Monday, September 30, 2013

COMING SOON! Republicans Shutdown The Government...I hate tired retread sequels. *UPDATED*


It is official now. The Federal Government is closed.

...Unfortunately, we do not have a clear indication that Congress will act in time for the President to sign a Continuing Resolution before the end of the day tomorrow, October 1, 2013. Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations....

Also I should note that while 800,000 are being sent home today. Another 1,000,000 will be asked to stay on the job and receive no pay (The Republican dream.).

Also the House GOP last night, in the closing minutes of government started pushing to go to a conference committee. There they would fight/"negotiate" out the House and Senate bill.

This could sound good. The trouble is that the Democrats have been pushing for this on this matter for months now (It's been on the table since April.). But Republicans wanted to push to a late night showdown. But at the end, they wanted the conference.

And Reid said no. This is because a last minute conference where Republicans will continue to push ancillary issues, like the "Conscious Clause" on to Democrats as the government sits in shut down is just unacceptable. They can't win an election on their bad ideas, so they want a budget crisis to force their ideas on the country instead.

Republicans seems eager to disable government until they get all their wants. And they aren't getting their way.

GOP needs to grow up.


So we quickly race to a government shutdown, and Republicans are hard at work, getting on Twitter, getting on TV, making speeches they hope will make great campaign ads...You know, the important things.

So what is some of the impact of these efforts by Republicans to kill the Obamacare, block access to birth control, etc?

  • Small Business Administration stops loaning to business.
  • Student loans slow down.
  • Home loans slow down.
  • Clinical trials by National Health Institute will stop.
  • EPA and other regulators slow down or just stop.
  • Slowdown in passport processing.
  • National Guard will hold off in aiding in disaster relief.
  • Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program stops.
  • The quick service at airports via E-Verify stops. (I imagine this will be quickly restarted. As last time.)

And along this, it will impact our economy. Because, despite the Republican mantra, government/public jobs ARE REAL JOBS. They may like to pretend otherwise, but all these people not working, not getting paid, and all the services out of function will hurt the country. We will look at 800,000 people going to work tomorrow morning to be told to go home, without pay.

Shutdowns remind us how much we rely on and need government. Republican never learn this lesson. So it is up to us voters to teach it to them at the ballot box.

Be pissed. Be registered.  Be ready to vote.

If it was a Conscious Clause, the GOP would be embarrassed by themselves.

As we've seen this weekend, the House Republicans introduced a "conscious clause" into the ongoing budget debate.

This isn't a matter where they want to address a budgetary expense, to claim something, like the ACA, is a fiscal burden for the country. No. This is just an addendum on their other crazy ideas, to take away access to birth control from as many women as they can.

The idea is that if you, the business owner, decide that preventative health care for women is morally or religiously objectionable, you get to opt out. So you, as a business owner, have an out to slash your health care expenses...while taking a religious/moral stand...of course.

But even if you are taking some stand, call this a conscious clause or a matter of Religious Freedom, it is the same thing. This is putting women in a separate and inferior category. This is saying that the preventative health needs of women do not stack up as worthwhile or acceptable as those of men. Sexual health issues of men are clean. The sexual health issues of women aren't clean, and actually troubling. So when someone wants to boot out women's access to The Pill, or other contraception, we'll allow it. I mean, they have "moral objections". How can we not acquiesce to someone having a moral objection. Sure, contraception is medically valid...but I know a church that doesn't like it.

Their are a number of religions opposed to blood transfusions. There are people who morally object to vaccination. No one cares. No one will take access to this stuff away.

Already we've seen a ridiculous exemption given to religious institutions to not have to have any cover even allowed in their health care coverage. Many don't only hire people of their faith. They can't directly control what they do on their own time (have unacceptable relationships, dress unacceptably, say unacceptable things), but they can control this. And the government gave them that power over people.

The Koch Brothers want to be sure they have that power. So does Hobby Lobby, Chick Fil-A, and many others.

The end result that conservatives hope for in this is a stigmatization of birth control. To convince us that birth control or abortion it's all evil.  They want women to struggle. They want society to look in fear at sex.

Did I mention this was a budget battle?

Because we are currently looking at a budget battle, and the risk that the government will shut down.

And the House GOP decided to lob this into the strife we are already besot by. Unbelievable.

No. Unacceptable.

And the Right Wing clowns cheer this on, even lauding a debt default by the United States. They are fools giddily dancing their way through a raging fire.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sleepy Hollow Review - Episode 2 - Blood Moon - "Aren't you dead?" *UPDATED*

Hey! Did you get the Star Trek reference in the title?
NOBODY CARES! (Shh. I do. I'm the only one that gets you...)

Abbie has no time for your
But more or less seriously, time for another review, to see how Sleepy Hollow holds up as it enters it's season proper. And, hey, it's still the same week as the episode came out! (Wait? Is it? ...Kind of.) Pretty snazzy. It would have been out quicker...but I feel into a deep sleep. Buying it? Oh, you bought me procrastinapping? Thanks, you guys are all heart. (...Even if I did actually take a 6 hour nap today.)

Before we get into that I wanted to point to a Tumblr post I made earlier this week. It's in regards to relationships in shows. I just wanted to remake the point, I don't fault people for shipping characters on a show. Enjoy it. I will try to stick to what looks to me like the narrative in front of me, on the screen, and not say anything about your personal fun.

But the fact that some people are giving the character of Abbie Miller crap for her race. Never acceptable. If you are the type of person who gripes when a nonwhite actor gets a led role, leave now. Just go.

The second episode starts with a recap of everything up to now…Or the last episode.

Ichabod was a cop who only knew how to break all the rules. The Headless Horseman was joker, whose jokes always fell flat. Abbie was a nun who kept to her vow, to kick some ass. And when they got together, it was mathematical.

See? We’re all caught up. (Or look at the last review.)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Banned Book Week is closing, and some books are left unopened. ^UPDATED*

Mark Twain
 Today is the end of Banned Book Week, supported by the American Library Association. The idea of this week is to make yourself and others aware of all the literature which is kept out of people's hands. In schools and libraries books are pulled from the shelves and denied to students and patrons.

Sometimes their can be a valid concern about where the book is placed, like more adult themed material being placed in with children's books. But much of the time it is a matter of someone not caring for ideas being presented, or social and sexual imagery and concepts being presented. The books are dangerous! What an idea. Books are generally dangerous in the most wonderful of ways. As are ideas.

Margaret Atwood
For so long powerful and evocative books, sometimes with complicated views of society and history have been deemed better forgotten. Fahrenheit 451The Grapes of WrathHowl. Leaves of GrassInvisible Man (Ralph Ellison). The Great Gatsby. The Autobiography of Malcolm XOur Bodies, Our SelvesThe Jungle. The Scarlet Letter. The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnTo Kill A Mockingbird. Gone With The Wind. The Call Of The WildThe Red Badge of Courage. Bury My Heart At Wounded KneeWhere The Wild Things Are.

George Orwell
Honestly I look at this list, and the rest at the link and think, "I have a lot of books to reread. And plenty to pick up for the first time.

And now we live in an age where kids books are written about someone having two moms. Or kids dealing with serious real world issues. And for some people this is terrifying. As terrifying as once a book about an island full of boys unsupervised running a muck was to people. Or a book about fighting back against a society that burns books. Or a book about a totalitarian regime against who there can be no victory. Or a book about a boy wizard with a destiny.

Here's a listing for many books that have faced bans over the last 100 years. You can see it continues to this day with books like the Hunger Games and The Perks of Being A Wallflower facing ban challenges. This is a fight to preserve access that will continue for years to come.

Neil Gaiman -
MPR Photo/Steve Mullis
Here's a piece talking to Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, about the bans and conflicts she faced.

Here's a list of some of the week's heroes, working against bans. Let them inspire you.

Here's an article from CNN looking at the week and the struggle many books and libraries continue to face. It also lists books heavily attacked last year, like And Tango Makes Three (about two male penguins who hatched an egg), Kite Runner, Beloved, and Captain Underpants

Ray Bradbury
That CNN list also shows 50 Shades of Grey, a book many of us I know aren't fond of seeing. But that's the point of opposing banning. It's not whether we care for or respect a book. It's the fact people have a right to access all sorts of literature.

Below are some additional notes on more titles that have faced hostility when made available.
And here's some comics that have faced being banned. And as you may note are some amazing award winning works. This includes Spider-Man books, Maus, Persepolis, Sandman, and Tank Girl. And also Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Strikes Again. A really lousy and loathsome piece, in my mind. But I don't care for people to be denied the right to access and read it themselves and come to hate it just as I did.

J. K. Rowling
Perhaps that's the hidden benefit of this fear of some for some books.

It reminds up how amazing and powerful literature is. And that we should never take it for granted, or loose our love for it.

Literature and literacy. Help it spread.

And for "fun", here's a quiz on some banned books.


NPR found a nice library display looking at famous banned books, and why they were banned.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jim Gordon: GCPD: Nights *UPDATED*

Just a chip off the old brick.
The news from Comic Book Hollywood (Would that be Comicwood?) is that we will see another comic hero making his way (Yeah. It’s a guy. You shocked?) to TV. A month back we heard about Flash coming to TV via a spinoff of the series Arrow. But know Warner Brothers will be producing a new series, based around Commissioner James Gordon, to show on FOX.

From the talk, it looks like he won’t be the commissioner of police. But he will be in Gotham City. It seems to be some sort of a prequel to the Batman era of the city. So it doesn't seem we should see any of the classic costumed criminals, nor have any sighting of Bruce Wayne (unless they are tweaking his history for the show as well).

Now the show is being made by the creator of The Mentalist, Bruno Heller, so we know he can make interesting criminal procedurals. But will it be a show worth using Gordon in, or worth getting excited about?
What origin will Gordon have. Jim Gordon has been given different origins over the years. Is he the guy who moves to Gotham and discovers how corrupt it is? Is he the guy who’s lived in the city for years, and has hit the wall of police corruption? Who will Gordon be?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Conservative callousness towards the low income worker. *UPDATED*

Saw this quote noted on a post:
But, why should every job pay enough to live on? The whole idea of a diverse economy is that there are many, many, many jobs on which you can make a living, and there are many jobs which are not intended — they’re at the bottom of the scale — they’re not jobs you’re supposed to be able to live on. … When you’re unskilled, you should not expect to be able to make a living off of your ordinary day’s labor.
And this is just a taste of the attitude we see. Some jobs are just "those jobs". And, some people know.

It's a confident callousness towards those that struggle with acquiring a good paying job, with personal problems, with illnesses, with family they take care of, and a whole range of issues and factors. It's an assurance that those you aren't well off, or economically stable are being punished (by God, by fate, by society, by that damn Invisible Hand). Or, you are one of them (the good lot), and one of those type (foreigner, union, atheist, teacher, liberal) screwed you over.

It all fits together to them. If you are getting minimum wage, you are clearly a teenager. You have to be. Otherwise, you' can't be receiving minimum wage, cause that just doesn't happen. Yet, we can see that those getting minimum wage are around 50% people over 25. And if you are a part time worker (which more and more of us are being pushed into) you are more likely to be pushed towards minimum wages. And the trend over the last few decades has been a growth of those with more education and age finding themselves working in lower wage jobs.

I suppose conservatives feel people are being silly taking these jobs. Don't they know better? Just take that high paying job instead!

The reality is people who can't find work in their fields are struggling and looking for work in other areas to sustain them, and what they often find is part time offers.

Sure, if you are at a major news network it probably not too bad to move jobs. Nor if you're at a major think tank. But for the rest of us, it is rough.

Which is why things like food stamps or Obamacare are so desperately needed (Also various government services in dire peril this week.). Yet conservatives are eager to slash at these. It'd be nice if conservatives were helping out. (No. Ending the minimum wage isn't helping.) Not to worry they are sending cash to corporate farming, the military, and military contractors. I'm sure that will...trickle down to us before long.


Okay. started seeing typos. Had to step in, and stop hitting my head on my desk.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's National Voter Registration Day

Today is the National Voter Registration Day.

I know, it's a little late to be telling you about it. You can't go out a register at this hour.

But that's the point of it. The elections, the polling, the moment you can exercise that constitutional power isn't tomorrow.

But it is coming soon.

  • Do you know when the midterm elections are? 
  • Do you know what amendments, referendums, and other business are going to be on the next ballot?
  • Do you know your polling place for the next go around?

Rest assured conservatives are mobilizing for the election. Normally, conservatives swamp out liberals at midterm elections. Their numbers are more eager at these times to get in and preserve their norm.

And liberals, we just forget about it. We decide to wait until the presidential election to get involved, or care. We aren't their to keep our representatives in place. We aren't preventing harmful amendments.

I know. The midterms are next year. There's still time.

But that's the point of National Voter Registration Day. It's a reminder on the calendar. It's should get prompt you to be sure to take some interest in what is coming up, get some information (when you have the time), and be sure to be an active citizen.

Still, the voting comes so many months from now. But, can I ask you a question?

  • Do you know is you are, or are still, registered to vote? Are you sure?

Be sure to not wait until the last minute to determine this.

If we do want change, it means we need to be involved.

Sleepy Hollow Pilot Review: Put on your shades. Sleepy Hollow just got a wake up call. *UPDATED*


Okay I'm now kicking myself. I forgot a curious part of this shows concept I wanted to mention.

I haven't seen it mentioned by others (Maybe because it's so obvious.), but this show actually is melding two (at least) of Washington Irving's legendary tales. We have "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" being played out, of course. But Ichabod Crane also takes on the role of Rip Van Winkle, from "Rip Van Winkle", in the show as well.

He goes into a strange sleep and awakens to find that time has passed, his wife gone, and the world has changed on him. Granted, for Rip it's a couple of decades, and for Ichabod it's centuries. But it seems a clear parallel.

Seeing this does make me want to further review Irving's works, to see if anything else is made use of in the series.

Hey. Any excuse to enjoy some good literature, right?


I wanted to note that at least via iTunes, you can download the pilot. They also have a few very short documentary pieces for the shows making.

Also on YouTube, their is a channel called The Corbin Files, which gives minute long videos for each episode and the threat that is being faced. It has Clancy Brown making voice recording of his characters discoveries. It's a little more Clancy Brown for your enjoyment.


I am still trying to get myself on a schedule of writing, so I can work on the different topics that interest me. ...Still got work to do on that.

But as part of some coverage of enjoyable horror, I thought I'd take a look at Sleepy Hollow...just in time for the second episode tonight (Hopefully...Oh, look, I didn't make it.). Still, like me I'm sure you've all DVR'd it and will be watching it tomorrow, so this works. (Come on! Work with me here.)

So let's see if it is worth tuning into these early episodes, and the rest of the season.

Sleepy Hollow, is a production of Sketch Films, Kurtzman Orci Paper Products, and 20 Century Fox. It shows Monday nights on FOX. And, it started last Monday, September 16.

Tarzan, conqueror of jungles
and split ends.
The show follows Ichabod Crane, the main character of the original tale told by Washington Irving. The show takes our hero from the events of the American Revolutionary Wars to modern day East Coast America. No surprises there. It's not the first time we've had characters taken from their time to ours. Continuum gives us a heroine out of time trying to set things right for the future. H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper have made the jump to the present. Sherlock Holmes has been repeatedly moved though time to other ages, and also been modernized more than once. And in 2003 they modernized Tarzan and moved him to the "jungle of New York City". So this is old hat.

Sleepy Hollow's pilot wastes no time getting going, taking us right into battle.

Thankfully this isn't one of those battles during the Revolution that one of the Justice League lands in the middle of...or a guy in a time traveling plane.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Good News! Even if the fall does kill you, Ted Cruz will be fine.

There's a classic line from Douglas Adams:
"It's not the fall that kills you; it's the sudden stop at the end."
In the last several years, the Republican Party has proven itself eager to engage in a scientific study to see if this is true. They've cut aid and support, leaving vital funding often plummeting. And, as we seen already, Republicans are all too ready to bring the government, country, and economy to a grinding stop.

Following on the conservative experimentation of last week, the effort to take away funding from Obamacare in the House, we now move to the Senate. In the House there was a line of Republicans eager to crow and call out for ending the program and shutting down government. Those voices are far less loud or numerous in the Senate. So does the deadly game change?

In the Senate, we have Ted Cruz, of Texas. He’s been in office for 9 months. And comes from Texas, where is crazy rhetoric already won him office. So he’s been revving up for a fight for awhile.

He’s the bargain lawyer from your late night TV watching. Really he is. If you watch enough TV, you've probably seen his ads come on again and again. And like so many of these ads, he’s been selling a lousy and dubious product, the idea that Obamacare should be defunded.

"Call in the next 10 minutes and receive a free Brazilian Power Crystal."

But while he is a sort of slick TV lawyer, he shouldn't be underestimated. He is a lawyer who has argued before the Supreme Court. He isn't a small town kid new to the bright lights of the big city. He has been around. He just talks to his audience usually, angry hostile Tea Party conservatives.

To do this work and stir up his audience, he’s needed more than the president for a baddie in his pantomime play. He’s been also hitting the House Republicans. For awhile he’s been mocking the House for not putting out a serious enough effort to defund Obamacare. He’s tried to turn conservative ire on them.

So, finally, the House acted and is throwing him just what he wants. Which means he’ll either have to lead a losing fight against changing the House bill, or shut up. A possibility a number of Republicans would enjoy.

But he’s hoping to throw this back again on to House Republicans. He wants the House to respond to a blocking of the House plan with a new strategy. First, refuse to pass a complete continuing resolution to fund the government. Then, pass small parts of it, to send to the Senate. That way Republicans can just fund the parts of government they value. (You’ll remember this was their approach to the Farm Bill, where they funded corporate farms, but later cut food stamp funding.)

And what I am interested in with Cruz is that he thinks if they send the Senate just the military funding, the Senate will have to fund it, or take all the blame for the shutdown.

I know FOX News will try to sell this. I know Right Wing radio and Murdoch will peddle it. But, as history suggests, the country never buys it.

But it seems clear that Cruz is uninterested in the impact these little experiments have on his party, his country, his economy, or his fellow citizens. So what is he out for?

It boggles the mind.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Why are the Republicans screaming at their own reflection.

I'm unsure, but I think Republicans, like cats and dogs sometimes, don't know it's their own reflection in the mirror. It's true. I think they look in mirrors and don't know what they are looking at.

At least that is the only explanation I can think of to explain the latest ad coming from the GOP.

In the ad a women visits a doctor's office.

And that seems nice. ...Except...she's on...OBAMACARE!!!

That's horrible! Cause you not what that means!


You may feel a tiny bit insulted and talked down to
by Republicans.
Yeah. Republicans are warning you about someone trying and force themselves into your medical decisions...the duplicity is so rife I struggle with what to say. It is just amazing.

If you've forgotten, somehow, Republicans have spent years trying to take away women's access to abortion. And long the way they've worked to step in the way of access to birth control, the Pill, and just getting honest forthright information from doctors.

These Republicans are the lot that have put laws on the books to silence doctors from using or offering their considerable medical knowledge, if it offends the dubious morals of conservatives. Republicans have been none too kind to rape victims. And in the last year, they've at least once tried to force women who suffer a miscarriage to go into the police, so they can be investigated.

These are the people now trying to tell us about the dangers of liberal government intervention in medicine. And by intervention, they means having guaranteed access to insurance to make it possible for millions to access needed health services.

They are the cat staring in the mirror, thinking its seeing another cat. Republicans say racist statements, and thinks it's the other cat doing it. They see attacks on women's rights, and see the other side doing it all. They see efforts to destabilize government, and think they have to stop it. They keep hissing and jumping at the mirror, and don't get that it's their own reflection.

How else do you explain this?

Well, they could also just be dishonest pricks, throwing their faults, crimes, and mistakes at the other side and hoping they'll stick...But have we ever seen them do that...regularly since the turn of the century...

And with that cats freaked by their reflection.

John Boehner: "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"

Watching John Boehner rather sadly go through the routines of being in charge is not that much fun. He seems to know he's in a dead end job. He seems to know no one respects him. And he seems to know what he's doing doesn't matter much.

I guess what I'm saying is that he's Dante, from Clerks. Going nowhere. Doing nothing, and getting no respect.

But for this to work he'd need a Randall always around him. And the best shot at that would be someone like Eric Cantor. But that'd mean Cantor was constantly cutting Boehner down in conversations. That he was constantly slacking off and preventing anything from getting done...

...Oh my god! Eric Cantor is Randall!

Does the 113th session of congress make a lot more sense now?

The House is being run by the clerks.

So are all the wacky, ridiculous, and cartoonish plots of the last year based on the animated series then?

Does that mean bear really is driving car?!

Eh. Can't wait until Boehner and Cantor are stuck working at Mooby's then.

"I thought they said we'd have cushy jobs after Congress?"
"What? All the milkshakes you can drink isn't cushy?"


Another Banner Day for Cantor


Just last night I was marveling at how Eric Cantor was so eager to take a lead in going after food that ought to be in the hands of children (and the elderly and veterans and anyone in need). You might think such an endeavor would sate one for the week.

But not our Eric.

Today he lead a ridiculous event. (I know, I know. It's his specialty.) With great aplomb and revelry, the US House of Representatives voted to cut funding to Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act. But I think almost everyone has given up calling it this.). Yeah. Woo! They did it! They voted on this!

I'll give you a moment to recover from the stirring and historic news from this morning.


Yeah, it's quite ridiculous. How many times have they voted to repeal the Obamacare law now? Is it over 50? Because I thought I'd heard that when they get to the fiftieth vote, everyone in the House gets a free lobbyist. Really at this point they've done this enough to acquire a repetitive strain injury.

Having successfully voted on this one more time, they raced to a camera to cheer their great victory...Which at best will lead to a short filibuster in the Senate before vanishing. It may make the effort to fund the government, keep the lights on, keep millions of Americans getting their paychecks, etc, a bit harder. It may help amp up the fight over the debt ceiling. It may be just that little bit of bull crude needed to tip us into debt default later this year. But other than that, it isn't going to change the implementation of Obamacare. It is still coming later this year. That is unchanged

So in that regard, the Republican stunt today is meaningless, unless you spend your day listening to Right Wing Radio. In that case, we are marching to end the socialist blight of Islam...Or something. Is will also be made into campaign brochures, ads, and speeches, and bring in some more cash. But it is just theater.

Most of what's happen in the House these days centers around making an art out doing nothing, and getting paid handsomely for it. Time and again, they push out bills that will go nowhere, but will get them on TV, or make a good bit of red meat for the most rabid of the base. But this last week they've worked hard, to take away food and health care access from millions.

But none of this is important. What's important is the illusion...I think I may be comparing Eric Cantor to Gob Bluth...

But, actually, Gob may be a good example of Cantor and the joke of an event this morning.

That's because today was a joke. They want to try and pretend it was a success. They want to have everyone think things have changed. They want to act like they are strutting around with confidence, but really they want to sneak away and cry. I mean they had people there to cheer them on as they threw out their anemic talking points. It was just sad.

And Eric Cantor wants to make himself the center of attention in it all. The brave hero. The mastermind. But he's just a pathetic attention getter.

Sadly, when this is all done, I wonder if Eric Cantor has the temerity to even admit to himself, "I've made a huge mistake"?

I wonder if he knows what he really wants to do, and what price everyone will pay for him to achieve that?

A little tribute in honor Cantor's showmanship.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Eric Cantor vows to drink the poor's milkshake, and then take candy from a baby.

Today the US House of Representatives finally got around to addressing the funding of food stamps, or as they've been renamed, SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional…Mobile Army Strike…Surgical Hospital…Logistics Division…)…food stamps, okay?

Earlier this year the Farm Bill, dealing with the production of food on farms AND aid to those in poverty came through Congress. But in the fight that conservatives have made Congress day to day, there was contention. Already, there was a push to slash out $20 billion from aid to those in poverty, which is harsh, and I oppose. But conservatives pondered, “Is this all there is? Couldn't I do more?” Oh, well, we know they didn't ponder it. They raced to enact a doubling of the harmful cuts to food stamps.

But, alas, they faced stiff Democrat resistance on this. So, the Farm Bill got split up. And, now, food stamps are on the chopping block.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images
The Republican plan, giddily put forward by Eric Cantor, will cut $40 billion over the next 4 years. And by next year 3.8 million will be kicked out of the SNAP program (And more and more will be hit as the decade passes).  As well, access will be tightened to access food stamps, and many state waivers will be cancelled. Where all these people end up, how they get fed, that isn't Eric Cantors problem. You should have thought about it before you chose to be poor.

And, finally, getting to the floor, the message was clear. The vote was 217 to 210. All but 15 Republicans voted for these cuts. The Republicans are clear, food stamps aren't a priority. And, now with the economic trouble we are having in this country. Food stamps are instrumental for millions. But this is yet another investment in the country Republicans are not just unwilling to make, they are hostile to it.

And it isn't just Congressional Republicans at work. Kaisch, in Ohio, is eager to ramp up pressure on the poor as well. He wants to be sure there are stringent work requirements, if you want to eat. Trouble is that in Ohio (47th in job creation); there isn't exactly a surplus of jobs to give these people living in such poverty (Its part of the issue.).

But the implication is clear; you have to force people that are struggling and hungry to work. To Republicans, they are lazy and dishonest. The contempt is clear.

And it is a stunningly ill-conceived plan. Even if there is some job, they have to spend money to get to the job. Then, if they have kids, pay for someone to take care of them. And, let’s face it; these jobs won’t be well playing ones. Will this just put them deeper in the hope? All just to allow conservatives to feel they've won and economic and moral victory over those in poverty? Really?

This effort will hurt so many. There is a troubling level of food insecurity in the country now. One in seven families struggle with having consistent access to enough food to be healthy. This comes to around 49 million, a fifth of them kids. These numbers are growing.

This many are already struggling. And where will they and others be when the Republicans are done? What happens to them? What happens to this country when we struggle like this, and turn our backs on millions?

For now this time wasting is meaningless. It shouldn't pass through the Senate. And it won’t be signed into law by the president. But it is dragging out the legislative process, which is par for the course with Eric Cantor. And with the fights over budgets and debts to come, those in poverty will be targeted more by House Republicans.

But this isn't the only trouble facing those relying on food stamps to get by, week by week. Since 2009, the Recovery Act has been enhancing the SNAP program. But, come November 1st, this support will be ending. And, at that point, a family of three will see their monthly support drop by $29 a month.

The struggle for those in poverty is continuing. And Eric Cantor just toys with them. Being poor shouldn't make you an easy target for politics.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Us and guns, quite a culture.

Another tragic series of deaths at the hands of a gunman. It happens so regularly, you could be tempted to be glib. But their is nothing funny in these acts.

Yet their is something distinctly ridiculous in how some choose to look at the aftermath.

Tucker Carlson (Who doesn't wear a bow tie anymore,  because THEY ARE COOL NOW.) thinks the answer to people taking up firearms to massacre people is to be afraid of people dealing with mental illness.
These liberals. They don't know an AR-15 from . But mental illness? That's something we can all get around demonizing. Right?
He isn't alone in this as other across FOX News also are eager to point away from gun access to attack people in need of treatment, stigmatizing them.

Many would be happy to see complete databases of mental health data, as long as gun ownership won't be part of the record.


But let's be clear. Mental health is an important issue. And should be of interest. People in need of aid should get it, just like with all aspects of health care. But when Republicans bring it up it feels truly hollow. The likes of Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan always saw mental health as a place to cut, leaving many in need out on the streets.

If only Republicans actually cared about this issue. It's easier for them to demagogue it then care.

But more was going on at FOX News. Over at Fox and Friends they seemed to be coming up with a Video Game Registry. They saw value in seeing how often people buy violent video games.

Yeah. That could be a warning sign.
Someone stockpiling AR-15's? Eh. That's nothing odd. Someone who's played all the Call of Duty games, all the Splinter Cell games, and all the Halo games? That is a warning sign.
Yet, as others have pointed out, so many countries have avid video game playing populations. But they don't see the same levels of violence, and particularly gun violence. Somehow it isn't happening there.

But some people like to have something they can point at and send the angry mob after.

"Come out, Mario!"
"...Mario is in another castle...?"
But the guns? Heaven forfend if we bring up extended clips, armor piercing rounds, or guns that are better suited to assaulting your hometown bank, then taking down a stag! That would be beyond the pale.

Once this country was open to having reasonable limits on gun ownership. Some things were acceptable. Some things only a nut would try and own. But the gun industry saw another path. Paranoia. Fear. Hate. And, lo, their came the Preppers. And it's proven to be quite a racket.

So, yeah, if we had fewer of the "not" full automatic weapons around we would be safer. And if guys would stop trying to walk into department stores with giant knives strapped to their thighs, we'd all feel a little safer.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chuck Todd is not good at his job.

Okay, first, this is reminiscent of the segment Rachel Maddow has done in regard to John Boehner. He is also not good at his job. But, working for the same company, Maddow probably won't start a segment on Chuck Todd.

Second, it may depend. Depend on what Chuck Todd thinks his job is. But let’s look at Chuck Todd. 

"Ha ha! See the beard? I'm Mirror Universe Chuck Todd!"
"That mean you're the one good at your job?"
"...Shut up!"
I’ll be honest when he first came on MSNBC I had no idea who he was. I actually thought for a long time he was a Republican strategist. No idea why now. I’ll just assume that at the same time there was some GOP schmuck on the channel at the same time with a goatee. But I was pleased to realize he wasn't there to shill some party’s line.

No, instead he was another in a line of people on the channel wrestling and vying for coveted seats on shows, with the hopes they would someday get shows of their own shows. I don’t fault that. Maddow, Hayes, and Perry all did this to.

The trouble lies in what you do to get there, and what you do when you get there. The three I mentioned above dig into the news and draw out the things they think you should know about. (Granted, this is within reason. They do work for a mammoth corporation, who could dump them on the street at a moment’s notice. …Go independent media!) But others, like David Gregory, are there to just be on TV, and keep being on TV. No opinion is too strong for him to give up and make management happy.

And Chuck Todd in choosing a role model went there. Maybe it’s because Gregory beat him out for Meet the Press. Maybe this is just all Todd is capable.

But what does he do? Let’s look at the last several days.

With the tragic events at the Naval Shipyard still stinging people, the police on the hunt, and everyone grasping for answers, Todd raced to be among the first to point an accusing finger at the gunman.

Trouble was that is wasn't the gunman. It was an innocent bystander. But, hey, at least Chuck Todd got there first. Right? Granted, he defamed an innocent person.

Last week, after the 11th, Todd was pleased to point out how gracious the Republicans were to not bring up Benghazi during the tragic anniversary.

Trouble was that they did bring it up. And, frankly, a journalist or news show host might want to check that stuff out before going on air. You would think this would particularly be the case when one of the Republicans who brought it up was John Boehner, on September 11th. Not that anyone there cared. They just desperately try and fill the hours of the day with the cheapest commodity they have, hot air.

And then this Wednesday, in back and forth with Ed Rendell, Todd laughed at the idea that the media has a job differentiating between lies and truth. The news has no role in pointing out falsehoods, just talk about who’s selling an idea better.

And that’s sports of politics. Who has slung mud better? Who has a better slogan? Who has a cooler line on manipulating?

The most troubling aspect to all this FAIL of Chuck Todd? Not that he is guilty of not doing his job well or with respect for the profession. But rather that this is what the news media has become (Omitting those out there still fighting to be journalist.).

Blitzer, Gregory, Todd, Kelly, and others like them are what people entering these news organizations are shown as examples of doing it right.
Be first (Right or wrong.). Speak the conventional wisdom (Right or wrong.). Keep speaking, you have an hour to fill (And never stop, no matter how inaccurate  irrelevant, or unuseful it is. Just fill your time slot...And keep the ratings up.) Never rock the boat (Don’t be pushy.).
And let’s face it. For what they do, and all the FAIL involved in it, they are put on TV, given praise, given prestige, and given money.

So, yes, Chuck Todd is not good at his job. And he’s smiling about it.

Now how do we fix things?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Another Friday the 13th...they come around like bad movie sequels.

So Friday the 13th has come again. It seems like it comes more than once a year. Presumably because it generally does.

Being as it's Friday the 13th, does that mean I want to talk about the history of our interest in this day and the number 13?...

That sounds like a great idea, but no.

Instead I want to talk about Friday the 13th...THE SERIES!

Now as a regular reader of this blog (Don't worry, I know you're not.) I know you are thinking, didn't I cover this show before, on another Friday the 13th? (Don't worry, I'm not going to try and check either.)

Maybe. And maybe when I did someone pointed out to me I made a critical error in something (like the name of a character...cutting straight to my heart...). So, maybe, I want to start over...

And also I thought it'd be fun to look at the first episode of the series.

Now, I'm not going into the history of the show, or it's making. I'll leave that to another time when I want to discuss the show overall.

For now, let's go back to 1987. ...Oh god, how many of you weren't even alive then!!! Damn you, and your youth! Still, let's go back, and you youngster can pretend you have a flattop, a Walkman, and think Michael Jackson seems really normal.

First, yes, it's called Friday the 13th. No, it doesn't star Jason Voorhees. No, it doesn't happen in or around Crystal Lake. No, it doesn't occur on have a motif of the date, Friday the 13th. And, no, it isn't centered around friggatriskaidekaphobia (Enjoy looking that up.). But it does have ties, of sorts, to the movie series, which we'll cover another time.

But don't worry about getting the point the show. The first episode lays out what you can look forward to nice enough.

I suppose I should say, SPOILERS...for a TV pilot meant to explain the rules and structure of the series...If you'd rather watch the episode first, or instead, jump to the bottom of the post. And enjoy the episode.

Otherwise, proceed.

So the first episode is "The Inheritance", and why that is you'll see soon enough.