Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Vampire Coulter, the Lava Lamp Effect, and Newt Explains It All

Our old friend Ann Coulter was censored on the MSNBC show, "Morning Joe" the other day. She called John McCain a d****bag, proving once again that hell hath no fury like a conservative turning on one of their own. It is an ugly sight when this sort of thing happens, rather like watching a tiger eating one of its own cubs.

Coulter has never been shy when it comes to outlandish statements, or self promotion, both of which seem to morph into the same thing when they let her on TV. Her books and speeches make clear that she is the ultimate authority on all things patriotic and conservative. Anyone out of touch with Ann Coulter is subject to her undying wrath.

To see her is to understand that the reason she would never be offered a part in the popular "Twilight" series is because she looks too much like a vampire. There is no subtlety about her pale, anorexic appearance and her wanton and relentless need for human blood. One can only imagine her private thoughts on Mitt Romney's run for the nomination. If they were to be made public secret service inquiries would surely follow.

The hard right of the republican party is in complete disarray. They just can't seem to get rid of this Romney fellow and sell the GOP faithful on voting for one of their own. The polls have shown different conservative purists rising to challenge the Mitt, then dropping back to the pack as their fifteen minutes fade. It is rather like watching a lava lamp. Those red globs heat up, rise, then cool and sink back into the depths of the viscous liquid.

On the rise right now is Newt Gingrich. He lags in New Hampshire, Romney's backyard, but leads in South Carolina, basically his own backyard. How long he can mount a meaningful challenge is a matter of much speculation. Mr. Gingrich can push the right buttons much of the time, but on others, he inserts his foot neatly into his mouth.

Newt Gingrich makes much of the conservative leadership tremble. He talks the talk, but rarely walks the walk. When you lecture Americans on fiscal responsibility and the evils of deficit spending it isn't good form to run up a huge bill at Tiffany's because of your THIRD wife's taste for fine jewelry. He takes $1.8 million from Freddie Mac and then blithely says he never lobbied for them. In a speech in South Carolina he explained to the voters he didn't have to lobby because his income from his speaking appearances was so great. In other words he was so fabulously well to do, he didn't need to dirty his hands by shilling for his pay master. This is hardly the populist message or image the leadership of the right wants to send to lower income, socially conservative, evangelical, voters. Only Ronald Reagan could get away with such nonsense.

The fact of the matter is, Newt Gingrich is such a loose cannon when it comes to personal behavior and ethics that to this day he remains the only Speaker of the United States House of Representatives to be removed by his own party. If Dick Armey, Tom DeLay, and John Boehner can't put up with you, who can?

I don't know, but, despite his own devastatingly low poll numbers,or, perhaps because of them, if I'm Barak Obama I might want Newt to head the ticket on the other side. And if the president is really lucky, Gingrich will pick Ann Coulter as his running mate. Now there is a duo that will appeal to the middle of American politics. Especially everyone who would actually have to work for a $1.8 million pay check, or be genteel enough to not call one of their own a d****bag on cable TV.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The NBA Returns, The Owners Win the Big One, and Self Loathing is All the Rage

The NBA has returned, well is going to return sometime, hopefully by Christmas Day. David Stern and the owners have wrung the players out to dry. It is has been an ugly affair, like all labor disputes are, but this one has been particularly odorous.

According to The Oklahoman, OKC's daily paper, an unscientific and random poll shows locals side with management. These published results are hardly a surprise given the daily paper's long and dreadful history of anti-labor propaganda. Management of the Oklahoman has considered organized labor a communist endeavor for over one hundred years. Under the previous ownership it was routine for them to send their own employees, for a fee of course, to other publishers who were battling unions in order to keep their presses working. Oklahoma Publishing's scabs for hire policy has justifiably made them an anathema with organized workers all across the land.

OPUBCO's treatment of its own employees is one of abject exploitation, arrogance and intimidation. In three separate talks with three different OPUBCO shop employees the uncoached conclusion reached by all of them was that if someone was stupid enough to try to organize a union there, that person would end up face down in ditch somewhere southwest of Hollis. No, the OPUBCO Sultans don't take kindly to workers trying to better themselves or their work conditions through legal means.

Which of course brings us back to the NBA. Apparently, at least some of the conservative fan base of the OKC Thunder, blame the players for the work stoppage. Terms like greedy millionaires and spoiled babies are being bandied about.

As always, conservatives never let a few facts get in the way of their hysterics.

This labor dispute was NOT a strike. It was a lockout. The players were not asking for more. They were just fighting to keep what the owners had given to them years ago. The entire tiresome negotiating process wasn't about Kevin Durant getting more money and benefits, it was about him keeping the money and benefits found within the contract signed by Clay Bennett and his top flight advisers.

You have to really be incompetent to lose money with a NBA franchise. Your product has to be abysmal and your management team has to have the collective sports IQ of the people in the office fantasy league. It isn't the players fault that some of owners can't run a taco stand, much less a pro sports franchise.

If we're going to point fingers here it should be at the owners who several years ago made promises they couldn't, or wouldn't keep and now want to re neg on the whole collective bargaining agreement.

Of course that argument won't phase the lower income conservatives. Long ago they bought into the argument that they are only worth what their bosses say they are worth and they should be damn glad they get that. Self loathing is part of that psyche and there is no changing it. The old, "What makes you so special?" mentality is insurmountable.

OPUBCO's ceaseless barrage of right wing fol de rol has worked wonders convincing anyone who makes an hourly wage that they have no value. And, more importantly, that anyone else who thinks they do, is part of some sort of fearsome, traitorous cabal.

It is reminiscent of the callous line used in the movie, "Gangs of New York." A well to do satrap looks over the rim of his brandy glass and says, "All we need to do is pay half the poor to kill the other half."

People like the ones running the NBA and OPUBCO love to depict those who criticise them as waging class warfare. In reality the critics are just pointing out that they are.

Next time you spend the weekend at home, take a vacation, work an eight hour day, or go on medical leave think about who got you these things. It certainly wasn't management. And don't think for a minute management wouldn't take all those things away from you if they could.

Kevin Durant isn't the team in OKC. Clay Bennett and his partners are the team. To them, Kevin Durant is nothing more than a jock strap and a jersey. He is, in the scheme of things, simply part of the cost of doing business. If he can be had for less, all the better.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Egyptians in the Streets, Americans in the Mix and Freedom Can Make Some Queasy

Kamal el-Ganzouri, the new Egyptian Prime Minister, appeared on TV the other day and had that deer in the head lights look to him. Indeed, he seemed infected by that nervous tic that infests all last ditch leaders of doomed regimes. It is the look of a man who seems sure there is a gallows somewhere in his near future.

He has reason to think that. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in Egypt once more, despite promises of an election process beginning in a couple of days. The masses are on edge and the career track, not to mention life expectancy, of anyone put into power by the military seems limited at best.

el-Ganzouri's job history has not helped his cause. He was a member of the deposed regime for eighteen years. In fact he was its prime minister from 1996-1999. It makes you wonder what that shadowy military junta was thinking. The despised Hosni Mubarak is on trial for his life and they appoint one of his boys to run the country. While no one has ever accused professional military men, anywhere, of being astute political strategists, this move seemed a literal invitation to stir up more unrest and violence.

Well if that is what the military wanted that is what they got. Tens of thousands have flooded into Tahrir Square chanting things like "Illegitimate, Illegitimate!" Nearly forty have been killed and pungent clouds of tear gas have once again drifted through the streets of Cairo.

As always a few Americans have felt the need to watch or record the proceedings from a little too close up. Derek Sweeney, Luke Gates, and Gregory Porter, students at American University in Cairo were busted on top of a university building near the Square. The police charged them with joining in with protesters as they tossed fire bombs at the authorities. The trio denied all charges and appear to have been released from custody.

Several things happen to Americans when they go overseas. Number one, they often seem to think that since they are beyond the boarders of the United States all rules of civilization and normalcy no longer apply. They can behave as beastly and depraved as is humanly possible with no consequences whatsoever. Number two, since they are Americans they can be anywhere they want, whenever they want and nothing will happen to them. They are shocked, shocked when they realize police in other countries will arrest anyone and everyone. That the authorities don't have to read them constitutional rights, provide them with a lawyer, and if they are a mind to, will give them a few shots to the testicles just for fun. No, getting popped in places like Cairo isn't like being questioned by the Nichols Hills, Oklahoma police department.

Lastly American liberal idealism doesn't apply in certain parts of the world. Especially those parts where the military run things. Soldiers generally have no tolerance for people who believe in things like freedom of the press. Mona Eltahawy, a columnist and activist with dual American-Egyptian citizenship, learned that the hard way. She was filming the protests with her camera phone when she was surrounded by police and taken away. She has accused Egyptian police of sexually assaulting her, beating her, breaking one hand and the other arm. She says they groped her all over and called her, among other things, "a whore."

Well, Mona, you aren't in Kansas any more. It isn't an Arkansas-Louisiana St. football game. It is a revolution. When dealing with a military that has no legal restraints and hasn't had, ever; one that is hanging on for dear life, barbarity is going to be the norm.

The Egyptian revolution poses a problem for both the U.S. and Israel. Both nations can talk about supporting the march toward open and free elections and the will of the people. However, in their heart of hearts, they both know the results of those free elections could mean that Islamic fundamentalists could become a real power in the new government. It is not a prospect either wants to deal with.

The Egyptians are going to have a new government, or a military dictatorship that makes Mr. Mubarak look like a screeching liberal. One is an anathema to liberty the other is a step into the unknown.

Either way the middle east is not going to stabilize. Dangers there will persist for generations, if not for all eternity.

It almost makes you wish for the good old days of the cold war doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Actually, Buddy Can You Spare $1.2 Billion, Sinking Boats, and the Enron Plea

To break things down into terms even I can understand, here are the rules:
A:The company can buy a boat with a client's excess cash, sell it and keep some of the profit.
B:The company can buy a boat with its own cash, sell it and keep the profit.
C:What the company can't do is use a customer's money to make payments on the boat while the brokerage is sailing around on it. If the boat sinks you've not only broken the law, you have a hard time explaining to the client why his or her money is somewhere deep in the Mariana's Trench.

Violation of rule C is apparently what happened at MF Global. The boat was European debt, which as anyone who has picked up a newspaper knows, has become an economic black hole.

On November 1 of this year MF Global attorney, Kenneth Ziman told a US Bankruptcy Judge that, "to the best knowledge of management there is no shortfall."

There you have it, "The Enron Defense" last used unsuccessfully by Kenny Lay and Jeff Skilling. "I don't know what happened. I just run the place."

Things began to crumble quickly. Soon a figure of $600 million was bandied about. Now as the investigation deepens the auditors are saying it is more like $1.2 billion. Who knows what the final figure will be? This pyramid scheme appears to have few limits and more felons than Watergate.

The FBI is now involved and we can assume indictments will follow at some point. There is no telling who will be in the dock, although former New Jersey governor and MF Global CEO, Jon Corzine seems a sure bet.

Yes, Bernie Madoff is soon to have some fellow movers and shakers roaming the cell block with him. One can only imagine the tales of high finance that will be spun in the yard. There will be fond, misty eyed, memories of high times, fast jets, and champagne on ice. And then there will be navy beans, boiled spinach and soggy toast for dinner.

The hammer always falls because once you're in on a deal like this you're in all the way. There is no jumping off the speeding gravy train. At least not until it runs full bore off the washed out bridge. Of course by then it is too late.

You can dress them up in Armani suits, but they still carry around the cards for the Monte game in their hip pockets. There is no curing them.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Flashbacks, Howling Joe Walsh, and the Unwashed in the Streets

Joe Walsh, a representative from Illinois, has the Occupy Wall Street people pegged. According to him, "I think these are generally, pampered, unfocused, clueless, young people and a smattering of other people who don't understand this country and are advocating anti American solutions. They don't at all represent America."

In his defense he did pause a couple of times during that first sentence to catch his breath. I know this because I saw the video. He also likes to yell a lot when people ask him a question he deems antagonistic. He raises his voice, he begins to cut off responses. He tells people to be quiet and to listen to him in some sort of bug eyed frenzy. He is a bully and if you wish to challenge him he will begin to get red in the face and he will yell and call you uninformed. He will attack like a cornered beast. He is the poor man's Newt Gingich.

The real Newtonian comments about the Occupy people are this. "They should take a bath and get a job." Well that may not be exact, but it is close.

I've heard this sort of superficial dismissal horse shit before. I was on the south and north ovals of the University of Oklahoma. I was protesting the war in Vietnam. The cat calls from the sidelines were usually, "Get a job," "Why don't you take a bath?" and the most common, "You communist son of a bitch."

A, I was in school and some of the time I had a job, some of the time I didn't. B, I assure everyone I showered every day. C, I am not now, nor have I ever been a communist.

Those denials don't matter though when dealing with the faithful. Everyone to the left of Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich and all the other cheap jack bullies like Joe Walsh consider democrats and liberals un American. The purity of their belief relegates all opposition to the oily world of treason. Herr Hitler would be proud A couple of old phrases come to mind, "You are either part of the solution, or part of the problem" and "America, Love it or Leave it.

When the tea party rubes ran around Washington a while back as the complete closure of government was a real possibility they held up signs that said, "Shut it all down". That means they advocated that US troops in harms way should not be paid, or re-armed. That means they wanted the entire inter state highway system to crumble into shambles. That means they wanted every lake in the great state of Oklahoma to dry up. It also means old people should starve if their pensions aren't enough to sustain them. Yes, if the company they worked for all their lives squandered their pension, well the ice floe is over there, pray for the quick swipe from the polar bear's claws.

It is an ugly flashback. These yokels, who were educated in segregated public schools, are an awful lot. They have no argument, so they have to yell at the top of their lungs. They have to shout people down because reason is not on their side.

Every now and then I think evolution is a myth. The howling and brutality and faux martyrdom that spews from them cannot come from anything but apes trapped in trees who have been speared by poisonous darts. Back in the day, I parked my VW in an OKC grocery store parking lot. When I came out my driver's side wing window had been broken into, my car seat and steering wheel had been spit on profusely and my McGovern for President bumper sticker had been torn off.

I know these brutal thugs and I loathe them.

Here is to the people who have the guts to sit passively and get pepper sprayed by some out of control cop. Here is to those who say no to the greed and the incompetent speculation by the goofs who run Wall Street. Here is to those who say enough of this right wing crap that infests us like a cancer.

America is better than the tea party and the hard right of the republican party

We always have been. We always will be.

That is why I still believe in this nation.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Newt Redux and the Desperate Right

Hunter S. Thompson once wrote of Richard Nixon a few years after his fall, "He's tanned, he's rested, he's ready."

The same sort of thing could be said for Newt Gingrich as the sunny skies of Indian Summer give way to the battle ship gray clouds of early winter.

Newt is resurgent. After an amateurish and disastrous campaign kickoff that had him written off as some sort of latter day Harold Stassen he is back with a vengeance. The latest Rueters/Ipsos poll gives him twenty four percent support from the republican faithful. Mitt Romney in the same poll has slipped to twenty-two percent.

No one has ever accused Mr. Gingrich of not knowing which buttons to push when it comes to playing to the masses. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Attack, attack, attack. Confront the press in debates, rather than the issues. Declare them evilly stupid and biased. Slash into what has become Obamacare, despite past public statements that seem to endorse vast portions of it. Take Freddie Mac's money, and after the checks have cleared condemn the management and then the president for accepting contributions that are paltry compared to the consulting fees personally raked in.

It seems like madness and perhaps it is. The hard right of the party is desperately searching for someone, anyone, who can wrest the nomination from the suspected liberal and cult member, Mitt Romney. The true believers have watched Perry make George W. Bush seem an orator the likes of William Jennings Bryan. Cain has been reduced to the Sandusky defense on public TV. "All of my accusers are lying." Yes, and please ignore the court sealed payouts.

All the others in this race are babbling buffoons and hopeless libertarians. They are so far out of touch with the vast majority of America that one wonders how many windmills they see each dawn on the plain before them.

The hidden figures in this poll don't bode well for the Newt. Thirty-seven percent of all Americans believe he lobbied for Freddy Mac. And, the most damning, of the republicans polled forty-two percent believe Mitt Romney will win the nomination. Only nineteen percent think Gingrich will. Banzai charges are impressive, but almost always fail. Mr. Gingrich has personal and political baggage that will doom his campaign

The right edge of the republican party is going to lose this nomination process because they just don't understand that huge numbers of people, not on the street, think they are as crazy and dangerous as a pack of rabid pit bulls.

If I was to wager I would put my money on Romney. Barring some unforeseen disaster, he is too slick and, to the chagrin of the baying right, too far to the center. It may drive them into conniption fits, but he is the exact sort of candidate who can really challenge Barak Obama.

They are the only ones who don't seem to recognize that.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

And Another One is Gone; The Autumn of the Lost Girls Continues

The details were predictably sketchy. A body found last week in rural far eastern OKC was identified as that of Alina Fitzpatrick. She was seventeen years old. Police have yet to determine if it was a homicide. One thing is certain, the cause of death wasn't old age.

She is the third teen aged girl to be found dead within a month in the metro area. Carina Saunders was the first. Her dismembered body was found in a duffel bag in a wooded area behind a suburban supermarket. The second was Kelsey Bransby. She was discovered shot in the face in a southwest side apartment.

There are similarities and there are differences. Saunders had graduated from high school, but was living on the dark fringe. Bethany police who are in charge of that investigation have said publicly she had a taste for a variety of drugs and no fixed address, or job that they could tell.

The information released about Bransby by Oklahoma City Police through the daily paper is minimum at best. She was in the same high school class as Saunders, but had dropped out a few months before graduating. She apparently lived in the apartment where she was found dying. There is no published account of how she was supporting herself.

Fitzpatrick had attended Putnam City North High School until last spring. She began to take classes over the school system's internet, Putnam City Virtual, this fall. Her parents say she left North because of bullying. School officials say they have no reports of bullying that involve her. A district spokesperson, always the careful bureaucrat, was sure to mention all the anti-bullying procedures in place there.

Saunders was last seen getting into a SUV with an older, gray haired man. Fitzpatrick was last seen when she was dropped off at an apartment complex near NW 23rd St. and Western Ave, across town from the PC North district. There is no word about what she was doing there, or who she was going to see. That was on November 4th.

If there is any evidence that all three deaths are related, the police in two different departments and the OSBI are keeping it to themselves. Credulity, however, is beginning to be stretched. Oklahoma City isn't Mayberry, but three dead teenage girls in a month, two confirmed murders and one fairly reeking of homicide, would seem to take us beyond the realm of coincidence.

Alina Fitzpatrick's parents had established a facebook page after she went missing, looking for help in trying to find their daughter. Ms. Saunders' parents had done the same thing. Kelsey Bransby's parents didn't have time to.

As the leaves dry up and fall, then scuttle away in the wind, a chill is settling in. It has nothing to do with the season. This is the chill that is never chased away by a fireplace in a warm den or living room. This is the chill that comes from within.

Children are being killed. It doesn't get any colder than that.

The police have no suspects.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Best Defense is a Good Offense: Penn St. in the Crosshairs and Everyone is Lying

"I've grilled him on that many times, but showering with kids doesn't make him guilty."
Joe Amendola, Attorney at Law, currently retained by Jerry Sandusky.

When you are looking at the possibility of four hundred sixty years in the joint you need a lawyer with balls and apparently that is what Jerry Sandusky has found.

Under Joe Amendola's careful direction the Sandusky camp went on the offensive last night and today.

According to Sandusky there was a lapse of judgement on his part when he decided to take showers with children a while back. That is hard to debate, since fifteen years ago he promised the mother of one young boy and the Penn State Police he would never do it again. That promise is supposedly what got him off the hook then and convinced the soon to be missing and presumed dead Centre County DA, Ray Gricar not to prosecute.

As for the rest of it, well, it is all just a merry mix up. Things seen were not as bad as they seemed. There was no harm at all, just some nude horsing around with underage boys. Towels were snapped, there was some light, non sexual, touching on legs and no, he loves children, but isn't sexually attracted to them. Maybe not but he certainly was spending a lot of time running around buck naked with them. It is an image that makes Michael Jackson's philosophy regarding adult interaction with kids seem down right Captain Kangarooish.

Sandusky did not say outright what is obviously going to be his front line of defense. Amendola took care of that. He let Jerry play the martyr while he went on the attack.

"Because these types of crimes have a common theme and they take a common track, its not hard to fabricate allegations." In other words everyone is lying.

"What is happening now, in my opinion, is that we have a bunch of people who have read the allegations, realize there is a large university involved and there maybe a lot of money involved in law suits that are certain to come." In other words the reason everyone is lying is because they think they can make big bucks off the school and everyone connected to this disaster.

So begins the "mass hysteria witch hunt" defense. The victims aren't victims, but lying, would be profiteers looking for an easy score aided and abetted by a press swirling in a frothy feeding frenzy.

The New York Times reports nearly ten more victims have come forward. Amendola's response is that they all could be lying. "Isn't that a possibility?" Well yeah, but isn't it a possibility they aren't.

As far as the most damning evidence, the eye witness account by then grad assistant Mike, McQueary, Amendola takes another tact. That person has remained unidentified, however according to the counselor, "We believe we found him and if we found him he is telling a very different story than Mike McQueary. He's saying it never happened." The key word there would be "if".

As much as many would like, this sordid affair isn't going away any time soon. It is obvious Sandusky is going to come out in a fighting crouch that would make O.J. Simpson proud. He may not have a dream team at his table, but he does have a slick talking, turn it around on them, guy who isn't afraid to go after the old coach's accusers.

It has become obvious in the last twenty four hours that if some people are indeed looking to make a quick buck, they are going to have to earn it. Joe Amendola is going to make sure of that. He is going to put each and everyone of them on trial. And it will be excruciating.


Monday, November 14, 2011

MF Global Goes All Titanic and Buddy Can You Spare $600 Million?

Well the figure pales when compared to Bernie Madoff's fifty billion dollar ponzi scheme, but six hundred million bucks is still a pretty good sized chunk of change. That is the amount of client cash that has turned up missing from the books of the bankrupt brokerage firm MF Global.

No one can seem to figure out where the money went, or at least no one is talking. The firm, led by former Sachs Goldman CEO and New Jersey governor, Jon Corzine hasn't enjoyed the best of reputations lately. In the last decade MF Global has been sanctioned five different times and fined a cool twelve million. In 2008 one deal gone bad led to one hundred forty one million in trading losses on wheat futures alone.

They probably are not someone Warren Buffett would want to get involved with. No, the smart money doesn't put down a wager on the table with a bunch of street hustlers such as these.

An on line story by Martha C. White details the fall out from the bankruptcy and the discharge of nearly all 1,066 MF Global employees.

She quotes former SEC chief accountant, Lynn Taylor as saying that, "The fact that people today can't tell us where the six hundred million went is not a good sign." Adding, "Its starting to smell like fraud."

You think?

An anonymous source says that MF Global may have been involved in "aggressive interpretation of securities law." Rather like Al Capone was involved with aggressive interpretation of gambling, alcohol, and prostitution statutes.

Commodity Futures Trading Commissioners say that sifting through the finances of MF Global is a "magical mystery tour" and that the books are a "disaster."

Yes, with feral clowns such as these running things on Wall Street investing heavily in the Power Ball Lottery drawing is starting to look like a lot safer bet. It could be that many will buy shovels and mason jars. Three steps to the the left of the Mimosa Tree in the back yard and X marks the spot. Why not? It's better than giving it to these amoral greed heads. Who needs a gun any more? Just get a MBA and have all the loyalty of a rented snake.

As we push forward in the twenty-first century it is becoming increasing clear that capitalism can't be trusted to capitalists. That the conservative philosophy of deregulation and letting business go about its business seems either hopelessly naive, or outright duplicitous.

In the end there is a reason that people are in the streets demanding an accounting for all this piracy. And if some young Wharton School of Business grad asks why, just tell him to look in the mirror.

After all, would you buy a used car from him?

It is enough to make you trust a politician.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Shame, Incompetence, and the Mayan Scenario

It was not a good week for many. The screw turned so often it was hard to keep up with all the reports of depravity, moral collapse, self immolation, out right thievery and bureaucratic incompetence.

Yes, the list of headliners taking it to the gut was numbingly long.

The latest out of State College, PA is that Joe Paterno is now consulting with a high profile Washington D.C. attorney. Paterno seems to have finally grasped the gravity of his situation. As the toxic sludge from Happy Valley continues to seep across the landscape Paterno's people have said that "he is afraid he might possibly be sued by the families of the victims."

Or maybe he hasn't. There isn't a possibility of him being dragged into litigation, or even the probability. There is an absolute one hundred percent certainty that he and or his estate will be lost in the civil court system for the next half century or so. Paterno has yet to make a public statement about his involvement in this repellent affair and now that he has a lawyer he probably won't. No, the first time we'll hear from Joe about the entire cover up will be on the stand with the advice of his attorney.

In other arenas Texas Governor, Rick Perry suffered the greatest public mental melt down of any high end politician since Admiral James Stockdale. It was a performance so utterly incompetent that his only possible response was to spend the rest of the week making fun of himself. It isn't a good sign for any presidential campaign when the candidate must make the rounds of talk shows confessing how stupid he was on camera.

Herman Cain is continuing his campaign despite an ever increasing number of women coming forward and making ugly accusations about the former pizza magnate's sexual conduct. Cain needs to understand that the only top flight politico in this country who can get away with such behavior is named William Jefferson Clinton. Mr.Cain may as well save the time and money of everyone involved in the nomination process. He is a dead duck.

Over at the Social Security Administration a report has surfaced that its "Master Death File" routinely lists as many as 14,000 American citizens wrongfully dead. It is unclear who compiles "The Master Death File", but getting your name put there by mistake can mean a loss of benefits and public disclosure of private information making one ripe for identity theft.

Recent skulduggery even reaches into the financial lives of television personalities. Mr. Joseph Cilibrasi CPA, confessed to bilking Tamara Tunie of $1.4 million dollars. Ms. Tunie portrays medical examiner, Melinda Warner on the Law and Order TV series. Cilibrasi testified he took out a credit card in Ms. Tunie's name, then put himself on the account and in addition wrote checks off her account to siphon off funds. It would seem Oprah was right. Never let anyone else sign your checks.

The only one coming out ahead in this entire oily morass appears to be Mitt Romney. Suddenly he seems the only sane and competent person in the republican race. Unfortunately for him there are still millions of Southern Baptists waiting to cast ballots in primaries across the south and west. Every time those young Mormon Missionaries ring a doorbell and try to convert the unconvertible he loses votes.

Yes, many took hits and the bell tolled for a few. Optimism in certain crowds seems as extinct as the Black Rhino.

The Mayans might be right.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Lion King Falls, Heads Roll: If You're a Lawyer, Take a Number

To quote Conrad's Mr. Kurtz, "The horror, the horror."

Yes things have come completely unglued at State College, PA. A program and coach revered for success and ethics, praised time after time in national media outlets, has become mired in a scandal so sordid it takes the breath away.

Joe Paterno is done. After sixty plus years on the job, nearly a half century of them as head coach he was fired via phone call. His supporters, some of whom rioted in the streets last night, screech that he did what he was required to do and he is being made a scape goat. His own people claim he didn't understand the seriousness of the allegations. He simply thought it was some sort of odd "horsing around" in the shower.

He did, however, find it odd enough to report it to his athletic director and a school vice president who was ultimately in charge of the campus police department. At that point who knows what he thought. Did he just forget about the whole thing? Was he in such a state of denial he could not bring himself to believe that such criminal behavior was happening within a flat pass of his office? What he did know was that Jerry Sandusky, even though barred from bringing children into the State College facility, was still running around free and interacting with young boys on a daily basis. Surely alarm bells should have been going off in his head. Was this a case of don't ask, don't tell? Did his mania for maintaining the perfect image of Penn State take the twisted path of covering this beast's actions up?

A public statement is pending, practically everyone else is indicted and or also unemployed.

The time line of the grotesque acts and the details of the indictment do paint a picture of a prolonged cover up by Penn State officials. Sandusky apparently was treated as some sort of eccentric relative who, while running amok, was still welcome over for Thanksgiving.

As one anguished former Penn State player said on on ESPN radio this morning,"I just want to know how this happened?"

Indeed the rending of cloth and gnashing of teeth is wide spread. Paterno was Penn State and Penn State was Paterno. To put it into perspective the odds are there isn't a former Penn State player alive today who wasn't coached by Joe Paterno. And Jerry Sandusky was one of his boys, both on the field and on the sidelines for over thirty years.

It is a train wreck so massive the Board of Trustees had to act. The entire university seemed to be swirling down some dark drain. Losses had to be cut, heads had to roll. Even Paterno's resignation after the season became unacceptable. The image of him being carried victorious off the field by his team after this weeks game as one hundred thousand faithful roared was a public relations nightmare too great to risk.

Yes, the casualties are many.

Tim Curley, AD fired and indicted.

Gary Schultz, Senior VP for finance and business fired and indicted

Graham Spanier, University President, fired.

Joe Paterno, Head Coach and fallen angel, fired.

Mike McQueary, Grad Assistant and now Assistant coach, oddly not fired, but soon to be unemployed and sneered at by just about everyone in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Jim Calhoun, Temp Janitor and witness, let go after eight months service and telling his supervisor about Sandusky's gruesome behavior with a boy in the shower. Now a resident of an assisted living facility and reportedly suffering from dementia.

Ray Gricar, former Centre County DA who chose not to prosecute Sandusky in 1998. He mysteriously disappeared in 2005 and was recently declared dead.

All these careers gone because people refused to do the right thing and throw Jerry Sandusky under the bus.

As for Sandusky himself, he still maintains he is innocent of all charges. Well, you have to say something don't you. His lawyer is going to have to ask for a change of venue to say, Ulan Bator, Mongolia to find an impartial jury.

All the other lawyers in Pennsylvania are on the phones with victims and their families as I write. One can only imagine the monster settlements that will be asked for. And, those closing arguments: "Ladies and gentleman of the jury, the defendants KNEW of Mr. Sandusky's pattern of sexual abuse and they enabled him to continue his animalistic behavior." Big bucks will be shelled out by everyone involved in this moral catastrophe.

For a cast of defendants see the above list and add the institution itself.

One can only wonder what the scene will be at State College this Saturday when Nebraska rolls into town. The stadium will be full and emotions raw, fueled no doubt by massive amounts of alcohol. Will there be physical confrontations in the stands? Will McQueary be stoned by the student body? Unacceptable behavior on all sides can be expected. Riot police will be on alert. It will be ugly to the extreme.

How far oh Lord have the mighty fallen?

It appears all the way.

Sic Transit Gloria.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sodomy, Shame and Degradation

College athletics and football in particular can be an ugly business. Scandals are rife as everyone bends the rules to the breaking point and shadowy off campus figures offer under the table gifts and cash. Every season it seems some high profile program is under investigation for recruiting violations, or padding the wallets of star players: ie "Yes young Bubba's mom is working on the serving line at the local Furr's Cafeteria, but I'm sure she came by that brand new four bedroom house in the suburbs quite honestly, " said the oil baron alumni with the orange and black tie
Those of us who follow the college game closely are used to this sort of corruption. It has been part of the process since the sport went big time back in the early part of the last century.

However things at Penn State have taken a nastier turn. Payoffs and corruption are one thing, child molestation and sodomy are others completely. Not even the guys doing hard time for armed robbery and murder will put up with that sort of grotesque behavior.

No, things at Happy Valley have gone to the darkest of the dark sides now that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with all manner of awful acts against children ranging in age from seven and eight to ten to thirteen. Sandusky, a former Penn State player and defensive coordinator retired from the program years ago, however he was left the keys to the kingdom by the athletic department and apparently he took full advantage of it.

The most appalling fact in this case, besides the details of the abuse, is the length of time over which it occured. By all accounts initial allegations of inappropriate behavior by Sandusky date back to 1996. That would be fifteen years ago. Fifteen years!

By the fall of 2000, eleven years ago, school janitor James Calhoun reported to his supervisor that he saw Sandusky performing oral sex on a minor in the shower room. His supervisor ducked the deal and told Calhoun to report it to someone else higher up. By all reports Calhoun never took it any further.

On March 1, of 2002, that would be nine years ago, a graduate assistant saw Sandusky sodomizing a young boy in the shower room. On March 2, and here is when things start to go terribly wrong in more ways we can count, the grad assistant told head coach Joe Paterno what he saw. Paterno, instead of going to the police, went to his boss Athletic Director, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, a VP for business and finance.

Later that month the grad assistant was told Sandusky had been barred not only from the locker room and showers, but also the charity he was working for at the time, The Second Mile Foundation. There was no other investigation. The buck stopped there. Paterno had told his boss, but apparently his boss didn't tell anyone else.

Despite all this, Sandusky continued to hold football camps through the auspices of The Second Mile Foundation, an organization designed to help "at risk" youths at satellite PSU sites. He didn't retire from day to day operations until after a mother reported her son had been sexually assaulted by him in 2008. It was only then the police got involved.

On November 5, 2011, former player, coach, and accused sodomite Jerry Sandusky was arrested. On the seventh Curley and Schultz were busted for not telling the cops.

Paterno remains uncharged, even though he didn't go the police either. His tenure at Penn State now seems at an end after nearly a half century at the helm. Other long careers have gone down in flames, but none have spewed the noxious fumes this one has.

There is simply no way to soft sell a charge like child molestation, or to explain away not reporting it.

Who knows why everyone kept their mouths shut? Loyalty to a former player and coach? Sorry, sodomizing underage kids who were at risk anyway throws that right out the window. Trying the keep the university's name out of the muck? That is probably where the brain failure started. Like the catholic church scandals, these guys were more interested in protecting the name of the school rather than putting a run amok pedophile behind bars.

And now it has all come apart for them. Reputations are sullied beyond redemption and careers are destroyed.

Paterno has been a fixture at Penn State for so long the two seem inseparable. Now he will have to slink out, this terrible cloud forever hovering above his name.

Shame and humiliation are all that is left for this crowd. And for some, there is an immanent trip to the big house.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Culling the Herd as the Bell Tolls

A quick question. What do the following people have in common?

Henry Ford (The car guy, whose company came up with the Edsel)
Charles Lindbergh (Aviator and pre WWII isolationist)
John Harvy Kellog (You know, Rice Krispies et al )
John D. Rockefeller (He owned just about everything once)
Dr. Clarence Gamble (Proctor and Gamble)
James Hanes (Women's hose magnate)
Josef Mengele (Nazi and hands on concentration camp biology researcher)

The answer is they were all huge fans of the so called science, eugenics.

Eugenics hit its stride in the 1920's and 30's. It is the belief that the human gene pool should be carefully managed and even manipulated to improve the quality of the species. To some extent it is practiced today. As an example, if you are a PhD in astro physics your little swimmers are going to be a lot more valuable to the local sperm bank than say those of the average Burger King cashier.

Unfortunately, back in its heyday and even later eugenics had a dark side, as Herr Doktor Mengele's presence on that list might suggest.

This brings us to present day North Carolina and one Elaine Riddick.

According to a published account by Michelle Kessel and Jessica Hooper, Ms. Riddick became pregnant at age thirteen after being raped by a neighbor. While carrying the child a board of five upstanding and no doubt scientific minded citizens determined she was "feeble minded and promiscuous." That decision put her on the eugenics hit list. Other offenses included alcoholism, poverty, and mental retardation.

Ms. Riddick, at the recommendation of the state board, was sterilized immediately after giving birth without her knowledge or permission.

No doubt the good of the species had to be maintained.

Of course it would be easy to dismiss this barbarity to the wilds of North Carolina. After all the board wasn't disbanded until 1977 and the law it was enforcing wasn't repealed until 2003. However thirty one American states had similar laws and boards. Tens of thousands of mostly women were summarily sterilized over several decades. A large chunk of them, surprise, surprise, were black.

The practice was so well thought of here and abroad that the New England Medical Journal once wrote, "Germany is perhaps the most progressive nation restricting fecundity among the unfit." That would be the Germany of Adolph Hitler and the aforementioned Josef Mengele. The Germany that would later come up with a final solution in matters such as these.

The state of North Carolina is busily apologizing for all this. They are debating compensation amounts and they say they are trying to track down the victims.

Ms. Riddick sued them a few years ago for a million dollars. It went to the U.S. Supreme Court which refused to hear the case.

She is still waiting for compensation.

She grew up and attended college.

Her son is a successful business man.


It would appear that when it comes to genetics things don't necessarily turn out the way we think they might.

That is why there is a God and John Donne was right.

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: It tolls for thee.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Fools, Tactics, and Baying Mobs

Barack Hussein Obama has a couple of things going for him. First, everything he has done so far he promised to do when running for office. The far left might be uncomfortable with the continued wars and the compromises on health care and the economy, but he has stayed on point as best he can given the ferocity of the opposition. He also offed Osama Bin Ladin, something the previous administration forgot to do as it focused on short term profits for Haliburton and Iraqi oil reserves.

His willingness to compromise has disenchanted some and placated no one on the right side of the aisle, and seemed therefore at times an actual weakness. Everyone south and west of Washington D.C. wants to blame him for not providing a quick fix for a financial crisis so deep and appalling that it rivaled the one left to Franklin Roosevelt by the hapless geek, Herbert Hoover. For Obama, the rock has appeared to have met the hard place.


The second thing the president of the United States of America has going for him is a gaggle of republican candidates who make Maury Povitch seem civilized and in touch with the vital issues of the day.

Where did they find these babbling monsters? More importantly, how can any of them survive the fractured and schizophrenic mob that their party has degenerated into?

The list is a litany of fools, beasts, and suspected left wing moles.

Every time doubt and anxiety creep into the wavering hearts of the democratic faithful all they have to do is take a gander at the alternative being offered to America.

The republican party has made a fundamental strategic mistake. It saw all those racist fools in the street, thought they were a majority and sold out to them.

The tea party is the final refuge and last gasp of an aging, rapidly shrinking anglo-saxon cadre who are driven mad by the inevitable. The days of unchallenged white rule, unapologetic American imperialism, and buyer beware capitalism are done. The movement is in fact the death throes of 1950's America. Not the age, but the attitude held by every baby boomer who didn't grow long hair or move left in the 1960's. They are the devoted sons and daughters of Nixon's silent majority and they are the last generation to have attended segregated public schools.

The inherent problem both parties have is that the far edges tend to control the nomination processes, but can't deliver national elections. This election cycle that conundrum is moot for the democrats. It is not for the republicans.

Rick Perry might get rousing ovations in front of a tea party rally when he rants about social security being a failed socialist program that needs to be abolished. However that speech won't play as well at the retirement home in front of those who depend on those monthly checks and who actually vote.

Let's face it. Bachman isn't acceptable to even the least lucid members of that crowd. For all their moral outrage at such charges, Cain is black and therefore out of the mix. Ron, heroin should be legalized, Paul has gone off his nut. Romney is the member of a non Christian cult and his health plan is the one Obama's is based on. You can google Santorum's name, but once you start reading the gag reflex will kick in.

No these republicans either can't pass the purity test, or connect with any sort of middle of the road mind set.

Corporate republicans, the old power base, have submitted to what amounts to twenty-first century brown shirts baying in the streets. They mistakenly thought they could control this run away train and now they are stuck on it, doomed to ride out the trip and wait for the catastrophic derailment.

Ladies and gentlemen, barring some unforeseen disaster, President Obama is headed to a second term.

Bet on it.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Oklahoman Fumbles, Ducks, and Covers and Warhol is Right

Almost lost on page 16A of the November 2, 2011 issue of "The Oklahoman", Oklahoma City's daily paper, is a brief story about the murder of Kelsey Bransby.

Police have announced that she died of a gun shot wound to the face. In addition the paper noted Ms. Bransby dropped out of Mustang High School five months before she was to graduate in the same class as did the equally ill fated Carina Saunders. The Oklahoman did not reconcile an earlier report that Ms. Bransby was a student at Oklahoma City Community College. OCCC, while not as academically challenging as say, Duke, or Harvard, presumably does require its incoming students to have a high school diploma.

Obviously The Oklahoman was given poor information that it didn't attempt to verify, thus proving once again that outside the sports department it cannot be trusted as a news source. Be that as it may, the coincidence of these two former classmates falling victim to brutal crimes within a couple of weeks of each other still stretches all actuary odds.

At this point the state medical examiner's office, itself under investigation for bribery and abject cronyism, has yet to release the official cause of death in the Saunders' case. I'm no expert, but I'd hazard a guess that the whole decapitation, dismemberment thing played a part in it. However it maybe that Ms. Saunders was all ready dead before the long knives came out. At least, in some dark fashion, we can hope so.

The minor mystery in all this is that why after the sensational and nearly lurid headlines in the Saunders' affair is the that the Bransby murder been relegated to the back pages with only the sort of yawning mention that is usually reserved for the homeless. There have been no interviews with grieving family, no in depth statements by investigators. It would seem there is a conscious effort by police and or media to keep this killing below the public radar and utterly separate from the Saunders' horror.

And the truth is they might be separate. Just a terrible and unlikely coincidence. A gruesome million to one shot that will keep us all wondering about the whims of fate for the next few years.

The terrible fact right now is that despite being in the same high school class, looking hauntingly alike, and having pages on facebook, the only acknowledged connection here is that the police in both cases have no clue as to who did it. Nor do they have the slightest idea why.

Suddenly year book photos and social network pages seem a bit more shadowy than they ever should be. Who knows what sort of deranged beasts are sifting through them at this very moment.

It appears Warhol was right. And so was Morrison. Everyone will be famous and the killer is indeed on the road.

Insane Clowns Have a Party and the Body Count Rises

Here is what we know. On October 13th, Carina Saunders' body was discovered in a wooded area behind a supermarket in the Oklahoma City suburb of Bethany. She had been dismembered and beheaded. The remains were found in a duffel bag by animal welfare volunteers searching for feral cats.

She was a nineteen year old, 2010 graduate of Mustang High School. She apparently had no fixed address, or job, but did possess an affinity for meth, marijuana, and ecstasy. No one had seen her for a number of days before she was reported missing. In fact, it was only after a cousin received some dark and disturbing text messages regarding her well being, or lack thereof, that the family thought to contact police.

When last seen by the cousin she was getting into a blue, or dark gray SUV with a "gray haired man in his forties" near the intersection of I-40 and Rockwell Ave. in OKC. Two persons of "interest", neither of whom were gray headed or in their forties were questioned and released. Since then the case has been growing colder by the second.

Ms. Saunders was a fan of the white hip hop duo, Insane Clown Posse. A number of years ago, because they couldn't sell their brand of inner city music to real inner city kids they turned to a genre best described as horror rap. This made them a hit with a cult of disenfranchised suburban white teens who wanted to shock and appall their parents or guardians by listening to lyrics about, yes, death, dismemberment and beheading.

What we also know is that last Thursday a young woman was found in a south Oklahoma City apartment suffering from what has been antiseptically described as "trauma to the body." She died sometime over the weekend in an unnamed hospital.

She was a student at Oklahoma City Community College and a nineteen year old, 2010 graduate of Mustang High School. Her name was Kelsey Bransby. Her facebook photo makes her look eerily, almost genetically, similar to published photos of Carina Saunders.

OKC police say, "they aren't aware of a personal connection between the two women." Details of the Bransby murder are scarce so far, no doubt being kept unavailable by the OKCPD.

The Bethany police, only thirty-one strong, have five officers dedicated to the Saunders' case. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is said to be assisting. That may be of small comfort to all parties since the OSBI track record of late has been dismal at best.

It would seem evil is afoot here in the brass buckle of the bible belt. These gruesome acts will be trumpeted from pulpits state wide as the inevitable result of drugs, sex, rock and roll, Satan, liberalism, and Barak Hussein Obama himself, although not necessarily in that order. The loss of prayer in public school will be mourned, the bodies will be buried and altar calls will be made. Many will come to Jesus.

Unfortunately the killer, or killers will not be at the rail. They will remain at large, at least for now. Meth labs will continue to cook in run down rental houses and mobile homes all across the land. The dark underbelly of what was once a blue collar working class will continue to degenerate into a roving mob of Moorlocks, feeding on themselves and the occasional Eloi who wanders too close to a cavern entrance.

Finally there is a third thing we know.

From the lyrics of "If I was a Serial Killer" by Insane Clown Posse.

First thing I'd do is kill a couple hotties
That always gets them monstered up
decapitated bodies


Welcome to Red Dirt Country.