Post-Valentine’s Day olla podrida

February 22, 2013

How’s the NRA going to spin this one?

Psy got more than 7 billion views on one video.  Can you help Sesame Street get to one billion, total?  It’s a better cause.  And it may frost the heck out of Sal Khan, too.

Sesame Street actually has a lot of video up for YouTube use — that is, for your use.  This is one of the most important educational sites on the entire internet. 992,469,603 total views at this moment.

Whose educational video works best, Sal Khan’s or Cookie Monsters?

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, said she doesn’t think we need an increase in the minimum wage, especially not to the $9 level President Obama asked.  She said her $2.15 minimum wage was enough . . .

Oops:

At that time, the minimum wage was $1.60, equivalent to $10.56 in today’s terms. Today’s minimum wage is equivalent to just $1.10 an hour in 1968 dollars, meaning the teenage Blackburn managed to enter the workforce making almost double the wage she now says is keeping teenagers out of the workforce.

Do Republicans ever learn history, or make the minor mathematical calculations to adjust for historic inflation?  Pretty tough to flunk history, math and economics in such a short statement.

Is there a rational reason that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s  solutions to U.S. problems always involve economic pain to others?  Will cuts in food and health care make these 600,000 children smarter, too?

Here you go, Mittens in winter:

The Mittens in winter, by Howard Noel, via National Wildlife Federation

Caption from the National Wildlife Federation: Howard Noel’s photo of Monument Valley captures the East and West Mitten Buttes, as well as Merrick’s Butte on the right. These natural sandstone and shale structures are just a few of the world-famous geological features in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, located along the Arizona-Utah state line within the Navajo Nation Reservation. The Utah resident used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera and a 24-105mm lens.

Where in Utah does Howard Noel hail from?  While I’ve been by these formations in winter, it was never with a camera to catch the snow.  This park is an ideal place to spend a couple of days learning landscape photography, if you’re looking for a place to try out your new camera.  Great place to be anytime, for me.

Hey, if you’re planning drive to see the Mittens, you should be aware that part of Highway 89 is out of commission due to a slump off the roadway between Flagstaff and Page, Arizona — the Navajo Reservation being as large as it is, and as unroaded as it is, when a main road goes out, detours can be spectacularly long.   Earthly Musings carries geological explanations, history and great photos.  How much detour?  This one requires a job to the east, through Tuba City, probably adding about an hour to the trip between those two cities.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says traffic will detour around the closure by using U.S. 160 and State Route 98, adding 45 miles of driving. (emphasis added here)

Meanwhile, in the rest of America? This is okay.  America is ashamed of Rush Limbaugh’s ranting, too.  Fair, no?

Why was the death toll so high in season 3 of “Downton Abbey?”  Writer Julian Fellowes explained it’s a kind of contract issue — anti-regulation types will no doubt crawl out of the woodwork to complain about government interference in the right of contract in English theatre.


How do Catholics really feel?

March 13, 2012

From an article in the current New Yorker:

Just after Limbaugh lashed out at Fluke, a Georgetown professor attended a reunion at a Catholic school in Queens. An elderly nun asked her, “Do you know that girl?” She added, “That awful man should be fired for what he said. How’s she holding up?”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2012/03/19/120319taco_talk_talbot#ixzz1p0cHEEVv

A lot more serious, good thought in that article by Margaret Talbot, “Taking Control,” billed as a discussion of the real reasons for the recent conservative attacks on women.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Frank Milewski, off in the wilds of Michigan.


The wolf that keeps me from using Carbonite

December 5, 2011

A couple of computer crashes and a couple of stolen flashdrives convince me on-line storage might be a good idea.

How could anyone not appreciate a company like Carbonite, named after a Star Wars concept?

So, I wander to the company’s website, and I see this:

Rush Limbaugh endorses Carbonite on-line storage

Rush Limbaugh for Carbonite

Rush Limbaugh?  Seriously?

How can I buy Carbonite if it’s being pushed by Rush?


Rush Limbaugh and Fort Worth, Texas

October 20, 2011

To complain about the horrific defense of the child maiming, rape-sowing, war-crimes committing “Lord’s Resistance Army” made by Rush Limbaugh the other day, I sought out the Dallas-Fort Worth station that carries the program.  Limbaugh’s show is carried on WBAP-AM in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  So I dropped an e-mail to the station to ask if they support Rush’s views, and asking how they will try to rein in the rogue talker.

No answer, yet, of course.

But on the way I ran into something that made me laugh, even if you don’t find it funny.

I went to Limbaugh’s site to check for transcripts, and to find which station in this area carries his program (no, I am not a regular listener by any stretch.

WBAP-AM 1320 was one of the early “clear channel” stations in the U.S., a 50,000-watt powerhouse whose signal could cover from San Francisco to just west of the Appalachians on a night with the appropriate weather.  25 years ago truckers used it as a beacon (and may still for all I know — I’ve not ridden with the long-haul truckers since I got to Texas).  It’s a famous station, and Rush Limbaugh should be flattered that they would carry his excrement  program.

So I found “Texas,” and I found WBAP listed in Fort Worth (no one else in Dallas).  Here’s the line the listing was on, copied from Limbaugh’s site; click on “WBAP” and see where you go:

Fort Worth WBAP-AM 820 M-F 11a-2p

It says “WBAP-AM” in Fort Worth, Texas; but it takes you to WBAB, 102.3 FM on Long Island, New York.  WBAB 102.3 is a rock ‘n roll station.  It ain’t WBAP-AM 1320 in Fort Worth, not by a longhorn steer’s horn spread.

I wonder how long the Limbaugh show has had the wrong URL for the station in Fort Worth, and I wonder if it has made any difference in listeners getting through or advertisers.  I wonder how long it will remain with the wrong URL, and whether anyone cares at WBAP, WBAB, or the Limbaugh show.

Maybe I should just write directly to the “license renewal file” at the FCC.


Because Obama opposes them, Limbaugh endorses terrorists and murderers

October 18, 2011

There may be no better demonstration of how the blind, unthinking and unfounded hatred of Barack Obama has skewed the rationality of conservatives than Rush Limbaugh’s endorsement of the war criminals, murdering “Lord’s Resistance Army”  (LRA) in Central Africa.

Watch this short excerpt from a PBS documentary, “The Lord’s Children”:

Original PBS airdate: Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The region of Northern Uganda was ravaged by one of Africa’s longest civil wars until 2006. For over 20 years, more than 65,000 children, some as young as five years old, have been kidnapped by Uganda’s anti-government rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and forced to serve as child soldiers and sex slaves.

Under the command of LRA leader Joseph Kony, these children have been terrorized into committing the worst atrocities, even killing their own families. Lord’s Children follows three former LRA soldiers who escaped from the bush and have since taken refuge in a rehabilitation center. WIDE ANGLE is with the center’s counselors as they help the physically and emotionally scarred children put their lives back together.

For more information, visit http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/lords-children/introduction/1769/

Oh, one may have second and third thoughts about President Obama’s dispatching of “advisers” to help Uganda’s government fight the LRA.  Anyone who remembers Vietnam would think twice about such a deployment, though Rush appears not to remember Vietnam at all (!), and ignores the dramatic success of Obama’s policies toward Libya over the past year.

Worse, Limbaugh appears to believe the LRA is a simple group of Christians fighting for freedom.

So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and — (interruption) no, I’m not kidding.

You should read Matt Yglesias’s comments on Limbaugh’s despicable claims:

Victim of Lord's Resistance Army - image from Human Rights Watch via Matt Yglesias

(Image of a victim of a machete attack by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) - Human Rights Watch via Matt Yglesias))

I don’t have a really strong view on whether or not it’s advisable to dispatch a small number of US combat troops to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army. My instinct is to be skeptical. I want to see less military intervention, not more. But Rush Limbaugh’s instinct is to embrace brutal murderers:

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill. […]

Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

This post is illustrated with a photo of a man who survived a Lord’s Resistance Army machete attack and has the gashes on his head to prove it. You can read more about it courtesy of Human Rights Watch:

LRA forces attacked at least 10 villages, capturing, killing, and abducting hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes.

The LRA also killed those they abducted who walked too slowly or tried to escape. Family members and local authorities later found bodies all along the LRA’s 105-kilometer journey through the Makombo area and the small town of Tapili. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the “stench of death.”

I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not chasing a relatively small band of depraved mass murderers around central africa is a reasonable thing for American military personel to be doing. But let’s make no mistake—these are depraved mass murderers. And yet Rush Limbaugh is pleased to welcome them as fellow Christian allies.

Oy.

If Limbaugh has a human brain cell and human heart cell left, surely he will retract this bizarre endorsement of terrorists.

You don’t know about the LRA?  I suppose it’s possible people have slept through the past two decades or forgotten the news reports.  The group has been terrorizing Sudan and Uganda since 1987.  The facts from Wikipedia:

“The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 8 July and 27 September 2005 against Joseph Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen. The five LRA leaders were charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, sexual slavery, and enlisting of children as combatants. The warrants were filed under seal; public redacted versions were released on 13 October 2005.”

  • You may wish to start with the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Uganda Recovery Act of 2010:
    The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was a 2010 act of Congress promoted by the Obama administration that makes it American policy to kill or capture Joseph Kony and to crush his rebellion once and for all. According to the President, “The legislation crystallizes the commitment of the United States to help bring an end to the brutality and destruction that have been a hallmark of the LRA across several countries for two decades, and to pursue a future of greater security and hope for the people of central Africa.”[1][2]

Limbaugh’s actions are really beyond the pale. Clearly he is undergoing some kind of mental disturbance.  Is there any organization over him to see he gets the treatment he needs,  and get him off the air before he does more damage?  Responsible radio stations should pull his program until there is a retraction and some sort of indication that the man is not himself a threat to the country — assuming he thought he knew what he was doing.

Call your local Limbaugh outlet, ask if they endorse terrorism, too.  If they don’t endorse terrorism, ask what they intend to say and do about Limbaugh.


I get e-mail: Media Matters calls bluffs of climate change “skeptics”

July 10, 2010

Media Matters may be a site worth tracking more closely, not only on climate issues:

Media Matters: The greatest science “scandal” “in the history of man” predictably falls apart

In their never-ending quest to prove that they understand the intricacies of climate science better than actual climate scientists, conservative media figures routinely promote any ridiculous “evidence” they think undermines the scientific consensus about climate change.

This is a group that repeatedly points to snowstorms in February as proof that global warming is not real; claims that CO2 can’t be a pollutant because “we breathe” it; and ignores actual temperature data to baselessly claim that the Earth is really “cooling.”

Last year, conservative climate change skeptics, in the words of Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel, thought they had found a “gold mine.” Conservative media figures seized on emails stolen from climate scientists and proceeded to completely distort their contents. As we pointed out repeatedly at the time, this “scandal” relied on outrageous misrepresentations of the stolen emails and did not in any way undermine the scientific consensus about climate change.

Nevertheless, conservative media figures incessantly hyped the non-scandal with their usual overblown rhetoric:

  • Glenn Beck — who says he is not a conspiracy theorist, remember — suggested in the wake of “Climategate” that climate change is a “scam.” He also said that if the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report “had been done by Japanese scientists, there is not enough knives on planet Earth for hara-kiri.”
  • Noted climatologist Rush Limbaugh, who frequently decries the supposed global warming “hoax,” proposed that all of the scientists involved in “Climategate” should be “named and fired, drawn and quartered, or whatever it is.”
  • Andrew Breitbart called for “capital punishment” for NASA scientist James Hansen, because “Climategate” was supposedly “high treason.”
  • The Washington Times, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Investor’s Business Daily, The American Spectator’s Robert Stacy McCain, Rich Lowry, Newsmax’s James Hirsen, and Michael Ledeen all joined forces to smear the scientific consensus on climate change as a “cult.”
  • Fox News’ Mike Huckabee explained that “Jesus would be a truthseeker” while discussing the “revelation” that scientists had “cooked” climate change data.

The crew at Fox & Friends spent this year’s Earth Day promoting an important cause. No, not encouraging environmental consciousness — they devoted the show to pushing “Climategate” falsehoods in order to falsely claim that “scientists held back data that discredits theories on global warming.” They were joined by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, who was there to complain about non-Fox networks “dismiss[ing]” and “ignor[ing]” the story.

Last December, Bozell told Lou Dobbs that “Climategate” is the “biggest scandal in terms of science, finance, and politics … in the history of man.” After Bozell compared the climate science “cover-up” to “the craziness” of Dan Brown’s fiction, he actually managed to draw laughter from Dobbs. Unfortunately, contrary to Bozell’s suggestion that media outlets ignored the story, numerous non-Fox “Climategate” stories adopted conservatives’ dishonest framing of the non-story.

And now for the inevitable conclusion of this manufactured controversy.

As reported by The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin — who, by the way, Rush Limbaugh thinks should “just go kill” himself — the Independent Climate Change Email Review “cleared climate scientists and administrators” involved in “Climategate” of “malfeasance.” This follows several other exonerations of the scientists involved in the phony scandal. In response, Media Matters, joined by numerous progressive and clean energy groups, called on all outlets that reported on the original “Climategate” controversy to set the record straight.

So this leaves us where we were before the “Climategate” freakout: There is still overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the theory of global warming.

And once again conservative media proved that they don’t hesitate to rely on blatant distortions, outright falsehoods, and a complete disregard for reality to advance their political causes.

Mainstream media outlets would be doing everyone a service if they remembered that the next time they decide to report on whatever Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fox News, and the perpetual conservative outrage machine are yelling about.

Conservatives’ phony scandal of the week: The Obama Justice Department and the New Black Panther Party

While we’re on the subject of manufactured scandals that respectable media outlets shouldn’t take seriously, Fox News and its friends in the conservative echo chamber spent much of the week promoting phony, trumped-up allegations against the Justice Department.

In short, conservative media outlets have been aggressively promoting the charge by GOP activist J. Christian Adams that President Obama’s Justice Department engaged in racially charged “corruption” when it partially dismissed a case against members of the New Black Panther Party for allegedly engaging in voter intimidation outside of a Philadelphia polling center on Election Day in 2008.

As we have documented extensively, Adams should not be trusted. He is a long-time right-wing activist with extensive ties to the Bush-era politicization of the Justice Department. Adams himself has admitted that he lacks first-hand knowledge to support his accusations. Additionally, Adams’ charge that the DOJ’s action in the New Black Panther case shows unprecedented, racially motivated corruption is undermined by the fact that the Obama DOJ obtained judgment against one of the defendants, and that the Bush DOJ declined to pursue similar allegations against a group of Minutemen — one of whom was carrying a gun — in 2006.

Even the Republican vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights called the New Black Panthers case “very small potatoes” and said an investigation into the DOJ’s decision is full of “overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges.”

And yet again, the fact that this is a completely manufactured scandal didn’t stop conservative media figures from engaging in one of their time-honored traditions: attempting to obscure their own problems with race by accusing others of racism.

Radio host Jim Quinn — who once told “race-baiting” African-American “ingrates” to “get on your knees” and “kiss the American dirt” because slavery brought them to the U.S. — hyped the New Black Panther story by calling the civil rights community “race-baiting poverty pimps.”

Rush Limbaugh — who earlier this week announced that if Obama wasn’t black he’d be a “tour guide in Honolulu” and claimed Obama is using the office of the presidency to seek “payback” for the country’s history of racism — forwarded Adams’ charge that the case was dropped because of racially charged corruption.

Beck, who infamously called President Obama a “racist” with a “deep seated hatred for white people or the white culture,” declared that the Obama administration is “full” of “people that will excuse” the “hatred” of the New Black Panthers. He also relied on falsehoods to try to connect Obama to the New Black Panthers, and claimed today that the New Black Panthers are part of Obama’s “army of thugs.”

Of course, the New Black Panthers are a fringe hate group, and only a cynical race-baiter like Glenn Beck would claim they are somehow part of Barack Obama’s imaginary “army of thugs.”

But I’m sure they appreciate all of the publicity, courtesy of Glenn Beck and Fox News.

Bek Younuhvercity

This week also marked the launch of Beck’s latest attempt to grab money from “educate” his audience: Beck University.

As Beck described it, the online Beck University is an “academic program” that would be a “unique experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history, and economics.” At the outset of the first “course” — Faith 101, with frequent Beck guest/promoter of historical misinformation David Barton — Beck announced that viewers “will learn more in the next hour than you’ve probably learned in your entire life about American history.”

Laughable hyperbole aside, as we pointed out this week, Glenn Beck is uniquely unqualified to found a university, considering he regularly traffics in bizarre conspiracy theories, distortions, and downright falsehoods on a wide variety of subjects.

The day after the first “course” at Beck University, Beck stood in front of his blackboard and labeled various historical figures “heros” or “villians.”

And lastly, by my count, between his TV show last night and his radio program today, Beck launched no fewer than four baseless charges that, by his standards, should get him fired.

This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Media Matters’ Ben Dimiero.

Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad, Euripides said (paraphrased).  With that ancient wisdom in hand, one might be well advised not to stand next to Glenn Beck or Fox News.

If Glenn Beck wishes to know the evils of Woodrow Wilson or Theodore Roosevelt, I can point him to sources.  In spite of those evils, however, they remain heroes of American history for the good things they did.  Beck criticizes them for those good things, however, and not for their failures (including Wilson’s patent racism, and Roosevelt’s failure to push for integration at opportune times — to Beck, those would be virtues, I fear).

Visit Media Matters here, sign up for Media Matters’ e-mail newsletter here.


Advice for the hungry, from a silly man who can’t control his appetites

June 18, 2010

Cassie graduated from high school and has already moved on to college.  College is where our young Diogenes get bigger and brighter lamps to search with.

And so it is that Cassie calls Rush Limbaugh on what is surely one of the most offensive things he’s ever said.

To this woman:

Dorothea Lange's photo, "Migrant Mother"

Photo by Dorothea Lange

Rush said, “Go to McDonald’s.”

No, seriously.  Go read the transcript at Media Matters, it gets worse; he’s commenting on the report that a lot of kids will go hungry in America over the summer because they are not attending school where they get a good meal every day:

There are also things in what’s called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you’re going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dip and maybe a can of corn that you don’t want, but it will be there. If that doesn’t work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. You know where McDonald’s is. There’s the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s and if they don’t have Chicken McNuggets, dial 911 and ask for Obama.

And — you know, Dave Barry wouldn’t make this stuff up even if he could, because it’s not funny — Rush said this:

There’s another place if none of these options work to find food; there’s always the neighborhood dumpster. Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August. Can you imagine the benefit we would provide people?

A few of my students do that.  They would be the first to tell Rush, it’s not a great way to get a good meal.

Rush should be ashamed of himself.  Perhaps he has no sense of shame.

It’s not as if the signs of hunger in America were not clearly visible.

Vermont Food Bank, via David Osler, Dave's Part

The refrigerator is empty. Image from David Osler

Yeah, I know:  Rush is deaf.  Really. I didn’t know he is blind, and heartless, too.

It’s time he go mute, on his own.  Get out of the way and let some hungry person, some person hungry for the truth, take over the microphone and speak the facts.  Maybe Rush should turn over the microphone to Cassie — she’s got real experience, and a real heart.


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