Monday, October 31, 2011

Frontline of the Class War: Worker Friendly Candy, Chemical Weapons, and Halloween Parties

The Republicans are right, there is a class war going on in this country. And they're the ones waging it against the middle and working class:
  • If you're anything like me and have waited until the last minute to buy your Halloween candy for trick or treaters, here's a list of which candies are union made so you can buy accordingly.
  • Herman Cain thinks that there should be no Federal student aid for college and that "the people within the state, the people within the communities, ultimately, I believe, are the ones who have that responsibility."  So according to Herman Cain, if you can't afford college, you better start a bake sale.
  • Trying to make a point about how overtaxed we are, Michele Bachmann took a guess at what the tax rate was in 1950....and only missed by 500%.  It really would help if Republicans realized that the 'magical 1950s' they think were so perfect was also the period with the highest tax rates in our nations history.
  • And finally proving that the rich do in fact live in their own little bubble outside of reality and human decency, New York's top foreclosure firm decided that the theme for their halloween party this year would be to dress up as the homeless people they tossed out of their houses.  Hysterical, unless you happen to have a conscience.
Happy Halloween! 

Monday Makeover: The Spook

There are no bad characters, just characters that no one has spent far too much time thinking about how to make work. I intend to fix that.
Val Kaliban, better known as the Spook, made his first appearance in 1973's Detective Comics #434.  His plan had a certain insane elegance to it.  In his former life, Val Kaliban had been the architect responsible for designing Gotham City's new state of the art prison which he honeycombed with secret passageways planning on breaking prisoners out for a huge payday.  I say he did this in his former life, because he was discovered by his partner, who the Spook then murdered, and was subsequently executed for the crime.  Not one to let a little thing like the death penalty stop him, he hypnotized another prisoner into getting executed in his place (that's right, he's not just an evil architect, he's an evil architect who's mastered the art of hypnotism).  Having escaped justice, the Spook then spent the next decade literally living underground, using his evil architecture powers to retrofit an abandoned subway station under the prison he built, as well as booby trapping much of the city (he even got to steal the Batmobile with a 'now you see it, now you don't' trick).   He then used a bunch of gadgets to make himself appear to be a ghost (so for those keeping track he's an evil architect, with hypnotic powers, and advanced illusion technology) and started selling "escape insurance" to the criminals of Gotham.  Of course Batman doesn't believe in ghosts (despite having teamed up with angels, demons, and oh ya, ghosts) and quickly figures out the Spook's whole deal and captures him.  You would think that Batman and the police discovering the network of secret passage ways in the prison would end it as a plot point, but it reappears in most of the Spook's subsequent appearances (with the noted exception of one Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight story (#102-104) where he's instead an insane ex-CIA agent who actually believes he's a ghost).  He then largely faded away before ultimately being beheaded by a League of Assassins trained Robin (which is a sentence that can't have been typed too many times).

The Spook is an interesting case in the annals of D-List Batman villains.  His MO is actually pretty good,  a guy preying on the cowardice of criminals by using gadgets, parlor tricks, and advanced preparation to appear supernatural is a frighteningly good foil for Batman, and his costume is certainly serviceable.  He even does yeoman's service by helping to explain why no one seems to be able to stay locked up in Gotham City.  By rights he should be a solid B-Lister like Scarecrow and Mad Hatter, or at least be popping up with the regularity of the assassin Deadshot (I love Deadshot too, but come on, there are other assassins out there), so why doesn't he?  The answer is pretty simple, the Spook's backstory is bizarrely limiting.  Having the majority of his gimmicks come from his skills as an architect (and indeed from having built a specific prison that has already been identified by the police) pretty much leaves him with nowhere to go.  The ex-CIA angle certainly explains his skills more, but I'm tired of every Batman villain being insane.  And frankly, after going to all the trouble of faking your own death and setting up elaborate illusions to make yourself seem like a ghost, it seems pretty wasteful to blow that rep by meeting your clients in alleyways and giving them a beeper to page you if they get into trouble.

Val Kaliban and Benjamin Yates were the best extraction team the Agency had ever produced.  They got in, secured the subject, and got out all without leaving a trace.  But the problem with being the best was that it meant they were in high demand, and after seeing more than anyone should have to, they were done.  But it wasn't exactly the kind of job you just walked away from, so they faked their deaths, mission gone wrong.  And then they disappeared into the deepest cesspool they could find, Gotham City.  They knew even before they got there that between the street crime, mobs, and the costumed set, there'd be plenty of demand for their particular skills.  Still, they needed to keep a low profile, and that's when they remembered they remembered the number one rule when dealing with lowlifes, "criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot."  And in Gotham that was clearly doubly true with all these stories swirling around about the so-called Bat-Man.  It was almost painfully simple, start a few rumors, a few psyops tricks and pyrotechnics, and suddenly altars to the Spook were popping up in cemeteries and condemned buildings all over the city.  If your offering was accepted you were protected, if it wasn' should probably leave Gotham.  Oh occasionally one of them would be caught by the Bat, but it never took either of them long to escape again, and the other simply fostered the legend until their partner returned.  Gotham was a haunted city, and the Spook wasn't going anywhere.  Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Leftovers: Love Songs, Board Games, and Rush Limbaugh

Everyone knows that leftovers are better than the original meal. Here are the news stories that didn't fit in anywhere else this week:
  • So I think we all thought it was pretty weird when they found deceased Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi's scrapbook of Condaleezza Rice photos.  But now it turns out that he also had a song composed to her, "Black Flower in the White House."While I don't often have a lot of nice things to say about Bush Administration officials, I think Dr. Rice deserves some credit for her diplomatic response to the situation, "Well this is a really, really strange, strange moment in my time as Secretary of State."

Did Rick Perry Miss His Calling as a Drug Addicted Comedian?

Far be it from me to accuse Rick Perry of being on drugs, but am I the only one who thinks that's the least disturbing explanation for this video?

Between the manic energy, weird physical ticks, and the way he's playing with the maple syrup at the end, I can't be the only one thinking there's something seriously wrong with the man (besides everything he believes), right?

He-Man Woman Haters Club Report: Whores, Hell, and the TSA

With classism, racism, and homophobia already in the mix, why wouldn't the GOP add in some sexism too:
  • First, an all too rare apology from a Republican, in this case New Jersey State Senate candidate Phil Mitsch for tweeting, "Women, you increase your odds of keeping your men by being faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom."  Of course, the apology might mean more if he didn't also add, "how the voter interprets my response to [the tweets], I don't care.  I don't care if I get elected or not."
  • The "Personhood" Amendments advancing through several states to define life as starting at conception, could have the unintended impact of making in vitro fertilization illegal.  Because nothing says you love life more than preventing couples from conceiving a child.
  • Quick Review: Parental notification laws require teenage girls to get their parents permission before they can get an abortion, and in the (all too common) event that the girl fears for her life if she tells her parents, all she has to do is go down to the courthouse and petition a judge.  Well, Florida judges have decided that that's not quite intimidating enough, so they've made the process even tougher.  Now the judge can wait up to three days to make a decision, if the judge misses that deadline it's just tough luck, and the judge has to consider whether the girl is mature enough to have an abortion.  Because clearly if a girl isn't mature enough to have a routine medical procedure, she should be forced to become a mother.
  • Finally the TSA has fired an agent for leaving a truly creepy note in a woman's bag after finding a vibrator inside:

Friday, October 28, 2011

SciFi Friday: Cyborgs, Man Eaters, and Droids, Oh My

The 1950s promised us a future full of robot butlers, rocket packs, and beautiful alien princesses. So far scientists have delivered on absolutely none of those promises. But they have given us some other pretty cool stuff, so for the (other) geeks home on a Friday night, here's some pretty cool real scientific breakthroughs:
  • So it might not be a man eater, but scientists have built a 'venus fly trap' robot that actually powers itself by ingesting the insects it captures.  In the movies the Terminator needed a nuclear power cell to keep going, maybe in real life they'll just be cannibals.  Comforting.
  • And leave it to Japan to build the flying laser droids from Star Wars (I want one so badly now):

As always, your crazy SciFi discoveries in the comments.

Friday Freakshow Roundup: Frontrunners, Has Beens, and Senior Citizens

In the political news system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the Republicans who do insane things, and this blogger who mocks them. These are their stories:
  • In possibly the stupidest move since Gary Hart challenged the Washington Press Corp. to prove he was having an affair,  Herman Cain has challenged them to prove that he doesn't know anything about foreign policy.  You just know that's going to end well.
  • Explaining 'what the hell he's doing at MSNBC with those lefties,' Pat Buchanan explained that he's "an apostle to to the Mohawks."  Which even for Pat Buchanan is a bizarrely specific racist metaphor.  Personally I think the far better question is why the hell hasn't MSNBC fired him already?
  • Despite basing his entire quixotic campaign on being able to win New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman has only been able to attract two donors for a total of $1,000 in the state.  To put that in perspective if I announced my candidacy for the Republican nomination today, I'm pretty sure I could raise more than a thousand bucks in New Hampshire by the next Friday Freakshow Roundup.
  • And finally, it wouldn't be Friday without another Taiwanese Animated News Report:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daisy Duking It Out: Cigarette Smoking Man, Occupy Wall Street, and the DNC

Political ads have a long and storied history in American elections.  Some work, and other's just don't.  So let's take a look at how some of the current crop of ads stack up:

  • Starting us off, Herman Cain released this bizarre ad featuring his campaign manager hiding in an alley begging for support:

  • Which means maybe he should just let third parties make ads for him, because this one from "Americans for Cain" PAC attacking Romney and Perry is actually pretty good:

  • In what I think may be a first for a populist mass movement, Occupy Wall Street is going to start airing this pretty effective branding ad on ESPN:

  • Marco Rubio's chances of becoming the Republican's Vice Presidential candidate last week when it came out that he's been lying about his life story for years, ads like this aren't going to help him either:

  • Finally Democratic strategists have clearly decided that Mitt Romney is the likely Republican nominee and aren't going to wait around for him to actual win the nomination before they bloody him up, releasing these two brutal ads in the last week:

Closeted Countdown: Rentboys, Choices, and the Space Between Rick Santorum's Ears

I've long believed that the only thing that could motivate someone to dedicate their lives to homophobia is deep self-loathing. So start the countdown timer until these folks get caught with a gay prostitute:
  • It's always nice when Republicans go out of their way to prove that I'm not actually exaggerating about them.  Which is why it's time to reset the countdown timer because Republican New Jersey Mayor Chris Myers just got caught hiring a male prostitute off "" (warning, if you click on the link, you will end up seeing pictures of a deeply closeted middle aged republican in his underwear, and that's not something it's easy to come back from).
  • I've been paying a bunch of attention to all the incredibly racist things Pat Buchanan has been saying lately, but I'd hate for you to think that means he isn't a homophobe as well.  Luckily Media Matters has my back with a look at Buchanan's greatest gay bashing hits over the last 20 years.
This post brought to you by the kind people at the Apple Genius Bar, who not only got me back up and running, but saved me $90 in the process.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TV Tourney Drama Semi-Finals: Terra Nova vs. Prime Suspect

For Tournament rules and previous games go here.

It's been a long road filled with ghosts, bunnies, supercomputers, and stewardesses to get us to this point, the Drama Semi-Finals of the Entertained Organizer New Network TV Show Tournament.  All of that and I never expected it to end up here with a science fiction show about time travel, dinosaurs, and intrigue facing off against a hard-nosed police procedural about an uber-competent female cop to see who goes on to the Championship game.

I wasn't really sure what Terra Nova was going to be going in (besides beautiful).  I certainly didn't expect it to be the "Dallas with Dinosaurs" that it turned out to be.  And make no mistake, that's exactly what this show is with scheming ex-lovers, long lost children, secret conspiracies, spies, and of course dinosaurs.  The thing is, it does all of them really well (including the dinosaurs).  The show could have easily found itself mired in family drama or conversely just being an excuse for dino-cgi.  Instead it managed to charter a course between those two particular Scylla and Charybdis's.  I won't pretend all of the plot lines are equally compelling (the wife's ex turning out to be her boss in particular is fairly weak), but they all offer something and more than adequately serve to bridge the gaps between dinosaur encounters.  And while it was certainly budget restrictions and time restraints that limited Terra Nova to 13 episodes, the smaller season order will probably help the show because it forces it to get where it's going, rather than treading water waiting for the finale before anything important can happen.

For the last several years I have joked that there really wasn't a point in watching any new cop shows since I've already seen both The Shield and The Wire, and I didn't really believe there was anything else new and worthwhile to do with the genre.  The American remake of Prime Suspect doesn't come close to reaching the heights of either of those shows, but it does remind me that there fertile fields of storytelling potential not mined by either of those shows.  And it deserves credit for that, especially given the handicap it started with of being a drama on NBC.  But at the end of the day, Prime Suspect is still a police procedural.  And procedurals are a lot like popcorn, you never really seek either out, you can't really stop yourself from consuming either when they're in front of you, and ultimately they're not actually good for you.  Prime Suspect is gourmet popcorn, the cheesey kind my grandfather used to get for Christmas and I'd gorge myself on.  And if you're looking for a police procedural you could do a lot worse, but you'd also have more than a dozen other options.


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Published as a Public Service Announcement: Superman's "Code for Buddies!"

I cover politics and pop culture, sometimes the two collide:

10 Potential Names for Herman Cain's Inevitable Show

With no campaign infrastructure, simple sounding but insane policy proposals, and a national book tour, it's clear to anyone paying attention that Herman Cain has no interest in actually becoming President and just wants to raise his profile enough to make the jump from radio personality to Fox News host.  So right now rather than mock him for his current campaign, I'd like to offer him some advice for his future career.  Without further ado, here are my 10 suggestions for his inevitable Fox News show:

10. If he wants a generic show like Sean Hannity's America, he could simply go with Herman Cain.

9. If he wants a hard hitting interview show like The O'Reilly Factor, he could go with The Cain Domain.

8. Maybe he wants to just relax, cash in, and have some fun like Mike Huckabee has with his variety show, then obviously he'd go with The Cain Refrain.

7. If he wants to play up his business experience, he can call the show Cain-sian Economics.

6. Maybe he's always wanted to go undercover and do an investigative show like John Stossel, then his show would be In Cain Sight.

But what if he wants to broaden his horizon's beyond Fox News:

5. If he wants a show on the Martha Stewart Channel, it'd be Home with Herman.

4. If he wants a show on the Travel Channel, it'd be The Cain Train.

3. If he wants to use his culinary experience on the Food Network, he'd call it Cain Sugar.

2. He's an avuncular millionaire, she's a tough as nails ex-cop, together they fight crime in Atlanta. They are Cain and Abel.

Ultimately though, there really is only one possible choice for him though:

1. Coming soon to a Fox News Channel near you, Citizen Cain.

Alright, so those are my suggestions, what're yours?  Please share in the comments.

Republican Racism Review: Pat Buchanan, Voter Suppression, and Herman Cain

Real button handed out at the 2008
Texas Republican State Convention
If you start keeping your eyes open for them, there are a terrifying number of news stories about Republicans being racist:
  • So if that's the stuff he's saying to promote the book, what kind of things is he saying inside of it?  My personal favorite? "Perhaps some of us misremember the past. But the racial, religious, cultural, social, political, and economic divides today seem greater than they seemed even in the segregation cities some of us grew up in."  It's always nice when an old white guy gets a chance to explain that segregation really wasn't that bad, don't you think?
  • I know that I've been harping on Republican voter suppression efforts for a while but this would be why, the Political Strategist for South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus tweeting that a report showing tougher voter ID laws reduce minority participation "proves EXACTLY why we need Voter ID in SC."

West Wing Wednesday

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hostess Snack Break: Batman vs. The League of Assassins

Everyone needs a break sometimes, so why don't you enjoy this one with one of your favorite superheroes and one of your favorite Hostess snack treats:

Terrific Tuesday Tidings: Fundraising, VP Math Lessons, and Ethical Journalists

It's Tuesday and that means it's time for my ongoing quest to become a more positive person. Here are the news stories that made me happy this week:
  • In news that couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, Kansas's former Attorney General Phill Kline has had his law license suspended indefinitely over his witch hunt against abortion providers in the state with the ethics panel stating that he was "motivated by dishonesty and selfishness."
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman (and biggest comic book geek in the Senate) Patrick Leahy is this week's Elected Official of the Week for announcing that his committee will be voting on legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  It would be nice to see Civil Rights being protected not by the courts or executive action, but through the most democratic branch of government.
  • For those criticizing the Occupy Wall Street movement because they lack clear objectives and therefore 'won't have an effect', since the protests began, union recruitment rates have gone up.
  • Vice President Joe Biden took a minute out of his day to explain to Senate Republicans how a millionaire's surtax (and progressive taxation in general) works.  For those who need a refresher, “You have a one-half of one-percent surtax on the 1,000,0001th dollar — in other words it doesn’t affect anybody who makes $999,000, it doesn’t affect anybody making $999,999 — and if you want to find the guy who make $1,000,0001, it only affects that $1. That’s the only thing the rate goes up on,” Biden explained.
  • Finally, I was ready to blast Anderson Cooper last week for repeating the Republican lie that 47% of all Americans don't pay taxes, until he went on air and apologized the next day.  When's the last time you remember a journalist showing that kind of integrity?
I hope you all have a terrific week!

Monday, October 24, 2011

TV Tourney Round 2, Game 4: Suburgatory vs. Up All Night

For Tournament rules and previous games go here.

The final game of the second round of the Entertained Organizer New Network TV Show Tournament sees two comedies about parenthood facing down, ABC's Suburgatory about the difficulties of a single father raising a teenage daughter, and NBC's Up All Night about a young married couple adapting to having a baby.  Both shows have survived the cancellation of their first round rivals, will one of them be able to survive being eliminated in this round?

On paper Suburgatory should be right up my alley, what could be better than a sarcastic girl deconstructing suburbia?  But something is just off.  Maybe it's the absurdity of the premise (oh no my teenage daughter might be thinking about having sex, better move to the suburbs because no one ever has sex there!), maybe it's that the show can't seem to decide if it wants to take place in the 'real world' or a surrealist caricature of suburbia.  Or maybe it's just bad.  The only bright spot in the entire show for me is the all too rare appearances by Alan Tudyk as the dad's best friend and living embodiment of suburban banality, but I suspect that I would even get bored with that eventually. Maybe if I kept watching I could figure out what it was exactly that I don't like about Suburgatory, but I just don't care enough to find out.

Ironically, as hard as it was to pinpoint what it was I didn't like about Suburgatory, I've had almost as much difficulty identifying what makes Up All Night work so well.  While the difficulties and stresses of becoming a new parent aren't exactly new fodder for a sitcom, Up All Night manages to fairly effortlessly put a modern spin on the formula that keeps the material fresh.  Christina Applegate and Will Arnett are old hands at comedic television and have good chemistry together.  And while the show should be careful not to overdue it, Maya Rudolph's deranged Opera-like character is incredibly effective in small doses. While Up All Night has yet to hit the comedic highs of The Office's "Casino Night" or Parks and Recreation's "Flu Season" (both streaming now on Netflix), I think the foundation is there for NBC's latest sitcom to eventually reach those heights.


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Frontline of the Class War: 'Victimless' Crimes, Radioactive Waste, and Bank of America

The Republicans are right, there is a class war going on in this country. And they're the ones waging it against the middle and working class:
  • CNBC's John Carney argues that insider trading is actually a victimless crime because some idiot would probably have bought or sold the stock anyway.  Which is pretty much this column in a nutshell, why should anyone be upset about the rich and powerful using their influence and access to screw over the rest of us?  We probably would have gotten screwed over anyway.
  • While there have been only a handful of prosecutions for the Wall Street traders and bankers who crashed the global economy, more than 1,000 have so far been arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protests.
  • Philadelphia schools are being forced to sell ads in school after the City refused to raise taxes forcing the district to cut it's budget by $3 million.  Because advertisers don't have enough control without giving them direct access to developing minds.
  • Herman Cain's plan to jump start the economy is to create Chinese style "Opportunity Zones" where there will be no minimum wage and reduced safety and environmental regulations, just in case you weren't sure if you were a serf to your corporate masters.
Welcome to the working week.

Monday Makeover: Egghead

There are no bad characters, just characters that no one has spent far too much time thinking about how to make work. I intend to fix that.

Egghead, played by Vincent Price, was one of the villains created for the 1968 Adam West Batman tv show, where he appeared in two two-part stories, one in the show's second season ("An Egg Grows in Gotham"/"The Yegg Foes in Gotham") and one in the show's third and final season ("The Ogg and I"/"The Ogg Couple").  He was the second biggest genius in the world and the only thing larger than his head was his ego.  He hired a secretary (Miss Bacon) to follow him everywhere he went and write down everything he said for his memoir How to be a Better Criminal, used a variety of gimmicked egg (explosive eggs, tear gas eggs, etc.) to commit his crimes, and made EGGSeedingly bad puns.  In his first appearance he had a (vaguely racist) plan to get Gotham City to default on it's lease (27 beaver pelts) from Chief Screaming Chicken so that he could buy it from the Chief for a $100 a month and turn it into his own personal criminal fiefdom.  Along the way he used deductive reasoning to figure out that Bruce Wayne was Batman (though he was persuaded that he was wrong when Bruce Wayne was able to resist his memory-extraction machine) and then lost an egg fight with Batman and Robin (just watch the clip above).  Egghead returned in the shows final season and tried to win the heart of Olga, Queen of the Cossacks by stealing a fortune for her.  Since then he pretty much disappeared, having only made a few brief background appearances in crowd shots of villains in the comics. 

I don't want to be too hard on poor Egghead.  He was created for a comedy show to be played by Vincent Price.  And in that light he works pretty well as a character, it's only when you try to integrate him into any other interpretation of the Batman universe that he completely falls apart.  And Egghead does fall apart.  No backstory, no motivation, and a bunch of egg-based weapons does not a credible threat make.  But it also means that  he's largely a blank slate.  And while an incredible intellect for legal loopholes and an enormous ego aren't the call signs of Batman's most terrifying rogue, they are potential building blocks for creating, if not an all-star enemy, at least a necessary cog in the hierarchy of Gotham villainy.

Vincent Eggle was born dirt poor in the rural outskirts of Gotham County.  Even before he could walk he knew his parents were idiots and that he was destined for bigger and better things.  Balding from the moment he hit puberty, a straight-A student, and with the last name Eggle, the taunts came fast and easy.  By his sophomore year of high school 'Egghead' figured out how to have himself legally emancipated, moved to the big city, and never looked back.  He juggled a half dozen schemes to pay the bills, running numbers for the Falcone's, making book for the Maroni's, and counting cards at the Olympus.  By 24, Egghead was skimming money from half the Families in Gotham, with none of them even aware he was working with any of the others.  But he wanted more money and less risk so he sent off to the Adams Correspondent School of Law and finished their 3 year program in 6 months.  After acing the bar he opened up shop and never looked back.  At first his clients were the mobster's he used to steal table scraps from, later he dove into the emerging field of super-criminal defense.  Criminal insanity, first amendment protected performance art, twisting up expert witnesses, there wasn't a defense or loophole he couldn't find.  And if it came to it, half the judges in Gotham could be bought and the other half blackmailed, but it almost never came to that.  Soon enough Egghead was the most sought after defense attorney in Gotham City, and it was EGGShilarating.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Leftovers: Tacos, Drunks, and the Lord's Resistance Army

Everyone knows that leftovers are better than the original meal. Here are the news stories that didn't fit in anywhere else this week:
  • A drunk Florida man tried to give police officers a taco as a form of identification after he passed out in his car at Taco Bell and it caught fire.  I really don't know what to say to any of that.
  • It turns out that Senator Marco Rubio lied about his parents being Cuban exiles, with them having legally immigrated years before Castro ever came to power.  Which is probably not what you want in the likely Republican VP pick.  Start the countdown until the Marco Rubio birther movement pops up amongst the Tea Party.
  • The National Republican Congressional Committee Finance Chairman, Rep. Vern Buchanan is currently under investigation for laundering money through his car dealership and into his campaign.  Which is probably not what you want in a Finance Chairman.
  • Finally, Rush Limbaugh has proved once and for all that he will in fact oppose anything President Obama does just on principle by endorsing the Lord's Resistance Army as christian warriors just because Obama wants to stop them from committing a modern day genocide and forcing children to murder and rape their family members.  But the guys Obama is supporting are Muslims, so they must be worse right?

He-Man Woman Haters Club Report: Mormon Bishops, Single Mothers, and the Internet

With classism, racism, and homophobia already in the mix, why wouldn't the GOP add in some sexism too:
  • House Republicans passed the "Protect Life" Act this week, which would allow doctors to refuse to give women life saving procedures if it would 'violate their conscience'.  Luckily Senate Democrats and President Obama care so little about 'protecting life' that the bill will never move forward and women don't need to needlessly die.
  • Herman Cain has had quite a week trying to explain what his stance on abortion is.  At the moment he appears to believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances (even rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at stake), but that families should have the right to decide whether or not a woman should get an illegal abortion.  If that makes any sense at all to you, please seek immediate psychiatric help.
  • Republican Senator Jim DeMint has decided that the most logical way to infringe on women's constitutional right to privacy is by infringing on their First Amendment right to free speech on the internet.  It's a good thing that Republicans are the Party of small government and individual rights, because I'd hate to think of what he'd come up with if they weren't.

Friday, October 21, 2011

SciFi Friday: Cloudsourcing Mini-Drones, Ping Pong Robots, and Quantum Levitation

The 1950s promised us a future full of robot butlers, rocket packs, and beautiful alien princesses. So far scientists have delivered on absolutely none of those promises. But they have given us some other pretty cool stuff, so for the (other) geeks home on a Friday night, here's some pretty cool real scientific breakthroughs:
  • Finally, I have absolutely no idea how this quantum levitation thing works, but if you do could you please explain it to me?
Please share your own geeky finds in the comments!

Friday Freakshow Roundup: Herman Cain Edition

In the political news system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the Republicans who do insane things, and this blogger who mocks them. These are their stories:
  • When I realized I had enough stories this week to do an entire Freakshow about Herman Cain, I couldn't resist.  And what better way to kick it off than to listen to him sing a stirring rendition of "Ode to Pizza."  Which is really my segue into pointing out that as CEO of the National Restaurant Association Cain lobbied to promote indoor smoking and stop stricter drunk driving laws.
  • It turns out that he's also been using his campaign to funnel cash into his private company.  When called out on personally profiting from his Presidential campaign, Cain's spokesman explained it was simply "synergy."  Newt Gingrich wishes he had come up with that one.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Republican Racism Review: The Cain Train, Racist Grandpas, and Mitt Romney

Real button handed out at the 2008
Texas Republican State Convention
If you start keeping your eyes open for them, there are a terrifying number of news stories about Republicans being racist:
  • Everyone's least favorite racist grandpa, Pat Buchanan, has been out promoting his new book Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?  I'm not trying to say that writing a book that predicts America is doomed becomes Whites will no longer be in the majority is racist but actually that's exactly what I'm trying to say.  While he's wrong about it being a problem he is right when he says as the country becomes more multi-ethnic, "that's the end of the Republican Party."  Who knew that racism doesn't pay.
  • Which is exactly what conservative shock jocks John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou are learning as their sponsors start dropping their show after they gave out the private phone numbers of community organizers leading to them getting death threats and racial slurs.  If you've ever listened to the radio in Southern California, you'd know that it couldn't happen to nicer guys.
  • And here's the clip you're going to see 10,000 times that's going to damage Mitt Romney, nothing like admitting the only reason you don't hire "illegals" is because it would look bad while you're running for office.  I'm sure this will play well to the Republican base:

Closeted Countdown: Takeovers, Lincoln, and Male Cheerleaders

I've long believed that the only thing that could motivate someone to dedicate their lives to homophobia is deep self-loathing. So start the countdown timer until these folks get caught with a gay prostitute:
  • Rick Santorum thinks he's the same as Abraham Lincoln.  You see, Lincoln opposed states' rights when it came to owning another human being as property and Santorum opposes states' rights when it comes to gays having rights.  Exactly the same thing.
Tick Tock.  Tick Tock.

Michele Bachmann: Presidential Candidate or Starship Troopers' Sky Marshall?

Michele Bachmann at
Tuesday Night's Debate
Sky Marshall from the Satire
of Fascism, Starship Troopers

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Terrific Tuesday Tidings: Boy Scouts, Tea Parties, and Jerry Brown

It's Tuesday and that means it's time for my ongoing quest to become a more positive person. Here are the news stories that made me happy this week:
  • California has passed two new laws to make life easier and safer for transgendered individuals, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act which adds 'gender identity and expression' to the States protected categories in al nondiscrimination laws, and the Vital Statistics Modernization Act which creates a process for changing gender listed on identity documents like driver's licenses and passports.
Have a good week everybody!

Monday, October 17, 2011

He-Man Woman Haters Club Report: Domestic Violence, Mitt Romney, and Biblical Womanhood

With classism, racism, and homophobia already in the mix, why wouldn't the GOP add in some sexism too:

  • Topeka, Kansas has decriminalized domestic violence.  Now to try and be fair to the city council, they did it in order to put pressure on the County District Attorney, who had stopped prosecuting domestic violence cases earlier this year putting the burden of the legal costs associated with the prosecutions on Topeka, to resume prosecuting cases (since domestic violence would still be illegal at the statewide level).  But that still means both the county and city are willing to play a game of chicken with women's lives so that they don't have to be the one to pay to prosecute their abusers.
  • Just a reminder that while Republicans continue to wage their war on Abortion Rights, they're also waging a war against contraceptives.  Oh and insurance companies still categorize Viagra as an "essential medication" while birth control pills are considered a "lifestyle choice."
  • House Republicans have brought back the so called "Protect Life Act" which would allow doctors to deny women life saving treatment if that treatment happens to be an abortion.  After all, nothing says 'protect life' like allowing women to die because saving their lives makes you squeamish.
  • Finally, Evangelical Christians are angry with a woman for trying to live according to the Bible's dictates.  They say her strictly following all of the Bible's edicts concerning women (including sleeping outside in a tent when she's menstruating) makes a mockery of their religion, personally I think they're doing a pretty good job of that on their own.

Frontline of the Class War: Occupy Wall Street, Divide and Conquer, and the Prisoners' Brigade

The Republicans are right, there is a class war going on in this country. And they're the ones waging it against the middle and working class:
  • Herman Cain doesn't want there should be an exemption in his 999 plan to insure that his massive regressive sales tax increase doesn't make it too expensive for working families to buy food because if that happened he wouldn't be able to afford the massive tax cuts he wants to give to the rich.
  • In Ohio, conservative anti-union groups have edited the footage of a pro-union supporter into an ad that makes it look like she supports their proposition, because why care about the truth when there's an opportunity to attack workers?
  • Oh, and I don't know why thinking about a Senate Republican 'jobs plan' made me think of this, but Senator Marco Rubio (potential VP frontrunner) also wants to eliminate half a million federal jobs.  Presumably because he thinks nothing would help the unemployment figures more than adding 500,000 people to the jobless column.
  • Finally, we can always count on State and County level Republican leaders to come up with the real innovations in jobs.  In Georgia they're proposing supplementing trained firefighters with prison inmates who would also go out on calls.  Because absolutely nothing could go wrong with a ration of 3-1 convicts to 'firefighters with correctional training.'
Welcome to the working week everybody.