Monthly Archives: April 2010

‘Kick-Ass’ kicks it; ‘Funeral’ is DOA

Film reviews

Wanting to get away from it all, I decided to see a couple of mindless movies — “Kick-Ass” and “Death at a Funeral” — this past week. Here’s how it turned out:

‘Kick-Ass’: ‘Batman’ meets ‘Kill Bill’

Chloe Grace Moretz, Mark Strong

Chloe Grace Moretz portrays Hit Girl in “Kick-Ass.” Here she is about to hit the film’s big villain.

“Kick-Ass” is violent, the critics warned.

No problem. I’ve seen the “Kill Bill” duo several times.

“Kick-Ass” has a little of this, a little of that — “Batman,” “Watchmen,” “Spider-Man,” “Kill Bill,” etc.

And that’s OK. “Kick-Ass” works.

In “Kick-Ass,” the adorable Aaron Johnson (my Internet research shows that he was born in 1990, so I suppose that I’m not a pedophile after all…) plays a comic-book fanboy who decides to try the super-hero thing out for himself. He invents Kick-Ass, a very amateur, green (literally and figuratively), ninja-like “super-hero.”

He soon is joined by the father-and-daughter team of Big Daddy and Hit Girl, played by Nicolas Cage and Chloe Grace Moretz.

Most lethal of everyone in “Kick-Ass” is Hit Girl, which isn’t very believable but which is entertaining nonetheless. The violence that the purple-wigged Hit Girl visits upon her victims is so over the top that you can’t take it seriously. She’s like a little Beatrix Kiddo of “Kill Bill.”

The scene in which Hit Girl’s father teaches her how to endure bullets alone makes “Kick-Ass” worth watching, but the subplot in which Kick-Ass (who, like Spider-Man was, still is in high school) gets the girl he wants only because she thinks he’s gay (and that he thus is “safe”) also works.

Hit Girl and Big Daddy are way out of Kick-Ass’ league — after all, Big Daddy has had the resources and he and Hit Girl have had the time to polish their act, whereas Kick-Ass has had neither — but “Kick-Ass” still more or less works, even with the mismatched super-heroes (unlike “Watchmen,” which, with its grossly mismatched super-heroes, is a mess).

The “super-hero” of Red Mist, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, isn’t really a super-hero at all, but is a gangly, awkward rich boy playing super-hero. However, “Kick-Ass” ends on a note that indicates that there will be a sequel in which Red Mist plays a larger role — and perhaps actually becomes more of the super-hero that he wants to be.

“Kick-Ass” is pretty good for mostly mindless entertainment. Roger Ebert hated it — he gave it only one star, acknowledging the good performances by Johnson, Moretz and Cage but lambasting the movie’s use of such a lethal 11-year-old girl (who at one point in the film takes a pummeling herself by an adult male) — and while I usually agree with Ebert, I have to disagree with him on this one.

“Will I seem hopelessly square if I find ‘Kick-Ass’ morally reprehensible and will I appear to have missed the point?” Ebert asks in his review. The answer is that yes, Ebert is square, at least on this one, and that the creators of “Kick-Ass” fairly apparently don’t believe that the over-the-top character of Hit Girl should be taken any more seriously than should the over-the-top character of Beatrix Kiddo in “Kill Bill.”

Yes, “Kick-Ass” is violent. That’s why it’s rated R. And that’s why it is titled “Kick-Ass.” You are warned.

I can agree with Ebert on one of his criticisms of “Kick-Ass”; Ebert notes that apparently in the world of “Kick-Ass,” “you don’t need to be great at hand-to-hand combat if you can just shoot people dead.”

True, there is too much shooting by Big Daddy and Hit Girl in “Kick-Ass,” and shooting is rather unimaginative and just too easy, which is why the vast majority of super-heroes don’t go around shooting people, but at the most use blades, if they use any actual weapons at all. But given Big Daddy’s background as a former cop, it at least doesn’t violate the logic of the storyline, and it doesn’t ruin film.

If you liked “Kill Bill,” you’ll probably like “Kick-Ass.”

My grade: B+

‘Death at a Funeral’ is dead on arrival

In this film publicity image released by Screen ...

Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock and a gagged dwarf (Peter Dinklage) — so it must be funny, right? Wrong…

I had high hopes for “Death at a Funeral.” Roger Ebert liked it, giving it three and a half stars out of four. Good comedies are as rare as are good horror films, it seems to me, so when a comedy gets Ebert’s thumbs up to the degree that “Death at a Funeral” has, there’s a good chance that I’ll catch it.

I didn’t see the original “Death at a Funeral,” which came out only three years ago and was directed by Frank Oz, so I can’t compare it to this year’s “Death at a Funeral,” which was directed by the normally good Neil LaBute (whose “In the Company of Men,” “Nurse Betty” and “The Shape of Things” I liked) but is stillborn due to its (um, literally) shitty script.

The best director and the best actors can’t do much with material that isn’t that funny in the first place.

Not only are the “comic” set-ups in “Death at a Funeral” not that funny, but they’re used relentlessly repeatedly throughout the film.

The idea that the dead family patriarch had a down-low same-sex sexual affair with a blackmailing dwarf is beaten into the ground, even though Peter Dinklage, who plays the down-low dwarf, has been good in other films.

James Marsden, whom I know mostly as the character of Cyclops from the “X-Men” movies, probably should stick with drama. I certainly don’t mind seeing him mostly nude, as we do in “Death in a Funeral” (although I also hate him for having no apparent body fat whatsoever), but the shtick over his inadvertently having taken a hullucinogen instead of Valium grows tiresome quickly — yet it persists throughout the movie.

Loretta Devine as the matriarch and widow does the best that she can with the script that she was handed, but her character’s constantly hounding the character of her daughter-in-law about wanting to be a grandmother is trite and isn’t any funnier the 10th time than it is the first or second or third or…

Danny Glover is utterly wasted in “Death at a Funeral” as the wheelchair-bound codger Uncle Russell, who only hurls profanities and hits people with his cane. Har har!

Zoe Saldana (who played the blue-skinned, cat-nosed heroine of “Avatar”), as the wife of Chris Rock’s character, also is among the cavalcade of tragically wasted talent in “Death at a Funeral.”

The likeable and talented Rock also does the best that he can with the script that he was handed, as do Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan, but I had to ask myself several times throughout the movie why these stars agreed to appear in the movie, assuming that all of them had read the script.

A corpse falling out of its casket and Uncle Russell shitting all over another character’s hand while on the commode, and this shit-upon character having shit (diarrhea, to be exact) prominently visible on his shirt for the rest of the film — well, those things just don’t make me ROLF.

If I thought that those kinds of things were funny, I’d watch television, and that’s what “Death at a Funeral” feels like: a 30-minute sitcom episode — a mediocre one, at that — spread out over an hour an a half.

To be fair, I heard plenty of people in the audience laughing. But then again, most people love to watch TV… (I know that I’m a minority on that one.) I always hope that when people laugh at an unfunny movie, they’re just laughing because they paid to laugh, and God damn it, they’re going to laugh! But I have the sinking feeling that their laughter during “Death at a Funeral” was genuine, which seems to me yet another sign of the imminent collapse of the American empire.

I’m not alone in disliking “Death at a Funeral.” Yahoo! Movies has a critics’ roundup of the film in which Ebert is the only one of 10 critics who gives it an “A” (well, an “A-“). Only three of the 10 critics in the roundup give it a “B”, four give it a “C”, and two give it a “D” — with the average of the 10 critics’ ratings being a “C+”.

Ebert, who always has been one of my favorite film critics, if not my favorite film critic, seems to be losing it. He actually writes in his review of “Death at a Funeral”:

Consider the scene when Uncle Russell eats too much nut cake and is seized by diarrhea. And Norman [the character played by Tracy Morgan] wrestles him off his wheelchair and onto the potty, and gets his hand stuck underneath. Reader, I laughed. I’m not saying I’m proud of myself. That’s not the way I was raised. But I laughed.

Um, it wasn’t funny… Shitting, like farting, almost never is funny in a movie.

And while Ebert was aghast at the 11-year-old Hit Girl being pummeled by an adult male (whose pummeling of her is meant to demonstrate how evil he is and whose pummeling of her is in reaction to her own slaughter of several of his men), Ebert apparently found the treatment of the gay dwarf in “Death at a Funeral” to be hilarious (“They’re only human,” he says of the dwarf’s binders who try to conceal his accidental death. Um, but is the dwarf?)

I don’t know about Ebert as of late — Alzheimer’s?

Not only is Ebert out of synch with his cohorts in regards to “Death at a Funeral,” but in Yahoo! Movie’s critics’ roundup for “Kick-Ass,” Ebert is the only one of the 12 critics to give it a “D”. Only two of the 12 give it a “C”, five give it a “B”, and four give it an “A”, for an average of a “B”.

It might be time for Ebert to be put out to pasture.

And let’s make sure that, when he finally goes to that Big Movie Theater in the Sky, his body doesn’t fall out of the casket, or that we find out that he had a dwarf on the down low on the side all along.

Because that shit just isn’t funny.

My grade: D+

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Whitey fights the inevitable coming of the Brave New World of the ‘fifth race’

A sign in protest of immigration bill SB1070 ...

Associated Press photo

A sign, photographed at the state Capitol in Phoenix today, urges a boycott of Arizona in light of Arizona’s white Repugnican governor having signed a law that enables mostly white law enforcement officers to make those who appear to possibly be illegal immigrants prove their citizenship status. I support a boycott of the God-forsaken red state of Arizona, where I unfortunately was born and lived for the first three decades of my life. Below are photos of Arizona’s white Repugnican governor, Jan Brewer (who was not elected but who took over Democrat Janet Napolitano’s term when Napolitano was named the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), surrounded by mostly white law enforcement officials, at a press conference surrounding her signing of Arizona’s new draconian, racist, white supremacist law yesterday in Phoenix. (Memo to the blue-eyed devil Brewer: Your attempt to look like Britney Fucking Spears at your age is way beyond pathetic. Please, for the love of God, stop.)

Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer

Associated Press photos

Just yesterday I was discussing with a right-wing co-worker of mine how United States history has been so whitewashed (emphasis on “white-“). The right wing, which busily has been rewriting U.S. history for some time now, presents U.S. history as the valiant trumph of the white man over the difficult terrain of the “New World.”

Much less emphasized or even left out altogether in this “history,” I told my co-worker, are the facts that the white empire in what is now the United States of America was built upon land stolen from the natives, whom the white people decimated, and upon labor on the stolen land performed by people abducted from their native lands and enslaved (and by their progeny, who were born into this slavery).

Oh, that is just the history of the world, my co-worker dismissed the white man’s evils on this continent; throughout history, peoples have conquered other peoples, and thus lands have changed hands. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles and that’s just how the ball bounces.

Funny, though, that the wingnuts don’t use that same oft-used right-wing excuse for the evils of U.S. history to take a more universal look at how the racial demographics of the United States are changing now.

When justifying and dismissing the wrongs that white people have committed, that’s just the way the world works, the wingnuts argue, but they can’t handle the fact that the face of the United States of America is becoming less and less white.

Backasswards Arizona’s* new law, which makes it a crime to breathe while brown, is a textbook example of how whitey is terrified of “the other” and is a case in point of how this irrational, racist/white supremacist fear is coming to a head.

It is racism and it is white supremacism.

I’m white. My parents are white. I was raised white. I know whitey.

So when whitey claims that whitey isn’t being racist, I know when that’s bullshit.

If Mexicans (and others from Latin America) didn’t speak Spanish (or, as “President” George W. Bush at least once called their language, “Mexican”) but spoke English, and if they looked Anglo, there would be no problem with them crossing the border.

It is the fact that they are different from whitey that is the problem. They don’t call them “aliens” for nothing; they might as well be aliens from outer fucking space.

Fact is, far more of my fellow whiteys than Latinos have fucked me over in my lifetime, and I’m just fine with a Latino “takeover” of the United States of America.

Latinos are (in no certain order) nicer. Humbler. Less materialistic. More artistic. More grounded. More generous (even though they usually have much less to give than does whitey). More spiritual.

Latinos are incredibly hard-working, and so it’s incredibly fucking ironic that the same white baby-boomers and senior citizens, who sooner rather than later will need underpaid and overworked Latinos to take care of them when their obese, bloated bodies relegate them to their motorized scooters and oversized hospital beds, should attack their future caregivers. Stupid.

At least the Latino takeover of the United States of America (or much of it, anyway) has been gradual and nonviolent. The Latinos are supplanting whitey more slowly and much more bloodlessly than whitey supplanted the natives of what now is the United States. I can’t say that whitey karmically deserves to have been let off the hook as easily as whitey thus far has.

I, for one white, look foward to the Brave New World, the Brave New World in which there are fewer and fewer white faces because the races are mixing it up.

For the most part, I agree with the late Mexican philosopher José Vasconcelos’ essay “La Raza Cósmica” (“The Cosmic Race”), in which he advances the idea of a “fifth race” in the Americas, a race that is comprised of mixed-race peoples; this “fifth race” contains the best of all of the races.**

Racism is bullshit. We’re all members of the species Homo sapiens, just as all cats are members of the species Felis domesticus and all dogs are members of the species Canis domesticus.  To state that one race of human is better or worse than another is to assert an opinion, a preference, not a fact. If you state that German shepherds are better than poodles, that is recognized as only an opinion, a preference, as both are dogs, yet racists buy into the myth that one race of human being can be superior or inferior to another.

Every human being is my fellow human being — yes, even the white wingnuts whom I don’t claim as my own, the white wingnuts who, in their ignorance and their evil, ironically make me prefer peoples of other races. (Yes, the white supremacists have a name for white people like me: “race traitors.”)

Even biology (I know, the wingnuts hate science) dictates that genes that remain isolated make for a genetically and biologically weaker group of individuals. (This genetic weakness sure would explain the fucktarded white supremacists who show up at “tea party” events with their grossly misspelled signs.) Mixing the genes of individuals from different populations, however, allows for provincial genetic disadvantages to get washed out, and thus is for the benefit of the species.  

I am one “race traitor” who is doing his best to help usher in the Brave New World of the “fifth race.”

I voted for the mixed-race Barack Obama (and any problems that I have had with him have had nothing to do with his race). I don’t tolerate racist hate speech to be spoken in my presence, but call the racists on their racism. Tomorrow I again will attend Sacramento’s annual Festival de la Familia, the annual fair that celebrates Latino culture. And I am thinking of brushing up on my Spanish, which I learned years ago and which should come in handy as the Brave New World continues to arrive in my lifetime.

And that is what the white disphits in Arizona and the other red states should be doing: preparing for the future, instead of fighting the inevitable. They can be part of the march of human history, or they can be relegated to the dustbin of human history (where they probably belong anyway).

*I lived in Arizona the first 30 years of my life before I moved to California in 1998. Although the majority of my relatives still live in the God-forsaken red state of Arizona, I have yet to step foot back there since I left there, and probably the only thing that ever will take me back there is a funeral. About the only good thing that I can say about Arizona is that it isn’t Texas, although as of late Arizona seems to be catching up to Texas. 

I heard one television commentator recently call Arizona “diverse.” No, it isn’t. It’s mostly only two races, white and Latino, with some Native Americans, most of whom are sequestered on reservations, and only a light sprinkling of those of African and Asian descent. California is diverse, a United Nations, and California’s history as once having been part of Mexico is still evident in the names of its largest cities, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento, its capital.

**Many of Vasconcelos’ assertions on the characteristics of the different races would be considered politically incorrect today, but “La Raza Cósmica” needs to be read within the context of the fact that it was published in the 1920s.

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Assorted shit

Finally, a brilliant move by the Dems

Apparently the Democrats are planning to make the Repugnicans’ refusal to go along with Wall Street reform a centerpiece of their November election strategy.

It’s a brilliant move.

Perhaps spurred on by the attention that Michael Moore brought to the subject in his documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story” (which I reviewed here and which I just watched again on DVD), the Democrats have seized upon the fact that the Repugnicans prefer unfettered financial fraud to any regulations on Wall Street whatsofuckingever.

With so many Americans struggling financially, for them to see, graphically, what the Repugnican Party stands f0r — the interests of the plutocrats, the true elites — around election time should put a significant dent in any gains the Repugnicans otherwise anticipated they’d make.

The Repugnican Party’s insistence on aiding the already filthy rich at the expense of the rest of us should do at the ballot box for the Democrats what the unelected Bush regime’s constant reminder of the “threat” of “terrorism” did for the Repugnicans at the ballot box in 2002 and in 2004.

I’m starting to feel some hope that we’re going to have some change…  

Chuck Crist poised to pull a Benedict Lieberman

I remember the joke that Jon Stewart made when former Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman announced that he would run for re-election to the U.S. Senate as an independent candidate (under the newly formed “party” of “Connecticut for Lieberman”after he had lost the Democratic primary to opponent Ned Lamont: Stewart joked that Lieberman had announced that if he lost the Senate election, then he would start his own Senate. (Unfortunately, Lieberman won the 2006 election as an “independent,” but fortunately, this meant that he didn’t have to start his own Senate…)

That’s pretty much what it has come to, with power-hungry, egomaniacal baby-boomer (I know, redundant…) politicians refusing to take no for an answer and wanting to hold on to their power at all costs.

Repugnican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who is featured in the excellent documentary “Outrage” as being a probable closet case, is considering running for the U.S. Senate as an independent because his Repugnican primary opponent, wingnut Marco Rubio, has overtaken him in the polls.

Under Florida law, Crist has until April 30 to decide whether to remain in the Repugnican primary or to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent, a la Lieberman. (Under Connecticut law, Benedict Lieberman still was able to run as an independent after he lost the Democratic primary, but Crist does not have that option. [I suppose that Florida can do some things right where the fairness of elections are concerned…].) 

Crist has indicated that he’ll do what’s best for the people of Florida.

Oh, bullshit.

Crist will do what’s best for Crist.

Those who choose to participate in one of the two major parties should accept their fate if their political fortunes fall. Running as an “independent” because one can’t make it in his or her chosen party anymore is one of the refuges of the scoundrel.

It’s no different from phone-tapping

It is lamentable that those making the legal decisions regarding the privacy of employees’ electronic communications (e-mails, text-messages, etc.) are mostly baby boomers (or even older people) who barely fucking understand today’s electronic communications.*

I wholeheartedly disagree that an employer’s mere warning that its employees’ communications may be monitored makes it legal for it to monitor its employees’ communications any more than tapping their telephones is legal (except in certain circumstances, such as at call centers).

And if I give you warning that I might punch you in the face, does that make it legal for me to punch you in the face? Since when does a mere warning make a follow-up action legal?

New communications technology does not mean that the privacy laws that already apply to telephones, for example, don’t apply to that new technology.

The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding this issue now, with new Justice Sonia Sotomayor seeming to be leaning on the side of privacy protection and most of the other justices leaning on the side of Big Brother. 

Fact is, as Sotomayor seems to have indicated, most employers who snoop on their employees just get off on snooping.

Tell you what: When all of us can read the employers’ electronic communications, then maybe they can read ours. 

Um, yeah.

*The Associated Press indicates that Chief “Justice” John Roberts and “Justice” Antonin Scalia apparently don’t even understand how text-messaging works, yet they are poised to rule on whether or not privacy law applies to text-messaging.

Bill Clinton: Can’t we all just get along?

Former President Bill Clinton is quoted by The Associated Press as having said that the United States has an image around the world of having too much political infighting.

God, I’m sick and fucking tired of hearing direct or indirect calls for a national singing of “Kumbaya.”

Much if not most of the opposition to President Barack Obama stems from the fact that he is presiding while black, for fuck’s sake.

I’m supposed to make nice with a bunch of fucking racists and white supremacists? Who hate me and who want to continue to oppress me because I’m gay?

I just don’t fucking think so!

The rest of the world can think what it wants to think.

And Bill Clinton can go kiss all of the wingnut ass that he likes.

I, for one, would rather die than to give the impression that I think that the likes of Sarah Palin-Quayle and Glenn Beck and their fascistic followers are anything less than satanic.

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The cliff swallows of Thunder Valley

Blogger’s note: I usually don’t write things like this — I suppose that with my background in journalism, I find these things to be a bit too fluffy — but fuck it; I thought that I’d give it a try…

Cliff-Swallows

An illustration of cliff swallows in the wild (click to enlarge)

My boyfriend and I often go out to eat. I suppose that’s what a lot of gay couples do. We’re not rich, but we can afford to dine out, we don’t have to worry about having any kids in tow, and dining out frees up our time from having to go food shopping and having to cook and wash the dishes.

We often go to a casino here in the Sacramento area, called Thunder Valley, that is within 10 minutes’ driving distance from my boyfriend’s apartment. I don’t like Thunder Valley, really, except for its huge internationally themed buffet. (Buffets are killing me, though. I’ve gained at least 30 pounds since I’ve been with my boyfriend for the past two and a half years, with our frequent trips to buffets. Asian buffets, an Indian buffet, Thunder Valley’s buffet…)

A trip through a smoky casino for me is like a trip through hell. Casinos are full of miserable, desperate entities trying to satisfy their insatiable addictions all at once: gambling, smoking, drinking — and yes, overeating at the buffet… If heroin were legal, they’d be shooting up at the casinos, too. (For the record, I’m not a big drinker, I never could be a daily smoker, and as far as gambling is concerned, I don’t even know what I’m doing and I don’t like to do things unless I’m good at them. But hey, you have to eat…)

During our last trip to Thunder Valley for the buffet, about a week ago, I noticed that the birds that build spherical nests of mud under the eaves of a tower that is located at the far end of the casino’s large parking lot were back in force.

“Mud swallows” my boyfriend calls them, but my Internet research shows that they actually are called cliff swallows. They build houses of mud, yes, and “mud swallow” is a more interesting name, but it’s not what they’re actually called. Wikipedia says of the cliff swallow:

Cliff swallows breed in large colonies. They build conical mud nests and lay three to six eggs. The natural nest sites are on cliffs, preferably beneath overhangs, but … man-made structures are now the principal locations for breeding….

European settlement provided many new nest sites on buildings, but the population declined in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the supply of unpainted barns declined. There has been a subsequent revival as dams and bridges have provided suitable sites.

These are the famous swallows whose return from Villa Ventana, Argentina every year to the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California on (or around) March 19 is celebrated with a festival. In recent years, the swallows have failed to return to the mission.

Like all swallows and martins, cliff swallows subsist primarily on a diet of insects which are caught in flight.

I Googled “cliff swallow Thunder Valley” and I discovered that the three-story tower-like structure at the far end of the parking lot of the casino was built specifically for the swallows (see page 9 of this PDF) — so that they wouldn’t continue to build their nests of mud on the huge casino building itself.

The cliff swallows of Thunder Valley have built dozens of their mud nests on the tower structure built for them in the casino parking lot. The mud nests — which, with their little entrances, remind me a bit of igloos — are so numerous and so close to each other that they indeed form a colony, as Wikipedia referred to, and the swallows’ colony reminded me of the gargantuan apartment complex that my boyfriend lives in not too far away, with hundreds of people all stacked on top of and around each other. (And the stucco exterior of his apartment complex isn’t so different from those nests of dried mud…)

For several minutes my boyfriend and I watched hundreds of the swallows swoop everywhere, leaving the colony in large synchronized groups like fighter pilots on sortees, and then returning to their little mud nests. They reminded me a bit of bats, and the thought crossed my mind that the word guano refers to both the shit of colonies of bats and of colonies of birds. What, exactly, was the mission of the swallows that my boyfriend and I watched leaving and returning to their colony at the casino in waves, I’m not sure; obtaining food for their young, primarily, I’m guessing, and perhaps also retrieving more nest-building material.

I was slightly concerned that with my boyfriend and I watching them right under their colony of nests, perhaps we’d get dive-bombed, as birds protect their young, but the swallows apparently felt safely far away enough from us that we posed no threat to their colony.

I wondered if perhaps the birds are endangered, and that’s why the casino operators didn’t just destroy their nests — which, with a power hose one rather easily could do, I surmise — and which are, admittedly, rather messy to a building, perhaps especially the muddy outlines that are the ruins of old mud nests from breeding seasons past, nests that disintegrated a time ago. But Wikipedia indicates that the birds aren’t endangered, that they have no protected status, so apparently the casino’s main concern has been that the birds just don’t build their rather messy nests on the casino’s main building.

Far from being a nuisance, I found the cliff swallows of Thunder Valley to be the most interesting thing about the casino — and while the tower-like structure in the casino’s parking lot was built for them, they apparently were an unintended part of the casino.

The cliff swallows of Thunder Valley are in stark contrast to the casino itself, a monster of artificiality, quite out of tune with nature, as are its inhabitants, smoking, drinking and gambling, out of tune with nature and with themselves.

I had instructed my boyfriend to park at the far end of the casino’s parking lot so that we could watch the colony of swallows, and indeed ours was the only car that far out into the parking lot. (People obsessed with gambling, drinking and smoking — and yes, eating — you see, don’t worry too much that they don’t walk enough.) Here are these incredibly cool swallows, just like at San Juan Capistrano, but people don’t go to Thunder Valley for the swallows.

While we human beings embrace our artificial environments, the cliff swallows of Thunder Valley will have none of our artifice. My boyfriend and I noted several artificial nests on the tower-like structure that were put there for them. These man-made nests are located significantly below the natural nests above them immediately under the tower’s eaves, which is where the swallows prefer to nest, more shielded from the elements, and these man-made nests are too geometrically perfect, which is what made me first suspect that they are fake.

When I then noticed the metal strip to which they are affixed to the tower, I definitively knew that they are fake, and my boyfriend and I, to our delight, saw not a single swallow enter or leave a single one of the man-made nests. The swallows would have nothing to do with them.

The cliff swallows, it seems to me, are smarter than are we.

P.S. Video about the 2008 construction of what many call “the world’s biggest birdhouse” at Thunder Valley Casino is here. I find the subtly (or maybe not-too-subtly) anti-environmentalist attitude of the typical casino-goer who is interviewed in the local TV news piece to be typical but to be depressing… Here is some close-up footage of nesting cliff swallows.  

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Nutmeg thinks you’re stupid

In this photo taken Tuesday, March 23, 2010, ...

Associated Press photo

Former online auction eBay CEO Megalomaniac Whitman, a billionaire Repugnican, apparently thinks that everything in life goes to the highest bidder. Thus far she has bid $59 million on the governor’s seat of California. 

Former California governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown today challenged his top two Repugnican opponents for the governorship to participate in three prime-time debates with him before the state’s June 8 primary election.

Of course his No. 1 Repugnican opponent, billionaire former CEO Nutmeg Whitman, has refused the invitation.

Nutmeg can’t hold a candle to Brown; she apparently is relying on the minority of California voters who are registered as Repugnicans and on the state’s “swing voters,” those who get their primary information about politics from television commercials and whose ballot decisions apparently are made by the Magic 8-Ball.

Brown can’t say it, but I can: Megalomaniac is relying on the dumbfuck vote to put her into the governor’s seat. That’s why she is spending tens of millions of her own dollars on ubiquitous TV commercials.

“Let’s hear the different ideas,” Brown said of his proposed pre-primary debates. “The key here: Is this a democracy?”

No, it’s not, not really; it’s a fucking auction, in which the highest bidder wins.

At least that’s what Team Nutmeg believes. Whether or not the majority of California’s voters also believe that in November will be interesting. 

Megalomaniac Whitman apparently will avoid all substantive challenges during her campaign, just as her fellow Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger did during 2003’s too-short gubernatorial recall election campaign. She’ll try to run out the clock, just like Schwarzenegger did, and rely on image rather than on anything like substance.

The image that Nutmeg is trying to project? That she’s a successful leader because she became a billionaire. And that you, too, if you emulate her, can become a billionaire!

Except that you can’t.

And except that it’s the plutocrats like Nutmeg who have put the state’s and the nation’s economy into the fucking toilet. To turn to the plutocrats to fix the problems that the plutocrats created is like returning to the same incompetent surgeon who botched your surgery to fix it: Stupid.

But Schwarzenegger and George W. Bush are living proof of the state’s and the nation’s voters’ ability to be so incredibly fucking stupid as to vote against their own best interests.

The No. 2 Repugnican in the race for this year’s Repugnican gubernatorial nomination, Steve Poizner, California’s insurance commissioner, has accepted Brown’s invitation for pre-primary debates, but Poizner will win his party’s June 8 primary only if Megalomaniac dies or pulls out or if something really unflattering about her comes to light between now and the primary (one hopes).

Team Poizner apparently did the math and figured that accepting Brown’s challenge could only help Poizner in his David-vs.-Goliath battle against Megalomaniac, while Goliath herself apparently figured that she safely could blow off Brown’s challenge because hey, she’s a billionaire, and she can just buy the dumbfuck vote. 

Brown should go ahead and have the pre-primary debates with Poizner.

Nutmeg’s conspicuous absence from the debates will prove to the state’s voters that she’s not ready for prime time — literally as well as figuratively.

Brown, however, is a pit bull (without the lipstick), and that’s what the nation’s most populous state needs.

The Sacramento Bee has quoted Brown as having said of Nutmeg that “millions and millions of dollars in an orgy of spending for TV commercials is not a substitute for an honest and open discussion,” and that he said of her refusal to debate him early:

Private corporations sometimes hide behind slick advertising campaigns, but it’s wrong for a serious political candidate to do the same.

I urge Meg Whitman to reconsider. Surely, if she believes she is good enough to be governor of California she must also consider herself competent enough to appear with her opponents.

A candidate for public office should not act like a used car salesperson who relies on misleading TV ads. Public service is a higher calling, one that demands integrity, openness and honesty.

I encourage Meg Whitman to join with Steve Poizner and me in three joint appearances. If she honestly believes what she says in her radio and TV ads, she should welcome the opportunity to answer questions, explain herself and then ask me whatever she’d like.

Our state is in serious trouble, and we need political candidates and public officials who are willing to face the voters, explain their ideas and give honest answers.

For a while there I was worried that Jerry Brown wasn’t being aggressive enough. For now, at least, I’m no longer worried.

Now, I’m only worried about whether or not a majority of the state’s voters will be smart enough to realize that putting a billionaire in the governor’s chair would be good only for the state’s billionaires.

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Kagan looks queer to me

Supreme Court justice to retire, Obama gets new ...

Solicitor General Elena Kagan is widely viewed as a leading candidate for the Supreme Court.

AFP and Associated Press photos

Quick! Is that a woman or a man in drag?

Looks more like a man than a woman to me. But it’s U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, said to be a possible nominee to replace the retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Yahoo! News reports today that “yesterday the [Obama] administration blasted CBS News for a blog post on its website claiming that [Kagan] is a lesbian, eventually getting the news organization to retract the claim and take down the post.”

I’m pissed.

What the Obama administration essentially is saying is that being non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming is a bad thing.

Otherwise, why would the White House — which, it seems to me, has a lot better things to be doing for the nation — work to squelch a probably-true rumor that the U.S. solicitor general is a lesbian?

This action on the part of the Obama administration is not that promised leadership on achieving equality for non-heterosexuals and the non-gender-conforming. This action basically affirms the destructive myth that there’s something wrong with being gay or lesbian or otherwise non-gender-conforming — otherwise, you wouldn’t have a fit about it.

Fuck the White House.

Apparently the CBS News blogger is a right-winger with a dubious background that includes allegations of having plagiarized others’ work. But regardless of the source, Kagan either is or is not heterosexual, and my money is on the latter.

White House mouthpiece Anita Dunn called the allegation that Kagan is a lesbian an application of an “old [stereotype] to single women with successful careers.”

Oh, please.

Yeah, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno —

Associated Press photo

— who on “Saturday Night Live” was portrayed by Will Ferrell, for fuck’s sake, is/was just a “single career woman,” as is former Arizona attorney general and current U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:

Gee, I wonder if the White House will try to get me to take this blog post down for “outing” the obviously lesbian Napolitano…

(Napolitano, by the way, also is said to be a possible nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.)

I’m fine with a lesbian on the U.S. Supreme Court. I’m fine with lesbians period

So why isn’t the White House? 

Why does the White House treat an allegation of non-heterosexuality as though being non-heterosexual were a bad thing?

That’s not fucking leadership.

That is cowardice and ignorance and a lazy pandering to bigotry and fear.

Keep on hoping for that promised change.

You — we — were punked. Big time.

P.S. I nominate current “Saturday Night Live” player Bobby Moynihan (pictured in drag below) to play Elena Kagan.

NBC image

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‘Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots’ are Benedict Arnolds waiting to happen

Why is it that some issues that widely were considered to be no-brainers when George W. Bush was “president” now widely are considered to be question marks, gray area, under President Barack Obama?

Case in point: The Associated Press reports that a 24-year-old sergeant in the Marine Corps took down but then put back up his Facebook page, titled “Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots”* — which, as its title indicates, contains views opposing President Barack Obama. And that he apparently did so as the result of pressure from his military superior or superiors.

The American Civil Liberties Union has asserted that the sergeant has his right to free speech, the AP reports. I tend to agree with the ACLU on most matters — even the ACLU’s defense of the Ku Klux Klan’s free-speech rights — but it seems to me that if any member of the U.S. military had publicly identified himself or herself with a “movement” that existed primarily to oppose “President” George W. Bush**, he or she would have been disciplined — perhaps even discharged. And that virtually no one (except, perhaps, the KKK-defending ACLU…) would have defended his “free-speech right” to be openly, publicly defiant against his commander in chief.

Talking Points Memo reports that the young-dumb-and-full-of-cum sergeant put out a press release misspelling Barack Obama’s name (why am I not surprised?), and that in the press release, the sergeant stated:

Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots in no way supports a military uprising or anything to that subject, further more we recognize Barak [sic]Obama as the Command-in-Chief and we do not support disobeying orders that are lawful with Constitution, and will continue to follow orders given to us…. We do understand that there is a time and place for expression and the military work place is not one of them.

and

[J]ust because we have volunteered to serve our country in a camouflage uniform we do not strip away our rights as Americans to express our opinion on the polices of the current or future administrations.

Hmmm. Except that the “tea party” “movement” is vehemently and virulently against President Barack Obama and that President Obama is the commander in chief.

We are to trust the word of the “tea party” “patriots” in the U.S. military that they won’t commit treason? Especially when, apparently, whether or not they commit treason depends upon whether they view an order given to them by their commander in chief as constitutional or unconstitutional?

Who, exactly, is going to determine such constitutionality for them? Constitutional law expert Glenn Beck or someone else from FOX “News”? Constitutional law expert Sarah Palin-Quayle? Or some other “tea party” leader?

Homosexuals in the military are a threat?

No, it’s dipshits like the “Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots” that are the largest internal threat to the U.S. military right now. And they’re not just a Facebook pagethey’re listed on teapartypatriots.org as well as being a branch of the “tea party” “movement.”

Yes, members of the U.S. military are allowed to hold whatever opinions they wish to hold. But strong opinions often lead to strong actions.

I, for one, do not feel safe with right-wing members of the U.S. military being active members of a “movement” whose primary goal is to oppose the “tyranny” of President Obama.

Obama is not a “tyrant” because one disagrees with his policies. Obama is the democratically elected president of the United States of America — and he was elected by 53 percent of the American voters, a higher percentage than George W. Bush received in the 2000 or the 2004 presidential election. (The 50.7 percent that Bush received in 2004 was even higher than the less than 50 percent that he received in 2000.)

I just don’t take these armed-and-dangerous wingnuts on their word that they won’t instigate a “military uprising.” And why is the founder of the group even bringing up the possibility of a “military uprising”?

This is scary — I hope that these Benedict Arnolds who call themselves “patriots” are rooted out before they commit treason. We’re fools if we just wait for their “military uprising” to happen.

P.S. Personally, I like the Facebook group called “Tea Parties Are for Little Girls.” It uses this as its avatar:

Tea Parties are for Little Girls

*I have found a Facebook group of this name, but it apparently was established by another individual, not by the sergeant.

**The so-called “birthers” question the legitimacy of President Barack Obama on completely erroneous grounds. However, there were very good grounds to assert that George W. Bush’s presidency was wholly illegitimate — and unconstitutional. What if a contingent of the U.S. military believed that his illegitimacy as president meant that Bush was not their legitimate commander in chief? What if they thus refused to, say, participate in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust — and, one might argue, unconstitutional — invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq in March 2003?

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Assorted shit

Majority of Americans trust the ‘community organizer’ on nukes

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll that was taken within the past few days, a whopping 70 percent of the 1,000-plus Americans polled believe that the U.S. Senate should ratify the nuclear arms nonproliferation treaty that U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently signed.

Only 28 percent in the poll — I think that you could safely label most of them as the tea-baggin’ kind — said that the Senate should not ratify the treaty. (Of course, I surmise that at least some 0f those 28 percent believe that the treaty doesn’t go far enough in eliminating nuclear arms, which is why they oppose its ratification.)

The same poll also asked which is more preferable: “the elimination of all nuclear arms in the world — or for a few major countries, including the United States, to have enough nuclear arms so [that] no country would dare attack them.” A full 50 percent said that the elimination of all nuclear arms is preferable, 49 percent said that a few major nations should be able to have nukes, and only 1 percent weren’t sure. (However, almost three-fourths of the poll’s respondents stated that they believe that the total elimination of nukes is impossible.)

I think it’s important to know what public opinion actually is when hearing the minority tea-baggin’ wingnuts bark that President Obama is out of touch with the majority of Americans on nuclear arms policy.

Catholick church still refuses contrition on child sex abuse

This is priceless: The Associated Press reports today that

The Vatican [today] responded to allegations it long concealed clerical sex abuse by making it clear for the first time that bishops and clerics worldwide should report such crimes to police if they are required to by law.

Key word there: “if.”

Not because it’s the right thing to do — but if it’s required by law. And the language leaves plenty of wiggle room to let sexually abusive priests and other Catholick officials off the hook, because the church can claim that it had no knowledge that a crime definitely had been committed — and that a merely suspected crime doesn’t have to be reported to police. 

Nice.

Oh, well. At least it’s nice to hear the Vatican actually admit that it is actually accountable to someone instead of only to some non-existent “God.”

Don’t sing hallefuckinglujah yet, though. The Vatican still isn’t done blaming the child sex abuse that has riddled the Catholick church on others. The Associated Press also reports today:

Santiago, Chile – The Vatican’s second-highest authority says the sex scandals haunting the Roman Catholic Church are linked to homosexuality and not celibacy among priests.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, made the comments during a news conference [today] in Chile, where one of the church’s highest-profile pedophile cases involves a priest having sex with young girls.

“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true,” said Bertone. “That is the problem.”

His comments drew angry reactions from Chile’s gay rights advocates.

“Neither Bertone nor the Vatican has the moral authority to give lessons on sexuality,” said Rolando Jimenez, president of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in Chile.

Jimenez also said no reputable study exists to support the cardinal’s claims.

“This is a perverse strategy by the Vatican to shirk its own ethical and legal responsibility by making a spurious and disgusting connection,” he said.

At least one of the highest-profile pedophiles in the Chilean church victimized young girls, including a teenager who became pregnant….

I am one of millions of gay men around the world who aren’t willing to be burned at the stake by the Catholick church for its own institutional sins.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: FUCK THE CATHOLICK CHURCH. Its demise is long, long overdue.

Like the ‘tea-partiers’ need help with that

I love this AP news story from today (so here it is in full [with my comments in brackets]):

Albany, N.Y. – Opponents of the fiscally conservative tea party movement say they plan to infiltrate and dismantle the political group by trying to make its members appear to be racist, homophobic and moronic.

[Um, “fiscally conservative”? The vast majority of these “tea-partying” dipshits didn’t make a fucking peep when the unelected Bush regime sank hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars into Vietraq for Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton and the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp.]

Jason Levin, creator of crashtheteaparty.org, said [today] the group has 65 leaders in major cities across the country who are trying to recruit members to infiltrate tea party events for April 15 — tax filing day, when tea party groups across the country are planning to gather and protest high taxes.

“Every time we have someone on camera saying that Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen, we want someone sitting next to him saying, ‘That’s right, he’s an alien from outer space!'” Levin said.

Tea party members said the backlash comes from ignorance.

“They can’t actually debate our message and that’s their problem,” said Bob MacGuffie, a Connecticut organizer for Right Principles, a tea party group that also has members in New York and New Jersey.

The tea party movement generally unites on the fiscally conservative principles of small government, lower taxes and less spending. Beyond that the ideology of the people involved tends to vary dramatically.

Levin says they want to exaggerate the group’s least appealing qualities, further distance the tea party from mainstream America and damage the public’s opinion of them.

“Do I think every member of the tea party is a homophobe, racist or a moron? No, absolutely not,” Levin said. “Do I think most of them are homophobes, racists or morons? Absolutely.”

The site manifesto says they want to dismantle the tea party by nonviolent means. “We have already sat quietly in their meetings, and observed their rallies,” the site said.

Another tea party organizer said the attempt to destroy the movement was evidence its message is resonating.

“We’ve been ignored, we’ve been ridiculed. Well, now they’re coming after us,” said Judy Pepenella, a co-coordinator for the New York State Tea Party. “Gandhi’s quote is one we understand: ‘First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.'”

Oh, my, where to begin?

Gandhi, himself a victim of racism, would have supported the “tea party” “movement”? Really?

And do the “tea party” fucktards really need any help in appearing to be “racist, homophobic and moronic”? Aren’t they doing that well enough on their own?

If the “tea party” dipshits need to tell themselves that the planned infiltration of their April 15 protests by sane Americans is because the latter “can’t actually debate [the “tea party” dipshits’] message,” let them. 

We opponents of the “tea party” not only can debate the “tea party’s” “message” — a huge part of which is of racism, white supremacism, xenophobia, militarism, jingoism, homophobia, misogyny, patriarchy and “Christo”fascism — but we do. All the time.

And our goal, for the record, is to prevent the creeping fascism that the “tea party” dipshits represent. They wrap themselves in the American flag and in the Shroud of Turin when their real goal is to unravel years of progress made by liberated women and by historically oppressed minority groups and to impose their Taliban-like “Christo”fascism on every American. 

My only problem with the infiltration of the tea party protests is that I’d like to know which wingnuts are for real and which ones are only acting… In some if not many if not most cases, it might be nearly impossible to distinguish between the two…

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I’m a PROUD left-wing ‘censor’

I love the Internet. I still believe that the Internet is the best way for the average citizen to get his or her voice heard. True, the sheer volume of citizen content on the Internet — and, of course, the huge corporate presence on the Internet — make it incredibly difficult for any one citizen to get a large audience, but the alternative to the Internet is the way that it used to be: mostly corporately owned and controlled mass/mainstream media putting out virtually all media content, most of it in the one-way communication form of television.

If nothing else, citizen media force the mass/mainstream media to address those issues that the citizens — rather than only the mass/mainstream media’s corporate overlords — want addressed.

In their infancy, blogs were mostly ignored by the mass/mainstream media, as blogs weren’t considered a threat, but no more. Anything that grows legs and takes off in the blogosphere is going to make it into the mass/mainstream media, and these days, sooner rather than later.

And once blogs proved to be successful, of course the capitalist swine decided to jump on board and co-opt blogging. Recently at a major chain bookstore I saw a book on blogging for business purposes and I wanted to barf, since I’ve always believed that blogs were meant to topple the man, not to be used by the man in his ongoing conquest of us wage slaves in the capitalist slavery system that so many of us slaves, being thoroughly brainwashed, actually call “freedom.”

But opening up the forum to anyone — anyone — has its problems.

On one hand is the common but misguided belief that a blogger should allow anyone to leave anything on his or her blog’s comments section — and that to do otherwise is “censorship.”

The legal definition of censorship, actually, is when a governmental entity puts controls on speech. There is no right to leave anything on anyone’s blog — indeed, a blogger may turn off the comments function altogether at any time. But few would call that censorship, and those who would are just dipshits.

I have three main types of comments trolls, and the older and crankier that I get, the more I’m just prone to delete their comments, which don’t add whatsoever to the enlightenment of the subject matter at hand. Their predictable protests of “censorship” don’t deter me. I can’t simply hit a button to delete them, but I can simply hit a button to delete their bullshit.

First there is the Common Troll. This person is just miserable and leaves what I call “drive-by” comments on blogs. He or she (it’s almost always a he, though) probably doesn’t have very many people to shit and piss upon in his life, so he shits and pisses upon people online, because it’s anonymous and thus safe. He probably never would have the balls to treat people like this in person. Because in reality he’s just a fucking coward.

The Common Troll usually leaves no more than a sentence or two, and, because the Common Troll is not bright, often his comment doesn’t even make any fucking sense. And usually his comments are rife with misspellings. (Ted Rall had it right when he once commented that the future belongs to those who can spell.)

On Open Salon, strangely, the Common Trolls usually are stupid white men of baby-boomer age or older (you can tell by their avatars, which are photos of themselves, and they virtually never are attractive). These old Common Trolls, having nothing better to do, jump online with the youngsters to “prove” that they’re still “youthful” too, and they leave comments that are in the spirit of “You damned kids get off of my lawn!”

It’s unfortunate that medical science has enabled people to live longer and longer, with an emphasis on the quantity of people’s lifespans instead of on the quality of people.

Seriously — it’s fine if someone doesn’t like a post of mine, but to leave a juvenile personal attack that doesn’t contribute whatsoever to the topic at hand? I don’t get that. I can’t imagine just trolling blogs and leaving personal attacks. I have much better things to do with my time. (If I am going to engage in anything like a personal attack, I at least also am going to address the topic at hand; there will be some substance in my comment.)

Then there are the Proselytizer Trolls. They apparently think that if they go around and around with you just enough, they’re going to convert you to their fucked-up belief system (or, at the very least, “prove” you “wrong”). Either they’re going to convert you to their wingnuttery or they’re going to convert you to their “Christo”fascism (or both, since the two are so intertwined).

The Proselytizer Trolls are “nice” at first, but gradually, when it’s clear to them that what they believe are just brilliant “arguments” in support of their “cause” aren’t going to move you an inch, then they usually get verbally abusive, showing their true colors.

For whatever reason(s), I get most of my Proselytizer Trolls on my WordPress and AlterNet blogs. The way I usually handle Proselytizer Trolls is to tell them, after we have gone around and around to no avail, that I am ending the discussion, as it is going nowhere and as they’ve had more than their fair say, and that any further comments of theirs on the post I will delete. And then I follow through on that promise.

If I didn’t do it that way, I can see these losers going pointlessly back and forth with me infuckingdefinitely.

Then there are the Spam Trolls. I refer not to the apparently automatically generated spam that we bloggers get in our comments sections on occasion (hopefully filtered out, such as WordPress does), but to those who leave comments on blogs primarily in order to promote their own gig, usually their own blog. They’ll give a passing mention of the post on which they’re commenting, usually, and then go right into promoting their own gig/blog.

Most bloggers figured out long ago that this is a major breech of “blogiquette,” and so Spam Trolls (as I have defined them) are rare.

There are Combination Trolls.

This dipshit, a Combination Troll, tried to leave this dipshit comment (this is an unaltered copy and paste of his own words) on my post about the bullshit computer-generated images of what the corpse of Jesus Christ supposedly looked like, based upon the fraudulent Shroud of Turin:

Wouldn’t Jesus relates have washed the blood off, you’re an idiot running at the mouth. Abrasion and lacerations, such the extent Jesus suffered would be open wounds that would still secret blood.

This guy calls me an “idiot,” yet writes “Jesus” instead of the possessive “Jesus'”; spells “relatives” as “relates”; uses a run-on sentence right off; misuses the comma in his second sentence; and spells “secrete” as “secret.” Really, if you don’t have a grasp of your mother tongue, how can you have any credibility?

But forgiving his illiteracy, if you look at the photo that I referred to and that he was commenting on —

BIG REVEAL: Information

— that clearly appears to be surface blood that just wasn’t washed off, not blood that would “secret” later. I blame it on the artist/artists just not having paid attention to realistic detail.

So, as is common for a troll, this Combo Troll not only can’t write correct English, but his “argument” is whack.

Now, WordPress is set up so that a first-time comment is not automatically posted. Only after at least one comment has been approved by the blogger can a person leave more comments on a WordPress blog without those comments first having to be screened by the blogger.

Now, I’m at the Internet too much, probably, but I’m not at it 24/7, so it can take some time before I screen a first-time comment on my WordPress blog. But this dipshit Combo Troll apparently believed that I have it set up so that his dipshit first-time comment wouldn’t immediately be posted to my blog, because his second attempted comment was this one:

Awaiting moderation, just like a loud mouth liberal to want to censor opinions.

So here he is, calling (in another run-on sentence, and it’s “loud-mouthed liberal”) what is beyond my control — the fact that the WordPress program automatically subjects all first-time comments to the blogger’s moderation — my “censorship.” Oh, and it’s not just my “censorship.” It’s “liberal” “censorship.” (You know, vast left-wing conspiracy, socialism, tyranny, blah blah blah…)

So of course I approved neither of his comments. I spammed them instead, because spam essentially is what they are (were…).

The first comment I probably would have approved and responded to, had he not then immediately and incorrectly accused me of “censorship” because his ignorant comment didn’t show up on my blog immediately and because he is ignorant of how WordPress works.

I just don’t owe anything to assholes like this Combo Troll, who gives his e-mail address as josephjgates@gmail.com, by the way.

Let’s talk about “liberal” “censorship,” though.

Fact is, the right wing has engaged in censorship, unabashedly, forever. And most of the right wing’s censorship is fucking structural, in that because the corporations own and control most of the mass media outlets, there’s no fucking way that their plutocratic owners and controllers are going to allow anti-corporate messages to get out there. No, it’s quite the status quo, baby, because the status quo has been pretty fucking good for the plutocrats.

Even censorship as it is commonly conceived (structural censorship is quite real, but because it’s structural, most Americans don’t notice it any more than fish notice the water that engulfs them) isn’t a problem when the right-wingers do it, but should the left do anything that has even a whiff of a hint of “censorship,” the wingnuts are the first to cry “censorship” foul.

But the truth is, the more that the left and the right become polarized, and the more hell-bent on Armageddon the wingnuts become — to the point that they seriously would consider handing over the Big Red Button to Sarah Palin-Quayle — the friendlier to the censorship of the right wing I’m getting.

The right wing in the United States of America and its corporately owned and controlled media propaganda machine helped George W. Bush steal the White House in late 2000 and were complicit in the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjustified launch of its Vietraq War by acting as cheerleaders for the “shock and awe” instead of as journalists. (Yes, an “embedded” reporter is in bed with someone, and it’s not in bed with us common citizens who need unbiased, critical, accurate information in order to make our democracy — or what we call a democracy, anyway — function.)

FOX “News” and several individuals on the far right, including Sarah “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Palin-Quayle and Glenn Beck, have incited death threats against and the hurling of epithets, spittle and bricks at Democratic lawmakers who voted for a “socialist!” health-care overhaul.

At what point does an individual or group of individuals pass from legally protected free speech to illegal incitement of violence? And cannot free speech meant to promote freedom and democracy be perverted and abused in order to establish right-wing fascism, such as in the case of FOX “News”?*

And a central if not the central idea behind opposition to “censorship” seems to be the woefully misguided belief that all opinions and ideas are of equal merit and quality. Under this thinking, an opinion is an opinion and an idea is an idea, and the opinion or idea of a highly intelligent, educated individual is no better than the opinion or idea of an uneducated dimwit.

That absolutely is untrue.  

Take the recent media coverage of Palin-Quayle’s criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of nuclear arms policy.

OK, first off, Sarah Fucking Palin-Quayle doesn’t understand how the system works. She and John McCainosaurus lost the election in November 2008. Lost it. Lost it by seven percentage points — a significant margin.

Fifty-three percent of Americans voting in November 2008 chose Barack Obama to be in charge of the nation’s nuclear arms policy. Fifty-three percent of the popular vote is higher than George W. Bush got in 2000 or in 2004 (election fraud committed by the Repugnicans in both of those presidential elections aside).

Sarah Palin-Quayle is a fucking loser. She fucking lost. But to hear her tell it, she fucking won. Indeed, Emmy-Award-winning Tina Fey’s recent impersonation of Palin-Quayle on “Saturday Night Live” — in which Fey-as-Palin-Quayle identifies herself as having “won the silver medal in last year’s vice-presidential election” — seems to be an accurate statement of how Palin-Quayle views herself.

When Palin-Quayle criticized Obama’s nuclear arms policy — comparing nuclear arms brinkmanship to a schoolyard fight, which is so fucking clever, except, of course, that a schoolyard fight never ends up in the nuclear annihilation of the entire fucking planet (but I guess that we have to forgive the simple-minded Palin-Quayle for having to make complicated things simple for her simple-minded followers) — she remarked that a “community organizer” doesn’t know anything about nuclear arms policy.

Of course, Palin-Quayle conveniently left out the fact that before 53 percent of the American voters elected Obama as president of the United States, more than who ever “elected” George W. Bush, Obama not only was a U.S. senator but he also was a professor of law at the University of Chicago for 12 years (and please tell me what, exactly, is “wrong” with having been a “community organizer,” because I still don’t know) —  and that while Obama was an evil “community organizer,” she was a Miss Alaska beauty pageant contestant. (Um, I am guessing that she didn’t dote on “world peace” during her beauty pageants…)

So let me rephrase the question this way: Would you prefer a former University of Chicago law professor or a former Alaska state beauty pageant contestant to be in charge of the Big Red Button?

Um, yeah…

Not all opinions and ideas — and not all politicians — are equal. Some are superior to others, some are inferior to others.

And it’s the inferior ones that can completely destroy our nation, and if I had to choose between the total ruination of the nation at the hands of the right wing and the “censorship” of the right wing in order to prevent that ruination from coming to fruition, I’d pick the latter, hands down.

As Abraham Lincoln knew during the nation’s first civil war, and as is becoming clearer as the nation’s second civil war approaches, desperate times call for desperate measures.

*This happened in Venezuela in April 2002 — the right-wing media there used the airwaves to lie about President Hugo Chavez having stepped down when, in fact, he had not stepped down but had been the victim of a short-lived right-wing coup — and it can happen here in the United States too, and, as I have written recently, I don’t fully blame President Chavez for having clamped down on the right-wingers in his nation, because they gladly would try another fascistic takeover if they could get away with it.

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The new, ACTUAL axis of evil

Trifecta! Repugnican Sarah Palin-Quayle delivering the keynote address at a “tea party” convention covered by Fox “News” in February. If this isn’t a sign of the end times, I don’t know what is.

In my last post I invented the “Unholy Trinity of Wingnuttery” — FOX “News” and other right-wing propaganda outlets, the Repugnican Party and the “tea party.”

Timely, because today CREDO Action announced today that “After tens of thousands of votes, FOX News has earned the title of champion of the Bracket of Evil.”

Yes, Fox “News” beat out Sarah Palin-Quayle, the “tea party” dipshits, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney, among others, as the most evil person or group of persons in CREDO Action’s rounds of voting in its “Bracket of Evil” over the past month or so.

And speaking of FOX “News,” FOX “News” head honcho Rupert Murdoch recently had the hypocritical gall at the National Press Club to bash the New York Times as biased. (Non-fucktarded media, you see, have a “liberal bias.” Intelligence = socialism. Fucktardation = patriotism. God bless America!)

Murdoch even said this: “We have both sides in our news shows, our politics or whatever. We have Democrats and Republicans and whatever.”

Yeah, whatever. (Great public speaking skills there, Mr. Murdoch!)

Let’s see — FOX “News” has Repugnican Sarah Palin-Quayle on its payroll and covers the very same “tea party” gatherings that it promotes. But the New York Times is biased!

FOX “News” is a textbook example of how concentrated wealth and power in the mass media can subvert democracy into serving the interests of the wealthy.

The mass media, the “fourth estate,” are a critical part of the workings of politics, power and democracy, which is why the plutocratic elite control so much of the mass media and furiously are consolidating media outlets so that common Americans have fewer and fewer options and get their information from fewer and fewer (corporate, of course) sources.

It’s funny that it’s FOX “News,” because it’s the fox guarding the henhouse. Oh, yeah, thechickens can trust the fox to give them reliable, fair and balanced information that is in thechickens’ best interest.

Also in the news is one of the other branches of the Unholy Trinity of Wingnuttery, the “tea party” “movement.” Reports The Associated Press today:

St. Paul, Minn. – Several tea party leaders announced plans [today] to form a national federation to promote the movement’s conservative message and to counter the idea that the tea parties are politically unsophisticated and disorganized.

Tea party leaders from Memphis, Tenn., Richmond, Va., and Orlando, Fla., along with representatives of several other groups announced the new National Tea Party Federation during a rally outside the Minnesota Capitol. They said 21 tea party groups around the nation had joined the federation.

Memphis Tea Party founder Mark Skoda said recent media coverage had questioned whether the conservative tea parties, which number in the thousands nationwide, were too loosely organized to be politically effective in the national midterm election.

He said the federation intends to convey a unified message about the tea party’s brand of fiscal conservatism, which emphasizes limited government, less public spending and free markets….

Um, “federation” or “confederacy”?

Looks to me like the election of the nation’s first black president has many Americans (a minority, but still a sizeable minority, and certainly a vocal one) wanting to form a separate nation again…

As far as the third branch of the unholy trinity — the Repugnican Party — goes, it’s hard to say how much FOX “News” harms vs. helps the party. It seems to me that having a networkdedicated to your “cause” could only be more helpful than harmful. Sure, FOX “News” solidifies those of us on the left, but FOX “News” also misinforms millions who believe everything that they see and hear on the tay-vay.

If the “tea party” splits the Repugnican vote, however, that could spell real trouble for the Repugnican Party. And the “tea party” also is driving Repugnican candidates even further to the right. Notes Yahoo! News:

… [The] popular anger stirred up under the [FOX  “News”] network’s auspices may not be an unqualified boon to a GOP facing a tough primary season that pits many “tea party”-style insurgents against candidates aligned with the national [Repugnican Party] organization.

Two of the most prominent such races are the [U.S.] Senate contests in Florida and Arizona, where two more compromise-minded mainstream candidates, Charlie Crist and John McCain, are fending off challenges from candidates backed by the “tea party” — and running strongly to the right of their usual positions as a result.

Beyond the primaries, the GOP is looking to make significant headway against the Democratic majorities in Congress — hoping even to return the House to Republican control. But to do that, Republicans will have to overcome their disadvantage in voter registration in many districts by appealing to independent voters — and those are the very sorts of voters most likely to be repelled by an angry ideological message….

I would think that the “tea party’s” influence on elections would cause more overall long-term harm than benefit to the Repugnican Party. The more right-wing candidates can win the Repugnican primaries, but they struggle in general elections except in the redder regions of the nation.

White supremacism and racism, misogyny and patriarchy, homophobia, “Christo”fascism, xenophobia, jingoism and militarism — to name just a few of the “values” that the “tea party” stands for, whether it will admit it or not — do not appeal to those demographic segments of the nation that are growing, but appeal only to certain demographic segments of the nation that are shrinking.

The “tea party,” aided and abetted by FOX “News,” it seems to me, very well might end up speeding up the demise of the Repugnican Party.

In the meantime, I remember when “President” George W. Bush named, in his 2002 State of the Union Address, Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the “axis of evil.”

Funny, because Iraq certainly never posed a threat to the United States, and thus far Iran and North Korea haven’t harmed the United States, but FOX “News,” the “tea party” and the Repugnican Party eat away at the fabric of our democracy every fucking day,bringing us closer to ruination of our nation than the members of the unelected Bush regime’s “axis of evil” ever could hope to – without their having to launch a single missile, or, indeed, having to lift a single fucking finger.

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