Saturday, January 31, 2009

Your Future Correspondent

Hello from 2012.

Well-informed political observes thought that after their crushing defeat in 2008 that the Republican party might leave demagoguery and discredited supply-side economics behind. Those well-informed observers couldn't have been more wrong. After tacking even further to the right and playing the role of obstructionists in Congress, the voters in 2010 turned out every Republican member of Congress that were up for election, and most of those that weren't. In fact, approximately 40 states elected their THIRD Democratic senator. The courts are still sorting that one out.

In a last desperate attempt, the GOP nominated two, well, pieces of the same old crap, in 2012. Heading up the ticket was formerly imprisoned Alaska governor and new mom and great-grandmother Sarah Palin, with Mittens "Mittens" Romney filling out the ticket. The excitement was palpable at their rallies

culminating with their dramatic speeches st the party's convention before packed houses.

In November 2012, the Democrats carried all but one state, along with the District of Columbia, all 162 foreign countries that somehow registered to vote and all but one of the planets (the Republicans carried Utah and Mars, the "red" planet.") It was an overwhelming victory for the Obama-Kuchinich ticket.

In an earlier interview, given just after the repeal of the constitutional limits on presidential terms, President Obama discussed his decision to replace Vice President Biden on the ticket. He said, "Well, sure, Dennis is an annoying little dweeb, and I can post him up in one-on-one hoops all day long. But in terms of dweebs, with Joe, that's pretty much a wash. The key--their wives. Who would you rather have around you, some education wonk talking learning theory all the time or a hot redhead with a tongue stud?"

Reporting live from the future, now back to you in the studio.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Another Blago tribute from the Brits

While I find the words of Shelley below describing the forgotten wreckage of a ruler with delusions of grandeur compelling, perhaps the elegant words of a British romantic poet are out of place when discussing now former Gov. Cognitive Dissonance Hairclubformen. SO, given that his real first name is not Rod, but Milorad, I thought the song about the fellow here might better serve the occasion:

Milorad, Milorad
Riding through the land!
Milorad, Milorad, without a merry band
He steals from the poor
and gives to the rich
... Stupid bitch!

(Apologies to the non-Python fans for this tremendous waste of time.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blago-mandias, King of Kings

The senate is posturing and speaking now, but "unconfirmed sources" are leaking that the vote to boot will be unanimous.Continuing his theater of the absurd, he spewed forth an incomprehensible stream of consciousness denial of EVERYTHING. Bye. [Note: It was of course unanimous. Just think, in one fortnight, no more Bush or Blago!]

And of course, a politically-connected firm received several hundred thousand dollars of tollway money to put up these:

As Shelley wrote:

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck,
boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


One thing that has been on my mind lately is this unspoken assumption that Afghanistan is somehow a "good" war that can be "won" by tossing a couple more brigades that way.

Let us not forget that it wasn't Reagan's runaway defense spending here that brought the Soviet Union down. There were myriad factors, from corruption and internal rot to economic stagnation and WAAY too much vodka and too little productivity.

However, if there was one thing that sent the USSR to history's graveyard, it was its debacle in Afghanistan, an endless war in a hostile environment against foes from too many factions to count.

The "country" is a hellhole that produces three products for export--heroin, concrete and terrorists. What is the endgame here? Or do we share the fate of the USSR in this God-forsaken land?

"I Won."

President Obama needs to remember those words in dealing with the congressional Republicans. He won. They lost--big time.

I applaud the president's willingness to go the extra mile (one more trip to the Hill to meet with minority leadership and he matches Bush's eight-year total.) His willingness to listen after eight years of "**** you" from the White House is certainly refreshing. However, negotiating with a party whose response is to petulantly take their ball and go home is pointless.

The Republicans had control of all aspects of government, and clearly demonstrated that they can't govern. Dick Cheney said that Reagan taught us that "deficits don't matter." No, Reagan taught us that Republican economic policies don't work. He taught us that tax cuts for the rich are nothing more than a scam that would embarrass Bernie Madoff.

In 2001, the Republicans received the keys to the car. It wasn't a brand new vehicle fresh off the assembly line, no new car smell, but it was a steady reliable car in good operating condition. They got liquored up and took it out and wrapped it around a tree.

Pray tell, WHY would we want driving tips from them?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

RIP John Updike

A great American author has died. In these video interviews with the NYT, Updike reflects on his craft, fellow writers, and characters. In a second segment he gives us a fascinating glimpse at how his most famous character, Rabbit Angstrom, would view President Obama.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Re: Peter's "Buh Bye, George" post below

Here's the definitive farewell site with its fine and appropriate title.

A note on Blago and impeachment

I've heard some well-informed and well-intentioned people misspeak about the impeachment of Gov. Blagojevich, pictured below

For example, Bill Press said on his show this morning that Blago had not been CONVICTED of any crime, is it fair to impeach him?

YES, a thousand times YES.


For one thing, the rather awful Illinois constitution allows impeachment for "cause." No one knows what "cause" means, but let's assume for sake of discussion that the more developed "high crimes and misdemeanors" standard from the feds applied. The concept is the same. I would recommend to you the House Judiciary Committee report prepared in 1974 in anticipation of the Nixon impeachment, which obviously was short-circuited by his resignation. As that report makes clear, impeachment is a POLITICAL matter, not a criminal one. In fact, in the federal constitution specifically provides that removal from office/disqualification is the ONLY penalty.

As the report makes clear, going back to the English origins of "high crimes and misdemeanors," these actions arise from charges of official power or trust. Impeachment and removal is appropriate even if there is no criminal conviction.

And here is why I don't watch talking heads...

I found myself watching "Morning Joe" this A.M. The local news was blaring ALL BLAGO ALL THE TIME and the sports outlets were trying their damnest to hype an unhypeable Super Bowl. So I went to MSNBC, hoping for a break from the banal. Instead I was treated to stupidity - and "Joe" wasn't even there!! Instead it was Mica-with-the-unpronounceable-last-name (but she is middle-aged-newsy hot) and an assortment of constipated aging men and Tucker Carlson look-alikes. I listened for about a half hour. I was treated to BLAGO (but for only a few minutes) and TARP (they don't understand it) and SUPER BOWL (incestuous promotion via the NBC family) and then the story which made me run to this blog. It was a "health" story and in a nutshell: fast food is really bad for you but it's cheaper to buy McDonald's than making it yourself. And they went on and on about how America eats too much fast food but it's so damned easy and inexpensive, who can blame America for doing so... Now these supposedly smart people couldn't see how absolutely WRONG they are. Here is a lesson I teach to junior high school students and they get it in a heartbeat.

A family of four goes to McDonald's. Mom and Dad each buy a "Big Mac Value Meal" for $4.00 and the kids each get a $3.00 happy meal. The "food" purchased consists of the following:

3/4 of a pound of beef (each Big Mac has 2 patties, each weighing .125 pounds, and each happy meal burger weighs the same .125 pounds... so there are 6 patties X .125 = .75 pounds)

5 buns (each hamburger gets one bun, while the 2 Big Macs share 3 buns)

~ 1/2 pound of french fries

~ 56 ounces of soda

2 slices of cheese, and nominal amounts of lettuce, pickles, ketchup, onion, and "special sauce"

TOTAL FAST FOOD COST: $15.40 (includes 10% sales tax)

Now let's go to the store:

1.5 lb package of 80% lean meat (the same quality of McDonald's hamburger meat) $4.00

8 pack of hamburger buns - $2.25

4 liters of soda - $3.50

1 lb - french fries - 1.25

Head of lettuce - $1.00

1 lb onions - $.50

.125 lb of deli sliced american cheese - $.50

16 oz. bottle of ketchup - $1.00

24 oz jar of pickles - $2.25

TOTAL COST $16.50 (including 2.5% tax)

I may be a bit off on the individual items, but the costs really nearly EXACTLY the same... Here's the difference: I bought enough for TWO dinners at the store (and I will have plenty of lettuce left over to make a salad). Now there is the time factor - it's a lot faster/easier to just go to McDonald's than it is to shop/prepare a meal. However, the fact is that fast food saps the family budget unnecessarily, and this nonsense about how cheap it is belies the fact that this is really about laziness and marketing.

However, I need to thank the good people at MSNBC... now I remember why I stopped watching...

Monday, January 26, 2009

When we have a REAL attorney general...

Eric Holder will be confirmed this week after the Republicans' silly little delay game. Finally, an honest prosecutor, who may well investigate and prosecute many from the Bush administration, including

The president

The vice president

Harriet Miers

Alberto Gonzalez

and most of all, Karl Rove.