Archive for September, 2009

I Fell Asleep While Watching This: X-Men Origins – Wolverine

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

it won't die

it won't die

 

As a fan of the first couple X-Men movies, I guess I was disappointed.  But only disappointed like getting a cold pizza from Domino’s.

Grade: D.

Great Quote:

Chris Bradley: I’m not afraid of you, Victor. I’m afraid of dying. 

Victor Creed: How do you know? You’ve never tried it before.

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Lobbyists 2 – Affordable Health Care 0

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

 

The Senate Finance Committee can’t even endorse a modest public option like Chuck Schumer’s. Citing his belief that a public option can’t pass on the Senate floor “at this time,” Finance chairman Max Baucus joined two Democrats and all Republicans in voting down the amendment, which failed 10 to 13.

Joining Baucus on the Democrats’ side of the dais were Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and, by proxy, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) who wasn’t present for the vote.

There will be no public option in the Finance Committee’s health care bill.

So when Conrad and Baucus talk about not having enough votes for the public option, they’re really just projecting.  Cowardly, yet not surprising.  Senators like Baucus and Harry Reid are not “leaders” of anything.  Douchebags? yes.  Leaders? Not in any sense of the term.

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CNN Doesn’t Think People Care? Are They Correct?

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Imagine the outrage and indignation this story would cause:

At least 128 people were killed when Iranian troops opened fire on opposition protesters on Monday, rights groups and opposition figures claim.

Earlier police said 87 people had died, but local activists say hospital sources confirmed a much higher toll.

Human rights groups say they have had reports of soldiers bayoneting people and women being stripped and raped in the streets during the protest.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard head Yahya Rahim Safavi denied knowledge of sexual assaults.

But he admitted that some of his security forces had lost control.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said France was suspending economic ties with Iran after the “savage and bloody” crackdown on opposition protesters, the French news agency AFP reported.

About 50,000 people were protesting over the results of Iran’s 2009 presidential election. 

But soldiers moved in to quell the rally using tear gas and baton charges and firing live ammunition into the crowds.

The Iranian Organisation for Defence of Human Rights put the toll at 157 people killed and more than 1,200 wounded, although this has not been corroborated.

Human rights groups said there were widespread reports of rape.

“The military is going into districts, looting goods and raping women,”  the head of the Iranian branch of the Encounter for the Defence of Human Rights (EDDHO), told AFP.

An eyewitness told Human Rights Watch: “I saw several women stripped and then put inside the military trucks and taken away. I don’t know what happened to them.”

“They were raping women publicly,” an opposition activist  said in an interview with French radio station RFI, adding that he had witnessed soldiers raping women with rifle butts during Monday’s protests.

Iranian human rights activists told Reuters news agency that people trying to escape from the shooting were “caught and finished off with bayonets”.

A doctor at a government hospital in Tehran said his wards looked like “a butchery”.

American pundits and politicians would be outraged.  Calls for military involvement to protect the democratic process would surely be forthcoming.  

Unfortunately, this story is not fiction. It’s just not taking place in Iran, North Korea, or any of the number places deemed “of concern” to American interests.  It is happening in Guinea, and apparently CNN doesn’t think anyone gives a shit (and they may be right). 

On cnn.com, there is no article (even in the hard to find “Africa” section) and only a small video clip.  I’m not sure if the network covered it, but if they did I’m sure it’s sandwiched between a Polanski story and some bullshit about some fat lady who lost a lot of weight on an “all green onion” diet .

If anyone is watching CNN (or MSNBC/Fox), and thinks the media is treating this story with the appropriate coverage, please let me know.  My guess is it’s filed in the voluminous “African Indifference” archive.

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Ford Driver’s Child Develops ‘Truck Nuts’ Allergy

Posted by Matt on Friday, September 18th, 2009

Hannigan's "Truck Nutz"

Hannigan’s “Truck Nutz”

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - Larry Hannigan’s life took an unexpected turn on Monday, when he discovered his 10-month old child, Henry, had developed a Truck Nuts allergy.

Following a recent family trip to Ozark National Forest in the family’s Truck Nuts-adorned Ford F-150 pickup truck, Hannigan noticed a rash consuming much of Henry’s body.

“At first, I thought it might’ve been some poison oak from the camping we were doing,” Hannigan said. “But then I put the little guy in the truck and took him over to Home Depot the other day, and the same thing happened.”

After some tests, it was determined Henry has an allergy to Truck Nuts, the plastic truck accessory resembling human testicles inside a scrotum.  Truck Nuts first appeared in the United States in 1998 and first sold on the internet in 1999.

Hannigan’s wife Betsy expressed alarm at the diagnosis.  “Never in a million years did I even think a child could even have an allergic reaction to something like that.  We’re definitely going to have to be more careful.”

Asked whether her child’s allergy meant the family would remove the accessory in question, Ms. Hannigan wasn’t as definitive.  “I don’t know,” pondered Betsy.  “Larry sure loves those Nuts.  He used to spend hours tinkering with that truck. Now, everytime I look out in the driveway he’s rubbing Armor-All on those things.”

Occurences of Truck Nuts allergies have become increasingly common in certain regions of the United States, particularly in areas with a high-density of oversized pickup trucks.

Management of Truck Nuts allergies depends on strict avoidance of Truck Nuts. For young children, this usually depends on the of care of interested adults.  There are some places, however, where it may be especially difficult to avoid Truck Nuts. These include NASCAR races, Shoney’s restaurants, and family reunions at forest preserves.

Hannigan indicated he has no plans to get rid of the truck or the Truck Nuts.

“Look, the most important thing to me is Hank’s health,” Hannigan told reporters.  “But I’ll be damned if I’m going to castrate my pride and joy just because the kid is getting itchy.  I mean, all my friends co-workwers have seen the Nuts.  What kind of man would I be to let some uppity doctor tell me what to do with my Ford? I bought the damn thing.”

Hannigan concluded, ”I’d still rather have a kid with a Nuts allergy than drive a Chevy.”

 

 

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Small Non-Profit Destroying America!

Posted by Matt on Thursday, September 17th, 2009

This ACORN shit baffles me.  Here are some excerpts from Greenwald’s excellent article on the subject:

Earlier this week, I wrote about how the Fox-News/Glenn-Beck/Rush-Limbaugh leadership trains its protesting followers to focus the vast bulk of their resentment and anxieties on largely powerless and downtrodden factions, while ignoring, and even revering, the outright pillaging by virtually omnipotent corporate interests that own and control their Government (and, not coincidentally, Fox News).  It’s hard to imagine a more perfectly illustrative example of all of that than the hysterical furor over ACORN.

ACORN has received a grand total of $53 million in federal funds over the last 15 years — an average of $3.5 million per year.  Meanwhile, not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars of public funds have been, in the last year alone, transferred to or otherwise used for the benefit of Wall Street.  Billions of dollars in American taxpayer money vanished into thin air, eaten by private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, led by Halliburton subsidiary KBR.  All of those corporate interests employ armies of lobbyists and bottomless donor activities that ensure they dominate our legislative and regulatory processes, and to be extra certain, the revolving door between industry and government is more prolific than ever, with key corporate officials constantly ending up occupying the government positions with the most influence over those industries…

So with this massive pillaging of America’s economic security and its control of American government by its richest and most powerful factions growing by the day, to whom is America’s intense economic anxiety being directed?  To a non-profit group that devotes itself to providing minute benefits to people who live under America’s poverty line, and which is so powerless in Washington that virtually the entire U.S. Senate just voted to cut off its funding at the first sign of real controversy — could anyone imagine that happening to a key player in the banking or defense industry? 

Apparently, the problem for middle-class and lower-middle-class Americans is not that their taxpayer dollars are going to prop up billionaires, oligarchs and their corrupt industries.  It’s that America’s impoverished — a group that is growing rapidly — is getting too much, has too much power and too little accountability.  Anonymous Liberal has a superb post on the manipulative inanity of the Fox-generated ACORN ”scandal” (h/t D-day):

Let’s take a step back and consider just what ACORN is. It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower and improve the lives of poor people. As with many other organizations, ACORN has a number of legally distinct parts, each of which has different sources of funding and engages in different kinds of activities (ACORN’s conservative enemies routinely conflate these various parts to imply that ACORN is using federal money for improper political purposes). Since its founding the 70s, ACORN and its employees and volunteers have fought successfully to, among other things, increase minimum wages across the country, increase the quality of public education in poor areas, and protect people from predatory lending practices. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, ACORN helped rebuild thousands of homes and assisted victims in relocating and finding housing outside of New Orleans. The ACORN activity that has drawn the most conservative ire is its voter registration efforts which, consistent with ACORN’s mission, are primarily aimed at low-income voters (who tend to vote Democratic). . . .

But even if you take these film-makers at face value and assume the worst, the reality is that ACORN has thousands of employees and the vast majority of them spend their days trying to help poor people through perfectly legal means (and receive very little compensation for doing so). Even before yesterday’s Senate vote, the amount of federal money that went to ACORN was very small. This is a relatively insignificant organization in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an organization that has unquestionably fought over the years to improve the lives of the less fortunate in this country.

That the GOP and its conservative supporters would single out this particular organization for such intense demonization is telling. In September of last year, the entire world came perilously close to complete financial catastrophe. We’re still not out of the woods and we’re deep within one of the worst recessions in U.S. history. This situation was brought about by the recklessness and greed of our banks and financial institutions, most of which had to be bailed out at enormous cost to the American taxpayer (exponentially more than all of the tax dollars given to ACORN over the years). The people who brought about this near catastrophe, for the most, profited immensely from it. These very same institutions, propped up by the American taxpayer, are once again raking in large profits.

But rather than focus their anger on these folks, conservatives choose to go after an organization composed almost entirely of low-paid community organizers, an organization that could never hope to have even a small fraction of the clout or the ability to affect the overall direction of the country that Wall Street bankers have. ACORN’s relative lack of political influence was on full display yesterday, when the U.S. Senate (in which Democrats have a supermajority) not only entertained a vote to defund ACORN, but approved it by a huge margin (with only seven Democrats opposing).

If one were to watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh — as millions do — one would believe that the burden of the ordinary American taxpayer, and the unfair plight of America’s rich, is that their money is being stolen by the poorest and most powerless sectors of the society.  An organization whose constituencies are often-unregistered inner-city minorities, the homeless and the dispossesed is depicted as though it’s Goldman Sachs, Blackwater, Halliburton and combined, as though Washington officials are in thrall to those living in poverty rather than those who fund their campaigns.  It’s not the nice men in the suits doing the stealing but the very people, often minorities or illegal immigrants, with no political or financial power who nonetheless somehow dominate the government and get everything for themselves.  The poorer and weaker one is, the more one is demonized in right-wing mythology as all-powerful recipients of ill-gotten gains; conversely, the stronger and more powerful one is, the more one is depicted as an oppressed and put-upon victim (that same dynamic applies to foreign affairs as well).

It’s such an obvious falsehood — so counter-intuitive and irrational — yet it resonates due to powerful cultural manipulations.  Most of all, what’s so pernicious about all of this is that the same interests who are stealing, pillaging and wallowing in corruption are scapegoating the poorest and most vulnerable in order to ensure that the victims of their behavior are furious with everyone except for them.

I don’t care if ACORN gets a dime of federal money.  Some other non-profit will likely take the reins, the money, and perform similar services. So why the big obsession? I don’t understand the conservative outrage over a decentralized organization that operates on a shoestring budget and has absolutely NO power (as can be seen by Congress’ vote). 

And when the Federal government builds inadequate levies, destroys the wetlands naturally protecting the area, and then sits on its hands while an American city is destroyed by a storm, it’s groups like ACORN that help the displaced and marginalized pick up the pieces while the government turns its head and the rest of us sit on our asses watching reality TV and eating KFC gravy bowls. So why the outrage? Why, my friends, why? Is it a case of “providing assistance while colored?”  Who knows? Only the indignant. Crazy times.

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Gratuitous Video: Oblivious Child Also Adorable!

Posted by Matt on Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Little kid apparently wants to give ball to little kid.

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Protesters Of “Government Spending” Want More Government $ Spent On Them

Posted by Matt on Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Maybe I’m biased because I live in the public transportation shithole that is Chicago, but D.C.’s Metro always seems well-planned, clean and efficient. Essentially, everything you want for a subway.  But apparently, you can’t please everyone. According to the Wall Street Journal,

Protesters who attended Saturday’s Tea Party rally in Washington found a new reason to be upset: Apparently they are unhappy with the level of service provided by the subway system.

Rep. Kevin Brady asked for an explanation of why the government-run subway system didn’t, in his view, adequately prepare for this past weekend’s rally to protest government spending and government services

The Texas Republican on Wednesday released a letter he sent to Washington’s Metro system complaining that the taxpayer-funded subway system was unable to properly transport protesters to the rally to protest government spending and expansion.

These individuals came all the way from Southeast Texas to protest the excessive spending and growing government intrusion by the 111th Congress and the new Obama administration,” Brady wrote. “These participants, whose tax dollars were used to create and maintain this public transit system, were frustrated and disappointed that our nation’s capital did not make a great effort to simply provide a basic level of transit for them.”

A spokesman for Brady says that “there weren’t enough cars and there weren’t enough trains.” Brady tweeted as much from the Saturday march. “METRO did not prepare for Tea Party March! More stories. People couldn’t get on, missed start of march. I will demand answers from Metro,” he wrote on Twitter.

Brady says in his letter to Metro that overcrowding forced an 80-year-old woman and elderly veterans in wheelchairs to pay for cabs. He concludes that it “appears that Metro added no additional capacity to its regular weekend schedule.”

Next Stop - Irony.

Next Stop - Irony.

 I don’t think it’s a stretch to infer that  Rep. Brady didn’t ride the train that day, nor is a frequent rider.  Mr. Brady’s constituents, while bitching about how the Metro doesn’t ride nearly as smooth as a John Deere LX176 Riding Mower, also maintain there were too many “coloreds” and “ethnics” on the train. 

Teabaggers in the Big City.  There you go, TNN. I just gave you sitcom-gold. Brady is also likely to complain about the publicly-funded police and paramedics that kept order during their protest, as well as the publicly-maintained roads on which they marched.

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People From Jersey

Posted by Matt on Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Some Evangelicals believe Mohammed is the Antichrist. Lutherans believe the Pope is the Antichrist.  Fat people believe broccoli is the Antichrist. What about people from Jersey?

Public Policy Polling’s habit of asking revealing, bizarre questions continues with a survey of New Jersey voters that finds—as President Obama’s approval rating dips slightly—only 79 percent of voters ready to rule out the possibility that their president is the Anti-Christ. Eight percent say he is, while 13 percent are not sure.

 Further breakdowns on that question:

Picture 62

- Twelve percent of McCain voters think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Twenty-one percent are not sure.

- Fourteen percent of Republicans think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Fifteen percent are not sure.

- Eighteen percent of “conservative” voters think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Seventeen percent are not sure.

The big surprise here–the group of voters most likely to think Obama is the Anti-Christ are … Hispanics, who solidly backed Obama in 2008. Only 58 percent of them say, for sure, that their president is not Satan come to wreak havoc here on earth.

In a related poll, 42% of antichrists surveyed said they would only set foot in New Jersey for a lay-over, and 82% of antichrists believe the Antichrist is really some Jersey “Housewife.”  Good stuff.

 

Nothing metaphysical about these douchebags.

Nothing metaphysical about these douchebags.

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Science Haters & Hollywood To Deprive U.S. Of Jennifer Connelly

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Unreal.  Actually, not unreal. I believe it. You may say I’m a true believer. 

Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin’s “struggle between faith and reason” as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as “a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder”. His “half-baked theory” directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to “atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering”, the site stated.

The film has sparked fierce debate on US Christian websites, with a typical comment dismissing evolution as “a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying“.

Yes – that silly theory with incomparable genetic evidence. So unlike the totally realistic theory with the Invisble Bearded Man, the Magic Tree, and the Sassy Talking Snake.

What’s going on here? The Jesus Freaks have been out-to-lunch for years.  They can’t be blamed.  It’s possible no distributor thinks it will make any money.  Although 21st  Century Hollywood only produces spin-offs and sequels, I doubt this is the case.  If it gets enough publicity, it will eventually get released here.

This falls on the pathetic Hollywood ”liberals.”  No one wants to piss off the bored, letter-writing Creationists. They might miss out on a chance to distribute Home School Musical II.  Zing.

On the Origin of MY Species.  Hey-o!

On the Origin of MY Species. Hey-o!

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Hobonin’

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I would like to point out this occurred in the daylight:

Sep 15th, 2009 | WICHITA, Kan. — A tender moment in a trash bin went all wrong for a couple who found themselves being held up at pocket knifepoint. Police said two 44-year-olds had climbed into a dumpster to be alone just after 6 p.m. Saturday when two men interrupted them and demanded their belongings. Officers said the man and woman were engaged in “an intimate moment” when they were robbed of their shoes, jewelry and the man’s wallet.

Police said one of the robbers was a 64-year-old man who egged his 59-year-old companion on during the robbery.

The suspects were found a short time later and the stolen property was returned.

Come waste your time with me.

Come waste your time with me.

What 2 jewelry-clad people and 150 pounds of garbage do in a dumpster is their own damn business.  These savage criminals have no respect for those with no self-respect. Shame.

 

 

 

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Gratuitous World Blog

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