Monday, April 30, 2012

Living in a Europe Without Armies

All of this talk about boycotts is interesting.

What will the nations of Europe do to enforce the boycott of Ukraine? What will they do to ensure that the rule of law comes back into vogue? What will they do when revolution breaks out if the current regime ends up killing Tymoshenko?

Better yet, what happens when Russia decides to get involved in establishing a Ukrainian government friendly to its own interests by using force?

And what if it comes to tanks and shooting?

This is what can happen if Europe decides to get involved in Ukraine's internal affairs. It could come to another interruption of natural gas supplies in the winter ahead. It could come to much worse than boycotting a soccer tournament. You have a situation where a corrupt regime sitting on top of a restive population that has known nothing but economic misery since forever could end up killing the prime minister who tried to clean things up (in her own imperfect and somewhat corrupt sort of way). The thing is, this is the biggest country in Europe now. It's a powderkeg.

Europe has no more armies. This is the most de-militarized Europe has been since humans first migrated to the region. Are they going to send the Bavarian Riot Police? Are they going to draft ten thousand Dutchmen to go establish peace in Kiev if everything goes south? What will NATO do if Ukraine ends up in a civil war?

Somehow, I don't think anyone realizes that this fallen gas princess has the fate of Europe resting on her shoulders while she sits, beaten and helpless, in her prison cell.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kristen Stewart Never Looks Like This

The world has a few anti-celebrities, and Kristen Stewart is definitely one of them. She is so anti-celebrity, it's a wonder she even showed up to be photographed for the cover of Elle.

This is a wonderful photo and a wonderful cover; however, Kristen Stewart never looks like this. She prefers a more dressed down look, and that's what people tend to see in her.

Now, both photos could be representative of her style and her choice of presentation. Going to Coachella requires a certain form of dressing down, so this isn't exactly a fair comparison, but I don't think you'll see Stewart in her Baltimore Orioles hat on the cover of Vogue.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Everyone Knows Sarkozy Did the Deed

You would have to be incredibly naive not to understand that it was a sophisticated hit job that caused Dominique Strauss-Kahn to end up being arrested in New York City. And it was a hit job put together by the Sarkozy government. Telling him to shut up doesn't mean you have any kind of moral superiority.

When you're behind in the polls and no one likes you, lashing out is all you have left.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Screw the Pundits

In order to reach millions of young people, the President of the United States went on a talk show and demonstrated just how connected he is to the culture and to the issues. His slow jam with Jimmy Fallon was absolutely fucking brilliant, to put not too fine a point on it.

This is how you command the issues and win. This is how you take control of the agenda and shape public opinion. This is how the bully pulpit now works because if President Obama had gotten mad and pounded on a lectern in the Rose Garden, they would have called him angry, shrill, and unbalanced.

Instead, he used cool humor, the music of the Roots, and Jimmy Fallon to express a policy desire that will help him win votes and save people a ton of money. Of course they're angry--because it worked. Of course they're calling it "undignified." He took this issue and rammed it down their throats. Of course they're mad. He's talented and capable and they're dribbling overpriced wine into their ample laps while howling like a beaten animal. He absolutely destroys the wingnuts when he does these things, and he shows up the media class every time. He has what they want, and they hate him for it, and he doesn't care about them at all.

The very same people calling President Obama undignified love it when other people's children are sent half way around the world to get blown up in poorly-designed vehicles so that they can have something to talk about at cocktail parties.

Meet Ana Casas Wilson

There is an election happening this year, and one of the things that bothers me about this election is that no one is talking at length about what is happening to Ana Casas Wilson, pictured above.

Wells Fargo is throwing her out of her home because she had a little bit of bad luck a few years back and got behind on her mortgage payments. She is more than willing to make good on those payments, and went to the home of the man who runs Wells Fargo and tried to give him her mortgage payment. For that, she got arrested. Welcome to an America most people are conveniently ignoring.

The fraud and the farce that is America's mortgage industry is a source of embarrassment. Without any regard for the rule of law, fairness, decency, or the interests of the community, banks are throwing people who are trying to do the right thing out on the street. Banks are forging documents, cheating people, lying, stealing, and destroying communities by foreclosing on homes that will sit empty and go to seed and become uninhabitable.

What is going on in the photo you see above is one of the most important things in America right now, and everyone needs to be aware of it, informed about it, and talking about it. What is happening to this woman is happening to far too many Americans. This is an election year issue that should be front and center and not hidden in feature stories published on the weekend.

I want to hold the Obama Administration accountable for the fact that they need to do more to regulate and repair the mortgage industry. I want the Congress to be held accountable for the fact that it can't get anything done unless it involves telling women what to do with their ladyparts and that aspirin between their knees. And I want people to know that if they elect Mitt Romney, a certain kind of "sucks to be you" attitude will take hold and nothing will be done to solve this problem.

Well, they might strive to make it easier for the banks to throw people out of their homes, but that's enough fun and games for one night.


From the comments, a petition to support Ana Casas Wilson...

Whose Name Would You Use?

While this may look like a classic case of diplomacy and geopolitical posturing, it does touch on the craft of technical writing.

Japan and South Korea are involved in a naming dispute that centers around what is called the Sea of Japan. All of the maps in use by the United States Military reference this body of water as the Sea of Japan. But Korea wants it to be known, alternatively, as the East Sea.

As a technical writer, working on a project that might involve this dispute, I think it would be imperative to acknowledge the facts of this dispute and act accordingly. A client might prefer to use the East Sea--or a client might want that avoided altogether. Staying up on cultural and political topics is essential to being prepared for disputes and controversies.

Yet Another Reason to Love Charles Pierce

No one can express the right amount of rage towards our so-called ruling class better than Charles Pierce. He always seems to be spot-on when it comes to looking at things like this and establishing the right perspective on what these sorts of things really mean.

We have a self-congratulatory, self-flaggellating, self-centered elite that rules us, and these people are no different than the elites that ruled us a hundred years ago. They don't care about anyone or anything other than the perpetuation of their own indignant glory.

It is no wonder that the American people are so badly misinformed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Elizabeth Banks Said Something Interesting

Whenever a celebrity has to conjure up some anecdote or opinion that will "sell" whatever piece accompanies the massive press junket and promotional material for their latest project, hurt feelings can multiply fairly quickly. You see, the well runs dry pretty quickly when you can't tell stories about your cat or your friend who got hit on by one of the oilier dudes from Entourage. You have to keep making things up or, barring that, you have to keep baring your soul.

In this case, Elizabeth Banks has dumped on the first film she appeared in. This is what a lot of people do; they react to their past in a negative way because they are still smarting from having done something that they don't think was any good.

It's called being an artist. If she didn't care about doing good work--and if she wasn't embarrassed by something she did early on--people would assume that she's just in it for the money.

And so, poor Miss Banks is simply guilty of saying something interesting. What else is new?

The Same Old Song and Dance

Our elites are scared.

What more can you say about a blaring headline and a story like this on MSNBC as we head towards the weekend? One authored by "senior producer" John W. Schoen? One that posits that our economy will be crushed if the Bush tax cuts expire?

Well, this is where you have to scream bullshit.

It's a very neat trick to link spending cuts with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. They are not the "Bush-era" tax cuts; they are the tax cuts that gutless Democrats helped pass in the early 2000s and we are still paying a steep price for this neat little piece of fiscal insanity and monetary redistribution. They are what's killing this country. They are what is allowing the One Percenters to continue their scam. And their scam is obvious. In exchange for "creating jobs" they are going to continue to demand their tax cuts.

The problem with this scenario is that they're not creating jobs. They're hoarding their wealth.

I'm all for a rollback on these tax cuts. If they want to replace them with targeted incentives--like actually hiring people or investing in green technology--fine and dandy. But don't link these tax cuts to a "crushing" of America's economy. That's absurd.

Our elites--Bernanke especially--have failed to accomplish much of anything with regards to restarting America's economy. It's time to end the cozy relationship between failed Wall Street bankers and failed ex-Wall Street politicians and go back to a tax rate of 39% for everyone who makes more than $250,000 per year and a 45% tax rate for everyone who makes more than a million dollars a year. And if you have more than a billion dollars in assets, we'll be taking half, please.

It's the least you could pay for living in the one country on Earth where such wealth actually allows you to live without fear of paying a 90% rate or being thrown in prison with the other oligarchs because the Prime Minister thinks you may be too popular for your own good.

No More DRM For Me

I look at this story as a wakeup call. Of the four titles that I now have available on my Amazon author's page, three of them do have DRM protection, and I regret doing that. It is too late to change that. Once you choose to protect it with DRM, it cannot be undone on Amazon's system. When, and if, I migrate these titles to other services, I will remove the DRM.

The newest title, Glory or Hell, does not have DRM protection.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Double Dose of Wingnut Logic

J0hn Hinderaker and Jim Treacher have given us a double dose of insanity today, simply because they are assuming facts not in evidence. They're not waiting for the facts because they want to blog their way to wingnut glory. They want to take a cheap shot at the President because he has the moral authority they desperately crave.

Is this a big deal? Yes, it certainly is. I hope that whoever assaulted Matthew Owens is arrested and tried fairly for assaulting him and I hope that Mr. Owens makes a speedy recovery. I hope that whoever did this to him goes to prison for a very long time. I hope that this sort of attack, if it was, in fact, racially motivated, is prosecuted as a hate crime under Federal statutes and I hope we can all agree that this horrific crime should be a wakeup call to everyone who cares about race relations in this country.

Hinderaker and Treacher (that's not his name; he's some sort of anonymous buffoon who writes for Tucker Carlson's Failed Web Site) are hopping up and down because they want to have their own pet cause here with which to fan the flames and deflect attention from the fact that Trayvon Martin was murdered by a man who wasn't charged with the crime of stalking and killing him after being told not to stalk and kill him by a police dispatcher. You see, the wingnuts and the right and whoever else have lost the debate on the George Zimmerman case almost from the outset because justice was not done and Zimmerman's daddy, being some sort of judge, may have pulled some strings.

And, I'm sorry, but there's no debate here. What happened in the Martin case with Zimmerman getting preferential treatment was an injustice. But justice has not been served yet in the Owens case. If the attackers are found, and given preferential treatment, then there should be universal condemnation for what they did to this poor man.

The problem is, Hinderaker and Treacher aren't competent enough to wait for the injustice to happen. They have no moral authority. They don't have a leg to stand on. They are assuming a great deal, precisely because they are racists. They are racists because they want to find an example of black people beating up a white person so that they can deflect attention from the fact that Zimmerman (he is part Hispanic, part white) killed a black teenager.

Yes, it's crazy. But we live in crazy times where fools have far influence than they probably should.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Petty Theft Gets You a Felony in Florida

I'm sure that they'll throw the book at this man over a dollar's worth of soda, and there will be many who say that he has it coming and what part of illegal don't you understand and that we should jail the bastard for the rest of his miserable life. So long as someone else is getting the business end of the broomstick, right?

Come on. He was drunk, down on his luck, and he went into a fast food joint and got out of hand. Did he hurt anyone? No. Sober him up, jail him for a few days for the drunk and disorderly, and then let's move on. Charge him for with a felony? Over this? That's the definition of cruel and unusual punishment, and of the excess of the law with regard to piling on charges. Does this case even remotely appear to be the even and fair application of the rule of law? No. What a nightmare.

Why not throw him on the rack and whip him without regard for this quaint notion of mercy and compassion?

At some point, it will dawn on the rest of the country that Florida's laws were written by the priests on loan from the Spanish Inquisition.

The Hysteria Will Continue

This is one of those stories that, in our anti-intellectual times, will be seen but not believed. Already there are probably a dozen or more wingnut bloggers, ready to slap this down.

America has a lot of problems, but far down on the list are problems directly related to so-called illegal immigration. The real problem, as far as I can see, centers around the fact that there are no jobs, there is no money, and no one is doing anything about it. So, why wouldn't people go back to where they came from?

Immigrants are not here to steal American jobs; there aren't any jobs anymore. And what few are available, nobody wants. Does anybody want to go pick cucumbers or tomatoes in Alabama this summer? Because there might have been jobs for that (this year, I don't think too many farmers in Alabama are going to plant food that no one will ever pick). Does anybody want to live in a large American city and make menial wages cleaning buildings and preparing food? Jobs a-plenty for that. Does anyone want to work construction when there's nothing worth building right now? Nope.

There are going to be a lot of jobs available when President Romney caves in to the base and builds a massive fence from California to the Gulf of Mexico. This fence will be designed so that the waves of immigrants who aren't coming anymore can watch how it keeps Americans from leaving.

Another Kind of Brain Drain

There is a parallel here in the American experience with foreign students. After 9/11, American policy towards students from abroad and student visas became harsher and more restrictive. This resulted in a redirection of students to places like Canada and Germany. Now, we're seeing the flip side of this.

Students that would have maybe studied in America are finding themselves leaving Germany as soon as their education is completed, due in large part to the complexity and difficulty of complying with restrictive, anti-immigrant laws that discourage keeping intellectual capital in the country. Germany needs foreign workers, desperately, in order to maintain its status as a net exporter of goods. It is not uncommon for one German worker to support as many as five other individuals (extended family, etc.) and it is entirely possible to do that here.

If you are going to bring people to your country and educate them and provide them skills, keeping them should be easy. Instead, these people, who have great value and potential, move on, looking for something palatable. Who can blame them?

Allen West Wants Ignorance to Prevail

Allen West is the face of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives. He is always on television, always being quoted, and he has the distinction of being the craziest Republican in all of Congress. That is no mean feat, what with Jim DeMint and about thirty Teahadists out there. West is a fraud and an incompetent.

Of all of the Teahadists, West stands head and shoulders above all of them. He is the go-to guy for insane perspectives and nutty commentary. Whatever he says is wrong. Bank on it.

Our "cultural suicide" is something he is probably obsessed with, up until the point that some staffer will come back to him with a blank sheet of paper that demonstrates that no one is giving him money to keep saying such things. Once the donations dry up, it is time to move on to another line of bullshit. West knows this in his heart.

So, what he is trying to do is fairly obvious. He is trying to create a phony issue that will deflect attention from the fact that this administration is killing terrorists all over the world. Bin Laden is dead, his lackeys are dying all the time, and his followers are dying every time they pick up a phone or look out of a window. Terrorists who attack our troops or our allies are dying at an unprecedented rate. We're killing pirates on the high seas and we're negotiating deals with our allies and our adversaries.

What West actually fears is the notion that a Democrat has done a better job fighting terrorism than any Republican, ever. What these agencies are doing is pretty cut and dried. They are removing the Bush-era stupidity from their training programs. It's that simple.

Newt Gingrich Will Not Leave the Room

Newt Gingrich knows that the nominating process in the Republican Party is a sham right now. It is a carefully constructed farce that bears no resemblance to democracy or democratic ideals. He knows that he and Rick Santorum and Ron Paul could continue well into the summer and that they would easily deny Mitt Romney the delegates that he needs to seal the deal.

But, of all of the nominees, past and present, none have the gall of Gingrich. None operate on pure bile on hatred like he operates. There isn't anyone in politics today who has that special combination of delusion, incompetence, and luck that Gingrich possesses. And he will never leave the room. He will stop running, but he will never stop plotting the demise of his enemies.

Another Career Destroyed

In an attempt to deflect criticism, there are some who would say that the U.S. Congress has no right to pass judgement over the conduct of the personnel who went to Colombia and allowed their personal conduct to destroy their careers. This is nonsense. Granted, the current Congress doesn't do legislation or oversight, preferring obstructionism and grandstanding above all else. But the idea that Congress cannot investigate because the Secret Service has much higher ethical standards is an idea that isn't going to go anywhere.

Really, who is charged with protecting the President? Does Congress have that job now or does the Secret Service have that job? And this notion that the Secret Service is beyond reproach is what started the whole thing in the first place. In order to legitimately claim ownership of such an important role, our system requires oversight and compliance. Period. End of story on that front.

Part of the problem here is that the Secret Service has been a strongarm agency of the United States government, accountable to no one, convinced of an inherent superiority that it clearly does not possess, and plagued with personnel who have low standards of personal conduct. This has tarnished the work of people who want to do the right thing. Right now, there are probably a lot of Secret Service agents who are glad to see the dead wood get flushed out.

Let's not forget that the air marshal system was screwed up by former Secret Service agents who threw their weight around.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Who Will Save Us From Chelsea Handler?

Chelsea Handler has decided to set herself up as the person who is going to save everyone from Angelina Jolie, even if the world does not require saving.

I don't know how many more husbands or boyfriends Jolie will steal before she is done. Handler has initiated a campaign that will end up drawing a lot of attention to her and to whoever she thinks she is protecting. At the end of the day, Jolie will decide whether or not to take Handler's boyfriend or husband from her as well. And it will end in tears.

Who Will Save Us From Chelsea Handler?

Chelsea Handler has decided to set herself up as the person who is going to save everyone from Angelina Jolie, even if the world does not require saving.

I don't know how many more husbands or boyfriends Jolie will steal before she is done. Handler has initiated a campaign that will end up drawing a lot of attention to her and to whoever she thinks she is protecting. At the end of the day, Jolie will decide whether or not to take Handler's boyfriend or husband from her as well. And it will end in tears.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nothing Special Anymore

There isn't much here that is shocking, and that's probably why the story is resonating throughout the web and throughout official Washington.

Given what is already known, it is hard to come up with something definitive that explains why this has blown sky high and left many scratching their heads. I think there is a definite possibility that much of the Secret Service's ability to intimidate Americans and strike fear into the hearts of many has been reduced by this incident. Certainly, the revelation that it is staffed with assholes like this is a blow to the credibility of the agency.

If the general public does not fear and respect the Secret Service, then it is that much harder for the agency to do its job. It couldn't be more simple than that. The protective detail of the government officials is one thing; the rank and file or the uniformed division is another. But both are fairly tarnished at this point. And the elite members of the military who have joined in with this agency to provide support have sullied their chances of doing anything further with their own military careers.

Perhaps it all comes back the decline of our so-called elites. Those who have risen to great heights aren't all that special after all. The line of professionalism that is supposed to separate them from the unwashed masses doesn't really exist and you don't really have to be the best of the best.

The War Against the Rhino

When human beings attempt to eradicate or annihilate something, they usually fail. We cannot eradicate disease, poverty, drug abuse, child abuse, or famine. We cannot stop wars and we cannot stop the diseases that are destroying much of the underdeveloped world.

But we do seem to be doing a fabulous job of destroying the rhino in the wild. Makes you proud to be human, does it not?

And all so someone can pretend that their limp penis is not their fault.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Withering on the Vine

A 30% drop may not seem like much, but this is catastrophically bad news for an organization like Susan G. Komen, which needs every penny it takes in. The overhead for this charity is fairly high--it costs money to pay severance packages for those disgraced and incompetent leaders, you know. Their whole plan was to increase participation by severing ties with Planned Parenthood; that has blown up in their faces. These numbers are devastating. You cannot sustain a charity with dwindling enthusiasm and declining participation. Corporate sponsors will take note of this and vote with their feet. No one wants to back a loser, and no one wants to put their name on something where the turnout drops like this.

This organization has begun to see the effects of what it accomplished by angering the people who have dedicated themselves to supporting it. Aside from a name change, a restructuring, and a dedicated commitment to supporting Planned Parenthood, I don't know what could reverse this trend.

And yes. This is a trend; as dedicated volunteers fall away, the links to the communities where these events are held fall away as well. A drop in participation means that it is possible that those who did turn up will look at the fact that their neighbors didn't show up and will turn their backs on Susan G. Komen as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Asma Doesn't Have a Conscience

This is an interesting attempt at shaming the Assad regime in Syria. I don't think it will work, of course, but it is worth noting that Asma al-Assad is now the international "face" of a regime that operates the way her late father-in-law intended--as a repressive and totalitarian kleptocracy.

If Assad were an old frump or a heavy-lidded monster, this wouldn't even appear in the media. She's fashionably photogenic and Western-educated. She is an imagemaker's dream in terms of her ability to present a modern pretty face to the image-conscious media.

Those facts do not change the reality. She is very much an enthusiastic supporter of killing the Syrians who oppose her husband. She does not care how many of them die. In the dying moments of the Assad regime, her million dollar smile will go down in a hail of bullets, and I have no doubt that she will take a few of her killers with her.

That is how the Assads will go out. They will die in their bunker or their palace, surrounded by bullet casings and burned furniture. Their window of opportunity has long since passed. Right now, they could be dining in a restaurant overlooking Lake Constance, secure with millions of dollars in stolen money and feted by obsequious waiters. Instead, they are trying to kill their way into the future.

And, no. The United States should not bomb Syria or get involved. The rebels are every bit as bad as the Assad people, perhaps even worse. What a sickening mess.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pixar Has Some Tough Marketing Choices Ahead

The similarity here is noticeable. Pixar needs Brave to be a hit and, to be fair, they marketed the fact that the lead character uses a bow and arrow last year when the original trailer came out. Still, there is no escaping the fact that The Hunger Games is the biggest thing on the planet right now. That is, until we see how The Dark Knight Rises and the Avengers perform.

It is worth noting that I believe we will see more of this "heroine with a bow and arrow" thing crop up.

Monday, April 16, 2012

No Government Conferences Should Be Held in Las Vegas

The incompetence of our elites continues unabated. Martha Johnson no doubt believed herself so far above mere mortals that it must be a shocking thing to have to deal with the rabble.

As a Democrat, I am doubly sorry for this ludicrous display of conspicuous consumption and elitism. The Obama Administration is all that stands between the Randian/Galtian hordes who want to turn modern America into the second coming of a Dickensian nightmare and the people who have suffered mightily over the last five years.

There are people choosing between medicine and food, bankruptcy (which, thanks to the likes of Joe Biden, et al, really doesn't do what it is supposed to do anymore, especially since he threw a mighty big bone to his friends who run credit card/legalized usury outfits out of his home state of Delaware) and oblivion.

There are people out of work, scratching around for whatever they can get. People are struggling to feed their kids and the social safety net has come under the greatest scrutiny that it has ever been under. We have elected officials who want to take this country back to the 19th Century and force the poor into enclaves, camps, and forced labor, literally, and our "working media" fail to understand this and report it as such. Forcing people to get jobs (rather than training, encouraging them, and helping them) is a sad and sorry way to treat the unfortunate among us, especially when, ahem, living on welfare is NOT a free ride and never has been and never will be.

People are not poor because of their morals. This is the canard that never dies. People are poor for a myriad of reasons, but not because God wants them to be poor so that they will learn to stop sinning. If you can't show compassion and sympathy for someone in need, just remember--the chances that you might need a helping hand are going to improve exponentially if a Republican decides that anyone who wasn't born with a silver spoon in their mouth should be herded into union-free camps to work for pea-fucking-nuts.

Once again--people are not poor because of God's will. God loved the poor--he made so many of them, but they're not poor because they are Intended to Be So while living under the cruel thumb of those whom God intended to be the Wealthy and the Elite.

Uh, like Martha Johnson, apparently.

When brought into office, Miss Johnson should have been smart enough and intelligent enough to know that CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION on the TAX PAYER'S DIME was a NO GO, given the lavishness and ridiculousness of the Bush Administration. She should have been savvy enough to know what passes for being frugal and wise. She should have known that each and every dime she spent and decision she made would fall under the oversight and compliance requirement of Congress. As in, she should have known they were going to find out about her wine and her delightful dip in the spa on the TAX PAYER'S DIME. She should have functioned like an actual member of a working, functional elite and said, "we're holding our conference in Omaha this year, and I don't want anyone griping about the Three Star hotel we're going to meet in."

Had she chosen that destination over Las Vegas, she'd still have a job right now. And, really. If you are a government bigwig, and if you think choosing Las Vegas for your next getaway on the TAX PAYER'S DIME is a smart thing to do right now, just save us the trouble and resign and go back to shilling for daddy's old business partners.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jennifer Rubin is Still a Bag of Nuts

Jennifer Rubin thinks she found evidence of David Axelrod being "TKO-ed" on Fox News, but the sad thing is, she merely revealed who she really works for. If the editors at the Washington Post aren't paying attention, perhaps they should.

The clip that Rubin embeds in her post today is annoying in that it takes Axelrod's statement, which is merely a benign piece of campaign rhetoric, and edits it for effect. That's the YouTube equivalent of some punk making his own trailer for an action hero movie that hasn't been made yet.

So, her "evidence" is ridiculous and she's still the same crazy bag of nuts she always was. But who is she in the tank for?

Well, see for yourself.

Yep. Her "source" for this is a YouTube channel that blatantly affiliates itself with the Romney campaign. Rather than get the clip from the source--Fox News--Rubin goes for the Romney campaign's in-house propaganda channel on YouTube. Rather than present what she calls a TKO she shills for Romney and demonstrates that she doesn't really understand what campaign rhetoric is all about.

Then, she doubles down on the wingnut nonsense and links to a blog post from the Heritage Foundation that was put out in October of last year. This post tries to make the case that the rich are paying most of the taxes. The sad fact is, the rich are being taxed at a rate that is much lower than ever. Even the commenters on that site are able to knock down the post Rubin links to, and that ridiculous meme died long ago. No one is buying the notion that the rich are paying too much in taxes; the country is moving, decidedly, in the other direction.

So, once again, Jennifer Rubin embarrasses herself and publicly identifies just what a shrill bag of nuts she really is. Apparently, anyone can work for the Washington Post.

The Distance Between Romney's Flip-flops

In another time and place, this sort of a blatant flip-flop would actually end up being news; in the present time, this is yet another example of how Mitt Romney has fed red meat to the wingnuts and gotten caught in his own hypocrisy.

I guarantee you--there will be more of these flip-flops and they will, when stacked together, appear to be mind-blowing. But, with the absence of a working press and the presence of Republican spin doctors, this sort of thing will be old hat by Monday night. I would be very surprised to see this pick up legs and make it through the full news cycle of this week. Consistency and Romney are not going to appear in many sentences, ever.

And so, you have to measure the distance between the Romney flip-flops and see if this one really has traction. If Romney really did say what he said, and if he really did say in in January, then that's about three to four months--a lifetime for a Romney flip-flop. By the time the general campaign rolls around, his flip-flops will be weekly or daily, and early and often.

Why anyone living at or near the poverty line in this country would even contemplate voting for a Republican is beyond me. They want to criminalize bad luck and subject millions to a Dickensian future.

Number Eight? Really?

I received a lovely report from just a little while ago, and--I'm speechless.

In the Top 100 "free" category I'm at number eight in the Men's Fiction Adventure category.

See how weird my stuff is? It doesn't even look like a real book. But, number eight? I'll take it.

A Few Bad Eggs

I'm sure that the report issued was done so with a great deal of enthusiasm. It is a fairly significant "get" for the Colombians to embarrass the Americans at this summit, and it gives them bragging rights. Promotions and bonuses and praise will flow out of the government and I would be willing to bet that Colombia's neighbors are going to be very jealous of this. In fact, I would think that the conduct of American personnel in Latin America is going to come in for a higher level of scrutiny after this incident.

But, let's get real. These were a few bad eggs and this does not reflect on what the majority of agents or support personnel are all about. In fact, this was one weak-minded individual who decided to haggle with a prostitute and ruin the careers of ten other uniformed Secret Service employees and, apparently, five members of the U. S. Army. That's fifteen careers destroyed over the price of making good on services rendered.

In a country where prostitution is legal, never anger a prostitute. Not only will they use law enforcement to make good on what they think you owe them, they will use the recourse under the laws that regulate their practices to ensure that you don't go out and do that to another worker.

Unfortunately, this one individual who failed to pay for sex was not sophisticated enough to understand that his shitheaded attempt to get out of paying for the services rendered would lead to a diplomatic incident that has rocketed around the world and opened up a massive wound in the Secret Service. I mean, I can't stress that enough. Fifteen careers and his own, destroyed. What a jackass.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gas Prices Are Going Down, Not Up, Governor Palin

Fox News embarrasses itself by running Paying at the Pump on the day where is announced that Americans will be paying less at the pump this summer, but no matter. Facts are what the liberal lamestream media use to confuse real Americans.

Let's look at the rehearsed opening paragraph of comments by former Governor Sarah Palin. Now would be a good time to pause and rub your eyes.

She is asked why America is not "energy independent." The answer is, "because Ronald Reagan reversed every attempt made by Jimmy Carter to get us off foreign oil as a result of two Arab oil embargoes in the 1970s." You can go look that up, by the way.

Palin ignores reality and tries to make it about, well, what exactly? She says that the problem is not because of the American people or America's vast resources. Well, excuse me, but, yes it is because of those two things. One, you can't squeeze oil out of human beings who are intent on consuming it and burning it. And, two, we don't have enough oil in this country to keep up with demand. So, she's completely and utterly wrong from the very first words she speaks.

Palin asserts that the left and the right can come together and develop a plan. Really? And if there's a single aspect of that plan that offends a Republican Senator, then that plan won't happen because the Republican Party is the party of obstructionism and filibuster. Each and every time President Obama has tried to hammer out a compromise with the Republican Party, they use the Senate to block him.

Alaska is not the United States of America. Alaska gives each and every citizen a check in order to thank them for allowing the state to extract oil and natural gas and whatever else from the resources owned by the state. Does Palin expect us to do the same in North Dakota, Texas, or West Virginia? No, because that would be socialism.

What timing, by the way. Palin makes her energy remarks on the day when it is announced that gas prices are going down and not up. So much for her expertise as a half-term governor.

The rest of her comments are too sad and confused to even ponder. Really, I won't do that to you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Act of Compassion and Understanding Unravels Quickly

I think that this will go a long ways towards defusing the situation. Sybrina Martin has, with that one statement, done more to reach across the racial divide than anyone on the other side has and she is doing it with an amazing amount of restraint and understanding. There is real compassion in her statement for George Zimmerman, and that is more than the rabid supporters of Zimmerman can say for their sorry, racist actions so far.

How is it that the people demonized here--and demonized they were when they tried to protect Trayvon Martin's image from exploitation--have demonstrated more class and dignity than their so-called superiors? I'll tell you how--by making this statement as openly and honestly as possible. By calling for justice, not a pound of flesh. By being deliberate in their actions when so many turned into howling, ignorant advocates of revenge and honor killing.

And yet, there are many who will still remain on the offensive and who will still use race and hatred to widen the divide in this country. Shameless jackasses, one and all, for doing so.

Oh, well. So much for all of what I said. We're back to lawyers, money, screaming and hate...

This is frustrating as hell. Say what you think, mean what you say, and if you can't stand by your original statements or clarify them, please let someone else do the talking. I mean, honestly. I ask myself this all the time--how do you function in this society anymore?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Killing Your Great Ideas With Too Much Text

I like the concept of this book, but I'm not too keen on what they did on Scribd to market the book to the public.

It's not a bad idea to push the cover of the book down into the left-hand corner; the cover of the book is, essentially, bold, colored text. A catchy image would have been better (and more in line with how they are trying to grab readers on Amazon and places like that).

What they have done here is a bit of a disservice to the ideas behind the book. If the idea of "drinking at home is cheaper" is really in the book, take that out. Why instruct people in misery through anti-social behavior? Ugh.

Throwing a very wordy list of bullet items up like this isn't very readable. The ideas and concepts are sound but the execution is a bit lacking. I would have gone with something much less wordy and more eye-catching, but that's me and I don't sell any books, so there you have it.

How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents

Yet Another Wingnut Media Outlet

This is the masthead of something called "The Washington Free Beacon" and I can't tell you much about it because all they do is create anti-Obama stories out of whatever filters through the media outlets that they are looking at all day long. If, for example, someone in the Obama Administration were to go out of lunch, someone at the WFB will write a story with the headline, "Obama Flunky Eats Where Socialists Dine" and everyone will high-five each other and sneer at the libtards.

I won't link them, but I will note that this not a very diverse group of people.

Joe Scarborough, Gay Stylist

She's America's scold and she won't perk it up. And just because Mika Brzezinski flashes her legs doesn't mean she is not a "serious" journalist who won't put up with nonsense. And now, in order to drum up further interest in her program, she drops in the fact that she thinks her co-host, Joe Scarborough, is a "gay stylist." Somewhere, a real gay stylist just cringed.

The one and only reason why Scarborough even has a job in the media is because of the implosion of Don Imus.

Gary Stein Goes Full Wingnut

The Marine Corps CAN and WILL violate your First Amendment rights. And, they'll violate your Second Amendment rights as well.

In fact, the military forces very restrictive gun control rules on soldiers. Such as, but not limited to, not allowing them to possess a personally-owned weapon in their own barracks room.

And they will continue to do these things, and there is nothing that Gary Stein's lawyers can do about it.

Trouble All Around For These Soldiers

Someone is in a whole lot of trouble, and they're in more trouble than these five idiots:

There are some chain of custody issues here, and while the five soldiers in question are in trouble, there are people further up the food chain who will also face some serious scrutiny for not maintaining a proper chain of custody for this weapon. In the military, accountability is everything.

At some point, this weapon was accounted for, and then it was marked accounted for AFTER it had gone missing. Whether it was marked accounted for multiple times after it had physically gone missing is anyone's guess. I would imagine that it was marked as being used or utilized on a weapons range (but not actually fired) and that's how it was smuggled off of the post.

If it was taken from an arms room inventory, and then counted as being accounted for in spite of not actually physically being in the arms room, then, whoa Nelly--someone is in a heap of trouble.

Whoever was in charge of the range where the weapon was "fired" but not actually fired is also in trouble for not inspecting these soldiers when they left the range with a live weapon. Each and every weapon of this type--and I'm guessing that this is true--has to be accounted for if it has been fired. That is, someone would have to sign off on the fact that the rocket was, in fact, fired. This is not done with bullets, really, but they do expect you to police up your brass. Leaving a weapons range with a single brass casing from an expended bullet is bad enough; leaving with a bullet is worse, but it does happen. But leaving a range with a weapon AND a rocket? Unbelievable.

I'm thinking they took the weapon and stuck someone else with the accountability issue. This is what happened at the base in January. Was this related to this incident? I'm thinking that if one of these weapons goes missing, they would lock down everything until it was found.

The media will seize on the fact that this came from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and that's wrong as well. This is the sort of thing that could happen on any combat arms post, or on any post where there is a heavy weapons firing range, and it has happened before. Soldiers have been doing things like this since forever. It has nothing to do with the fact that this happened where it did.

In any case, that is all semantics. You don't take a weapon like this home with you. Period.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Why Isn't Anyone Talking About Bubba Watson?

The golfing world still can't get over the Tiger Woods hype of years gone by. Well, I think enough time has passed for people to finally get to what's going on. There's no question--Woods will win more tournaments. But will he be the same Tiger Woods? Of course not.

This Masters was a great ride, but it was great because so many golfers stepped up their game and made a run at it. More of this please, and a lot less Tiger hype.

But you'll note how this is a featured story, and that Bubba Watson will be wondering where the reporters went in a few weeks.

Tanning Beds Cause Melanoma Increase, Teens Don't Care

What you have here is pretty obvious.

Despite overwhelming evidence, teenagers are still using tanning beds so that they can improve their appearance.

My only question is, why are their parents allowing this to continue?

Anne Hathaway Cuts Her Hair, Western Civilization Freaks Out

Goodness, the world is about to end.

Apparently, Anne Hathaway cut her hair for a role. Then, she went out to a night club with friends. On top of that, she didn't wear a hat.

Hopefully, we can hold out until food supplies run low.

Yes, I did think of what happened to poor Keri Russell when she cut her hair:

It was not the end of the world, was it? (Granted, it was the end of the show...)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mike Wallace 1918-2012

There was a time when people were terrified of seeing Mike Wallace show up at their place of business. Oh, to return to those days and have another like him.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bristol Palin is a Little Slow to Grasp the Obvious

The erstwhile celebrity people named Bristol and Levi have a dispute on their hands, and it involves child support.

As soon as Levi Johnston went three months without paying child support, Palin should have done something to ensure that he met his obligation. When she says that, 22 months later, he owes $38,500, she is making a factual statement. However, in the real world, she's never going to see that money and she knows it. He's going to be a permanently deadbeat daddy, and that is how the Palin family will be able to refer to him from now on. This was a tactical move on their part; anytime Johnston tries to speak up, they can discredit him (and deny him child visitation rights, I would imagine, or try to, anyway) by pointing to the ridiculous amount of money he will never pay them.

Bristol fails to grasp the obvious. As a single mother, there's no way she should expect Levi to pay her a dime. Why try this in the court of public opinion?

This is called a lot of things, but all they are doing is eliminating the baby daddy from future consideration. This is well within their rights, but if they had the best interests of the child in the forefront of all considerations from day one, they never would have allowed this to go on for 22 months.