JABbering Stooge

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Are we getting Enroned in CenTex?

Remember the California blackouts in 2000/2001? It's happening in Texas now.

Yesterday, we had rolling blackouts here in central Texas as record-high triple-digit temperatures beat down on the city. The official recorded temperature was 100 degrees, and in some parts of the Austin TV stations' viewing areas, got as high as 106 - in April, no less (and they say that global warming is a myth!).

As a result, pressure on the energy grid (of which 15% was already down for seasonal maintenance) forced the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to institute rolling blackouts yesterday and consumers are being asked to reduce their energy use between 3 and 7 PM today. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the outages were felt across much of Texas, including Houston and Dallas. And yet, ERCOT spokesman Paul Wattles claimed that doing the rolling blackouts helped prevent "region-wide outages." Earth to Paul Wattles: when an energy crunch affects something like 60% of your coverage area, that IS a region-wide outage! (ERCOT's grid covers 80% of Texas, and is essentially separate from the national grid - connected in only three places.)

Of course, as with the California blackouts, conservatives will jump on this to lay every last micron of blame at the feet of environmenalists and people who want the energy industry to be regulated. They'll break out the usual strawman arguments. Envirionmentalists don't want ANY increase in production capacity (because they're evil, terrorists who hate capitalism and want us to return to nature, conservatives will say with a Cheney-esque sneer). The regulation proponents want to drive energy companies out of the state (the same argument they made to make malpractice lawsuits illegal in 2003) - because reglation propoents are evil communists who hate competition and want big government to control EVERYTHING conservatives will say sneeringly (and these are the same people who want big government in a woman's uterus, your web browser, your telephone, your e-mail, your medical records, your political history, etc. etc. etc.).

The answer to both these charges is simple. The problem with the power grid in this country is NOT lack of power generation. The problem is that we've got First-World generating capacity but Third-World transmission infrastructure - the transmission lines can't handle the amount of energy that's being sent over them, especially at peak usage hours - that much was made clear in the 2003 Northeastern Blackout. And besides, even if power generation were an issue, the environmentalists argue that there are more eco-friendly ways of getting that generating capacity - wind and solar power and bio-diesel/ethanol for now (which have gotten a lot more efficient in recent years, but are just not getting the focus they need, especially under this administration which is heavily beholden to the oil/nuclear fission lobby) and nuclear fusion power and fuel cells later on down the road.

As for energy regulation, it is necessary, as in all market activity to prevent corrupt CEOs and accountants from gaming the system for their own personal gain at the expense of their employees and the American public in general. I would think that the Enron/WorldCom/Tyco debacle in 2002/2003 would've clearly illustrated this necessity, but clearly, some people are resistant to education that contradicts their ideological beliefs.

Oh, and speaking of energy prices, oil is now $71/barrel. Here in Austin, average gasoline prices have always lagged behind the national average...until now. One year ago, the average price of unleaded gas in Austin was $2.095/gallon, while the national average was $2.216/gallon. Today, Austin's average price per gallon is only four cents lower than the national average - $2.733/gallon in Austin vs. $2.773/gallon nationwide.

So the question, then, is this: are we getting Enroned in Central Texas? You decide.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

I've got your class warfare right here...

This is interesting. According to Wikipedia, the song One Tin Soldier is a 60s anti-war folk song. My first encounter with the song was in church camp in the summer of 1995. I grew up, more or less, in the Disciples of Christ denomination, and our church, along with several other Disciples Churches in central and south Texas (as far south as Corpus Christi) sent their high school-age kids to three such events during the year - two weekend camps (one in the fall, around October, one in the Spring around March) and one week-long camp in early June. From the first time we sang the song that summer, the song struck a chord with me, if you will. Now that I know that it was an anti-war ballad, it has become all that more important to me.

In case you're wondering here are the lyrics:

Listen children to a story that was written long ago
'bout a kingdom on a mountain and the valley folk below.
On the mountain was a treasure buried deep beneath a stone,
and the valley people swore they'd have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven, (you can) justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowin' come the judgment day
on the bloody morning after one tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley sent a message up the hill
asking for the buried treasure, tons of gold for which they'd kill.
Came an answer from the kingdom: "With our brothers we will share
all the secrets of our mountain, all the riches buried there.


Now the valley cried with anger; mount your horses, draw your sword,
and they killed the mountain people, so they won their just reward.
Now they stood beside the treasure on the mountain, dark and red,
turned the stone and looked beneath it. "Peace on earth" was all it said.


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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tom DeLay: Theocratic, Nazi Thug (TNT)

John Kelso is rapidly becoming one of my favorite columnists at the Austin American-Statesman. His Friday column, "Tom DeLay: He would have cut and run at the Alamo" (The dead-trees version carries the headline "Hammer's scared of being nailed"), ridicules DeLay for his cowardly cutting and running from his re-election campaign against Democratic challenger Nick Lampson. Here's the money-shot:
Sure, Tom DeLay is a human piñata these days. But he's been whackin' his opponents with a stick for candy for quite some time. So now it's his turn.
But DeLay is apparently not done whacking his opponents for candy. Not by a long shot, as evidenced by the despicable behavior exhibited by his minions on Thursday at a press conference where Lampson was to call on Governor Goodhair to announce a special election for May 13th to fill DeLay's seat until November. Not simply content to heckle Lampson or stage a peaceful counter-protest, these thugs descended en masse on the press conference, verbally and physically harrassed Lampson supporters, and assaulted a 69-year-old retired CPS worker. The media even caught footage of the assault - click here and scroll down to the very bottom for one such video. It's very revealing. One DeLay supporter in the video even denies the blatant thuggery being orchestrated by anyone. Oh Really?
----- Original Message -----

From: Cress Ann Posten

To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;

Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2006 7:26 PM

Subject: Attention All Who Support Tom DeLay....

Attention all who support Tom DeLay...

Tomorrow morning (Thursday, April 6), Nick Lampson is holding a press conference to demand that Governor Perry immediately schedule a special election to replace Tom DeLay.

Hmmm. Exactly who is Nick Lampson to demand that Governor Perry circumvent the law?

Chris Homan is organizing a rally to show support for Tom tomorrow morning, (Thursday, April 6).

Meet tomorrow morning (Thursday, April 6) at 9:45am on the first floor of the parking garage attached to the Marriott Town Center, in Sugar Land.

***IMPORTANT NOTE***--Please call the campaign office at (REDACTED) and let them know if you can attend, or email Leonard Cash (click on link to his name below) so that they can get a head count.

----- Original Message -----

From: chris homan

To: ‘Cress Ann Posten’

Cc: ‘Leonard Cash’

Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2006 6:10 PM


We would meet tomorrow morning at 9:45 am on the first floor of the parking garage attached to the Marriott. Please get folks to call our campaign office (REDACTED) and let us know they can do it - or e-mail Leonard Cash (in the cc field above) so that we can get some head count. Let’s give Lampson a parting shot that wrecks his press conference.

Tell me, is this how conervative Republicans "show support" for hardened criminal Tom DeLay?

(Source: KPRC Channel 2 in Houston, TX)

Oh, and just for your edification, here's the woman who denied that this was a planned assault on democracy by DeLay's campaign manager:

(Source: KPRC Channel 2 in Houston, TX)
Oh, nobody organized this. We're just a bunch of poor, persecuted conservative Christians who just spontaenously decided to do our part to kill all the evil, Satanic "libruls."

Even worse, DeLay's campaign manager, Chris Homan said that there's more where this came from. A promise of future thuggery by a prominent member of a prominent Republican's campaign staff...why does this sound like domestic terrorism?

Sidebar: I wonder if this is what the American Legion meant when they voted to use "whatever means necessary" to ensure that everyone falls in line and verbally fellates The Most Holy George W. Christ 24/7/365.

If this is the America you want, by all means, do continue to vote for the party of corruption, xenophobic theocracy and homophobia.

On the other hand, if you're sick and tired of reactionary thugs driving our country over a cliff, be sure to check out Nick Lampson's site and send a few bucks his way. If you live in TX-22, consider volunteering and voting for him.

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Yet another evil librul milestone

I just noticed on my Karl Rove Countup calendar, courtesy of Take Back the Media and other places, that Bush's rubber-stamp Congress has gone 1000 days without investigating the illegal, treasonous, politically-motivated outing of CIA NOC Valerie Plame. An outing that, if "Scooter" Libby is actually telling the truth this time instead of blowing smoke out his ass to save his own hide, was approved by the Leaker-in-Chief himself.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

DeLay's pot to McKinney's kettle...you know the rest...

Oh, this is rich. Tom DeLay, the ethically-challenged Dr. Vahzilok of the Christo-Fascist Zombie Brigade who recently announced that he will resign his House seat in June because of possible impending indictment on official corruption charges in relation to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has announced that he will seek to file an ethics complaint against Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney for her assault on the Capitol Police officer who detained her for trying to sneak in to the Longworth House Office Building.

Responding to a reporter's question about McKinney at a press conference, DeLay said, "If nobody in this House files an ethics charge, I am...Her behavior is outrageous. And it’s not the only time."

And Jesus, weeping profusely, said, "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

Seriously, Tom. Who are you trying to kid?! Do you honestly expect us to believe that McKinney's actions are more outrageous than wasting the FAA's time on a personal vendetta? More outrageous than money laundering? More outrageous than defending as "represent[ing] everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America" sweatshops in Saipan using wage-slave labor that has to go into prostitution on the side and are forced to have abortions if they become pregnant - one of many Abramoff-funded junkets? More outrageous than strong-arming K-Street into raising money for and contributing only to Republicans? More outrageous than blackmailing Rep. Nick Smith into voting for the expensive, Big Pharma-kickback-laden Medicare prescription drug plan? More outrageous than ordering the government to meddle in the private dispute between the family and husband of a blind, brain-dead woman, and then subsequently inciting violence against the judges who decided to follow the law for once rather than the personal agenda of a theocrat from Texas?! And that's just for starters. I could write a book just on the scandals, outrages, borderline and outright criminal behavior that DeLay has engaged in, and I probably still wouldn't scratch the surface!

But wait, the hypocrisy and double standards don't end there! DeLay also claimed that "Had it been Tom DeLay, the Ethics Committee would have met the next day."

Excuse me?! Somebody call out the WHAAAAmbulence for Mr. DeLay! Mr. Law-and-Order-Holier-Than-Thou-Ethics-Guru tried to have the House ethics rules changed to allow his pompous white ass to stay majority leader in the event that he should ever be indicted for ANYTHING WHATSOEVER! Fortunately for the survival of American democracy, the maneuver failed thanks to a rare show of Democratic backbone. But that didn't stop DeLay from trying to evade the long arm of the law. He then stacked the ethics committee with Congresscritters who had donated to his legal defense fund. To date, the ethics committee has not met even once since then.

It gets even more nauseating from there. The ever-unhinged Michelle Malkin provides us with this gem of a DeLay quote about the DeLay-McKinney flap:
Everything is racism to her.

To turn the tables a bit, "Everything is Christophobia to Tom DeLay." Thoughout all of his legal and ethical troubles, DeLay has constantly insisted that he is a political martyr second only to Jesus Christ Himself. DeLay was a headline speaker at all three of the "look at us poor persecuted Christians" Just Us Sunday masturbatory orgies, and was the keynote speaker at the recent "War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006" wankfest where religious conservatives compared themselves to Jews in the Nazi death camps.

News flash to DeLay and his fellow travelers: 85% of Americans self-identify as Christians! The fact that you are not allowed to send gays, Muslims and liberals to the Zyklon-B showers does not mean that you are being fed to the lions! I really don't know why this is so hard to understand, but there it is.

These modern-day Pharisees may be surprised when they get to heaven and find their names absent from "The Book of Life." Fine. I'll engage in much schadenfreude when the time comes. But these people need to be voted out post haste. They are too dangerous to leave in power any longer.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

At least I didn't dive into the fart joke ditch

They've been having a field day making fun of the ambiguous Homeland Security warning signs over at AMERICAblog. John Aravosis has even resurrected an old website that makes fun of some early images.

In that spirit, AMERICAblog has asked readers to come up with appropriate captions for the following set of images:

Here are mine:

1) No, the Abramoff files are not here. Move along, Citizen.

2) Medical attention works the same way in real life as in an MMORPG: a big symbol appears and you instantly revive in front of a blocky building.

3) Ph34r my cartoon anger!

4) Organic chemistry is bad. It produces a bunch of gibberish symbols that cause bad gas and hurricanes.

5) Look, ma! I'm making this guy choke himself with my evil librul mind control rays and Katrina footage!

6) No hunting or fishing, unless you are Dick Cheney.

7) If the rising sun takes up half the sky, pull over immediately. You've been taking too many drugs.

8) Pedophilia in a car gives DHS officials a stiffy.

9) Believing everything PowerLine says is a sign that you are gullible. I've got a bridge to sell you.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Memes: Now with minty fresh scent!

Via NanceGreggs at Democratic Underground, with some embellishments added:

Fellow Americans,

REMEMBER WHEN you displayed your flag on the front porch on the 4th of July, and you didn’t have to worry about whether it would be misinterpreted as support for a corrupt president and his administration?

REMEMBER WHEN ‘Support the Troops’ meant equipping our military with everything necessary for battle, instead of just being a catchy phrase that looked good on a bumper-sticker?

REMEMBER WHEN 'Support the Troops' extended to the time after they left military service so that they could get the care they needed, rather than abandoning them to the not-so-tender mercies of dog-eat-dog capitalism?

REMEMBER WHEN your tax dollars paid for things like improved education and social programs, instead of making Halliburton shareholders millionaires?

REMEMBER WHEN the Federal Government had a special commission to investigate war profiteering and fraud because it considered an outrage that corporations would try to take advantage of our men fighting and dying for our country?

REMEMBER WHEN you watched movies about WWII, and it was the enemy who tortured captured American soldiers, instead of American soldiers torturing the people they’d allegedly ‘liberated’?

REMEMBER WHEN you heard something on the TV news or read something in a newspaper, and you didn’t have to go to the internet to find out just how much of it was fact, and how much of it was ‘spin’?

REMEMBER WHEN a politician was caught with his hand in the cookie jar and he resigned in disgrace, instead of excusing his own behaviour by claiming that his political opponents were equally as guilty of wrongdoing?

REMEMBER WHEN ‘Made in the USA’ labels on products were the norm, and not a total oddity?

REMEMBER WHEN ‘Made in the USA’ labels were actually made in the USA?

REMEMBER WHEN you hitchhiked through Europe as a teenager, and you DIDN’T have to replace the American flag on your knapsack with a Canadian flag in order to be a welcomed guest in a foreign country?

REMEMBER WHEN organized crime figures had to make phone calls from the corner phone booth, because they were the only people who had to worry about wire-taps?

REMEMBER WHEN you were considered to be a worker of value because you were an American with a good work ethic, and not because you were a Pakistani or an Indian who would do the same job ‘on the cheap’?

REMEMBER WHEN telling a fellow politician on the floor of the House to ‘go f*ck himself’ was considered behaviour unbecoming an elected official, instead of being accepted as the way a Vice President behaves himself?

REMEMBER WHEN you could pretty well count on the fact that if the president said it, it was based on sound intelligence and was probably true?

REMEMBER WHEN your president spoke in public, and his words weren’t the punch-line to late night TV-show jokes?

REMEMBER WHEN you could rely on your elected representatives to put your interests ahead of the corporations that filled their campaign coffers, or the lobbyists who gave them great basketball tickets?

REMEMBER WHEN you didn’t even KNOW what religion the people you voted for were, because it didn’t really matter? Remember when you didn’t know what party your neighbour belonged to, because that didn’t really matter either?

REMEMBER WHEN Supreme Court justices were chosen for their judicial acumen, rather than their loyalty to a particular ideology?

REMEMBER WHEN Supreme Court justices recused themselves from a case if there was even the slightest hint of a conflict of interest?

REMEMBER WHEN Supreme Court justices actually upheld their pledges to Congress that they would recuse themselves from cases where they had financial interests?

REMEMBER WHEN Supreme Court justices weren't inclined to display rude gestures in response to criticism, especially right after receiving Communion?

REMEMBER WHEN the pension you’d worked for your whole life wasn’t in danger of being wiped out by corrupt CEOs, assisted by respected accounting firms that made that corruption almost impossible to detect?

REMEMBER WHEN you could brag that as an American, you were guaranteed things like free speech and due process of law, without checking the nightly news to see whether those rights were still in effect?

REMEMBER WHEN the president upheld the law of the land, instead of coming up with ‘legal loopholes’ to support the idea that he’s above the law?

REMEMBER WHEN the worst thing the president did was get a blowjob from a consenting adult who wasn't his wife?

REMEMBER WHEN Congress actually performed its duty to provide a check on Presidential power?

REMEMBER WHEN you could say, “I’m a proud American,” without qualifying it with a list of all of the things your government is doing that you’re not exactly proud of?

REMEMBER WHEN you saw news stories about people so poor they had to beg on the streets in order to feed their children, and you shook your head in disgust and thought, “What kind of uncivilized country would allow that to happen,” because it wasn’t your own country?

REMEMBER WHEN you actually thought that the people in charge of running your country were smarter than you were?

REMEMBER WHEN your parents worked all their lives to ensure you a better life, instead of worrying about how bad the life they’d be leaving their children might be?

REMEMBER WHEN the importance of clean drinking water and breathable air were unquestionable mandates, and not some crazy hippie agenda to be weighed against corporate profits?

REMEMBER WHEN questioning your government’s policies was seen as ‘participating in the process’, and not ‘giving aid and comfort to the enemy’?

REMEMBER WHEN the ‘enemy’ was a country or military force that posed a threat to American democracy, and not a nation of innocent civilians who whose destruction was dismissible as ‘collateral damage’?

REMEMBER WHEN your country went to war based on facts beforehand, instead of constantly-changing suppositions after-the-fact?

REMEMBER WHEN ‘patriotism’ was judged by your words and actions, and not by whether you were a member of the party currently in power?

REMEMBER WHEN the ‘American Dream’ was attainable through diligence and hard work, and not the luck of the ‘outsourcing’ draw?

REMEMBER WHEN profitable corporations were content with simple tax dodges, and didn’t have to have government subsidies as part of the bargain?

REMEMBER WHEN incredibly wealthy Americans bragged about their philanthropic work, instead of bragging about their tax cuts?

REMEMBER WHEN you went to the polls and voted, and didn’t have to rush home and watch the news in order to find out if your vote was counted?

REMEMBER WHEN the election of a president was considered the result of democracy in action, and not the result of Diebold executives doing the job they were expected to do?

REMEMBER WHEN you sang ‘God Bless America’ as a kid, and never thought you’d grow up to wonder if, in view of your country’s actions, asking God’s blessing was asking a bit too much?

I REMEMBER WHEN ... and I wonder if these ideas will become ancient history by the time those of us old enough to recall them are dead and gone.

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UK Register sets up MST fic gag

In the fanfiction subgenre of MST fics, one of the common clichés is to have one of the MSTers respond to the general theme of the piece (or a specific section) by suggesting "worse" ideas/topics for the original author to write about, immediately followed by another MSTer saying something along the lines of "Don't give him/her any ideas!" For example:
SCIMITAR: Only three things can do this to Ksa.
REI: And they are?
SCIMITAR: Child porn, bad spelling, and Sakuya.
RANMA: Well, I haven't seen Peter this mad since Nintendo canceled bringing `Earthbound 2' to the states.
RYOGA: Well, at least Tank cop hasn't made any lemons with Sakuya in the-URK!
(Ksawarrior is now holding Ryoga by the neck, floating three feet
off the ground.)
KSA(really P.O.ed): Don't give him ideas. (Drops Ryoga, and returns to his seat.)

In that vein, it seems that the UK Register has done exactly that in publishing an April Fool's Day gag article suggesting that President Bush, as part of the War on Terrorism, was preparing an executive order preventing him from relinquishing power on Jan. 20, 2009.

Grist for the conspiracy mill? Under ordinary circumstances, maybe. However, as some astute Bartcoppers pointed out, there are a couple of items that, coupled with the date of publication, make it clear that this was printed as a goof:

  • The URL for the article, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/04/01/gwot_cha/, is not one that falls in the Register's normal directory structure for serious articles about events here in the U.S. - read the directory name, "gwot_cha," fast enough, and it almost sounds like "gotcha!"

  • Many of the names cited as sources in the article are names of actors who have starred in Three Stooges short films, such as Christine McIntyre, Jock Mahoney, Philip Van Zandt and Bud Jamison.

Poorly though out April Fool's gag? Soitanly! N'yuck! N'yuck! N'yuck! N'yuck! However, given the amount of criminality coming out of this administration, seeing them actually put it into practice is not out of the realm of possibility.

Please don't give the Bushies any ideas, UK Register editors!

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Monday, April 03, 2006

In wingnuttia

The fine folks at Sadly, No! (2005 Koufax Award runner-up for Most Humorous Blog) bring us this choice bit of wingnuttery from the pen keyboard of Fred Hutchison over at Alan Keyes' asylum of whackjobs and conspiracy theorists known as "Renew America." I thought that I would add a few comments of my own.

First off, a bit of hypocrisy on the part of Herr Huchison:

Homosexuals are difficult to categorize and analyze

They're difficult to categorize and analyze? Yet here you are, "categorizing and analyzing" them (though "caricaturing and demonizing" would be more accurate).

Secondly, regarding his "7 Steps to Become T3h 3vil!", all seven steps apply to Reich-wingnuts to varying degrees:

1) The first floor down into the darkness involves denial that one is a sinner.

The Christo-Fascist Zombie Brigade (© 2004-2006 Marc Maron) is guilty of this one 24/7. They believe that simply because they and they alone "follow Christ," they are without sin.

2) From the stage-one denials, the journey into darkness proceeds downwards to a second denial--the denial that evil exists.

The right denies that evil exists on the right - that's the exclusive property of lefties.

3) Then comes the descent into the delusion that those who fight evil are themselves evil.

This goes hand-in-hand with the above: because they delude themselves into believing that only lefties are t3h 3vil!!!1!, "libruls" are evil for opposing evil on the right.

4) Next comes the hatred of those who fight evil.

See LGF, FreeRepublic, RedState.com, etc.

5) The fifth floor down into darkness is to believe--or to be willing to tell the lie--that evil things are good, and good things are evil.

Things the right calls good: Torture, killing abortion providers, killing homosexuals, killing liberals, killing Muslims, pollution, etc.

Things the right calls evil: Being homosexual, women being anywhere other than barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, being a liberal, being a non-Christian, etc.

6) The sixth stage is to hate the victims of evil or to hate those whom the good guys are protecting.

See Pope Benedict Arnold I on the child abuse scandal. See also the vilification of the ACLU for their defense of homosexuals.

7) The seventh stage of evil is serial killing, terrorism, and genocide.

Three words: The Bush Doctrine.

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