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28 February 2011

Ho Ho... No

I'm not sure how this is a funny cartoon...


Thoughts? Am I not getting the joke?

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Cartoon: Mike Lester, The Rome News-Tribune, Rome, Ga.

Michelle Obama Looks Healthy To Me

I was reading PJP's recent post, in which he featured a cartoon by Pat Bagley and quoted Rush Limbaugh, and it made me incensed at Limbaugh.

First of all, The First Lady is far from overweight. Michelle Obama is what I'd prefer my little girl strives to be: a regularly proportioned, healthy looking woman who is proud of herself and carries herself with dignity.

I applaud Mike Huckabee's recent statements:
I still think that her approach is the right one. I do not think she's out there advocating that the government take over our dinner plates. In fact she's not. She's been criticized unfairly by a lot of my fellow conservatives. I think it's out of a reflex rather than out of a thoughtful expression. And that's one of the things that bugged me most about the political environment today – we don't have to believe everything the other side proposes is immediately and all together bad. And the reason I have been very vocal, even doing an event with her and publicly speaking out for her initiative, is because it's exactly what Republicans say they believe: that you put a focus on individual responsibility, you encourage people to make good choices, and you reward them for doing so. I thought that's what we were about. She does not, in the Let's Move campaign, dictate what families do with their own children. She doesn't say, "you can't have a cookie. You can't have a birthday cake.' That's not anywhere in her program.
The Let's Move campaign simply provides helpful guidance to assist Americans in digging out of these dire statistics regarding childhood obesity. I found the website to be very helpful and even to include multiple tools you can print and use for your family. I did not find one single place on that website where Michelle Obama seems to call for a no-tolerance policy on junk food. On the contrary, she seems to be calling for what any good doctor or nutritionist would encourage; a healthy lifestyle that we can all continue. A healthy lifestyle that can be maintained must allow for the occasional splurge like her Superbowl menu or ribs.

I'd also like to point out that this type of anti-First-Lady rhetoric never seemed to be an issue for Laura Bush. Some of the statements made by Palin, Bachman and Limbaugh have sounded as ludicrous as me saying "Laura Bush is trying to take away my freedom not to read to my children." Give me a break!

I do have one criticism for the Let's Move campaign, and I guess the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I clicked on the tool to determine your child's Body Mass Index (which links you to the CDC) to clarify if they are indeed overweight. My skinny daughter who is four years old but wears 3T clothing, pictured above, came up as overweight. So, there's some better fodder for you to criticize Mr. Limbaugh. But please, stop this ridiculous nonsense that Michelle Obama is not a swimsuit model. She's what swimsuit models looked like in the 50s and I think if models still looked like her these days, we wouldn't have so many anorexic and bulimic teenage girls.

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composite photo credits: The Pajama Pundit | Kevin Lamarque/Landov

27 February 2011

Sunday Morning Music




This is "Lux Aurumque" ("light and gold") by Eric Whitacre, as performed by Stephen Layton and Polyphony. I've posted this piece before -- featuring Whitacre's "Virtual Choir". Yesterday, TPW and I took the kids to a high school Regional Chorus concert, and this work was performed. I felt it was worthy of a second listen by you, the loyal "Sunday Morning Music" listeners/viewers.

Enjoy your Sunday.

26 February 2011

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Eat your Cheerios -- it's cartoon time!

25 February 2011

Space Shuttle Discovery: One More Time

Blast off!
Get ready to witness the majesty and the power of Discovery as she lifts off one final time," Commander Steve Lindsey said just before launch, as he thanked NASA workers for the work they had done to get the shuttle ready.

Large crowds gathered in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to watch Discovery blast off from Kennedy Space Center toward the International Space Station. After this 11-day mission ends, the aging shuttle will never leave Earth again.

It will become the first shuttle to be retired and will get turned into a museum exhibit. Although NASA has not yet announced which museum will get the prize, the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., has expressed interest in displaying this historic spaceship, which made its maiden flight back in 1984.

"Discovery is the champion of the shuttle fleet," says Valerie Neal of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. "Everything that the space shuttle was intended to do, Discovery, and only Discovery, has done."
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Photo: Pierre Ducharme/Reuters

There's Something About Marry



Heh.

Quote Of The Day

"Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?” I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question. After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities.

I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements — made in sincerity or jest — that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated." -Rep. Paul Broun's statement regarding the incident at his town hall meeting on Tuesday.

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Photo: AP

Darrell Issa: 'My Goal Is To Strengthen The President'


Whaaaaaa?
You know, my goal is to strengthen the President. I think the last two years have weakened the President because they gave him too much money, too loosely, and without the kind of opportunity to give and take that makes America stronger. So, if the President is going to win re-election, he going to win re-election because together we turned the economy in the right direction, American businesses invested, Americans went back to work, and they're feeling good in 2012. I hope we can do that together, I probably still won't vote for him, but I certainly wouldn't feel bad if he, uh, if Americans were working again and he did get another four years.
My emphases.

Personally, I think that Nick sums it up well:
This contradicts the Republican message and stated objective. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said his number one goal is to “make sure Obama is a one term president.” [ed. note: link added] It’s not to fix the economy. Not to get Americans back to work. Not even to reduce the deficit. His number one priority is to end Obama’s political career!

Luckily for America there is someone with enough courage to stand up to the inflexible ideologues in the Republican Party. Although Issa is usually a hard core partisan, it’s still a positive sign to see a Republican willing to work for the good of the nation rather than the good of their own party.

Cue the calls that Issa is a "RINO" in 3... 2...

Oh. Too late.

James Carville Loves That "Tangy Zip"...



....... what?

Yes. James Carville is appearing in Miracle Whip advertising.

24 February 2011

Is Mike Huckabee Going To Run In 2012?

Mike Huckabee, on President Obama:
He's been very expressive in his statements, even at the Saddleback Forum when he ran in 2008. He spelled out very clearly what his view was, and frankly, it's inappropriate , wrong-headed, and not helpful to the overall discussion when people try to say he doesn't have a birth certificate or he's a Muslim. To me that demeans the entire real discussion—what is he proposing and whether it's good for the country—that ought to be the centerpiece for our entire conversation, not what did he hear when he sat in church. If people went back and heard every sermon I heard when I was a little kid and some of the more fundamentalist pastors were yelling from the pulpit at me, if they took every one of those sermons and lifted out of them certain phrases and things, it could be scandalous, but only out of the context of the bigger picture. That's why I thought that a lot of the focus on Jeremiah Wright was misplaced.
...to which Christian Heinze (of GOP12 fame) reacts:
So by my count, Huckabee has called 2008's controversy over Jeremiah Wright "misplaced", forcefully defended Michelle Obama, questioned U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, and castigated the tea party for its emphasis on purity -- all in one week.

Still think he's running for the GOP nomination?
Good point.

If Huckabee runs, it is interviews like the one above (not to mention all of the other stuff that Christian cites) that will be used against him.

Rush Limbaugh: Michelle Obama Not Swimsuit Issue Material



"The problem is -- and dare I say this -- it doesn't look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice. And then we hear that she's out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving with 141 grams of fat per serving, yeah it does... I'm trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you. I mean, women are under constant pressure to look lithe, and Michelle My Belle is out there saying if you eat the roots and tree bark and the berries and all this cardboard stuff you will live longer, be healthier and you won't be obese. Okay, fine, show us." -Rush Limbaugh

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Cartoon: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Quote Of The Day

"The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare." -Congressman Paul Broun (R-Ga), at a townhall meeting, responding to a constituent asking "Who is going to shoot President Obama?"

Kudos for Braun changing the subject, but I don't think he went far enough to discourage that type of rhetoric. At least Broun is showing a bit more respect than the last time that I wrote about him.

I'm guessing that the Secret Service is investigating the comments...

Head nod: Jason Pye

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Photo: AP

Shep Smith: Stuff In Wisconsin Isn't About A Budget Crisis


Did you catch that?
To pretend this is about a fiscal crisis in the state of Wisconsin is malarkey.
Hmmm....

New Home Sales Dropped 12.6 Percent In January



Gah.
Sales of new homes fell significantly in January, a dismal sign after the worst year for that sector in nearly a half-century.

New-home sales dropped to a seasonally adjusted rate of 284,000 homes last month, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That's down from 325,000 in December and less than half the 600,000-a-year pace that economists view as healthy.

Bad winter weather likely hampered some sales, although the industry has been struggling since the housing bubble burst in 2006.

Last year was the fifth consecutive year that new-home sales have declined after hitting record highs during the housing boom. Buyers purchased 322,000 new homes last year, the fewest annual total on records going back 47 years. Economists say it could take years before sales return to a healthy pace.

Builders of new homes are struggling to compete in markets saturated with foreclosures. High unemployment and uncertainty over home prices have kept many potential buyers from making purchases.
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Photo: Molly Riley/Reuters

Tweet Of The Day: Kanye West



Ugh. Seriously?

Classy dude.

...and I own two of this clown's albums...

Foo Fighters' "Rope"


This is "Rope", the first single from Foo Fighters forthcoming album, Wasting Light.

Nice. A great way to start your morning...

23 February 2011

Birther Watch, Ctd.

Finally, it seems that common sense is beginning to prevail in Republican circles:
Toward the end of a 90-minute audience Q&A session at Tuesday night’s town hall meeting, U.S. Rep. Allen West, [R-Fl], was asked by former Indian Trail Improvement District board member Christopher Karch whether President Obama is “legally there or not.”

“Who is going to tell us who this man is? Is he legally there or not?” said Karch. “What are we going to do to ensure that, if he isn’t legally there, it doesn’t happen again?”

Said West: “I will tell you this: That is the dog chasing its tail. The most important thing is, it’s the policies. That’s what we have to be standing on.”

The crowd of about 400 applauded, but Karch wasn’t satisfied.

“But if he’s not, it’s treason,” Karch said.

Said West: “You will waste more time worrying yourself to death about that instead of making sure that you expand the majority in the House of Representatives, you win back the U.S. Senate so that you can stand against the policies that are emanating out of the White House...

“What is your objective? Your objective is getting back to a constitutional republic principles and values. If you spend your time worrying about someone’s citizenship, you will never get to that objective.”

West didn’t offer his own opinion on Obama’s citizenship during the public forum. So PostOnPolitics asked him after the meeting.

“He is a citizen. He’s the president. I mean, that’s all I know. I am concerned about his policies,” West said.
Let's hope that other Republicans, particularly the leadership, starts to follow-suit.

BREAKING: President Obama Thinks That #DOMA Is Unconstitututional



...and is asking the Department of Justice to discontinue upholding it. Here's the meat of the release:
In the two years since this Administration took office, the Department of Justice has defended Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act on several occasions in federal court. Each of those cases evaluating Section 3 was considered in jurisdictions in which binding circuit court precedents hold that laws singling out people based on sexual orientation, as DOMA does, are constitutional if there is a rational basis for their enactment. While the President opposes DOMA and believes it should be repealed, the Department has defended it in court because we were able to advance reasonable arguments under that rational basis standard.

[snip]

After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.
Good on ya Mr. President.

22 February 2011

Haley Barbour And The Race Question

While he may have the winning political ad for 2012, this type of stuff continues to dog the former Governor of Mississippi:
The [race] issue flared as recently as last week, when Barbour declined to denounce an effort by a group pushing for a license plate in honor of confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Barbour says the proposal was never going anywhere.

"I said accurately this is not going to happen," Barbour said in an interview with The Associated Press. "The bureaucracy denied it, the legislature won't pass it and if the legislature passes it, it won't become law because I won't sign it."

Barbour says he denounces the Klan, but was asked to denounce a specific person.

"I don't denounce individual people whether they've been dead 100 years or not," said Barbour.
This will keep popping up for Barbour.

Postscript: My guess is that, if questioned, Barbour would very likely denounce folks like Hitler or Stalin, right? Why the opposition to this -- is he afraid that he'll lose the pro-slavery vote?

I'm asking an honest question here, no snark intended...

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Photo: National Governors Association

Watson Wins!



-Nate Beeler, The Washington Examiner

Christine O'Donnell Invited To Dance With Stars

If there was ever any doubt in your mind that Christine O'Donnell was/is not ready to play in the big leagues of politics...
“Just got the official ‘ask’ from ‘Dancing With The Stars’!! Although I am utterly flattered, my initial thought was to decline, as 2-year-old nephew has more rhythm than me, and my two left feet!! What do you think?”

Former Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell, in a Facebook message to her 26,000 followers; judging from their comments, most were torn between the allure of the ABC prime-time venue and the chance that Miss O’Donnell, 41 and single, would be mocked as a conservative or “used” by the network.
I... just... but... gah.

We should make a new rule; once you have participated in a reality/competition television show (Sarah Palin, Tom Delay, I'm looking at you), you are no longer eligible to run for elected national office (House, Senate, POTUS, etc).

Postscript: I'm no fan of O'Donnell, but if were her Facebook 'fans', I would worry less about her getting mocked for being a conservative and more for the fact that she would be on "Dancing With The Stars".

Just sayin'.

The Winning Republican Campaign Ad For 2012, Ctd.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about Haley Barbour's political ad that will have all of the other 2012 Republican primary field scrambling. Via Ben Smith, here it is:



Your move, Mitt Romney.

"Sarah Palin's Alaska" Receives Public Funding


Hmmmm...
The company that produced Sarah Palin's Alaska, the TLC show starring the former vice presidential nominee, is set to receive $1.2 million in state subsidies, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

The funding has led to criticism that then-Gov. Palin may have approved of tax credits for programs filmed in Alaska as a way of boosting her profile in the future. The subsidies under the law run until 2013.
Presented without comment. Thoughts?

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Photo: Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

Quote Of The Day


"I will die a martyr." -Muammar Qaddafi, this morning in a televised speech.

Perhaps he is clairvoyant?

Live feed at Al Jazeera.

21 February 2011

...Oh Yeah, And Happy President's Day Too!


So, what is Presidents Day?
Titled Washington's Birthday, a federal holiday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1880 for government offices in the District of Columbia (20 Stat. 277) and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices (23 Stat. 516). As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington's actual birthday, February 22. On January 1, 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This date places it between February 15 and 21, which makes the name "Washington's Birthday" in some sense a misnomer, since it never lands on Washington's actual birthday, February 22.

The first attempt to create a Presidents Day occurred in 1951 when the "President's Day National Committee" was formed by Harold Stonebridge Fischer of Compton, California, who became its National Executive Director for the next two decades. The purpose was not to honor any particular President, but to honor the office of the Presidency. It was first thought that March 4, the original inauguration day, should be deemed Presidents Day. However, the bill recognizing the March 4th date was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee (which had authority over national holidays). That committee felt that, because of its proximity to Lincoln's and Washington Birthdays, three holidays so close together would be unduly burdensome. During this time, however, the Governors of a majority of the individual states issued proclamations declaring March 4 to be Presidents' Day in their respective jurisdictions.

An early draft of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act would have renamed the holiday to "Presidents' Day" to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, which would explain why the chosen date falls between the two, but this proposal failed in committee and the bill as voted on and signed into law on 28 June 1968, kept the name Washington's Birthday.
More at Wikipedia...

I never really understood why every store in America has huge sales on this day. Is it because people have the day off from work? If so, I missed that boat -- as I'm still sitting at my desk. Working.

The President's Proposed Budget


A very cool graphic, providing a visual demonstration of President Obama's proposed 2011 federal budget at NYT. The actual graphic is interactive, meaning you can isolate certain budgetary items and investigate things in more detail.

I posted this here because 1) I think that it's another great way to realize the federal budget and 2) it literally shows you how much money goes to Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and defense spending. These are the largest "chunks" of the budget -- and yet they are the areas that VERY FEW politicians will agree to cutting. More here.

Head nod: TYWKIWDBI

Quote Of The Day

“I just don’t think it’s completely necessary for us to delve into such extraneous matters. And I’ll tell you, the idea that he’s not a citizen – you know why that’s nonsense? Because if there was a shred of truth to it, Hillary Clinton and her wonderful investigative opposition research team would have found it and would have used it. And for Republicans to even be bringing it up, I think it’s a waste of energy and time. Let’s focus on the issues with which we have disagreement, not on really the extraneous personal things that are immaterial.” -former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, speaking to ABC's George Stephanopoulos on GMA this morning.

My thoughts on how Republicans should respond to Birther nonsense here.

Head nod: Doug

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Photo: Rick Gershon/Getty Images

Gorbachev: 'Russia Is Not A Real Democracy'

I think that Ronald Reagan would be proud:
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Monday described Russia as an imitation of democracy and accused its current rulers of conceit and contempt for voters, in his harshest criticism of the government yet.

Gorbachev criticized Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev, for saying that they will decide between them who should run for president in Russia's March 2012 presidential vote.

Gorbachev denounced the statements as a show of "incredible conceit" and disrespect for voters.

"It's not Putin's business. It must be decided by the nation in the elections, by those who would cast ballots," Gorbachev said at a news conference. "Can't other people also run?"

Gorbachev has previously avoided personal criticism of Putin, who has remained Russia's No. 1 politician after shifting into the premier's post following two presidential terms. Putin is widely expected to reclaim the presidency in 2012.

Gorbachev, who will turn 80 next week, said that Russia has only "imitations" of a parliament and judicial system.
Unfortunately, I don't see Gorbachev's words carrying any weight with Medvedev or Putin...

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Photo: Sergey Ponomarev/AP

Movie Trailers Galore



I saw a teevee ad for The Adjustment Bureau over the weekend. Hadn't heard of it until now. I must say that it looks pretty badass.

A couple more trailers after the jump... check them out, if you are so inclined.

20 February 2011

Egypt, Libya, Or Wisconsin?

Sunday Morning Music




You are listening to "Stream of Consciousness" from Joshua Redman's 1996 album Freedom In The Groove.

More about Redman at Wikipedia.

Enjoy your Sunday.

19 February 2011

Avoiding That Government Shut-Down... For Now


Politico:
More a battering ram than a budget, a giant government-wide spending bill passed the House early Saturday morning, packing $60 billion in Republican spending cuts together with scores of legislative riders to impede President Barack Obama in carrying out his policies.

Final passage came on a 235-189 vote shortly before dawn, capping an all-night session and marathon week during which literally hundreds of amendments were debated.

[snip]

The $60 billion in reductions are concentrated in the last six months of this fiscal year and represent a 14 percent cut that will severely impact Obama’s agenda at home and abroad. Foreign aid and State Department operations would be cut as much as $10 billion from Obama’s latest request. Pell Grants for low income college students are reduced, and School Turnaround Grants cut by almost two-thirds.

The Environmental Protection Agency lost $2.7 billion from its current appropriations. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, charged with major new responsibilities under Wall Street reforms, would get a third of the funding Obama wants. And the new Republican majority would block not just federal regulators but Obama’s signature achievement thus far: healthcare reform.

Indeed, the final day of House floor debate Friday showed that a large faction in the Republican conference still wants $22 billion more in reductions than the bill provides.

Darth Vader Quotes... Justin Bieber?



You may or may not have seen the video of James Earl Jones reciting the lyrics to Justin Bieber's song "Baby, Baby, Baby".

You had to know that it was only a matter of time before someone mashed it up with footage from Star Wars (as Jones was the voice of Darth Vader).

NERDS, UNITE!

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Eat your Wheaties -- it's cartoon time!

18 February 2011

The Government Shutdown "More Likely Than Not"?

Your government, working hard:
A high-ranking aide to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Democratic chiefs of staff that a government shutdown is more likely than not, according to attendees.

Speaking at a regular meeting of the top aides to House Democrats, Pelosi’s floor director, Jerry Hartz, offered up, unprompted, his assessment that the odds favor inaction before the government runs out of money, sources said.

That became the focal point of the meeting, sources said, with the other aides asking only questions about “the possibility of a government shutdown and the logistics” — i.e., what it would mean for their offices and government services — according to one chief of staff who spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity.

The aide said the message of a likely shutdown did not appear geared toward ginning up the staffers for political purposes.

“It was genuine,” the aide said.

One aide, who was not at the meeting, said Hartz’s remarks were misinterpreted. “He was saying what would happen if the worst occurs, which has already been advocated by some Republicans. He wasn’t predicting anything,” that aide said. “Democrats are committed to work responsibly with Republicans to ensure that critical services to our constituents are not cut.”
...or hardly working. Gah.

Christina Aguilera, The National Anthem And Melisma


I meant to post this piece last week -- but of course never got around to it. From John Eskow, a very fitting rebuttal to Christina Aguilera's, errr, singing of the National Anthem at Superbowl XLV:
To me, the horrific part of Christina Aguilera's rendition of the National Anthem -- and "rendition" is an apt term for it, because she kidnapped the song and shipped it out to be tortured -- was not her mangling of the words, but her mangling of the tune itself: to paraphrase the great Chuck Berry, she "lost the beauty (such as it is) of the melody until it sounds just like a (godawful) symphony."

This is the same grotesque style -- 17 different notes for every vocal syllable -- that has so dominated the pop and R&B charts for years. Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston are relatively minor offenders, but singers like Aguilera -- who admittedly possesses a great instrument -- just don't seem to know when to stop, turning each song into an Olympic sport as they drain it of its implicit soul, as if running through the entire scale on every single word was somehow a token of sincerity.

It's called melisma -- the bending of syllables for bluesy or soulful effect -- and what's creepy about the way it's used now is that it perverts America's true genius for song, as evinced by its creators in the world of gospel and R&B, like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.

You will hear more of this tonsil-twisting insincerity -- to your eternal sorrow -- if you watch any episode of American Idol.

The great Jerry Wexler -- who produced both Ray and Aretha -- coined a great term for it: "oversouling." He described it as "the gratuitous and confected melisma" that hollows out a song and drains it of meaning. Wexler, who knew more about soul than any producer before or since, said:

"Time and again I have found that flagrantly artificial attempts at melisma are either a substitute for real fire and passion or a cover-up for not knowing the melody... Please, learn the song first, and then sing it from the heart."

And Christina, he wasn't referring to the words.
Eskow adds a postscript and a coda to his piece, in which he talks about race -- because some trolling on the part of commenters forces his hand.

But, I think that the overall tone to his article is spot-on. Too often in today's popular music, singers overuse melisma (Eskow refers to it as "Melisma Abuse") to highlight themselves, rather than the music that they are singing. Normally, I would shudder a bit and turn the channel or turn off the radio. However, Aguilera was singing the National Anthem -- not a cover of an old Doors tune...

...not to mention that she botched the lyrics.

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Photo: Reuters

Rumor Mill: Apple Developing An "iPhone Nano"



Much like the iPod Nano, this version of the iPhone would be smaller, cheaper and appeal to a wider range of users:
Apple Inc. is working on new versions of the iPhone that are aimed at slowing the advance of competing handsets based on Google Inc.’s Android software, according to people who have been briefed on the plans.

One version would be cheaper and smaller than the most recent iPhone, said a person who has seen a prototype and asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public. Apple also is developing technology that makes it easier to use the iPhone on multiple wireless networks, two people said.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, who remains involved in strategic decisions while on medical leave, would use lower prices to widen the iPhone’s appeal and keep it from losing further ground to Android devices. Less expensive iPhones may also ratchet up pressure on Nokia Oyj, whose handsets are especially popular in Europe and some developing markets.

“Instead of targeting 25 percent of the global mobile- phone market, Apple would be going after 100 percent,” said Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. in New York, who has a “buy” rating on Apple shares.

Google’s share of the global smartphone market more than tripled to 32.9 percent in the fourth quarter, eclipsing Apple’s 16 percent, according to Canalys. Apple will face another challenge as Nokia and Microsoft Corp. join forces in smartphone development, a partnership announced today.

[snip]

Apple has considered selling the new iPhone for about $200, without obligating users to sign a two-year service contract, said the person who has seen it. Android phones sell for a range of prices at AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and other carriers, and typically come with agreements that include a fee for broken contracts. The iPhone 4, sold in the U.S. by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, costs $200 to $300 when subsidized by a contract.
I still have another 11 months on my (crap) phone contract -- but when it's done I'm getting a smartphone. Android or iPhone, that is the question. Thoughts?

Image and head nod credit goes to CultOfMac.com.

17 February 2011

Karl Rove's #Birther Conspiracy Theory



Okay, a couple of thoughts...

1) Rove is absolutely correct that Republicans need to stop pandering to the Birther movement (I'm looking at you Mr. Speaker). There is nothing productive to be gained from continuing to fuel the Birther fire.

2) Don't you just love how Karl Rove blames the White House for the Birthers?
...to fall into the trap that the White House has laid for us...
Granted, Rove has a point that the White House loves this type of distraction, for I'm sure they do. But, to make the assertion that the White House is somehow responsible for the Orly Taitzes of the world is simply ludicrous.

3) It is painfully clear that Karl Rove and establishment Republicans are extremely frightened threatened by Ron Paul. Did you notice how many times Rove mentioned Paul's name is association with both Truthers and Birthers? His goal was to make sure that it was clear to everyone watching O'Reilly's show that Ron Paul = crazy-Birther-Truther.

16 February 2011

Hard Wuerk



-M.Wuerker, Wuerking Drawings

On Donald Trump Running For President



B-Diddy (remember him?) just shot me an e-mail asking my opinion on The Donald's speech at CPAC. For those of you who missed it (in all of its, errr, glory?), I've embedded it above.

What do I think? I think he's a f**kin' JOKE.

Trump, on winning:
If I run and if I win, this country will be respected again. I can tell you that.
Rrrrrrrright. What's he gonna do when things are tense with England, look David Cameron in the eye and say, "You're fired!"? Ugh.

Number One: Trump won't run. Oh sure, he could try to pull a Stephen Colbert and do it as a stunt -- because if Trump is anything, he's a media whore. But it would be nothing more than that -- a stunt.

Number Two: if Trump DID decide to make a serious run for the presidency (which he won't, see above), he would never get elected, much less make it past the Republican primary. Conservatives won't have him. He mingles with A-list celebrities (pronounced "Lib-Err-Uhls"). He has a very, errr, MIXED record on abortion. AND he was invited to CPAC by GOProud, hardly the most popular conservative group around these days.

And of course, lest we forget, he went bankrupt. SEVERAL TIMES.

Haley Barbour Won't Win Any Votes

...if he can't hit these softball issues correctly. Governor Haley Barbour with yet another racial issue in his home state of Mississippi:
In the latest racially charged incident in his home state, Haley Barbour on Tuesday drew fire when he refused to condemn a proposal honoring a Ku Klux Klan leader and Confederate general on a state license plate.

"I don't go around denouncing people. That's not going to happen," Barbour, who is considering a run for the White House in 2012, said when asked about the plate, the Associated Press reported. "I know there's not a chance it'll become law."

The state NAACP has denounced the proposal from the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to honor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who went on to become an early leader of the KKK.

Forrest , a Tennessee native, is revered by some as a military genius and despised by others for leading an 1864 massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow, Tenn. Forrest was a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard in Tennessee after the war.
Geez Governor, what is going on with your staff? Who is advising you?

Barbour doesn't stand a chance on the national level if he can't work out issues like this at the state level. This is Politics 101 kind of stuff...

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Photo: Press-Register file

Jon Stewart Takes A Look At CPAC

This Is Not Christianity


I am outraged when people hurt others in the name of Christianity. They give such a bad name to what should be a gentle religion about loving others. I am a Christian and I believe that in its purest version that means simply to love everyone and leave judgment out of the equation because who are we to judge.

I shared an article on Facebook, before I was regularly posting here, about a mom who let her son dress as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween because I felt it was a very powerful article.

Today I read a new article about the same mom being condemned by her church for this.

This is not what church should be and this is why so many people turn away from Christianity and feel it's negative. I hope those of us who truly believe in simply loving others will stand up to religious institutions like this. Those who say that the behavior such as this church is demonstrating is Christian-like are wrong ---- IT IS NOT!

15 February 2011

Quote Of The Day

"In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. If some of those jobs are lost so be it. We're broke." -Congressman John Boehner, Speaker of the House, saying things that will surely come back to haunt him in his next re-election campaign.

...not that Democrats will run anyone who can beat him in his home district.

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Photo: Dennis Cook/AP

President Obama Says 'Shit' During Presser


Huh huh.

Oh sure, it was an accident. But now we can add 'potty-mouth' to the list of words that describe the President, right?

(the others are 'fascist', 'communist', 'socialist', 'marxist', 'nazi', and 'liberal-pinko')

Head nod: AmericaBlog

Han Shot First


Today's tee at TeeFury.com. Get it while the getting is good.

Why Huckabee Won't Win

...if he runs, that is:
"For me [abortion] is an issue that - as I've said before - it transcends all of the political issues," Huckabee said at a fundraiser in Tennessee for the Center for Bioethical Reform, an anti-abortion group.

"I've often said I would gladly lose an election before I would ever yield on the issue of the sanctity of human life," Huckabee added.

The former presidential candidate and former governor of Arkansas has not said if he will run for president again, though he is a leading candidate, according to several recent national polls of the hypothetical battle for the Republican presidential nomination.

His comments differ significantly from potential White House rivals who have spoken little of social issues so far this cycle as Americans continue to overwhelmingly point to the economy as the No. 1 issue on their minds.
While everyone else is focused on the economy, and I would argue that they should be, Mike Huckabee is still on a pro-life crusade.

Now, the man has stated repeatedly that he feels that abortion is a the key issue in America -- and I can't fault him for sticking to his principles on that. However, and please forgive the crassness of this statement, saving fetuses does not put money in Americans' pockets. It's the economy, Huck.

The old adage "people vote with their wallets" has never been more true -- and I think that will carry-over into the 2012 election cycle.

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Photo: Scott Morgan/Getty Images

The Avengers



Sweet.

The Gentle Barn: First in a Philanthropic Series

This will be my first post in a new series about philanthropic endeavors to which I'd like to introduce you. Today I stumbled upon an amazing venture called, The Gentle Barn.

The Gentle Barn is an animal rescue that goes further than most. They don't simply rescue the animals but they help heal people through the therapeutic nature of loving and caring for the animals. While the Gentle Barn is currently only in California their dream is to spread this concept across the U.S. I personally would love to have something like this in my hometown. Dreaming big, I'd love to open one myself someday.

Check out their blog, as it is the best way to understand what they do for children and disadvantaged youth.

Have you hugged a cow today?

14 February 2011

Dispatch From #CPAC



What a great video. There's nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a blatant racist having his philosophy torn apart in front of a crowd and on-camera.

Jamie Kelso (the older gentleman in the foreground for the majority of the video) is handily rebuffed by attendees at CPAC. Ed Morrissey gets the head nod and says:
Kelso must have spent too much time listening to mainstream media painting conservatives as proto-racists. The young people at CPAC sent him packing, presumably off to another venue where he can take credit for Galileo and da Vinci.
I don't buy the idea that the MSM paints all conservatives as racists, but I see Ed's larger point. My guess is that many liberal blogs and websites will be showing this video as "proof" that, *gasp*, there are fringy elements in the larger conservative movement.

Here's the thing: both left and right, liberals and conservatives have fringy elements amongst them.

Unfortunately, the crazies who yell the loudest and have the most fringe-tastic rants (see above) get more attention. Cue the tape...

Haley Barbour Worked On Amnesty Legislation

In what will surely be a big deal if when Haley Barbour throws his hat into the ring for his party's nomination:
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour made the case Sunday on Fox News that his career as a high-powered federal lobbyist for domestic corporations and foreign governments would be an asset if he ran for President in 2012.

Barbour may be eager to showcase his record, but one of Barbour's foreign lobbying clients could cause him some troubles in the 2012 Republican primary, if he decides to run. According to a State Department filing by Barbour's former lobbying firm, The Embassy of Mexico decided to retain Barbour's services on August 15, 2001, to work on, among other things, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for foreigners living illegally in the United States — what opponents of immigration reform call “amnesty.”
If you listen very carefully, you can hear Lou Dobbs' screaming in the night...

Ron Paul On Morning Joe



A great hit. I love Congressman Paul's retort the Donald Trump.... puts that guy in his place.

#Egypt Making Us Look Bad

What Speaker Boehner SHOULD Be Saying

Geez. It seems that we are experiencing something of a renaissance in the Birther movement. The sad part is that it's not the crackpot crazies like Orly Taitz fueling this new resurgence in Birther rhetoric, rather it is elected officials:
The opening of 2011 state legislative sessions has been accompanied by a spate of birther-related bills, the clearest indication yet that the controversy surrounding President Barack Obama’s place of birth will continue to simmer throughout his reelection campaign.

Lawmakers in at least 10 states have introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to provide some form of proof that they are natural-born citizens, a ballot qualification rule designed to address widespread rumors on the right that Obama was not born in the United States.

[snip]

“We don’t think the president was vetted, and it’s just that simple,” Texas GOP state Rep. Leo Berman said, adding that he doesn’t know whether Obama is “a citizen or not” but that he believes the question has not been fully examined.

“I read different things that say he was born in Hawaii, and then I read the governor can’t find anything that says he was born in Hawaii,” Berman added. “Why the president won’t show a birth certificate is beyond me.”
Okay, so that is one of the more fringy responses that I've seen from an actual elected official. But I have to also say that the Speaker of the House isn't far from joining Mr. Berman. From Boehner's interview on Meet The Press with NBC's David Gregory:
MR. GREGORY: As the speaker of the House, as a leader, do you not think it's your responsibility to stand up to that kind of ignorance?

SPEAKER BOEHNER: David, it's not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people. Having said that, the state of Hawaii has said that he was born there. That's good enough for me. The president says he's a Christian. I accept him at his word.

MR. GREGORY: But isn't that a little bit fast and loose? I mean, you are the leader in Congress and you're not standing up to obvious facts and saying, "These are facts. If you don't believe that, it's nonsense."

SPEAKER BOEHNER: I just outlined the facts as I understand them. I believe that the president is a citizen. I believe the president is a Christian. I'll take him at his word. But, but...

MR. GREGORY: But that kind of ignorance about whether he's a Muslim doesn't concern you?

SPEAKER BOEHNER: Listen, the American people have the right to think what they want to think. I can't--it's not my job to tell them.

MR. GREGORY: Why isn't it your job to stand up and say, "No, the facts are these"?

SPEAKER BOEHNER: I am...

MR. GREGORY: Didn't John McCain do that...

SPEAKER BOEHNER: I, I, I just did.
While I would commend the Speaker for his stance (at least he's not a Birther), it seems that he's only going half-way on the issue.

If the Republican party really wants to change the way that business is done in Washington, D.C., then they all need to get serious about issues that matter. The Birther issue is, well, not an issue. It's nothing.

If I were John Boehner (or any other Republican leader), here is what I would say:
Q: Mr. Speaker, is President Obama an American citizen?

A: Yes, the President has proven beyond a doubt that he was born in the United States of America and is fully eligible to serve as the President of the United States. I'm tired of this question floating around. I have stated repeatedly that I believe that this is a non-issue. Anyone who questions or doubts the authenticity of "vetting" of our Commander-In-Chief is wasting their time.

Furthermore, any Republicans who continue this strange line of attack on the President are besmirching the name of the Republican party and tying the albatross of Orly Taitz and her ilk around our necks. I can't speak for all Republicans, but personaly, I really don't want to be associated with people like her.

Finally, if the person who continues to assert that the President is somehow ineligible to hold his office is an elected official, they are doing themselves and their constituents a tremendous disservice. There are so many more pressing issues that face our great nation. Continuing to fuel these asinine conspiracy theories about the Presidents place of birth -- or religion -- is wasted energy that could be better used to help balance the federal budget, eliminate wasteful spending, or present real reform in America's health care system that will not leave the nation deeper in debt.

The sooner that these 'Birthers' realize this, the better off we will all be.
It is just too bad that Boehner doesn't have the stones to say this. Shit, he should shout it from the rooftops...

The Tea Party Patriots Get All Mainstream-y

It appears that the Tea Party (well, the Tea Party Patriots at least) are no longer the grass-roots movement that they once claimed to be:
Two years ago, Tea Party Patriots got its start as a scrappy, ground-up conservative organization. Its rowdy activists demanded more transparency and less business-as-usual in the nation's capital, and they worked hard to elect candidates who they believed wouldn't succumb to the ways of Washington. But it didn't take long for the grassroots tea party organization to embrace the DC establishment—and some of its more questionable practices.

Lately, Tea Party Patriots (TPP) has started to resemble the Beltway lobbying operations its members have denounced. The group's leaders have cozied up to political insiders implicated in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and have paid themselves significant salaries. TPP accepted the use of a private jet and a large donation of anonymous cash right before a key election, and its top officials have refused to discuss how the money was spent. And recently, the group has hired several big-time fundraising and public relations firms that work for the who's who of the Republican political class, including some of the GOP's most secretive campaign operations.

As TPP's leaders entrench themselves in Washington, local activists the group represents have accused them of exploiting the grassroots for their own fame and fortune while failing to deliver any meaningful political results. "Tea Party Patriots? I can't attribute one victory to them at all," says Laura Boatright, a former TPP regional coordinator in Southern California who has become an outspoken critic. "Where's the success with what they've done with all this money? My view is that it's just a career plan" for its national leaders—namely Jenny Beth Martin, who in 2010 was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Mark Meckler, now a regular commentator on Fox News. (Meckler and Martin did not respond to a request to comment for this story.)

In August, TPP inked a contract with MDS Communications, an Arizona-based phone fundraising firm that counts as clients the Republican National Committee and most of the GOP's congressional campaign organizations. MDS even handled the telephone fundraising for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. The firm specializes in working with the GOP's evangelical foot soldiers, including the National Right to Life Committee, Concerned Women for America, and the Family Research Council. It has been heavily involved in anti-gay marriage activities, once donating its services to help raise more than $7 million for Arizona's Proposition 102, which created a state ban on gay marriage.

The MDS deal with TPP is anything but cheap. Documents filed with the Colorado secretary of state indicate that MDS will keep at least 70 percent of the money it raises—nearly $3 out of every $4. In 2005, California's attorney general released a report (PDF) showing that MDS was among a number of fundraising companies that returned less than 15 percent of what they raised to some of the charities they worked for. Out of more than $585,000 MDS pulled in for the Concerned Women for America, for instance, not a dime went back to the nonprofit group, according to the report.
I suppose that this is not entirely a surprise, given the kowtowing that many Republicans have done to the various Tea Party groups (I'm looking at you Michele Bachmann).

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Photo: Ed Reinke/AP

Bill O'Reilly's Cool New Meme


Building on the "you can't explain that" defense that Bill O'Reilly used to explain religion (he was talking about the tides of the oceans on earth, gah) -- a new meme has developed using the format above. More here. Good stuff.

O'Reilly's interview, wherein he cannot explain how the moon creates the tides on earth, after the jump...

13 February 2011

Andrew Breitbart Gets Served At #CPAC


I must have missed this one:
Andrew Breitbart, the owner of several conservative Web sites, was served at the conference on Saturday with a lawsuit filed by Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department employee who lost her job last year over a video that Mr. Brietbart posted at his site biggovernment.com.

The video was selectively edited so that it appeared Ms. Sherrod was confessing she had discriminated against a farmer because he was white. In the suit, which was filed in Washington on Friday, Ms. Sherrod says the video has damaged her reputation and prevented her from continuing her work.

Mr. Breitbart said in a statement that he “categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech.”
Hmm... thoughts?

More as it develops.

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Cartoon: "Andrew Breitbart Simpson" by R.J. Matson

Happy Valentine's Day!

Looking for a snazzy eCard (or iPhone App, or wine label, or t-shirt, et al) to send to a loved one/significant other/person-that-you-just-woke-up-next-to-in-bed? Check out the vast assortment of humor, snark and general naughtiness that is over at CerebralItch.com. You still have a couple of hours left to get something for them...


[the "inside" of the card, after the jump]

Sunday Morning Music




Some rockin' good music for your Sunday morning. You are listening to "Stay With Me" by The Faces, from their 1971 album A Nod Is As Good As A Wink... To A Blind Horse.

...and yes, that is Rod Stewart in the picture (and singing the song).

I have never really liked Rod Stewart's music, but I can definitely get behind this.

Enjoy your Sunday.

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