Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ladies And Gentlemen, I Give You Bionics

You will be able to surf the web without a monitor

To Defeat Mine Enemy....


So The GOP Will Nominate....No One?

There's been a parade of "front runners" these past few months in the race for the Republican nomination for President.
And still, Mitt Romney hangs in there, either in the front or just hanging off the leader. It's sad that no one in the party can draw less than 70% hatred. It says something not only about the candidates, but about the party: they are desperate to find someone, anyone, who has both a "principled stance" and electability.
And it also says a lot that Mitt Romney has focused his attention on social issue centric Iowa, hoping to sweep in and land a quick KO on his competition. And it says more that there's an actual conspiracy against him.
Representatives for leading social conservative groups in Iowa held a secret meeting Monday as part of an effort with one main goal: find and support a Republican presidential candidate who can stop Mitt Romney in Iowa.

The idea: avoid splintering the conservative vote in the state by rallying around one GOP rival who could win Iowa's Jan. 3 caucus and then challenge Romney in New Hampshire and the other early voting states.

Many social conservatives and other religious leaders in the state have openly labeled the former Massachusetts governor as a "flip-flopper," a criticism the campaign frequently beats back, while others have seen Romney's Mormon faith as an issue. And many of them have openly hoped for someone to emerge as a viable alternative to the former Massachusetts governor.

So what lessons can we extract from this? First, it's a little early for Obama to focus on Romney as the nominee-apparent. Lots can happen even in the few weeks between now and Iowa's caucuses (January 3) and who knows what surprises are in store for any candidate up to then? Second, it seems apparent that the "enthusiasm" gap that the Republicans claim to enjoy over Democrats will dwindle should Romney win, and while that enthusiasm could be bolstered by selecting another of the colicky dwarves, those people would scare off the independent voters who will turn out in droves to defeat a nutcase.

The way the race is shaping up, and with the positive employment news released yesterday-- overall, jobless claims rose but in 45 states and territories, they declined, a first in this recession-- it seems all Obama has to do is stay in the Oval Office and sign executive orders until January 2013, and he'll have a second term.


It's A Fact

Thanksgiving eve has now become the single biggest night of drinking, exceeding even New Year's Eve and your basic prom night, for most people.
So, while I'll probably post a holiday greeting tomorrow, let me take this opportunity to remind you that, tonight, there will be an awful lot of drunks on the road, since so many people travel. Even if you don't drink and drive-- and you shouldn't-- be aware that others are not so fastidious.
Have a happy and healthy eve, and see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Know What This Country Needs?

Hard To Believe

It's been nearly 50 years. One of the great American liberals was killed in Dallas, a hotbed, then as now, of radical conservatism and redneck sentiments.

Our liberalism has its roots in our diverse origins. Most of us are descended from that segment of the American population which was once called an immigrant minority. Today, along with our children and grandchildren, we do not feel minor. We feel proud of our origins and we are not second to any group in our sense of national purpose. For many years New York represented the new frontier to all those who came from the ends of the earth to find new opportunity and new freedom, generations of men and women who fled from the despotism of the czars, the horrors of the Nazis, the tyranny of hunger, who came here to the new frontier in the State of New York. These men and women, a living cross section of American history, indeed, a cross section of the entire world's history of pain and hope, made of this city not only a new world of opportunity, but a new world of the spirit as well...

Many of these same immigrant families produced the pioneers and builders of the American labor movement. They are the men who sweated in our shops, who struggled to create a union, and who were driven by longing for education for their children and for the children's development. They went to night schools; they built their own future, their union's future, and their country's future, brick by brick, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, and now in their children's time, suburb by suburb.

But more important:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

Post your favorite JFK quotes in comments.


The Trap Of The Third Term

New York City has a term limits law, altho you wouldn't know it to look at the make up of the current City administration. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-Boston) is in the midst of a disastrous third term, and his minions like Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-ouchebag) supported his efforts for this third term despite the expressed will of the NY people, who voted twice for two-term limits on citywide offices.
Now, I oppose term limits in principle, but I have to admit, given that two of the past four mayors (Koch and Bloomberg) have served a third term, and a third (Giuliani) tried to force his way into one,  I'm beginning to think that practicality trumps principle.
Ed Koch, the lovable "How'm I doin'?" mayor who took over as the city was emerging from near-bankruptcy, was a colorful and popular liberal mayor when he won Gracie Mansion the first time. He left office after twelve years a bitter spite-filled man with a barely-working heart (some would say it was removed and never replaced.) Koch had facilitated corruption in the city administration during which he appointed a series of corrupt officials at the behest of the borough presidents of the city, and overreacted so strongly that he ended up stroking. He was never the same lovable liberal, even to this day.
Similarly, the tail end of Rudy Giuliani's second term was marked by hubris, overbearing manner and arrogance and corruption. Most notable on the list of the last is Bernard Kerik, the former NYPD and Corrections Department chief. You may recall, Kerik was considered for Secretary of Homeland Security under President Bush. Until the dustbusting began and his corruptions were uncovered. In 2000, a year before his term was to run out, was the famous Giuliani-Clinton Senatorial campaign, where Giuliani publicly announced his divorce at a press conference, before even telling his wife. This forced him out of a race that saw him stumbling (where he thought he would win the Republican nomination is anybody's guess, beyond his hubris.)
Giuliani's heavy-handed approach to fighting crime, culminating in the torture by the NYPD of Abner Louima and the slaughter of innocents like Patrick Dorismond and Amadou Diallou all but sealed his fate against a third term.
Bloomberg should have taken note of that. New Yorkers have short attention spans when you act all arrogant. Bloomberg's own personal experience as mayor should have seen this happening, yet he ran for a second term and won against an empty paper bag by 4% of the vote. 
I mean, a homeless ex-con could have won that election, that's how weak the Democratic candidate was, and with some suspicion, I think that may have been rigged. However, Bloomberg threw his massive personal resources into the race which probably discouraged a serious candidate from facing him. It's hard to say whether a real candidate with real citywide appeal could have given Mike a run for his money. Literally.  
Towards the end of his second term, with the nation in the grips of a economic crisis (which left New York fairly unscathed) Bloomberg started a wildfire on the city budget, cutting spending mostly for programs designed to help the poor and working classes of the city survive, well, an economic hardship. This created a fair amount of friction, and probably contributed to the close result (his 2005 run saw him win by 20 points against popular former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.)
Sure enough, Bloomberg's third term started off with a major scandal. It seems $600,000 of Bloomberg's money made it into illegal campaign contributions to the Independence Party.
And of course, the icing on the cake of Bloomberg's third term is his response to Occupy Wall Street.
So it's with a little background that we look at the unfolding story of the so-called "Lone Wolf terror plot" unfolding between the FBI and the NYPD. As I surmised yesterday, it was a bit of a fraudulent case that Bloomberg was trying to rail through the media and down our throats. As it turns out, the suspect, Jose Pimentel, was discounted by the FBI as a serious suspect, a waste of resources to investigate, as he had neither the mental or financial capacity to carry out one bombing, much less the scale that Bloomberg and police commissioner Raymond Kelly harangued about (which included a video of a car blowing up, altho it had absolutely NO CONNECTION to the bombs Pimentel was admittedly making...badly.)
The FBI declined to investigate Pimentel because there were concerns that the "informant" the city had placed with Pimentel was engaging in entrapment behavior. Also, the FBI seriously questioned Pimentel's ability to carry out a plot (the man couldn't even pay his cellphone bill and lived with his mom.)
The guy couldn't even drill the holes the bomb required.
All this was a sham, set up by mayor Mike in order to deflect attention from the demonstration taking place outside his apartment, where Occupy Wall Street had gathered for a 24 hour drum session. Reporters from that site scurried down to City Hall (five miles away) in order to cover this breaking "news."
You disgust me, Mr. Mayor. I'm ashamed to have voted for you. Once.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Claim To Fame

There are only a few man-made objects visible from space: The Great Wall of China, perhaps the pyramids in Egypt.

They Assault....

Eventually, Bloomberg will be forced to account for his actions and those of his employees. It's sad that our society operates on "Better to ask forgiveness than permission."
Cuz I doubt that's what the Founders had in mind.

Mickey Mouse Gets Schooled

Bachmann. I mean, Mickey Bachmann

Arab Spring, Arab Fall

Eqypt was one of the first in the Arab spring to overthrow its leader, but now, it's in chaos and turmoil.

Now That Pizza's A Vegetable...


Silicone, Cement, Sounds Similar.


What Was It Rick Perry Said?


The Other Reason The Deficit Committee Was Doomed To Failure


Not Pepper Sprayed

Your Assassin Checklist

Religious extremist? Check.
Thinks Obama is the Anti-Christ? Check.
Violent gun nut? Check.
From Idaho? Check.
Meet your right wing assassin, Oscar Ortega.

Hey Rednecks!

He Stands There, Gas Can In Hand, Lighted Match, And Says...



I've written in the past about China's heavy-handed dealings with its neighbors trying to access the South China Sea from the Pacific and vice versa.
Apparently, those nations were emboldened last week at the East Asia Summit by the attendance of President Obama to raise the issue, despite China's insistence it not be brought up for discussions.
Kudos, Mr. President.

Lest We Think Only Americans #Occupy

Vladimir Putin got a taste of what democracy looks like.

It's Hard To Be Funnier Than Newt Gingrich's Real Life Story

But John DeVore does a nice job trying.

Making The World Safe For Corporatocracy

The police in various Occupy cities probably ought to rethink their positions.


A pretty shameful statistic was released by the US Census bureau late last week.

For the first time in the history of the nation, 100,000,000 Americans are at or near the poverty line. (p. 20, Fig. 6, line 2)
But hey, let's cut taxes for the rich and spending, right?

Sham? Wow!

It seems clear that the SooperDooper Committee was set up as a delaying tactic by Republicans for one reason and one reason only: to salt the earth.

Talks in Washington aimed at cutting the US government's borrowing are on the verge of failure.

A special Congressional committee had been charged with finding $1.2tn (£762bn) in savings by Wednesday.

But the talks between Democrats and Republicans are widely reported in the US media to have collapsed, with a formal joint-statement to that effect expected later on Monday.

Meanwhile, the US national debt has just risen above $15tn (£9.5tn).

The "tell" in this is that there is a slate of automatic cuts to be made should the committee fail by Wednesday. Of course, no one expects those cuts to be made, and as Senator John McCain (R-AlZheimer's) said over the weekend, Congress made it, Congress can unmake it.

Along with the country, of course. Our debt ratings will collapse, and who will get the blame? Not Weaker Boener. Not Senator Mc-whatisface, but President Barack Obama. Anything to grab more power.

And there's the motive. It seems pretty clear that, based upon this story, as well as events at UC Davis over the weekend along with the memo revealed on UP with Chris Hayes on Saturday from John Boener's "personal" lobbying firm, there is a radical, concerted effort on the part of conservatives and their minions to tamp down any dissent from the corporate Republican line that everything is peachy keen except anything liberals have put their hands on, which is everything.


But hey, there's a clown car!

That's not to say this isn't a real terror plot, but note some curious things about this story:

1) It was broken by the NYPD, and not the FBI who presumably were apprised at SOME point in this "two year investigation" culminating with the arrest of Jose Pimentel.

2) A far more important terror story hit the airwaves today, but you might have missed it in all the hoopla from Mayor Mike's office: an actual, SUCCESSFUL terror attack against an American city on November 8. 

Mayor Mike, who has been front and center in America's War Against Its Children, managed to manipulate the timing of his story of a potential plot to hit the airwaves just in time to deflect at least some attention from the truly terrible doings in Davis and Illinois.  

But hey, much more important to pepper spray college kids, right?