Every day should be Earth Day.
Unfortunately, both major U.S. political parties serve the same polluters and fossil fuel interests. Motherfrackers.
Now here’s a Republican governor I can totally get behind, possibly with a strap-on:
A staff member who wrote a gubernatorial proclamation declaring this week State Employee Appreciation Week, when praising the hard work of employees, misspelled the word “cultural” pretty badly, causing it to honor their hard work in protecting the state’s “clitoral resources.”
The proclamation was distributed to some employees before the error was caught and ended up on imgur.com.
Sandoval said his office regrets the error. This document included an embarrassing typographical error,” Sandoval said. “I sincerely apologize for this mistake, and take full responsibility. It won’t happen again.”
Don’t apologize, Governor! You’ve perhaps unintentionally made the most effective effort toward women’s outreach that the GOP has made all year!
On second thought, I’m pretty sure we should not be letting the GOP exploit our nation’s clitoral resources on behalf of their corporatist benefactors. Nothing good can come of this.
The Atheist Camel notes:
Well, it’s that time of year again when the mythical man-god of the Christians who committed suicide by cop to save the world from his own retribution, is credited with rising from his tomb, seeing his shadow and thus condemning the planet to a few millennia of superstition, lies, rejection of science, and assorted mystical stupidity.
We plan to celebrate in the traditional way, by drinking Bloody Marys and eating chocolate Jeezus lollipops.
Chocolate Jeezus Lollipop.
Remember to observe the proper etiquette, people, so as not to offend: photos of cheap plastic Jesus submerged in pee = very bad! Eating chocolate Jeezus lollipops and letting human digestion take its natural course = totally fine.
People tend to forget—if they ever knew at all—that the 13th Amendment did not, in fact, completely abolish slavery in the United States. It reads:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
See, for example: The South’s Shocking Hidden History: Thousands of Blacks Forced Into Slavery Until WW2. Blackmon, D. A., Alternet (Jan. 2013) (“The horrifying, little-known story of how hundreds of thousands of blacks worked in brutal bondage right up to the middle of the 20th century.”)
Exclusive: Inmates to strike in Alabama, declare prison is “running a slave empire”
Breaking: Reached in his cell, Free Alabama Movement leader tells Salon inmates will refuse work to end free labor
Inmates at an Alabama prison plan to stage a work stoppage this weekend and hope to spur an escalating strike wave, a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.
“We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. “They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” Spokespeople for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Department of Corrections did not respond to midday inquiries Thursday. Jobs done by inmates include kitchen and laundry work, chemical and license plate production, and furniture-making. In 2011, Alabama’s Department of Agriculture reportedly discussed using inmates to replace immigrants for agricultural work; in 2012, the state Senate passed a bill to let private businesses employ prison labor.
I guess this has something to do with the vaunted “free market” I’ve heard so much about.
Ray said the strikers are out to secure educational programming and true rehabilitation, and to end overcrowding, life sentences without parole, and “the free labor system.” “There is not even the pretense of doing anything about ‘corrections,’” he argued. Rather, “they’re running a slave empire.”
Read the whole thing. And please consider getting involved with Stop Mass Incarceration Network‘s Month of Resistance in October. The prison-industrial complex is an abomination—and it ain’t just Alabama.
[CONTENT NOTE: This post contains a discussion of gay pornography, as well as links to graphic, sexually explicit, NSFW content on other websites. If you are under 18 or you find this subject matter offensive or problematic, please go away. I don't know, go visit my zoo or something. Just don't feed the conservatives in the mammal wing.]
The WordPress gods have helpfully informed me that a popular search term that drove people to storm the Palace gates this week was this: “high budget gay porn.” A few weeks ago it was “gay arab porn.” Longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall the genesis of this phenomenon a year ago, with the search phrase “is there any gay porn with decent dialogue?” Then as now, I cannot figure out how this blog turned up in that search, but I am beginning to detect a pattern here: these particular gay porn googlers are nothing if not discerning. And if there is one word I would use to describe my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™, it’s discerning.
So welcome, discerning high budget gay porn googlers! You are among friends here. I myself am an unrepentant snob about many, many things, although I must confess I do not have nearly enough knowledge on the topic to be a snob about high budget gay porn. What I do have, however, is an Official Gay Porn Consultant™, who is “always queer to help.”
He notes that the genre is relatively new, and offers this for my new discerning readers:
Heavy on plot, and shot in gorge locales, these HD fantasies become travelogues with sex! They are often released in both hardcore and less graphic “erotic” versions, so as not to be too distracting to plan the next vacay [at the location].
He offers this as a theory:
I guess gays figured if a cable network could make luxurious, expensive TV movies, the most taste-saturated group on Earth could too!
If, on the other hand, you’re really only interested in high quality HD video production, this site and this one look like they’ve got some pretty slick, bandwidth sucking content. If you know what I mean.
According to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office:
the U.S. has made a deep dent in its deficit. The federal deficit lingered above $1 trillion from 2009 to 2012, reaching higher than $1.4 trillion in 2009 amid the recession. But the shortfall dropped to $680 billion in fiscal 2013. And CBO’s latest projections Monday show the deficit continuing to drop to $492 billion this fiscal year and then to $469 billion in 2015.
But after 2015, CBO says that it will start to rise and could reach $1 trillion in 2022 through 2024.
Those are some big numbers. And we should never, ever forget exactly where those numbers came from:
The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the U.S. Treasury will lose approximately $50 billion a year because of the deferral of corporate taxes on foreign profit. The projected cost from 2013 to 2017 is more than $265 billion.
“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Supreme Court Justice (Republican appointee).
The bar patrons were so sure that their bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet. The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money.
Many people had tried over time: weightlifters, longshoremen, etc., but nobody could do it.
One day, this scrawny little fellow came into the bar, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit, and said in a small voice, “I’d like to try the bet.”
After the laughter had died down, the bartender said, “OK”; grabbed the lemon; and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little fellow. But the Crowd’s laughter turned to total silence…. as the man clenched his little fist around the lemon…. and six drops fell into the glass.
As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man: “What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight-lifter, or what?”
The little fellow quietly replied: “I’m with the IRS.”
[h/t don ardell]
Nobody whines more about the taxes they pay than rich people:
Rich People Are Mad They Have to Pay So Many Taxes
on Their Ballooning Incomes
No group of Americans is less happy about the taxes they pay than the wealthy, The Wall Street Journal reports, glossing over the fact that they are paying more in taxes in large part because they are seeing most of the increase in incomes. This is like being mad that you paid more in sales tax on your Bentley than your doorman paid in taxes for a Ford.
The Journal, being the literal journal of Wall Street, takes great pains to articulate the anguish of the wealthy while downplaying that contributing factor. “Higher earners’ share of the overall federal tax burden has been climbing fairly steadily,” the Journal’s John McKinnon writes, “even before lawmakers negotiated the fiscal-cliff deal at the end of 2012.” He tells the story of a business owner that saw her taxes “rise from around $600,000 in 2012 to more than $700,000.” That’s a steep increase. And, McKinnon continues, it was “driven mainly by changes in investment-tax rates on the $2 million in dividends she received from her firm.” Oh. Well. Sorry? “She was really shocked by the increase,” her attorney said. “That one hit home.” Which home? Not the Aspen one, I hope.
I can think of a lot of people who would love to have a $700,000 tax bill today on $2 million. Jeezus.
“There is a mass delusion in whitebread suburban America that they are the real America, and that they are being oppressed by high taxes to pay for poor minorities, even though the reality is actually the reverse: urban centers pay the bills for parasitic suburban lifestyles, which are ultimately unsustainable socially, fiscally and environmentally.”
-David Atkins (thereisnospoon), blogger
Paul Ryan’s proposed budget increases taxes on middle- and working-class people, guts programs for the sick, the poor and the elderly, and gives enormous tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest Americans. What a shocker.
By a vote of 219-205 yesterday the Republicans rammed through their “reverse-Robin Hood” budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
For the next decade, the Republicans basically propose taking from the middle class and the poor and giving to the wealthy. This is a crass and clear class warfare tactic coming from the Republicans in the House. By cutting $5.1 trillion in education, health care, help for seniors, food assistance for the poor and proposing huge tax breaks for the super wealthy, the Ryan budget upends not only our economy, but our society and our values.
According to Brookings, if you are in the top 1 percent of wage earners (over $633,000) the Ryan plan would cut taxes in half. If you are among the 75 percent of Americans making between $20,000 and $200,000 you likely would be facing a tax increase.
“The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”
Sounds about right.
[TRIGGER WARNING: several f-bombs, one m-f bomb, graphic depictions of opulence.]
Longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall the long and sordid tale of how the entire lower West side of Manhattan ended up without a single hospital bed (see e.g. here, here, here, here and here). I often write about the deadly cruelty, inefficiency, cost and jaw-dropping stupidity of our for-profit health care system here in the U.S. of A., and I won’t repeat that here. Suffice it to say that St. Vincent’s, our neighborhood hospital, was just one more predictable casualty. At least ten New York City hospitals have closed since 2006; others remain on life support.
The fact is that wealthy real estate developers pretty much run this town, and the politicians they own are more than happy to help. The closing of St. Vincent’s was eagerly aided and abetted by a raft of corrupt, neoliberal shitweasels in every branch of state and city government—for example, the hospital emerged from bankruptcy court with its impossible debt obligations 100% intact—whereupon the well-connected Rudin family immediately picked up the property for a song. Perhaps no one was more helpful to this process than former city council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, the Robin to Michael Bloomberg’s Batman—except that this metaphor really should be about some kind of Bizarro World Robin Hood. How else to describe Quinn proudly taking credit for the destruction of a 161-year old charity hospital with a Level I trauma center smack in the middle of her own district—the primary admitting hospital for victims of the 9-11 World Trade Center attacks in 2001 and survivors of the Titanic in 1912—in favor of a billion dollar luxury condo development?
Here is a map that shows the hospitals closest to where I am presently sitting, as well as the site of the former St. Vincents:
If those distances seem negligible to you, you have never been in New York City during morning or evening rush hours, when the UN is in session, or when our neoliberal shitweasel president is in town back-slapping the banksters on a job well done and/or undermining our liberal congresscritters. Meanwhile, city and fire department officials are busy ensuring that no EMS transit times are made public, as they once routinely were. There can be only one reason for that: those numbers are not good. At this link (@ 1:06) you can see a Beth Israel Hospital ambulance stuck in traffic on 7th Avenue, directly in front of the former entrance to St. Vincent’s emergency room.
But never mind all of that, people, because today I bring you absolutely fantastic news. After walking by the construction site, I actually remembered when I got home to go online and look at the Rudin development’s website! And I am here to tell you: I was so, so wrong about all of this. My silly protest signs, speeches at zoning meetings, signatures on petitions, emails and phone calls to politicians and my impassioned screeds on the subject now just make me look foolish.
Iris’s dumbass protest sign.
Occupy St. Vincent’s, Oct. 27, 2011.
(Jeezus. How embarrassing.)
For as it turns out, hundreds of thousands of residents going without a single nearby hospital bed, trauma unit, emergency room or surgery facility is but a pittance to pay in exchange for something so…so… magnificent. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: The Greenwich Lane,”a collection of five unique addresses and five townhouses nestled together in the West Village.”
As you can see from this gorgeous rendering, the gleaming towers of floor-to-ceiling glass will provide a stunning visual counterpoint to the surrounding low-rise buildings emblematic of this historic neighborhood. But that’s not even the best part. Nope: the best part is the enormous private garden, billed as “the heart of the community”—although technically speaking, the actual community will have no access to it whatsoever. But never mind that. Just look at it!
A formal garden with a reflecting pool passes into a birch allée with limestone benches, followed by a more sheltered area with a contemplative, trellised pavilion. The garden offers not only the pleasures of a natural landscape; but also, with all of its plantings, it fulfills an important role in creating a healthier microclimate for the buildings, filtering the air and beneficially restoring more trees to the neighborhood.
And just maybe, if some of these trees eventually grow tall enough, people in the neighborhood might be able to see the very tops of them! OMFG swoon!
But I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s the “principal amenities” surrounding the garden that really put the place over the top:
I know what you’re thinking and yes, before you ask, I believe it’s safe to assume there are oversized parking spaces large enough to accommodate the vintage Rolls.
This probably goes without saying, but: “As designed by Thomas O’Brien, these handsome spaces bring to mind the cachet of an Old World private club.” Including, probably, the parking garage. Here you can see a little movie wherein this very same Thomas O’Brien d00d ‘splains his unique vision, which looks an awful lot like last year’s Restoration Hardware catalog, but what do I know? (Wait, I know last year’s Restoration Hardware catalog, cover to cover. Hmmm.) Anyway:
It’s also this incredibly unique thing that rises above—in a very nice way—and you look downtown, South and West, over all of this protected, wonderful architecture that is the West Village.
Indeed! Why on earth would anyone want to live in all of this protected, wonderful architecture when instead one can peer down upon it—preferably, I assume, through a $3000 faux-vintage 19th century telescope from Restoration Hardware?
$3000 faux-vintage 19th century telescope from Restoration Hardware.
(On sale now for only $2395, because last year’s catalog hello?)
Also, Thomas O’Brien apparently forgot to mention it, but the views to the south also take in the Freedom
Tower Penis, on the very site of the former World Trade Center.
The bad news is that there are only a very limited number of units still available at these low pre-construction prices:
|140 W. 12th St.||M-1||2||2 / 1||2408||$5,550,000||VIEW|
|302||4||4 / 1||3088||$8,610,000||VIEW|
|150 W. 12th St.||3 E.||5||5 / 1||4187||732||$12,450,000||VIEW|
|4 W.||1||1 / 1||1465||255||$3,850,000||VIEW|
|7 W.||2||2 / 1||2079||$6,100,000||VIEW|
|160 W. 12th St.||36||2||2 / -||1583||$4,195,000||VIEW|
|45||1||1 / -||892||$2,170,000||VIEW|
|47||2||2 / 1||1737||$4,380,000||VIEW|
|58||3||3 / 1||2450||$6,900,000||VIEW|
|64||4||4 / 1||2818||153||$8,570,000||VIEW|
|72||2||2 / 1||2040||$5,740,000||VIEW|
|85||1||1 / 1||1166||$3,450,000||VIEW|
|86||3||3 / 1||2524||$7,350,000||VIEW|
|108||3||3 / 1||2455||$7,950,000||VIEW|
|155 W. 11th St.||4L||1||1 / -||758||$2,050,000||VIEW|
|4C||2||2 / 1||1934||$5,620,000||VIEW|
|4B||2||2 / 1||1670||68||$5,050,000||VIEW|
|6D||2||2 / -||1515||$5,275,000||VIEW|
|7A||4||4 / 1||3687||44||$14,500,000||VIEW|
|8B||3||3 / 1||2383||153||$7,650,000||VIEW|
|10C||2||2 / 1||1938||$6,710,000||VIEW|
|11A||4||4 / 1||3951||44||$17,525,000||VIEW|
|145 W. 11th St.||7||5||4 / 1||4537||83||$18,250,000||VIEW|
The Palace, naturally, will be putting in a generous offer at once, so as not to lose out on this amazing opportunity. OMG I CANNOT PICK MY FAVORITE!!!11!!! (LOL #firstworldproblems, I know right?)
Now I ask you: Could there be anything our neighborhood needs more urgently than this fine establishment in our midst, and the several menial jobs that will be created in order to maintain it? And the fine upstanding citizens dwelling here at least part of the year will contribute literally oodles of tip money to the local delivery people. We can only hope that neither our new neighbors nor their (no doubt charming and adorable!) children ever suffer any ill health or injury on the premises. Because if that should happen, they’re just as fucked as the rest of us.
(Yes I know, I’m just phoning in my post titles today. Hey, at least the content is original. You get what you pay for, people.)
Spotted in the West Village (10th & Greenwich Sts.):
Imagine the culture we would live in now if, instead of a dead corpse on an instrument of torture, our signifier was a child staring in wonder at the stars. -PZ Myers
Meanwhile, right around the corner:
I was chatting about this on Facebook and thought I’d drop it here.
As in: absolutely not. May unrelenting contempt and loathing follow these priests and the church that enabled them for the rest of their days.
“I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests — quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests — to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children…”
WTF d00d, that’s not how this works. See, *you* cannot “take on all the evil” that others do. Vicarious atonement is a reprehensible concept—one reason among the many that I so loathe Christianity.
Go fuck yourself, smiley “liberal” pope.
Lately we’ve seen a good deal of mockery emanating from various Democratic pundits over the “success” of Obamacare. Over 7 million people signed up! Hahaha, Republicans! YOU LOSE!
Did everyone suddenly forget that the ACA is a terrible, fundamentally conservative paradigm, with deep Republican roots in both Romneycare and The Heritage Foundation? Sure, Republican efforts to block and repeal their own policies make them look like petty buffoons. What else is new? But gloating Democrats are arguably worse: we are witnessing the entrenchment of for-profit healthcare perniciously framed as a successful, liberal model. FAIL.
But okay, let’s assume I’m just some lefty kook (moi?) who is wrong about the delicious awesomesauce that is Obamacare. The U.S. population is about 308,745,538. A new Gallup poll pegs the rate of uninsured Americans at 15.6%, or 48,164,303. Yes, 7 million people signing up is still 7 million people. Yay for 7 million people with access to “affordable” healthcare! But with nearly 50 million people left uninsured and most of the rest tethered to bloodletting insurers, by what metric, exactly, is Obamacare a great success story worth crowing over?
And yet we have Joan McCarter at DailyKos taunting Republicans over the aforementioned Gallup poll under the headline “The uninsured rate is lowest since 2008.” That’s right: pre-Obamacare, before America’s Owners crashed the global economy, the uninsured rate was lower. McCarter even posted this helpful graph from Gallup:
Then we’ve got Andy Borowitz, beloved lefty satirist, relentlessly mocking Republicans over the ACA in The New Yorker:
Boehner: “I Don’t Want to Live in a World Where Seven Million People Get Affordable Health Care”
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A riveting scene unfolded in Congress today as a tearful Speaker John Boehner took to the floor of the House to tell his colleagues, “I don’t want to live in a world where seven million people get affordable health care.”
Tears streaming down his cheeks, Rep. Boehner appeared unable to maintain his composure as he delivered a speech interrupted by blubbering and sharp intakes of breath.
“What kind of a world is it where anyone can go on the Internet and get health care they can afford?” he said. “Not a world I’d care to live in, or leave to my children.”
As we Professional Mockers™ all know, mocking John Boehner is easier than shooting fish in a barrel. No, really: you can just quote practically anything he says, and your work is done. What’s troubling here is not Andy Borowitz phoning it in, but the underlying assumption that we can declare success with nearly 50 million Americans remaining uninsured and most of the rest beholden to for-profit insurers. (Note, too, the none-too-subtle classism. No Andy, we do not in fact live in a country where “anyone can go on the Internet” to get health care they can afford.)
A few days before that, Borowitz took a shot at another easy target:
Issa Subpoenas Seven Million Americans Who Signed Up for Obamacare
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Accusing them of involvement in “a widespread conspiracy to save President Obama’s failed health-care program,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) today subpoenaed the approximately seven million Americans who have signed up for Obamacare so far.
Arguing that the impressive enrollment numbers “don’t pass the smell test,” the House Oversight Committee chairman told reporters, “Any rational person would come to the same conclusion that I have: namely, that this is a well-orchestrated conspiracy of seven million people trying to make Obamacare look good.”
In case you missed it, the message is “the impressive enrollment numbers.” The joke doesn’t work without it. Perhaps instead, we might have had Issa subpoena the millions who are still uninsured? After all, Republicans are cynical enough to pull a stunt like that, notwithstanding that if they had their way the numbers would be even worse. But that wouldn’t be carrying water for the Grand Lefty Triumph that is the ACA, now would it?
As if we were not dazzled enough by his incisive political wit, Borowitz also went after the easiest target of all time:
President’s Announcement of Health-Care Numbers Angers Opponents of Math
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Tuesday’s announcement by President Obama that 7.1 million people have signed up for Obamacare set off a firestorm of controversy among opponents of math in the U.S. Congress.
Representative Michele Bachmann, a leading member of the anti-math caucus, told reporters, “Throughout the debate on Obamacare, there has been a tacit agreement to leave math out of it. Today, President Obama broke that agreement.”
Hahaha, Michele Bachmann, anti-math caucus, geddit? Hilarious—except for the tiny problem that the math does not make the case for Obamacare.
But the worst by far is Paul Krugman, esteemed liberal economist. Writing in the pages of the venerable New York Times this week, he continues to peddle the same bald-faced lie he has long been repeating: namely, that the president and Democrats had only two choices, Obamacare or immediate single-payer (i.e. nothing).
If it had been politically possible, extending Medicare to everyone would have been technically easy.
But it wasn’t politically possible, for a couple of reasons. One was the power of the insurance industry, which couldn’t be cut out of the loop if you wanted health reform this decade. Another was the fact that the 170 million Americans receiving health insurance through employers are generally satisfied with their coverage, and any plan replacing that coverage with something new and unknown was a nonstarter.
So health reform had to be run largely through private insurers, and be an add-on to the existing system rather than a complete replacement.
Remember, kids: since we can’t have Medicare for everyone right now, we must therefore entrench the insurance companies that provide absolutely nothing that the U.S. government cannot provide cheaper and more efficiently. Q.E.D. And we shall call this “reform!” And while we’re at it, let’s also block drug reimportation from countries where they’re cheaper (which is all of them), and prohibit the government from using its enormous purchasing power to negotiate better prices. What are you, a communist?
Of course Krugman is right that an immediate leap to single-payer was not politically feasible—but no one ever said it was. However, a public option/Medicare buy-in most certainly was. The idea was popular with the public, Nancy Pelosi delivered a House bill with a public option intact, and the entire Medicare infrastructure already exists. Unlike the ACA, it would have created a genuine path to single-payer, and put some real pressure on the Free Market™ to deliver better health care at lower prices. And this discussion occurred in the wake of the bank bailouts, when it would have been trivially easy for Democrats to frame a health care “reform” bill without a public option as the corporate giveaway that it is. But Krugman never mentions any of that. At the time, he was writing inexcusable broadsides entitled “Pass The Bill”, wherein the fact that the president had already secretly sold out the public option while disingenuously pretending otherwise merited no mention. To this day, Paul Krugman continues to whitewash history in favor of this blatantly false narrative.
He helpfully adds:
So my advice to reform supporters is, go ahead and celebrate. Oh, and feel free to ridicule right-wingers who confidently predicted doom.
I have nothing but bottomless contempt for these professional “liberals.” They do far more harm than good by selectively weaving threads of history into pretty lies, and worst of all, spewing imitation-lefty-flavored sauce all over rotten right-wing policies.
Behold: your liberal media.
Beware mockery deployed in the service of the status quo, my friends. It’s a powerful tool, and in the wrong hands it can be downright insidious. I don’t know how many times I have to say this: we must only use our mockery superpowers for good.