Friday, February 03, 2012

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) The Susan G. Komen Foundation is starting to buckle under the pressure. Komen officials now claim that funding they provided to Planned Parenthood to help poor women get breast cancer screenings was not withdrawn because Planned Parenthood also provides some abortion services (something on the order of one percent of its operation) but because Planned Parenthood was under Congressional investigation for providing some abortion services (something on the order of one percent of its operation) using public money. They had claimed that Planned Parenthood only provided breast cancer screening referrals and that's why they pulled funding.
Yet, the Komen Foundation gave Penn State, after the Sandusky child abuse scandal came out, a $7.5 million grant. And almost 11.5% of their budget goes to "administrative costs," a euphemism for executive salaries (starts on p.57), apparently.
Disgusting. I suspect that, by the end of the weekend, either the entire executive staff of Komen will be walking the unemployment lines, or Komen will find it's "Race for the Cure" has dwindled down to a couple of bag ladies walking hand in hand.
2) In a related story, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg pledged $250,000 to Planned Parenthood. "Politics have no place in health care," Bloomberg said in a statement, bold words coming from a man who defunded health care for poor CHILDREN, just so Council Speaker Christine Quinn could hand lucrative contracts to a lobbyist buddy of hers, in exchange for third terms for all, who also so piously expressed her support for Planned Parenthood. Hypocrites!
3) A protest group in Russia has apparently gotten Putin's panties in a twist
4) A suggestion to Mark Zuckerberg: you're about to make billions-- that's right, with a b-- of the sweat of the 750,000,000 million users of your site, their creativity and energy. You owe them, a lot. Certainly a lot more than a shitty interface and an invasion of privacy every three weeks or so.
5) Are they so hateful of Obama that they'd reject God? If I was Gingrey, I'd tithe. Twice. And pray. A lot.
6) Finally. Inroads into alternative energy have been sporadic in the first term of the Obama administration, but the approval of this wind farm project will be a leap forward to the 21st century and energy independence. This is off-the-shelf technology...admittedly, it's a deep shelf...and once installation begins, it should be up and running quickly.
7) They don't hate us for our freedoms. They hate us because we're trying to force them to take our religions.
9) The man's aim is bad. He just needed bigger holes to sink his putts in.
10) Finally, I'm told there's a game of "Feetsball," as Tom Swiftly called it, being played this weekend. As a nominal Jets fan, I'm rooting for the stadium to get sucked into a black hole. But my money is on New England.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Newt of compassion????

But the former House speaker said what the poor really need is a trampoline "so they can spring up."

He added, "Naked. Without tape. And only the ones with big ones, like at least D cups."


Psst....Your Fifteen Minutes Are Over!

Losers endorse losers.
Now, no one was surprised by Trump's endorsement of Gingrich, for a few reasons: a) Like Trump, Gingrich has been divorced and married multiple times and committed adultery with his current wife while married to another, 2) Gingrich wants to drop the capital gains rate to zero, which benefits a real estate typhoon...pardon me, Trump and c) they're both colostomy bags of the highest order.
But Sharron Angle endorsing Santorum. That's a bit of a surprise. While Santorum has had the ear of the Tea Party ever since Iowa (and Angle ran openly as a Teabagger in 2010), he is also squarely in the camp of a more intrusive government.
Which must make Teabaggers pretty uneasy. Is this the least of three evils, or was Cthulhu unavailable?

Yes, A Sword Was Involved


Um, Oops!

I've been following this story for five years now. As a diver and always-hopeful treasure hunter...hey, I've actually found a whole dollar!...I'm fascinated with admiralty law and the rule of finders-keepers.
Which does not apply here, apparently.

Today, On "The Rich Get Richer"

Real estate values in New York City dropped like a stone last year, as wave upon wave of foreclosures struck the city like a tsunami. The prices of single family homes, generally in the outer boroughs, were deeply impacted.
Commensurate with foreclosured properties and other economically distressed housing, building code violations jumped 14%, and not just in the foreclosed homes, but in properties within 250 feet of them.
In NYC, that would generally be the next three homes on either side of the property, plus parcels directly across the streets and properties abutting those. So you're talking about ten other houses.
This means, not only are more properties in foreclosure, but there are other adjacent properties where owners are in deep trouble and cannot afford maintenance, and some who have simply given up trying to maintain homes in neighborhoods that are by and large, becoming vacated.

Pride Goeth Before A Fall


The Rich Really ARE Different

This is a transparent attempt to screw the family of a man he killed in a drunk-driving accident from winning a large award. He ought to be thrown in jail and all his assets seized.
Just for being a douchebag.

Spring Will Arrive In Another Six Weeks

It doesn't really matter what Punxatawney Phil or any other rodent says, even if they disagree.
Am I the only person who noticed that Spring arrives in six weeks if he doesn't see his shadow, but if he sees it, we have another six weeks of...winter?

Seriously, Dude...


Romney Hasn't Learned The First Lesson Of Vulture Capitalism

"Never Complain, Never Explain."

"Sometimes things don't come out exactly the way you'd like them to," he explained. "That's not exactly what I meant to say. My focus is on middle income Americans. We do have a safety net for the very poor, and I said if there are holes in it I want to correct that."

Opponents on the left jumped on it, saying it shows Romney is out of touch.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh noticed, as well. "Everyone knows what he was trying to say," Limbaugh observed, "but he didn't say it. He makes himself a target with this stuff. He comes across at the prototypical rich Republican. ... It's gonna make it harder and harder and harder to go after Obama."

For once, Rush has it right. And wrong.

See, Romney is pretty much cast in stone now as the prototypical aristocrat: wealthy, out of touch, elitist...hell, he's even spent time in France!

Sound familiar? He even flip-flops (only his flip-flops aren't as nuanced as John Kerry's.)

In the primaries, this is a feature, tho: to claim to be for the rich, in Republican jargon, means pro-tax cuts, anti-union, pro-wealth creation, anti-Big Government.

The flaw in the ointment, of course, is the implications of this posture, including a distinct lack of compassion for those whom the American dream has left by the roadside.

Since the fight will be over the two to five percent of true independents-- not those who say they are independent to throw pollsters off, or because they just can't be bothered with political junk mail or what have you-- things like an unChristian attitude towards the poor matter. These are people who aren't ideologues or dogmatic religious types, but who do believe in charity and taking care of those who can't take themselves.

They learned that taking care of the world around them is important and if they made $20 million last year after taxes, they'd do a lot more than tithe to a church. These are the folks who, when they hit the lottery, give a million to the school down the street to make the playground better or to buy computer equipment.

These are the folks who send $10 to the Red Cross the minute a tragedy strikes. They don't need a celebrity or a pastor to tell them to give, they do it, willingly.

Romney's wealth is an ideal for them, but then they assess the character of the man with the money and realize that wealth has created a mean-spirited, spiteful and angry man.

As in:

An ABC News/Washington Post survey released last week, for example, found Romney viewed unfavorably by 49 percent of voters and favorably by just 31 percent. Among independents, just 23 percent viewed Romney favorably, compared to 51 percent who felt that way about President Obama.

Which makes Obama's job that much easier. Not that it was that hard to begin with, even with all the disadvantages Obama brings to the table as incumbent (along with the advantages, to be fair.) The field the GOP put out there was ridiculously weak and thin, and partly to blame was their overeagerness to set a candidate in stone early enough to go after Obama for months, not weeks.

Hell, you could hear the fapping in 2010 if you listened closely enough.

But I give Romney credit: at least he hasn't complained.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Truth Is Out There

This will go a bit towards figuring out how common life is in the universe.

The Problem Is...

Still, to be able to actually read a mind is pretty exciting news.
I think.
You tell me.

Apparently, Poor Women Don't Have Boobs

This, from an organization that pats itself on the back for being inspired by its namesake's "thinking of ways to make life better for other women battling breast cancer."
Well, "others" who can afford health insurance, apparently.

Executive Decision

Obviously, President Obama has spoken at length with the Big Dog, Bill Clinton.

Who's Buying Who?

You can find out here

Just Add Hot Air

Wanna reduce the deficit?
This ought to be a no-brainer for the Democrats. They excel at doing nothing.

How To Battle On

If you're Occupy Wall Street, you build a think-tank.
Also, if you believe in what OWS stands for, please give. They'll need the money when the weather warms up to re-start the protests.

An Exceptional To The Rule

Interesting quote from Mitt Romney:

"I'm not concerned with the very poor. We have a safety net there," Romney told CNN. "If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."

Host Soledad O'Brien pointed out that the very poor are probably struggling too.

"The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor," Romney responded, after repeating that he would fix any holes in the safety net. "And there's no question it's not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor . . . My focus is on middle income Americans ... we have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. but we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor."

Now, the main sentiment he was trying to express, that the middle class have it tough in these times, is a pretty accurate one. After all, its the middle and working classes who have lost the most in the mortgage bubble. Significant portions of the money they've invested in their homes-- yea, that's a dopey concept, but you know what? That's what we were told to do-- on the order of 50% or more was lost.

And there is no safety net for that. You can't write it off your taxes like a corporation...pardon me, corporate entity...could. There's no bailout so that you can pay yourself a bonus instead of donating to people worse off than you. You can't leap into a golden parachute because your house is now essentially worthless.

Ah, but there's also no safety net to speak of for the desperately poor: no jobs, no income, no assets. The working and middle classes at least have jobs. They have *something*. The really poor have nothing and the clock is ticking. If they went on welfare because they got laid off from a job cleaning floors at the bank or parking cars on Wall Street, they're bumping up against the five year limit on their welfare.

A smart man, a man who would be President, would know that. He'd know that shortly after he took office, he'd have to put boots on the ground about this problem.

Unless he didn't care. Unless he lived in the double-bubble of conservatism and wealth, he'd see this problem coming.

Don't Republicans get tired of always being in the dark? Don't they get tired of saying, "Well, no one could have seen that coming. A failure of imagination, we missed the signals, the previous administration didn't make it clear enough...." and so on.

I mean, you'd think 9-11 would have been a wake up call to the ignorant that things are not going as swimmingly in America as they are in America Prime, the "exceptionalist" America.

Now, America as we know it is still an exceptional place. Just not as exceptional as even a decade ago. We've been wounded; wounded from abroad, wounded from within, wounded economically, wounded spiritually, wounded morally and perhaps, mortally.

If you had told me, even after 9-11, that we'd condone torture as a nation, I'd have looked at you cross-eyed. If you had told me that we'd spend trillions on two wars that had a goal of no clear victory, I'd have called the insane asylum. And if you'd had told me that the global economy, in large part owing to the lack of oversight of the greediest bastards on the planet, would melt down and destroy the American working and middle classes, I'd give you a sobriety test. 

I mean, it's one thing to screw with a sector of the American economy, bubble it up, make money off the suckers, then light another stewpot, but to screw homeowners?

And yet we did it, and we now have a candidate running for President who wants to ignore the blood stains on his hands and plow on, blithely ignorant of the pain and suffering around him.

I wonder what Romney has on his iPod? It must be loud, since he can't hear the crying.

Stephen Colbert said it best, and its partcularly apt when talking about a Mormon candidate who professes to be a conservative Christian, because maybe he missed this about Jesus:
If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it."
So, Mitt...about those poor....

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nothing Like Levelling The Playing Field

Pity. This only missed by two votes.

The Buffett Rule Is In Play

Part of Mitt Romney's Problem

The Rich Really Are Different

And Romney would prefer they be even MORE "different".

What A Tool

This is a complete load of horseshit.
Top 1% pay about 24% total tax rate.

The Clock Is Ticking


Oh dear!

The good scientists at NASA have definitive proof that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases.
But shhhhhh. The right wing doesn't want to wake up....

You Keep Fucking That Chicken, Rabbi


Occupy Movements

A couple of months ago, I posted a piece about how the Occupy movements could survive the winter off the front lines of protest and come back even stronger.
Apparently, various municipalities have given the question some thought as well.
They seem to be flailing about, trying to prevent more protests.

Your Bible Verse Of The Day

From Matthew 25:40

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me


Dickhead Is Dickish

An idiot Republican Congresscritter has proposed legislation that the Federal government take over Central Park in NYC, because drilling in ANWR, biatches!

$1.02 Million


In Other Election News

You heard it here first: I fully expect the Democrats to chip large portions of the Republican majority in the House away, if not overtake them completely.
Right now, there's a distinct anti-Washington fervor in the nation. There was two years ago, too, but the Teabaggers fucked that up by co-opting any populist agenda into the now-transparent "let's give MORE money to our corporate overlords so we can beg for scraps" ploy that created the whole Mitt Romney candidacy that is limping into the nomination.
Really. Think about it. After Occupy Wall Street & the 99% meme, and Mitt's revelations of paying less than 15% on tens of millions in income, the average voter has got to be thinking "Who's really in charge here?"
Add to that the overheated anti-Latino rhetoric of the Republican primary campaign-- and the last Congress, altogether-- and you have a recipe for taking back enough seats, 25, to overturn the balance of power in Congress.
And for the final kicker, if Romney wins the nomination, the vaunted "enthusiasm" factor the Republicans allegedly had flies out the window. Romney's coattails will be next to non-existent-- he might bolster some Northwest and Mountain races-- and indeed, it will be the down-ticket votes that propel him to any showing whatsoever.
That said, it troubles me how much superPAC money there is floating around. As you are no doubt aware, Newt Gingirich has been the beneficiary of something like $10 million from Sheldon Adelson, who could easily afford to pump another $490 million and still break even on one year's taxes.
Romney can afford at least nine figures himself. Add Adelson's generosity to any potential Republican candidate, altho clearly not as enthusiastically as to Newt, and you have a formidable bloc of money, despite Obama's war chest of nearly a billion.
Worse, this superPAC money can go downstream too and influence tight races, thus propelling Mitt's prospects a little further.
Things look good for Democrats this year, but don't get cocky. It ain't over til the last Cayman withdrawal is made.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Well, I Never Thought I'd See The Day!


I'll Be in My Bunk




Know Your Memes Part Deux


It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over

But for Assad of Syria, it's over.

To My Younger Male Readers


Know Your Memes

The name strikes terror in the hearts of conservatives everywhere, so much so that you'd think Newt Gingrich believes he is running against him in the general election: Saul Alinksy
If you believe the picture painted of him, Alinksy is a Greek-fisherman cap wearing Leninist who wanted Americans to stand in bread lines for hours.
In truth, he was a community organizer. From Chicago. And there, the resemblence to Obama end.
Except for one: Neither Obama nor Alinsky was a Communist.
Alinsky was a radical who believed in the power of large numbers to overcome the influence of the numerically tiny elite. He has been the role model for the Tea Party(!) as well as an influence on the 99% Occupy Wall Street movement (the true heirs of Alinsky's idealogy.)
Alinsky worked with labor unions as an organizer first (this might be where the label "socialist" gets applied, but come on...really? American labor unions are as pro-capitalism as unions get,) but then moved onto to try to improve the lot of slum dwellers, those who really needed advocacy: better living conditions, better working conditions, better housing and better safety.
Hardly the socialist themes of the twentieth century.

What Happens If...?

First, I'm not going to snark on a dying child. No one, no matter how misguided they may be or how evil their opinions may be, should be teased about something like that.
Second, of course, I'm talking about Rick Santorum and the health scare of his young daughter that forced him off the campaign trail this weekend, ahead of the Florida primary. It got me to thinking: what happens if the worst scenario unfolds?
Santorum stands a pretty good chance of making a case for continuing his campaign in the Florida primary: his religion and his religious nature certainly appeal to one or two of the three ethnic groups in Florida, as according to Bill Maher ("Jews, Cubans, and rednecks").
A strong third or even, heaven forbid, swiping second from a faltering Gingrich, would place Santorum squarely back in the hunt.
This would, of course, do two things: it would force Mitt to extend the primary season by at least a few more weeks and to divide his fire across two camps, and it would offer more Not-Mitt alternatives that people can choose. It's not a secret that the lion's share of Republicans neither like nor trust Mitt, but factions have their different reasons.
I suspect the Newt faction is the faction that dislikes the individual mandate that Romneycare imposed on Massachussetts' citizenry. This is the faction that really dislikes healthcare in any way shape or form, preferring to see people die in the streets than provide a sick person a hospital bed.
The Santorum faction, of course, is the faction that dislikes Mitt, or more likely mistrusts him, for his Mormonism. Santorum is Catholic, and while that dismays many Evangelicals, it's a damned sight more palatable than someone wearing magic underwear and re-baptizing the dead.
So if Santorum has to drop out, quo vadis? (OK, correctly, "quo ibunt?" but I couldn't resist the Biblical reference). Newt's recent seeing of the light has generally been viewed as a sham, a desperate pandering political ploy, and really serves only as a calculated rationalization by those who are devout but more devoutly devoted to their wallets instead.
The Santorum faction, the hard-core ones, at any rate, probably number no more than fifteen percent in Florida. Anything he pulls beyond that is either Not-Mitt or Not-Gingrich. The most recent Marist poll shows Santorum the only candidate to increase his poll numbers after last week's debate. It seems he stole equally from Romney and Gingrich, altho it's hard to be certain.
So here's the scenario that I think Romney is hoping for: After tomorrow, Newt, who has said a strong Florida showing will be the reason to keep his campaign alive, flails and ends up in a surprising third. He drops out.
Then, Santorum, for his personal reasons, agrees to drop his campaign and unite behind Romney, putting his name in the hat for Veep and angling for a 2016 run after Romney gets swamped in the fall.
That scenario, at least vote-wise, seems pretty likely. Whether the egos involved can see the logic behind is awaits to be seen.

Kudos, TSA

It's not often a bureaucracy does the right thing, and in a timely fashion. We often complain about the intrusiveness of TSA searches, but here's a case where laxity was punished properly.
Essentially, in late December, bags from two flights triggered alarms in the automated screening at Newark Liberty Airport. The responsible screener failed to remove those bags from the queue and manually screen them.
That screener will likely be fired sometime this week, about a month later.
There's none of us who hasn't heard or told a story about TSA screenings. They seem haphazard, randomly strict or relaxed, and often seem bungled. I've had friends who snuck double-edged razor blades onto a plane, and I've been frisked for carrying two jars of jelly (I forgot, to be honest) into security.
And this is before we get to the news stories about 80 year old grandmothers being strip searched or what have you.
More important, however, I've learned, as a diver, to expect my bags to be screened, particularly if my flight includes a stopover somewhere in the States, like Atlanta or Miami. It never ceases to surprise me that I find those little "notes" from the TSA, and yet it shouldn't: I carry batteries, knives (for getting caught up in fishing lines,) flashlights, camera's a wonder I can make the weight limits.
I can't blame them for being diligent. All it would take is for one "Eh! Let it go..." moment and 400 people or more could be dead. I wouldn't want that on my conscience. I don't know what could have been going through the mind of this fellow, but I sure as heck wouldn't want him in charge of baggage security on any flight I'd take.