Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"In other words...

the Whale did it? Autopsy shows SeaWorld trainer attacked by killer whale died of drowning and blunt-force trauma to head, neck and torso /via @BreakingNews" - via Savitz

But...something's fishy here (pun intended). While the toxicology results show that trainer Dawn Brancheau was not under the influence of any drugs, NO ONE TESTED THE WHALE! COVER. UP. Who's protecting Killer whales and giving them meth? I bet it's Obama and Pelosi.

Who knew?

That the DCCC could produce a decent campaign film. One of the better ones we've seen in quite a while. Features all those anti-American's like Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK and Truman. Good stuff.

Hattip Filyaw on correcting the spelling. Warning...that's a full time job.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

In case you missed it, over the weekend President Obama made 15 recess appointments to positions the Republicans have been holding up. The GOPers jumped has gotten all upset, warning that it's gonna make Republicans that much less likely to work with the President and Democrats. That's funny. As if Republicans have shown any rationality and reason since Obama took office.

Remember, this is a Republican Congress that voted against the stimulus, denounced it in the national press, then went home and had pictures taken with big, sweepstakes-size stimulus checks while bragging to their constituents about the money "they" had gotten for them. The same Republicans that voted against the entire Affordable Healthcare Act, even thought it was basically the same Republican plan from 1994.

So the idea that President Obama's recess appointments are gonna "poison the well" of bipartisanship is laughable. In fact, it's pretty clear President Obama is flexing his muscle a little after whipping the GOP's ass on HCR and sending a message: You guys continue to play the obstructionist game. You're losing.

Meanwhile, we couldn't help but think such "warnings" from these Republicans remind us of this classic scene from Monty Python's Life of Brain:

- Look, I don't think it ought to be blasphemy, just saying
- You're only making it worse for yourself!
- Making it worse?! How could it be worse? Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!
- I'm warning you! If you say "Jehovah" once more... Right! Who threw that?
Come on! Who threw that?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


We think we've pretty well documented what a jerk John McCain is. But being the overachiever that he is, Johnny boy never wants to leave well enough alone. To that end, McCain showed his legendary pettiness and overall curmudgeoness Monday:

Democrats shouldn't expect much cooperation from Republicans the rest of
this year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned Monday. [...]

"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said
during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned
the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

Let's ignore for a second the revisionist history McCain seems to be under that there ever was any comity between the parties before (there wasn't). What is more appalling is there sheer immaturity shown by the man who was his party's candidate for President in the last election under the slogan: Country First. He is in essence screaming at the Democrats to get off his lawn. Or, as Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted, acting like a child:

Helen Thomas: McCain said he's going to oppose everything.

Gibbs: Well, yes, I find it curious that not getting your way on one
thing means you've decided to take your toys and go home. I don't think -- it
doesn't work well for my six-year-old; I doubt it works well in the United
States Senate, because we have issues that are important for his constituents
and for all of America.

Look, again, when it comes to financial reform people are going to have
an opportunity to weigh in on behalf of the banks or on behalf of consumers. And
I'll let their vote on that dictate which side of that ledger they feel most
comfortable on.

Chip Reed: Are you comparing McCain to a six-year-old?

Gibbs: I'm saying that I think the notion that if you don't get what
you want you're not going to cooperate on anything else is not a whole lot
different than I might hear from a six-year-old.

If the shoe fits, right?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Behind the scenes look at how it was passed

It took about 14 months and 22 pens. But today, President Obama signed Healthcare Reform into law. The Washington Post's Ceci Connolly has a good behind the scenes play-by-play on what transpired since the January 19th election of Scott Brown. Worth a read.

The Health Care Law in pictures

The White House has a gallery of photos taken throughout the HCR process. These were some of our favorite ones. If you think HCR is the end of the world, feel free to move along. Let the rest of us enjoy the moment. Enjoy.
We saw heated meetings...

And wondered if it would happen.

We saw a President take question after question at townhalls

And make a lot of phone calls to work the vote.

A lot bullshit was spewed, but once again, we found out this President's pretty good against the ropes.

He stood tall and refused to back down, reminding us that the right thing isn't always popular or politically expedient.

He made sure we stayed in the game...

And reminded us that we did not fear our future, we shaped it.

Props to President Obama and Speaker Pelosi on one hell of fight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

For Sen. DeMint(ed)

Oh...Jim. Buck up, there little cowboy. Here's a tip: under promise, over perform. Trust us. It makes things a little easier. The problem with the all or nothing approach is if you lose you get nothing. So for the man who tried to single-handedly hand Inez Tenenbaum the election, perhaps you shouldn't pick fights with those who have evinced a much stronger ability to achieve.

But don't get too down. Here's a little ditty that's sure to make up feel better. Remember...the history book on the self is always repeating itself.

Our West Coast Bureau...

has scored some sweet video from a Nike shoe release weekend in San Francisco for skateboarder Omar Salazar. Check out the video. If you're a sadist, you'll really like it around the 1:59 mark. Hattip, Jaime.

Just Newt being Newt

We've got to hit the road for work and we want a little more time to digest the events of last night, so we're going to hold off a comprehensive post about HCR for the time being. But in the meantime, we thought you would enjoy a comment from Mr. Former Leader, Newt Gingrich that, quite frankly...even though it's Newt, we still can't believe he said.

In a piece out yesterday by the Washington Independent's Mike Lillis, titled "Gingirch: Civil Rights Laws Weren't Worth the Political Price," Newt is quoted with:

Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive
reform. Calling the bill “the most radical social experiment . . . in modern
times,” Gingrich said: “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon
Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of
civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

Uh...ok. There you have it folks. One of his party's go-to political minds believes the price to pay for tackling an issue everyone agrees was right (Civil Rights) was too much to pay, equating that to an issue everyone agrees needed to be dealt with (HCR) and thinking those who pushed to address it will "regret it."

This reminded me of a comment Sullivan had about last night's events, from Abraham Verghese:

I have been trying to explain to my youngest why this is such an exciting
moment: front line soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq take personal risks, put
their lives on the line. But so few politicians put their careers on the line,
even though they make decisions that have an impact on soldiers. President Obama
(and to some degree every Democrat who supports this bill) is putting his
political career on the line. The idea that you might do what you think is right
and pay a penalty has been so foreign to politics that it surprises us when we
see it. I think my son is surprised to hear all this. He assumes at 12 years of
age that people, especially people we elect, go to Washington to do the right

We will be happy if that's the future of the differences between the two parties. If Republicans want to push the line that you can't afford to take on these tough issues because they may come at a tough personal price, they will continue their trek to fringe minority status. People want governance. Not chickenshit self-preservation. Last night was the first time in our lifetime that we felt a large group of our elected officials were putting the good of the country above their own personal self-interests. We liked that feeling.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Some Music to wait for history with

As President Obama tells the estimated 47 millions uninsured Americans "I'm on it" and we wait for history, we found that the songs below captured today's events awfully well:

First, Fatlip and the boys from the Pharcyde help us understand how this Bizarre Ride got to where it's at:

And finally, for resident crazy Senator Jim DeMint(ed)

Welcome to Monday...

Welcome to your Monday morning landscape according to mythical blowhard minority leader of the House, John Boehner. Mr. Self-Bronzer has said that the next 24 hours are Armageddon because this bill will ruin our country.

His douchnozzle, Eric Cantor was on This Week this morning and was flat-out asked if he really believed this bill would ruin the country. In his typical limp-wristed, coy way, Cantor refused to answer the question, instead choosing to over and over talk about all the "fear out there" concerning this bill. That's right, the GOP answer to whether or not this bill will ruin the country is to say...just look at all the fear out there. It's not us thinking it's gonna ruin the country, it's the "people." Whatever. That's like a parent explaining, hey...I didn't shit all over your rug. It's the baby.

Sad that the party of responsibility is claiming none for their culpability in ratcheting up this fear. Cantor even had the chutzpah to pooh-pooh the talk about the protesters on the hill yesterday dropping N-bombs on Rep. John Lewis and F-bombs on Rep. Barney Frank. "No one condones that..." Really, Eric? Those are the "people" who think this bill will result in a man name Connor rising up against the machines. So aren't you just kind of "condoning" those freaks by having your leadership preach to their choir?

Here's the deal. We don't know whether this thing is gonna pass or not. It should. Any Democrat who votes against it is a weak, POS. Seriously. If you call yourself a Democrat, this has to be one of the fundamental reasons why. And if you're not willing to put it on the line for this, you don't deserve office. Second, passage will be good for all Democrats. Those who lose would be losing anyway. The rest are going to benefit from the very obvious fact that the GOP has not learned anything from the 2008 election. They have doubled down on the crazy talk and embraced those same crazies that were showing up at McCain/Palin with guns. When it passes and the world does not stop turning, what are they gonna say? The same shit they're saying now: it's all the Dems fault. Nothing they have done works. We know they are saying that now, when they know stuff works. You cannot pay attention to crazy, irrational people. You can't argue with them. You keep your head down, keep grinding and have a little faith that the rational, reasonable people carry the day.

Trent Lott is on This Week right now trying to explain that the problem with this bill as opposed to last time is this very partisan, dogmatic Democratic party...on a bill that basically resembles exactly the GOP bill from 1994. That's right...the GOP's argument is these Dems are too left wing...when that left wing is really the right wing position of 16 years ago. Which party is moving further from the middle?

The President has given some of the best addresses he's given since the campaign over the last week. Yesterday, he hit the nail on the head with a quote from President Lincoln: "I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true." While I am sure John Boehner, Ed Gillespie and all the rest of the Republicans who are expressing all these new found concerns for the midterm election prospects of their Democratic colleagues are sincere and not self-serving, they could not be more wrong. There is a reason the GOP is fighting this like hell. If it passes, the Democrats are going to be able to point to HCR and say you can say a lot of shit...but you can't deny that we were the party that finally did something. Those Republicans know how powerful this message may be going into the future and they know they could be having to explain why they were against this for decades to come. And forget the warnings about it completely destroying bipartisanship. What bipartisanship? It's like the old Monty Python skit: How could I make it any worse? Jehovah. Jehovah. Jehovah!

Pass. The. Damn. Bill! and make them explain themselves to the country as you are able to point out things like their kids who graduate from high school this year being able to stay on their health care plans until they are 26. Good policy makes good politics. You've got a winner policy-wise, the politics will take care of itself.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A secret Corey Handshake???

So, we were saddened with the passing of 80s movie legend Corey Haim last week. We wondered here what would become of the unintentional comedic trainwreck that was the two Coreys? Would Feldman be able to continue on his own? Could Feldman, on his own, continue to make us laugh by taking himself so seriously without his windman there? We have our answer: A Letter For The Grave...(an open letter to Corey Haim)

Sadly, the letter just presents even more questions. We want to understand the magic of 22/222. We want to know all these future movies they were going to do. We desperately want to know the secret Corey Handshake. Damn.

Show your Solicitor some love

In addition to being handy with an oyster knife, Ed Clements is also a pretty damn good Solicitor. This coming Monday, March 22nd, Ed will be having a press conference at the City-County Complex to officially announce his campaign to be re-elected as the 12th Circuit Solicitor (which serves Florence and Marion Counties). The press conference will be on the front steps of the City-County complex at 10am.

Ed and his office have done a great job dealing with juvenile offenders. Since 2003, the 12th Circuit's Juvenile Arbitration, PTI and Early Crime Prevention programs have donated over $32,000 dollars and over 55,000 community service hours to local organizations like Harvest Hope Food Bank, McLeod Children's Hospital, Weed & Seed, Manna House, Marion County Bare Cupboard and the Marion County Council on Aging.

We're pretty lucky to have the solicitor's office that we have. We routinely hear horror stories from around the state about the shady tactics and violations of rights that occur commonly through other circuits. We are lucky that kind of crap doesn't happen here. At the end of the day, everybody wins when cases are handled fairly. That's what we currently have here in the 12th. We should keep it that way.

So, if you are able, come out and show Ed your support Monday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is Big Brother into Bears?

We're not sure exactly what "illicit activities" the US Forestry Service is monitoring with secret, hidden video cameras...we just know that they are. The Post & Courier has an article up on reporting on the latest invasion of privacy the G thinks you need to just shut up and accept.

Last month, Herman Jacob took his daughter and her friend camping in the
Francis Marion National Forest. While poking around for some firewood, Jacob
noticed a wire. He pulled the wire and followed it to a video camera and

The camera didn’t have any markings identifying its owner, so Jacob
took it home and called law enforcement agencies to find out if it was theirs,
all the while wondering why someone would station a video camera in an isolated
clearing in the woods.

He eventually received a call from Mark Heitzman of the U.S. Forest
Service. In a stiff voice, Heitzman ordered Jacob to turn it back over to his
agency, explaining that it had been set up to monitor “illicit activities.”
Jacob returned the camera but felt uneasy.

But Jacob is one of those pesky kind of people who want to know why his privacy was being invaded.

Why, he wondered, would the Forest Service have secret cameras in a
relatively remote camping area? What do they do with photos of bystanders? How
many hidden cameras are they using, and for what purposes? Is this surveillance
in the forest an effective law enforcement tool? And what are our expectations
of privacy when we camp on public land?

Officials with the Forest Service were hardly forthcoming with answers
to these and other questions about their surveillance cameras. When contacted
about the incident, Heitzman said “no comment” and referred other questions to
Forest Service’s public affairs, who he said, “won’t know anything about

So, basically, the US Forestry Service is telling Jacob, and anyone else, to eff off. Don't worry about it. Nothing to see here. Well...if there's nothing to see, what the hell are you guys videotaping? The USFS "assures" you that images of people not "targets of an investigation" are not kept. What the hell does that mean? And if there's nefarious stuff going on in these campsites, how come there's no warning to campers?

Anyone want to lay odds on whether or not images of people in the nude or communing with nature have somehow managed to make it off these cameras and onto someone's personal hard drive? Anyone? Bueller?

Hattip Kulp & Savitz.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Get your St. Pats on

Meet Lynn Kelly, a 5'8" patient coordinator and Irish Dancer who also happens to be Ms. Ireland 2008. We hope Lynn and these videos get you pumped for the St. Patty's Day festivities tomorrow in Columbia.

Get your Guinness on.

And in honor of Marty and Bar None:

And then not really Irish at all, but because I've had it in my head all week, a little TV on the Radio...

And the Oak Ridge Boys doing Seven Nation Army just because it's funny

A little late, but our tribute to 1/2 of the Coreys

RIP, Mr. Haim. For those of us who lived the '80s, we will always remember your immortal warning that "Burn rubber does not mean warp speed."

And for the ladies, who lost one Tiger Beat heartthrob, we offer up a replacement...shirtless Tim Cappello

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I belong to no organized party...

I am a Democrat. And with that quote, cowboy, movie star, humorist and social commentator William Penn Adair Rogers accurately summed up what it feels like to be a Democrat some 75 years after his death.

Last night, we attended the Florence County Democratic Party convention and we were once again reminded of the sage comment by Oklahoma's favorite son. Not a whole lot to report from the convention. Several of the statewide candidates were in attendance. Lt. Governor-candidate Ashley Cooper was there. It was the first time we have seen Cooper speak and we must say, we thought he was pretty good. Cooper's experience as a lawyer and the fact that he has been out on the campaign trail for a while now shone through. We would like to see him go against whomever grabs the GOP nomination in a real debate. Cooper comes across as likable and sharp. The one problem he faces, is that this is the first office he has ever run for. Then again, Cooper seems bright enough to make that work for him instead of against him. We'll see.

Both Superintendent of Education candidates where present, Tommy Thompson and Frank Holleman. Holleman has an impressive resume. Harvard grad, London School of Economics, served as Deputy Secretary to Dick Riley when Riley was the Secretary of Education. Holleman is from Greenville, so we would be curious to see if he could make any headway up there. Given the political climate of the upstate, that is doubtful. Thompson, like Cooper, is a rookie in politics. He's got a compelling bio, one of seven boys born to a family of nine children in Chicago. He has climbed his way up the ladder teaching and administrating, to where he is now in administration at S.C. State University. Thompson seems like an engaging guy, but in all candor, right now that seems about all he has.

Probably the most interesting thing we noticed, was the gubernatorial candidates. More specifically, who DID NOT attend. State Senator Vince Sheheen and his wife, Amy, were in attendance. State Senator Robert Ford was also present. Jim Rex sent a staffer and his Rex Mobile. We find that telling and here's why: Sheheen is on a roll. Dwight Drake's dropping out came right after Sheheen's folks corralled about 50 legislators in the lobby of the Statehouse for a public endorsement of Sheheen. You tie that in with Sheheen's growing campaign coffers and with the poll that came out yesterday showing Sheheen almost dead even now with Rex and it is apparent that Sheheen is rising and Rex is sinking like a stone. In all candor, we don't believe Sheheen and Rex are as close as those polls indicate. We think amongst Democrats who are following the primary, Sheheen is well out in front of Rex. Be that as it may, if Rex still thinks he has a legitimate shot, why the hell is he not at the Florence County Democratic Convention?

Sidebar: If you are a Democrat running for statewide office, there are three areas you absolutely must try to carry: the Pee Dee, Charleston and Columbia. Forget the Upstate, it ain't happening. And to carry the Pee Dee, you have to have Florence. Rex has conceded Florence, which means he has conceded the Pee Dee. Sorry, Rex, but game over. We think the only questions left, is exactly when Rex drops out. As far as the party is concerned, the sooner the better.

Locally, the most followed race is obviously going to be the race for the City Council District #2 seat. Why? Because that's Ed Robinson's seat and come June 13th, Ed will have opposition from two quality candidates: Pat Gibson-Hye and Spencer Scott. Last night, when Robinson got up to address the convention he basically said very little, simply stating he had been in that seat for 20 years and he would let his work over those 20 years speak for itself. We thought both Gibson-Hye and Scott missed the opportunity to get up afterwards and say something such as: "I found Councilman Robinson's remarks telling...because 'the work' Ed has been doing the past 20 years is exactly why I am running." Alas, both Gibson-Hye and Scott want to run without being negative. We feel confident in predicting that same courtesy will not be extended by the incumbent.

Another contested city council race that will be the source of some attention is Teresa Ervin's bid to unseat another longtime incumbent: Billy D. Williams. Last night, Billy D got up and talked about all that Billy D was done during his nearly 25 years in that seat. According to Billy D, Billy D has brought back $1.5 to $2 million dollars from Washington. (Can we get an itemized accounting of that Billy D? And which is it, by the way? That's a $500k difference, you know). And now they want to take Billy D's travel away. Yes...Billy D and the argument over Billy D's travel money was in attendance at the convention. Too bad Councilman Bradham was not in attendance...we could have had our own useless waste of time, just like at a council meeting.

Teresa Ervin was also in attendance. Ervin has a very nice bio herself. Born in a house on Sumter Street, delivered by a midwife right there in the home, Ervin has put herself through school and become quite successful in her own right. If you saw Monday's City Council meeting, you may have seen Ervin go in front of council to address a civilian review committee in regards to the Police Department. One thing we liked, was when it was suggested to refer it to committee, Mrs. Ervin made a point of saying that she wanted council to look at the information theirself and make a decision. Basically, she was calling the practice of referring crap to committee out, which is pretty lame. Come on, review the information yourself then make a decision. This stuff is not rocket science and the continual delay we get over the most basic stuff is simply a refusal to actually take a stand or make a decision. We think council could stand to heed that advice.

That was pretty much the lowdown of what happened. We also heard that will be a candidate for the at-large seat, which means Glynn Willis will most likely have opposition in the general. We also are hearing there will be a democratic challenger in one of the local state rep races. Anyway, it's over and it's on to the Democratic primary June 13th. Here's to hoping the results of the primary are more inspiring than the sorry-looking lobster tails we got from Ruby Tuesday's afterwards. We've had shrimp bigger than those things.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Florence County Democratic Party Convention tonight

The Florence County Democratic Party Convention will be held tonight at South Florence High School. The event begins at 6:00 pm but registration of delegates begins at 5:00 pm. If you have been following the news, you should have already seen that there have already been several candidates announce to run against long-time incumbents. That should make for an interesting convention. Come out and take part. Remember, those who participate get to bitch and complain louder than the rest.

BTW, just a word to the wise: if nominated, we will not accept. If elected, we will not serve.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Best moment of the Oscars

In case you were in a deep freeze or doing hard time, last night was Hollywood's back-slapping night better known as the Academy Awards. How was it? Eh. It was great that the lady who directed Point Break finally got recognized by the Academy, even if it was for The Hurt Locker and not for the great cinematic masterpiece that gave us "I am an EFFFF BEEEEEEE IIIIIIIIII Agent!" It was also cool that the Dude won for Best Actor, leading to an acceptance speech with a lot of ins and outs man.

But by far, the best part of the night for us was the John Hughes tribute. If you grew up in the 80s, Hughes was probably as much a part of your life as your mom and dad. His movies captured teenage angst, defined pop culture and left us all dropping quotes like "Mess with the bull, get the horns" for the rest of our lives. In fact, if you want to know how much of a genius Hughes was, consider that he managed to get Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Anthony Michael Hall both on the Oscars in the year 2010. That's talent. But what else did we learn from that montage? We learned that Ally Sheedy is still smokin' hot, Molly Ringwald is a tranny and Judd Nelson needs cab fare.

Right hand meet Left Hand

Jonathan Chait points out that the "Lack of Self Awareness Award of the Decade" should go to the recent edition of The Weekly Standard. In case you're unware of The Weekly Standard, its the neoconservative rag published by News Corp and edited by none other than William "Sarah Palin would be a great running mate and why don't we bomb Iran" Kristol. This month, the Standard contains an editorial from Matthew Continetti, who wrote:

When it comes to the disasters that result from human activity, disasters that are long in the making, we turn a blind eye. A few brave voices may sound the alarm. But no one really listens. The individuals who benefit from the current arrangements offer excuse after excuse. The situation can be contained, they say. No need to be proactive. No need for boldness.

This was an editorial that ran in an issue with this cover:

You talk to 'em, man.

Kind of easy to see how the Standard loses about a million per year, huh?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Propaganda in the 21st century

Benen has two separate posts up today that show just how ridiculous "news" coverage is today. The first piece, looks at the branding of reconciliation as "controversial." Basically, it shows that a review of media coverage from 2003 when reconciliation was used to pass the "temporary" Bush tax cuts shows that reconciliation was not considered controversial back then. In fact, the only reason it's "controversial" now, is because Republicans say it is.

As Benen notes:

Scholars of propaganda could write an impressive paper on the Republican campaign on reconciliation in recent months. Partisan hacks have managed to convince an entire political world and a media establishment that use of a fairly routine Senate procedure is not only problematic, but genuinely scandalous.

But never ones to rest on their laurels when it comes to outright lying to the electorate, Republicans are not done. The second piece documents the Republicans newest "controversy:" President Obama's nomination of Rep. Jim Matheson's (D-UT) brother for a federal judgeship -- which apparently they think is an attempt to "buy" Rep. Matheson's vote on HCR.

Republicans gleefully circulated a Weekly Standard piece yesterday that asked if Obama was trying to buy Matheson's vote by nominating his brother, Scott, to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both the White House and Matheson's office swiftly answered the question with a resounding 'no.' And both Republican senators from Matheson's home state of Utah support the nomination.
Is there anything to this "scandal?" No. Matheson's brother, Scott Matheson, is a law school dean, a former Harvard law professor, Rhodes scholar, respected attorney and former Federal prosecutor. His nomination is supported by Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Bob Bennett and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, all Republican members of Congress, who have all rejected the idea that this is some kind of tit-for-tat.

But that hasn't stopped Congressional Crazy Person Michelle Bachman and Professional Crazy Person Glenn Beck from going batshit over this "controversy." In fact, South Carolina's own Sen. Jim DeMint even weighed in to Beck that on Obama administration: "They really do think we're stupid."

Well...uh...more like shameless and willing to say absolutely anything...but sure, Jim, we'll go stupid too. this kind of crap propaganda?

Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (...) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (...) The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (...) The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.


Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side. (...) The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble.
So, you tell us. Does that sound like it applies? If so, it comes from the father of propaganda, Hitler, right out of his blueprint for Nazi propaganda: Mein Kampf. Now, are we saying these people are Nazis? No. But they sure seem to be playing right out of the same playbook, huh?

Hell No! Grant won't go!

Here at the BTPC, we're big fans of the 18th President of the United States: Ulysses S. Grant. Sure, history has not been kind to President Grant. His administration is largely regarded as one of the most corrupt and scandal-plagued administrations in the history of the country. So what. By all accounts, Grant was not successful in most of his pursuits throughout his life. But the one field where he excelled like no other really f*cking mattered: He was a hell of a military commander.

Most of Grant's troubles during his presidency can be linked back to one character "flaw:" Loyalty. Grant was loyal to a fault. He chose old Army and war buddies to serve, then stuck by them with they faltered. But you can't overlook that Grant took over the reins of this country after the most volatile period in its history, a civil war that literally pitted brother against brother. It was this climate that America turned to its conquering general to save it. A general who owed his military success in large part to his bullheaded and determined nature to not back down and to attack, attack and attack. This nature served Grant, and the country, well during the war. Not so much in politics.

Grant's legacy is always overlooked. It is important to remember that Grant was particularly hated amongst the south, the one part of our country that lives and breathes history. His reputation began being sullied the minute Sherman lit the fires in Atlanta. The efforts to sully Grant's reputation only increased as attempted to recognize the black man's rights during reconstruction and suppress white supremacists such as the KKK.

We remember a college history professor once asking our US History pre-1865 class which side had the best commanders during the Civil War. The near unanimous answer was the Confederacy. The professor's response: Why? They lost. The North obviously had the best commanders, because they won. We agree. Sure, there are any number of reasons why the North won the war: better industrial base, more legitimate cause, superior political leadership, etc. But despite the false belief that Gen. Robert E. Lee was the greatest military mind of the time, it really was Grant. Grant harnessed his former quartermaster skills and used those to bring the full weight and strength of the North's military and industrial capacities to bear on Lee and the South. Grant made his bones fighting and winning engagements during the Spanish-American war. Lee made his scouting out a route for the US to use for an attack. That was the difference. Grant's utter terror at failing or turning from a fight made him an absolute beast on the battlefield. And it was calculated. For all his failings in the business world, he had correctly surmised that Lee and the South could not continue to bleed. Therefore, he set out and bloodied the hell out of them.

But all that is forgot. The South and the Confederacy is romanticized today. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jeb Stuart are hailed as fallen heros, martyrs who died for lost world. Grant is villified as a drunk and inept administrator. It is that kind of thinking that prompts a United States Congressman such as Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC) to introduce legislation replacing Ulysses S. Grant's picture on the $50 Bill with Ronald Reagan's.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot? We realize today GOP drinks the Ronald Reagan as Messiah Kool-Aid to the point that their tongues and lips are stained a permanent cherry red. But are kidding us? As Yglesias notes:

In a better world, GOP stalwarts would be standing up for Grant as one of the
leading figures of their party’s founding. Grant stood for a humane approach to
Native American policy, and did more for African-Americans than any president
between Lincoln and Johnson. He deployed federal troops against the Ku Klux
Klan, got Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1875. And of course before
becoming President, he won the Civil War, which was kind of a big deal.

Shocker this bill comes from a Congressman from the South, huh? Come on, GOP. Do you really think it is a good idea for you to be for taking away the one historical reminder that one of your past leaders literally fought and bled against slavery in this country? Right now? You don't think it's good to have someone that is inappasite of the Joe the Plumbers or Tea Partiers right now? Really?

Think McFly. And while you're thinking, one of you may want to pick up a copy of Jean Edward Smith's excellent book "Grant" and send it to McHenry. Respect our past, jagoff.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Breaking INTO Auschwitz

The Daily Dish had an interesting link today to a Times Online article about Denis Avey, a British POW who in 1944 was interned at a small POW on the outskirts of Auschwitz. The Jewish camp was several miles to the west of his own camp, but according to Avey, everyone knew "the Stripeys" (as they called the Jewish prisoners, due to their uniforms) were being treated terribly.

Basically, the story is that Avey became friends with a Jewish prisoner, Ernst Lobethall, who worked beside him at the IG Farben factory. Avey was able to get his mother to contact the sister, who sent 200 cigarettes through the Red Cross. Miraculously, those cigs made it to Avey who got them to Ernst, which basically made Ernst rich at the Jewish camp and helped him survive. It also helped Ernst and Avey bribe Avey's way into the camp. Where Avey says he intended to bear witness.

“Despite the danger, I knew I had to bear witness,” Avey says. “As Albert
Einstein said: the world can be an evil place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing. I’ve never been one to do

This is a pretty remarkable story. As the Dish notes, it's good to take the time every now and then and remember just how easy our generation has things. The most remarkable part of this story to us, is that Avey is not the only person to do this. Apparently there was another British POW, Charlie Coward, who was anything but. Coward did the same thing and later testified at the IG Farben trial at Nuremberg. His story was made into a movie: The Password is Courage.

All in all, a compelling story within a very dary and twisted one.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The White Stripes: Under Great Northern Lights

The White Stripes documentary Under Great Northern Lights is set to come out on dvd March 16. Some select AMC theaters are showing it (good luck finding one around here). But the trailer looks pretty sweet.

We'd be remiss if we did not include a photo of drumming goddess Meg White. Hummahnah, hummahnah...

In honor, here's some of our fav White Stripes performances: