Della Street dislikes Carnival. We're adjacent to the parade route, which makes us rather popular at this time of the year. Della and Oscar hide under the bed unless it's a small gathering. Della does, however, like throws. These big-ass cups came our way courtesy of the Krewe of Tucks, which is a bawdy group that parades the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. The cups are marked "size matters" and Della enjoyed interacting with them. I'm not certain if she was disappointed that they were empty.
The name of the disabled Carnival cruise ship that set out from NOLA and just returned to the Port of Mobile is, ahem, the Triumph. The story is about to take over our local media, which is looking for a bright shiny object now that the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras are over. Hell, it's ironic that it belongs to the Carnival line since it crapped out during, well, Carnival.
This gives me a swell excuse to post this sea chanty version of Shenandoah featuring Tom Waits and Keith Richards:
Via my friend Dave Doremus' Facebook page. Thanks, dude.
SPRINGFIELD — The Democratic-led Senate delivered a Valentine’s Day victory to gay and lesbian couples today, passing legislation for the first time that would allow same-sex marriage in Illinois.
The gay marriage measure now goes to the House, where the fight is expected to be tougher. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.
The 34-21-2 Senate vote represents a turnaround of sorts after advocates unsuccessfully sought to push a gay marriage bill through last month’s lame-duck legislative session. Supporters vowed to try again quickly with a new General Assembly that featured even more Democratic seats in both chambers.
As bonkers as this state can be at times, I am very happy to live here now.
It's very clear that the title of this tune by George and Ira Gershwin has changed a few times over the years. This is the title I prefer and if the ghost of Ira decides to haunt me so be it. I'm sure he'd have some good stories about Harpo Marx and Fred Astaire to share.
Where was I? Oh yeah, it's Valentine's Day. I'm not much on all the Hallmark card holidays (unlike my sister-in-law Christina) but I do love my wife very dearly. She takes that whole for better or worse thing very seriously, y'all.
In lieu of a schmaltzy card, here are a few very different versions of this Gershwin classic:
It has always been sensible for good citizens to own and carry firearms for lawful protection against violent criminals who prey on decent people.
During the second Obama term, however, additional threats are growing. Latin American drug gangs have invaded every city of significant size in the United States. Phoenix is already one of the kidnapping capitals of the world, and though the states on the U.S./Mexico border may be the first places in the nation to suffer from cartel violence, by no means are they the last.
Obama came to power, and Colombian drug lords were like fuck yeah, let's head north, because El Homey is in the White House, and the streets of LA are ours now.
After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.
Okay, there were like 12 cases of looting, which is just as many cases of looting as there were on any other given day in New York. It's a big city. Increase the number of people in a place, and you increase the percentage of them who will be scumbags when something shitty happens. Arming the ones who are just morons doesn't help that.
Meanwhile, President Obama is leading this country to financial ruin, borrowing over a trillion dollars a year for phony “stimulus” spending and other payoffs for his political cronies. Nobody knows if or when the fiscal collapse will come, but if the country is broke, there likely won’t be enough money to pay for police protection. And the American people know it.
So Obama is deliberately starving the states of funds to ensure police protection, so that when the apocalypse comes, he can grab everyone's guns, without ... the police to stop him? Or something?
And if nobody knows when the fiscal collapse will come, then why is it imminent?
Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun.
No, but it is paranoia to think a gun can protect you from a tornado. Or from a terrorist attack, for that matter. What were the office workers in the Twin Towers supposed to do that morning? Shoot down a 747 with a .22 or a deer shotgun? Just because it worked for John McClane ...
Fucknut name-checks some gun stores, all of which I'm sure are generous contributors to his cause, and then goes into full-on self-inflicted martyrdom:
Inevitably, the anti-gun media and the gun-ban lobbies are demonizing the purchase of firearms. They call us “extremists” because we wonder whether we will be able to buy a semi-auto in three years or, even in some states, later this year. That’s despite the fact that President Obama long ago made clear that he wants to ban them all!
No, pet, they call you an idiot because you wonder if you'll be able to buy a semi-auto in three years, when Obama clearly can't get a bill praising LOLcats passed in Congress. You really think your guns are going anywhere?
The media try to make rank-and-file Americans feel guilty about buying a gun. The enemies of freedom demonize gun buyers and portray us as social lepers. But we know the truth. We know that responsible gun ownership exemplifies what is good and right about America.
Responsible gun ownership exemplifies that you have purchased a gun and are not stupid with it. It does not say shit about "America." America does not care. You're the one humping a bald eagle on Liberty Island and trying to make it all about you.
The NRA is launching a nationwide, full-court initiative to urge every gun owner, and every non-gun-owning lover of freedom, to join the NRA and fight this battle. I will personally be traveling all over America enlisting new members.
I can hear your PR firm firing itself from here.
We don’t want America to become like England, where some of that nation’s outstanding rifle competitors keep their hobby a dark secret from their neighbors for fear of social disapproval.
Hell, back in the day anybody who looked at George W. Bush sideways was a commie traitor who hated the military. If any Dem had actually had the balls to try to block Rumsfeld, the shrieking would have shattered every window on both sides of the Potomac.
Every time one of the GOP's young guns responds to an Obama SOTU, they lay an egg. It was Marco Rubio's turn this year. The most amusing teevee comments came from Tweety who called Rubio's speech "tinker toys delivered at a 9th grade level." I'd say it was more like 6th grade but you gotta love the tinker toys thing.
To say that Rubio's stagecraft was awkward is an understatement. He seemed to have cottonmouth. Hmm, I wonder if he and Aqua Buddha hung out before they delivered their respective talks.
Posts in the van belong to their posters. Switch between Java and Flash if you can't get one to work. Pop out the chat if you want to make the van bigger. No violence. Try not to step on Claire, she's quite small.
Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.
One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house.
Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote.
Gabby Giffords deserves a vote.
The families of Newtown deserve a vote.
The families of Aurora deserve a vote.
The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote.
Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. Indeed, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I’ve outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.
As for the final vote on VAWA, all 22 votes against the proposal were Republican men. Indeed, it's worth noting that there are only 45 Senate Republicans total, so just about half of the GOP caucus opposed reauthorizing a bipartisan bill intended to help combat domestic violence. These Republicans -- including Sen. Marco Rubio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- knew VAWA would pass the Senate anyway, but wanted to be on record against the law.
Got that? They knew it would pass anyway, but wanted to be on record for being assholes. Markos Moulitsas hit the nail on the head with this observation:
WIth his "no" vote on VAWA, is Rubio running for president, or just the GOP nomination for president?
And there you have it, folks. What we have is the same old stuff, wrapped in a youthful package and slapped with a Cuban label. But it's the same crap sandwich all over again. The same anti-woman, anti-worker, anti-science, anti-reality stuff the GOP embraces but which the country made clear it rejects.
Last week I linked to this hilarious column over at RedState in which demoralized Tea Partiers strategize an amazing comeback. They seem to have reached the "acceptance" stage of their grief over November's electoral ass-whuppin', conceding the Tea Party brand is "effectively destroyed." Their plan to return to prominence is best summed up in this pull quote:
Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Good luck with that, fellas.
Tonight President Obama will offer a bold vision for the country, and while not everyone will agree with it, I'm going to predict there will be lots of big ideas expressed with sweeping rhetoric articulating how the president views America. And I'm going to bet we won't hear any bold, alternative ideas from Rubio -- at all. Instead, I suspect we'll hear moaning and groaning about the deficit and the budget (which posted a $3 billion surplus in January for the first time in five years), the size of government, taxes, etc. We're going to hear about "burdensome regulation," plus a dose of fearmongering about our enemies in the world, like North Korea and Iran.
It's going to be a slightly less crazy crap sandwich from what we'll hear from Rand Paul -- Rubio's crap sandwich will have maybe one or two fewer loony condiments (I'm on a food kick today, people. Sorry.)
And by the way, can someone explain to me why the Republicans get two rebuttals? If Democrats had tried that under Bush there'd have been no end to the whining about Dems hogging the mic and being in disarray because they can't be on the same page and all that. But give me a break, is Rand Paul's opinion going to be that much different from Rubio's? Even the Republicans I know think it's stupid.
(Also, speaking of stupid, can we stop pretending anyone gives a shit about Ted fucking off-his-rocker Nugent? Can I tell you how little I care if he's at the SOTU? The only reason he was invited was to piss off liberals. Why on earth are we giving these people the satisfaction? Move the hell on, already.)
Rubio is the GOPs Great Caramel Hope and if he doesn't pull a Bobby Jindal and trip over his teeth the press will probably hand him the 2016 GOP nomination right there. But so what. The party still doesn't have any new ideas and that's what counts.
Here’s how you know capitalism has failed: when they start creating products for which there is no demand, then spend tons of money on advertising and marketing campaigns in the hopes of creating a demand. I call it the New Coke Syndrome. Nobody had a problem with old Coke but nooooo, some MBA type decided they needed to switch things around because market share and synergy and value-added-thinking-outside-the-box and blahbeddy blah. Voila! You have a product nobody wants.
I’m not sure when this phenomenon started -- probably when people decided getting an MBA was more worthwhile than being a doctor or teacher -- but we’ve been stuck with it for a few decades now and frankly I’m pretty damn sick of it.
So here we have today’s latest entry in the “shit-I-don’t-want” sweepstakes: ladies and gentlemen (but really, let’s be honest here, the stupid shit is always marketed to ladies), I bring you the Land o’Lakes Sauté Express® Sauté Starter!
Land O’Lakes is helping moms solve the 4 p.m. daily dinner dilemma with Sauté ExpressTM Sauté Starter, a new, all-in-one, seasoned butter and olive oil sauté starter that cooks and flavors chicken, fish or pork in one easy step. Found in the dairy aisle, each of the six 1-ounce squares in a package of Sauté ExpressTM Sauté Starter combines the fresh flavors of butter, olive oil, herbs and spices. By simply tossing the pre-measured, butter-based square into a heated, non-stick sauté pan, moms can cook a wholesome, flavorful and sizzling meal in 30 minutes or less – no prep time required.
By the way, why do we need to use a non-stick pan if we're putting butter in it? But I digress. From their website:
How do I use Sauté Express® Sauté Starter?
Simply melt one Sauté Express® square in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add any protein, such as chicken, fish or pork. Sauté until meat is thoroughly cooked.
Oh. So in other words, it's butter. With some spice and other stuff mixed in. Stuff I probably already have in my spice rack next to the stove.
Umm ... 'scuse me, Mr. MBA CEO Guy, but was there something wrong with the stick of Land O'Lakes butter in my fridge?
You know, it’s not that hard to take a pat of butter, pull some dried Italian seasoning out of the spice rack and sprinkle it in there, maybe crush a clove of garlic and let it all melt. I mean, that takes all of, I dunno, two seconds perhaps? Add some olive oil to that and it takes all of 2.2 seconds. This is the daily dinner dilemma for moms? That I don’t have 2 seconds to melt some fucking butter and throw a pinch of oregano in there too?
Are you people fucking kidding me?
This shit makes me nuts. I realize it's not up there with, say, not reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, but the failure of our capitalist overlords to fully understand us ordinary peons and instead look for new ways to give us diabetes and hypertension really cuts my salmon. This is not a better mousetrap. This is some other thing that they’re trying to con you into thinking is a mousetrap. It's a mousetrap-like device. And by the way, do you need a mousetrap? Yes! But you have a cat? No, you really, really, really need a mousetrap! C’mon, you know you do! Ditch the cat, and BUY THE FUCKING MOUSETRAP!
Let's be real here. This product only exists to justify some agribusiness major’s corporate gig. This would be the person who spends waaaay too much fucking time reading Advertising Age. From their press release:
“Cooking with Sauté ExpressTM Sauté Starter is a multisensory experience – from the bubbling and sizzling sights and sounds in the pan and the irresistible aroma of the herbs, spices and butter, to the light, savory flavor and texture of your finished meal,” said Becky Wahlund, test kitchen director at Land O’Lakes. “The entire family will be eager to sit down for dinner – and likely will ask for seconds – making Sauté Express™ Sauté Starter a win-win solution for moms.”
You know what else does that? Butter.
Also, apparently this product is just for moms. If you’re a dad, or a single person, this product is not for you. Continue melting butter and adding your own spices as you’ve always done. Or fuckit, pop a Lean Cuisine in the microwave, we don’t give a shit.
Let me add, if you take some butter and spices and maybe crush a piece of garlic or squirt a lemon wedge in there, you will have something that is infinitely better than this product, because I looked at the ingredients and the Sauté Express® Sauté Starter is loaded with sodium, saturated fat, corn starch and other crap that you don’t need or want. The Garlic & Herb flavor has over 25 ingredients, including yeast extract, salt, sugar, sesame oil, canola oil and citric acid. It also has 280 mg of sodium, 80 calories, and 7 g of fat. That's per serving.
Even the simplest flavor, Savory Butter & Olive Oil, contains corn starch, sugar, soy lecithin, citric acid, and a whopping 270 mg of sodium and 7 grams of fat. Again, that's per serving.
This is what I hate about Big Food. You guys, I'm not eating this crap. No one should eat this crap. It's not even necessary to eat this crap! This product does not make anyone's life easier, not the "busy mom" or anyone else's. You people already sell butter. You want to help moms solve the 4 pm daily dinner dilemma? Try figuring out a way to get your damn butter into my fridge without it costing me $4 a pound. We can handle the rest, really we can.
The SOTU and Mardi Gras are on the same day this year. Perhaps the Prez will throw beads to members of Congress and the Supremes. Ted Nugent better keep his spears to himself since he'll be in the audience as opposed to riding in Zulu. Talk about a dude with an empty coconut...
Bill sits alone, in a Raptor, in the black. He reads Searider Falcon; his fingers on its pages, its scent in his nose. It keeps her close. On the wall behind his head there's the flash of a jump, and the proximity alarms go off. Louder than they've ever gone before.
Bill heads to the cockpit, refusing to blink, younger than ever -- is it the flightsuit? -- and scans the sky for more. It's just that one. Just her. He refuses to take his eyes off her, as he straps in for the approach.
The hatch opens, on a Baseship deck as alien as anything, and as close as home. He makes his way toward her without pomp, with a fair amount of grace, like a boy. She tries to speak, twice. This is his show.
"Missed you." He is the bravest boy in the universe.
He was so terribly young then. He's older than that now.
"I can neither confirm nor deny my bigotry, as to confirm it would alienate every voter who isn't a tight-permed churchy scold in a cat sweatshirt, and to deny it would cost me those churchy scolds who I need to win primaries even in the state of Illinois. And have you seen this fucking place? It's becoming INSANELY GAY up in here, so I am caught between being a Republican and being a decent human being who does not give a damn who you or anyone else screws, and in that calculus decency will lose every time. And yet. I don't support marriage equality because I haven't supported it. So there."
There was a lot of noise last week about Republican "re-branding." Full disclaimer, I am about as good a marketer as I am a pet therapist ("SHUT THE FUCK UP, FLUFFY!") but I wonder if it isn't a bad marketing decision to announce loudly that you are re-branding, as that implies that your previous brand was deficient. And using the term re-branding implies you're not really going to do anything different. You're just changing the colors of the brochure.
Now, that might make sense, if the racism and sexism and fear and insularity and general dislike of one's fellow Americans was somehow an innacurate spectrum with which to portray the modern Republican party. As it is, though, I could re-brand this site as FIRST DRAFT: THE WORLD'S BEST SPORTS BLOG and people still wouldn't read us for baseball coverage.
Pope Benedict IX, in 1045: At age 33 and about 10 years
into his tumultuous term, the Rome-born pope resigned so that he could
get married – and to collect some cash from his godfather, also Roman,
who paid Benedict IX to step down so that he might replace him, according to British historian Reginald L. Poole’s definitive and much-cited history of the 11th century.
Okay, back to Lundi Gras related stuff and answering the age old question, to costume or not to costume. I lean towards the latter since it may be wet tomorrow.
The abuse scandals dominated his seven years as leader of the world's Catholics. Before his accession, there had been scandals in the United States and Ireland. But in 2010, evidence of clerical sex abuse was made public in a succession of countries in continental Europe, notably Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Benedict's native Germany.
The pope was himself affected by one of these scandals. It emerged that, while he was archbishop of Munich, a known molester was quietly re-assigned to duties that, in time, allowed him to return to pastoral duties and make contact with young people.
The flood of allegations represented a vast setback for the project at the heart of Benedict's papacy. The goal he had set for himself, and for which he was elected, was to launch the re-evangelisation of Europe,Catholicism's heartland: it was why he adopted as his papal name that of the continent's patron saint, Benedict of Nursia. But if the numbers of the faithful in Europe as Benedict leaves officeare fewer than when he was elected, then – surveys repeatedly indicated - it is in large part because of anger and despair in the Catholic laity over the sex abuse scandals.
When the abuse story broke in Boston -- and Boston was the first place to really connect it to the bishops' power rather than individual priests' horrifying crimes -- I said to someone at the time that this was the end of the Catholic Church in this country.
I didn't think, even then, that it would be the end of the Catholic Church everywhere. But they managed to fuck this up in every way it could be fucked up, and then be assholes about being called on it, over and over and over. You might survive with total transparency, a full house-cleaning, and a true lack of whining, but that wasn't in these guys' DNA.
And by the by, these are not "scandals." A scandal is where a senator gets caught with a hooker. These are "criminal conspiracy to conceal child rape." Somehow, not as fun.
told Sherman that Fox News chief Roger Ailes has ordered his staff to
bench Rove and his fellow GOP pundit Dick Morris, two of the network's
most vocal partisan voices whose predictions turned out to be
spectacularly wrong. According to Sherman, producers must now get
permission before booking Rove or Morris on Fox shows.
Perhaps Twitter will evolve into a form of news communication...
...especially in the developing world, where independent media outlets are rare.
Holy fuck, are you kidding me? You know, maybe one day, this whole social media thing might have an impact in the third world. Maybe in the ARAB world. In the SPRING. TMQ feels comfortable saying that verily, this may pass. See if you can beat that, Nate Silver!
Twitter and similar services seek to recapture the sensation of childhood. When you are little, your parents wanted to know everything happening to you, everyone you spend time with, everything that was said. Once you are an adult, nobody cares about daily details like where you are and what you are talking about. Twitter creates the illusion that not only does someone else care — thousands of people care! Twitter is all about the person sending the tweet, not those who receive it.
TMQ says: Why not tweet a charitable donation instead? Instead all of you are infantilized assholes who NEVER use Twitter for noble purposes. You are sickening. You are ALL children.
I think people Instagramming their food is weird. I don't get it, like, unless it's a thing that's on fire like Baked Alaska or something, or a birthday cake, like why am I looking at your burrito unless it's to feel bereaved because I have no burrito? I don't get the food pics. When I've made something terribly complicated and I'm proud of it, I'll take a picture then, but I know people who are like, I made a peanut butter sammich and here's a photo! Just eat your damn meal. Preferably nowhere near my DAMN LAWN.
You know what, though? The Internet comes with ALL KINDS of options and ways for me to NOT look at Instagrammed food. And Instagram comes with all kinds of ways to not use its service for those purposes. For example, you can help the NYT document a massive snowstorm. Or otherwise use it to get your message out.
I hate this thing old people do -- and fellow old people, for serious, knock it off -- where we take the stupidest possible use a tool and use that use to declare the tool itself stupid. This is about as savvy as declaring hammers invalid because some people use them to hang pictures of velvet Elvises. It's just a way to stroke ourselves, and while I'm not opposed to that in itself, to quote Easterbrook, nobody else really needs to know all about it.