Death of American dream, 60 million no sick leave, 132 million no dental, 59 million without medical

Obamacare may in fact be the death of us all (I’ve yet to see proof).  But that will only happen if the status quo doesn’t get us first:

Death of American dream, 60 million no sick leave, 132 million no dental, 59 million without medical.

Take the Lester and Charlie Survey

Click on the link below and take part in a fun…and painfully accurate…survey guessing what Sarah Palin will mix up next (one problem you may have is that she’s already mixed up a lot of this stuff):

Lester and Charlie Survey



Re-post: Of Media and Reality

This article was originally posted in May 2010, at which time it was barely read.  However, in recent weeks it’s been the most-read post on this site, and I’ve added quite a bit to it (even more as of November 29, 2010) so I’m posting it again.  To get answers (such as they are) to some of the questions I’ve seen on my stats page, see the lengthy P.S. that starts about halfway down this page.

The other day I came across a striking dichotomy in the storm-chasing world: the Discovery Channel TV series Storm Chasers, and a web-cast called The Debris Show which was created by actual storm chasers.  I felt it was pretty indicative of what is going on generally in the media — particularly in the “reality” arena — so I thought I’d muse about it a bit on this blog.

Storm Chasers is an admittedly gripping reality show that follows the exploits of people who chase storms — usually aiming for tornadoes — for a living or at least a very expensive hobby.  Partially because of this show, and not a little bit because of the 1996 fantasy movie Twister, kids all over the U.S. and Canada, and people of all ages from all over the world now dream of being glamorous storm chasers…the new cowboys, astronauts, or rock stars, if you will.  You read stuff all the time in chat rooms and on video comments such as “I can’t wait to storm chase when I grow up!” or “I need a car and then I can storm chase!”  There are also more than just a few would-be storm chasers in the U.K. and Europe, both of which seem to be taken by tornado-envy at present even though it appears they’re having an increasing number of their own tornadoes to contend with.

Of course it’s a dangerous fantasy that will no doubt lead to some dumb bunny getting killed, but in the meantime, we have Storm Chasers providing all the fuel you’d ever want.  (Note: Discovery Channel is now apparently considering showing a “nature series” produced by Sarah Palin, which may give you some idea about DC’s grip on reality.  2011 update: as nearly everyone knows, the Wasilla Windbag’s show was moved to The Learning Channel, where it died a merciful death after one season.)

Of course, TV being TV, things are probably not the way they are hinted to be on this show.  For instance:

(1) The show makes it look like the majority of chases end with delicious tornadoes.  (Apparently in the real world, only a fraction of chases find tornado-producing storms.)

(2) The show puts the chasers themselves into neat Hollywood categories, such as The Scientist (Josh Wurman, who is no longer a regular on the show), The Artist (Sean Casey, the IMAX film-maker), The Heart-Throb (Reed Timmer), The Good Guy (Tim Samaras), The Sidekicks (Joel Taylor, et al).  They’re all good-looking and it’s all very neatly packaged and very glamorous.  (Please note that I am not belittling the abilities of any of these chasers.)

(3) Of course there have been some manufactured controversies: Joel and Reed had a fight; Sean and Josh and Reed all had fights; Sean disrespected Reed and Josh disrespected everybody.  I did some research: in reality, Joel is back with Reed and Sean is broadcasting streams from Reed’s website.  Josh is nowhere in sight.  Clearly something got lost in translation on Storm Chasers.  But then again, yet another chase team called The Twister Sisters is now filming a reality show as well; they were earlier this year looking for a couple to ride with them — but only if the couple had serious relationship issues.  Now folks, take that and apply it to storm chasing.  You can’t?  I’m not surprised.  That’s TV.  (2011 edit: apparently this project, if it actually existed, never came to fruition.  For that I am thankful, and I think the Twister Sisters should be too.  They may not have realized it, but their reputations were on the line.)

The other night I was wandering around the Web and found the other side of the coin: a web-cast produced by storm chasers themselves.  It was an hour chat show where they — chasers with no makeup — sat around and swore, farted, belched, drank, and generally told the long grinding truth about the lives of storm chasers — most of whom seem to do this as a hobby, not as a full-time business, because the competition is overwhelming; tornado videos are nothing if not plentiful these days and there’s barely a (daytime) funnel cloud in Tornado Alley that goes unfilmed.

During this chat I realized why a storm chaser in a chat room recently sniped “tell me where Vortex 2 (Wurman’s team) will be today so I can be at least 50 miles away” (implied: “…where the tornado is”).  It’s all street smarts, guts and instinct with this bunch, and long weary miles on the road.  Only the toughest survive.  Bookworms need not apply.

So why am I writing this?  Because I’m still trying to figure out why the media take the Wasilla Windbag so seriously.  Honest.  I’d started to think we were dealing with an alternate reality here — a media reality — and now, I know I’m right.

P.S. If you found this blog article while doing a search about the show Storm Chasers (and I know you probably have), here are some answers to the Google questions I’ve seen on my stat page:

(1) Josh Wurman no longer appears much on Storm Chasers, nor can he help Sean Casey, because Josh is now a government employee on a government-funded study (Vortex 2).  No, I do not know the details such as why it was okay before and is not now; all I know is what I heard on the show. OKAY?  (November 29, 2010 edit: in light of Casey’s confession of today on Facebook, this whole storyline is even more confusing.)

(2) Yes, Reed and Joel are back together.  Most of their problems seem to stem from Reed’s behavior.  This has been discussed frequently on the show.

(3) Yes, Reed and Chip are back together.  Most of their problems seem to stem from Reed’s behavior.  This has been discussed frequently on the show.

(4) No, Ginger is no longer in the (Storm Chasers) picture.  She was probably there because the producers thought she was pretty and that’s about it.  Yes, she is a real meteorologist, as of this writing working for an NBC affiliate in Chicago.  End of story.

(5) Sadly, Matt Hughes died suddenly in May of 2010 from a non-storm-related injury.  Any speculation made by fans is purely that and nothing more.  His family wants privacy and this should be respected.  This is what was said by the show’s producers.

(6) As of this edit (11/29/10), a lot of Storm Chasers fans have their knickers in knots over something Josh Wurman, in a rare appearance on the show, said to Sean Casey…something to the effect that Josh holds the purse strings of the TIV and due to a reckless driving incident, Josh was making Sean take the TIV off the road.  Please note that this is apparently TV drama only; Josh never said that to Sean although he did berate Sean for allowing the TIV driver to be an idiot (this is according to a Facebook post by Wurman’s daughter).  Small update as of 11/29/10: Sean Casey himself just posted to Facebook saying that JOSH NEVER SAID ANYTHING LIKE THAT. Further, Josh does NOT own any part of the TIV, but instead has been instrumental in getting it, and Sean Casey’s IMAX film, funded.

Further, apparently all the fuss about the TIV staying 75 miles away from Vortex 2 was Sean Casey’s own doing.  Josh never dictated that either; however, casual research will show he really wanted EVERY FRICKIN CHASER IN THE U.S. to stay as far away as possible from Vortex 2, which is why I was prepared to believe this part of the story.  This did not make Josh a popular man with the chasing community, and they were very vocal about it.  But why Casey was immature enough to rant and rave about Josh mandating this to the TIV operators when in fact he did not say any of it…well, Casey attempted to explain this in his Facebook post, and all I can say is, “grow up.”

Aside from Casey’s theatrical outburst, apparently what you saw on TV was just the unfortunate result of editing — you know, kinda like when they have the tornado on one side of the road in one shot, then on the other, then suddenly back where it was originally but gosh doesn’t the landscape look completely different.  Okay?

(7) Are you getting the message?  The show you are asking about is part truth and mostly manufactured, and if you intend to enjoy it, you accept that and listen to what the hell they’re saying and stop asking questions. If you want gossip, I’m sure some of the players on the show will turn up in the pages of the National Enquirer sooner or later.  Or consider this: according to other chasers, Storm Chasers is using tornado footage not shot by the production team or the chasers on the show, and they are neither paying for nor crediting said footage.  Plus, at least once they have credited Reed Timmer with being at a tornado where he was not, and also hinted that he and his buddies were the only chasers at a major tornado (Yazoo City), when in fact there were at least a half-dozen others whose actions after the storm were equally heroic as the TVN (Dominator) team’s.  Now folks, that’s reality.

(8) No you cannot do a storm tour in the TIV, the Dominator (you can tour with TVN, which is owned by Reed Timmer, but he does not do tours), or with TWISTEX.  However, some of the chasers you see on the show just may friend you on Facebook, not that they will ever read anything you write there because they all have 40,000 other friends on Facebook.

If you want a tour, just Google “storm tour.”  There are a lot of chasers who would be all too happy to take you along at a cost of about $2,500.00 for a week of major physical discomforts (no matter how much you complain — and some of the less-polished chasers will cuss you right out of the car if you do).  And don’t forget, there’s no guarantee you’ll see a tornado.


and oh, yes…P.P.S.: the 2010 season was the last season that Vortex 2 (Josh Wurman’s team) would clog up the roads with 40 or more vehicles traveling in a lengthy convoy, claim they have more right to be there than anyone else, heap scorn on non-scientific chasers, allegedly nearly run over a non-Vortex chaser or two, and generally be pains in the ass.  From now on, their work will focus on data analysis (that is, they will not be on the road).  This should relieve the increasingly-frequent “chaser convergence” outrages somewhat, although I’m sure NOTHING will ever stop certain idiots from threatening chasers’ lives because they got in Sean’s way, or in Reed’s.  If you’ve even considered making threats like that, kiddo, get a life, and by all means stop watching Storm Chasers because it seems that it’s too much for you.

Is It Dumb Yet?

You will not be able to believe what the Wasilla Windbag said this time:

Sarah Palin on “Our North Korean Allies”

She is not receiving a Stupid of the Day Award because it would be redundant.  I just have two questions to ask her followers: is it dumb yet?…or if not, what the hell is the excuse this time?

P.S.  Sarah’s apologists pointed out that 9 seconds before her “North Korean allies” statement, she in fact got it right and said something about “South Korean allies.”  In their minds, I guess this excuses the whole thing.  No, it does not.  It’s still extremely troubling that she got it wrong at all because her own history leaves her no room for such an error, let alone the fact that she’s apparently considering running for President.  There is no excuse.

Our First “D” List President

We’ve already had a “B” list President (Reagan), and Mr. Proud-of-my-C-grades MBA (Bush Jr.),  so I assume that if/when Palin assumes the throne she’ll be our first “D” list President.  I mean, who else has had her own reality show and a daughter on the verge of winning an undeserved prize in a bogus, sub-D-list dance contest…on TV, of course? (Small update: the outsized…compared to her dance partner…Bristol did not in fact win, but probably only because the producers of that show were SHOCKED — SHOCKED to find out that their voting system was full of holes big enough for a drove of blimp-sized teabaggers to drive through.)

Thus begins my discussion of Palin’s qualifications for the Presidency.  You will note that there isn’t much to discuss, and yet there are a world of wonders.

For instance, yesterday in a public place I happened to crack a joke about Palin.  A middle-aged man standing nearby bristled and then marched away stiffly; it was clear he was offended.  I’ll never forget the pained look on his face.  Oh, his poor misunderstood Sarah!

I misunderstand nothing about Sarah.  In Stupid language, I guess you’d say I no longer misunderestimate her.

The Palinbots are armed with nothing but misdirected rage (because there is nothing else for them to be armed with), but I wonder just how far they’d go for her?  I mean, if it became a fight to the death, would they do it?  I ask because I reckon if they came to such a point, they’d question why and some of them might see what the rest of us see: there’s nothing there.

Let’s take her name out of it for a bit and just describe her.  Imagine you were faced with a anonymous female candidate with this resume: pretty matriarch of a dysfunctional family that includes at least two kids who’ve had brushes with the law and one kid who’s had at least one baby out of wedlock; verbal upholder of morals and values that she does not live; a bully; allegedly a thief; clearly only marginally literate; totally lacking in curiosity about the world around her; often incoherent; has little notion of actual solutions to issues beyond uttering a platitude or two; has no idea of the structure or function of the federal government; has a remarkable history of quitting; has a spotty education; is almost as out of touch with the modern world and its survival as your average Luddite…until she requires a Lear jet to get her somewhere, that is.  Sound like a good President?

A commenter on another site recently said some things I wish I’d thought of first; the points were so succinct and so true..and I couldn’t help wondering how Palin would handle blunt truths, yet I know: she’d make up a platitude and repeat it at every opportunity, and meanwhile, the problem would rage out of control as usual.

First thing this person said: conservatives are the reason illegal immigrants are here and liberals are the reason illegal immigrants are allowed to stay.  That one should be plastered up on the Capitol Building to make it clear that there are no innocents in this form of human trafficking; everyone on either side is a villain.  Sarah Palin lacks the subtlety to see things like this; she only spouts “the liberals did it” as a solution.  Which is to say she has none — and that’s only one of several out-of-control problems facing this country for which she has no solution.

Second, the U.S. is a heartbeat away from becoming a third-world country.  Yep, and I’ll wager that heartbeat is Sarah Palin ascending the throne, as she appears to view it.

Our standards for the Presidency began to take a nosedive in the 1970’s and if Palin were elected — and I refuse to rule that out any more — it would represent the nadir of the office and possibly of this country.

Until she quit, of course.  When that happens, all bets are off.  The only previous quitter was Nixon and in his case, at least we knew why.  I have no doubt that if/when Palin quits the Presidency, the truth will be evident but enough attempts will be made to suppress the truth that many people will never be sure — and in the end, many of her most committed dummies will still view her as a beleaguered heroine.

Speaking of heroes who did not earn their titles, those of us with memories recall that when Reagan was in office, many people began to suspect that he was but a mouthpiece and someone else was running the show.  Yes, in spite of years of attempts to rewrite history, which have become particularly fervent recently, Reagan in his day was not viewed as a mental giant, much less a hero.  Quite the opposite, in fact: he was so obviously dumb that many of us were honestly scared for the country.

During the Shrub years we learned that compared to Reagan…well, it was possible for someone in high office to be dumber than that.  We went from a “B” movie actor to an Ivy-league legacy with a C-average MBA and a couple of failed businesses under his belt..but it was okay because he had found Jesus (apparently hiding somewhere under a rock).  Definitely this shred of a human being needed  someone else’s working brain holding his strings, and we learned that corporate America was the puppet master.

Now there’s Obama who, after two years of fighting off not only corporate America but the wingnut brigade (including Palin), appears to have given up.  He looks distinctly weary.

All it would take would be a dash of Palin to end the prestige and power of the office forever, and the rest of the world would be carving up the U.S. melon, as if they aren’t already.  Until recently I had faith that she would be history before that ever happened, but now, after reading articles in some until-recently prestigious newspapers that tried very, very hard to take a rose-colored view of Palin — meaning that corporate America has decided she will be elected to the Presidency — I am really afraid.  You should be, too.  The time for chuckling at the situation has passed.

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

As usual, Jon Stewart explains it all for you:

Fox News

Fox News II

A sum total of nothing

I just read my worst nightmare in The Huffington Post: Sarah Palin is about to announce her candidacy for President.

Just a few months ago I thought that reality had intruded enough that this would never happen.  I guess I need constant reminders that we in the U.S. are being forced to deal with an alternate reality day after day in this era, the one that says that Sarah and the Teabaggers have a point and purpose.

What brought this home was what happened during a visit with friends a few months back, in which these otherwise intelligent — but, both of them, government-subsidy-dependent at this point in their lives — told me with serious faces that “Sarah Palin has more qualifications to be President than does Barack Obama.”  I told them “no, the only thing she has is whiter skin than Obama.”  They did not disagree. They don’t turn down their unemployment/disability checks either, and they don’t seem to realize that Sarah is against any such aid.  There’s just a total blind spot here caused by Sarah’s white skin.

Therein lies the basis for this alternate reality.  There is nothing else.

I’m a little short on time today, but sometime this weekend I’ll write a list of Sarah’s “accomplishments” and qualifications for high office.  It may be quite short or it may be quite long; either way, it will be full of shit — because it can’t be full of anything else.

See you later.


Here are some Facebook and/or Twitter posts (I can never tell which) from Willow Palin on the night of the premiere of her mother’s vlog “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which of course was declared a total success by the media in spite of the fact that 5,000,000 viewers isn’t much these days…and also on the eve of her sister’s clearly fraudulent “Dancing with the Stars” title, not that it matters much in the large scheme of things:

Charming Remarks from Willow

If Sarah Palin is an Environmentalist, I’m the President of the U.S.A.

Saw a snippet of Palin’s Discovery Channel “reality” show, and all it seems to be about is her sitting on her porch “doing research for (my) writing.”  Her hubby strolls up, trying to act natural (“oh hi, you must be Sarah and I must be Todd.”)  And that’s it.  That’s all there was…of course, this was a short clip.

But why do I believe there is little more to the show than that?

Well basically it’s because I understand the show is called “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”  If that’s so, she must occupy a very tiny corner of it — you know, like her porch.  Honestly, “Alaska” in the title speaks to me of scenic vistas and hardscrabble lives and yes…environmentalism.  Alaska is an easy choice for a show about environmentalism.  It is huge and almost menacing, yet it is fragile.  It is extreme and largely untamed.  It is hardly suburbanized, banal and materialistic.

That is to say that Alaska does NOT speak to me of Palin sitting on her porch “doing research” and having some badly-acted chit-chat with her husband, much of which seemed to be about an irritating neighbor.  In fact it does not speak to me of Sarah Palin, the ultimate anti-environment screech, at all.

It’s bad enough that Discovery is in the process of turning the entire profession of storm chasing into a Hollywood melodrama, sullying the names of a few actual chasers in the process, (not to mention outraging the chaser community by stealing storm footage and making false claims).  But do we really have to put up with a faux-Alaskafest from Sarah Palin on top it it?  I think not.

For what it’s worth, here’s a petition to get Palin’s nature show on Faux News where it belongs:

Anti-Palin Discovery Show Petition

What’s going on

This lengthy article sums it up better than I ever could.  The article states why no teabagger is ever going to fix the economy. In short, it tells you in sobering terms what’s really going on.


Key paragraph from the article:

So what are we to do about Big Money in politics buying off democracy? I can almost hear him throwing that question back at us: “What are we to do? ORGANIZE! Yes, organize—and don’t count the costs.” Some people already are. They’re mobilizing. There’s a rumbling in the land. All across the spectrum people oppose the escalating power of money in politics. Fed-up Democrats. Disillusioned Republicans. Independents. Greens. Even Tea Partiers, once they wake up to realize they have been sucker-punched by their bankrollers who have no intention of sharing the wealth.