From Pine View Farm

July, 2013 archive

Lady McDonnell: “Out! Out! Damned Skort” 0

Dressed for success.

Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell bought nearly $9,800 in clothing with money from her husband’s political action committee and tapped into his campaign and inaugural funds to buy $7,600 in mostly unspecified items, according to records and a representative for the PAC.

The spending is legal under Virginia’s lax campaign finance laws, which prohibit the conversion of political funds for private use only when a PAC or campaign committee disbands — not while it is operating.


Repo Star Wars 0

Not to discount secret government surveillance, I do believe we should pay more attention to secret private surveillance.

For example, from Tambabay dot com:

Bond Auto Sales at 5755 34th St. N in St. Petersburg has been accused in three recent lawsuits of placing GPS devices on cars without telling buyers.

When customers successfully paid off their loans, they were invited back for a free “safety check,” the lawsuits say. Then, employees would remove the secret devices.

Much more at the link.


Frankly, I trust the Feds a lot more than I trust either the Zuckerborg or Crazy Charley’s Jalopy World down the street there, on the left.


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Welcome persons into your place of worship politely, just as Jesus would have done.

A Texas pastor is being accused of murder for allegedly fatally shooting his nephew on Sunday.


Fiduciary Fiddles 0

First they came for your pensions and left you with IRAs (by the way, how’s that working out for you?)

Now they are back for your IRAs.


Q. What the Dickens? 0

A. Exactly.

Republicans have decided that Oliver Twist depicts Utopia and Fagin, the ideal governor.



T. E. Lawrence:

It is difficult to keep quiet when everything is being done wrong, but the less you lose your temper the greater your advantage. Also then you will not go mad yourself.


Addiction Is a Physical Thing 0

I have known addicts–addicts to alcohol and other drugs.

If they stop using their drugs of choice, their bodies rebel and they suffer horrible physical torment–nausea, DTs, hallucinations, and more.

If a man stops sending pictures of himself to strangers, I guarantee (as Justin Wilson would have said) that he will not suffer nausea, DTs, and hallucinations.

I can be as lecherous as the next guy, perhaps more lecherous than some, and, because I understand lechery, I have long believed that attempts to create an ailment called “sex addiction” are at best attempts to promote full employment for opportunistic therapists and at worst complete and total garbage.

Really, now, Anthony Weiners of this world, if you don’t press “send” on that SMS, are you going to throw up, have hallucinations, and see pink elephants?

Catherine Bennett reports in the Observer:

Now a new study casts such doubt on previous assumptions about sex addiction that questions are even being asked about Boris Johnson’s alleged satyriasis. Could he be, in fact, normal? Shouldn’t NHS Choices take another look at its claim, on its sex addiction page (with hilarious, addict-face illustration) that: “This addiction is similar to substance abuse because it is caused by the powerful chemical substances released during sex.”

Who wrote that – Tiger Woods?

Because researchers at UCLA tested brain activity in self-diagnosed hypersexual people and found no evidence to separate their participants’ reactions from those of normal people with a high sex drive.

Addiction is a real and horrible thing. I was a smoker. I know.

I’m still an addict, addicted to nicotine, but in gum form, without sucking crap into my lungs. (It’s at least an improvement.)

To use “addiction” as an excuse for being a narcissistic jackass insults every person who has ever struggled with a real physical addiction, from smokers on up.

Being a narcissistic jackass may be a “condition,” but it’s not an addiction.

Addictions are treatable.


Silent Witnesses 0

Steve King appeals to his fellow travelers.


Droning On: By Their Own Words Ye Shall Know Them Dept. 0

The Guardian reports on a GI gamer who rained robotic death from the skies when he answered the call of duty:

“It is a lot like playing a video game,” a former Predator drone operator matter-of-factly admits to the artist Omer Fast. “But playing the same video game four years straight on the same level.” His bombs kill real people though and, he admits, often not the people he is aiming at.

The remarkable insight into the working life of one of the most modern of military operatives is provided in a 30-minute film that will be shown at the Imperial War Museum in London from Monday, the first in a new programme of exhibitions under the title IWM Contemporary.


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

My local rag revisits a Great Moment in Politeness, reporting on the attempt to identify whodunnit:

A bullet fell from the sky just before Fourth of July fireworks shot into the heavens.

Most likely fired by a reveler near the Swift Creek Reservoir, its ascent lost steam just as throngs were converging on the banks to watch the show. High in the darkness above thousands of heads, gravity turned the bullet back toward Earth.

Now, police are trying to trace its arc in reverse, from its stopping place – inside the skull of a 7-year-old boy – all the way back to the finger that pulled the trigger.


Precedent 0

Jeff Artis, President Emeritus of the Roanoke, Va., Chapter of the SCLC, sees trouble zimmering*:

In the aftermath of this case, it amazes me how ignorant some of the supporters of Zimmerman can be. The history of this country teaches us one thing. If this can happen to one group, it’s just a matter of time before it happens to another group. In what universe is it OK for a private citizen of any color to patrol a neighborhood with a loaded gun? Remember your comments when a white kid gets killed by a wannabe cop, the police refuse to investigate, the wannabe cop claims self-defense when he’s eventually arrested because of public pressure and is eventually found not guilty.

Read the rest. Please do read the rest.


*Sorry. Couldn’t resist.


Light Bloggery 0

Break time.




It’s a dirty job being ridiculous, but I’ll do it.


Republican Kamikaze 0

Jonathan Chait is not optimistic.

He believes that the right-wing has decided that, if they can’t save the country from the forces of truth, justice, and the American Way, they might as well just burn it down.

A nugget:

The Republican Party has spent 30 years careering ever more deeply into ideological extremism, but one of the novel developments of the Obama years is its embrace of procedural extremism. The Republican fringe has evolved from being politically shrewd proponents of radical policy changes to a gang of saboteurs who would rather stop government from functioning at all. In this sense, their historical precedents are not so much the Gingrich revolutionaries, or even their tea-party selves of a few years ago; the movement is more like the radical left of the sixties, had it occupied a position of power in Congress. And so the terms we traditionally use to scold bad Congresses—partisanship, obstruction, gridlock—don’t come close to describing this situation. The hard right’s extremism has bent back upon itself, leaving an inscrutable void of paranoia and formless rage and twisting the Republican Party into a band of anarchists.

And the worst is not behind us.


Football uber Alles 0

Bob Molinaro, in my local rag:

It’s a sign of the times that two of the happiest words in college and pro football are “charges dropped.”

More of his incisive insights at the link.


“When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie . . . .” 0



Theft of Services 0

Bill Maxwell sees an insidious undercurrent in the charter school movement: the rebirth of seg academies. A nugget; follow the link for the rest:

No matter how we frame the debate, we are talking about contemporary segregation academies — those private schools that proliferated during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s as a way for whites to circumvent the desegregation order of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. After these academies took hold, many public schools, especially in the South, were left with mostly black students.

Operating with public money, charters are more subtle in determining who attends them. In addition to location and word-of-mouth marketing, many self-select by establishing curricula that appeal to specific groups. Touting their core mission, they do not mention diversity in their recruitment.

At my breakfast meeting this morning, someone brought up the Trayvon Martin case. I went off, pointing out that the bigots never give up; they just go into hiding from time to time and then try again.


Contingency Plans 2

Darrell Lease, columnist at my local rag, envisions the machinations behind The Regent’s recent trip to Afghanistan, which followed his apology for “embarrassing” the Commonwealth by inadvertently accidentally unintentionally appearing to be on the take and in it for the money. A nugget:

As you know, the governor was then whisked away to — oh, let’s have the governor tell the story in a bold and innovative statement distributed through his Opportunity Virginia PAC:

“Dear Friend,

As you read this email I’m currently visiting with our troops in Afghanistan. … This is a trip I’ve looked forward to for a long time. Freedom is not free. Every day we wake up safe and secure because our neighbors, co-workers, family members and friends have volunteered to leave the peace of home for the danger and uncertainty of our world’s most volatile locations. On this trip, I’m telling them, on behalf of all of us, thank you.”


Some scoundrels had the audacity to ask if the governor is wrapping himself in the flag in an effort to deflect attention from his troubles here at home in Virginia, a state that — let us be clear — has never been stronger.


Hipster Heavens 0

Patrick Kerkstra writes at Philly dot com:

In too many Philadelphia circles, there’s a view that the answer to the city’s poverty pandemic is to just open more coffee shops, more restaurants, more yoga studios.

Not just Philadelphia’s Babbitts, but Babbitts in many other cities are falling into the same trap.

A strong economy does not grow from buying stuff; it grows from making stuff, then selling it.

Also, hipsters are ironically annoying.


The (Steve) King of the Muleheads 0

Via TPM.