Sunday, May 22, 2011

Idi Amin's Briefs Rodeo: Let's Get Sick

Note: every week, news aggregators address hundreds of worthwhile stories or opinions that never catch on, either because they lack an obvious follow-up or because sites that live off ad revenue would rather bang high-traffic drums over and over. Idi Amin's Briefs Rodeo provides a summary of good stuff you might have missed. He has a Bachelor's degree in political science, the rank of Field Marshal and was the last ruler of a free Uganda. He has not eaten anyone since 1980.

Welcome to America; If You Drink the Water or Breathe the Air, You Will Die

• Fracking sounds awesome, like the thing you do with a lady, or when playing Call of Duty and you headshot some guy, or a thing you say when some bandit gets on your tail in a flight simulator game. It's also a lot more environmentally neutral than "hydraulically injecting rocket fuel into the ground," especially when the process results in people being able to set the water in their kitchen sinks on fire.

Undaunted by his inability to launch cap-and-trade and give our homies at Goldman Sachs another market of non-things to buy, sell and gamble on, Barack Obama is still determined to be your environmental president. Despite existing peer-reviewed studies on the process that deem it basically stupid and evil, Obama's appointed a panel to seriously study the issue. Thankfully, the panel's stacked with people either tied to energy companies or sitting on their boards, so this way everyone can skip the boilerplate about incinerating dirt-poor West Virginians to focus on the more detail-oriented stuff: how, like, totally safe it is, brah.

The Sierra Club asked Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) to revise its cap and trade program, which corporations and the Environmental Defense Fund love — the same EDF which houses the environmental representative on President Obama's fracking approval research panel.

Enjoy for a moment a must-read tale of a Republican governor who stood up to energy companies, which held a deathgrip on the state's economy, by booting out corrupt elected officials and implementing a heavy tax on their profits. This tax subsequently turned the state into the most well-off in the country during the current economic depression. It carries a $12 billion surplus, $8 billion of which came from that governor's new taxes. The state is Alaska, and that Governor was Sarah Palin.

Conservative superhero Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) was for the idea of forcing you to buy healthcare before he was against it. Jim DeMint is a bad, bad man!

Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) is really opposed to confirming John McConnell as a US district judge, stating that his history of representing citizens in battles against manufacturers of products containing asbestos and lead paint would prevent him from being impartial and raises "legitimate questions" about his ability to not hate freedom. Also vocally opposed are senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-AL) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), whose childhood diet of lead paint chips permanently stunted his chin growth and made him into the man he is today: the only person serving in congress whose entire brain is a malignant tumor.

Whiny old people in Hawaii are complaining that they don't know when they will retire, if ever, thanks to the new American economy. Their plight offers a chilling vision of the future for America if we cannot pass more tax cuts. Thankfully, as Orly Taitz and others have carefully instructed us, they are thankfully not a real part of the United States.

If you live in a big city, you probably saw trucks paid for by Family Radio driving around telling you all how the world was going to end yesterday. You probably didn't think anybody, let alone a family, would become so enthralled by this proposition that they'd give away all of their money and possessions in anticipation of this event.
Now they are in Orlando, in a rented house, passing out tracts and reading the Bible. Their daughter is 2 years old, and their second child is due in June. Joel says they're spending the last of their savings. They don't see a need for one more dollar.

That thing in Japan is probably over, so that means the need to stay mindful of any possible environmental byproducts must be as well. At least, that's probably the reasoning behind making sure the EPA stops monitoring radiation levels in California. Or not. At this point, the reasoning could be, "We felt like kicking the shit out of the EPA because it looked at us funny." The agency is now basically our hick government's battered wife; nobody really expects The Powers That Be to come up with a reason for punching it the fuck out or denying it a sense of happy purpose, least of all them.

With stories like these, it's clear why so many immigrants are desperate to become United States citizens: it really is the home of the free, where we're free to choose between driving to work to afford medication, or actually taking that medication.
Angela Christian, of North Royalton, explained why she didn't take her medications for more than two weeks this past month.

"The money for my medicine went into my gas tank," said Christian.
Expect for stories like these to start winding up on more conservative op-ed pages, only with really awesome concluding observations like, "Thanks, Obamacare!"

Responding, in part, to incidents of unusually high amounts of child abuse in some counties, the state of West Virginia has taken the radical liberal step of not cutting their state's budgets by double digits, instead choosing to leave their budgets at the status quo. That's right: West Virginia, butt of a thousand idiot/hick/backwater jokes. Meanwhile, in cosmopolitan Florida, Republican State Attorney General Pam Bondi rang in sharp staffing and budget cuts to the Department of Children and Families by providing the non-interference that allowed a baby the liberty of being beaten to death.

The founders of filesharing program Limewire owe the Recording Industry of America $105 million, down slightly from the RIAA's initial demands of $75 trillion. Also, it's because of some lady and a cup of hot McDonald's coffee that we need tort reform.

Actual headline in the year 2011: Democrats Increasingly Scared Of Angering Deep Pockets, Survey Says
Almost 60 percent of the Democratic staffers responding to the survey said that the influence of lobbyists in the policymaking process has been strengthened by the 2010 "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision, which unleashed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advertising — in some cases, anonymously.

Nine out of the 56 Democratic staffers who responded to the survey said they now feel a need to "respond differently" to lobbyists.
It's weaksauce bullshit trying to blame Democratic corporatism, which has been around for longer than most of us have been alive, on Citizens United, the early 2010 Supreme Court decision which allowed for unlimited corporate donations to political campaigns. Anti-Citizens United news sells, while actual reporting of spineless business-friendly Democrats doesn't. Although, to be fair, "Democrats Admit Complete Unfamiliarity with Own Historical Platform, Unsure How They Even Got Here" isn't terribly sexy as a headline either.

The Huffington Post does occasionally have a spine on the other hand, playing against type and running a good piece about how horrible and restrictive the anti-choice legislation passed on the state level is.

Texas is trying to steal Florida's thunder. Fill in the blank: Texas is committing $25 million to _____. If you said "education" or "health care" you'd be wrong. On the other hand, if you said NASCAR, you probably live in Texas or hate turning right when going anywhere.

The liberal menace known as "reality" continues to unfairly terrorize the economic policies of American Republicans. Meanwhile, the liberal menace known as "Catholic academia" unfairly dogpiles on John Boehner because the Republican budget is cruel to the poor and elderly. In related news, Boehner now awaking in the wee hours, shuddering from night terrors in which he's being chased by giant 3s and 7s, screaming things like, "I'M A PRIME NUMBER!" and "MATH IS THE LANGUAGE OF THE UNIVERSE."

Jobs programs for former gang members trying to get their life on the right track — as so many American conservatives demand that gang members do — are failing, because despite rehabilitation, nobody wants to offer jobs to those with criminal records. Or, as American conservatives are putting it, "Former gang members: A life sentence of joblessness (Cry me a river)." Suggested solutions from the visionaries at include "[sending] them to Gitmo."

This last idea might seem bizarrely violent and out of right field, but the GOP has a substantial history of seeking to punish anyone who does what they tell it. A more pragmatic solution would involve shipping these shaped-up former bangers to Egypt, where they can be bombed into a sheet of glass along with all those "terrorist" pro-Democracy Arabs that Republican policymakers have been telling to rise up to demand reform for the last 30 years.

Political blog "The Hill" is blowing its way of doing business by including all there is to a story in the headline. Senate Democrats scold oil execs on industry tax breaks

Here's a great Gallup survey: Americans Oppose Raising Debt Ceiling, 47% to 19%. It illustrates several important points: the lockstep hegemony of the Republican party, with 70% of them opposing it (making up for a huge bulk of that 47%), the complete disorganization of Democrats to maintain any kind of coherent belief system, and the truthfulness of this portrayal of most polling (credit to this guy): "'Knowing, as you do, jack shit about anything, what does this totally meaningless word provoke in you? Happyfeel or Sadfeel? Groan/Drool into the receiver to indicate your response.'"

• New Mexico evidently doesn't have any need for any kind of "environment" as three top-level regulators have been moved nonsensically to completely different departments, vacating their old positions and leaving the regulatory organizations even more toothless than usual. The Republican state official did not offer any kind of coherent excuse for this, although this would presume him capable of such a performance.