Monday, November 16, 2015

Google Autocomplete, You're Full of Suprises

Friday, November 13, 2015

WTF Trump? You just dialed it up to 11!

If you haven't watched Trump's speech today, watch that shit.  It's AMAZING.  he basically said "i won't call rubio a lightweight.  cause that's derogatory.  so i won't call him a lightweight.  will not call him a lightweight.  lightweight,lightweight,lightweight.  he's definitely not that."  to start.  which is the equivalent of "he definitely isn't a rapist.  Rubio is NOT A RAPIST, who said rubio is a serial rapist?  not me, that's for sure".  And i foolishly thought that was gonna be the pinnacle of his nuttiness.  But, lo and behold, he follows that up with comparing Carson to a child molester.  Then says, and this is a literal quote "How stupid are the people of Iowa, how stupid are the people of the country to believe this".   I don't disagree, but not the best campaign slogan, Donald.  "YOU'RE ALL IDIOTS!  VOTE TRUMP!"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Final Gasp for #Benghazi?

In the latest round of the seemingly never ending series of "investigative" hearings on #BENGHAZI, so far Clinton seems very calm, collected and confident and i thought the part of her opening statement i heard was good. She's not attacking, but she's responding to all the questions pretty well and avoiding damage. For their part, the republicans seem to be trying to avoid obvious BS, partisan attacks and pretend they're doing a legit investigation. But that leaves them with nothing that actually hits Clinton substantively. It's mostly a lot of "didn't you know Libya was dangerous? here's a memo you got saying Libya was dangerous". No shit, guys. we all knew Libya was dangerous. lots of places our diplomats and military go are dangerous.  They do hard, dangerous but critical jobs.  And yes, tragically, sometimes they die doing those jobs.  But there was no cover-up, no stand down order, no lies and no actual scandal.  Every investigation, including the the ones run by republicans have agreed on this.  And of course GOP Majority Leader McCarthy basically admitted this whole thing was nothing more than a political witch hunt meant to hurt Clinton's poll numbers, not an actual investigation nito what happened.  So it sounds to me like this is about the last gasp of #BENGHAZI!!! scandal as far as the general public is concerned. The crazies will still rant about it, but as a serious campaign issue I think it's about dead.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Do Not Consider Phlebas

First, thanks to Dave for his first guest post.  Great Stuff.

Second, this is a bit off topic but I just read (part of) a really terrible, but massively popular and acclaimed, book.  Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks.  This is the first book in his Culture series, which is also massively popular an acclaimed.  Now, maybe I'm missing the point, and the whole thing is a literary metaphor that just goes over my head.  But I don't think so.  That said...

This book is not good. I was fooled by the reviews because I really like grand intergalactic sci-fi with a broad, complex backdrop. Consider Phlebas tries to be that, but without any new or interesting ideas. Its like someone shook up box full of bad 50's pulp sci-fi and whatever came out was the book. There are the space mercenaries, the super secret genetically modified spy with special powers and secret poison glands, the ultra tech society (which really seems very unimaginatively bland) and of course the interstellar war between implacable enemies. And instead of creating a feeling of grand awe, the vast galaxy of new creatures and cultures is just like a kinda weird big earth. Everyone know everyone, there's a huge crazy card game called "Damage" which is watched across the galaxy by trillions (and yet the main character,Horza, happens to recognize half the people playing in the game he happens upon (which is of course the 'biggest in the galaxy'). Its kinda like how Zaphod Beeblebrox and Ford Prefect knew everyone in the Universe, except this isn't supposed to be funny (or maybe it is and failed?). Another indication of how small Banks makes this galaxy seem, Horza gets thrown out of a space ship in the middle of a battle, uses his handy in suit warp drive, and yet is conveniently found moments later by a pirate space ship wandering by. Ugh. Aweful.  This is such an "It was raining on Mongo that morning" moment in the book, to quote Jerry Pournelle (who co-wrote, among many great books, The Mote In God's Eye). Please go read some vernor vinge instead if you'd like a galactic space adventure that is truly awe inspiring. Maybe the rest get better, but i doubt it.

Oh, and for now reason apparent to the plot so far (i just quit the book about half way through) Horza is captured by some fat religious cult leader who eats people while forcing his followers to starve eating garbage. Then we get a stupid description of the fat guy eating a prisoner, then eating horza's finger, then falling on his lead disciple and crushing him to death. The Horza escapes and that whole chapter basically meant nothing. And the book opened with Horzon being ritually executed by drowning in the feces and urine of his captors who are attending a party, and its, i guess, some race of all old people called "The Gerontologists" or something retarded like that. UGH!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Guest Blogger: Denali: Your Regular Reminder that by "State's Rights," Conservatives Always Just Meant Slavery

So, this is a little late to the party on the clown-show that is the Republicans, mainly the Ohio delegation, flipping out over alleged dictator Barak Obama renaming Mt. McKinley so that it is officially called Denali in the federal register.  However, I still wanted to chime in once I saw actual calls for congress to act to block the 'name change.'*  Particularly galling is chubby, bible-thumping, former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee saying that Congress should act.

Along with multiple other religious zealots in the field of Republican presidential candidates, he has long held the position that the several states should hold sway on most matters that occur within their borders, particularly when it comes to matters that allegedly involve religious liberty.  Generally, this is coupled with a misunderstanding of the First Amendment and the separation of church and state. (Often that misunderstanding comes with a willful disregard of historical facts regarding the Founding Fathers' position on faith and government.) 

Eventually, I will make a detailed post regarding this ridiculous revisionist history.  However, to stay somewhat on topic with Denali/McKinley, I am somewhat shocked that not a single journalist reporting the "have congress intervene in Obama's overreach story has noted that these idiots are asking the federal government to intervene on a matter where the State of Alaska, where the mountain in question resides, spoke long ago: the F'ing mountain is named Denali, said the State of Alaska in 1975!!!! (Update to include this article, making it clear that even the conservative residents of Alaska refer to it as Denali.)

Now, many media outlets have noted the ongoing Alaskan preference for the name Denali, as well as their numerous attempts to change it.  What galls me is the lack of acknowledgment that the very people pushing back on "imperial Obama" are complete hypocrites...  the land is in Alaska! Even beyond the obvious fact that it should be named to reflect what the actual natives called it, how about sliding up to Huckabee or one of these other idiots and noting that they generally would like powers to rest in the hands of the states and not the federal government? ...and by that logic, the people of Alaska really would have the say here, and not Congress, as hamstrung by the Ohio delegation?

All of this was a long walk down a path to make the point that "State's Rights" activists are full of $hit.  The very concept was merely invented to protect the rights of certain states to continue to engage in slavery. Thus the Civil War. So every time a politician trots out the State's Rights doctrine, remember that they are probably using it in some self-serving way to deny another person rights.  Because if they really believed in State's Rights, then the little shit like the naming of a mountain in Alaska would be pretty F'ing easy...  they'd say "Oh, that's an issue for Alaska to decide."

*technically, as this is my first blog-post for the Rambling Drunk I should have had a few more glasses of...  something...  before I wrote this.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trump is a Golden Ticket For Smart Journalists

There's been lots of talk about Trump winning the war against Megyn Kelley after her tough
questions during the debate, Trump's dickish, sexist responses and Roger Ailes subsequent fold.  But I think that's based on short term thinking.  Yeah, lots of assholes on twitter attacked Kelley afterwards, but guess what:  the dumbest people on the internet are the loudest.  The number of people who tweet shit at you is not indicative of much.  And the 25-30 percent of people who love trump and now hate kelley are part of the same overlapping venn diagram of idiocy.  And now, with Trump's second round of bimbo tweets about Kelley, Ailes is forced to defend her and she comes out looking like a serious journalist and sympathetic figure who got under Trump's skin.

So now Jorge Ramos gets kicked out of a Trump press conference and told to "Go Back To Mexico Univision!".  Trump once again looks great to idiots who love him and like an asshole to everyone else.  Ramos comes out with huge mainstream press, a press core who are appalled and more credibility than every in the Hispanic community.  Trump looks like an angry, racist who can't handle tough questions AGAIN.

So, despite the latest media narrative that Trump's for real and everyone has been underestimating him (as opposed to the original pundit narrative that trump was a joke and only fools thought he would even run), I still think he's gonna be here for a while, be a big factor in the race until at least the end of March, and then fade away and become once again, just a punchline who happens to have had a rich father.  At that point, Megyn Kelley and Jorge Ramos are still here, and look like the journalists who had the balls (and ovaries) to go after Trump early on, which everyone else, including the other GOP candidates, were cowering in fear.

So my advice to some budding young reporter on the Trump campaign trail is ask him the toughest questions you can, and keep asking when he yells at your to shut up.  First off, it could get you famous.  Second, it's also supposed to be your job.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bern-ing Down the House

The latest poll results our of New Hampshire are undoubtedly good news for Sanders and his supporters.  The Franklin-Pierce poll has him up 44-37 wih an MOE of 4.7.  I think this is also a good thing for liberals and the Democratic party in general.  Sanders' is an unabashed, outspoken liberal who embraces progressive policies and is forcing Clinton to the left.  He's also garnering huge crowds and forcing the media to cover his campaign and his message, helping to change the national dialogue in much the same way the Occupy Wall Street movement did.  But, don't get too excited, you hippie commie Sander-ites.  Outside a few states, not that many people are "Feeling the Bern".  The latest RCP polling average has Clinton +26 in Iowa, +56 in South Carolina and +35 nationally.

Turns out, Sanders does extremely well with white liberals.  And New Hampshire, Iowa and Vermont have LOTS of very white very liberals.  He does much worse with blacks, hispanics and moderates.  (  The Black Lives Matter protesters who've interrupted a couple of his campaign events are one sign of this.  Now, this can certainly change as Sanders builds momentum in these early states where he has a demographic advantage, increases name recognition, spreads his campaign message and works on improving his relationship with non-white voters and in particular activist groups.  He's already working on that and has hired a Symone Sanders, a black criminal justice advocate and supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement as press secretary.  A good first step, but one which need to be followed with a serious policy platform addressing racial justice issues.  However, in the end, I don't think Sanders can overcome Clinton's massive advantages in political connection, national organization, money, fame, etc etc.  And of course the prospect of being the first woman president is a huge historical event which surely will garner additional support from many voters.  So my prediction is Sanders wins New Hampshire, loses Iowa where Clinton's organization takes advantage of the caucus system (having learned some lessons from 2008), and then quickly thereafter dominates the rest of the race.  But for now, I'm happy to see Sanders exceeding expectations, even if I don't think he can win the nomination or (if he did) the presidency.

Maybe Van Gogh Didn't Cut Off His Ear

So apparently two historians reviewing available letters and accounts now think  Vincent van Gogh lost his ear in a fight with  Paul Gauguin and they both agreed to keep it a secret.  Presumably to protect Gauguin from any repercussions, either legal or to his reputation.  This theory isn't bullet proof, but it makes more sense to me than the commonly held belief that Van Gogh cut his own ear off.  That just always seemed hard to believe.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Wire Creator's New HBO Mini-Series looks Great

I consider The Wire to be the best TV show of all time, so I'm excited about this.
 The uncanny resemblance between present and past is the tacit subject of "The Wire" creator David Simon's new miniseries, "Show Me a Hero," adapted from former New York Times reporter Lisa Belkin's kaleidoscopic account of the pitched battle over public housing in Yonkers, N.Y., in the 1980s and 1990s.
As politics if not always as art, the six-part saga is the television series of the year: rarely has a historical portrait seemed more timely than this one.