Moments of Lucidity, Working the SEO and a Weekend Filled with “Fear and Darkness” …Oh Yeah, this is an open thread too.Posted: May 7, 2013
Hey, how is everyone doing?
Hope you will bear with me a few paragraphs while I ramble on a little, with a quick observation and story before I get to the few links I have for you tonight.
Y’all know that I was recently put on Topamax for my epilepsy…and as a bonus, it would help my debilitating migraines. I’ve mentioned the dopamax effect it has had on me, and you have probably noticed the other side effect, shall we say dopamax induced blogging Tourette syndrome.
My mom was the one who pointed it out to me last week. While reading one of my posts she said out loud, “JJ, what a foul mouth you have.” Of course, her bit of criticism surprised me, considering that the woman knows every other word out of my mouth is damn, shit, asshole….well, you get the picture. But, what my mom was commenting on was that my posts of late have become more “colorful,” in that I was dropping shit bombs left and right. (Not only shit bombs, but several ass holes and even a few fuck wads.)
I think this is a side effect of the topamax. What I usually could control in my writing is now finding it’s way in uncontrollable outbursts…dopamax induced blog…shit…swear word…damn…Tourette syndrome….ass…ass…asshole fuck fest.
Wow, don’t know where that came from. (My apologies to anyone who may be offended by my comments…this is meant as a joke, to be taken in a humorous way and not intended to degrade or demean anyone who suffers from dopamax induced uncontrollable curse word blogging or Tourette Syndrome.)
Which leads me to this little story…here in the land of Banjoville, we have a bit of an ongoing scandal, what I call Cheergate. It seems that a lot of the parents are pissed off that their girls did not make the competition cheerleading team. So, it was decided that a new open tryout will be held. Obviously, this is not fair, and reeks of sour grapes and bullshit…so being the woman I am, I took it upon myself to call the powers that be and voice my opinion.
Now, since the dopamax makes me completely loopy, imagine my surprise when I had a few moments of lucidity and spoke in a coherent manner….even talking in words more than three syllables long. According to my mom, who was listening to most of my side of the conversation, I was impressive…sounding like a real professional, mentioning Georgia High School Sports Associations, Rules and Regulations and I have to say, whatever was said, it sure did shut the principal up…they had no response. Of course, moments after I hung up the phone I couldn’t even remember what the hell I said. It was so bad that when I tried to explain to my daughter what happened, all I could get out was…”It had to do with lying and making something up, it begins with an f or an s and it has more than 2 syllables.” Who the hell knows what word I was trying to tell her.
Well, now and then we all have our moments of clarity…even if they are just fleeting at that.
One more thing, a mention about the blog. Wow, we have had so many hits the past couple of weeks. It is quite something to see the numbers of people visiting our little blog that come from all over the world…Google is a strange and wondrous thing. Kind of like the catch 22 you have with the SAG card in acting. You can’t get an acting gig without a SAG card and you can’t get a SAG card without the acting gig. We got big notice with the Google gods a couple of weeks ago with Boston Boomer’s Too Good Looking post, and with that surge in hits and outside links…it makes getting those higher ranking search results a lot more frequent.
So, the reason I mention this is just to say hello to any new readers out there who do come back and give Sky Dancing another look, we are glad you are here! (And to our regular readers, y’all know that obviously goes without saying…)
Now…for the links.
Y’all may have missed this, it is magnificent!
Jon Stewart opened Monday night’s edition of The Daily Show by looking back at the weekend’s NRA convention and its not-so-singular focus on guns. With Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and others in attendance, Stewart realized, “this is the same lineup, with the same laundry list of conservative grievances, that we saw at CPAC a month and a half ago.”
Eventually the speakers did get to the primary issue of guns, with Glenn Beck going after President Obama for his “tactics of fear and darkness.” Stewart congratulated Beck for acknowledging that “fear mongering is wrong” before playing another clip of him saying, “the only difference between your mom and sister getting raped and then walking home unmolested is a gun.”
“At the heart of the NRA’s message,” Stewart said, is “don’t let liberals say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun control. Let us say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun-a-pa-looza!” But, of course, the NRA’s real mantra comes from executive Wayne LaPierre: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”
Based on Beck’s warnings against tyranny, the “government is the bad guy.” But based on LaPierre’s praise of the Boston police, “government is the good guy.” By the end of the segment, Stewart said he believes we all want the same thing: for “bad guys not to have guns.” While he and other Democrats want background checks, it appears some on the right want to “wait for a bad guy to draw and then draw faster.”
But if that’s the case, he said, “stop pretending that background checks are the last barrier standing between a free America and Obama-sponsored government mom rape.”
You have to go and see the clip…I know that I quoted most of the Mediate post, but seriously, Stewart just nails it…and that summary is just right.
There was also this from Ian Reifowitz: Gun Owners of America Is ‘Primarying’ the NRA From the Right
The NRA is even more extreme than it was just a few years ago. And that’s saying something. We’ve seen the shift in their rhetoric and in their policy positions. They just elected a new president, James Porter, who called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression,” who referred to Barack Obama as a “fake president,” and who believes that one of our highest priorities should be to train and arm all our citizens so that, when the time comes, they can “fight tyranny.”
That is no news to us of course,
There’s no one simple reason why the NRA has moved even further to the right in recent years. Certainly, the right wing overall has become more extreme and paranoid since the election (and reelection) of President Obama. The Southern Poverty Law Center has plenty of material on the most extreme among them.
But within the gun movement, we are seeing something very specific, something that has a parallel within Republican electoral politics as a whole. In the last few years, conservative — not moderate but conservative — Republican senators like Richard Lugar of Indiana and Robert Bennett of Utah were defeated in reelection bids by insurgents who have come at them from the right. This is exactly what is happening to the NRA.
I didn’t see much room to the right of the NRA. At least I figured that any group to their right would have to be so extreme as to be unable to achieve any kind of influence. Wow, was I wrong. Gun Owners of America, led by its executive director, Larry Pratt, has done exactly that. The New York Times gave them a large degree of “credit” for mobilizing conservative opposition to the recent gun control package on Capitol Hill.
And I don’t think the word “extremist” truly captures where Pratt stands. Pratt’s been fomenting hatred and paranoia about President Obama’s desire to create a private army, and claimed that the president was “definitely capable” of using that army to start a race war.
The things Pratt has said should have made him 100 percent persona non grata to any senator or congressman. That he and his organization were able to spearhead a lobbying campaign in the halls of Congress tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party’s tolerance of hateful, bigoted extremism.
Again nothing new there….
But this kind of extremism represents a real challenge to the NRA. If they don’t step up, they could lose credibility and eventually even leadership of the gun movement to a group like Gun Owners of America. GOA’s website prominently features a statement from former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the gold standard for extremism among national politicians, praising it as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.”
Notice who that praise is aimed at. The implication is that the NRA is a bunch of weak-kneed compromisers, squishy moderates. You want a real gun rights organization, then come over to the GOA.
There’s no formal primary, no election day where the NRA and the GOA are on competing ballot lines. But make no mistake that there is a competition. The NRA has a huge head start, and should have no trouble winning. But they aren’t taking any chances. The NRA won’t be out-crazied by anyone.
Personally, I think they are all batshit crazy fuck-faced asshole bastards with tiny dicks and even smaller brains! (Same goes for the women gun-nuts too…sans penises.)
Anyway, I will end this post with this cartoon…
Y’all have a great evening, my daughter has a chorus concert tonight so I won’t be around until late.
This is an open thread.
I can’t believe it is Friday! This spring-break week has gone by so fast for me. It could be that it is because I have been asleep for most of it, as most of you know….I had a seizure a while back. The doctor put me on Topamax, which I started to take on Monday.
It is amazing to me just how a small dose of medication can give a person such a wide range of side effects. I am being worked up to a full dose, and the tingling in my fingers and toes is supposed to become less noticeable in the weeks to come…but damn it is freaky!
It feels like my hands and feet have fallen asleep…and no amount of movement will wake them up. Not only that, but my eyes feel as if they are popping out of my head. (That is when I am awake, because this medicine is knocking me out.) Like I said, these side effects are supposed to diminish with time. And to be honest, this is nothing compared to the shit I experienced with Keppra.
Anyway, I take my dope-a-max twice a day, and it really kicks in when I usually write the evening reads post. So for the next couple of weeks I am going to take a break from the weekly evening news round-ups. However, I can’t stop the Friday Nite Lite post, those are my favorite ones of the week. Soooooo, I am writing this post at 6:30 in the morning on Friday, before I take my pill.
Here are your cartoons for the week, I think it is safe to say we all need a laugh tonight!
I am going to start with three from my man Luckovich, he has been on a roll lately and damn if these aren’t fabulous.
That one about Dubya’s Library made me laugh like hell!
The rest of these cartoons are in no particular order…hope you enjoy them!
Ain’t that the truth?
Yesterday we lost one of the most outstanding film critics ever…Roger Ebert.
This next cartoon is about a little news item from a couple of weeks ago…Taken For A Ride by Political Cartoonist Tim Campbell
50 Years of the Rolling Stones? Damn…has it been that long? It’s enough to make a grown man cry…
This is an open thread.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Evening everyone, hope your Valentine Day is going well. Usually I get a kick out of V-Day, but this year…meh.
The past two days have been a kind of fog for me, and other than the news that another athlete has shot and killed his girlfriend, I have no idea what is going on in the world. Heavy duty pain medication and a case of PAD is keeping me from reading and watching the news.
That is why today’s evening reads are going to be rather thin.
First this from “Pepe” LaPierre( I wish I could draw, if I could I’d do a caricature of LaPierre as a skunk, like Pepe Le Pew….kissing an AK15…saying, “Come wiz me to ze Casbah – we shall make beautiful musicks togezzer!”) from Huffington Post : Wayne LaPierre: More Guns Needed For ‘Hellish World’ Filled With Hurricanes, Kidnappers, Drug Gangs
Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, adopted on Wednesday a significantly more ominous and expansive line of reasoning than he has before in order to make the case that newer, more dangerous threats require Americans to buy more guns, join the NRA and organize opposition to gun control measures.
“Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face — not just maybe,” LaPierre wrote in a commentary published by The Daily Caller, a conservative news site. “It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival. It’s responsible behavior, and it’s time we encourage law-abiding Americans to do just that.”
“Tens of millions of Americans are already preparing to Stand And Fight to protect their families and homes,” LaPierre declared, but the threats are growing “during the second Obama term.”
Good Lawd, what horrors!
…LaPierre wrote that “the American people clearly see the daunting forces we will undoubtedly face: terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster. Gun owners are not buying firearms because they anticipate a confrontation with the government. Rather, we anticipate confrontations where the government isn’t there — or simply doesn’t show up in time.”
New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy was LaPierre’s prime example of just such a disaster: “After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.”
The facts, however, indicate the opposite was true. In the five days following Hurricane Sandy, there were no homicides at all in New York City — which is unusual, considering historical data.
You can click the link to that HuffPo article, which goes on to point out other facts LaPierre has twisted to his will.
I think this cartoon from Signe Wilkinson fits perfectly with this discussion. NRA Shoppe
The Guardian has a cool interactive poking fun at the dumbing down of the US President’s State of the Union Address: The state of our union is … dumber: How the linguistic standard of the presidential address has declined
How the linguistic standard of the presidential address has declined. Using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test the Guardian has tracked the reading level of every state of the union.
Just go and check it out!
Also from The Guardian: Horsemeat scandal deepens as minister says bute may be in food chain
Eight horses slaughtered for food in the UK have tested positive for the veterinary painkiller phenylbutazone, known as bute, new tests from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) revealed on Thursday.
The minister for food and agriculture, David Heath, told the Commons that 206 carcasses had been tested. Six of the carcasses that tested positive may have entered the food chain in France in the last few weeks, according to the FSA, and efforts were being made to recall them. Heath said the Findus lasagne found to contain horsemeat had tested negative for bute. The FSA confirmed that all tests on the food products analysed so far, including Tesco burgers, were negative.
Heath said: “It is unacceptable that bute at any level has been found in horsemeat. We are investigating and anyone found to have broken the law will be dealt with.”
In other horsemeat news, Oklahoma State Senate committee advances bill on commercial slaughter of horses
A state Senate committee unanimously passed a bill to allow the operation of horse slaughterhouses in the state.
Senate Bill 375 – written by Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro – passed the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on a 9-0 vote without debate or question.
Before the bill was considered, Allen announced that he had substituted new language in the bill that would ensure that meat produced at an equine slaughterhouse would be consumed only outside the state and that animals would be allowed to come to a facility only through a livestock auction and a livestock dealer, meaning horses couldn’t be sold directly to a slaughterhouse.
Cynthia Armstrong, state director of the Humane Society of the United States, said the changes to Allen’s bill didn’t make it any less horrible and unacceptable for the state.
“Oklahoma City has a reputation as the Horse Show Capital of the World,” Armstrong said. “We do not need to be known as the Dead Horse Capital of the U.S.”
Of course I have a cartoon for this story too: Oklahoma Horse Slaugherhouses – Political Cartoon by Bruce Plante, Tulsa World – 02/14/2013
Lastly, this year’s Oscar poster is cool, check it out: Oscar Poster Reveals Years Of Best Picture History, But Can You Guess The Movies? (PHOTOS)
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a fun new poster on its website Tuesday. The Olly Moss and Gallery1988 project features 85 renderings of Oscar statuettes — one for each Best Picture winner from 1927 to 2012.
Go to the link to see a gallery of each statue. I like the ones that make references to the movie itself, and not just a costume. Like The Sting (finger to nose), The Apartment (tennis racquet and spaghetti), English Patient (melted head and shoulder) and All’s Quiet on the Western Front (butterfly).
Have a wonderful evening!
This is an open thread.
The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl, 34-31. I completely ignored it, so I didn’t see any of the commercials or the game. I did find this review of the commercials at the WaPo. I’m very happy for Ravens fans though–especially Janicen. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s see what else is going on in the news.
I’m sure everyone has heard about the Navy Seal sniper who was shot in by a marine he may have been trying to help. The NYT reports:
From his perch in hide-outs above battle-scarred Iraq, Chris Kyle earned a reputation as one of America’s deadliest military snipers. The Pentagon said his skills with a rifle so terrorized Iraqi insurgents during his four tours of duty that they nicknamed him the “Devil of Ramadi” and put a bounty on his head.
The insurgents never collected, and he returned home to become a best-selling author and a mentor to other veterans, sometimes taking them shooting at a gun range near his Texas home as a kind of therapy to salve battlefield scars, friends said. One such veteran was Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old Marine who had served tours in Iraq and Haiti.
But on Saturday, far from a war zone, Mr. Routh turned on Mr. Kyle, 38, and a second man, Chad Littlefield, 35, shortly after they arrived at an exclusive shooting range near Glen Rose, Tex., about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, law enforcement authorities said Sunday. The officials said that for reasons that were still unclear, Mr. Routh shot and killed both men with a semiautomatic handgun before fleeing in a pickup truck belonging to Mr. Kyle.
“Chad and Chris had taken a veteran out to shoot to try to help him,” said Travis Cox, a friend of Mr. Kyle’s. “And they were killed.”
I’m sorry about these two meaningless murders, but I’m mystified as to why anyone would want to read a book about someone who shot hundreds of people from a distance in Iraq. Supposedly they were “insurgents,” but who really knows? All those innocent people at Gitmo and dead civilians in Pakistan suggest to me that the U.S. military isn’t so great at separating civilians from combatants.
I’m even more mystified as to why taking someone with PTSD from serving in Iraq and Haiti to a gun range for therapy would be a good idea. Anyway, I don’t mean to judge, just my two cents.
According to the Dallas News, Routh became aggressive in jail and was tasered by guards.
After eating dinner, Routh refused to return his food tray to jailers. He became aggressive and tried to attack them when they tried to get it back from him, said Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant.
Jailers tasered Routh and placed him in a restraining chair in his solitary cell. He is on suicide watch, Bryant said….Routh, a former Marine and Iraqi War veteran, is believed to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Investigators say that he shot Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield at point-blank range around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Please note Routh used a semi-automatic handgun to shoot the Kyle and Littlefield. Wayne LaPierre is outraged that there was no “good guy” with a bigger gun around to protect them. Sorry, I made that up.
Speaking of Crazy Wayne, he was on Fox News Sunday yesterday, and he managed to be so outrageous that Chris Wallace told him he was being “ridiculous.” From Business Insider:
Fox News host Chris Wallace and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre got into a heated exchange on “Fox News Sunday” this morning, as Wallace challenged LaPierre on a controversial ad involving President Barack Obama’s daughters.
Wallace played the clip of the ad, which called Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for sending his children to a school with armed protection while opposing it for other schools. (That ad has actually been proven false.)
Wallace asked LaPierre if he regretted putting up the ad. He avoided the question and said the point of the ad was “not to pick on the President’s kids.”
Here’s the most contentious exchange:
LAPIERRE: The President’s kids are safe, and we’re all thankful for that.
WALLACE: They also face a threat that most people do not face.
LAPIERRE: Tell that to the people in Newtown! Tell that to the people in Newtown.
WALLACE: Do you really think that the President’s children are the same kind of target as every schoolchild in America? I think that’s ridiculous, and you know it, sir.
Here’s the video of the interview:
It seems as if the entire gun safety debate has boiled down to a huge argument over the AR-15 rifle. What is it about that gun anyway? The New York Times has a very long read about it headlined The AR-15: The Most Wanted Gun in America.
THE phone rings again at Pasadena Pawn and Gun, and a familiar question comes down the line: “Got any ARs?”
The answer is no. Pasadena Pawn and Gun, a gun retailer and pawnshop 15 miles south of Baltimore, is pretty much sold out of America’s most wanted gun, the AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle. Since the massacre in Newtown, Conn., in December, the AR-15, the military-style weapon that the police say was used in the shootings, has been selling fast here and across the nation.
Before Newtown, the rifles sold for about $1,100, on average. Now some retailers charge twice that. At Pasadena Pawn, on the wall behind glass counters of handguns, are three dozen or so AR-15-style rifles. Dangling from nearly every one is a tag that says “Sold.”
Is that sick or what? Basically, the gun has become a fashion statement–like an expensive handbag or pair of shoes.
“The AR-15, it’s kind of fashionable,” says Frank Loane Sr., the proprietor. His shop has a revolving waiting list for the rifles, and a handful of people are now on it. “The young generation likes them, the assault-looking guns.”
Sick. I don’t know how else to react to that.
As everyone knows, the White House released a photo of President Obama shooting a gun–supposedly he was skeet shooting at Camp David–in response to demands from wingnuts like Marsha Blackburn.
Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, expressed doubt about Obama’s skeet shooting.
“You know, if you don’t have the photos, if this is not something that’s a new hobby, then I think he should invite me out to Camp David and I’ll challenge him,” Blackburn said on CNN, according to a transcript.
Listening to that gun violence hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday was truly mind blowing. It’s very difficult for me to understand how someone like Crazy Wayne LaPierre or Gayle “Guns Keep Women Safe” Trotter can actually be permitted to testify before Congress. It was also mind-blowing to hear these people (Senators and pro-gun advocates) attacking “the mentally ill” and video games, yet no experts on mental illness or the effects of video games were invited to testify.
My mind was so blown by what I saw and heard yesterday that I have been unable to think of much other than gun violence and the refusal of our “leaders” to do anything about it. So this will be a gun-oriented post. First some information about the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
TPM Muckraker: NRA Spent Big To Help Senate Judiciary Republicans
The biggest recipient of the NRA’s money is one of the committee’s newest members: freshman Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who got a $344,742 boost in independent expenditures from the NRA during his race against former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona. According to Public Campaign’s figures, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has received $136,639 from the NRA, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, has received $78,526. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is the only Democrat on the committee who has received an NRA donation. Leahy’s Green Mountain PAC has received $7,000.
Patrick Leahy sells out pretty cheaply. According to the San Francisco Chronicle: Senate Judiciary chair rejects Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban.
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee did not endorse colleague Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban at a packed Capitol Hill hearing on guns Wednesday in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called for “common sense reform,” that closes loopholes in current gun laws and enforces background checks. Buthe did not endorse Feinstein’s tougher ban. “I know gun store owners in Vermont,” Leahy said. “They follow the law and conduct background checks…why should we not try to plug the loopholes in the law that allow (criminals and the mentally ill) to buy guns without background checks?”
The rebuffed California Democrat plans to hold her own hearing in her Judiciary subcommittee on her legislation, which is strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association. Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has also refused to back a ban on military-style weapons and high-capacity clips. Reid’s position reflects the political fact that a whole bevy of conservative Democrats do not support Feinstein’s ban.
HuffPo: Senate Judiciary Committee Includes At Least Seven Gun Owners.
* At least 7 of 18 committee members own guns (7 committee member refused to answer the question)
* Senator Leahy was champion marksman in college
* Senator Sessions has about a dozen firearms
And guess what Lindsey Graham has in his closet with him?
“I have an AR-15 at home and I haven’t hurt anybody and I don’t intend to do it,” Graham declared on Wednesday at a Judiciary Committee hearing.
We’re all relieved to hear that, Senator.