Friday, January 31, 2014

Chris Christie Knew and He Lied About It


I don't think the 2016 Presidential Race matters right now. What matters is whether or not Chris Christie will still be in politics a month from now. A week from now. I mean, holy crap.

He knew.

Chris Christie knew and he lied about it and David Wildstein is ready to squeal like the archetypal stool pigeon.
Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., knew about the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge as they were happening, the former Port Authority official who oversaw the closings said Friday, adding that he has the evidence to prove it,the New York Times reports.

The attorney for David Wildstein, who was appointed by Christie to the Port Authority and later resigned after the scandal broke, said in a letter released that "evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference."

“Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some,” the letter added, according to the Times.

Christie explicitly said during the Jan. 9 news conference that he had "no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution" and said he didn't know that anyone on his staff was involved in the closings until the day before.
Plenty of liars get elected President. Plenty of liars keep their jobs. Chris Christie shouldn't be one of them.

The Craziest Super Bowl Ever?


Is it me or is this going to be an insane Super Bowl? The craziness surrounding this event which, inexplicably, was awarded to the New York metro area, has been vastly different than previous years when it was held in New Orleans (not that New Orleans can't get nutty).

Will there even be a game on Sunday? Damn.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Todd Starnes Got Caught Lying Again


Todd Starnes is a religion hustler. He does what the race hustlers does--he lies and makes stuff up so that he can advance his agenda, plant stories in the media, and attract attention to himself. Fox News cannot claim to be a solid, dependable news organization precisely because it employs people like Starnes on a regular basis.

He's a hack and he's a liar. States like California are the breeding ground of these poorly sourced phony outrage stories because we couldn't possibly have religious intolerance and bigotry in a place like South Carolina or Texas, could we? Of course not.

Starnes is your go-to source for bullshit.

Kasim Reed is the Georgian of the Year


Did your kids spend the night at school? Did it take you 22 hours to get home from work this week? Well, you can be rest assured--Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed isn't to blame because he's the Georgian of the Year and so you can shut up now because the weatherman isn't to blame for what happened.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Wonderbag


The product that you see above is the Wonderbag; it slow cooks food that would normally require a heat source. It's a product designed for the harsh realities of Africa, but you can still put it to "green" use.

And, without any compensation for me, I'm including the link to Amazon where people can check it out and perhaps buy one. When you buy a Wonderbag, a free one goes to someone in Africa.

President Obama Did Not Plagiarize President Bush


Ed Kilgore has a good laugh at Marc Thiessen's expense. 

Thiessen, one of the most inept speechwriters ever and a liar to boot, made the spurious claim that President Obama's State of the Union Speech last night plagiarized the 2007 State of the Union speech given by President Bush. The problem is, the same themes and the same hopes have not changed, thanks to the research done by focus groups, and that's all you need to know about that.

We are living through a period of slow growth, rampant unemployment, and overall, I would say that these are shitty times. People are locked in place and cannot move up or out. Nobody has any money but everything is more and more expensive. And, dammit, we needed health care reform and didn't get it until President Obama became Hitler and a black man at the same time and gave it to us over the bodies of brave Tea Party warriors (who are now whoring themselves out to anyone who will pay them to say and do ridiculous things).

The President's speech was a good one but it won't warm the hardened hearts of the men and women who are locked into their own delusions of adequacy and competence. We are going to have break through this logjam somehow, and the President has the right idea. He really does have to go it alone; the opposition is disloyal and insane.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Arguing Over Every Pound Spent


The Royal Family of Britain, those Hanoverian pretenders with expensive tastes, are somewhat less popular today than they were a week ago. Someone wisely leaked a video of Kate Middleton being adorable in response to the news that the Royals have run afoul of government oversight:
"The household needs to get better at planning and managing its budgets for the longer term -- and the Treasury should be more actively involved in reviewing what the household is doing," said Margaret Hodge, the member of parliament who chairs the Public Accounts Committee. 
The report also criticized the royals' "complacency" in allowing some 39 percent of royal buildings and land to slip into a state of disrepair. It said the 60-year-old heating system in Buckingham Palace alone will cost between £500,000 and £1 million to replace. 
"The Household must get a much firmer grip on how it plans to address its maintenance backlog," Hodge said.
They can carp about the pipes and the boilers, but, really, what no one wants to talk about is how awful it is for the Royal household to have to tolerate Prince Andrew and the like. I have to think that having to subsidize Andrew for the rest of his life rankles more than a few members of the "household" that can't stay within a budget. The Royals travel and spend money and have to have things--telling them no is whose responsibility? A government bureaucrat?

The crown would not approve.

Jude Law Might Be the One to Destroy Rupert Murdoch's Evil Empire


Jude Law is having his day in court over painful and personal matters. And his day in court is sending shockwaves through the British legal system. He has, for all intents and purposes, appeared at the epicenter of the illegal phone hacking carried out by employees of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers in Great Britain. The ethical breaches alone have been front page news for years. Now we begin to see how tawdry the details were and how these people operated without any regard for the law.

The part of this that matters is the fact that Law was working in the United States when journalists were trolling through his personal life, trying to find tabloid material. Law's case, then, is going to likely expand the inquest into the realm of U.S. law. If someone can go after Murdoch in the states, they can accelerate the destruction of News Corp through litigation.

Law should receive a massive settlement for that they did to him. His star may have faded but the outrage over what was done should not fade at all.

Monday, January 27, 2014

This President Can't Catch a Break


The rate of discretionary spending in this country has gone down dramatically in the last few years, and this president can't get any credit for it, not matter what.

When you contrast the rhetoric directed against the Obama Administration with the reality of what's happening, how could anyone ever vote Republican again?

The Jade Rabbit Says Goodnight to Humanity


The Jade Rabbit is the Chinese rover sent to study the moon. It was supposed to last for a few more months but it has shut down and said a heartfelt "goodnight" to the people of Earth. In other words, the damned thing has quit working.

This is all being handled with the weirdly poetic (and probably poorly translated) prose of the Chinese space agency and the press handlers that are trying to put a positive spin on the demise of this expensive piece of hardware. To my way of thinking, when a totalitarian government tries to work with poetry and human emotions, it all comes out sounding like someone has been allowed to empty their bizarre ideas into exactly the wrong forum for discussion.

Perhaps I am expressing a preference for the hard-assed coldness of NASA, which abandoned anything imaginative two generations ago, but still. The Chinese are being rather strange about their contribution to the space junk race.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jay Leno Will Never Go Away


When it comes to Jay Leno, all you can do is pray that he goes away with some of his dignity intact:
How did Jay Leno really feel in 2009, when NBC revealed its master plan to hand The Tonight Show over to Conan O’Brien? The comedian doesn’t mince words in an upcoming interview with 60 Minutes, telling Steve Kroft that the decision took him completely by surprise. “I was blindsided,” he says, according to CBS News.
And though Leno adds that he never asked his corporate overlords to explain their reasoning, hearing he was being replaced felt like being rejected by his girlfriend: “You know, you have a girl [who] says, ‘I don’t want to see you anymore.’ Why? You know, she doesn’t want to see you anymore, okay?”
This time around, though, Leno seems much more at peace with the network’s machinations — even though, as the host notes in the clip below, he “probably would have stayed [on Tonight] a little longer” if he had his druthers.
That said, Leno adds, “it’s not my decision” — and he believes that bringing in “an extremely qualified young guy” like Jimmy Fallon, whom Leno likens to “a young Johnny [Carson],” makes “perfect sense.” So maybe this isn’t a happy ending for Leno — but at least it’s one he can understand.
In other words, plan on passive-aggressive tactics that will gut Jimmy Fallon and return Leno to the Tonight Show in about fourteen months. If Fallon loses his audience, Leno will make himself available for another "salvation" play. I think Fallon will be much more attractive to advertisers and I think he will mesh perfectly with the viral video nature of the culture. When was the last time Leno had anything go viral?

I mean, when he says that he never asked NBC to explain things, he's lying. He has known for over a decade that his audience skews far too old to entice the advertisers that NBC needs to stay afloat. His show has never generated the kind of money that Johnny Carson used to make--enough money so that Carson could tell NBC what to do and when to do it and how high he wanted them to pile his money. Leno has never had that kind of power. He does not preside over a cultural institution--he runs a pretty good show that won't offend anyone's mother. And that's as nice as it gets.

Leno will eat the seed corn of television and destroy everyone in order to stay on the air for another decade. Whoever gives him a deal makes a lifetime commitment to hire a man whose own "highlights" show is eminently forgettable.

When was the last time anyone sat down and watched a best-of reel featuring the last twenty or so years of Leno? Please.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Disgusting


This assclown used a mass shooting (a domestic dispute) to sell shit on his blog.

A Shooting at the Columbia Mall


I don't have a lot to add--the shooting today at the Columbia Mall here in Columbia, Maryland has rattled a lot of nerves. The loss of life in any senseless shooting is a tragedy. Well, tragedy arrived in the neighborhood today. I was last in that area Thursday night--right where the shots ended up and right near the skate shop where it all happened. What a horrible day for the families.

The fact that this was some kind of a domestic dispute or unrequited love that was solved with a shotgun is what makes this such an awful thing. We've seen the photos and the chaos--we were not caught up in it today but a State Patrol car went flying past us before we knew what had happened. No one really has any gun control solutions for shotguns--you can buy them at Wal-Mart, I believe, and anyone who advocates for gun control usually excludes them from consideration. I am not going to say anything about gun control because America, fuck yeah and all that.

The thing that signifies these events are the helicopters. I believe there were at least two medivac type helicopters right after this happened--I was walking in the neighborhood with the dog. So far, over six hours after the incident, I've counted five of the news helicopters, and they are hovering over the mall, in the dark, giving the networks and the local news stations and the cable stations their obligatory live shots.

Anyway, there's not much more to say. Awful.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Michael Bolton Has a Better Chance of Being President


John Bolton has no chance whatsoever of being President of the United States of America:
A strange thing happened Tuesday night at a Los Angeles dinner packed with well-heeled businesspeople and Republican donors. 
A conservative, best known for his hawkish views on foreign policy, got a rousing ovation when he said he was “thinking about” running for president in 2016. 
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton may not make a big splash if he jumps into the presidential race—as those close to him expect he will—but his flirtation raises some intriguing questions. 
Which face of the Republican Party will dominate if and when foreign policy rears its head during the next presidential campaign? And is there opportunity in running as the party’s resident hawk?
The neocons live in their own delusional world. They see stories like this and they nod their heads--why not John Bolton for President? His razor-thin resume, his laughable grasp of diplomacy, his wrong-on-everything-possible positions, and his love of permanent war are exactly what the American people are looking for.

Exactly.

John McCain is the Living Parody of a Senator


Grandpa Simpson John McCain had this to say:
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Tuesday decided to add a little more oomph to his running criticism of how President Obama has handled the ongoing turmoil in Syria.

“I have never seen anything like this in my life,” McCain told Phoenix radio station KFYI-AM while discussing the president’s policy on Syria. “I thought Jimmy Carter was bad, but he pales in comparison to this president, in my opinion.” 
Comparisons to the unpopular Carter administration were rampant during the 2012 presidential campaign season. Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., tried continuously to point to anti-American unrest in the Middle East as a rebirth of the late 1970s.
That would be the same Jimmy Carter who negotiated decades of peace between Egypt and Israel. We can't simply point to the fact that McCain is always on the wrong side of history or that, under President McCain, we'd have ten million men and women in uniform and we'd be clawing our way through seven wars at once. What's a little bloodshed when you can be the most ridiculous Senator still living?

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is Ignorant of the Law


This is the stupidest shit ever.
A diet of bread and water is the punishment for dozens of Arizona inmates who allegedly defaced American flags placed in their jail cells. 
The 38 male inmates are part of the Maricopa County jail system, which is under the control of controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio. 
For their alleged unpatriotic acts, the sheriff said Thursday, they'll survive on bread and water for seven days. 
"These inmates have destroyed the American flag that was placed in their cells," Arpaio said. "Tearing them, writing on them, stepping on them, throwing them in the toilet, trash or wherever they feel. It's a disgrace ... this is government property that they are destroying, and we will take action against those who act this way."
Forget the First Amendment, which guarantees the right of anyone to wipe their ass with the American flag. Forget the common sense needed to comprehend a world where this man can get elected to anything and keep his job. I mean, duh.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
This is the world we inherited and it gets dumber every day. As soon as someone starts waving the flag, or the bloody shirt, or their tattered copy of the Constitution, you can be rest assured that they don't know the first thing about anything.

Always Good For a Laugh


Ann Althouse misses the point entirely when she makes her attack about our weak campaign finance laws and not the complete and utter disregard of the rule of law by half-assed conservative pundit and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza. It isn't about the law--it's about the fact that D'Souza is a serial hypocrite of the highest order who got caught because he simply didn't respect the very simple and basic rules that govern who can give money to a candidate and how much they can give. So, there's that. And, of course charging him with violating campaign finance laws is "political" because D'Souza operates entirely in a political world where everyone is accountable for their actions except himself. His respect for the rule of law is legendary--especially family law.

Saying that the law is "oppressive" is laughable. How can the law be oppressive in any way, shape or form for a conservative intellectual of D'Souza's background? Did he not go to college? Wasn't he supposed to be a smarty-pants? That's the kind of stupid Ann Althouse is famous for. And her braying pack of jackasses will eat it up until they all dissolve into their wine and confusion.

D'Souza will claim he is a martyr, that he is being silenced, and that President Obama spends all day, huddled with his advisers, trying to find a way to destroy him. It couldn't possibly be the case where D'Souza acted like an idiot and got caught doing something ridiculous. It couldn't be a case where he got caught doing something that a functioning adult with basic common sense could have gotten away with just by operating with the barest of noble intentions. Nope.

If you're stupid enough to get caught violating laws no one enforces anymore, you deserve to be indicted and blasted for it. The "weird details" of Althouse's imagination really don't go any further than getting caught giving a candidate more money than they were supposed to give and then reimbursing them with payments that can be easily traced and discovered:
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said that Mr. D’Souza encouraged others to give $20,000 to a Senate candidate and reimbursed them for the donations. Election law prohibits such arrangements and caps donations at $5,000 per donor to any one candidate. 
The Senate candidate was not identified in the indictment. Mr. D’Souza donated to only one federal candidate in 2012, giving $5,000 to Wendy Long, a New York Republican who lost her challenge to Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a Democrat.
If that's not breathtakingly stupid, what the hell is?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sochi Has a Bloody History


When the attention of the world is focused on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, it would help if some of the history of that place is known and understood:
one of the most significant issues of all surrounding the Olympics has been nearly ignored: Recognition of the indigenous people of Sochi, the Circassians. 
The Circassians, who are mostly Muslim, resided in Sochi for millennia. In the 19th century, an expanding Russian Empire coveted their territory -- which is south and east of Russia proper -- and used overwhelming force to defeat them. Russia killed around 1.5 million Circassians and expelled a similar number, mostly to the Ottoman Empire, with many dying of famine and disease. Entire tribes were decimated; for example, the Shapsugh tribe was reduced from 300,000 to 3,000 people. 
The bloodiest battle of all, which Circassians refer to as their "last stand," occurred in the vicinity of Sochi, the Circassian capital, in 1864. The Circassians describe the catastrophe that befell their people as the first modern genocide. 
The few Circassians able to remain in the Caucasus found themselves a minority in their own land, which was quickly settled by Russians. Those who were expelled or escaped were forced to migrate from country to country in search of safety and stability. 
Diaspora Circassians have faced huge challenges in attempting to preserve their identity and traditions and keep the memory of their homeland alive.
Not only are terrorists running wild throughout southern Russia, but you have unfulfilled national ambitions and widespread resistance to the authoritarian rule of Vladimir Putin. The old Soviet policy was to force the language on the people of this region. Now, they force the corruption endemic to the Russian experience. Add to that the issues with infrastructure and the inherently poor choice of venue, and the costs of Sochi may not be fully understood.

Awarding these games to a city thick in the middle of an exceptionally violent and unhappy part of Southern Russia may turn out to be one of the worst decisions made by the International Olympic Committee. Understanding the history of the Circassians and the region as a whole might have helped make a more informed decision; why is it you never see a commercial decision ever take into account history and precedent?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

You Are Not Being Defended


Wow.
The Air Force says 34 nuclear missile launch officers have been implicated in a cheating scandal and have been stripped of their certification in what is believed to be the largest such breach of integrity in the nuclear force. 
Some of the officers apparently texted to each other the answers to a monthly test on their knowledge of how to operate the missiles. Others may have known about it but did not report it. 
The cheating was discovered during a drug investigation that involves 11 Air Force officers across six bases in the U.S. and England.
It is time to clean house and reorganize this entire command, beginning with the senior leadership of the Air Force. How many of these officers came from the Academy? All, some or none? Whatever created the culture of entitlement that allowed these officers to think that they could do drugs and maintain their positions needs to be fixed. Random drug testing doesn't work when you give people enough notice of a mandatory "whizz quiz."

So, you have two issues--criminal behavior related to drugs and academic dishonesty. Remember when the Harvard cheating scandal hit? This was one of the takeaways:
The right response to cheating involves not just adjudicating the individual cases but also exploring and addressing the structural determinants and risk factors for academic dishonesty. For guidance, academic institutions can look within their own community. Many scholars are already at the vanguard of understanding how decent people fall prey to the pressures of groupthink and poor decisionmaking. For example, Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University, describes some of the science behind the contagion of cheating norms in his recent book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. We need to learn more about the learning environments that either promote or inhibit academic integrity.
The Navy had a similar problem with cheating when it came to the nuclear program. I don't know how they fixed it but all of these issues require some sort of comprehensive fix. Whether that involves raising the standards, increasing the educational efforts to instruct officers, or simply weeding out bad candidates is contingent on how serious they're going to get when it comes to cleaning up this problem. Of course, working a missile site is radically different than trying to complete a college course.

They're trying to find ways to teach Air Force officers etiquette; ethics and professionalism are far more important.

Thirty years ago, these officers would have been sent to Leavenworth for life; shooting them would have been widely discussed as a viable option. My, how times have changed. This is barely a national news story. Barely.

Dick Black is Your New Republican Rape Expert


If Dick Black is talking about rape, it means he's getting ready to run for President or something like that:
After losing all major statewide races to Democrats for the first time in 24 years, Republicans in Virginia are pushing to replace a moderate GOP congressman with a candidate so conservative that he doesn’t even believe that spousal rape should be a crime. 
On Wednesday, Mother Jones pointed out that state Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black, who is running to take over retiring Rep. Frank Wolf’s seat, had fought against making spousal rape a crime because the woman was “sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie.” 
Democrat Shawn Mitchell had uncovered the 2002 video of Black talking about spousal rape for an attack ad during the 2011 campaign for Virginia state Senate. 
“I do not know how you could validly get a conviction of a husband-wife rape, when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie and so forth,” Black says. “There’s not injuries, there’s no separation or anything.”
The more the Republican Party sends out old, confused men to talk about rape, the harder it is to fathom how we got to this point in American political discourse. The war on women continues unabated.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chris Christie is Now a Proven Liar


Today, Chris Christie was proven to be a complete and utter liar. The photo you see above proves that he was lying when he repeatedly denied having any interaction with David Wildstein, the man who allegedly and on his own decided to cause the city of Fort Lee, New Jersey a bunch of traffic problems.

As is so often the case, all we're going to hear is Benghazi this and Benghazi that and Benghazi again and hey, did you hear? Benghazi!

Do you know what is funny? Christie will still probably get elected President.

Who Drinks Tap Water Anymore?


I am just as amazed as anyone else--why isn't this the biggest story on the news?
Try to imagine New York or California dealing with a situation like this: The tap water's only good for toilets, not drinking, washing, cooking or showering; more than a dozen people have been hospitalized for complaints related to water that's been contaminated with a somewhat mysterious chemical; and residents wait in line for bottled water -- or for ice to melt -- in order to have something to drink. 
That's been life since Thursday in West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, where 300,000 people were left without safe water -- again, except for toilet flushing -- after chemicals contaminated the Elk River. Some of the taps have started coming back on; cleanup and testing are underway, according to the news reports on Monday. But the spill, which has been attributed to a leak in a chemical-storage tank not far upriver from the city's water treatment plant, continues to paralyze Charleston.
Now I get the fact that people consume drinking water radically different than they did twenty or thirty years ago--bottled water has become ubiquitous. Drinking tap water is something someone who owns their own well might enjoy but I haven't had tap water in ages. We buy bottled water and drink it regularly, both at home and wherever we go. But clean, safe drinking water is essential for cooking, unless a person buys it by the gallon or uses a large bottled water dispenser. You absolutely have to have it in order to survive for very long. You cannot expect any community to tolerate the loss of their clean supply of drinking water for more than a few days.

This is what it means when we forget the lessons of Love Canal and the environmental movement of the 1970s. We had poisoned, burning rivers, tap water that would make kids sick, and whole communities inundated with birth defects and deaths from cancer and Americans rallied to the idea that the government was supposed to be a watchdog and companies were not to be trusted. Then came the 1980s and de-regulation.

What has happened in West Virginia is a direct result of the Reagan legacy--government is the problem, you say? The government stayed out of the way of Freedom Industries, leaving them alone since 1991 and the first Bush Administration. Look what leaving them alone got the 300,000 people exposed to 4-methylcyclohexane methanol--it got them a little bit of news coverage and not much else. You'd think the Gulf of Mexico spill, courtesy of BP, would have reinvigorated advocacy groups and raised awareness. It appears that it didn't. Drink up.That bottled water is going to have to last you, though.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Air Force is Not An Occupation For Warriors


You cannot make this up. Not even if you were working at The Onion and getting paid to do it. Yes, the Air Force is worried that their own personnel will look like heels in a formal dining room. No, they're not going to impress anyone by eliminating the uncouth from their ranks.

The Air Force needs to recruit and retain highly professional people. Training them in napkin etiquette happens naturally, not through special classes.

I believe we can have a military that is exceptional and highly trained, but we need to leave the 19th Century behind and focus on things that matter, like finding what few people still exist who can put others before themselves and maintain high standards of professional conduct. How does the Air Force Academy feel about Christian conservatives and their relentless assault on cadet life? What happens when one of those outfits wins the contract?

The service academies need to go away. They are an anachronism and we are already well served by choosing officers from the ranks of college graduates anyway. The warrior spirit continues to be beaten down again and again, though. This is the most troubling aspect of all.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

They Are Going to Jail All the Bloggers Now


I guess I have to stop calling Chris Christie a ratfucker and I guess we have to put the fee-fees of people who lie, cheat, steal and grift their way to prominence. I guess it's all over for political blogging.

If they can put Roger Shuler in jail, they can put anyone in jail.

I remember admiring his work on Legal Schnauzer and how he covered a lot of the local issues in Alabama. When Governor Don Siegelman was railroaded into prison for being a Democrat, Shuler was all over that story as well. What the New York Times story misses is the fact that putting Siegelman in prison was a Karl Rove ratfuck of the highest order. Siegelman was taken out of office specifically because he was a Democrat in the state of Alabama--nothing more. His crimes? Someone donated money to his campaign and then the government did something indirectly that favored them. If you took the standard applied to Siegelman and applied that to every politician in America, you'd have to build a dozen new Federal prisons a month to house them all.

Shuler is guilty of being a gadfly and a pest to people in power. This is why bloggers really are journalists at heart--they comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. They kick up, not down, when they're doing it right and Shuler had to have been doing it right. There would be no other reason to put him in jail, would there?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Thanks, Obama


Back in the day, we had an anti-war movement, an environmental movement, and a labor movement. The ratfuckers and the bagmen and the Republicans--pretty much all one and the same--have systematically destroyed advocacy as a way of life in this country. There are still people who care about clean air and clean water, and there are people who care about the militarization of the police and the destruction of labor rights, but they've been turned into criminals, they've been watched by police intelligence units, they've been deemed ACORN sympathizers (thereby marginalizing them because, well, ACORN no longer exists) or worse.

The people you see above need advocates now. They need people to raise hell about what happened to their ground water. They need to organize and agitate. They need to complain to high Heaven. They need to say something about what it's like to live in an area where the very water they're supposed to be able to drink and bathe in is doused in chemicals.

The militarization of the police helps strike breaking companies and it allows polluters to run wild. Any attempt to watch them or stop them is met by batons and violence. If you think the people you see above should be rioting or protesting, think again. They should be lucky to get their bottled water and they should watch for people they have never seen before, showing up to write down their license plates. They should be mad as hell once they get home and figure out what to do next. But they should think again before holding an American corporation responsible for anything because, well, that simply won't do. We don't hurt the fee-fees of job creators and we don't want another Occupy movement, do we now? Good.

At some point, in the next few days, you'll see how this was all Obama's fault how these corrupt and incompetent chemical companies were allowed to poison the watershed of West Virginia and threaten hundreds of thousands of people with sickness or even death.

How many kids have to die from gunshots, neglect, malnutrition, abuse, or environmental poisoning for people to wake up and see that their way of life is being stripped from them by paid shills and politicians who can relentlessly litigate and legislate and regulate what they want to have stuck in a woman's vagina in order to scare her out of having an abortion but can't help themselves from giving dangerous chemical companies the right to do whatever they want whenever they want without fear of a fine or a nosy government inspector showing up unannounced? Sorry to go all run-on sentence on you, but, damn. How many people have to live in fear, horror, and pain so that someone can buy a fifth house?

Thanks, Obama. I'm sure that someone at Fox News is figuring out how to blame you for this.

Nope


I don't think so, sir.

Fox News Can't Help Itself


The jokes write themselves.

Once the political fortunes of Chris Christie began to collapse--you need not call him governor anymore because they are going to keep at him until he resigns--Fox News started screaming Benghazi as much as it possibly could. They dumped out of his news conference and look for Sean Hannity to start handing off to Megyn Kelly with teasers about new bombshells about Benghazi.

What Republicans don't understand is that this couldn't have happened at a better time. Once Christie is gone, they have ten months until the 2014 elections; after that, the 2016 Presidential Election cycle will kick off in the spring of 2015. By this time in a year, no one will remember Christie if he gets out of politics now and they won't have the Outlaw Jersey Whale to carry around on their backs.

Christie is the John Edwards of the Republican Party. He has a tin ear for what's appropriate, he doesn't care if what he's doing affects the party, and he sees himself as being above scrutiny in all things. He has that lethal combination of being certain of his future while doing whatever it takes to destroy his chances. The Republican Party doesn't know how lucky it is to have this guy exposed so soon after the election cycle. If this was September of 2014, they'd be reeling from being associated with this ratfucker.

Chris Christie will go down as a ratfucker, and he will be remembered as a Nixon who coulda been.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The New York Post Isn't Worth the Paper It's Printed On


Someone else has noticed how worthless the New York Post really is in terms of ethics and decency (no one would expect journalism from a tabloid, of course). The most popular page on my site is this one, and that should tell you something about how many people are trying to find information about how bad the paper has become (was it ever good?).

That thing is cut from the same cloth as Fox News. Why would you be surprised at how worthless it is?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Worm Turns For Chris Christie


The problem that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces today is a unique one--he's been caught presiding over an administration that used petty ratf*cking to punish a community where a woman died because emergency vehicles couldn't get through an artificially-created traffic jam.

What's interesting is that this is now so heavily documented and investigated--and we haven't even started to peel the onion--it has become a case study in destroying a politician's credibility through analysis and technology. Without graphics like the one you see above--and the evidence available from tracking response times--this story would have disappeared into the ether. Amazing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thug Life in the Garden State


Don't cross Chris Christie. Your kids will end up getting snarled in traffic on their way to school.

Shame the Misogynist Trolls


Conor Friersdorf is right about something on the internet, so the trolls will have to wait.

First, he is correct that the misogynists who say horrible things to women have driven them from the national discourse. There are far too few women who blog and engage in online activities. It's inherent upon anyone who engages in discussions online to shame misogynists and call them out for what they do.

Second, he is absolutely right about Megan McArdle. 
Then I guest-blogged for Megan McArdle. At the time, she was employed here atThe Atlantic. My stint running her page while she vacationed included the keys to the blog's inbox. Even as someone who'd previously blogged about immigration in California's Inland Empire, fielding insults and aggressive invective as vile as any I could imagine, I was shocked by a subset of her blog's correspondence.
While I would agree that she should not be subjected to misogyny, a lot of that stemmed from the fact that she had a high profile position writing about things about which she knew nothing. There's no excuse for vile commentary, however. McArdle angered people to a great extent, so the misplaced vitriol should have been properly handled by her employer. They should have known that it would take special effort to protect her from what was said to her in private correspondence because they were already heavily moderating her comment threads. 

All employers should protect their employees from that kind of hatred. Using sexist language and violent threats should result in people taking actions to protect their employees--and shaming or filing charges against people who engage in this activity should not be confused with censorship or attacking free speech.

The attacks on her ideas should have been directed at her was due to her inability to see beyond her own privilege, her own ideology, and her inability to do basic math. They should never have involved misogyny. The Atlantic kept her employed well past her expiration date as a commentator or pundit on matters well out of her intellectual depth. If she had been a man, her stupidity would have been just as evident to all.

The Wrong Priorities


I realize that the intent of this story was to indict many of the college basketball programs out there, but this story falls pretty hard on Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tarheels:
Early in her career as a learning specialist, Mary Willingham was in her office when a basketball player at the University of North Carolina walked in looking for help with his classwork. 
He couldn't read or write. 
"And I kind of panicked. What do you do with that?" she said, recalling the meeting. 
Willingham's job was to help athletes who weren't quite ready academically for the work required at UNC at Chapel Hill, one of the country's top public universities. 
But she was shocked that one couldn't read. And then she found he was not an anomaly. 
Soon, she'd meet a student-athlete who couldn't read multisyllabic words. She had to teach him to sound out Wis-con-sin, as kids do in elementary school. 
And then another came with this request: "If I could teach him to read well enough so he could read about himself in the news, because that was something really important to him," Willingham said.
First of all, let's all just grow up, shall we? If this falls on coaches from previous eras, their coaching records could suffer because of this revelation. If this has been handled, fine and dandy.

If it is still going on, holy hell--we have a problem (obligatory eye roll here). I'm not saying that it's an immediate issue, but it does require an NCAA evaluation of literacy among student athletes--a test that can't be faked or taken for them. In this case, you have to panic a bit because, for example, say Old Roy has a kid playing basketball for him who can't read or write. You know the drill. Someone is taking this kids classes, taking his tests, and falsifying the academic records for him so that he can remain eligible to practice or play. Uh oh is right. This is what ruined the University of Minnesota men's basketball team, and sent Clem Haskins to...another job at another school. See how the system perpetuates itself over and over again? Slap on the wrist, optional.

Without realizing what she has done, Willingham has exposed the University of North Carolina's basketball program as a sham for illiterate athletes. If this student athlete, whose anonymity needs to be addressed, was a part of a championship team, then that championship should disappear into the ether. Yes, that means that you're going to have to strike a lot of achievements from the records of other teams and coaches as well. In the case of North Carolina, someone ought to be yelling "oops" about this story. As in, "oops, someone just pulled back the wrong curtain."

It's really not complicated. They are cheating when a kid who can't read and write plays basketball.

Second, is it 1983? Is it 1994? Is it 2001? I can't tell what year it is from reading the article because you can find similar ones going back to the dawn of college basketball as a money printing machine for universities all over the country. I mean, it's what Coach Bobby Knight fought against when he was at Indiana and had to go up against Big Ten teams stocked with academic frauds in tight shorts. Graduation rates, please?

Hello? Is this thing on? In other words, what we're talking about isn't even news. It's how the game is played. For decades, the wrong priorities have ruled over things, and it all comes down to using students to make money hand over fist.

Time For Some Traffic Problems in Fort Lee


There is a real scandal brewing in New Jersey, and it involves inflicting intentional misery on a community in order to punish people for a political slight. This sort of thing raises a really good question--if you allow the people who work for you to settle scores like this, how can you claim to uphold and defend the people of your state? Never mind that they've resigned--have they been held accountable? New Jersey Governor Chris Christie needs to answer for the work of his staffers:
The messages are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee’s mayor, who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election and they chronicle how they tried to reach Port Authority officials in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000 which sits in the shadow of the bridge, the world’s busiest.
The documents obtained by The Record raise serious doubts about months of claims by the Christie administration that the September closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were part of a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority. Instead, they show that one of the governor’s top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off the borough’s access to the bridge, and they provide the strongest indication yet that it was part of a politically-motivated vendetta—a notion that Christie has publicly denied.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures. Wildstein, the official who ordered the closures and who resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: “Got it.”
Is this enough to force Christie out of office? No, but it is enough of a look inside the character of his political organization. He allowed his people to operate like thugs. This was an abuse of power so egregious that it should be followed up with some serious consequences. Who else has been on the receiving end of this kind of retribution?

By the way, this is what defines "ratfucking." Look it up.

Good Guys and Bad Guys

Glenn Lieberman, scammer
The fact that there were scammers who used 9/11 to falsely claim disability should not come as a shock to anyone. You cannot expect complex organizations to be completely free of unethical employees. Each and every public service organization probably has a case or more of employees being caught claiming injuries that don't exist. Workman's compensation is riddled with such cases as well.

No, what's shocking is how stupid these people were:
On either side of Bratton and the other officials were two blown-up photos set upon easels. One was of retired cop Glenn Lieberman, who had received $175,758.40 from Social Security in addition to his NYPD pension after allegedly fraudulently attesting that he had been so traumatized by 9/11 that he was barely functional, unable to drive or shop or handle money. The picture shows him on a jet ski, flashing a big smile and giving the finger with both hands.

The other photo is of retired cop Richie Cosentino, who received $207,639.70 from Social Security under the same pretext, using nearly identical language. This picture was posted on his Facebook page and it shows him triumphantly holding a big sailfish fish he has just caught.
 
“It was an awesome day off the coast of Costa Rica,” he wrote.

He had better hope that the prosecutors do not take note of the date of the posting.
“September 11, 2012.”
 
On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, Cosentino clearly did not imagine that this photo would be shown at a press conference with him, not the fish, on display as the captured one.
As Bratton explained it, the investigation had commenced after Social Security investigators noticed that a considerable number of retired cops who had secured psychiatric disability awards had also applied for pistol permits.

“So we had a discrepancy,” Bratton said.
A discrepancy born of dumbassery, it would seem. Did this happen because the men involved in scamming the NYPD believed that they were above being shamed by malingering or claiming a phony disability? Did the ease with which it is possible to make money doing nothing entice far too many of them? Who knows?

You would think that a police officer claiming disability because he was traumatized by 9/11 would have marked the anniversary at home, quietly, and without drawing attention to himself. Instead, he went fishing in Costa Rica and put a picture up on Facebook. I guess going back to work is in order, huh?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Is It Time to Give Up Explaining History?


I don't know why anyone would bother trying to explain that the national security state is something that must be controlled by law; the American system of government is a near-perfect apparatus for doing this sort of thing but it only works when we have competent oversight and compliance. Currently, we don't have that, and so the abuses seem much greater.

This is hysterical nonsense:
It's not just domestic abuse we have to worry about; it's the rest of the world, too. The more we choose to eavesdrop on the Internet and other communications technologies, the less we are secure from eavesdropping by others. Our choice isn't between a digital world where the NSA can eavesdrop and one where the NSA is prevented from eavesdropping; it's between a digital world that is vulnerable to all attackers, and one that is secure for all users.
Bruce Schneier lives under the assumption that only one country in the world has the capability of using the Internet as a weapon; he conveniently ignores the fact that there are governments all over the world salivating at the prospect of being able to do whatever they want because no one talks about their capabilities. They want to hide in the shadows. They want to operate freely. They don't care a whit about security or the noble ethics of people who want to trade Grateful Dead bootlegs without being hassled. They want to control their people and dominate their area of the world. The Chinese are tearing up America's technological infrastructure, taking whatever they want and infiltrating public and commercial networks at will because it gives them access to the tools they need to control their society and grow their economy. But, remember. America is evil. China is merely a bad boy who will change because they want to be like us. And on and on, like a Noam Chomsky lecture on how America is the only country in the world where anyone has ever had a bad thought.

Schneier doesn't know anything about history, but he knows how to mock the very people who keep him from being pulled out of his bed and beaten senseless by thugs:
"NSA-level surveillance is like the Maginot Line was in the years before World War II: ineffective and wasteful."
That's a rather inept use of analogy. The Germans never attacked it head on; they went around it because France's allies were weaker or neutral. If the French had extended and improved it--and fully funded the thing--they would have slowed the German advance to an extent that it would have allowed Britain to send more troops. The Blitzkrieg was a myth concocted by Goebbels anyway, and it's the myth that persists.

I get that people hate the national security apparatus of the United States. You're supposed to hate the apparatus because it is proof of a nasty world. But you're also supposed to use our system of checks and balances to make certain that abuses are punished and money is well spent. You're supposed to not trust anyone because trust is not a virtue that our Constitution recognizes. You're supposed to stand there with a stopwatch and a clipboard and keep a close eye on things, metaphorically or otherwise. You're not supposed to throw up your hands and give up and destroy the thing that is designed to keep you safe. I can't wait to see what living without this very same apparatus looks like because that's where we are headed.

The people that are so hated today inherited their intelligence gathering and cryptographic skills from the people who enabled and informed the forces that destroyed the Germans. These advances gave us tremendous advances in technology through their academic achievement and hard work. This hatred for knowledge is interesting, and it has precedents. None of them come to mind.

Ignorance of the acts of nation/states going back hundreds of years is prevalent. The French and the Austrians and everyone who attended the Congress of Vienna used every means at their disposal to spy on one another. They stole mail, they employed vast intelligence gathering efforts, they used women to seduce men and they traded information without regard for who was a friend and who was an enemy. To get to an agreement, everyone angled for their own self-interest and not for the "greater good" of Europe because they had a common enemy--France--to blame for their troubles. And yet, they dealt with France secretly, trying to get as much as they could so that they could have a leg up on their own wartime allies.

The people screaming about the NSA today don't know anything of modern history and they don't know what other countries are doing as we speak. They don't understand the efforts of the intelligence gathering services in Iran, Israel, France, Russia, China, or Brazil and how they are actively working against American interests, no matter who they call a friend, to gain the upper hand. They hate the idea that someone knows they are boring, stupid and have no life, and they think the NSA is full of people who are listening to them. An estimated 40,000 people work there. The vast majority are bureaucrats and support personnel. You could reduce the number of actual "snoops" down to a few thousand. There are never enough of them and most comprehend or speak a foreign language because that's who they target. Duh.

If those 3,000 people spent all eight hours of their day listening to conversations, how much could they hear when there are tens of millions of Americans doing mundane and unimportant things all day long and why would they bother when their professional careers depend on being able to assess what foreign entities are doing? You don't get promoted at NSA by knowing what Jane Doe in Manhattan thinks of her friends choices in shoes; you get fired. You can get promoted if you know what your target is up to and spend years acquiring the expertise needed to make a rational prediction of what they plan to do in the next five years.

Defending America's need to defend itself is a waste of time when nobody realizes how uninteresting their personal business is to people who are actually dealing with real threats.

Dennis Rodman is the Ultimate Useful Idiot


The only explanation you can find for this type of lunacy is money.

In case you haven't been following the story, Dennis Rodman has convinced a bunch of basketball players to go to North Korea with him so that the Kim Jong-Un regime can have a crop of confused, ignorant useful idiots to use as propaganda. CNN's Chris Cuomo had a shouting match with Rodman that produced nothing informative.

Do we have a functioning Department of State anymore? Who authorized this?

The body language of the other players speaks for itself--they have no idea what's going on and they are seeing dollar signs instead of the real ramifications of playing exhibition basketball in one of the most hated and repressive countries in the world. They thought they could go overseas, play a few pickup games, and get paid (I absolutely refuse to believe that any of them are there solely on their own dime--someone is paying someone here).

North Korea slaughters and starves its own people. Millions have lived their entire lives in the shadow of horror and fear. And Dennis Rodman and his friends are enabling the third generation dictator of a homicidal regime. Whatever he's on--drugs, alcohol, hubris--it isn't enough to make up for the fact that he's being used by a clown.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Jay Mohr Channels His Inner Douchebag


Now that Jay Mohr has been handed his ass back to him for fat-shaming Alyssa Milano, we have to deal with his personal breakdown in public? Because he was a jackass to another man's wife who had just had a baby?

This generation is full of people who haven't figured out that you kinda have to watch what you say when you become a public figure. We have few, if any, real broadcasters anymore because people don't learn from the mistakes of others and censor themselves actively when they have a half-bright idea. When there's a microphone in front of you, suppress your inner douchebag. That's got to be a given at some point.

Joe Hundley Goes to Jail


Remember this asshole?

Joe Hundley assaulted a child on a flight because he was unable to control himself in a public place. His rage, anger, and racism caught up with him and now he gets to spend eight months in a federal prison.

When people try to make the argument that there isn't any racism anymore, throw old Joe's picture in their face.

As difficult as it might be for some people, you can't discipline the children of other people. It might seem okay, and you might be thinking we still live in a time when it's okay, but it isn't okay and it will get you in trouble. Maybe not Joe Hundley kind of trouble, but trouble nonetheless. Joe's first day in Federal custody should go really smoothly once everyone finds out he hit someone who isn't even two years old.

Lord George Robertson Forgets About the History of Scotland


This is crazy talk:
The global balance would be substantially upset should one of the West’s key unions, and its second-biggest defense power, split up. The United Kingdom has always punched above its weight diplomatically and militarily. A breakup would have a serious effect on its role in the world — all the more so because Britain’s nuclear-deterrent base is in Scotland, and those advocating separation have pledged to expel it. With the United States and other countries viewing a possible British withdrawal from the European Union as negative, how much more disturbing would they find a breakup of the country itself? 
The ripple effects would not be limited to the United Kingdom. Other separatist movements in Europe are watching the Scottish debate with undisguised interest. In Spain, more than a million Catalans have turned out in the streets calling for independence. In the Basque Country, separatist violence has waned, but the desire for a separate state remains. In Belgium, whose unity hangs on a thread, Flemish nationalists have made it clear that if Scotland has a free pass to the European Union and NATO, they would be next in line. There could be more breakaways to come.
This is self-determination writ large across the face of Europe. Blaming the Scots for this is ridiculous--the separatist movements of Europe have been simmering for hundreds of years because these problems were created by the scheming of kings and diplomats hundreds of years ago. Blame Napoleon for it all if you want (and try to imagine a British victory with Scottish cannon fodder at Waterloo), but England's problem with Scotland rests firmly with the force used on the people to subjugate them and confiscate their lands and bifurcate them from themselves to create insecurity and inferiority.

Was it the end of the world when Ireland became an independent country? Did it bring down the Empire? No, the self-determination of millions did that (plus a war that revealed that Britain couldn't hold on to everything forever). Should they send the Navy? Does Mr. Cameron plan on building a fleet to keep Scotland in check? I'd love to see that.

The Scots want to control the North Sea oil revenues. That's it. They are going to hide behind all of the other issues in order to make it plain that they want that money. If the English government figures out how to share that revenue, there won't be an independence day for the Scots. How hard is that to figure out?

Lord Robertson ignores the painful history and glosses over the violence with which the Scots were made British:
The ties that bind the United Kingdom are strong, but there would be profound international implications should the Scottish people choose secession. The residual United Kingdom would still be a major player in the world, but upon losing a third of its land mass, 5 million of its population and a huge amount of credibility, its global standing would inevitably diminish.
The ties that bind the two entities were forced on the Scots and covered in blood. The victor always forgets the pain of the vanquished. But are there enough people who care? Are there going to be enough votes to risk the social safety net and the world's oil market fluctuations in order to carry this through? What a people feel and what they will actually vote for are two separate things. It would take a suspension of pragmatism to motivate a vote for independence. But the sad reality eludes the traditionalists. The United Kingdom isn't a player in anything anymore. Good God, man. Save yourself and try to be the better tourist destination. Your people can't make anything except repackaged debt and the occasional Eurovision winner. Get over yourself.

Chris Cillizza is a Hack


Chris Cillizza is one of the biggest hacks writing about politics today. Who is writing about the IRS scandal anymore? Who cares about that in the least? No one. That's because it was a manufactured, phony scandal that didn't affect the President at all (otherwise, how did he get re-elected?).

Cillizza represents a conventional wisdom that is out of step with reality. To him, as a political insider, these phony scandals ate up hours and hours of idle chatter and were responsible for dozens, in not hundreds, of blog posts and columns. It's hard to abandon that much personal effort when you realize that the entirety of the "scandal" was dreamed up by an incompetent Congressman.

Hacks like this will continue to hammer away at nothing in order to satisfy their desire to tear the President down so they can start building up someone else before the 2016 election. The cycle has to be followed in order to churn out more garbage. Who edits Cillizza? How'd they let him sneak in a reference to the IRS scandal?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Liz Cheney Accepts Early Defeat in Wyoming


If Liz Cheney can't get a competitive edge in a Senate primary in Wyoming, then this country is well on its way to recovering from the Bush years.

This defeat for the Cheney family represents the sanest thing that has happened in politics in a year or more. It should wake people up to the fact that going to the hard right on social issues is an electoral loser and that the Cheney brand has been tarnished just enough to give Americans the break they deserve.

Of course, Liz Cheney is now free to run for elected office in Virginia, but, what are you going to do?

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Ice Bound Icebreaker


I've been following the story of the various icebreakers, research ships, and whoever else is stuck in the ice off the coast of Antarctica for over a week now and I never see answers to the one question that I have:

Is any of this worth risking lives over?

As soon as it became apparent that there were going to be issues, why didn't they just get the people out of there and head home until the Southern Hemisphere's version of warmer weather arrives? Leave the damned thing there and come back and get it later.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

America is Going to Hell All Over Again

Hamilton Nolan eviscerates the purple prose and the oh-my-God-I'm-out-of-ideas stance of Kathleen Parker's latest column. It really is funny to see people, year in and year out, tell us everything is turning to shit before our eyes when it really isn't and when history repeats itself, and Parker gives us laughs a-plenty.

This is what I wanted to talk about:
From Miley Cyrus’s naked cavorting on a wrecking ball — well, one can at least admire her metaphoric succulence — to Anthony Weiner’s Twitter projections of His Very Own Self, we have lost all sense of decorum, that voluntary commitment to behavior that combines a willingness to consider others first (at minimum keeping our clothes on), enforced through the exercise of self-restraint.
Anthony Weiner does not hold elected office; Representative Trey Radel does. Radel is a sitting Congressman and he got caught buying cocaine in Washington D.C. and he got away with going to rehab because he's a rich white man. Weiner is splay-legged and hanging from a leather strap covered in cream cheese in his living room with his underwear knotted around his forehead, jacking it to the ceiling for all anyone cares, and the voters were smart enough to hold him accountable. Will Parker and the voters remember to hold our hard-drug using Republican Congressman to that same standard when Radel wins re-election in November? Because he probably will come back to Congress and he probably will keep using recreational drugs and telling people to go eff themselves when they politely suggest that he maybe isn't fit for elected office.

I'm sorry to have to explain this to anyone older than forty, but Miley Cyrus is just Madonna with a little Prince thrown in. Remember when Madonna and Prince were the End of Western Civilization? Remember when Led Zeppelin was going to destroy the culture and pervert everyone and everything? Remember when Elvis and his hips couldn't be shown on television? That's what they wave in the air, like an old bloody shirt, when they're stealing all the money, raping the land, and screwing the poor. The coarse, vulgar methods used to entertain the masses become the issue when, ahem, the issue is that people don't have money, jobs, food or shelter, goddammit.

Our elite media is a dismal, rat-fucking failure. The American dream is under water because the homes people can't afford to buy are under water. The criminals who ruined the housing market in this country are running around with money spilling out of their pants. They destroyed the American dream for profit. They were the "best of the best" and they ruined the economy. They betrayed the trust of the banks they worked for and the investment firms that bought up debt, sold that debt, traded it for worthless paper, and crashed the dreams of millions into the abandoned swimming pools that litter the suburban American landscape.

Parker thinks envy is the problem. No, envy isn't the problem. Getting away with messing things up is the problem. No one envies a man who works hard his whole life and builds something; Americans have always admired that. They envy their immediate neighbors, not the abstract lives of the rich. Envy will always exist but gangsters posing as bankers and robber barons is the corrosive chemical that is breaking down trust in the system. If you steal a dollar, you go to jail. If you steal a billion dollars in mortgages, you go to Gstaad for a vacation.

The incompetence of people like Parker--unwilling to hold anyone responsible for things being bad accountable while pretending that pop culture and envy are the driving factors in the decline of America--is the story of our age. They aren't telling anyone anything useful anymore.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

P. J. O'Rourke Embarrasses Himself


P.J. O'Rourke is "back" writing things online and, well, it's not going so well.

His new column at the Daily Beast is out and what you see above is the "payoff" or bottom part of his  effort to get people to read things he has written. The whole thing is straight out of something rejected by the Borowitz Report. Vladimir Putin is gay and that's why he hates gays? Hilarious shit, man. Hilarious shit. Andy Borowitz must be fuming and thinking of a zinger about Bill Clinton right now. Wait--stop me if you've heard this one before. Bill Clinton spent 2013 trying to figure out how to get himself off of RedTube, gave up, and had a three hanky meltdown. Ha! Oh, these things write themselves.

Who the hell talks about RedTube? Is that even a thing? And you gotta love a guy who goes out with a John Kerry joke. Talk about mainlining the zeitgeist through the eyeball.

Jeeeeee-zus.

Anybody can be a humorist these days. Anyone.

Blame the Train in Vain


Hilarious.

When a train full of crude oil blows up as it is being transported through a residential area, of course you're going to want to blame the trains. That's because you just don't want to blame the fact that short-sighted robber barons are destroying North Dakota's environment by sucking oil out of the prairie and shipping it without doing anything to improve the antiquated transportation infrastructure. It simply wouldn't do to blame the oligarchs. Next they'll blame the luckless people running for their lives.

The problem is, as soon as it became economically viable to extract oil from North Dakota, they opened the floodgates without expanding the railroads, building houses for the workers, and finding safe methods of transporting the oil to the refineries. They just went for it. To hell with what might happen--profit before safety, always, and especially in a Red state.

But, go ahead. Blame the trains. Don't blame incompetence, greed, or a fundamental lack of common sense when it comes to protecting people from the shipment of dangerous materials.