Terror Alert Level

Monday, February 28, 2011

Pure Water

Now enhanced with radium and other fun carcinogens!

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.
While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the
Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.
The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle.

I'm not sure that my local water authority even tests for some of this stuff! I suppose I could switch to bottled water, but since the bottling plants' water comes from the same damn rivers, I doubt it will make any difference. On the bright side, I should be able to find the sink without turning on the lights from the eerie bluish glow.

Tornado Watch?!?!?!?!?!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Your Saturday Morning Cartoon!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Night Python

Perhaps the most tasteless sketch ever!


Good article on how the note takers in the media are making a mess on reporting the issues of pay and compensation that led to the Cheese Revolution.

Economic nonsense is being reported as fact in most of the news reports on the Wisconsin dispute, the product of a breakdown of skepticism among journalists multiplied by their lack of understanding of basic economic principles.

Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to "contribute more" to their pension and health insurance plans.

Accepting Gov. Walker' s assertions as fact, and failing to check, created the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not.

Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin' s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.

How can that be? Because the "contributions" consist of money that employees chose to take as deferred wages – as pensions when they retire – rather than take immediately in cash. The same is true with the health care plan.

WI Protests: The People's Pizza Box Wall

The Notes to Governor Walker

Just Another Isolated Incident

Lovely people.

An elderly man at a Tuesday night meeting asked the Republican from Georgia, “Who is going to shoot Obama?”

Well, he was elderly, could have been from that generation of southrons where killling uppity Negros was socially acceptable. And the crowd laughed! Here's U.S. Representative Paul Broun's response at the time:

The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president,” Broun responded, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. “We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president … who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Now that the heat is on, Broun is singing a slightly different tune:

He said, “I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment, I moved on to the next person with a question. He added, “After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities. I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements — made in sincerity, or jest — that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the president of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Better, but he had the chance to call out violent rhetoric at the time, and to the face of the speaker, and blew it. Of course, when Broun types tweets like this:

“Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution,” he wrote. “You believe in socialism.”

can you blame his more violent constituants?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Which Side Are You On - Dropkick Murphys

Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Koch Whore: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, part 2

Part 2. Remember, he'll take the call of someone he THINKS is an out of state billionaire, but he wont negotiate with legislators elected by the voters in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Not really. Looks like the governors in states that are demanding sacrifice from the poor and the workers need those sacrifices in order to pay for generous tax cuts promised to the well-heeled.

This is what class warfare looks like.

UPDATE: And now it looks like they're violating the First Amendment.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well Isn't This Interesting?

Guess who is behind the effort to kill public sector unionism?

Pete Seeger 90th Birthday Celebration - I'm Sticking with the Union

The video is "wobbly" but the sound quality isn't too bad. Thought this was appropriate in light of what's been happening in Wisconsin and Ohio.

Fayette County Loses Out

Looks like Fayette County will not be getting a new state prison that would have generated 700 jobs.

German Township Supervisor Dan Shimshock spent years coordinating community meetings, doing cost analysis and planning to move forward with construction for a proposed state prison in Fayette County -- a project that energized local residents with the promise of almost 700 new jobs for the economically strapped area.

But last week, when the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett canceled the $200 million prison project, Mr. Shimshock said he wasn't notified.

"It's just a shame that all this time and effort was spent on a project of this size ... and then to really never have the decency to call and tell us that it is not coming," said Mr. Shimshock, who learned of the cancellation from a reporter's text message.

2010 election results for Fayette County:

Corbett, Tom (R) 18,994 55.7%
Onorato, Dan (D) 15, 106 44.3%

Just pointing that out.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Saturday, February 19, 2011


An absolute scumbag.

A former juvenile court judge who sent large numbers of children to detention centers was convicted Friday of racketeering for taking a $1 million kickback from the builder of the for-profit lockups, in what prosecutors said was a "kids for cash" scheme that ranks among the biggest courtroom frauds in U.S. history.

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, 61, left the bench in disgrace two years ago after he and a second judge, Michael Conahan, were accused of using juvenile delinquents as pawns in a plot to get rich. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dismissed 4,000 juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he sentenced young offenders without regard for their constitutional rights...

He was allowed to remain free pending sentencing, a decision that galled parents of juveniles who appeared before the judge. Ciavarella often ordered youths he had found delinquent to be immediately shackled, handcuffed and taken away without giving them a chance to say goodbye to their families. Some of the children he ordered locked up were as young as 10.

An excellent question. Most common criminals are immediatly taken to jail once convicted. Why are so many so-called "white collar criminals" allowed to remain free? Might as well get some "time served" credit.

Your Saturday Morning Cartoon

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dueling Headlines

Post Gazette:

Judge denies petition to halt reassessment


County Council Republicans to sue over assessments

Both describe the same event. One describes the outcome, the other attempts to cast a side in a controversial dispute as heroes.


Ories' lawyer claims that the Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner isn't a partisan political event.

Grasping at straws.


I don't think that the declining popularity of the NBA has anything to do with race. I think its because pro basketball has become incredibly dull. Dribble, dribble, pass, travel travel travel to the basket and dunk. Repeat going the other way. Yawn.

Thursday, February 17, 2011



A standout Iowa high school wrestler refused to compete against a girl at the state tournament on Thursday, relinquishing any chance of becoming a champion because he says wrestling a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs.

Joel Northrup, a home-schooled sophomore who was 35-4 wrestling for Linn-Mar High School this season, praised his first-round opponent, Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman, and Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black, who became the first two girls to make the state wrestling tournament in its 85-year history.

But in a brief statement issued through his school, Northrup said he defaulted on his match with Herkelman because he doesn't think boys and girls should compete in the sport.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," said Northrup. "As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner.

First of all, as a home-schooled youngster, he shouldn't be participating in states to begin with. You want to opt out? Fine. You opt out of EVERYTHING. Go show your prowess against the other homeschooled kids. Secondly, this has nothing to do with religion. He's up against females who have proven that they're just as skilled as he is, and he doesn't want to risk losing to a girl.

And that's the real reason he wont wrestle.

Wisconsin Dems Flee State

Dems deny and defy public-sector union-killing Republicans.

Following a walkout by the state Senate Democrats, depriving Republicans of the three-fifths majority needed to pass the budget and its controversial anti-public union provisions, the NBC affiliate in Madison now reports that sources say the Dems have left the state entirely...

"I know the whereabouts of not a single Democratic senator," said Zielinski. "I do not know what latitude they're on, or know what longitude they're on. I assume they're in this hemisphere, I'll say that."


Wisconsin's new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker's collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.

The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures -- service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money -- rolling back worker's bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker's doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.

Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state's fiscal bureau -- the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office -- concluded that Wisconsin isn't even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.

So, Walker created a phony crisis, and then used the crisis he created to attack working people. Classy guy!

Interesting Comparison

I've blogged a few times about atheist-centric billboards and bus ads, and how some Christians are so fearful about atheists existing and letting others know that they exist that they label the ads "hate" speech, with the ads frequently being vandalized. Via Friendly Atheist, we learn that the phenomena is not confined to Christians.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And Anotherone

More Harrisburg corruption.

Senate Pro Tem Joe Scarnati isn't the only lawmaker to let Consol Energy Inc. pay his way to the Super Bowl.

State Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, confirmed today that Consol provided him a hotel room and travel in a company plane to the Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas, where the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers on Feb. 6.

After two days of dodging phone calls and visits from Capitol reporters, Mr. Solobay today issued a written statement through his secretary.

The secretary also relayed a message from Mr. Solobay, saying that "after the costs are calculated by Consol, he will be addressing it."

Mr. Solobay would not explain whether that means he will repay Consol.

Just because its legal, it doesn't make it right.


This man is in violation of the law.

Baldwin Borough resident Carl Behr informed borough council at its meeting Tuesday night that he would not remove a 24-foot illuminated cross from his property as he had been instructed to do.

Mr. Behr received a letter from the borough Monday, following a neighbor's complaint, stating the cross was not in compliance with borough code and must come down within five days.

Mr. Behr said the cross, which is nailed to a tree on his property at 1210 Robbins St., is "about the Lord." Those who want it removed, he said, are against God.

Look you sanctimonous nitwit, no one is saying that you cannot erect a religious symbol on your property. You CAN, so long as it is in compliance with the zoning regulations, which are there to protect you as well as your neighbors. I suppose you'd have an objection if someone erected, oh I don't know, a porno shop next door in violation of the zoning regulations, no?

Criminality in the name of Jesus is A-OK with some people, I guess.

WTAE has more:

Borough Manager John Barrett said Behr can apply for a permit for the cross, but it won't likely be granted. He says the cross won't meet several size and placement requirements.

"We'll continue to issue citations and then ultimately it will be heard by a magistrate and then by a judge," said Barrett.

Behr said the giant cross is an act of faith, but one neighbor claims it's an act of revenge.

Next-door neighbor Lisa Fera said she contacted police and the borough because she felt Behr purposely built the large cross facing her home.

"I'm not looking to be a bad neighbor," said Fera. "I believe in God. I believe in being Christian. But if you are truly Christian, then you would be supporting and respecting your neighborhood."

Behr runs a contracting company out of his house, and Fera claims he frequently violated zoning regulations by parking construction vehicles in front of her house. Fera claims every time she went to police to complain, Behr built a new cross, each one bigger than the last.

"I'm a single mom. I'm a woman. I don't have anyone here as a husband to support me. I feel that this a direct intimidation of me, that each time you call the police or do something, a cross goes up," said Fera.

"I'm measuring my faith to the Lord, that's basically all I'm doing," said Behr. "I don't care what anyone else thinks."

Sounds more like your measuring the degree of jagoff you are.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Don't You Dare!

Don't you dare call them racists!

REP. O’BRIEN: My son who’s a Kansas resident, born here, raised here, didn’t qualify for any financial aid. Yet this girl was going to get financial aid. My son was kinda upset about it because he works and pays for his own schooling and his books and everything and he didn’t think that was fair. We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was, we didn’t think that was proper. But we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country. [...]

REP. GATEWOOD: Can you expand on how you could tell that they were illegal?

REP. O’BRIEN: Well she wasn’t black, she wasn’t Asian, and she had the olive complexion.


Just made it all up.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed "Curveball" by German and American intelligence officials, now admits he made up tales of mobile biological weapons trucks and clandestine weapons factories in Iraq, information that was used by the Bush White House to press the case for war. He also says he'd do it again.

"Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right," Janabi told The Guardian. "They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime.

Hundreds of thousands of people dead, but this liar would do it all again. In addition, the Bush administration had ample evidence that the information was unreliable, but went with it anyway, because they wanted a war. Lovely, just lovely.

The Crazy Gets Crazier

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yeah, I'm a cynic.

Morie Orie

Sounds like it was a fun place to work.

Jurors in the trial of state Sen. Jane Orie heard more descriptions today of a stressful work environment in the senator's North Hills office, where state employees mixed public and campaign business.

Kathleen Campbell, who is still employed by the senator, told them that she had taken part of one work day to deliver political materials for the campaign of the senator's sister, state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, to seven residences for nuns in communities in the district...

Ms. Campbell fought back tears at one point as she described the office interactions. She said that Jamie Pavlot, Ms. Orie's chief of staff and another prosecution witness, had, at times, picked on her in the office.

"I did what I was told to keep my job," she said. "Over the years I have been there, I've seen so many people let go . . . I always walked in there with a knot in my stomach."

Asked by William Costopoulos, Ms. Orie's attorney, if the senator had been a good employer, she hesitated for a long moment, and said, Well -- most of the time."

Again, the defense seems to be taking the line that while staffers did campaign work on the state's dime, they didn't do it too often, so its ok. Because stealing small amounts of money from the taxpayers isn't a crime.

The Trib has more insanity:

Staff members for state Sen. Jane Orie made campaign calls during the work day pretending to be the senator herself, one retired staffer told a jury Monday.

“We had to pretend we were the senator. We introduced ourselves as her,” Christine Bahr testified during the third day of testimony in the corruption trial of Orie, the former Republican whip, and her sister, Janine Orie. “That (directive) came from the senator through (former Chief of Staff Jamie Pavlot) to the staff.”

Its bad enough having elected officials pester you at home. Orie's constitutants had people pretending to be a politician pestering them at home!

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Why isn't this considered bribery?

The state Senate president, a key player in the debate over natural-gas drilling in Pennsylvania, accepted a free trip from one of the state's largest energy companies to see the Pittsburgh Steelers play in the Super Bowl.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Brockway, had his ticket, plane ride and hotel bill paid for by Consol Energy Inc., a major coal producer and one of the companies drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, according to Mr. Scarnati's top aide.

Bizarrely, this sort of corrupting behavior and influence is allowed by Pennsylvania's "ethics" rules.

"There's nothing illegal about it, but it does show the undue influence industry has over elected officials," said Jan Jarrett, president of Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, an environmental advocacy organization that has pushed for taxes and tighter regulations on natural-gas drilling.

"It really creates an uneven playing field between those who've got the resources to buy that kind of influence and those who don't," she said.

I'll say! Gee, I wonder how any proposed restrictions and or taxes on Marcellus shale drilling and gas extraction are going to turn out?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Darwin Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Staffers Testify

Three former staffers testified that they worked on political campaigns for the Orie sisters while on the taxpayers dime.

Sharon Cochran, described how she had been asked to help arrange an appearance for then Judge Melvin before a United Steelworkers local during the 2003 race. She described the turnout of the event as sparse, which drew an irate response from the senator.

Mr. Davidek said that during the 2003 campaign, he had driven Justice Melvin all over the state for roughly 20 separate campaign appearances, and had been rewarded with compensatory time for the hours he spent on those trips. In all, he said, he spent approximately 30 percent of his time on political work. He also described being fired by Ms. Pavlot, who called him in one morning and informed his that she didn't think he respected the senator.

Earlier, the jury heard the cross-examination of Michele Lantz, who had testified previously that she spent work hours maintaining a campaign data base and arranging a fund-raising event in Butler County. Ms. Lantz said she left the office after Sen. Orie refused her request to allow her to have a regular quitting time in the office. She said, with a young child, she had requested the break from the sometimes erratic hours of her duties after her husband was called up for service in Iraq.

And the defense?

In cross-examining her, (Sharon Cochran) as with other witnesses, defense attorney William Costopoulos elicited testimony that while she did perform political work, the majority of her work hours were devoted to legislative business.

If that's the best the defense can muster, then someone is probably going to jail, as state law prevents ANY campaign work on the state's dime. I can imagine the exchange in a more "run of the mill" trial: "Well your honor, the defendant spent most of his time not committing crimes, he only stole from people 20 percent of the time."

Sounds like the senator is a real peach to work for.

R.I.P. Chuck

Chuck Tanner dead at age 82. Can't think of a better tribute for the man who managed the Family.

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Egypt's New Dawn

Hoping everything works out and the army will cede power to an elected government.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Quest Is At An End

I have discovered the Ultimate Beer!

Grammar Fail

What Year Is This Again???

Look Who Came To Capitol Hill!

Republicans invited a neo-confederate to address a congressional committee.

If you are unfamiliar with The League of the South, know that the SPLC classifies them as a neo-confederate group, and they advocate for the secession of the old confederacy from the rest of the nation. In otherwords, they support treason. But don't take the SPLC's word for it, just check out the nuttiness on the League's own website!

Some fun League quotations!

“Somebody needs to say a good word for slavery. Where in the world are the Negroes better off today than in America?”
— Jack Kershaw, League of the South board member, 1998

“[T]he Southern League supports a return to a political and social system based on kith and kin rather than an impersonal state wedded to the idea of the universal rights of man. At its core is a European population.”
— Michael Hill, essay on League of the South website, 2000

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Oh My!

The Family Values and Defenders of Traditional Marriage party strikes again!

Rep. Christopher Lee is a married Republican congressman serving the 26th District of New York. But when he trolls Craigslist's "Women Seeking Men" forum, he's Christopher Lee, divorced "lobbyist" and "fit fun classy guy."

But if Teh Gay should be allowed to marry, it will destroy marriage as we know it!
Meanwhile, from Congressman Craigslist's website:

Through the Internet, with a few keystrokes and the click of a button, a young person can call up information for a research project, make new friends or discover new hobbies.

At the same time, responding to what may seem like a friendly e-mail or an appealing marketing offer can have serious consequences. Private information and images can so easily be transmitted to friends and strangers alike.
Too, too rich!

Voter Fraud!!!

A NY man faces four years in prison for falsifying a nomination petition. Oh, and guess what? He's a Republican.

An Interesting Development

Hmmmm...it seems that the GOP may not have as tight a hold on some of the 'baggers as once thought.

The House defeated a bid Tuesday to extend for nine months the government’s authority to conduct roving wiretaps of terror suspects, along with two other expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. The vote, 277 to 148, fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.

It would be nice if the NYT had a bit more than a single paragraph though. Luckily, the WaPo has quite a bit more on what could be a very interesting development.

And of course, there's Glenn Greenwald:

while it shouldn't be overstated, there is a real significance here that also shouldn't be overlooked. Rachel Maddow last night pointed out that there is a split on the Right -- at least a rhetorical one -- between what she called "authoritarian conservatives" and "libertarian conservatives." At some point, the dogmatic emphasis on limited state power, not trusting the Federal Government, and individual liberties -- all staples of right-wing political propaganda, especially Tea Party sloganeering -- has to conflict with things like oversight-free federal domestic surveillance, limitless government detention powers, and impenetrable secrecy (to say nothing of exploiting state power to advance culture war aims).


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Too Funny To Not Share

Via Friendly Atheist.

Count Floyd!

I got nuttin'. Enjoy "Blood Sucking Monkeys From West Mifflin PA.

Monday, February 07, 2011


There's a lengthy, but worthwhile read in The New Yorker on Scientology, those that leave the cult, and some of its weirder practices.

Oh Well

Hey, the Packers played a better game. Pretty hard to win when you turn the ball over three times, but the Steelers still had a chance to win in the end. One of the better games I've seen (although the game against Phoenix was AWESOME!)

Opening Day is less than 2 months away!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Steelerbation Invades My Subconcious

Dreamed last night of a 17-14 final score, Steelers over Green Bay. I still stand by my prediction that the team with the most points will prevail.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Lovely State, Utah

Well, isn't this special!

A Utah legislator introduced a bill Wednesday that would require all publicly funded programs, laws, and regulations, to ensure they exclude families headed by gay and lesbian couples.

Because as we all know, Teh Gay do not pay taxes, and therefore, are not eligible for any taxpayer funded goodies.

Partisan? Fox?


On the evening of October 26, a Fox producer named Elizabeth Fanning emailed an outline of the next morning's Fox & Friends to numerous staffers at the network. The document, obtained by Media Matters, listed five separate segments about the WFTV interview that were scheduled for the October 27 show. For each segment, the document listed an identical series of questions, including: "Isn't this what happens in communist countries?"

Fair and balanced!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Garden Gnome

Based on the picture in today's P-G, I am convinced that Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is in reality, an enormous garden gnome. Especially when he says stuff like this:

"The beard is powerful," "It has magical powers."

Meanwhile, in Steelerbation activities, some are predicting the outcome of the game based on a computer game. That's some serious Steelerbating that's likely to cause chafing. Use lotion for comfort.

In other football news, CBS continues to wank over its ad airing policy.

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Fair and Balanced

Of course.

In late 2008, one of Fox News' top editors escalated his efforts to have the network portray then-Senator Barack Obama as a socialist and an anti-white racist during the waning days of the presidential election.

The distort, you comply.

Oh. My. God.

I understand what they were attempting, but this has to be one of the most ham-fisted attempts at diversity in that it manages to offend just about every cultural and racial segment of the population.

Via Blag Hag.

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