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Honest answer to a reader's question

No snark, no smartassery. This is one of the finest responses I've ever seen to this kind of question.

Setup: The Charlotte Observer's Taylor Batten wrote a piece about "Honesty Day," which "requires" you to honestly answer a question if it is posed to you. (Sidebar: The Observer is a McClatchy newspaper.) He was asked: "Question? Why do you support such a liberal agenda? Remember you’re supposed to answer honestly."

It would have been easy to respond defensively ("We're not liberal!") or with much snark and smartass ("Here's why we're not conservative...") or, easiest of all, to just ignore it -- with or without the high drama and pearl-clutching. Instead, Batten and the Observer chose to respond with a simple, elegant, and perfectly thought-out response. I'm not easily impressed by this kind of thing. Batten's words did so. This will resonate with me for, quite probably, the rest of my days.

Let's go see what he wrote.

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My wife is a huge fan of the Food Network series Chopped, and I've watched my share, or more, of the episodes. I like the show also. If you haven't seen it, it features a host (food and style writer Ted Allen from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), three "celebrity food experts" as judges, and four contestants, usually restauranteurs  of some sort, competing in a three-round "cookoff" where one judge is "chopped" after each round. The winner goes home with a pocketful of money and serious bragging rights.

There's a sister show of sorts, Chopped Canada. It's not so good.

All this talk of food shows is well and good, and may send you scrambling for the fridge, but there's another purpose to my writing this.

I think that MSNBC's Phil Griffin ought to watch some episodes of both shows, and take notes. He might save MSNBC from bottom-feeder status and media irrelevance by doing so. Follow me over the orange spaghetti cluster for more.

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Multiple shots to the head. Same street corner (Hollywood and Highland) that protesters held a die-in for Eric Garner less than 24 hours before.

The victim died in the hospital three hours later.

LAPD Shoots and Kills Man at Site of Protests Against Police Murder, Less than 24 Hours Later

Photos and a truly unsettling video are on the page above.

If someone else has reported this, let me know and I can delete.

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I've sat through the not-guilty verdict that let George Zimmerman walk free, I've sat through the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand juries that let murdering cops walk free, And they are just a few of hundreds, maybe thousands.

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(Crossposted from Liberal America)

If you actually watch Fox News (I generally don't, it's like voluntarily drinking Drano), then you might have been watching the other day when "America's Newsroom" anchor Patti Ann Browne decided to educate her viewers about the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. It was just like being in history class -- and like many history classes, Professor Browne left a few key items out. As in pretty much anything that would counter the narrative that "Obummer caused the problem in Eye-rack."

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Here's what I hate about this, even more than the senseless deaths in Isla Vista. As a society, we've accepted the following as fact -- fact, not opinion, not "liberal bullshit," fact:

  • It's worth the cost in human lives and trauma to have nearly-unlimited access to all kinds of guns and weaponry.
  • Corporate profits and edicts overrule democracy.
  • The police are not bound by the law, and can harass us, imprison, beat us and kill us at will.
  • Angry whites and angry males can and do impose their will on women and minorities, to the point where men rape and kill women with near-impunity, and whites can kill innocent black children and walk away while a black woman is sentenced to decades in prison for firing a warning shot over the head of her male abuser.
  • Corporate interests are free, on an ongoing basis, to perform catastrophic damage on the environment, to the point where the very existence of ours and other species not named "cockroach" is in serious question, and nothing of any real import is done or even considered (in any real sense) to curb it.
  • Two of our most sacred documents that should stand for secular, egalitarian law and moral, ethical righteousness -- the Constitution and the Bible -- are being misused as clubs to beat us down and oppress us. In a very real sense, they are being "unmade."
  • Bigotry trumps tolerance, and fear trumps freedom.

So here's my question(s):

When are we going to do something about it? What are we going to do about it?

And if you say "Vote!" as your only suggested recourse, consider yourself stooge-slapped. We don't transform a rigged game by making the next predictable move in that game.

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Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:00 AM PST

The Butthurt of Lord High McCrory

by Black Max

Facts up here, irritable rant with bad language below the squiggle. (And above!)

NC Governor McCrory, or the Lord High McAss as we can call him from here on out, took his royal self to a boutique grocery store in Charlotte to do some shopping. Apparently he took his retinue with him. A store cook, Drew Swope, offered to help McAss but when he recognized His Assness, snapped, "Thanks for nothing" and walked off.

McAss was yea verily offended, and did scream at the store employee. He and his entourage complained to the store owner, who fired the poor bastard.

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A very brief and very angry diary. The sorry bastards-in-power in Sochi have ordered the murder of stray dogs in and around the facility.

But as the games drew near, authorities have turned to a company to catch and kill the animals so they don't bother Sochi's new visitors — or even wander into an Olympic event. Alexei Sorokin, director general of pest control firm Basya Services, told The Associated Press that his company had a contract to exterminate the animals throughout the Olympics, which open Friday.
The company won't say how it plans on killing the dogs. Bet I can guess a few likely methods.

More across the orange TNR symbol.

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Years ago, I wrote a diary about my cat Sharon being in her last hours.

With the enormous help of the Kos pootie community (and some non-pootie people who were just flat out generous), I got not only the advice I needed for vet treatment, but the donations I had to have to get her to the vet in the first place. She's still with us, more cantakerous than ever (but aging gracefully, and very lovey when the mood strikes her).

That was almost three years ago. Now I have to come back, on behalf of 45 feral cats. Sharon's feral colony still exists (with many of the same cats -- we have 11-year old ferals out there!). We've fed and sheltered them for years with little help from outside (aside from the wonderful Kossack intervention of 2011 and some TNR help from an organization). But we're running on absolute empty and a terrible cold snap is coming. We are ashamed to admit it, but we need to ask for help.

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Yesterday the Kos featured a diary on a reduced-fee kid in a Texas middle school who had his breakfast thrown away because he lacked 30 cents to complete paying for his meal:

Naturally, the school and the system are both defending the action as "policy." Here's a beautifully positive way to punch back at the hatefully callous actions of the school.

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I've been observing politics since the Watergate days, and I've seen a trend at times like this:

-- Republicans lose their asses, usually by going way overboard and trying to trample the fundamental underpinnings of democracy;
-- Democrats pat their heads, give them breath mints, make concessions, and treat them like the favored sons at the family reunion, in the false hope that maybe this time the Republicans will start acting like real Americans who put leadership over vicious political gamesmanship;
-- Republicans sulk, spew excuses and blame, and prepare the next massive onslaught against Democrats and the US system of governance.

Hence the single-term presidency of the well-meaning but ultimately ineffectual Jimmy Carter, during which time Democrats tried their best to reach across the aisles only to have the Republicans piss on their hands. Hence the blighted presidency of Bill Clinton, which began in the wake of the calamitous Reagan-Bush years, lasted through a tsunami of groundless investigations, and ended with a ridiculous, fraudulent impeachment, all of which crippled the campaign of Al Gore and allowed George W. "Nero" Bush to be given the presidency by GOP cronies on the Supreme Court. Hence the hamstrung first term of President Obama, marred by insane accusations of Kenyan citizenship, affiliations with Islamist terrorists, and one thwarted attempt to work in a "bipartisan" fashion with the grinning madmen of the Republican Party after another.

This time it has to be different. This time Democrats have to put the political knife in their throats. But not for the reasons some of us might think. One reason: it will be good for the GOP.

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Just a brief update to let you know that there's a ton of "new" information at Turn NC Blue. The site is designed to give activists, organizers, journalists, researchers, lawmakers, and citizens the facts they need to mount an informed opposition to the torrent of abusive and backwards legislation being rammed down North Carolinians' throats by Republican lawmakers. Skip over the orange fandango for a bit more.

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