From Stray Rescue of St. Louis:

"We thought he was on the mend, he seemed to be improving, and then we find out he is in the final stages of cancer. Andrea, Panda Program Foster, took him home and gave him the best week of his life. He passed away on his own after an amazing week. Schweiger you will be missed by all, you touched us all!

"Read Schweiger's rescue story.
"Enjoy Schweiger's pictures of his best week of his life. Thank you Andrea!"



Via: Cynical-C

Mark your calendars. The Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive will be held on Oct. 30 on the National Mall in

And we’re pretty sure Glenn Beck has not been invited.

Last night, Comedy Central faux journalists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert each made a “big announcement.”

First up to the plate was Jon Stewart.

In response to “the loud folks,” such as the Hitler-sign making folks, Stewart asks, “Why don’t we hear from the 70-80 percenters?” – the majority of Americans who don’t have extreme political views.

Enter the Rally to Restore Sanity.

“A million moderate march…a clarion call for rationality!” Stewart exclaimed.

With the motto of “Take it down a notch for America,” Stewart is offering to provide signs with the “appropriate” level of political emotion, such as “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”

You could also go with “I am not afraid of Muslims/Tea Partiers/Socialists/Immigrants/Gun Owners/Gay…but I am scared of Spiders.”

To counter Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and to restore “truthiness,” Stephen Colbert announced his own rally: The March the Keep Fear Alive.

Calling Stewart’s announcement “disturbing,” Colbert says he will “not take it down a notch,” saying that “Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom!”

And, “Need I point out that ‘reason’ is one letter away from ‘treason?’” Colbert asks.



"America succeeds when the playing field is level and open, and people don't fall behind; when government is not an obstacle, but a catalyst for shared prosperity; when we come together to find new ways to expand the horizon of opportunity for each and every American."

~Barack Obama, June 26, 2008



By Paul Krugman, on his blog, Conscience of a Liberal:

"Greg Sargent notes the growing number of Republicans suggesting a 'compromise' in the form of temporary extension of high-end tax breaks, and urges Democrats not to take the bait. His argument is essentially political: Republicans are obviously aware that they’re in a fix, and Democrats shouldn’t help them out.

"But there are reasons beyond partisan maneuvering to reject any deal here.

"First, temporary tax breaks for the rich are stunningly bad economic policy. As I tried to explain, basic economic theory — Milton Friedman’s theory! — tells us that affluent taxpayers are likely to save the great bulk of a transitory tax break. And bear in mind that while a 2-year extension wouldn’t increase debt as much as a permanent extension, it would still be much more expensive than measures like aid to the unemployed and to small businesses that would do far more for the economy, yet spent months held up in Congress because of alleged concerns about the deficit.

"Second, this is obviously — obviously — a setup. The whole point is to avoid a vote on the middle-class tax cuts while Democrats control the House; when and if Republicans regain control, they can refuse to let anything but a full extension reach the floor. So the goal is actually permanent extension; what they’re offering isn’t a compromise, it’s a trap.
"So just say no."

Zztopdog notes: Paul Krugman is my hero!



From the book of that name by Pamela Redmond Satran:

Seven Ways to Read Younger:

Old Reading Material               Young Reading Material
 Newspapers                                 Blogs
 Historical Romances                     Vampire Romances
 Mysteries                                     Graphic Novels
 GQ                                              Game Informer
 Stephen King                               Harry Potter                             
 The Grapes of Wrath                    Wicked
 O, The Oprah Magazine                Cosmopolitan

Zztopdog notes: We shall offer additional tips at least one per week.



By Jerome Dolittle, Bad Attitudes Blog:

"The immediate impact is that the GOP became that much less likely to take over the Senate in November. A clear Republican win in Delaware became a likely Republican loss. But though that’s getting all the headlines, it slightly misses the point: The long-term impact of these primaries is not going to be on the incumbents who have been defeated. It’ll be on the incumbents who survived.

It was hard for incumbent Republicans to see Sens. Bob Bennett and Lisa Murkowski unexpectedly toppled in their primaries. But Alaska and Utah are conservative, quirky states. They were likely targets for an angry conservative electorate. The same cannot be said for Delaware, a moderate state that often goes blue. Rep. Mike Castle’s defeat was proof that no heterodox Republican is safe from a primary defeat — it doesn’t matter how popular you’ve been, or how clearly purple your electorate was. You’re not safe. You’re never safe.

Politicians are, by nature, a fearful species. But their nightmares became a lot more specific last night. The Tea Party, for all its unexpected successes, cannot topple every incumbent Republican in the country. But by toppling the right ones, it can make every incumbent Republican vote and speak and act with the Tea Party in mind. So though the Tea Party isn’t likely to send all that many of its own Republicans to Washington, the likely outcome of last night’s primaries is that the Tea Party takes over the Republicans who are already in Washington, and don’t want to be sent home.



By Robert Reich:

"Newt Gingrich is saying if Republicans win back control of Congress and reach a budget impasse with the president, they should shut down the government again. GOP pollster Dick Morris is echoing those sentiments, as is Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R. Ga), and Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller.

"I am continuously amazed at the GOP's ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of potential victory. It is the gift that keeps giving.

"I was there November 14, 1995 when Newt Gingrich pulled the plug on the federal government the first time. It proved to be the stupidest political move in recent history. Not only did it help Bill Clinton win reelection but it was a boon to almost all other Democrats in 1996 (Gingrich's photo was widely used in negative ads), and the move damaged Republicans for years.

"Gingrich hurt his cause by complaining that Bill Clinton had put him in the back of Air Force One on a trip that occurred about the same time. Republican lore has it that it was this babyish behavior rather than the shutdown itself that caused the public to side with Clinton in the game of chicken Gingrich launched over the budget. Undoubtedly Gingrich's whining didn't help, but it was his cavalier attitude toward government itself that was the defining issue. Gingrich was the one who first bragged he'd shut down the government if Clinton didn't agree to what the Republicans wanted.

"Now, remarkably, Gingrich is back at it.

"Dick Armey says it's 'premature' to talk about doing any such thing. What Armey means is if the public sees Republicans already plotting a shutdown, they'll react even more angrily than they did fifteen years ago.

"Americans may be cynical about government but we're proud of our system of governance. And we don't want it to be used as a political pawn in partisan power games. That's what Republicans forget time and again. They dislike government so much they don't see the difference between government as a bureaucracy and democratic governance as a cherished system.

"The framers of the Constitution developed checks and balances to assure one branch didn't accumulate too much power. But they never contemplated that one party could shut down the entire governmental system if it didn't get what it wanted."

This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.



By Jack Schafer, for Slate:

No greater pride befalls a scholar, a thinker, a journalist, a business executive, or other writer than to have a party thrown in honor of the publication of his book. A book party is like a wedding, a birthday party, a baptism, a prom, a class reunion, and a bar mitzvah all rolled up into one. For authorial self-esteem, the only things that can possibly top a book party is a book reading that's videotaped and broadcast by C-SPAN or a Charlie Rose interview.

Although publishing a book still brings bliss to authors, the glow derived from books has dimmed for former bibliophiles like me. Once I loved books. I worshipped books. I built defensive perimeters around my desk and bed and stereo and hallways with huge stacks of them. When my friends published their books, I steeped in jealousy while congratulating them on their accomplishment. When acquaintances asked when I was going to write a book, I told them I had once pitched a book proposal about the rise of clandestinely manufactured illicit drugs based on this 1985 magazine piece but that publishers had wisely rejected it.

To sublimate the envy I had for my book-writing friends, I took to throwing book parties for them. I still throw the occasional book party, but my envy has subsided because my adoration of books has faded. It's not that books are any better or any worse than they once were. It's just that they've lost their primacy in my world.

And not just my world. Not that long ago, a free-standing Sunday book-review section was essential to the status of a daily newspaper. But in the past decade, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle have all said to hell with books and shed their standalone sections. The surviving newspaper book section, the New York Times Book Review, has seen better days. It could hit 80 pages in the 1970s. Last Sunday it clocked in at only 28 pages. Today brings a report from the New York Observer that Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal plans to start a free-standing book review in coming weeks. But that doesn't subtract from my thesis. Murdoch's decision to add a book section to the Journal isn't really about pleasing readers, it's about rumbling with the New York Times, which he's vowed to destroy by mirroring its coverage of politics, culture, sports, spot news, books, and New York City. The section isn't good news for books. It's bad news for Murdoch.

Journalists especially have lusted to write books because publishing one validated their careers by announcing to one and all—especially to their easy-to-impress bosses—that they were no dime-a-word hack. This contribution to arts and letters didn't start rotting the minute it rolled of the press. This contribution was timeless!

And it sort of was. If a curious individual wanted to learn more about Subject A or Subject B, an encyclopedia, a library, or a book store were the best places to acquire that knowledge. But today, if I decide I want to know more about, say, gossip columnist Walter Winchell, do I really need to track down a copy of Neal Gabler's excellent Winchell: Gossip, Power, and the Culture of Celebrity? Or can I sate my hunger with the Wikipedia entry, a quick Google search of his name, by using Amazon's "click to look inside!" feature, or searching Google Books to glean enough information? My guess is that in most cases, readers can. They don't need to buy the entire menu when they can shop a la carte.

If I'm right about the status of books being in decline, book publishers have yet to feel the real pain. In 2009, sales dropped only 1.8 percent. But there are other measures, most of them anecdotal. Just a decade ago, I hoarded all of my books, refusing to sell them or give them away, because I didn't want to gamble that I wouldn't need them on short notice again. Finding a used, out-of-print, or rare book before AbeBooks, Alibris, and Amazon arrived was an expensive pain. You either had to prowl used bookstores, find it a library with the title, or pay a stiff book-finders' fee. Now, thanks to resellers, I gladly purge my library now and again to make space. If I ever need a copy of Drudge Manifesto again, I'll be able to get it on the Web for a penny, plus shipping. A back of the envelope calculation reveals to me that the replacement price of the average volume in my personal library has dropped 20 percent to40 percent in the Web era. So even if the status of books isn't falling, the value of them is.

By making books commodities, the modern market has stripped them of much of their romantic charm. I like the smell of a moldy book as much as the next bibliophile, but not as much as I once did. And while I've yet to purchase a Kindle or iPad, which make buying books in a store or online seem like hard work, I keep some titles on my netbook and iPod and can see myself making a fuller transition to e-books. And as I do, I'll become even less romantic about books—just as I became progressively less romantic about music as my collection has shifted from vinyl to CDs to mp3s. Holding an LP cover or even a CD jacket used to anchor the listener to a something corporeal. But not anymore. The same is happening to books. The ancient ceremony of reading by turning its pages is being disrupted by the e-books clicks and swipes. In the process it distances us from the old magic conjured by books. Books are being replaced by reading.

Newspapers experienced a similar reckoning in the past decade when they stopped assigning the old status upon their readers. Personal data point: When I edited the alternative weekly Washington City Paper from 1985 to 1995, one of the paper's owners loved to point out how everybody who picked it up usually carried it so that the nameplate was visible. They wanted others to see that they were a City Paper person! But those days have passed. Beyond serving as a marker to your boss that you're a serious person, your subscription to the Wall Street Journal doesn't say much about you these days. Well, it does say that you're old. Barnes & Noble and Borders have gotten the message the message that books are becoming passe, moving them out to make room for toys, stationery, and other merchandise. At Barnes & Noble, a kiosk pushing Nook e-book readers greets you as you enter the store.

There are still reasons to write books, for course. It's still an achievement to write one—even a bad one. Also, a book can still give an author control over what's said and how it's received in a way that rivals other mediums. If written expertly, a book can signal to the reader a seriousness and erudition that doesn't apply to every Web page or every newspaper. And sometimes an author's labors can generate returns beyond the minimum wage.

But those reasons apply equally to e-books and hardcovers. Which brings me to my ultimate observation about the fallen status of books: Can you imagine throwing a book party for a friend who wrote an e-book? As attendees bought the e-book, what would the author do to personalize and commemorate the event? Sign their Kindles?


By Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times:

"A minister in Gainesville, Fla., has created an international uproar by vowing to burn the Koran on Sept. 11. This is under the theory that the best way to honor Americans who died at the hands of religious extremists is to do something that is both religious and extreme.

"I am not going to mention his name, since he’s already been rewarded with way too many TV interviews for a person whose seminal career achievement has been building a thriving congregation of about 50 people.

"The Koran-burning has been equated, in some circles, with the fabled ground zero mosque. This is under the theory that both are constitutionally protected bad ideas. In fact, they’re very different. Muslims building a community center in their neighborhood on one hand. Deliberate attempt to insult a religion that is dear to about 1.5 billion souls around the globe on the other.

"This week, New York City was visited by another minister, with the depressing title of 'Internet evangelist' who announced plans to build a '9/11 Christian center at ground zero' in response to 'the lies of Islam.' This guy, who is from Tampa, drew an estimated crowd of 60 people. Does that make him more popular than the minister from Gainesville? Plus, is there something in the water in Florida?

"When this sort of thing happens, it is important to remember that about 5 percent of our population is and always will be totally crazy. I don’t mean mentally ill. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 26 percent of American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. So, basically, that’s just normal life. I mean crazy in the sense of 'Thinks it is a good plan to joke with the flight attendant about seeing a bomb in the restroom.' ”

"There is nothing you can do about the crazy 5 percent except ask the police to keep an eye on them during large public events, where they sometimes appear carrying machine guns just to make a political point about the Second Amendment. And, in situations like a Koran-burning, make it clear that the rest of us disagree.

"So far, the people lining up to denounce the burning of the Koran include the pope, Gen. David Petraeus and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, Haley Barbour, theMississippi governor and would-be presidential contender, stepped up to the plate. “I don’t think there is any excuse for it,” said Barbour at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

"Unfortunately, Barbour followed up his bow to tolerance by suggesting that the public’s confusion over Barack Obama’s religion is because of the fact that 'this is a president that we know less about than any other president in history.' The governor claimed that Americans had been particularly deprived of information on Obama’s youth, while they knew a great deal about the formative years of the other chief executives all the way back to the way the youthful George Washington 'chopped down a cherry tree.'

"Let us reconsider the above paragraph in light of the fact that while Obama wrote an entire book about his childhood, Washington never chopped down the cherry tree.

"But I digress. While a pope, a general and a cabinet member are speaking out, the candidates running in this year’s elections seem to be superquiet about the Koran-burning. However, quite a few have been racing to bash the Muslim community center for Lower Manhattan. In Florida, the gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott has an ad railing against a mosque 'just yards away' from ground zero, which is semiaccurate only if you believe 'city blocks' and 'yards' are the same thing. And in New York, the Republican candidates for governor appear to be running for the Mosque Removal slot on the ballot.

“ 'Just before the primary, we had candidates who thought they might gain more votes by bashing Islam,' said Saleh Sbenaty, a leader of the Muslim families in Murfreesboro, Tenn., whose community center construction site has been vandalized twice in recent weeks. 'We had a rough, rough time during the primary.'

"My memories of Sept. 11, 2001, are still intense, and they are mainly about the outpouring of concern from the rest of the country. The piles of donated clothes and food piled up, unused but not necessarily unwanted since each bit was a token of someone’s good will toward the city. Helping us achieve that state of public grace is the highest possible duty of every elected official.

"But, lately, they’ve abdicated or worse. And the fight for public sanity has fallen to average citizens, like Professor Sbenaty, who is still trying to explain to the rest of the world what happened in his community. 'Let me say first,' he told an interviewer on NPR, 'there are crazy people in every society.' ”



Dis bees Zorro. I didn't feew good all night; so myownmama stayed up wiff me. So, I wented to da vet today, 'cause I beez peeing lots and lots. Welp, it turns outs that I hab a UTI, wiff some bwood. Now, I gots some big pills to take 2 times a day. Dey tasted icky, but myownmama puts dem in peanutbutter, so I WUV to take dem.

Myownmama is also making me wear a dipey, wike a baby. But she said that we don't want no more dirts to get in my peepee! I will twy to sneaks it off when she not bees lookin. Hehehehehe!



By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout OpEd:

"2010 is shaping up to be the Year of the Hate Crime in America, thanks in large part to right-bent Republicans and their Tea Party allies who have nothing to run on in the upcoming midterms. Think about it; would you want to run for office as a Republican these days? Their dearest economic ideas gave us the current recession, their foreign policies resulted in a war we lost in Iraq and a war we're losing in Afghanistan, their environmental designs have resulted in yet another oil rig detonation in the Gulf of Mexico, a great many of their supporters don't believe in dinosaurs because the Bible doesn't mention them, and their biggest national superstar is Sarah Palin, who by all appearances is so drastically stupid that she couldn't figure out how to pour piss out of a boot if there were directions on the heel.

"So, yeah, not much to hang your hat on there. In the absence of anything substantive to give the American people, the right has gone home to their mothership: sowing discord, fear and hatred to distract people from the fact that, while Republicans are good at campaigning, they are walking cancer cells to the body politic if and when they actually win.

"This time around, the right's weapon of choice against this republic is spreading hatred and fear of Muslims and Islam. September 11 happened nine years ago, so it may seem an odd topic to harp on after so much time has passed, but the Cordoba House controversy gave them an opening and they ran right through it. Of course, it started before that, pretty much as soon as President Obama first threw his hat into the ring for the 2008 election. Once the right figured out his middle name was Hussein, it was hats over the windmill, and their incessant blather about his background and religion has finally begun to bear bloody fruit.

"Wrap your mind around this: at this point, a majority of Republicans not only believe Mr. Obama to be a practicing Muslim, but believe his intention as president is to impose Sharia Law on America and the rest of the world. I'd like Gallup or Pew to do a special poll so as to determine exactly how many of those who believe these things were dropped on their heads when they were babies. I'd wager the number would pop close to 95%. Of course, the media's love for spectacle - no matter how deranged or dangerous it is - has motivated them to run these cretins and their theories across the sky with klieg lights, and just as the right hoped, it is all having the desired effect.

"There have been other effects, however, and deadly dangerous ones at that. Mosques have been firebombed. A Muslim cabdriver in New York City was savagely slashed by a man screaming anti-Islam epithets. A Sikh man was punched in a store for wearing a turban, even though he was as Muslim as a church steeple. The controversy over the Cordoba House project has inspired a rash of threats against the Imam in charge, the Muslims involved, and the building itself. In short, the right has basically stated that if the place gets built, they will shoot it up and/or burn it down.

"There is nothing whatsoever funny or pleasurable about this phenomenon. The people pushing this vile tactic are someday going to find themselves burning in a deep ring of Hell, and rightly so. Sometimes, though...oh yeah, sometimes the tables get turned, and the hatred and stupidity being peddled by the right is transmogrified into a special kind of justice. Street justice, to be sure, but justice nonetheless.

"There's a joint in West Haven, Connecticut, called the Fire and Ice Hookah Lounge. By all reports, it's a nifty little place; the theme is Middle Eastern, the hookah smoke is tasty, and the belly dancers are something to see indeed. Last Thursday, a fellow named Kevin Morris, also of West Haven, came ditty-bopping into Fire and Ice and staked his claim to first-ballot entry into the Dumbass Hall of Fame.

"Mr. Morris, it seems, decided that any place with hookahs and belly dancers must be a festering nest of Muslims, and decided to give the patrons what-for. According to news reports, he barged through the door and started screaming racist and anti-Muslim epithets at everyone there. The crowd didn't really react until Morris tried to throttle the bartender...at which point, the patrons rose up righteous and basically beat the ever-loving Jesus out of him. Morris' mug shot looks like his face went through a wheat thresher, and as of now, he remains in police custody.

"Hatred and stupidity, folks. When they ride in the same applecart, things can get truly dangerous. But sometimes, and only rarely, things can also get truly funny.

"Thank you, Mr. Morris."



I just came across Colin Powell's words in endorsing Barach Obama for President, over John McCain:

"... I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to [say] such things as, 'Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.' Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He's a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists.' This is not the way we should be doing it in America."


Welp, this be Zorro. My new brudder, Gizmo, and I had to go to da vet yesterday. I been having an infecshun in my eyes. An Giz needed to start on da flea and heartwormy fingys.

Dr. Joe said dat my eyes wooked good; so he just gave me some ointment dat my momma has to put on my eyeballs free times a day. Ick! But (cute!), it doesn't hurt or anyfing, so it's Okey dokey.

My brudder got checked, and he waded 22.5 pounds. Dr. Joe said now dat he is fixed (?), he will gain some wate. I's hoping he won't gain so much to look fat like my brudder Mo. Hahahahaha!

When we gots home, we all had to get our flea stuff and heartworm fingys. Dr. Joe said dis bees da worst time of the year for fleas!!!


Via: Badtux, the Snarky Penguin:

"Ann Coulter today opened his (her?) gaping maw and ejaculated that Obama was not, in fact, a Muslim. Rather, he was something worse, something so horrifying that ordinary Americans should run screaming in horror at the very sight of the man. Yes, Obama may be... maybe... AN ATHEIST! The horror! Oh the horror!
"Why, everybody knows that atheists are so horrible and evil that, like, they burn people at the stake or cut off their heads or other stuff like that! And everybody knows that atheists are such despicable people that they regularly bomb abortion clinics, blow up truck bombs outside of federal buildings, and crash planes into buildings. Surely atheist clergy have been regularly arrested for fucking little kids up every orifice, stealing money from their congregations, and shouting "God damn America!" at the top of their lungs from the pulpit, right? Right?!"