Saturday, April 19, 2014

Guess who just woke up.

Picture taken yesterday morning in Denali.
Courtesy of the Fairbanks Newsminer: 

Bears that wake up hungry after a long winter’s nap aren’t as big a problem in Fairbanks as they are in other bear-infested cities like Anchorage and Juneau but state wildlife officials say it’s still a good idea for Interior residents to do some spring cleaning around their homes to dissuade any ursine intruders. 

“We haven’t had as many problems in Fairbanks as Anchorage,” Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms said of Alaska’s largest city 360 miles to the south, where it’s not uncommon for bears to be shot each spring for getting into garbage, tearing down bird feeders or ravaging neighborhood chicken coops. 

“With that many bears in urban areas and bird feeders being such an attractant it’s a pretty big deal,” she said. 

The department issued a press release on Tuesday noting that Gov. Sean Parnell has declared April “Bear Awareness Month” and reminding Alaska residents to take down bird feeders, clean up garbage, and store pet and livestock foods indoors or in bear-resistant containers. The release “was written from an Anchorage perspective” but applies to the Fairbanks area, too, said Harms.

As a lifelong Alaskan living in Anchorage, I have a few hard and fast rules in the spring.

Disrespectful asshole.

As you can imagine this ad has inspired quite a lot of criticism:  

"Beau McCoy hit a new low," Democratic executive director Dan Marvin said, demanding that the Omaha state senator take down his ad. 

"No matter what party you belong to, the depiction of violence displayed in McCoy's ad is completely disrespectful to the office of the presidency and sends the wrong message to our children." 

The new ad, in which McCoy expresses his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and particularly to its proposed expansion of Medicaid coverage in Nebraska, stirred some critical traffic on Twitter throughout the day. 

Responding to Democratic objections, McCoy said Nebraskans are "tired of being pushed around by the Obama administration and the federal government." 

"We as Nebraskans know a one-size-fits-all mandate like Obamacare is the wrong approach for our state, which is why I led the charge this legislative session to oppose Medicaid expansion in Nebraska," McCoy said in a written statement.

Well I guess when people in Nebraska are dying because there was no Medicaid expansion in their state they will know exactly who to blame. 

Maybe one of their surviving family members would like the opportunity to backhand Mr. McCoy much like he did to that President Obama doll.

I know I certainly would.

Christian radio broadcaster James Dobson wins temporary injunction against requirement to provide access to emergency contraception to female emplyees.

Courtesy of ABC 7 in Denver: 

Christian radio broadcaster James Dobson has won a temporary injunction preventing the federal government from requiring his ministry to include the morning-after pill and other emergency contraception in its health insurance. 

A federal judge in Denver issued the injunction. 

Dobson sued in December, saying the Affordable Care Act mandate to provide the contraception violates the religious beliefs of his Colorado Springs-based ministry, called Family Talk.

Good news for employees of Dobson's Family Talk radio show with a uterus. You no longer have to struggle with that  painful decision of what to do in the case of an unplanned pregnancy.

James Dobson has made that decision for you.

You have to keep it, and of course if you terminate it using your own money, then it is very likely, considering Dobson's draconian views on abortion, that you will lose not only a potential child, but also a very real job.

Isn't religion great?

The Bundy Ranch standoff, a foreshadowing of things to come?

Cliven Buncy supporters take aim against BLM agents.
Courtesy of Reuters: 

The weekend showdown marked the latest resurgence of violent, anti-government sentiments that have existed in rural America for centuries, said Catherine Stock, a history professor at Connecticut College who specializes in rural militias. 

"The question is whether we're going to see sustained flame-up now. We could see more of that if they actually think that the federal government is going to stand down," she said. 

"It's not the groups, it's not their concerns, it's not their anger, all of that is old, but the federal government backing down? I was like, wow! Seriously?" 

Stock said the rise of right-wing media outlets and websites and the election of Republican politicians who have shifted the party further to the right have given a new legitimacy to groups that were once dismissed as being on the fringe. 

At least half a dozen state legislators from Nevada, Washington, Utah and Arizona attended protest rallies in Bunkerville at the weekend. 

Michele Fiore, a Republican Nevada assemblywoman from Las Vegas who said she joined the protesters daily after getting a torrent of supportive emails about Bundy from constituents, called the resistance "justified." 

"This is historic," she said. "This is the first time we went arm to arm with the federal government."

What happened last weekend could very likely be a seminal event which determines how these sovereign citizen types deal with law enforcement moving forward.

There were reportedly over a thousand armed men willing to engage the BLM and Federal agents in a firefight, over unpaid taxes.

Many of these men had no military training, or if they did it was decades earlier in their lives.

They had no consistent chain of command, and no clear idea of what would determine the right time to fire their weapons.

That means that those agents were in an incredibly dangerous situation, where one trigger happy moron could fire the bullet that resulted in one of the largest massacres in American history.

And that is EXACTLY what the Right Wing is waiting, and hoping for. They want somebody to die at the hands of the federal government, regardless of who fired the first shot, so that they can make them a martyr and essentially move this country toward a civil war.

Never before have the indications been this clear that the conservatives in this country are so angry that they are losing power, and that America is moving toward a more liberal viewpoint, that they are willing to rip the country in half in a desperate attempt to stop the inevitable.

Think I'm exaggerating? I only wish that I were: 

A Tea Party Facebook page called Overpasses for America, clinching just over 79,000 supporters, is calling for a “Shot Heard Around the United States” day on April 19th. The post, showing a picture of a large group of men firing rifles in the air simultaneously in front of a barn, calls on every gun owner to fire into the air at the same time: 

“April 19th, 2014… 12 NOON Eastern Standard Time Every gun owner in the USA is asked to fire their weapon at the same time. Spread the word, share everywhere.” 

April 19th is also the day, in 1775, when the start of the Revolutionary War began. This is the same page who posted a status calling for Harry Reid to be imprisoned for his “deal with Communist China that led to the stand off at Bundy Ranch.” The page, in the last few days, has been riddled with many pictures and articles detailing the fiasco at the Bundy Ranch, calling Bundy and his supporters ‘Patriots’ and seeking to end the ‘bogus lies’ about the stand-off.

Courtesy of Facebook
 Mark my words, there will be a first shot fired into an actual person at some point in the near future.

And when that happens, the only question remaining is for how long after will the gunfire continue.

When people angrily ask me why I am so against American citizens having access to military style weapons, I often think that in due time they will become too shocked by the violence to ever ask me again.

That awkward moment when the Fox News analyst you brought on to take your side against the Atheist guest, ends of agreeing with them instead.

Courtesy of Mediaite:  

Hannity guest host Eric Bolling took on Kirsten Powers and American Atheists’ Nick Fish over complaints that the coach of Clemson University is unconstitutionally promoting “Christian worship,” including the inclusion of a team chaplain. Bolling thought it was ridiculous, but Fish argued it’s wholly inappropriate for someone in a “taxpayer-funded position.” 

Fish said Coach Dabo Swinney has basically told players, “I’m a Christian and if you don’t like that you can go somewhere else.” Bolling said he has every right to promote religion on his own time, and noted how plenty of sports teams have chaplains. Fish shot back that private sports teams can do what they want, but not public universities. 

Powers admitted she’s “sympathetic to the view that it could make people who aren’t Christians uncomfortable,” wondering why, when people of Christian faith have opportunities in their private lives to promote faith, any official position is required to promote it. 

They also clashed over whether it’s wrong to have crosses on municipal property. Fish and Powers didn’t like the idea of “endorsing a particular religion,” but Bolling thought it might carry some weight when the vast majority of the population are actually Christian themselves.

Bolling "You guys are not allowed to agree on that one."

Fox News, where you are only allowed to express the opinion that you were paid to come on and express.

I swear whenever I think that Sean Hannity is the biggest tool on Fox News, I see Eric Bolling and realize that there are really SO many contenders for that crown.

This is why Right Wing talk radio is not going anywhere any time soon.

Courtesy of Politico:  

A POLITICO review of filings with the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission, as well as interviews and reviews of radio shows, found that conservative groups spent nearly $22 million to broker and pay for involved advertising relationships known as sponsorships with a handful of influential talkers including Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh between the first talk radio deals in 2008 and the end of 2012. Since then, the sponsorship deals have grown more lucrative and tea party-oriented, with legacy groups like The Heritage Foundation ending their sponsorships and groups like the Tea Party Patriots placing big ad buys. 

The power of the tea party-talk radio nexus will be tested headed into the pivotal 2014 midterm elections. It has already played a key role in boosting tea party heroes like Matt Bevin and Chris McDaniel — both of whom attended FreedomWorks’ Louisville rally and have made multiple appearances on Beck’s shows — in their increasingly bitter long-shot primary challenges to powerful incumbents Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Thad Cochran of Mississippi, respectively. 

The hosts’ stances on candidates and issues usually align naturally with those of the groups. While their positioning occasionally seems to evolve with their sponsors, there is no evidence of hosts revising their views for paid advertising. 

Critics, though, say the deals mislead grass-roots conservative activists, while undermining the credibility of the hosts and the groups. 

“People like Beck and Hannity and Rush are nothing without the people who faithfully hang on their every word — I consider that a constituency trust that should be respected,” said former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. He was ousted from FreedomWorks in a bitter feud, but had been chairman when the group signed its contracts with Beck and Limbaugh. “For them to basically sell their influence and say whatever the contract asks of them, it compromises the integrity of the pundit-guru, as it were, and it’s an undignified expenditure on the part of the outfit that’s mining the attention.” 

In other words these idiots do not even really need to worry about losing advertisers so long as they have their conservative sugar daddies footing the bill. 

So long as they attack climate scientists over global warming, promote school vouchers, argue against increased taxes, and go after the Democrats at every opportunity there is no way to the money dries up anytime soon.

And the sad thing is that ordinary people do not realize that these are performance artists essentially spouting talking points from a script provided to them by their corporate overlords.

The worst news possible for the Republican party in 2014.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Duck Dynasty event in Missouri cancelled due to lack of interest.

Courtesy of TPM:  

The "Duck Dynasty" clan isn't the draw it used to be. Not even in the Bible Belt. 

Promoters announced last month that members of the Robertson family would appear at a show titled "Faith, Family & Ducks" at an 11,000-seat arena in Springfield, Mo. 

For $37, $50 or $58, fans could enjoy live music and hear the bayou millionaires talk about "living the American dream" while staying true to their "family values and modest lifestyle." 

But according to local media reports, the April 27 event has been canceled due to low ticket sales.

What? Nobody wants to pay money to watch a bunch of fake hillbillies talk about their faux religious faith, and how they bilked millions out of unsuspecting consumers?

What's happened to this country?

It appears to me that the Palin curse is still working its magic. 

Happy Birthday Trig!

Courtesy of Facebook
Happy birthday to the most famous little political prop in recent American history, and the ONLY Palin (adopted) offspring that I think has any chance of making something of his life. 

Don't worry little guy, someday people will know the truth.

Okay who pulled Secessionist Barbie's string? Update!

Courtesy of Facebook, a place to share your family's photos, look up old friends, and rant incoherently about things you don't understand:

Thank you, Jake Tapper (Oooh, SOMEBODY has a crush.), for covering this shocking story about anti-Semitic propaganda distributed by pro-Russian militants in Ukraine demanding Jews “register” their religion and property. Our U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine confirmed the story.  (Yes he did.) The rest of the media must pursue this story and demand answers from the Obama administration as to what our President’s intention now is in light of this atrocious development that harkens back to frightening times for Jews. (Yes Obama must protect the Jews, so that Palin can meet Jesus during the End Times.)

Our government’s priorities are so skewed. The Middle East is a tinderbox; Russia flagrantly invades a sovereign nation, and we just draw more invisible red lines daring bad guys not to cross; we’re fed dishonest domestic denials as we discover our own government is spying on and harassing innocent U.S. citizens; our porous national borders are ignored (Actually illegal border crossings are at their lowest in 40 years.) while clueless politicians excitedly plan welcoming parties and more rewards for illegal foreigners to simply step right on over those borders; Democrats boast about our fake and jobless economic recovery (Actually the economy is poised for its best performance since the recession of 2008. You know, the one caused by the REPUBLICAN President.), etc., etc. Yet the top priority of the President (he who is the face of the Democrat Party) and his bureaucrats seems to focus on heavy handedly lassoing Nevada cows to stick it to an American rancher. (Did you all see those pictures of President Obama roping cattle in Nevada? It was awesome! Also imaginary.) Meanwhile, the President’s minion, the most powerful man in the U.S. Senate who hails from the great state of Nevada, calls patriotic Americans “terrorists” as we try to get facts on the Bundy ranch cows and controversy in his state. (Yeah how crazy is it to call men who bring semi-automatic weapons to a stand off and then threaten federal officers with violence domestic terrorists?) Really? Prioritize much, Democrats?

There is zero, and I mean zero, evidence that President Obama has had any input into the situation down in Nevada, and it is insane to suggest that every action by the government is personally directed by the White House.

As for the situation in the Ukraine, Joe Biden is headed there later this month, the President is working with NATO to formulate a solution, and together they are increasing the severity of the sanctions against Russia.

The President has resisted calls to provide weapons to the Ukrainians because he feels that would increase the possibility of violence and provide Putin with an excuse to send in more military. 

Not an unreasonable assumption.

But hey how could Palin possibly understand any of this?

After all she gets all of her information from Fox News, Twitter, and Right Wing talk radio.

However perhaps it would be best if Palin stuck to things that she knows.

For instance of President Obama ever needs information on how to increase his bust size using a bicycle pump, beat a mammal into submission and prop it on his head, or raise a family of dipshits and substance abusers, then she should be the first person he calls.

On everything else, not so much.

Update: It turns out that those Ukrainian letters may be a hoax

Federal judge overturns the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

Courtesy of BBC News:

A US federal judge has overthrown a North Dakota law banning abortion after the foetus' heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks in some cases. 

District Judge Daniel Hovland found the law "invalid and unconstitutional" on Wednesday. 

The North Dakota abortion law was considered the most restrictive in the nation. 

The state attorney general has not yet announced whether he plans to appeal against the decision. 

"The United States Supreme Court has spoken and has unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability," Judge Hovland wrote in his ruling.

If this law had been allowed to stand it would have essentially outlawed abortions after only eight weeks. That means that many women would lose the option before they even realized they were pregnant.

It is pretty clear that these attacks on woman's right to choose are going to keep on coming until the anti-abortion crowd can get a court case all the way to the Supreme Court.

I believe they feel that if they can get it to the highest court in the land that the Justices will either dramatically undermine Roe vs Wade, or do away with it all together.

I wish I could have confidence that they are wrong in that assessment.

Hillary Clinton soon to have a new title. Grandmother.

Courtesy of the Washington Post:  

Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she and her husband are expecting their first child this year — as her parents, the former and possibly future presidents, prepared to become grandparents. 

In a surprise announcement, Clinton, 34, said she and husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are “very excited” and “lucky” to welcome a child into their family. 

“I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child and hopefully children as my mom was to me,” said Clinton, as her mother, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, looked on proudly. A Clinton spokesman said the baby is due this fall. 

Thursday’s joyous announcement came at the conclusion of a forum, moderated by actress and activist America Ferrera at the Lower Eastside Girls Club, promoting young women’s empowerment. 

“I certainly feel all the better — whether it’s a boy or girl — that she or he will grow up in a world full of so many strong, young female leaders, so thank you for inspiring future generations, including the one that we’ll be lucky enough to welcome into our family later this year,” Chelsea Clinton said. 

As Clinton spoke, her mother beamed from the stage. She said she was “really excited” to be expecting her first grandchild and later tweeted: “My most exciting title yet: Grandmother-To-Be!” Former president Bill Clinton tweeted: “Excited to add a new line to my Twitter bio . . . grandfather-to-be!”

Wow, Chelsea is having a baby after being married for four years, and it was planned.

Well somebody certainly did not read the "Palin Family Planning" brochure.

You know as I was waking up this morning I turned on my TV, and heard a discussion about this on Morning Joe.

Somebody, and I am sorry I was too groggy to see who, mentioned that this might be politically advantageous to Hillary. 

He was immediately ridiculed by Nicolle Wallace, but I think he is undoubtedly correct.

That should certainly not be the first take away from hearing this news, but, considering how tied into politics the Clintons are, it is certainly something that is open for discussion.

After all if Sarah Palin was able to use a fake pregnancy of her own, and the real pregnancy of her unwed teenage daughter, to garner support from the anti-abortion folks, Hillary should get mad props from the female demographic for raising an intelligent daughter, who finished college, got married, and THEN started a family in a responsible manner.

Don'tcha think?

P.S. Here is video of Chelsea making the announcement. Check out the smile on Hillary's face.

New film, "God is not dead," attacks higher education, secularism, and logic, all in equal portions.

Yes that was the guy from Duck Dynasty that you just saw in that trailer. And that dude who played Hercules too.

I have been tempted to write something about this film a couple of times now. But to be honest I found the damn thing so irritating that I did not want to get my self all worked up over something so ridiculous.

However that was before I stumbled across this entry about the film on Wikipedia:

Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), a devout Christian and freshman college student, enrolls in a philosophy class taught by a dogmatic and argumentative atheist. Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo) demands that all of his students must sign a declaration that "God is dead" in order to get a passing grade. Faced with a choice between passing the class and betraying his beliefs, Josh refuses. As Josh is the only student in the class to do so, the professor strikes a bargain: Josh must defend his position that "God's not dead" in a series of debates with him, with the class members ultimately deciding who wins. If Josh loses, he flunks. When Josh accepts the challenge, he gets more than he bargained for — jeopardizing his faith, his academic future, and even his relationships. 

There are several struggles and personal beliefs going on as well in the film. Ayisha (Hadeel Sittu) must hide her Christianity from her devout Muslim family and father. Mina (Cory Oliver) must deal with her mother who is suffering from dementia, her rich executive brother Mark (Dean Cain) who refuses to see their mother, and her personal relationship with Radisson (which proves a struggle as Mina is a devout Christian and Radisson is an atheist, and Mina is frequently belittled in front of Radisson's colleagues). Amy (Trisha LaFache), a businesswoman and animal right's activist, is diagnosed with cancer and Mark (her boyfriend, Mina's brother) breaks up with her, seeming to care more about his business life than he did about Amy. Martin (Paul Kwo) is a foreign exchange student from China, whose struggles are similar to Josh's: his father does not want him screwing up his brother's scholarship (as Josh's girlfriend, Kara, did not want him standing up to Radisson as it might affect her scholarship). 

Radisson has Josh spend 20 minutes at the end of every lecture to give his arguments on why God exists, but Radisson constantly has a counter argument against all of Josh's debates. Ultimately, it comes down to a debate between Radisson and Josh, who both make compelling points from both sides. Josh questions Radisson, asking why he hates God. After Radisson gives his response, confirming he hates God for his mother's death that left him alone despite his prayers, Josh asks Radisson how he can hate someone that doesn't exist. In the end, every member of Josh's class, including Martin, stand up and say "God's Not Dead", causing Radisson to leave the room in defeat. 

After the last lecture, Martin excitedly tells Josh that his lectures have changed his heart and he has become a Christian. Josh invites him to come to the Newsboys concert with him because he had an extra ticket (due to Kara breaking up with him). Radisson ultimately has a change of heart upon reading a letter from his late mother, and leaves to find his ex-girlfriend Mina, who is shown to be attending the same Newsboys concert. He is struck by a car while crossing the street and his ribs are crushed, leaving him slowly dying of internal hemorrhaging. Pastor Dave (David A.R. White) finds him, and helps save Radisson, who becomes a born-again Christian moments before his death. Mark is shown taunting his mother, stating that he as a non-believer has a great life while she, a faithful person, is riddled with a disease. A suddenly lucid Mom makes a point about how the devil helps some evil people to succeed so that they won't turn to God, but that the person's life is like that of a prisoner whose barred door will ultimately slam at life's end. The cancer-ridden Amy is shown confronting the Newsboys in their dressing room moments before their show, presumably to ambush their faith, but ultimately revealing that she wants to know God. In the closing moments, the Newsboys show a video of Willie Robertson congratulating the "young man" who took up the argument against his professor that God was alive. The Newsboys close the movie with their song "God's Not Dead", dedicating it unknown to themselves, to Josh, saying they support and commend him for taking up the gauntlet against Radisson.

Holy crap is that a bunch of hooey.

First off I am sure that those of us who attended college know full well that professors do not make statements like that in their classrooms.

I took philosophy in college, and a class on comparative religious studies, and I cannot even tell you for sure if either of those instructors were, or were not, atheists. In fact I don't think I ever knew, or cared, WHAT religion my instructors identified with.

However THIS is how these fundamentalist types view higher education in this country. As an aggressive assault against their faith. 

And I cannot tell you how ironic I find it that Kevin Sorbo is playing this educator.

As you may or may not know, he played one of the worst versions of Hercules every imagined. Hercules of course was mythological person who was said to be half god, and half man.

Sound familiar?

It is actually not surprising that the plot for this movie is so hyperbolic and over the top, since it appears that it is at least partially based on one of the most laugh out loud funny Chick Tract ever produced.

Perhaps you've seen it.

If you click the link at the top you will see that the movie mimics the comic almost frame by frame.

Look I understand that when your belief system relies on keeping people as uneducated as possible, that your fear of college must be almost overwhelming. But this kind of transparent propaganda cannot really be helping.

After all if what you believe has real value, wouldn't people be flocking to your church, and not have to be tricked and lied to in order to be convinced to show up?

The news about Obamacare just keeps getting better and better.

Courtesy of the LA Times:  

President Obama’s health law has led to an even greater increase in health coverage than previously estimated, according to new Gallup survey data, which suggest that about 12 million previously uninsured Americans have gained coverage since last fall. 

That is millions more than Gallup found in March and suggests that as many as 4 million people signed up for some kind of insurance in the last several weeks as the first enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act drew to a close. 

Just 12.9% of adults nationally lacked coverage in the first half of April, initial data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicates, the lowest rate since the survey began in 2008. 

Eighteen percent were uninsured in the third quarter of 2013, just before Americans could start shopping for coverage on the new online marketplaces created by the law. 

12 million is an impressive number by anybody's standards.

The more this kind of news spreads the harder it will be for the Republicans to beat Democrats over the head about the roll out or the Obamacare website.