots."

Read Slate, What Fox News Doesn’t Understand About Santa Claus.

In fact if you think about it they are both like Hedgehog New, the result of wild imaginations and creative delusions, utterly divorced from facts and reality.

UPDATE:  "If Francis’s embrace of the disabled, his focus on the poor and his mercy for the sinner sound vaguely familiar, that’s because you’ve heard them before. From that Jesus guy."

Read the Washington Post, Like Pope Francis? You’ll love Jesus.

Pope Francis has been under fire from Republi-cons after he criticized capitalism as "'a deified market' and 'a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.' He is particularly tough on ideologies that assume economic growth is a sufficient social goal and that would deny to governments an active role in humanizing free markets.

Some American conservatives, issuing a different sort of papal bull, have accused the pope of “pure Marxism” and being “the Catholic Church’s Obama.” In the process, they are demonstrating how ideology can become a consuming substitute for faith. . .

Those surprised that Catholic social thought is incompatible with libertarianism haven’t been paying attention — for decades. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI said the same. And all warned of the danger when a mode of economic exchange becomes a mind-set. Absent a moral commitment to human dignity, justice and compassion, capitalism is conducive to materialism, individualism and selfishness. It is a system that depends on virtues it does not create. "

Read the Washington Post, Pope Francis and the argument for compassionate capitalism.

If you need more proof, consider how capitalism has corrupted Christmas, which the article notes is now little more than a "shopping season — as evidenced by loud, repetitive commercials — . . . all about seizing the objects of our desires. Christmas songs are turned into commercial jingles. 'Do You Hear What I Hear?,' in the gospel according to J.C. Penney, becomes, 'Do you see what Liz sees? A jacket, a skirt and peep-toe shoes. She’ll be rocking the peep-toe shoes.'".

Happy Shopmas!

Read also:

WWJC ('What Would Jesus Cut?')

Would Jesus Occupy Wall Street?

WWJT (Who Would Jesus Torture)

The Price of Fear, Anger and Hatred

UPDATE II:  Says the "first commander of the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay . . . 'many of the detainees should never have been sent in the first place. They had little intelligence value, and there was insufficient evidence linking them to war crimes. . . the entire detention and interrogation strategy was wrong. We squandered the goodwill of the world after we were attacked by our actions in Guantánamo, both in terms of detention and torture. Our decision to keep Guantánamo open has helped our enemies because it validates every negative perception of the United States.'"

Read Slate,"A Prison That Should Never Have Been Opened".

Read also Does the Star-Spangled Banner Wave Over the Land of the Torturers?

UPDATE:  Who needs due process?  You do.

"For years now, War on Terrorism hawks have been arguing that terrorists -- by which they mean people accused of terrorism -- don't identify themselves like traditional enemies; and that it's foolish to read them their rights, to bring them before a judge, to require that evidence be presented to justify holding them, or to interfere with the judgment calls the executive branch makes in war time. . .

[The case of 'Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis, who was jailed for a week, interrogated while chained to a chair as the FBI turned his house upside down, with no confession or physical evidence tying him to the ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and other public officials'] is a reminder that being accused of a heinous act, like sending a poison-laced letter to the president, does not mean that the accused is guilty. It is an eye-opening look at an FBI apparently willing to continue holding a man it had good reason to believe innocent. And it is a demonstration of why our system requires appearing before a judge, with evidence, to hold a suspect: to protect innocents from being imprisoned, and to ensure that the real bad guys are found."

Read The Atlantic, What the Framing of a Terror Suspect Says About GOP Attacks on Due Process

"[S]even and a half years at Guantánamo, without explanation" and a stain on the U.S. Constitution.

Read The New York Times, My Guantánamo Nightmare.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is Pastor Truthiness (Formerly Known as Pastor Poppins) the Anti-Christ?

It's generally agreed that the Anti-Christ will be a deceiver.

And we know how accurate Pastor Truthiness (formerly known as Pastor Poppins) has been reporting the Chinese missile launch over California, and his predictions of impeachment because of the fraudulent birth certificate and the soon-to-be apocalypse (to mention just a few of his many pronouncements).  He is not part of the fundamentalist subculture of ignorance that embraces 'discredited, ridiculous and even dangerous ideas'.

Now he is promoting that Obama is the Anti-Christ. 

Read The Raw Story, Is Obama the anti-Christ? It’s irresponsible not to speculate, birther pastor says

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pensacola's Poor Little Mullet-Wrapper

Remember the Sheriff bragging about the local ATF operation "Anything for a Buck", which was ended with the Sheriff saying things like 'it had reached a saturation point', 'before it caused crime', and 'they didn't want to aid and abet'? 

Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, ATF uses rogue tactics in storefront stings across nation. The read the rest of the newspaper's investigative series, Backfire.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a 'Watchdog' section' to hold "politicians and the powerful accountable".  It puts our little mullet-wrapper to shame. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Trying To Understand Republi-CON Hatred of Obama, Is It Because They Consider Him an Uppity Black Man?

"To identify 12 Years a Slave as merely a story about slavery is to miss what makes race the furious and often pathological subtext of American politics in the Obama era. . .

[In a recent] column in National Review by Quin Hillyer, a conservative pundit, think-tank fellow, and former candidate for the GOP nomination in Alabama’s first Congressional district . . . [he said:]

'Every time decent people think the scandals and embarrassments circling Barack Obama will sink this presidency, we look up and see Obama still there — chin jutting out, countenance haughty, voice dripping with disdain for conservatives — utterly unembarrassed, utterly undeterred from any assertion of power he thinks he can get away with, tradition and propriety and the Constitution be damned. The man has no shame, no self-doubt, not a shred of humility, no sense that anybody else has legitimate reason to question him or hold any other point of view.'

It is bizarre to ascribe haughtiness and a lack of a capacity for embarrassment to a president whose most recent notable public appearance was a profusely and even flamboyantly contrite press conference spent repeatedly confessing to “fumbles” and “mistakes.” Why would Hillyer believe such a factually bizarre thing?

One answer is that, by the evidence of this column, Hillyer believes all sorts of factually bizarre things. But most African-Americans, and many liberal whites, would read Hillyer’s rant as the cultural heir to Northup’s overseer: a southern white reactionary enraged that a calm, dignified, educated black man has failed to prostrate himself. . .

Hillyer finds nothing uncomfortable at all about wrapping himself in a racist trope. He is either unaware of the freighted connotation of calling a black man uppity, or he doesn’t care. In the absence of a racial slur or an explicitly bigoted attack, no racial alarm bells sound in his brain. . .

Conservatives have made endless jokes based on the strange premise that Obama is unable to express coherent thoughts unless reading from a teleprompter, defined health-care reform as 'reparations,' imagined a Reagan-era program to subsidize telephone use for the indigent is actually 'Obamaphones,' or complained when black entertainers or athletes socialize with the First Family. The accusations of racism that follow merely confirm to conservatives that black-on-white racism is a canard, that the balance of oppression has turned against them.

Conservatives can transport themselves for two hours into the hellish antebellum world of 12 Years a Slave and experience the same horror and grief that liberals feel. What they cannot do, almost uniformly, is walk out of the theater and detect the still-extant residue of that world all around them."

Read New York Magazine, 12 Years a Slave and the Obama Era.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Understanding the Republi-CON Hatred of Government and Emotional Addiction To Hysteria

In response to the routine Republi-con hatred of government, a great article on the purpose of government, which also explains the right's emotional addiction to hysteria.  Read The New York Times, The Stem and the Flower:

"How much emotional and psychic space should politics take up in a normal healthy brain?. .

On the one hand, there are those who are completely cynical about politics. But, as the columnist Michael Gerson has put it, this sort of cynicism is the luxury of privileged people. If you live in a functioning society, you can say politicians are just a bunch of crooks. But, if you live in a place without rule of law, where a walk down a nighttime street can be terrifying, where tribalism leads to murder, you know that politics is a vital concern. . .

Then there are those who look to politics for identity. They treat their partisan affiliation as a form of ethnicity. These people drive a lot of talk radio and television. . .

Now most TV and radio talk is minute political analysis, while talk of culture has shriveled. This change is driven by people who, absent other attachments, have fallen upon partisanship to give them a sense of righteousness and belonging.

This emotional addiction can lead to auto-hysteria.

So if politics should not be nothing in life, but not everything, what should it be? . .

Imagine you are going to a picnic. Government is properly in charge of maintaining the essential background order: making sure there is a park, that it is reasonably clean and safe, arranging public transportation so as many people as possible can get to it. But if you remember the picnic afterward, these things won’t be what you remember. You’ll remember the creative food, the interesting conversations and the fun activities.

Government is the hard work of creating a background order, but it is not the main substance of life. As Samuel Johnson famously put it, “How small, of all that human hearts endure,/That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.” Government can set the stage, but it can’t be the play. . .

So one’s attitude toward politics should be a passionate devotion to a mundane and limited thing. Government is essential, but, to switch metaphors ridiculously, it’s the stem of the flower, not the bloom. The best government is boring, gradual and orderly. It’s steady reform, not exciting transformation. It’s keeping the peace and promoting justice and creating a background setting for mobility, but it doesn’t deliver meaning."