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Shortly before four o'clock this morning MSN carried a headline for a story not in the top heads.  It had to do with Sen. Paul's sacrifice of professional integrity in the cause of reckless pandering to the nutwing anti vaccination crowd.  It correctly described if more mildly than here, the Senator's outrageous pronouncements on a subject in which his hipple critic oats allow him lotsa latitude.  Recognizing it's error or perhaps an editor reeling in horror, MSN quickly began it's devolution into the appropriate swamp of non reportage:

"Rand Paul repeats irresponsible vaccine comments"

“Vaccine [']debate['] tricky for possible presidential candidates"

"Vaccine [']debate['] has long been a political minefield."

It is understandable that to suggest that a politician is pandering much less irresponsible must be terrifying (when it involves conservative demagogues anyway). But at the very least, why can't the pusillanimous news organizations point out that there is no debate about vaccines/vaccinations?  They exist; they are effective; they are safe; they are necessary (yes, the earth prolly is round and the sky blue [more or less]).  The "debate" is over whether those who wish not to partake of vaccinations for themselves or their children have the right to expose the rest of the population to the consequences of their decision.  A further "debate" is whether society should allow them to expose their own minor children in which they have property rights ("own")--according to the pronouncement of a professordoctor in Congress--to those very significant risks.

Once the answer was clear, but progressively religion and stupidity have begun to permit the fringe to expose the public to such hazards as needed.  And that is said to be freedom...just as it is for some Chucklehead to refer to someone's comment on the other side of the crevasse as "condescending."


On learning of the support of my own and another Congressman (Don Beyer) whom I’d supported for gutting the Dodd-Frank Act, I called their offices to express my dismay.  Then I wrote two friends who’d also supported both.  The result was expressions of dissatisfaction from them.  My reply to them:

"I appreciate your comments.  The budget bill was a considerable disappointment, but it could be explained however inadequately.  Yes, Baracko caved...I fear that we may well have a future of him caving to poison pills.  But this is not that.  This is naked, and yes, I expect it to be vetoed.  Still, we must recall that Baracko is a conservative and that black conservatism simply looks different from white conservatism.  

I called Beyer's office as I did Connolly's and expressed in the strongest terms my dismay.  I stated that I'd admired and supported Beyer despite not being a constituent and that I'd no longer support him as a result of that vote."

Much later I received a pile of fertilizer from Gerry Connolly, my Congressman, himself a severely mixed bag.   My reply to Connolly:  Sir, You have lost my support. This vote was unconscionable, and I will not tolerate it.  On reflection I must add that the garbage response was contemptible and insulting.

Damn those people.  I am a liberal; I am not a Democrat, and until the Democrats begin to represent people who matter to me and their issues, I no longer will support them in any goddamned fashion.

While I have no real expectation of having any impact, at least this bleat helps me.


Yesterday I was gifted with a hateful piece by a patriotic Murican explaining shortly why Muslims were beneath contempt; it was titled:  Muslims My Ass...Excellent!  Despite my resolve neither to fly into rage nor to make response while raging, I wrote to my correspondent including the demand that I not receive such “neo fascist garbage in future.”  My wife, an actuary with two degrees in history, is given to much more measured response as well as recognition of a need to educate.  

Despite my doubts as to the educability of the baggers, draggers and trogs, I thought her brief reply informative, effective and worthy of sharing.  It’s also one that I wish I’d written (tho the last time I attempted reason, I was shutdown with “I don’t want to have this conversation with you.”).

[Shagnaski's] precipitous response aside, there are some real facts to consider.

I will likely regret taking the time to respond to this but the person who wrote it is simply ignorant of history and of Islam. I do not really care what this author thinks of President Obama so will ignore those remarks entirely.

On the question, “Have you witnessed a Muslim charity?” the answer is of course. One of the five pillars of Islam is the obligation to give to the poor and the needy. Every devout Muslim I have met obeys this injunction and it has historically been an important part of life throughout the Islamic empire, the Ottoman empire, and in Islamic countries. Closer to home, when I was working with a group collecting food and clothes for the victims of Katrina, we received a donation of two truckloads of food and clothes from the local Islamic Community Center.

On the author’s denial of Islamic presence in America’s history, the easiest thing is to refer you to the Wikipedia site “Islam in the United States” .

Briefly, there have been Muslims here since before the Revolution as an estimated 30 percent of the African Americans brought to the United States as slaves were Muslims and that began in the 1600s. The Wiki article lists a few Muslims who fought in the Revolution and that 292 Muslims fought in the Civil War on the side of the North.

On recent history even the author of this unfortunate piece should know, Malcolm X is one example of a Muslim involved in the Civil Rights movement and Muhammad Ali is another famous adopter of Islam during the similar period. But there is a more fundamental problem with this author’s question about the presence of Muslims fighting for Civil Rights in the 1960s. That question is, where was he and God’s Word Christian Ministry? There were precious few white Christian groups marching for Civil Rights in the 1960s. As far as that goes, there have been precious few white Christian groups who fought for women’s suffrage or later for women’s civil rights. So before he wastes time criticizing another religion for not being present in the Civil Rights movement, he really needs to rethink his own religion’s participation. A little contemplation on the religion of those people who were turning water hoses and loosing dogs on the protestors, bombing African American churches, and lynching African Americans would not be out of place here.

I do not defend terrorists, radical Islamists, or people dancing in the streets over 9/11. But neither do I defend dancing in the streets when we went to war in Iraq or when we killed Osama bin Laden. Death should never be a cause for euphoria. But we should examine the cause of that euphoria. When we killed bin Laden, Americans danced in the streets because we had killed a bitter enemy. Does the author not realize that people dancing in the streets in Middle Eastern countries after 9/11 says that they thought of the United States as a bitter enemy and then ask the question what had we done to make them think of us that way? An honest understanding of history requires us to recognize that our treatment of other countries, especially non-European countries, and other peoples, especially people we call “colored,” has been less than honorable. And finally, an honest assessment of those broadcasts of celebration after 9/11 must recognize that out of hundreds of millions of people of people only a small number were involved. That is not a basis for condemning them all.


To this should be added for the further benefit of those secure in the knowledge that our country included only Christians (however divisive) until recently the following sent to me by a Jewish friend:

1. The first Jews to set foot in North America arrived in New York as a group of 23 in 1654.
2. Congregation Shearith Israel, founded in New York in 1654, was the first synagogue in the colonies. It was the sole purveyor of kosher meat until 1813.


Wed Nov 19, 2014 at 04:03 PM PST

Cong. Duckworth deserves...?

by shagnaski

The short answer is that I don’t know but that from what I have seen, neither does anyone else.  For clarity, she is among the candidates to whom we have provided financial support.

In case anyone does not know, she is in the latter stages of a difficult pregnancy and can’t come to D. C. for party leadership votes but has requested that the rule(s) be waived to allow her to participate in absentia.  That request was denied.  According to one source, her support of a candidate for a position could be crucial to that candidate (who is opposed by the candidate of the Minority Leader).  There is a lot of noise from within the party (from supporters of the opposition candidate perhaps?) happily taken up by people outside because it permits labelling Nancy Pelosi a hypocrite (you, too, Jon Stewart?!!).

Because of her status as a decorated wounded war veteran it’s argued that the Congresswoman is deserving of a rules waiver.  But nowhere has it been suggested any other basis for such a waiver nor has anyone suggested any instances of previous waivers.  So it seems to me there are several considerations.

Have the rules been waived in the past?  If so, what are the circumstances?

Should rules be waived in cases involving pregnancy precluding travel, that is, all such instances?

Should rules be waived for veterans?  Wounded veterans?  Has either been a factor in previous deliberations?

Of course, the rules are those of the Party and likely only officials thereof know the answers, but the first question seems crucial to me.  If the rules have been enforced steadfastly, they should be so in this case.  It seems to me that the only basis for waiver is the pregnancy.  For the life of me, I can see no relevance to the Congresswoman’s distinguished military service.  It is not that service that affects in any way her attendance (indeed, she has participated in athletic events, scuba diving, continues to fly, etc.).  So can anyone say that similar circumstances have produced the desired results?  Can anyone cite other incapacities that have resulted in a member being allowed to participate in absentia?

Finally, there is an honored tradition known as “pairing.”  Two people on opposite sides of an issue agree to abstain from voting in order to accommodate the incapacity of one to attend.  There’s been no mention of any attempt to arrange such an accommodation.  Instead, we have party regulars and their tools howling that this wounded veteran deserves to have the rules changed for her.  I do not believe that Congresswoman Duckworth would take that position.  


With apologies to the one whose delightful screen name “One Pissed Off Liberal” I have usurped, I am tired and disgusted at the entreaties for money that come literally by the hundreds every week.  As a one time political science (at least in my day an oxymoron) major and lawyer, I do not lack an appreciation of what is and for a considerable period has been at stake in our elections.  And as I’ve said repeatedly, I am openly and unapologetically a liberal, that is in the inimitable words of a notable philosopher king, a “fucking retard.”  Although not a Democrat, if I’m to vote or lend support, invariably it must be to candidates of that Party.  Nevertheless, I resent the increasingly accusatory  claims that I owe, am not involved, am irresponsible, am sitting quiescently  as my country’s neo fascists seek further to exert their will, ad nauseam.  Finally I have begun in utter futility to respond.


On what basis do you assume that we have not "step[ped] up" already?  Here is my reply to a member of Congress following her recent telephone call to me:

‘As I told you on the phone the other day, we're liberals not Democrats and support individual deserving candidates.  However, we are not without limitations as you can imagine.  We have supported 36 candidates directly and six GOTV organizations directly.  At this point we just do not feel that we can give any more to campaigns.  

We're pulling for you and wish you the very best.’

I am fed up with the guilt tripping e-mails and the assumptions that we have sat on the sidelines. I also refuse to support a political party even when I may be somewhat in agreement on balance.  Moreover, several of the candidates we have supported have represented teeth grinding compromises already; to support a party would result in major dental reconstruction.  Finally, since you reference female candidates, be assured that we have supported most of them in this and prior years as your own records will demonstrate.

Sincerely yours,”

 “Is there no respite?!”—from a Jack Lemon comedy.

Unfortunately there seldom is an opportunity to note that “my” contributions are on behalf of my wife and myself, but the “I” need be understood to refer to the both of us as she has an undivided one half interest in the funds in addition to being in agreement with their dispersal.  With that qualification, I appreciate the opportunity for relieving myself of this angst.


So while reading da kos today and attempting to follow the link to The Daily Show the following message came up:


Wonder at the meaning of this…Might it be...?

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Or he can see Ferguson from his house...This perspective of the outrage in Ferguson, Mo. is as enjoyably provocative as it is excoriating and deserves to be shared:


While the House report already has been worked over, nobody has done it nearly so well as Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station).  Here's the link, but should it not work go to for a delightful read:  Monday, August 4, 2014

Benghazi: Reductio Ad Absurdum Redux


Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 02:50 PM PDT

Torture, admission, a fantasy…

by shagnaski

So the Prez has admitted the reality that we done “tortured some folks.”  As one writer makes clear, “torture” is a word of real legal implication.  Worse, this acknowledgement is stronger than his earliest statement containing the qualifying “I believe” preface.  Nevertheless, on three occasions now he has used the word and made it clear at least twice.  There is one difference this time in that he did not restrict his reference to “the water torture” (aka, “waterboarding”).  ‘Course the AG also has stated unequivocally that waterboarding is torture as was known by all civilized persons.  

Obviously there is no stomach for action notwithstanding the declaration that what was done is actionable.  But we are not alone on spaceship earth and others might have the integrity so lacking to charge those responsible.  In addition to the top two officials, various secretaries, enablers such as a current prestigious law professor or at least law professor at a prestigious law school and a judge of the Ninth Circuit, there are the numerous people who acted upon orders thereof/from (see Nuremburg, trials).  Surely some international authority or authorities within countries upon whose citizens our torture was visited might pursue criminal process.

Clearly our fearless leaders are unlikely to surrender those appropriate for prosecution.  On the other hand, indictments of them could lead not merely to international ridicule and scorn but to actual process should they venture beyond the secure confines of our holy borders.  For this reality we have the estimable Captain Video who knew a thing about hair on the chest.  

Based upon our October 1985 interception of an EgyptAir flight over the Mediterranean Sea one dark (but not stormy) night, the world is on notice that we accept the right of nations to hijack airliners whenever they carry baddies deserving of prosecution.  Thus, our own international terrorists must be subject to such treatment should they venture beyond our territorial waters without our being due even so much as an apology.  When one was demanded of our Captain he said “Nuts” or maybe it was “Never,” the former being the eloquence of a man of vastly greater stature.  Nevertheless, the implications are pretty much the same.

So just imagine our brave mouthed guys and gals wetting their pants at the thought of travel in the face of official international condemnation of actions they so joyously took in behalf of their exceptionalism…

As a postscript it should be noted that after our courageous and daring hijack of the airliner, the Italians took possession of the bad guys and allowed them to proceed on their way.  Presumably future activists will have learned to avoid the futility attendant our thuggery.  


With apologies, there really is far too much of significance for this to be sticking in my craw, and I never watch or care what Steve Doocy does or says except when it’s posted here for ridicule.  However, today I watched a story about a passenger helping to land a 737 after the pilot was stricken.  Sadly I was exposed to Mr. Doocy.

The passenger was a USAF B-1 bomber pilot who went to the cockpit to provide assistance apparently on request.  The First Officer was a woman.  Doocy found it necessary to inquire of the real pilot whether the FO had been adequate.  In fairness (why the hell should he be entitled to fairness?!), he didn’t put it quite like that, but it came to me as “was this silly frilly…?”  (“Was the co-pilot completely sure about what she was about to do there?”)  Who knew that a female could fly a plane?!  Who knew whether this wasn’t one of those jobs for which a woman simply could (pick a verb) her way to that seat?

The Captain assured us that at least this United Airlines FO was perfectly capable of dealing with the emergency and was sublimely professional.  He emphasized that and stated that he merely handled the checklists and the radio.  Oh happy day.

While I neither know nor care precisely how many women fly airliners every day or all manner of military craft for that matter, only a fool would not know that their numbers are legion.  Moreover, only a fool would not know that the competition for those jobs always has been fierce, and thus those who succeed to them stand a pretty fair chance of actually being qualified for the position.

Despite being a male and not knowing any female pilots, I’ve long followed the fight women have waged to prove themselves capable of flying.  They deserve better than this.

By the way, Major Kong wrote not long ago how one might qualify to fly for an airline.  

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Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 07:08 PM PST

Herring wins Va. state AG race

by shagnaski

Mark Herring just e-mailed that the court has declared him the winner of the state AG race by 900 some votes and that Obenshain has called to congratulate him.  It's over!  The Dems took all three races!


Having read here and elsewhere of several people suffering chronic pain and illnesses that they are unable to have treated due to lack of health insurance, it seemed appropriate to comment notwithstanding the number of baggers, draggers and trogs that inhabit so many sites these days. These thoughts were stimulated by a recent illness of fairly considerable severity and extended treatment. My perspective simply is that of a liberal with an experience; I can claim no expertise with the Affordable Care Act of which thankfully I will have no need. Moreover, I recognize that this is a thoroughly knowledgeable audience, so this will be a preach to the choir.

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