Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Happens in Vegas White Castle Restaurant to Open on the Strip

Hat tip to my rival/friend Dan, for this wonderful news! I don't get down to the strip very often, but I may have to make an exception now and then for authentic White Castle hamburgers! I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where the only real "sliders" are an institution. My regular order is five cheeseburgers (technically a little too much, but four is not enough), and onion chips with ketchup. They're freaking awesome.

But they're also a challenge, and a potential hazard. Let me explain. A White Castle meal can be sort of like fast food roulette. Don't ask me why, but about one time out of ten, they cause a bit of gastrointestinal distress. For this, they earned the name, "Belly Bombers." Come to think of it, that might be where "sliders" comes from too. Doesn't matter, they're worth the risk, and whether you call them Whitey-One-Bites, greasers, WCs or any of the above,  I absolutely love them. And I'm hoping
that the new Las Vegas location is open 24 hours like all of their other stores, just for that authentic experience.

So, now that we've got the Porcelain Palace, can we finally get some good pizza? I nominate Donato's. And while were at it, how about Skyline Chili?

[Excerpt]

White Castle may finally come to Vegas

The immensely popular White Castle burgers may be finally finding a permanent home in Las Vegas. The burger chain will reportedly open it’s first Las Vegas restaurant at the Best Western Plus Casino Royale, if documents obtained by Eater are any indication. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Scandal: IRS Lady Didn't Like Conservatives

I've struggled to find the "scandal" in the IRS scandal since it broke. It was a case of the IRS investigating political groups who had filed for tax exempt status. And tax exempt status is not supposed to be granted to political organizations. But for an odd policy at the IRS itself, none of these political groups, left or right, should actually get granted the status. That is the only scandal I really see there.

But, of course, Right Wing World doesn't see it that way. Though liberal groups were targeted as well, they've maintained that the IRS focused on right wing groups more, using key words to determine who to "harass." It's kind of strange that a group called the Tea Party could object to being classified as political, but whatever. Anyway, there's this lady who ran one of the offices, and it turns out she doesn't like conservatives very much, and has spoken her mind about it in an email or two. What she had to say sounded like something I might write on this blog, so clearly, conservatives are very unhappy (or happy, depending upon your point of view) about it.

Image from source, NewsCorpse

The problem is, even if they're dead right: Lois Lerner hated conservatives, and went after conservative political groups. . .she had every right to! They're political groups looking to get a status they shouldn't get! But they got it anyway! So, what's the problem? Moreover, there hasn't been a line drawn to the White House about this at all, so how it can be an "Obama Scandal" is ponderous.

[Excerpt]

So F**king What? Former IRS Official Says That GOP Crazies Are…CRAZY!

Republicans and their friends at Fox News have mastered the art of building mountains of bullshit from the lowliest troll-hills. It’s one of their favorite tactics to malign Democrats. Just grab a sentence fragment from a long speech and pretend that it is the whole of the comment from which it was extracted. Then feign outrage that such an awful remark could have been uttered. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lawrence O'Donnell Rewrites Kentucky's "Noah's Ark" Theme Park

Who knew there were cranes in Noah's day? Image from Inquisitr.
Oh, this is good. As an atheist, it's not often you get something this good from a religious person. And Lawrence O'Donnell is a good (though perhaps not devout) Catholic. Like me, he has a few problems with some of the Bible's wackier stories, notably the one about Noah's Ark.

The Noah story figured prominently in my slide into atheism. In my confirmation classes, it was clear that everyone around me took Genesis, up to that point, as literal truth. I was having enough trouble with that, but Noah's Ark? Plot holes you can drive an ocean liner through. It cannot be taken as a literal story, unless one is a child, one hasn't really thought about the story since he was a child, or with an economy-sized tub of faith spackle.

So anyway, they're building a theme park in Kentucky, based around the Noah story, complete with a "replica" of the ark. Kentucky is apparently going to give this entirely religious production millions of dollars worth of tax credits. To a heathen like me, this is very irritating. So, I was relieved to find Lawrence on my side. And his piece is also quite entertaining. Especially his pronunciation of "Ark Park."
 

Satanists: Hobby Lobby Decision Could Exempt Women from Anti-abortion Laws

Image from source, Raw Story
This gives me a great deal of schadenfreude. File under: be careful what you wish for.

[Excerpt]

Satanists want to use Hobby Lobby decision to exempt women from anti-abortion laws

In a statement, the Satanic Temple said that it will use the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision to exempt its believers from state-mandated informed consent laws that require women considering abortions to read pro-life material. Informed consent or “right to know” laws state that women seeking elective abortions be provided with information about alternatives to the procedure, often couched in language that attempts to personify the fetus. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states currently have informed consent laws, and of those, 33 require that the woman be told the gestational age of the fetus. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hillbilly People (A Rocky Mountian Mike Song Parody)

Another goodie from Rocky Mountain Mike, this time about some of the sadder elements of today's voting public. To the tune of Sly & the Family Stone's Everyday People.

To hear much more from Rocky Mountain Mike, click here.
 

I (Don't) Want My Sarah Palin TV!

Image from source, NewsCorpse
After the announcement that Sarah Palin is getting her own internet "TV" channel, the hashtag #PalinTVShows began trending on Twitter. I couldn't resist throwing in, 8 Simple Rules for Knocking Up My Teenage Daughter, Also Too. But seriously, the news that this political celebrity with the paper-thin depth of knowledge, is starting her own network isn't really a surprise is it?

I mean, she's become wealthy doing her "you betcha" schtick for tea bagger rubes. How much can an internet "channel" cost? She loves being on camera, and she loves to throw her Molotov Cocktail bon mots via social media. Now, she's just combining these things, and can run them on a loop. I can't imagine what would possess a person to subscribe. But you know she's going to sell memberships to media outfits like Media Matters and Think Progress, along with the organizations who agree with her like NewsBusters and World Nut Net Daily. But I have a feeling it's going to wear thin quickly.

[Excerpt]

Must See Tea-Vee: Are You Ready (To Pay) For The Sarah Palin Channel?

For those of you who have had enough of Sarah Palin pontificating for free on everything from sanctimonious piety to impeaching President Obama, your prayers have been answered. Now, rather than getting updates from her Facebook page or having to watch Fox News, you can subscribe to her Internet video service and pay $9.95 per month for all the word-salad gloriousness you used to have to suffer through free of charge. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Right Wing World: FReepers Go Bananas on Gay Marriage Ruling

As I said in my earlier post, the Fourth Circuit Court ruled Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  This is newsworthy, and cause for celebration for marriage equality supporters. Now, "traditional marriage" supporters (a misnomer, since almost nobody is against traditional marriage) are less pleased. What drives them, and keeps them as invested as gay people remains a mystery to me. But to say that some of them are not taking it well, would be a vast understatement.

Today, I checked in on FreeRepublic.com, one of Right Wing World's most fervent outposts on the web. And what I found there was. . .well, kind of amusing. FReepers are nothing if not entertainingly batshit crazy. But they also veered into the disturbing. Particularly that bit about hanging judges.


Actual Screen Cap of FReeper Discussion (Click to embiggen)
[Excerpts]

"Short of impeachment of these judges, there is no going back to civilization."

"One more example of the Decline of Western Civilization. We live in a culture of death that has rejected God and celebrates evil and perversion. Lock and load, folks. Lock and load."

"Someday someone is going to hold judges accountable for making up law (legislation) from the bench."

"A constitutional amendment banning queer marriages is needed... in addition to impeaching these corrupt and traitorous judges."

"Who, in their right mind, would even want to be president and have to govern over this drain-circling country?"

"Yep. Opposition to homosexuality is falling like dominoes. If no one is going to draw a line against it, it's going to be up to We The People. Load the magazines...it's coming sooner rather than later.
Scouts Out! Cavalry Ho!"

"There is NO HOPE AT ALL for this country. None."

"We've gone so long being meek, compliant and quiet, that our enemies have us against the ropes. The only way to win back our Republic is to fight. Hopefully, it'll be just with words, picket signs, and maybe fists, but if it goes further, we have only ourselves to blame."

"When will a state secede? The 10th amendment is being stomped on."

"It’s time to start hanging judges."

"The coprophiliacs and lesbians win again."

"We are quickly becoming the United States of Sodom and Gomorrah."

"It’s like they’re soldiers in Satan’s army."

"I am full of such rage, hate and anger as never before. I hate all of them, the left, the libs, the immoral, the courts, the president, the politicians. Eff all of them. I wouldn’t even mind if God destroys us all and sorts us out later. I hate living in this country. . ."

Here and here are the source pages.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Gay Thing: 4th Circuit Court Rules Virginia Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Like dominos, these hateful same-sex marriage bans keep falling. And this one was a big domino, affecting Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Maryland, of course, is in the same Circuit, but already has marriage equality.

[Excerpt]

Image from source, Slate
Fourth Circuit Calls Virginia’s Gay Marriage Ban “Segregation,” Strikes It Down

On Monday, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, the latest victory for marriage equality in a unbroken string of triumphs since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA in 2013. The opinion included no stay; until the Supreme Court steps in, then, gay couples in Virginia may get married starting now. The judges of the 2–1 majority labeled the state’s ban “segregation” and held that, because it targeted a disfavored minority and implicated a fundamental right, it should be subject to strict scrutiny. It’s clear that, to the majority, laws like Virginia’s represent little more than bald bigotry. . .

Read more at: Slate

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Over Time with Bill Maher, July 25, 2014

Blast from the Past: Class of '84, The Bands (Male Edition)

Since this is my 30th class reunion year (sorry, WYHS Class of '84, I can't make it), I'm continuing my theme of hit songs from that year, 30 years ago. I've got to wonder if these tunes strike the ears of kids today, like early rock and roll of the 1950s did to me.

1. New Moon on Monday by Duran Duran - Not one of their more enduring tunes, to be sure. But this was big that year.
2. Cum on Feel the Noize by Quiet Riot - It was a year that really mixed genres, and this song proves it.



3. Karma Chameleon by Culture Club - Can you imagine this song coexisting with the previous one today on the pop chart?
4. Say it Isn't So by Hall & Oates - This 70s band had a resurgence during my high school years, kind of like the next one.



5. You're the Inspiration by Chicago - As I said, groups don't get more 70s, but Chicago had a string of 80s hits. My best friend and I used to sing this to his car: "Your My Transportation. . ."
6. The Heart of Rock & Roll by Huey Lewis - This song was huge, but their zenith was The Power of Love, the next year, from the Back to the Future Soundtrack.



7. When You Close Your Eyes by Night Ranger- Squeeze the cheese.
8. Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police - It wouldn't be long after this that Sting went permanently solo.



9. Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes - I didn't realize until putting this list together, how many bands from earlier decades were having a resurgence. Yes was a big one.
10. Hold Me Now by Thompson Twins - Yeah, there was a girl in this group, but since they were a trio, and 2/3 men, they fit in this category. I love their stuff, from any year. But this may have been their biggest hit.



And, that will do it for this week guys. It's been a busy weekend, and is sure to be a busy week. Hang in there, and Happy Monday!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mary Poppins Quits! (Funny or Die)

Practically perfect in every way, except her paycheck.



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rachel Maddow on Botched Execution in Arizona

Contrary to what you may have heard, Rachel Maddow is separate and apart from most pundits and talking heads. As much as I might enjoy some of the others, and can grudgingly see why some that I don't like have a following, Maddow stands alone. She focuses on stories no one else is talking about, or at least comes at them from another angle. She gives history and context on the subject she is talking about. And she usually makes you forget you're essentially listening to a professor's lecture. You don't get bored, and you always learn something.

Over the past year or so, Maddow has been tracking death penalty cases, particularly those with botched executions. She's focused on the problems with the state finding elusive lethal injection drugs, and openly wondered about the wisdom of capital punishment, if we can't abide by the Constitution's command against cruel and unusable punishment. Or, should we even be killing people at all?

So, when this Arizona botched execution story broke, it was actually pretty amazing that The Rachel Maddow Show was able to jump right in with a very thorough story on the subject. You don't have to be a liberal to get something out of this.
 

Yet Another Execution Goes Horribly Wrong

Image from source, Think Progress
We keep having these botched executions, and I know, it's difficult to care. I mean (barring the wrongly accused), anyone on death row is generally an awful person. And I've heard some say, "they deserve what they get." This is the United States of America, however, and we're not supposed to be all "eye for an eye" on criminal justices. There's a thing called the Constitution, and a line about cruel and unusual punishment.

So, what's the reason for all of the problems with something that ought to be fairly easy to do? Well, companies that make some drugs don't want them used for the purposes of causing death. And other drugs? Untested, and who ya gonna test 'em on? Well, looks like, the condemned. And it's not going so well.

[Excerpt]

Arizona’s Execution Attempt Goes Horribly Wrong As Man Remains Alive Nearly 2 Hours After Injection
 
Using an unusual concoction of drugs this afternoon, Arizona attempted to execute a man on death row. One hour after he was supposed to have been lethally injected, however, Joseph Rudolph Wood was still alive, “gasping and snoring.” Wood’s lawyers filed an emergency request to stay the execution and give the man life-saving help, but it was too late: After two hours, he died. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Is the end of ObamaCare Something Conservatives Should Really Wish For?

Image from source, NewsCorpse
As I wrote in my previous post, the Affordable Care Act is possibly imperiled by dueling lawsuit rulings. Because the results were in conflict, there's not a lot for either side to celebrate. Yet. But Right Wing World was in full swoon before the second ruling came down. Should they be so excited? Doesn't this stick to them like flypaper if it really does undo ObamaCare?

[Excerpt]

Let The Tea Party Begin: 4.7 Million At Risk Of Losing Their Health Insurance
 
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; For there IS joy in Teaville… …A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-to-1 along party lines that subsidies for health insurance premiums made available under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) are only available to those who purchased their coverage in state-based exchanges, invalidating the 4.7 million citizens who used the federal exchange and therefore… …they have been shut out. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

ObamaCare is Dead! ObamaCare is Alive! Long Live ObamaCare!

So confusing! First a Circuit Court says that ObamaCare--at least the ability to fund it, in states without exchanges--was invalid, due to a literal reading of the law. See, the law was written with the assumption of 50 state exchanges, and the GOP thwarted that. So, the language is off by a couple of words. Intent? Phooey! We want to ditch this thing!

Then, just a couple of hours later, a different Circuit Court ruled exactly the opposite. It's just as well, Right Wing World was going to hurt itself if it did anymore cartwheels and back handsprings. So, very likely, this is going to go to the Supreme Court. Again. And who the hell knows what they'll do, really.

But I've got to think this has a heavy downside for the right. They're on record for being absolutely focused on eliminating or castrating ObamaCare from the beginning. Everyone knows it, and the case, of course, was initiated for that very reason. So, suppose SCOTUS rules that this part of the ACA is to be tossed out. And suddenly, affordable care is out the window. Poor people, who have had access to insurance for the first time, will be thrown off it. Something like 4.7 million people. I can't see how this is good for Republicans, if it comes down to that.

The amazing part is, conservatives aren't probably really against the ACA itself. It's the Obama part of ObamaCare they hate. They will do anything and everything to rob him of having that as his legacy, even while they trash the thing out of the other side of their mouth.

[Excerpt]

Appeals courts differ on Obamacare; Supreme Court case likely

It was a tale of two rulings -- the best of times and the worst of times for Obamacare in the federal appeals courts. First, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit court of appeals ruled Tuesday against a key component of the law -- the federal subsidies for millions of people who signed up for health coverage. . .

Read more (with video) at: CNN

Monday, July 21, 2014

John Oliver on America's Broken (For Profit) Prison System

John Oliver is turning out to be a great choice for HBO, to generate buzz, and start a new brand. I just wish he was on more than once a week.
 

Rick Perry Sends out the National Guard Against. . .Children?

Governor Oops of Texas is a baffling fellow. I know he's got the "smart guy" glasses on, and he's making himself very visible. I know he has designs on the White House, despite his disastrous previous effort. So, I suppose this is sort a "tough guy" move, to try to shore up his base. The teabaggers hate illegal immigrants, so he's gotta sock it to 'em? Maybe. But what in the world is the National Guard going to do with these women and children that isn't being done?

[Excerpt]

To Deal With Migrant Kids, Texas Governor Plans To Send National Guard To The Border

Faced with an uptick in children crossing the U.S.-border alone from several unstable Central American countries, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Monday he will send 1,000 members of the National Guard to the border. “I will not stand idly by,” Perry said in making the announcement. He told CNN, “the first thing you have to do is stop the flow [of migrants into the United States]. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Blast from the Past: Class of 1984, the Men

As a further tribute to my graduating year, lo those thirty years ago, this week's Blast from the Past follows last week's The Women of '84 with The Men of '84. Not the bands, that comes later. These are the solo acts. As with last week's edition, though the stars themselves will be no surprise, not all of the songs will necessarily be the ones you expect.

1. I Would Die 4 U by Prince - The little purple dude had four hits in 1984, all from the film Purple Rain. Prince has had a long career, but these would be his glory days.
2. Thriller by Michael Jackson - I'd use a different song, given this ones ubiquity, but MJ was running out the clock on this album by '84, and had no other solo hits for a while. Plus there was that whole "head on fire" incident. But I couldn't leave this on off.



3. Rock Me Tonite by Billy Squier - Squier isn't maybe the first guy you'd think of from the '80s, but I've gotta tell ya, he was huge at my high school.
4. The Longest Time by Billy Joel - Joel's discography runs so long, it's easy to forget his early-'80s MTV phase.



5. Eyes Without a Face by Billy Idol - Who knew there were so many "Billys" in this grouping? And so very different from each other. Idol, certainly, is the most '80s of them.
6. Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean - Obviously, I'm caught in a Billy wave.



7. Running with the Night by Lionel Ritchie - Ritchie gets overrun by Michael Jackson and Prince in our memories of 80s R&B-crossover artists (which is what they were back then), but he was huge in the early 80s.
8. Sad Songs (Say So Much) by Elton John - Back when he was straight. Heh.



9. Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling - Had to put a one-hit wonder in here somewhere.
10. Blue Jean by David Bowie - I realized that I couldn't mention the last guy, and then leave off Bowie. It wasn't a big year for him, but he was kind of between hits.



And there you have it, I've hit my limit for the week. And I didn't even get around to John "Cougar" Mellencamp, Christopher Cross, John-freakin'-Lennon, Ray Parker Jr., Bruce-yeah, Bruce-Springsteen, Rick Springfield, Rod Stewart, Peabo Bryson, Corey Hart, Steve Perry, Dan Hartman, and so many others. Maybe a sequel is in order?

Meanwhile, happy Monday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shot-Down Malaysian Plane Held 100 AIDS Researchers

Image from source, CBSNews
Wow. Even if the excerpted article doesn't have the number exactly right, that's just astonishing. 100 top AIDS researchers, enroute to a conference on the disease in Australia, perished when the plane was shot down, as yet by unknown assailants. The attack is of course tragic no matter who the people on the plane were. But for such a large group from one field to be wiped out at once? Tragic, and potentially devastating for the progress in finding a cure.

[Excerpt]

Crash claims top AIDS researchers heading to Melbourne

About 100 of the 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash were heading to Melbourne for a major AIDS conference, conference attendees have been told. Delegates at a pre-conference in Sydney were told on Friday morning that around 100 medical researchers, health workers and activists were on the plane that went down near the Russia-Ukraine border, including former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange. . .

Read more at: SMH.com.au


[Excerpt]

Malaysia plane victims include infants, AIDS researchers
 
Flight attendant Nur Shazana Mohd Salleh was single but hoping to find love soon. Instead, she was one of nearly 300 people who perished when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine. The airline initially said there were 295 people on board the Boeing 777, 280 passengers and 15 crew members. Early Friday, the airline increased the death toll to 298, saying there were three infants on board. . .

Read more (with video) at: CBS News
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