What’s another half billion?

From April 2012:

The estimated $948 million price tag for a retractable roof stadium for the Atlanta Falcons would probably prove to be significantly low, experts say, adding to questions about how the facility would be paid for.

Two professors who study stadium deals said estimates are generally low to make such projects palatable to governments and the public.

“One of the real rules in these analyses is they always underestimate cost,” said J.C. Bradbury, chairman of the Health, Physical Education, and Sport Science department at Kennesaw State University.

“When they say it will cost $900 million, I’m thinking, ‘How much over a billion is it really going to be? ‘”

The answer: $400 million, for the stadium few want and Atlanta doesn’t need.

Anti-mosque advocates steal a page from Islamic theorcracies

Of course the decision by the Kennesaw City Council to reject a request to build a mosque in the city is discriminatory. Opponents don’t even try to conceal it.

Karen Untz, who traveled to Kennesaw from Cumming to protest the mosque, said she was pleased with the council’s decision.

“(Muslims) are moving into all these small towns, and they’re camping out,” Untz said. “There’s no such thing as a temporary mosque. They claim the space and they teach Shariah law.”

Councilwoman Debra Williams said she voted against the proposed mosque because she did not think a religious center should operate inside a retail shopping center.

Yet Williams and all four other council members voted unanimously in July to allow a Pentecostal church in a retail center when the council approved Redeemed Christian Fellowship Church to use a 4,000 square-foot unit in a center on the corner of Ben King Road and Cherokee Street.

Score one for religious bigotry.

The right’s Cosby conspiracy

I’m Facebook friends with a knee-jerk conservative dittohead who posted this the other day:

If you think Bill Cosby is under attack right now, just wait until Dr. Ben Carson or some other conservative black man announces that he’s officially a candidate for president.They’re going to wish they were Bill Cosby.

So Cosby is being “attacked” because of his political views? Not surprisingly this developing conservative meme was started by a certain morbidly obese heroin addict:

“What did Bill Cosby ever do to tick off some producer at CNN? Or some reporter? Or some assignment? What happened here?” Limbaugh asked. “And then I had to stop and remember, Bill Cosby has numerous times in the recent past given public lectures in which he has said to one degree or another that black families and communities had better step up and get hold of themselves and not fall prey to the forces of destruction that rip them apart. And basically he started demanding that people start accepting responsibility. And the next thing you know he is the nation’s biggest rapist as far as CNN is concerned.”

Cosby started speaking out on such issues 10 years ago but has been largely unheard from since. Odd time to be plotting a conspiracy against someone.

The very un-Christian message of Kirk Cameron’s ‘War on Christmas’ movie

A recent article about churches flouting their tax-exempt status by endorsing political candidates featured one pastor exhorting his congregation to vote for the Republican because he would protect the right to bear arms. Apparently I missed the Bible verse, “Those shalt own a Smith & Wesson.”

The mythical “War on Christmas” is another theological head scratcher, deeply embedded in the victim mentality of Christian fundamentalists. But even if it was true, what does it have to do with Christmas? Doesn’t commercialization contradict the message of the season?

Turns out St. Nick and Black Friday are every bit as holy as the manger scene. At least that’s what Kirk Cameron would have you believe.

By reclaiming Santa Claus, Christmas trees, hot chocolate, and ham as religious artifacts, the movie makes the tacit claim that any disdain for anything even vaguely Christmas is essentially equivalent to blowing your nose on the precious, precious swaddling cloth that Cameron goes on about.

So Christians, at least the kind represented by the Kirk Cameron and Sarah Palins of the world, don’t want less commercialization of Christmas, but more — as long as you don’t tell shoppers “Happy Holidays.”


The week in stupid

The good news: Paul Broun won’t be in Congress next year. The bad news: Jody Hice will take his place.

“The parallels as you’re talking are just incredible with what we are seeing in America,” he said, adding that “like a politician here in America,” Hitler “made all these wonderful promises” before transforming into the “monster you never saw coming.”

“And so, you’ve got the nationalized education, nationalized banking, nationalized press that you alluded to, the nationalized medical care,” Hice said later in the program. “It sounds like you were describing America. And the last thing that you mentioned was the gun control. It sounds like you were describing to us tomorrow’s newspaper here in America. Every one of these issues we’re facing right now.”

Russell Brand appeals to those people who like their comedians unfunny and their ideologies naively Marxist. When he’s not urging people not to vote, Brand touts moronic conspiracy theories and screams “Islamophobia” anytime someone mentions Islamic terrorism.

(T)he host asked Brand to explain the portion of his book that gives credence to theories that the destruction of World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, looked like a “controlled explosion.”

“I think it is interesting at this time when we have so little trust in our political figures, where ordinary people have so little trust in their media, that we have to remain open-minded to any kind of possibility,” Brand responded. “What I do think is very interesting is the relationship that the Bush family have had for a long time with the bin Laden family.” He then accused the BBC of building an “anti-Islamic” narrative in its coverage of the Ottawa shootings this week.

Any list of stupid would be incomplete without amateur historian Louie Gohmert, one of Rush Limbaugh’s “all-time favorite members of the House of Representatives.”

I’ve had people say, “Hey, you know, there’s nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.” Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it’s a different kind of fighting, it’s a different kind of war and if you’re sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into the big, planned battle, then you’re not going to last very long. It’s guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and, you know, if that’s what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did, as people have said, “Louie, you have got to understand, you don’t even know your history.” Oh, yes, I do. I know exactly. It’s not a good idea.

Nicholas Sparks’ worst attribute isn’t his writing

Not satisfied with becoming the most commercially successful of mawkish, paint-by-numbers romance novels, Nicholas Sparks also believes he’s the best.

From a 2010 interview:

“There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power.” …

“I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. They were called the Greek tragedies.

“Hemingway. See, they’re recommending The Garden of Eden, and I read that. It was published after he was dead. It’s a weird story about this honeymoon couple, and a third woman gets involved. Uh, it’s not my cup of tea.” Sparks pulls the one beside it off the shelf. “A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That’s what I write,” he says, putting it back. “That’s what I write.”

Cormac McCarthy? “Horrible,” he says, looking at Blood Meridian. “This is probably the most pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic cowboy vs. Indians story ever written.”

Sparks’ latest straight-to-celluloid tearjerker, “The Best of Me,” opens this weekend. I bet Aeschylus will be first in line.

South Carolina GOP making Strom Thurmond proud

It’s 2015 and you still can’t disown the Confederate flag? Hell, Georgia put that embarrassing relic behind us 10 years ago.

At least Gov. Nikki Haley, the Republican incumbent, didn’t refer to the “War of Northern Aggression” in this classic profile in this paean to cowardice:

“You know, the Confederate flag is a very sensitive issue, and what I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spend a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state. I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag… We really kind of fixed all that when you elected the first Indian American female governor. When we appointed the first African American senator.”

Libertarian opponent Steve French called bullshit:

“If you wanna paint your house in the Confederate flag, I am completely fine with that, as long as your HOA approves it. Now, Governor Haley talks about other businesses that never brought that up. Now, I disagree with that. I’ve got a friend, an MIT grad who works in California, who continues to bring up the fact that he wants to start his own business. And when I bring up it starting here in South Carolina, he laughs. He smirks. He still thinks of South Carolina as being this backwoods good old boy network. And that flag, I think, represents a lot of division in this state. And we need to be coming together.”




Dick du jour

The South Carolina GOP is rife with assholes, none bigger than the state party’s former executive director and general counsel, Todd Kincannon.

People with Ebola in the US need to be humanely put down immediately. RT @AP: Dallas hospital: U.S. Ebola patient in critical condition


Will we ever laugh again?

I was in elementary school when “Mork & Mindy” was a hit. Nanu nanu? Not for me. Maybe I was turned off by the rainbow suspenders. 

Over the years my dislike of Robin Williams’ brand of frenetic, dated humor only grew. I have even less tolerance for his mawkish turns in “Dead Poets Society” and “Patch Adams,” which, according to one critic, “Indulges to the hilt every obnoxious, hyperactive, oh-what-I-wouldn’t-give-for-a-tranquilizer-gun aspect of Robin Williams’ performing style.”.

See, I was not alone. You wouldn’t know that now. 

I’m not suggesting people should trash a guy when he’s dead. And if I thought any of his family members or friends read this blog, I wouldn’t be posting this. 

But this latest example of our culture’s desperation for communal experience has gone too far. Social media was awash in Huffington Post-like tributes of 140 characters or less — “The moment we all fell in love with Robin Williams.” Speak for yourself. 

Look, if Mr. T and Nancy Reagan jokes are you thing, go ahead and mourn. To everyone else, let’s curb the phon. 

We’re told he was a nice man, and his under-the-radar USO appearances bear that out. But as a comedian and he was not my cup of tea. That doesn’t make me a bad person.  

I just hope I die before Adam Sandler does. 

The compassion of the right

Ann Coulter manages to excoriate the missionaries who contracted Ebola while treating the infected in Liberia AND play the white Christian victim card.

Coulter theorizes many do-gooders choose to help out overseas because they’re “tired of being called homophobes, racists, sexists and bigots” when they work in the U.S.

“They need to buck up [and] serve their own country,” she writes

What did Kid Dyn-o-mite ever see in her?.

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann has declared war on illegal immigrants

“What we have to recognize is that this truly is a war against the American people,” Bachman said. “And if we don’t act like it and take this border seriously, we’re going to have even more gangs.”