Friday, August 03, 2012

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Rafalca, or as I've taken to calling him "RAFLAC!", placed thirteenth yesterday as part of the US dressage team. Now, let me get this straight: on the one tax return Romney has released, he deducts $77,000 off his income for "horse expenses." That's a pretty hefty investment for the US taxpayers to make (since we lose the tax revenue, we can suppose we are subsidizing the horse's maintenance.) RAFLAC! is 15 years old and presumably the Romneys have been part owner for longer than one year, so the American people have made a substantial investment in RAFLAC! Seventh was the best this glue-pot could do?
2) And because I know I'll get at least one tax accountant reading this, I know it's a passive-loss and that Romney claimed about a million other dollars in passive-losses so this $77,000 was actually taxable income in 2010-- he might actually have recaptured something like $50 if you apportion his current-year loss-- but America is still on the hook for this loss at *some* point. It's our money and Romney wasted it on a loser. We now return you to your regularly scheduled snark...
3) If there was a Chick-fil-A near me, I'd go participate and kiss a guy even tho I'm straight. If a corporation's "free speech rights" are jeopardized by a private boycott, then the fact that corporation oppresses gays is an even more important reason to protest.
4) By the way, on the point of the protest Wednesday, how many of those delicious chicken sandwiches do you think made their way to the local homeless shelter or food bank? Imma guess "zero percent." I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise. Note: I know CfA donates their leftovers to food banks. I'm talking about those Christian "traditional Biblical marriage" types who follow Jesus' precepts when it's convenient. And sometimes, not even then (like Wednesday.)
5) Did you know Mitt was back in the US? I sure didn't. I thought he was back a while ago. Never missed the little shit. And that's all you need to know to understand why he's destined to lose this November.
6) Say, remember that stock market crash? No, not that one. No, not that one either. The one that happened in one hour Wednesday morning. This one will be worse than the one in 2008. Well, once the dust settles.
7) In losing, she won. Big time.
8) Early Monday morning, we will land on Mars. Again. Using an experimental landing technique, the Mars rover Curiousity is expected to touchdown around 1:30AM EDT. It's a rather complex landing, so suffice it to say it will not touchdown using parachutes, but thrusters, something that hasn't been done since the Apollo landings.
9) So much for the post-racial society.
10) Who knew? Elephants purr?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Private Slave Owners in America, 21st Century Edition

That's the phrase that leaps to mind when I read about Goldman Sachs' latest attempt to rehabilitate its image:

New York City, embracing an experimental mechanism for financing social services that has excited and worried government reformers around the world, will allow Goldman Sachs to invest nearly $10 million in a jail program, with the pledge that the financial services giant would profit if the program succeeded in significantly reducing recidivism rates.

The city will be the first in the United States to test “social impact bonds,” also called pay-for-success bonds, which are an effort to find new ways to finance initiatives that might save governments money over the long term.

First used in Britain and now being explored in Australia, the bonds are rapidly capturing the imagination of some public officials in the United States: on Wednesday, Massachusetts announced that it was completing negotiations with two nonprofit groups to finance juvenile justice and homelessness programs, with the promise of repayment only if the programs work.

This might bother me less if we already hadn't seen the dark side of auctioning off prisoners to private companies.

Making a profit off a human life should be anathema to any civilized society, but I'm afraid that bar was lowered to the ground long ago in America. Just look at our healthcare system pre-Obamacare. Death panels, indeed.

This program has noble aims, don't get me wrong. The idea is to have Goldman Sachs implement a program that helps inmates obtain the tools and counseling to make it in the real world once they leave. This is in the hope that there will be fewer repeat incarcerees.

I bet when the first slaves washed up on the shores of the colonies, the justifications of slave owners were just as noble. Indeed, "tame the savages" was probably right at the top of the list, just like it is in the Goldman Sachs contract.

That's not to say that there shouldn't be a rehabilitation track for inmates and incarcerees (the distinction being that Riker's is a detention center, nominally a place to await trial, but de facto, it's a prison, a place where the guilty serve time.) There should be a rehabilitative facility at Riker's and it should be fully funded, as the small investment we make now in a young man or woman can prevent a far larger expense if he or she does end up back in the prison system.

The idea that a major investment bank is making money off these same young men and women should not be just unsettling, it ought to be raising barricades around the island, the mayor's office and Goldman Sachs headquarters.

This is slavery, pure and simple.


I Celebrated With A Burger And Two Gay Beers

How did you celebrate Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day?
These fucks risked their minimum-wage jobs over a chicken sandwich. That's what we're up against.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Good Luck With That, Mittens!

As someone who's tried the same thing, your reputation precedes you.

NEW YORK (AP) — Mitt Romney has been on the national political stage for nearly a decade — through two presidential bids, countless campaign events and millions spent on TV ads. But the likely Republican presidential nominee still isn't well-known to most voters.

So now he's trying to fix that.

With less than 100 days until the Nov. 6 election, Romney is starting to introduce himself to them in earnest — through a combination of carefully selected media appearances and biographical ads — before President Barack Obama's efforts to define him in a negative light cripple his candidacy.

Here's the thing: if you've been a public figure for twenty years, and people still don't know you, introducing yourself in the final 100 days is pointless.

I suspect on the campaign trail that Mittens will be asked a lot of uncomfortable questions and will be unable to answer them fully, as determined as he is to remain an enigma. And these questions won't be from the press, they'll be from very confused voters.

People who try to reconcile the claims of a "job creator" with the reality of an outsourcer. People who try to reconcile the claims of "tax reductions" with the fact that you have not paid taxes in the past ten years (according to Harry Reid.) People who try to reconcile the self-reliant pioneer with the fact that the government helped you every step of the way in achieving billions.

I can't see President Obama losing this race. Mittens will be lucky to place second.


Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee Want You To Eat More Cock

I would join in, but I prefer chicken.

Remind Me Again...

How long did it take DC to get their power back earlier this year?
Here's a situation where twice the population of the US loses power, and gets it back by the following weeknight.

Mr Veedull Dies

There's a grand irony in the death last night of Gore Vidal, and I suspect he would laugh himself silly over it. A social and literary critic who was best known for his profound knowledge of just about any subject and his glorious unquenchable urge to show off that knowledge, he was perhaps best known for a bit of popular culture fluff.
My most lasting memory of him is how Lily Tomlin, as her character Ernestine the Operator, would pronounce his name: Mr. Veedull.
As the link suggests, Gore Vidal and I share something in common: a love for the one-line put down.
"The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven't seen them since."
"The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return"
And so on, ad infinitum.
In his greatest feuds, with William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer, Vidal displayed his penchant for getting under people's skins and making them make themselves look bad in the process.
That he could irritate so thoroughly a pugnacious pudwhustle like Mailer is nothing to write home about but to chigger into Buckley is tantamount to drilling into the nose on George Washington on Mount Rushmore with a spork.
For my part, I was actually partisan to Mailer, but then I've always been a sucker for the closeted queer over the openly gay man. I like Hemingway, too. As I grew older, I learned to discriminate more with respect to the actual positions a person takes and to ignore the larger-than-life antics.
I still like Hemingway, however, because I believe he had fun writing his books. I think when he finished a book was when he was the most dangerous.
For Vidal's part, I think fun was one long continuum, and that's why he lived to be 86 and neither Mailer or Hemingway did not.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So Which Music Should We Play For Romney's Return?

Even before he was wheels-up for London, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s overseas trip was drawing comparisons to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 overseas trip.

Both were candidates looking to appear presidential and polish up their foreign-policy credentials.

But where Obama’s trip was smooth sailing (save a kerfuffle about a cancelled visit with wounded troops), Romney’s voyage has been laden with cringe-inducing gaffes.

From claiming London was not ready to host an Olympics (note to Mitt: they were two up on you when you decided to "abandon" Bain for Salt Lake City) to commenting on the disparity between Israeli wealth and Palestinian poverty-- created in large part by official Israeli policy favoring investment in Jewish areas and ignoring Palestinian, where Mitt decided it was "cultural"...which itself seems to paint Israelis as wealth-obsessed-- it seems Mitt could not open his mouth without putting his shoe in it.

Then he made sure he swallowed his socks, too, by pointing out that healthcare in Israel costs 8% of GDP, whereas in the US, it's 18%.

Errrm, Israel has nationalized healthcare, Mittens. You know, like Obamacare? Perhaps you know it better as Romneycare.

About the only thing Romney could have done worse was to walk into a kosher restaurant in Jerusalem and order the lobster.

He was probably glad to get to Poland, where he could review Rafalca's performance in the Olympic equestrian events. Rafalca is probably lucky Paris didn't get the Olympics, or he'd be outsourced to a dinner plate by now.

I mean, at least Poland went smoothly.

Oh. Wait...



Monday, July 30, 2012

Did Someone Put Truth Serum In Cheney's Bran Flakes


Romney Agonistes

Buh bye, Mitt. We hardly knew ye:

Is Mitt Romney too wimpy to be president?

That’s the (purposely) provocative question Newsweek asks on its cover this week. It’s a question sure to stir controversy — and one without an easy answer.

Newsweek seems to define Romney’s alleged “wimpiness” as a sort of wide-ranging insecurity that forces the Republican presidential candidate into a series of gaffes like the ones he committed in London late last week.

When a national magazine publishes on its front cover speculation that a major party candidate does not have the right stuff to be President (and said story is picked up by its erstwhile sister national publication), ballgame's over.

Romney will now be forced into even deeper gaffe territory, scrambling to prove Newsweek wrong. He claims it doesn't matter, but many independent voters do still read magazines and newspapers like Newsweek and the Washington Post, and the question is now in their minds.

You can try to ignore it, much like Sarah Palin did when Katie Couric deconstructed her on national television, and that will play to the base (I can hear the rightwing machine churning gears already...Michael Tomasky is a dyed-in-the-wool lefty reporter) but not to the portion of the electorate you desperately need to either turn out or stay away in droves.

And since you can't control the crackpots on the right, well, this election is going to mirror the 1992 election in so many ways. There, Pat Buchanan threw red meat to the base and ended up making Bill Clinton a credible candidate despite the Gennifer Flowers story and the "I didn't inhale" story.

We looked at the wimp, looked at the fact he couldn't get Buchanan to rein it in for a night, and looked at the out of touch patrician of the past four years with gaffes galore and realized this was not a man we could trust in the midst of a recession.

Sound familiar?

About the only way Romney has been steadfast and stalwart is in hiding his taxes and lying about his time at Bain Capital, which is hardly a courageous position to take (although one could make the argument that it's a bold one.) Add to that the numerous foreign policy slip ups and the fundraising on foreign soil and you start to get the picture of desperation and insecurity.

When the dust settles in November, we may have to credit le coup de morte to Tomasky,