Thursday, November 24, 2011

Last Call

So apparently according to hew new book, you can thank Jimmy Carter and Gore Vidal for Michele Bachmann.  Personally, I was going to blame the fact she's batshit insane, but that's just me.

The Bachmanns were Jimmy Carter Democrats in those days. But Carter, and the government, soon disappointed. Shocked by the payroll withholdings at a summer newspaper job in college, Bachmann wrote a letter to the Social Security Administration saying she didn’t want to pay the taxes. The reply, according to Bachmann, came in a phone call from Washington telling her she had no choice.

“The caller on the other end of the line said this was coming from the White House!” the book recounts.

Her view of Carter’s failings, along with author Gore Vidal, turned Bachmann into a Republican. Vidal’s role came in the novel “Burr,” with its frank depiction of the nation’s founders, blemishes and all.

“I realized a snide dismissiveness toward American history and American institutions had become the essence and thinking of the chattering-class gatekeepers of the culture,” Bachmann wrote. Complicit with the Democrats, she felt, were the “me too” Republicans who went along with the new Left “antifamily relativists” of the pre-Reagan 1970s.

What the hell is an "antifamily relativist?"  A bachelor who hates kids?  What?  And really, the 70's drove her to become a 50's Republican in 2011?  This woman makes my head hurt, she does.

Here's one book I know I'm not buying for anyone on my shopping list.

Planes, Trains, And Asphalt-Mobiles

Your Turkey Day "travel nightmare story" has nothing on this one.

If you hear about a sticky Thanksgiving travel mess, images of crowded airport security lines and jammed freeway interchanges probably come to mind. Your car sitting on the freeway in a mass of a black goo probably isn't what you think of.

But that's exactly what drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike faced Tuesday night after a tanker truck carrying driveway sealant sprang a leak and spread the goo over a 37-mile stretch of highway.

"This is Thanksgiving. Now we have to turn around and go back home," Laura Frick, who was traveling from Cleveland to New Jersey for the holiday, told CNN affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. "It's horrible."

The tar-like sealant was spilled in the turnpikes eastbound lanes between the New Castle and Allegheny Valley exits in western Pennsylvania, according to the turnpike's website. The truck's driver noticed the leak when he stopped at the Oakmont travel plaza, according to the WTAE report.

About 200 vehicles were damaged by the sealant, some to the point that they could no longer move, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Some drivers said the numbers were even higher.

Yep, several hundred cars got their tires mucked up, turned into rolling lumps of melty asphalt goo that of course eventually stopped rolling period.  Just awful if you ask me.  Luckily nobody was hurt but that's going to be a lot of tires...not to mention 37 miles worth of cleanup on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Somehow, my Thanksgiving travel stories don't seem so bad anymore.

Now You Can Sleep On It

Insomniacs of the world, unite...and get some sack time.

The US Food and Drug Administration, for the first time, approved Wednesday medication specifically designed for those who wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back to sleep.

Intermezzo, manufactured by Transcept Pharmaceuticals of California, is a lower-dose formulation of zolpidem, first approved in the United States in 1992 and better known as the insomnia treatment Ambien.

“This is the first time the FDA has approved a drug for this condition,” the federal government agency said in a statement.

“Intermezzo should only be used when a person has at least four hours of bedtime remaining. It should not be taken if alcohol has been consumed or with any other sleep aid.”

So it's basically low-dose Ambien, and it knocks you out for half the night.  Somebody was paying attention in medical patents class.  I know I've have trouble falling back asleep after waking up at 2-3 AM sometimes.  Nice to know there's something you can do about it.

The holiday season's always a bit rough for me, personally.

10-Year-Old Boy Protects Mother With BB Gun

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Police in Bellingham, Wash., say a 10-year-old boy defended his mother from an attacker by shooting him in the face with a BB rifle as many as four times.

Paul R. Newman, the man accused of the attack, rents a room in the woman's home and came home drunk and angry Tuesday morning. Police say he kicked in a bedroom door and started choking the woman, according to Associated Press.

Officers say the boy hit the attacker with a board and then shot him in the face with the pump-action BB rifle as he grappled with the woman.

It's a tough world out there, but this little guy is prepared.  I'm thankful he wasn't hurt, this story has a tendency to repeat itself and the ending isn't always that happy.

Bachmann Has Another StupidiLeak

Michele Bachmann doesn't give a damn about anything our country stands for.  Education, freedom, choice, or Miranda rights for anyone suspected of terrorism.

The thing about rights is everyone has them.  That's what makes them rights, not options.  We should lead by example or be honest about ourselves.  Pretending to be holier than everyone and sinking to new lows is not going to make the problem go away.  If you are right, you know it because you don't have to cheat the system.  Any person detained should know why and a basic understanding of what they can expect.  If we are so obviously right under the circumstances, what do we lose by playing fair?

Michele Bachmann: "This is one thing we know about Barack Obama. He has essentially handed over our interrogation of terrorists to the ACLU. He's outsourced it to them. Our CIA has no ability to have any form of interrogation for terrorists. When the bomber -- or the attempted bomber over Detroit, the underwear bomber -- was intercepted, he was given Miranda warnings within 45 minutes. He was not an American citizen. We don't give Miranda warnings to terrorists, and we don't read them their rights. They don't have any."

In fact, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber" who attempted to blow up a plane on Christmas Day in 2009, was not told of his right to remain silent until after he had stopped talking to law enforcement officials.

As the Los Angeles Times reported in February 2010, "The source said that Abdulmutallab was not read his rights until he made it clear that he was not going to say anything else."

Conservatives have frequently criticized Obama for allowing suspected terrorists to be read their Miranda rights. But the practice is not exclusive to Obama: President George W. Bush did the same thing.

In December 2001, Richard Reid, the so-called "shoe bomber," was "read or reminded of his Miranda rights four times in two days, beginning five minutes after being taken into custody."

You don't deserve rights unless Michele Bachmann approves of you.  What would happen if this troll of a woman ruled the country?  If you don't like her religion, if you don't agree with her, if you don't meet her standards, do you deserve rights?

If you think being a terrorist makes it different, think again.  It could also be people who are merely  suspected of terrorism.  Which, as the GOP has repeatedly shown, is anyone who doesn't fit their description of ideal.  And if they don't have enough dirt on you, they can abuse the Patriot Act to dig until they get it.  There's no layer to protect you or make sure your rights as a citizen are enforced.  In fact, Bachmann makes it clear she views the ACLU as the enemy, and using the totally incorrect but trendy word "outsourcing" to discredit those who stand up for the little guy.

In other words, how she plans to treat terrorists does void our most basic declarations of justice, freedom and due process.  The other news is it's also how she plans to treat the rest of us.

Happy Turkey Day

Gobble, gobble, gobble indeed.  Adam Zyglis of the Buffalo News:

Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats © Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News,thanksgiving, day, parade, floats, macys, nyc, new york, city, holiday, congress, wall street, insider trading, lobbying, money, politics, washington, dc, corruption, fundraising, campaign

Getting Serious On Syria, Part 3

When the State Department tells all Americans to get the hell out of a foreign country that's been on our naughty list for some time, it's a pretty good sign something new and ugly is coming.  Fast.  Probably involving things that go boom.

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus urged its citizens in Syria to depart "immediately," and Turkey's foreign ministry urged Turkish pilgrims to opt for flights to return home from Saudi Arabia to avoid traveling through Syria.

"The U.S. Embassy continues to urge U.S. citizens in Syria to depart immediately while commercial transportation is available," said a statement issued to the American community in Syria Wednesday and posted on the Embassy's website. "The number of airlines serving Syria has decreased significantly since the summer, while many of those airlines remaining have reduced their number of flights."

Yeah folks, this isn't a "maybe you should think this over", this is "get the hell out of Dodge before the bombs start falling."  Picking a fight with Syria means Iran gets involved, and Iran getting involved means Russia and China get involved.  Russia at least is already making loud noises of its own.

Russia threatened on Wednesday to deploy missiles to target the U.S. missile shield in Europe if Washington fails to assuage Moscow's concerns about its plans, a harsh warning that reflected deep cracks in U.S.-Russian ties despite President Barack Obama's efforts to "reset" relations with the Kremlin.

President Dmitry Medvedev said he still hopes for a deal with the U.S. on missile defense, but he strongly accused Washington and its NATO allies of ignoring Russia's worries. He said Russia will have to take military countermeasures if the U.S. continues to build the shield without legal guarantees that it will not be aimed against Russia.

The Russians aren't stupid.  They know what's coming and they're telegraphing two, three moves down the chessboard right off the bat, going straight to "You really don't want to do this, pal."  Believe me, the two issues are related.

Most likely this is just before some sort of NATO/UN sanctions are leveled as the Arab League's no-fly zone (led by Turkey) might be shaping up sooner rather than later and Russia is just driving around with full beams on all the time, making a show.  On the other hand, the Russians are clearly looking for a fight right now if anybody other than the Arab League gets involved.

Just the same, Tyler Durden notes we've moved an aircraft carrier group over to Syria this week.

StupidiNews, Thanksgiving Edition!

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