Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
So what are you thankful for today?

Me, I'm just brimming with thanks, so full of it that it's coming out my ears. And if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you.

No, seriously, I have a few things to be thankful for, including you who read this shitty blog on a regular basis. Thank you. The occasional feedback and commentary that I get make me smile and it's nice knowing that I'm not alone.

I'm not alone, right? You guys aren't just a figment of my imagination and I'm not sitting in some padded cell in Pescadero, drooling on my chest?

And I'm thankful that we kicked some conservative ass and hard this election cycle. It's been nice to be able to sit back, light up a stogie and bathe in the warm heat of the frustration and rage from the right wing nutbags who somehow believe liberalism is evil and the nation is this grand machine of rightwing thought.

HA-HA! Assholes.....America has never been conservative except when you somehow manage to strategically place pieces on the chessboard to temporarily take an advantage. America was founded on progressive principles and will always, ALWAYS, progress forward, and never fall behind. You can get in line or you can get run over like so many before you have. We win in the end. Always.

I'm thankful for my cat who, while he's sleeping now, the little rat bastard, keeps me honest and grounded in the day to day. I'm thankful to family and friends and to God, who saw fit to give me a year relatively free of drama and anguish. Nobody died and no one got too badly hurt, in the end.

Finally, I'm grateful to be the most important person in my own life but to be some small part of yours.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

There Are Some Things Only Government Can Do...

...And even then, there's no guarantee they will do them well:

"I asked, 'Why haven't you been sent out?'" he says. "Then he just lays the story on me, tells me about all the personnel they have out there, more than 100 ambulances, two paramedics per ambulance, everybody waiting for marching orders."

Horrified, the logistical worker offered to help transport them to a place where they could be useful.

"He said they couldn't do it because FEMA had them all under contract, and they couldn't go out without FEMA's say-so. They were so frustrated. They came all this way, and now they're not going anywhere, and there's something in their contract telling them they can't even throw up their arms and say 'Fuck it' and go into the city and do good."

In fairness to FEMA as well as the city and state Offices of Emergency Management, the need and ability to send in this medical assistance to the Rockaways was a lower priority than clearing the roads and making the peninsula safe for medical workers to go in and give, and I stress this part, non-emergency medical assistance. As far as I know, medical calls were still being handled via an alternate overland route which had already been cleared.

But this is one of the more glaring examples of what happens in a major crisis: communications gets fumbled -- FEMA blames the city and state for not directing where to send these responders, while the city and state maintain the Federal contract put them under FEMA's jurisdiction -- and what ends up happening is a misdirection and misapplication of resources, like sending ice destined for New Orleans to Maine.
It was less of a problem in NYC because volunteers were able to get in and assist people with some of the most basic needs, like the occasional hot meal or help pumping flooded basements, but make no mistake: had this entire operation been privatized, the slow-ish response of government agents would have seemed lightning fast by comparison.
The first groups in were religious groups. Indeed, the most notable among these were Sikhs from all over Queens, serving an estimated 15,000 hot vegetarian meals long before FEMA and the OEMs showed up.
The Occupy movement, Occupy Sandy, also arrived early, assessing needs and trying to help residents help themselves, particularly in the parts of the Rockaways that are poorest and therefore, most vulnerable. Church groups and motorcycle clubs beat even the Red Cross to the scenes of the disaster.
And the Red Cross is about as privatized as you can get when it comes to disaster relief.
So the next time some conservative tells you we need to drown government in a bathtub, ask him how he plans to keep himself from drowning?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Should America Divorce?

The short answer is, no.
But there's a case to be made for couples therapy:

In Europe's case, the motor for secession is ethnicity. In America, however, it's a politics turned toxic. The 2012 election encouraged the idea that the U.S. is split into two camps that are politically and culturally alien and with opposing economic needs. Mitt Romney's infamous formula of the 47% (reiterated in his equally ugly post-election remarks about "gifts") played upon an old idea that one half of the country feeds off the taxes paid by the other half.

Secessionists are likely to be those who see themselves as disadvantaged by the redistributive federal state: as taxpayers bled dry by freeloaders, and businesspeople penalized by liberal regulation. WKRG-TV found an eccentric example of that when it interviewed the founder of the Alabama petition and discovered that he was furious at the government for shutting down his topless car wash: "He said he was arrested and charged with obscenity by city officials in 2001. 'The government ripped my business away, and now they're choking America to death with rules and regulations,' he said."

But the 2012 election introduced the idea that the welfare-recipient minority is now the majority. A common theme in conservative post-election analysis is that the Democrats now have an unbeatable coalition of ethnic minorities, single women and socially liberal youth that is turning the U.S. into a European social democracy. (Mark Steyn: "Tuesday's results demonstrate that, as a whole, the American electorate is trending very Euro-Canadian.") If that is the consensus among the conservative talking heads, then it's rational for conservative grass-roots activists to conclude that the only viable future for the conservative minority is to form its own country.

It's unclear whether Stanley agrees with the sentiment or whether he's merely coalescing the sentiment expressed by some many of the Diapered Brigade of Keyboard Kommandoes that "We lost, so we're taking our ball and going home."

The notion that there are makers and takers is uniquely conservative. You don't hear liberals talking much about overachievement, except in the concept of ubergreed, which in truth should be a Christianist position, too. After all, Jesus railed against the moneylenders and the wealthy, and didn't spend much time talking about capital gains tax.

Indeed, I've argued in the past that if Jesus knew about the income tax and the power of democracy, he'd insist on a 90% tax rate with everyone getting food, clothing, and shelter for free. You know, "render unto Caesar." Jesus lived in a time when tyranny was acceptable. His own life suggests a rebellion against that tyranny, but that tyranny was imposed by a ruling class and in particular, a single family.

It was correct to rebel against that, just as it was correct to rebel against England back in the 1700s.

Now? It's childish. It's something a baby does when Mommy or Daddy makes them go to bed early for misbehaving.

Stanley defends conservatives. I do not, for they have brought this upon themselves, the wrath of the American people, by finding only bad in this country while never espousing a growing together. This is traitorous, as triatorous as taking a pledge to a single man -- Grover Norquist -- as more important than either your oath of office or the Pledge of Allegiance. So here's what I propose for liberals.

I'm drawing a line in the sand. I will not cross that line, but I will extend my hand and assist any conservative who will at least draw closer to the line, if not cross it and become an American again. We can talk, but only when you stop shouting.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Elekshuns Haz Conseekwences

Here at Simply Left Behind Labs, our elves work tirelessly day and night to bring you the finest in top grade snark. And we like to be sure that our product is 100% pure and unadulterated with byproducts like typos and errors. 

In fact, we have an entire wing of the lab devoted to Quality Control and it is a very happy place, the little elves sing songs all day while the unicorns and butterflies prance and flit serenely amongst the uniflies and buttercorns (don't ask.)
About the only time any of us are not happy is when the elves clock out for the day and each of the miserable bastards has to get all "Elvish has left the building." It gets tired quickly.
We are a happy communo-atheist union workshop, in other words, and it shows in the quality of our snark, served hot and fresh to you daily.

So you can imagine our surprise when we read about another happy place where -- well, let's just say they don't pay as much attention to their work

A Ten Commandments monument is up on the grounds of the state Capitol, but it didn't pass spell check.

“Remember the Sabbeth day, to keep it holy,” reads one.

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidseruent,” reads the last one.

Rep. Mike Ritze, whose family paid for the monument that was put up Thursday, said the monument company has been contacted and will correct the errors to the words Sabbath and maidservant.

This is Dr. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow), and it's understandable he might have not been paying much attention to the slab of stone he bought and paid for and installed on the grounds of the state Capitol as he must spend an inordinate amount of time combing out the skunk he's tenderly given a home to on his scalp. 
Wait. There's more, but then you knew that already:

Ritze, elected last year to the Legislature, said Cecil B. DeMille, director of the 1956 film epic “The Ten Commandments,” gave money to the Fraternal Order of Eagles to fund monuments across the country depicting the commandments. Some of the film's main stars, such as Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, went to unveilings.

“Apparently they donated it, and it was never delivered or it was in storage some place,” he said.

After Ritze got elected in 2008, he contacted the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission about the monument. He said its whereabouts never could be determined, so he had one made.

Oh. those qwazy Hollywud libs...

Why I Write

It occured to me over the weekend that I could be funnier at SLB.
See, I'm working on a book, a comic look at...well, if I told you, I'd have to kill you and I don't have enough frequent flyer miles at the moment to start hunting all ten of my readers down. And I started to think about this daily mess I serve up and how it's almost always straight-faced and serious and while my bits are often chock-a-block with quips, I don't bring teh funnay much. My muscles are atrophying.
Anyway, I asked myself, "2...(I like to call myself by my nickname)...2, what are you writing a blog for? What's the point and purpose?"
The answer sort of hit me like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist. I don't know!
I think I write here as a way to sort out in my head the news of the day. A way to make sense of the world, and if there's a hundred or so of you out there who like watching me slip into senility, then my work is complete.
Don't get me wrong, I like that you guys are out there and like reading my pieces. It's nice to be listened to along the lines of a college jazz station, something you have to seek out. It's fun to write these pieces and sort of run down my logic -- such as it is -- and grasp the bigger picture.
Or, I could simply write because it frees me to use the word "Bimbo" frequently...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Those Cakes We Like

You know how sometimes you say one thing but mean another?

The CEO of Hostess Brands, Gregory Rayburn, will probably regret blaming the unions for closing his operations down. It seems pretty clear that the debt his company carries from the greed of vultures like him is far more taxing than the pensions of a few old guys with crumbs in their coffee.

But then he has a history of corporate rape.