Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tea Party Declares War On Spelling

Via Balloon Juice, a Flickr feed full of tea party spelling fail.

I love this country. Or is it countree?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Popeye Squirt Gun

I yam what I yam - a nautical plunger-penis with a gaping hole in my posterior.

This is disturbing on several levels, none of which have anything to do with water or shooting.

I realize that Brutus was bigger and stronger, and heck, with a little Olive Oyl, just about anything is possible, but c'mon, man. Give a sailor a break.

These were kids cartoons, not episodes of The Wire.

Popeye Squirt Gun, via Neatorama

It's White Fright, Stupid

In his weekly New York Times column, Frank Rich peels the lily-white onion and discovers what we've known all along: The apoplectic response to the passage of health care reform has little to do with the proximate cause. And it didn't start with this bill.

Says Rich:

But there was nothing like this. To find a prototype for the overheated reaction to the health care bill, you have to look a year before Medicare, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both laws passed by similar majorities in Congress; the Civil Rights Act received even more votes in the Senate (73) than Medicare (70). But it was only the civil rights bill that made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance. 

Hmm. Civil rights. Perceived loss by certain groups as the playing field was slowly being leveled.

That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.

So what is the genesis of this angst, the volatile fuel that's causing tea bagger rockets to whiz past monuments in the night, Sarah Palin's Facebook page during the day, and empowering angry simpletons to hurl bricks through glass windows at targeted members of Congress, obviously taking their revolutionary training by watch Palestinians throw rocks at Israeli tanks seconds before being cut down in a fusillade of bullets. 

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

You spine-chilling conglomeration of gays and chicks, blacks and browns, all coming together to push through significant changes in a political landscape dominated by the stall and the sound-byte. Have you no idea what you've started?

Momentum. And it's frightening the white guys with lace on their panties and guns in their trucks who see this as rapidly escalating into the Ardennes forest in the winter of '44 as they hunker down while shells rain down upon them. Like Patton, who shall come to reinforce the surrounded tea party lads before food and water run out, ammunition runs low, and the are forced to fight to the last man?

I don't see any groups stepping up, do you?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nicholson & Walken Do Willy Wonka Scene (NSFW)

NSFW (language) reenactment of a classic Willy Wonka scene with impersonations of Jack Nicholson and Christopher Walken.

Far Right Extremists

Charles M. Blow in the New York Times:

The far-right extremists have gone into conniptions.

The bullying, threats, and acts of violence following the passage of health care reform have been shocking, but they’re only the most recent manifestations of an increasing sense of desperation.

It’s an extension of a now-familiar theme: some version of "take our country back." The problem is that the country romanticized by the far right hasn’t existed for some time, and its ability to deny that fact grows more dim every day. President Obama and what he represents has jolted extremists into the present and forced them to confront the future. And it scares them.

Fear does seem to be the most common emotion demonstrated by the right wing - fear of terrorists, fear of change, fear of those who are not like them - and when acting out of fear, one is seldom acting with logic and intelligence.

The changes occurring in America may be frightening, but they are noble and true. I take pleasure in watching the wing nuts on the other side of the "America - Love It or Leave It" equation.

George W. Bush Calls Out Alan Grayson

Pretty good political satire.

Jon Stewart as Glenn Beck

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flowchart: Should I Buy An iPad?

Click the image for a larger view.


Roger Ebert Tweaks Republicans

Hey Republicans - Bring It On

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo seems a little tired of all the chicken-hawking going on in Republican circles when it comes to health care reform being the Democrats Waterloo and how they plan on using it during the midterm elections:

Make the arguments on substance. Not about how the bill filing wasn't filled out with a No. 2 pencil or whatever other nonsense. They may not realize this: but the Republicans can't run on how bad Reform is going to be for the Dems politically. That's very meta, to put it mildly. You can't be so transparently cynical with your riffs that they don't even make sense on their own terms. They need to run on repeal. So, enough. The terms of the 2010 election are set. Stop puffing and threatening, shut up and bring it on.

Borowitz - Poll: Majority Favor Earlier Bedtime For McCain

It's funny because it could be true:

In the wake of several cranky public utterances by Arizona's senior senator in recent days, a new poll shows that a majority of Americans favor an earlier bedtime for John McCain.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed strongly agreed with the statement, "When John McCain says he doesn't want to serve in the Senate even though he is running for re-election it makes me think he is staying up too late."


Unhappy Hipsters Auto Showroom

The caption possibilities are endless.

-- Mobile post

Yes We Can: Someone Get John Boehner A Wubbie

Firefox 3.6.2 Available

Firefox 3.6.2 is out a little bit earlier than anticipated, and it includes fixes for at least one critical vulnerability, so go get it if you're running any other version.

Here's the download link to the various languages and OS versions.

I'm Fat and Nobody Likes Me

The kid's angst combined with his Sam Kinison quality reveals an artist coping with his pain. Or something.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trend Forecast

Via Lunchbreath's photostream on flickr

Cynic vs. Skeptic

From Indexed

HCR before I FLY

It seemed a little odd to be munching a turkey sandwich in LaGuardia as President Obama signed health care reform into law today.

"Daddy, where were you when history was made?"

"Well, sonny, I was in terminal C in LaGuardia, downing smoked turkey and jalapeno slaw on a potato roll. "

Which means either I'll remember where I was, or I won't, but the memory of what occurred is forever imprinted. Today was a good day.

Perseverance is an under- valued quality, and based on a legacy of failure to get this accomplished after decades of attempts, it would have been easy to despair when it was darkest before the dawn. And it's unlikely that the battle is over. People tend to fight harder when they feel that they are cornered.

Health care reform strategy should never have been like a light switch flicking on. Too many interest groups and personalities were involved. A binary solution would fail like the rest.

What's transpired is reform by dimmer switch, where the bulb clicks on at a low wattage, and over time grows increasingly brighter as progress marches on, often so minimally that most don't notice or complain.

The light of reform is finally on, and with some luck and some leadership, the glow will begin to increase once our eyes adjust to the new viewpoint and we see it's not the end if the world, or government takeover.

It won't take away freedom. It won't make the riches poor. But it just might relieve a little suffering in this country, and that's an aspirational goal that I'm happy to defend.

-- Mobile post

So Long, Paramount Hotel

I will miss the way you restrict my ability to turn around in the shower. The stench of hooker perfume that punches you in the face when you enter the lobby. The single electrical outlet for a couple to share. The beautiful people and all the tight-fitting black designer clothing they don.

But most of all, the solitary lobby chairs, each unlike any other, just like those who nestle their fabulous arses in them, blatantly ignoring the prohibition on luggage and drink, because special people have special needs.

Friday, March 19, 2010

CSPAN: Orrin Hatch Saying 'Dong'

Kim Jong Il, Looking at Stuff

The Dear Leader seeks your attention.

Social Networking Sites and Law Enforcement

Regular readers of this site are familiar with my thoughts on social networking sites - their limited benefits, and more important, the significant risks they introduce as people struggle to understand how much sharing is too much.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (full disclosure: I'm a member of EFF) has released documents detailing how law enforcement is mining data from social networking sites for them to use during their investigations.

Not only are agencies using this freely-available information, but formal training is occurring to teach investigators how to better use the tools that exist on the Internet.

It's not only the things that you share that could trip you up or provide critical investigative elements. Your online "friends" could post things about you - items that you might never post yourself - and agencies could piece together these nuggets in an attempt to get a better overall view of your activities, behaviors, and lifestyle.

No worries though, right? The government has no history of over-reaching or misusing intelligence data, either foreign or domestic.

Due to the potential for misuse and abuse, training that includes clearly-articulated codes of conduct requirements for social networking investigations should be mandatory. Can an investigator set up a fake profile or misrepresent themselves in the quest to obtain information? What sort of evidence would be considered acceptable? These are just two specific areas that need to be considered and monitored for violations.

As a new generation of Internet users moves online with a completely different attitude about sharing their lives as they unfold, it will become much easier to build huge repositories of intelligence that can be mined by investigative agencies.

It's imperative that we have an understanding what's being done, the controls in place to limit and identify misuse of social networking data, and clearly-defined policies and procedures for agencies to follow and for citizens to leverage in the event disagreements arise about allowable uses of the data collected.

This Might Lead Americans to Fuel Efficiency

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Anxiety is nothing...

From Seth's blog:

Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance. What a waste.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Changes to Site

So far the migration to a new Blogger template has gone relatively smoothly. I have gotten some feedback from users of Internet Explorer 6 that certain parts of the site have some funky rendering issues.

Not sure what's up with that, but two things about IE6 - most sites have pulled support for it, and IE6 is a hugely vulnerable attack vector, so you should get off of it now. No joke.

Upgrade to IE8 if you need to stay on the platform for compatibility reasons. Otherwise, you should consider moving to Firefox, Opera, or Chrome.

That is all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chat Roulette Piano Man

He sure resembles Ben Folds.

Give me my money back. You bitch. And don't forget. To give me back my black t-shirt.

Jon Stewart - Crumbums and Fatcats

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Rachel Maddow Finds The Horse's Ass - It's J. D. Hayworth

"Well, it either is true or it isn't," said Maddow. "It's empirical."

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


New Clouds, Part 2

Via Lunchbreath's photostream on flickr

Monday, March 15, 2010

Readers - Help Me Pick A New Ride

The Skeptimist is due for a new ride, given that I've had the old Jeep Liberty for over six years. Heck, it's been paid off for almost 18 months. How un-American of me.

The dad-gum economy needs some stimulatin'.

But I'm torn between living la vida loca and getting what I want, and being sensible knowing that gas is headed back above $3 a gallon and I'd like to reserve some pocket change to be able to live it up once in awhile.

On the footloose side, I'm looking at an Infiniti G37x, a Cadillac CTS, or a Mercedes C Class AWD.

The practical me is thinking Ford Fusion or Escape, or maybe a Lexus IS 250 AWD.

I get about 17 mpg combined in the Jeep, using unleaded, and I'd like to improve on that. Seems silly to buy a vehicle that's not above 20 mpg, and that rules out quite a few on the old wish-list.

So, Gecko faithful, what recommendations do you have for me? Something sporty and with a modicum of power, AWD a plus, but also not a gasoline slurper.

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Image via Wikimedia Commons