Sunday, March 29, 2015

Betty Bowers explains "Religious Freedom" Laws

According to Betty, if Christians discriminate against or criticize someone else, it's "Religious Freedom." But if anyone discriminates against or criticizes Christians, it's "Persecution."

See how simple that is?

What is Chip Kelly doing?

In the off season there is a mood of desperation to find stuff to talk about. The big news of course is the draft but before that is the free agency and trade circus.

To say that Chip Kelly, coach of the Eagles, has been raising some eyebrows with the moves he's been making would be a drastic understatement.

First he traded LeSean McCoy to Buffalo for LB Kiko Alonso. This trade also freed up a lot of cap space for the Eagles.

Then he sent Nick Foles plus a 4th round pick in 2015 and a 2nd round 2016 draft pick to the Rams for Sam Bradford and a 5th round pick in 2015. The kicker in this deal is that if Bradford doesn't start eight games for Philadelphia they'll get a 4th round pick in 2016. If he gets injured, they'll get a 3rd round pick in 2016.

The Eagles also have Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley at QB and are rumored to be looking to move up in the draft for Marcus Mariota. The latest rumor is the Eagles would like to trade Barkley for a low round draft pick and sign Tim Tebow.

Finally he signed Demarco Murray from the Cowboys for the same amount of money that LeSean McCoy had been making and eliminated any cap space the first trade may have gained.

So, so far, we have McCoy, Foles, a 4th round 2015 pick and a second round 2016 pick gone and Alonso, Bradford, Murray and a 4th round pick in 2016 replacing them.

Kiko Alonso is a great pick-up that's going to cause NFC East rivals headaches for years to come and Murray is at least as good as McCoy. As for Bradford rather than Foles, we'll have to see.

Other possible moves would be Barkley replaced by Tebow and some low round pick from an unknown team and a trade to move up for Mariota.

Any team which would trade for Barkley would have to be really desperate at QB because Barkley hasn't exactly shown a lot in the way of potential. Any trade to move up for Mariota would cost a small fortune including at least 1st round picks for 2015 and 2016 and perhaps even a 1st or 2nd rounder for 2017.

Some football "pundits" have questioned Kelly's sanity but I suspect Kelly knows precisely what he wants and is simply going about getting it.

Watch the Eagles go for the Ttian's 2nd round pick in order to get Mariota. I don't think he's going to fall lower than that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Let the Games Begin!

Ted Cruz became the first official candidate for president in 2016 announcing his intent to run at Liberty University in Virginia.

It was a little hard to determine from his remarks if Cruz wanted to be president or Chief Pastor.

I can only assume that Ted is trying to garner some easy publicity before the adults come out to play. Let's remember that this is a man that campaigned to shut down the government in order to stop Obamacare when Obamacare, as part of mandatory spending, wouldn't be affected by such a shutdown.

He has also has repeated demonstrated that he has no idea what Net Neutrality is but he's against it anyway.

It's really going to be hard to determine which of the potential GOP candidates is the worst. In addition to Ted Cruz we have possible candidates in Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.

If I had to rank this menagerie head to toe it would probably look something like this:

#1 - Jeb Bush - Florida survived him as governor and he couldn't possibly be as bad as brother Dubya.
#2 - Chris Christie - Anything to get him out of New Jersey. Besides, Christie would at least be entertaining as hell.
#3 - Ted Cruz - Cruz is hopeless but everyone else is even worse!
#4 - Mike Huckabee - Mike has gone seriously down hill in the last eight years or so.
#5 - Scott Walker - Talk about scrapping the bottom of the barrel.
#6 - Rick Santorum - Yes, incredible as it may sound, there's someone even worse.
#7 - Ben Carson - This man is utterly delusional. I seriously believe that he has mental problems.

On the other side of the aisle there appears to be a wide range of choices. You can have Hillary. You can nominate Hillary. Or you can support Hillary.

Let's remember however that everyone was ready to crown her Democratic nominee in 2008 as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Civil Disobedience

A number of Religious Right types, including Rick Scarborough and James Dobson, are apparently pushing the idea of "civil disobedience" should the Supreme Court legalize gay marriage.

Exactly what form this "civil disobedience" would take is unclear but Scarborough is predicting that once gay marriage becomes the law of the land there will be mass arrests of Christians. Funny how that hasn't happened in any of the states where gay marriage is already legal.

Scarborough also claims that members of congress are lining up to sign a document pledging to commit this undefined "civil disobedience" in protest of a potential Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage.

I would assume if there are in fact any congressmen stupid enough to sign such a document that they would be from the Party of Stupid sometimes known as the GOP.

First of all I don't think it's a really good idea to essentially threaten the Supreme Court. Most judges tend to take a dim view of such shenanigans. Second, Scarborough is again severely overestimating the "who gives a shit" quotient on gay marriage.

Most people in the country, 55% at last count, favor gay marriage and I'm pretty sure a healthy share of the 44% that are opposed aren't about to go to jail over it.

I'm not sure if Scarborough and others of his ilk actually believe the nonsense they're spewing or are just whipping up their under 80 IQ trailer park fans in order to keep the donations flowing.

Netanyahu Wins

In a fairly surprising development Netanyahu's Likud Party experienced a last minute surge and won 30 seats in the Israeli elections.

Some analysts believe the surge can be traced to last minute hard line promises about expanding settlements in the occupied territories and even potentially annexing some of the disputed areas.

The victory probably assures a widening rift between Israel and her allies in Europe and the United States.

Part of the problem is the Israelis feel confident that the US isn't going to abandon them regardless of how foolish they act toward a long term peace settlement.

Netanyahu's policies are good for Netanyahu and Likud in the short term but in the long term they are a disaster for Israel and the region as a whole.

Likud keeps putting off any chance for a permanent solution in exchange for political benefit. It just goes to show that other electorates can be as dump as the American electorate.

Ultimately someone in Israel is going to have to figure out they're getting no where fast and a change of policy is required. Hopefully that will happen before too many more people get killed.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Party of Stupid

Yes, that's the Republicans.

The latest act of stupidity was an open later to Iran essentially saying it doesn't matter what kind of nuclear agreement you come up with we're going to win the next election and undo it anyway.

The letter was signed by 47 GOP senators supposedly to explain to the Iranians how the US Constitution works.

The Iranian response made it clear they understood the US Constitution better than the Republican senators and also understood International Law which the GOP didn't even seem to take into account.

Newspapers in the US and US Allies blasted the GOP action but in the arrogance of the Right Wing, they don't seem to care and neither do their trailer park base.

Like John Cleese says, they're just too fucking stupid to realize how stupid they are.

As for the Republican base, "hey, we're "mericans' and can do whatever we want" is their credo. Each and every one is a firm believer in American Exceptionalism. They're just opposed to everything that might make the country exceptional such as equal protection under the law and the separation of church and state.

Yes, I'm now no longer sticking by my "no foul language" rule. Screw it. I've fucking had it up to here with Right Wing lies, ignorance, backfire effect and just plain stupidity.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Concept and Implementation

What do I mean by "Concept and Implementation?"

What I mean is that there are always two layers to any discussion. First there is the question as to whether the Concept or the intent is a good idea or not.

Let's consider Universal Health Care and start with the question, is providing universal access to health care a good thing or a bad thing?

This is where discussions have to start. First you have to decide if the objective is worthwhile or not.

Assuming there is agreement that the objective is worthwhile, then we can move on to how to implement it. That's the "Implementation" part.

Too often discussions get all jumbled up with issues of Concept and Implementation being mashed together in a confusing tangle.

The two conversations should be totally different. If you are opposed to Obamacare, Net Neutrality or Common Core, is it the objective that you are opposed to or the implementation?

Of course before you can even discuss whether the objective is worthwhile you have to understand what the objective is? I find too many people oppose things but don't have a clue what it is they're opposing.

Netanyahu's Speech

The Israeli Prime Minister addressed a joint session of Congress yesterday in what is considered to be a double breach of etiquette.

First, Congress is not supposed to side step the State Department and invite foreign heads of state to speak. Second, it is standard policy not to meet with foreign dignitaries close to a election in their home country and Israeli elections are scheduled for mid-March.

OK, so much for that stuff. The simple fact is he came and he spoke so what really matters is what the man said.

Did he say anything earth shattering? Did he say anything that might influence the Obama administration's plans with respect to negotiations with Iran?

I'd have to say the answers are no and absolutely not. If anything Netanyahu probably made Kerry and the State Department MORE adamant about reaching an agreement. Since the Iranians aren't nearly as stupid as the Republicans in Congress, I'm sure they'll manage to use that to their advantage.

As far as I can tell Netanyahu's "strategy" with the Iranians is "keep kicking them until they see the error of their ways." The problem is I don't think any Iranian concession would satisfy the prime minister.

He spent the rest of the speech trying to talk Obama and the Democrats into not being really pissed off at him. I think he's pretty safe there at least as far as the Democrats in Congress are concerned.

I do believe he has hurt his position with a reasonable segment of the American Public but as soon as he loses the election in mid-March all will be forgiven as the new prime minister is sworn in.

Yes, that's a prediction or at least a hope.

So, what are my thoughts?

I still say that Netanyahu is playing with fire when he cuddles up with the right wing lunatic fringe in this country. I wonder if Israelis realize how he's damaging his image when he does that? I'm hoping they've figured it out and will boot his tail out.

I suppose we shall see what we shall see.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

I Can't Take IT Anymore!

What's "IT" you ask? "IT" is the incredible ignorance of the American public.

Notice that I said "ignorance" and not "stupidity." We'll talk about stupidity some other time.

There is an old saying that you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts and what we're talking about here are simple facts.

When I read comments on the Internet I am literally flabbergasted at what people think is true. I don't know where they get some of their ideas. Even Faux News doesn't misinform this badly.

Look, you are entitled not to like something; you can even not like something for no particular reason but at least try to ascertain the facts.

I'm fascinated by this attitude that everything, no matter what it is, somehow is Obama's fault. Here are facts that some people don't seem aware off.

- The President doesn't make all the rules. Rules have been being made in this country for a couple of hundred years. Every new president doesn't rewrite all of them.

- The president's administration doesn't approve everyone that enters the country so the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in this country wasn't "let in" by the Obama administration.

- Obama did not only win the electoral vote in 2008 and 2012. In 2008 he won the popular vote 53%-46%. In 2012 he won it 51%-47%.

- The US is actively engaged in the fight against ISIS. US led coalition aircraft have executed some 5,000 sorties against ISIS forces.

- The 2009 budget deficit of $1.4 trillion was a Bush budget and not an Obama budget. Of course the deficits in 2010 and 2011 of $1.3 trillion were all his.

- The US, despite all of the spats, is still the best, and about the only, ally that Israel has left. The Europeans have already lost patience with Netanyahu,
-----Only the US and Australia voted against a security council Palestinian statehood resolution. Britain abstained. France, China and Russia all voted for it. Only a last minute decision by Nigeria to abstain prevented the US from having to use its veto.
-----It is a breach of protocol for congress to invite a foreign leader to speak.
-----It is US policy to never meet with a foreign leader close to election time in that leaders country.

Not that I expect any of these right wing fools to change their attitude after learning the facts. Psychological tests indicate that showing a conservative he's wrong simply makes him dig in his heels and become more insistent that he's right.

I've been wrong about quite a few things in my life but never so wrong as I was about Obama being able to somehow heal the discord in this country. To say things have gotten considerably worse would be a huge understatement.

Is it as bad as the 60s? We may not be literally fighting in the streets but I'm not sure I see a way out of this current conflict and this inability to agree on the facts is a big part of the problem.

The other big part is that social conservatives are just too plain stupid to realize what they think are the facts just ain't so.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Net Neutrality

Well, the FCC has taken the steps necessary to try and maintain Net Neutrality of the Internet.

Of course the Republicans and a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are saying their going to fight it tooth and nail. Of course the under 80 IQ trailer park Republican base is cheering them on.

Wait until the yokels can't get to their porn any more.

This one strikes me as a no brainer. The very idea of allowing an ISP to regulate who gets to use the bandwidth THAT I'M PAYING FOR to provide content is insane.

That's basically the ability to determine what people can access.

Consider two shopping sites one of which pays for extra bandwidth and one which can't afford to. The site with the extra bandwidth is going to be faster and easier to use.

Which one would you use assuming the prices were comparable?

How long do you think it will be before they drive the slow internet competition out of business and get to raise their prices?

Verizon says they will sue the FCC. I think we should tell Verizon that no Net Neutrality, no Verizon customers.