Friday, October 09, 2009

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Let's get right to it, it's a busy day...

1) Congratulations President Obama!

2) Of course, this poor soul can't even win the single most prestigious prize on the planet without being savaged for it. And that's before we consider the right-wing noise machine!

3) "Not done anything"? He stood in the mouth of the enemy and reassured him that America stands ready to move the world forward, got Israel and Palestinians leaders to sit down in the same room and talk, he's dismantling the nuclear arsenal pointed at Russia's heart, and he's opened top level dialogue with Iran, all in eight months. WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU WANT HIM TO DO, especially considering the motherfucking mess the Bushies left him???????

4) I've seen the trope that NASA was "bombing" the moon. Not true. They crash-landed two space craft on it this morning, in an effort to study the plume of debris to determine if there is ice on the satellite. This is important stuff and may determine the course of space exploration for the next thousand years.

5) While I'm not defending his actions, I can understand why Anthony Marshall did what he did. You watch your mom linger on, and you are yourself getting up there in age, and she still has your inheritance. You don't want to kill her, because that would immediately be investigated, so you siphon off the fortune under the guise of her declining mental condition. He's 85. He faces 25 years in prison and cannot be comforted by the fact that Brooke Astor lived to 105.

6) Here's some good news about the swine flu vaccine.

7) Did the Rapture happen and nobody noticed?

8) Y'know? It is what it is. Whatevarrrrrrrrrr! Anyway...

9) Yesterday was National Poetry Day in the UK. (reread that in iambic pentameter)

10) This cries out for makes Thomas Kinkade's NASCAR series look like fine art!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Gunfight At The Oy Vey Corral

Well, this is stupid:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to kill hundreds of bills unless the Legislature delivers one bill on water.

[...]It's ugly. But it's an available political tool that the governor would be derelict not to use when an issue as critical as water is at stake.

The state water system is clogged and rusting. It's a matter of time before the California aqueduct, which funnels Sierra snow runoff from the Sacramento Valley into the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, is shut off. The principal water tank, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, is threatened with potential levee collapses, earthquakes, floods and global warming. And the ecology already is crumbling.

The estuary's fishery is fast disappearing. The endangered delta smelt is a red herring -- a pet target of San Joaquin farmers and the governor who resent federal judges holding back water to save the tiny critter. The real economic tragedy is the decline of the once-abundant king salmon. Their plight has caused a two-year cancellation of commercial fishing for the popular fish, idling boats and shuttering processing plants all along the North Coast.

Nobody argues that the waterworks don't need major repairs and remodeling. But there is a delicate balance that Capitol negotiators have yet to find. It's the balance between investing in a reliable, environmentally friendly water supply and trying to achieve what really must be the state's No. 1 priority: living within its means.

So everyone agrees, this is a worthwhile project. Everyone agrees, the money needs to be spent. Everyone agrees that not to act quickly on this bill can and will endanger the very water supply that allows 2/3 of California's to remain in their homes, and not be forced to evacuate to Oregon and Washington.

The problem? Democrats versus Republicans, and both versus Ahnuld.

Check this out:
Senate Republicans have proposed a $12.4-billion bond issue that would be paid off by all taxpayers. It would include $4 billion for two or three dams. Additionally, users of the newly developed water would kick in at least that much dam-building money.

But Assembly Republican Leader Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo disagrees. He would prefer a bond closer to $8 billion.

"We're in the biggest recession of our generation," he says. "We need to spend only what is necessary to solve the problem as quickly as possible . . . without some of the Christmas ornaments and largesse -- a scaled-down package that isn't the ultimate solution for every water problem anyone can imagine, funding every possible stakeholder who has a dog in this hunt."

Democratic leaders basically agree. But they would cut back on dam funding before they would eliminate some of the things Blakeslee would, such as groundwater monitoring and treatment plants. "Much of this bill is a wish list of the far left," the GOP leader asserts. "Frankly, I don't think this is the time for a wish list."

Ironic, isn't it? The Republicans are actually willing to outspend the Democrats by $4 billion, except for the one Republican who actually counts, who wants to match the Democrats funding proposals but eliminate the wrong projects!

And here's Governor Schwarzenegger, basically threatening to shut down significant portions of the state on Sunday if there's no bill by then. Which has pissed the Democrats, who control the legislature, off.

Here's the real cruz of the problem, and it reflects the national positions of both parties: Republicans want to fund the entire $12 (or $8) billion through bond issues to be paid out of general tax revenues. Democrats want to correctly assign at least part of the burden on the people who most benefit from the improved and more secure water supplies, levying a small usage tax on them to help pay for the repairs and upgrades.

Of course, to be perfectly honest, both groups are spending money that they don't have, but the Democrats proposal is clearly more in line with the sentiment of California taxpayers and their mantra of limiting taxes: reducing the cash available to pay for the day-to-day operations of the state is cutting your nose to spite your face, while even the most conservative Glibertarian can wrap their heads around a "pay for play" plan.

And yet, Schwarzenegger, by threatening to veto some 700 bills including a bill that prevents health insurers from dropping their customers at all, unless fraud can be proved, and to retrofit some bridges in earthquake prone regions.

Um. Hm. Talk about cutting one's nose to spite one's face...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Bully Pulpit

Interesting poll was put out yesterday by the Associated Press, one that warms my heart a little that maybe this nation is paying attention after all:
NEW YORK (AP) -- Most people still think the country is headed in the wrong direction but a new poll says there are more optimists than before and President Barack Obama's numbers are also on the upswing.

An Associated Press-GfK poll says 56 percent of those surveyed in the past week approve of Obama's job performance, up from 50 percent in September. It's the first time since he took office in January that his rating has gone up.

And those who disapprove of Obama are down to 39 percent, down from 49 percent last month.

While a majority of those surveyed remain pessimistic about the direction of the country, the poll found 41 percent now believe the U.S. is headed in the right direction, compared with 37 percent in September.

Of course, that being a FOX affiliate, you still haven't read the good news:
The latest Associated Press-GfK poll has found that opposition to Obama’s health care remake dropped dramatically in just a matter of weeks. Still, Americans remain divided over complex legislation that Democrats are advancing in Congress.

The public is split 40-40 on supporting or opposing the health care legislation, the poll found. An even split is welcome news for Democrats, a sharp improvement from September, when 49 percent of Americans said they opposed the congressional proposals and just 34 percent supported them.

Anger about health care boiled over during August. Lawmakers returning home for town hall meetings faced outcries that the government was trying to take over the system, ushering in higher costs, lower quality — even rationing and euthanasia.

The key, of course, is that last paragraph.

During the month of August and early September, the astroturfed "Tea Bagger Party" movement made significant inroads in the public dialogue about healthcare by making asses of themselves publicly.

Utilizing the rusty saw "the squeaky wheel gets the grease," these whiny cogs stalked and harassed public officials and raped the public dialogue.

This created an atmosphere where people were not only afraid to speak out in opposition to this brutal patriarchal behavior, but to even agree to abide with it, much like a kidnap victim eventually admires her captors.

No longer, and while I suspected this might turn around, the fact is, it happened so suddenly and with so little reaction from the Obama administration that I began to be concerned if in fact he was getting the point.

I guess he did. Strategically, he must have felt that no one was going to pay attention to him when they were going to the beach or the mountains, but that once he could command a prime time fall television audience, he'd begin to win back the folks who in their hearts want to see the country do better by doing good.

The key to this turnaround has been a full-court press to persuade older Americans that Medicare will not be endangered, and that an extension of Medicare-like coverage to all Americans would not be a bad thing.


Too, there's an energy aspect to this strategy: rage usually burns out quickly, leaving a deep-seated sense of embarrassment. Here, I think, is the underpinning to the turnaround in Obama's polling numbers, which sunk as low as Bush's in August 2001.

People just got tired of being angry. Anger is fear and fear is exhausting, and people want Obama to do well (despite the reprehensible and disgraceful cheer that arose when Chicago was eliminated by the IOC).

Too, I think middle Americans watched Glenn Beck all but spew venom with respect to Obama, watched as Tea Baggers all but lynched Obama in effigy (haven't seen that yet, so some credit has to be given the racist contingent), and watched the silliness over Obama's slightest move to relax, and just remembered the Moron-In-Chief who preceded him and said, "Hmmmmm, this is not the side I want to be on."

Kudos, Mr. President. You've done well.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


The Great Wall. The Pyramids. The Louvre.

In a thousand years or so, archaeologists will dig up the remnants of the great culture that was the Third Milennium, and wonder, "What the hell were they thinking?"

We've learned to accept a certain amount our city centers, I suppose. There's a McDonald's across the street from the Empire State Building, as an example, and a block-long shopping center catty-corner to that, with rotating retailers like Victoria's Secret and other mall-centric operations, leading up to Macy's in Herald Square.

Nothing wrong with that. But Pizza Hut and KFC next to the Great Pyramid? That's going to cause some consternation, to be sure.

McDonald's is IN the Louvre, and in a fit of majestic irony, under the Museum of Communism in Prague. Starbucks next to the Great Wall, and I'm not sure if the irony or the coffee is more bitter.

The best of American culture has become so pervasive that historians will debate whether KFC predated Cheops, or if Starbucks was around in the Mongol uprising.

America was always great at absorbing culture and cuisine. Think about it: those great "American" foods-- the hamburger, the hot dog, pizza-- are all European.

And now we've digested them, repackaged and repurposed them, and sent them on their merry way to infest and infect the rest of the world, so much so that I expect we'll start seeing terror attacks involving fast food restaurants more frequently.

We have in our history symbolized great excess and a squandering of wealth, but now we squander majesty and heritage, as well.

That can't be a good thing.

Monday, October 05, 2009

OMG! Just. Go. Away!

I'm really getting tired of the collusionary efforts among the mainstream media to sell us pablum and crap WE DON'T NEED TO SEE!

In fact, as a first step in the twelve step program to wean Americans off shit they don't need to focus on, I'm not going to quote a goddamned thing from that link, and will merely tell you it has to do with a certain reality show that is on the ropes because the couple is getting divorced.

And the only reason I even reveal that much is to compare the country's fascination with a couple of losers to the "pout"rage the right wing showed because Barack Obama flew into Copenhagen for four hours to try to salvage the Chicago Olympic bid.

Seriously, some of the twisted-panties crowd on the right were taking umbrage...said umbrage is now all how Obama was taking his eye off the economy, off the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other matters of state in order to focus for the briefest of moments on the spectacle of jobs for Chicago.

And yet, here? Nothing. No one would dare criticize the American public for being moronic enough to forget their deliquent mortgages, their lack of health insurance or their jobs dangling by threads all for the sake of feeling superior to people who are one step up from Special Olympians of emotionality.

Indeed, I'd rather the Special Olympics got even half the attention that these two publicity-hungry jackals get!

What is wrong with these people? How can anyone watch this train wreck of a show about a couple who voluntarily decided to drop two litters, and now have to deal with them?

Mind you, this is a show in prime time, which means there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of parents, neglecting the raising of their own kids to be mindlessly entertained by clown car television.

Now Jon and Kate are divorced, a bit quickly in my book given the number of kids involved, and things have gone from embarassing to disgraceful.

Look, there are hundreds or maybe thousands of families who are in similar situations: multiple children, divorce, and struggling to put even $200 in the bank, much less $200,000. Where are their stories? Will Jon and Kate donate the money they've earned to some fund to help the poor families that they are, in absentia, exploiting?

But soft, no, we must pick on the President for trying to improve the nation as we pick at the bones and carcass of a family that had no right being invited into our living rooms in the first place.

I don't mind that TLC has seen fit to take off its mask of being "The Learning Channel" and started showing the most hideous television programs about families and family life ever. But God forbid TLC spend one minute talking about the costs of being un- or underinsured on a family. God forbid they should follow the struggles of a family in a realistic situation: the loss of a job, a catastrophic illness, a divorce, bankruptcy.

You want reality? There's reality! How does a family cope when the breadwinner has a heart attack and can't survive on disability? We did it, when my dad had his heart attack, and I cut back on my college educmacaychun in order to bring some money into the house. And I know I was not alone in this.

And what is this need Americans have to feel so superior to other Americans? We all do it, right, left, South, North, Texans especially! WTF up with that, huh?

We're all in this together, and we can't move a ship of state forward if we're all pulling in different directions.