nasty grab bag

March 24, 2013

dali - Gala molucules & atomsBright and sunny this Sunday afternoon on California’s north coast, and the dreaded wind hasn’t kicked-up as of yet, so the air is warm and easy.
Despite Spring being sprung last week, the US midsection is still in the cold stages with a snow-dump forecasted from Kansas to maybe Washington, DC: Add winds gusting up to 40 mph and you get one wintry mess.
However, March Madness is set to bracket the brains of a shitload of US peoples on into next week, hoops-a-loop.

And for a short couple of days, I felt out of the reality loop. My laptop appeared to have finally given up the techno-ghost — which cast me into a world of no news, except for regular TV, which is just a quick glance at the cream-off-the-top of what’s happening, most of the time, though, it’s just low-level gibberish.
Absent from the Internet does cause news anxiety — I felt blind.
Once back aboard, however, two days was just nothing. The same old shit, albeit, performed by different assholes.

One major big item for me via the Internet is sources/resources.

(Illustration: Salvador Dalí, ‘Galatea of the Spheres,’ found here).

Absolutely nowhere else can such a humongous spread of news sources be found, and not only with breaking-news stuff, but the tiny details which spell reality behind the events, and people in those events. The wad of people unhooked from the Web are at a loss, and a lot of folks love the loss — ignorance is bliss.
Until the hammer falls.
Then they’re pissed.

One item struck is the horror of the current GOP. They’re rated lower than a snake’s ass.
From the Washington Post and a research-resource of Republican popularity:

The Republican Party’s ratings now stand at a 20-year low, with just 33 percent of the public holding a favorable view of the party and 58 percent judging it unfavorably, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Although the Democrats are better regarded (47 percent favorable and 46 percent unfavorable), the GOP’s problems are its own, not a mirror image of renewed Democratic strength.
Americans’ values and beliefs are more divided along partisan lines than at any time in the past 25 years.
The values gap between Republicans and Democrats is now greater than the one between men and women, young and old, or any racial or class divides.

The politicization of news consumption is certainly not new; it’s been apparent in more than 20 years of data collected by the Pew Research Center.
What is new is a bloc of voters who rely more on conservative media than on the general news media to comprehend the world.
Pew found that 54 percent of staunch conservatives report that they regularly watch Fox News, compared with 44 percent who read a newspaper and 30 percent who watch network news regularly.
Newspapers and/or television networks top all other news sources for other blocs of voters, both on the right and on the left.
Neither CNN, NPR or the New York Times has an audience close to that size among other voting blocs.

The term, ‘staunch conservatives,’ means the Tea Party, which owns the GOP right now.
Meanwhile, a more-dumbass item the last couple of days — the Tea Party wingnuts believe Fox News is becoming too liberal, and have started what they call, a second boycott of the network:

Firstly, the ratings numbers.
Despite the much shorter lead/advertising time, at first I was quite disappointed to see what seemed to be only an 8 percent drop in the ratings on Thursday, the 1st night.
A number that slight is difficult to average out because ratings fluctuate within the the margin of error, but 8 percent seems about right.
Then looking over the numbers, we see that FOX is continually lower now than it had been before the first boycott.
What has and is happening seems clear; of the 22 percent that walked away during the 1st boycott, it seems 10 percent – 12 percent never went back.
That means the current 2nd boycott thus far is doing almost as well as the 1st one, except that the balance of the numbers past the 8 percent never stopped boycotting – they just went.
Curiouser and Curiouser.
We’ll see how the weekend shapes up; the numbers should be out by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

I don’t recall the tea-bagger first boycott, and the use of the ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ motif in the link above is way-beyond ironic (maybe just moronic), which ordered up this concluding comment yesterday from politicususa:

What this boycott is really about is that Fox News demonized the black president and Hispanics for years, so a segment of their audience is in full blown rebellion because Fox execs suggested that it might be a good idea to tone down the immigrant hate by a couple of notches.
The tea partiers view this as a move to the left, when it reality it was a slight hat tip to demographics and reality.
The juiciest turn of the worm is that the very hate Fox News nurtured and grew, is now trying to destroy it.

Har, har, har — one huge however, however, is the reality of the notions pushed way-hard by the what’s-nailed as the Tea Party. As one tea-baggress recently most-excellently espoused in her ignorantly-ironic style: “We don’t have leadership coming out of Washington, we have reality television.”

In January, the release of a study funded by the National Institute of Health, describe the origins of the Tea Party — the movement didn’t just spring up in 2009 — and coincidentally, I just finished a big butt of the Tea Party’s roots.
From the study’s abstract:

Results: Starting in the 1980s, tobacco companies worked to create the appearance of broad opposition to tobacco control policies by attempting to create a grassroots smokers’ rights movement.
Simultaneously, they funded and worked through third-party groups, such as Citizens for a Sound Economy, the predecessor of AFP and FreedomWorks, to accomplish their economic and political agenda.
There has been continuity of some key players, strategies and messages from these groups to Tea Party organisations.
As of 2012, the Tea Party was beginning to spread internationally.
Conclusions: Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party has developed over time, in part through decades of work by the tobacco industry and other corporate interests.
It is important for tobacco control advocates in the USA and internationally, to anticipate and counter Tea Party opposition to tobacco control policies and ensure that policymakers, the media and the public understand the longstanding connection between the tobacco industry, the Tea Party and its associated organisations.

And this little bit further down: Greater transparency of organisation funding is needed so that policymakers and the general public—including people who identify with the Tea Party—can evaluate claims of political support for, and opposition to, health and other public policies.
As it is, tea-baggers are not just bullshit-bellowing on taxes and political shit, but are seeking results that actually kill people, or at the least, let them die.
DeSmogBlog pointed out Tea Party people are also pretty-heavy climate-change deniers: In other words, Tea Party members are more extreme than Republicans in their rejection of the scientific consensus on global warming—simultaneously more wrong, and also more sure of themselves.
The way-best Tea Party explanation came from Matt Taibbi’s piece in Rolling Stone more than two years ago: But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit. All of them.
But the assholes near-about have the US in a fatal bowel lock/block.

Although way-back in my feeble brain, I figured there was something way-more-nefarious here beyond just being full of shit, so when I read about the Tea Party and cigarettes when the study was released in January, wasn’t all that shocked or surprised.
I wanted to do a post on the subject, but never got around to it, and it didn’t make many MSM news sites either, though, well-bantered about on the InterWebs via conservative/progressive blogs.
Tea baggers appear way-thin skinned without much sense. Earlier this month, a budget hearing before the US House Committee on Appropriations included testimony from Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, where reality went dipshit.
During Collins’ time on the stand, Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland jumped him for not watching where grant money is going, i.e., fund research into ugly truth.
Via ScienceInsider:

“They allege that somehow the Tea Party had its origin in the 1980s with tobacco funding, which is pretty incredible,” Harris said.
“Because I mean, I’m a Tea Party guy.
I was there when it was established in 2009.
I know the origins.
I find it incredible that NIH funding is funding this,” Harris said, adding that the study reflects “a partisan political agenda.”
“I, too, am quite troubled about this particular circumstance,” Collins replied.
He pointed out that the lead author, University of California, San Francisco, researcher Stanton Glantz, has been an NCI grantee for 14 years and is considered a leading researcher on tobacco control.
The paper, which listed support from an NCI training grant and an NCI research grant, also included a disclaimer that the NCI played no role in choosing the topic of the study.
But, Collins added, “We thought we were funding a different kind of research when those grants were awarded.”
Harris fired back: “What is within the NIH’s abilities to, shall we say, make sure that this researcher or this institution doesn’t play fast and loose with taxpayer money in this kind of research?”
“It’s a very appropriate question and I’m struggling with it, to be honest,” Collins replied.
“The tension here is both to recognize that [the paper] is an unfortunate outcome, but also not to put NIH in a position of basically playing a nanny over top of everything our grantees do.”

Glantz said he is “very troubled” by Collins’s remarks.
His grant proposal didn’t hide anything, he says.
Written several years ago, it discussed his plan to study the influence on policymaking of “third parties” funded by the tobacco industry.
“We didn’t go looking for the Tea Party.
It emerged naturally in the course of the research,” he says, just as a cell biologist’s research grant might lead in an unexpected direction.

And nothing about the results — kill the messenger, again (my underline for emphasis) — but instead bullshit about the study itself. Overtones of the NRA denuding gun violence research in the late 1990s.
Last year, Harris received $15,000 in contributions from the notorious Koch brothers, who oppose just everything having to do with humanity’s survival (via ThinkProgress).
And them Koch boys?
Best description found in a New Yorker piece in September 2010 detailing Koch shit:

In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States.
And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a “kingpin of climate science denial.”
The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups.
Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.

And that, folks, is the shit bag.

T167228~Steve-McQueen-PostersAnd a memory-happy-birthday wish for Steve McQueen, who would have been 83 today. He died in November 1980 of mesothelioma, an often fatal form of cancer related to asbestos exposure.

One spot he could have gotten the disease was off the old flame-retardent suits used by motor sports drivers for many years. He was a way-big auto-racing fan, a fairly-decent driver himself. He and Peter Revson finished second in the 1970 six-hour Sebring race.

As a kid, McQueen was my most-favorite actor — the supposed ‘King of Cool.’

Illustration found here).

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