Friday, April 24, 2015

Professional Left Podcast #281


Perhaps there aren’t any grownups anywhere.”
-- Lord of the Flies


Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Mushy Apple Consortium

Reader "t shorter" sent these comments via email which by a fluke of timing pair perfectly with bad taste which the previous post left my mouth:
I think I'm done with "TV" liberals altogether.  Rachel Maddow especially.  Are these people worth our time anymore?  When "TV Liberals" are on TV arguing any issue they have to spot the conservative half of the floor as if every issue have equal merit.  This is like watching a pet gerbil being sold with a free rattlesnake.... and yes you have to take both cause you know both sides.  And if one ends up dead you blame equally the gerbil and the rattlesnake.  I believe I have to stop watching if I can come up with better liberal counterpoints that start with "this lying asshole who receiving money from x group is being intentionally deceitfully" with the help of the "insert host name".  The conundrum, stop watching they will say liberalism does sell well, keep watching and continue to temporarily give life to this extremely flawed medium.  Who knew in a free country we would have a few limited choices.   Have a nice one.
What "t shorter" is describing is the Apple Paradox from Taxi.

See also, "Why we can't have nice things."

I used to think that if we could just reach the Apple Man directly and tell him that we'd like fresh apples eventually we might get a fresh apple or two.  That maybe he just didn't realize how bad things had gotten.

But I have come to understand that the Apple Man works on the top of a tall, tall building behind all kinds of screens and baffles designed to keep people like me out for a reason.    See, the Apple Man actually works for the Mushy Apple Consortium and very much like the owners of the Chicago Cubs, has discovered he can make a ton of cash selling an cheap, inferior product, so why not?

Also he doesn't really give a fuck what I think about anything anyway.

From The Department of Unforced Errors

How some people on what's left of Liberal Teevee continue to screw thing up for the rest of us.

Here's a fun fact!  The amount which MSNBC's Touré "Touré!" Neblett owed in taxes last year is greater than my total gross income for the last two years.

Here's another fun fact!  The first Fun Fact wouldn't bother me in the slightest, were it not for the additional fact that Touré decided he did not need to pay his taxes last year.

And neither did MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, Al Sharpton and Joy-Ann Reid (from [shudder] Politico, citing The National Review [double shudder]):
4 MSNBC hosts plagued by tax debt

It turns out Al Sharpton and Melissa Harris-Perry aren't the only MSNBC hosts who have outstanding tax debts.

The National Review reports that Touré Neblett, the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, owes more than $59,000 in taxes, according to public records. New York issued a state tax warrant to Neblett and his wife for $46,862.68 in September 2012 and an additional warrant for $12,849.87 six months later.

The National Review also notes that New York last month filed a $4,948.15 tax warrant against former daytime host Joy-Ann Reid and her husband. Reid recently hosted an afternoon program on MSNBC and now serves as managing editor of
First, let me say that Al Sharpton should have been sacked years ago.  

Make me president of MSNBC on a Monday, and by Tuesday at the latest he and Joe Scarborough would be "special correspondents" doing one-minute movie reviews at 2 AM on weekend slot between episodes of "Prison".


That said, I generally like the rest of this bunch and have a great deal of respect for Joy-Ann and MHP.  I really expected better of them, if for no other reason than the existence of actual Liberals on national teevee talking about things that actually matter -- like, say, tax policy and the plight of the dying middle class -- is already such a rare and precarious thing, handing the bad guys a hammer this big is inexcusable.

And The Burying The Lede Award Goes To...

The Washington Post (h/t @Shoq)

Here's the headline:
A stunning visualization of our divided Congress
Here's the lead paragraph:
Political polarization is on the rise, and with it come lots of clever new waysto visualize that polarization. I've even taken a crack at it myself. A group of researchers recently gave it another go in a paper published in PLOS One, and while it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, it's nonetheless one of the more effective visualizations of rising partisanship that I've seen. 
And waaaay down at the bottom, in the second to last sentence of the article, the patient reader will find this:
And while this visualization is effective at showing the parties peel away from each other, it misses some other nuances about polarization -- for instance, that current trends are largely driven by Republicans moving away from the center.

The Right has conducted a relentless, 30 year campaign to destroy political comity in this country, on purpose, to win elections.


Conservative have made such a wasteland of the Middle -- on purpose, to win elections -- that just touching Barack Obama or whispering the word "compromise" can kill a Republican political career overnight.    And floating high above this toxic cesspit, the "Both Siderists" have built an entire new, entirely imaginary Center into which they insist Democrats must ascend if they want to be taken seriously by the Very Serious People.

That is The Story.

The rest is just pretty pictures.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

10 Years After: 2013 -- Nick and Me

After a short breather, we return to this final stretch of this 10th blogiversary fundraiser with the back half of the Year of Our Lord 2013.  

One Saturday afternoon in 2013 I stumbled across Big Time Hollywood Actor and Raving Wingnut Lunatic, Nick Searcy, and bhis creepy hangers-on off their mouths on Twitter.  Vomiting non-stop ring-wing idiocy and making fun of some poor guy who had had enough of The Loud Stupid and had blocked Mr. Searcy.

Because blocking people on Twitter is for pussies!

So having an a hour or two to kill, I methodically beat their caravan of idiocy like a team of rented mules.

And then they all ran away.

And blocked me.


Nick and Me

The totally true story of how I made a big-time Hollywood actor and Conservative nut job cry like a toddler and run away.

In the video above you will meet Mr. Nick Searcy -- that older cat with the "Rush" cap, appearing on the Fox show that no one has ever heard of.

He is a very able character actor, and his "Acting School" stuff definitely has its funny moments.

He is also one of the biggest amateur fonts of pure nonstop wingnut bilge you are likely to find on these here internets.

I spent some time the other day trying to teach this particular pig to sing on Twitter.  I didn't cuss.  Didn't Caps/Lock shout.  Didn't insult his family or his professional accomplishments -- or even mention them except to say that I liked "Acting School".

Instead I kept my usual good humor -- a smile on my face and a song in my heart -- and cheerfully went about pushing as firmly back against his unhinged bile as 140 characters would allow -- minus a few dozen for the twitter handles of the gaggle of Mr. Searcy's little friends who hopped on-board hoping to count coup on a Real Live Liberal and who instead got their asses cheerfully sawed off and handed back to them by me.

Over and over again.

(For the record, they all appear to be this guy:)
On one level I know this sort of thing is a futile exercise.  On another level -- that part of me that still wants to believe in the possibility redemption and comity -- I feel the need from time to time go down into the slop-trough of the heart of Conservative thought and confirm with my own eyes that they really are as spectacularly, arrogantly stupid, relentlessly ugly and rabidly hate-drunk as they appear to be.  It also sharpens me up; clues me in on which direction the next wave of Big Loud Wingnut Stupid might be coming from.

I learned nothing new, but re-learned most of the old stuff.

Critical to all the other lies these meatsticks tell themselves is the need to just stop-stop-stop History dead in its tracks around 1964:

To help them face their abject terror at the thought of talking about the actual GOP as it actually existed during their actual adult lives, I even helpfully posted the summary of the Congress' voting record on both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act (example):
But they still adamantly refused to set foot in the 1960s:

    1. Go to your high school history teacher right now and force him give you Chapters 1965-now.
    2. I'm sure you'll learn about Reps trying to pass civil rights while Dems/KKK opposed.
    3. So whoever told you otherwise LIED to you. Are you OK with that?
    4. Whoever told you that Lyndon Johnson & the Dems didn't try to block Ike's CR act lied
    5. You're quite right. That did happen. In 1957. Thanks for proving my point.
    It was also filibustered by Dem Strom Thurmond. Hey, whatever happened to that guy?
This is because people like Mr. Searcy are so chin-deep-and-sinking in a ideological sewer full bigots and anti-science fundies that -- like a waterhead drunk who would rather croak than admit that booze is the real problem -- manning up and facing reality would so utterly annihilate his self-identity as a family man and upstanding citizen...

6h you keep mentioning your son. Is this the way you want him to behave? 
Details6hNo, I want him to be whiny and dumb like you. “: your son. Is this the way you want him to behave?”
...that he can only cope by staying in a constant state of combative denial.  By just clipping out or shouting down those huge inconvenient slabs of history that make him look like a lying buffoon.

10 Years After: 2013 -- There's No Crying In Blogging

After a short breather, we return to this final stretch of this 10th blogiversary fundraiser with the back half of the Year of Our Lord 2013.  

In 2013, Tbogg dramatically quit blogging.

Then he came back.

Which was less dramatic.

Internet Quitter Quits Internet Quitting

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Tbogg stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished...

He woke to find himself trapped in the past.

A past where he had crossed the wrong people, forcing him to roam the country, outside of the law...


...just a man and his impressive vehicle...

...using his gifts of prestidigitation...

(learned from many years of hard study under the tutelage of Shaolin monks) help the wayward and downtrodden and hoping that each leap will be the leap home!

Or so he wants us to think.

10 Years After: 2013 -- You Built This

After a short breather, we return to this final stretch of this 10th blogiversary fundraiser with the back half of the Year of Our Lord 2013.  

As in previous years, the central reality of our political discourse were the frantic (and largely successful) attempts by Centrists and the nine remains Moderate Conservatives to pretend the actual , monstrous Conservative movement in this country and the actual seditionist political party through which they manifest their depraved will either A) Does not exist at all, or B) Just arrived last week on a Crazy bus from outta town and they -- the Centrists and the nine remains Moderate Conservatives -- certainly played no part in building that monster and setting it in motion, no siree, nope, nope, nope.

Here are some samples...

And this... 

They Built This

In which I make Four!-Count-'em!-Four!, absolute, mortal-lock predictions about the upcoming mole-rat bad-whiskey bar-fight over how much of the American economy and government the GOP will be permitted to destroy, how much of the middle class they will be permitted to shaft and how many poor, young, sick and elderly Americans they will be permitted to boot-stomp in order to achieve their goal of making the Kenyan Usurper cry.

But first I have to quote a couple of regulars as proxies for all of those recently outcast Conservatives who now make their living running around screaming "OMG!  OMG! Republicans are, like, Craaazy! Amiright?"

All in all, it's hard to see any positive outcome emerging for Republicans from this confrontation. Yet the party is charging forward anyway. Why?

The short answer is a breakdown in the party's ability to govern itself. It can't think strategically. Even when pressed to do something overwhelmingly likely to end in disaster, as this shutdown looks likely to do for Republicans, the party has no way to stop itself. It stumbles into fights it cannot win, gets mad, and then in its anger lurches into yet another fight that ends in yet another loss.

Republicans who want to fight smarter are called squishes; Republicans who wish to fight less are called RINOs—and both have been hunted pretty near to extinction. Instead of effective opposition, we see those doomed spasms. And out of these spasms, Obamacare looks sturdier than ever—and any hope of negotiating to fix its worst elements seemingly further out of reach than ever.
This is not about Obamacare. It is not even about politics. It is about a form of revolt against the very country they live in.
My predictions?

10 Years After: 2013 -- And While We're At It, The Central Tenet of Buddhism Is Not "Every Man For Himself"

After a short breather, we return to this final stretch of this 10th blogiversary fundraiser with the back half of the Year of Our Lord 2013.  

In 2013, Conservatives -- who always make  God Damn Sure that you know they're CHRISTIAN Conservatives in 77 point Railroad Font -- continued to use the bible to beat the crap out of the poor, the weak and the defenseless in the name of the Prince of Peace.  Also I continue to use a word of my own coinage -- "Christopath" -- even though it never took off.

And While We're At It, The Central Tenet of Buddhism

Is not "Every Man For Himself".

Like so many other Conservative Christopaths, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) finds his Wingnut Conservatism so much easier to reconcile with his Fake Christianity if he just zips right on past all of Christ's many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many teachings about the poor and the sick and the outcasts to find some fragment of scripture on which to hang his seething, UnChristian contempt for the poor and the sick and the outcast:
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
The North Decoder article in which Rep. Kevin Cramer's (R-ND) remarks appear goes on to quite correctly point out that, not only are Rep. Kevin Cramer's (R-ND) assertions contemptible, but like so many other Conservative Christopaths, he also (surprise!) gets his basic facts wrong:
Kramer assumes everybody who receives SNAP assistance is lazy. Because, of course, the Christian thing to do is to assume that everyone who isn't working isn't willing to work. And we should hate those people and let them "not eat."  Let's just forget all that crap the Bible says about helping poor people.  Why not?!?  He forgets that many who receive SNAP assistance work. Many work full-time. Many work multiple jobs. It's not that they're lazy, Kevin; it's that our economy needs a lot of working poor people. WalMart needs a lot of working poor. Kevin's owner -- the Man Who Bought North Dakota -- needs a lot of working poor people.  How would the Walton family make so much money if they weren't able to pay so many people so little?!?
Perhaps the problem is that, like so many other Conservative Christopaths,  Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) doesn't trouble his righteous mind reading labor market statistics or income inequality and wage stagnation studies or history or science but instead stays exclusively focused on what The Bible has to say about stuff.

If only The Bible had something pertinent to say about valuing labor and paying workers a living wage, I'm sure that would turn Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) right around...

If only...



My Harvard-Divinity-School-grad wife just handed me a scrap of paper.  From some guy named "Tim":
"For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

10 Years After: 2013 -- Phun With Photoshop

After a short breather, we return to this final stretch of this 10th blogiversary fundraiser with the back half of the Year of Our Lord 2013.  

In 2013, my ancient professional copy of Photoshop had long since died with my old laptop, but I still enjoyed doodling with the freebie 16-color-box o'-Crayolas version. 

Do I Really Look

Like a guy with a plan?

10 Years After: 2013 -- Imaginary Reagan

After a short breather, we return to this final stretch of this 10th blogiversary fundraiser with the back half of the Year of Our Lord 2013.  

In 2013, Imaginary Reagan remained our Greatest Preznit Evah! 

The News From Stupidville

Is even stupider than usual.

The headline is at least intriguingly ambiguous:
Our ‘Credibility’ Is Gone, and Airstrikes Won’t Restore It
OK. Interesting. 

 Do go on sir...
Even if we launch some cruise missiles and blow up some Syrian military buildings . . . our credibility is in tatters, anyway. Everybody knows...
And this is the point at which you might assume that the crackerjack journalists at the National Review would want to a brief but thorough educational autopsy of America's lost credibility beginning with, say, how George W. Bush launched two catastrophically botched wars in the region based on lies. How how we scooped innocent people up by the truckload and threw them in prison and tortured them.  

That sort of thing.

But; shockingly, no:
Everybody knows our president makes promises he can’t keep, threats he doesn’t intend to carry out, bluffs and then gets mad when others call his bluff.
Also President Obama failed because he refused to become the Prime Minister of the UK and then use his Magic Leadership Wand to persuade a war-sick Parliament  to do his mighty bidding:
Diplomatically, that’s a six-inch putt, to put it in terms the president can appreciate
And this is what really sets National Review's journalism apart: the fact that it is not only insightful but funny to boot because, see, Obummer is always golfing instead of scouring the pages of the National Review for sage foreign policy advice.  But while it is funny (and wise -- so very, veyy wise) it unfortunately cannot be said to rise to the level of epic, rolling-in-the-aisles-of-the-NRO-Voyage-of-the-Damned  funny because it's rather shocking failure to wedge in a reference to the TelePrompTer that does all of the Kenyan Usurper's thinking for him.

That's National Review journalism 101, gentlemen!  Don't let it happen again!

However, because I am feeling charitable,  points taken away for gross TelePrompTer-mention-FAIL will be almost entirely restored thank's to the author's willingness to risk it all on a decision to boldly hot-glue a reference to Benghaaaazi to this mess before hitting "Publish".
Reminder: We still haven’t arrested, killed, or as far as we know, even pursued anyone for the attack in Benghazi.
Reminder: the reason it is impossible to constructively engage Conservatives at all is that, for them, all of history began on January 20, 2009.  

Nothing before that exists.

Except, of course, the pillar of pure light and freedomy goodness that is Imaginary Reagan:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy