Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Romney Wins, Two Critical Weeks, and Howard Sells Out

The results are in and as expected Mitt Romney carried the day in both Michigan and Arizona. Out west he ran away with the contest carrying 47% of the vote and winning all of the delegates. In Michigan he struggled to a narrow victory over Rick Santorum 41% to 38%. To illustrate how close it really was Santorum was awarded the same number of delegates as Romney from what is arguably Mitt's home state.

The same problems plagued him there that have in the past. He carried those who consider themselves moderates, those who think electability is the most important factor, and surprise, surprise, the wealthy. Santorum carried the middle class, union households and, in what has to be the most disturbing demographic for the Mittster, those democrats who switched over and voted in the republican primary. It is going to be increasingly tough for Romney to claim he can beat Obama if democrats are flocking to Santorum in the primaries.

To eke out the win Romney and his Super Pac pals had to out spend Santorum two to one. The campaign and supportive Super Pacs blew $4 million dollars on advertising as opposed to the Santorum people who spent $2 million. That $4mil gained him only fifteen delegates although it probably stemmed the tide of unease and out right panic bubbling deep in the gut of the republican establishment.

Romney now holds 145 delegates to Santorum's 82. Gingrich, who must make a move soon or fold his cards sits at 29. Ron Paul's exercise in futility puts him in a distant fourth place with 18.

Saturday March 3 Washington holds caucuses with 43 delegates up for grabs. That begins a two week span in which nearly 650 delegates will be selected. The time to put up, or shut up has finally arrived. By the 17th of March if Romney doesn't hold a commanding lead the nightmare scenario of a brokered convention will begin to loom large on the horizon.

To stay even marginally relevant Gingrich must win Georgia, Tennessee and possibly someplace like Oklahoma. That will prime him for further gains the following week in Alabama and Mississippi. Winning those states will leave him a regional candidate, the confederacy's boy, but it will at least keep him in the race. In what could be a fatal error, he failed to make the ballot in Virginia.

Santorum is going to have to convince a lot of Southern Baptists that his brand of Christianity is compatible with theirs, but luckily for him that job will be even tougher, if not impossible, for Romney.

The thinking here is that Washington, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming and Oklahoma are up for grabs. The following week Hawaii will be too. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam also hold caucuses with only minimal numbers of delegates in play, but in this election cycle not even one can be tossed aside.

No, this thing didn't end in Michigan and Arizona. If it doesn't end by the time Missouri holds its caucuses there will be much rending of cloth and an epidemic of ulcers. Maalox and scotch cocktails will be widely abused and tablets of ativan will be eaten as if they were M&Ms.

Finally in other news, as readers can tell by the new ad placements on the blog I sold out. Yes, it is time to try to cash in on the endeavor. Everyone does eventually and now seemed the right time for me. If the Ron Paul campaign is going to slip me a little coin to post an ad, who am I to deny them. You won't see MSNBC, or CNN turning down someones money just because they don't agree with them. Capitalism, fast food, cheap vodka and good cigars. It is the American way.

After all, none of us are communists.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stating the Obvious: The ME Says It Was Violent

On Tuesday, February 28th the Oklahoma City daily paper, "The Oklahoman" ran a story by staff writer Andrew Knittle. The headline was. "Saunders' Death Ruled 'Violent'."

That bit of dry and ironic journalism simply reflected the latest release from the state medical examiner. After four plus months of work, the ME has finally, officially, declared the cause of death of nineteen year old Carina Saunders as "violent death". Criminal investigations are all about the details, but this one seemed a little obvious. When you get beheaded, dismembered and stuffed into a duffel bag violent death is pretty much a given. Knittle quotes spokesperson Amy Elliott as saying an autopsy report which would include details about the condition of Saunders' body, "may be completed in the next two weeks."  So much for the speed and science of forensics as depicted in TV shows such as "CSI". It would appear to the layman that the condition of her body was that it was in pieces.

But hey, that is just me.

An exhaustive search for chemical and DNA evidence takes time although four months does feel a bit excessive. Of course it has been a gruesome season and Carina Saunders isn't the only woman who has met an untimely and "violent death" in this town. The work load at the ME's office has been heavy this fall and winter. Kelsey Bransby's killer and those involved with Alina Fitzpatrick's death are still walking around, unless they too are sitting in the county lockup on other charges.

That is where Jimmy Lee Massey and Mike "Monster" Knight are right now. Massey is described as a suspect in the Saunders' case by Bethany police chief, Phil Cole. Knight, according to Cole, is not now a suspect even though authorities believe the killing took place in his south side apartment. Court documents show that they believe Knight ordered a woman known only as "Rachel" to clean the place after the horror. She apparently didn't do a very good job because police found blood, hair, and bugs in the freezer. They also detected blood in the living room and bedroom. That coupled with the discovery of a machete with a twenty inch blade, electrical tape and a blackberry pretty well sealed the deal that the apartment on Heyman Street was the scene of the nightmare.

An unnamed woman claims Massey kidnapped her and took her to witness Saunders' torture and killing so that she would understand perfectly what would happen to her if she didn't cooperate in the drug and human trafficking ring. Police suspect Saunders' was picked at random to be the example. Her addiction to drugs probably made her an easy mark. The promise of a quick great high would have been too hard for her to pass up.

Knight is described by police as "a violent member of the South Side Locos street gang." It explains why more people aren't willing to give him or anyone else up in this horrid affair. Even if Knight and Massey never see the light of day again, their pals are out there and they are some bad dudes. You can't spend any reward money if you too are found chopped up behind a grocery store.

It also appears the police must not have a high degree of confidence in their witness, either because of her background, or her reluctance to take the stand in open court. That leaves them with a circumstantial case with those two words that haunt all prosecutors looming large. The words are reasonable and doubt. If you charge either of these guys with the crime and a jury lets them walk you don't get a second chance.

There is no telling where this is heading in the near future. Obviously the police think they've got their man, or at least one of them. However everyone is innocent until proven guilty, no matter what their reputation. Just being one mean asshole doesn't get you sent away for life. At least not in theory.

The wheels of justice grind slowly. One can only hope they don't grind to a halt before somebody, anybody, can be charged in Carina Saunders' death. Until then all we can do is open the paper and every now and then see her picture and look into those sad and haunting eyes. She and Kelsey and Alina all died too young. Someone is responsible. Someone needs to pay.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Michigan and Arizona: Santorum and JFK, Mitt and NASCAR

It is the not so calm before the storm. The Michigan and Arizona primaries are tomorrow and the press is in a feeding frenzy the likes of which have not been seen since Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck made that really, really bad movie.

Out in Arizona Romney seems in control. Various polls have him as many as 16 points ahead and as few as 4. In Michigan things are much tighter. One poll has him 4 points ahead, but the rest have him only 2 in front of Rick Santorum. That is well within a margin of error and basically makes the race too close to call.

Media hacks are braying that Michigan is a make or break effort for Romney, which of course it isn't, at least not as far as the number of delegates at risk. A loss would, however, be a huge psychological blow to his entire campaign and probably to his fund raising ability. No one wants to back a loser, especially when the office of president is at stake. Owning a piece of the second place man does you no good. In fact it could be downright disastrous if the winner decides to hold a grudge once he gets to the oval office. Massachusetts backed McGovern in 1972. In 1973 Nixon closed the Boston navy yard.

Yes, at this level politics cease to be a game of craps and more closely resembles Russian roulette.

Santorum seems to be fixating on the cultural war to a degree that appears to be obsessive. Last week he said president Obama was practicing a false theology. The other day he described the president as a "snob" because he was focused on the importance of college educations. This would seem an odd thing to say since all the blue collar middle class jobs are being sent either south or across the Pacific by people who contribute heavily to republican campaigns. He then added that college students were being indoctrinated by liberal professors. Ah now we know why he brought it up, it is the old blame it all on elitist eggs heads who don't live in the real world argument. In another interview he attacked John F. Kennedy, who is currently dead and not running for office, by saying Kennedy's idea of the separation of church and state made him sick to his stomach. "I don't believe in an America where separation of church and state is absolute," he said. John Kennedy made the offending statements in 1960.  Meanwhile former Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter claimed Santorum is lying when he says that he supported Specter only because in a private meeting Specter had promised to back George Bush supreme court nominees. Specter says that no such conversation ever took place.

Romney, forever the common man, showed up at Daytona for the NASCAR race and admitted that while he wasn't a huge fan, "I do have some friends who are NASCAR team owners." On another occasion he volunteered that his wife owned two Cadillacs in addition to the cars held in his name. He took umbrage at those who consider his wealth a detriment to the campaign and said that if you don't like Americans to be successful you should vote for the other guy. He deftly missed the difference between success and arrogance and certainly that point about a complete disconnect between him  and the average working person. He also held a rally in a 65,000 seat football stadium where an estimated 1,200 people showed up.

The delegate count right now lines up like this: Romney 105, Santorum 71, Gingrich 29, Paul 18, Huntsman 2. 1144 are needed to win. Less than seventy are up for grabs tomorrow. Super Tuesday is eight days away and if it is going to be anything but a two man race Gingrich must make up major ground then.

There has been speculation about a brokered convention. There has even been wild talk about some as yet unnamed hero riding into the fray to pull this fractured gang known as the republican party together. The only plausible name to come to mind would be Chris Christie of New Jersey, but he'd have to break a promise not to run which never sets a good tone. No, the thought here is Christie is waiting for the Jenny Craig program to kick in and Obama to finish a second term before he seriously considers presidential politics.

This race is going to be settled in the field. Tomorrow will have effect, but next week will be the "continue to fish, or cut bait" deadline.

Paul is done. Gingrich will hang in because of the Adelson money. We'll see how well Santorum's brand of Christianity plays down south. And Mitt, well, he'll win in Arizona going away and probably a close one in Michigan. That means for all of seven days he will be in the driver's seat. In this political season seven days is about all you can hope for.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Evil, Stupidity, Degeneracy and The Sky Blue Hope

It has been one of those weeks. The absurd has intertwined with degeneracy, evil, and brute stupidity.

The person, or persons responsible for Kelsey Bransby's murder and Alina Fitzpatrick's death still walk free among us. A New Mexico mayoral candidate has been filmed receiving a lap dance in his office. The husband of the Finnish president was caught ogling the breasts of a Danish princess. Some clod in the Indiana legislature claimed the girl scouts promote homosexuality. Mitt Romney's campaign is burning up money at  twice the rate of incoming contributions, thereby proving he's probably not as fiscally responsible as he'd like the electorate to believe. And, that in a crunch, the first baggage overboard in any political race is principle.

The Virginia state senate sent a bill back to committee that would have effectively outlawed abortion and perhaps even contraception. It had passed in the house, drawing national attention and as the senators probably realized, such acts are best accomplished quietly while no one is looking. Witnesses tend to contradict alibis.

Rick Santorum accused the president of having a phony theology. Billy Graham's son, Franklin insisted that the Muslim world considers Obama a son of Islam displaying the keen insight into that religion only a born again evangelical Christian can provide. Afghans are rioting in response to some dope burning Korans and because in that part of the world rioting is a major form of exercise and entertainment. Newt Gingrich claims the president shouldn't have tried to calm the situation by apologizing for the offensive mistake.

It is all madness and in these lingering days of winter there seems to be only one source of relief. Going into the all star break the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat are tied with the best records in the NBA. Yes, OKC's Durant, Westbrook and the rest of the young guns down on Reno Street are not only playing with the big boys, they are beating them on a regular basis. On consecutive nights this week they layed waste to the two proudest franchises in the league when they whacked both Boston and the LA Lakers by fifteen points.

It is a long way from those dreadful days in back in Seattle when they were playing in a rotting arena in front of small, tepid crowds. Or, even the first couple of years in OKC when this current bunch were learning the game and getting slammed on a regular basis. The average attendance for the Thunder so far this season is 18, 203. The local arena's seating capacity: 18, 203. At this point you've got to know somebody who knows somebody to get a ticket.

When the Hornets came to town for two years immediately after the Hurricane Katrina apocalypse it was widely hoped by the locals they would stay. When Clay Bennett's cabal bought the Sonics everyone knew that wasn't to be and the collective groan could be heard halfway to Amarillo. Bennett and his crowd pulled the Sonics out of the Pacific northwest as everyone knew they would, but surprise, surprise. Unlike previous owner Howard Schultz, the retail coffee magnate, these guys actually knew what they were doing. Oh there was the initial mis-fire with P.J. Carlissimo as head coach, but other than that speed bump the franchise has been on the upswing ever since it rolled into town.

As any resident of Oklahoma City will tell you, not only is winning sweet, but so is the knowledge that people from places like Seattle, Dallas, New York and other parts unnamed are being driven completely berserk by our very presence in the league. The small town hicks shouldered their way into the country club and for the moment anyway are whipping the old money like they are stray curs.

How long can this last? Who knows. Somewhere down the road Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Perkins, Collison and the rest will be just fond memories. For people like me that is far off and not relevant. Celebrate the moment I say. Make that run to the finals and who knows what will happen? The town is festooned with sky blue flags of every size and it feels good.

Given what has and is transpiring in the world it is about time.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Homosexual Threat Revisited: Evil Lurks In Every Girl Scout Cookie

Here is how weird they really are.

The other day the Indiana state legislature decided to put through a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts. It did not pass unanimously. Representative Bob Morris, republican from Ft. Wayne distributed a letter to his fellow law makers regarding the organization. In the letter he said, "After talking to some well informed constituents I did a small amount of web based research."

That should have been the first red flag. Nothing is more dangerous in this world than "a small amount of web based research." This is because the web contains every lunatic conspiracy theory, every piece of misinformation, disinformation and out right falsehood that ever wormed its way from some fevered brain to a keyboard. It is the great store house of all things wrong, evil and out right crazy.

His small amount of research led Representative Morris to conclude, "The Girls Scouts of America is a radical organization that promotes abortions, homosexuality, and encourages sex." He added that the GSA is a "tactical arm of Planned Parenthood and wants to sexualize girls". He claims that the GSA conducts an education seminar to study role models. That of the fifty role models listed only three have a briefly mentioned religious back ground and ALL the rest are feminists, lesbians, or communists. He also pointed to a troop in Colorado that accepted a trans gender youth.

The letter cites two sources. One is a web publication called, World Net Daily. A quick look at their home page today provided these, no doubt, fair and balanced articles, "Santorum Right About Satan," "37 Things You Should Hoard," and of course the inevitable, "Toughest Sheriff to Release Obama Birth Probe."

His second is a Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop named James D. Conley. According to Morris, Conley has warned the faithful that continued participation in the GSA will make young girls more receptive to the pro abortion agenda. Only he really didn't say that. What he did say was that while scouting does huge amounts of good, parents should be watchful over some supposed high level connections between the organization and people who are pro contraceptive and pro choice. He said absolutely nothing about pulling daughters out of the scouts, which Morris bragged about doing. He simply advised people to keep an eye and ear out for what their kid's troop leaders are saying. Well yeah. While the connections remain vague and unsubstantiated that is advice any sane parent should follow.

Unfortunately we're not dealing with the sane here. We're dealing with Bob Morris and people like him.

The reaction was swift. Unfortunately the Girl Scouts had to address it, otherwise Brother Morris would be able to say something like, "see there, they didn't deny it." Ashley Sharp, spokeswoman for the GSA Northern Indiana-Michigan said, "We leave sex and reproductive questions to parents. We accept trans gendered youth on a case by case basis." Planned Parenthood said the charges were, "woefully inaccurate."

Indiana state house speaker and fellow republican Brian Bosma referred to the letter and its contents as, "absurd" He spent much of yesterday passing out girls scout cookies to members of the legislature. One would assume Representative Morris turned down the offer of a smore.

Morris ducked out of the state chambers yesterday without further comment. He had previously said his daughters would join The American Heritage Girls, an organization run by conservative Christians. A local news outlet noted that as he was leaving, Girl Scout Troop 1604 in Carmel, Indiana was opening their meeting by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sometimes you just want to use the frying pan for something other than bacon. Yes, knock some sense into these loons and leave them reeling.

I don't know what is more frightening: that Bob Morris could think up this evil nonsense, or that a bunch of people in Ft. Wayne actually voted for him.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Oilies Rule, The Price of Gas and Obama Could Be in Trouble

For Barak Obama it looms out there like a dark and dangerous storm on the horizon. With each passing moment and each penny or two creep upward at the gas pump it grows closer. Thunder rumbles in the distance and flashes of lightning  can be seen tucked away in the folds of ominous clouds.

The price of gas is rising and if it gets bad enough it could undermine the economic recovery and provide the republicans with a hot button issue they can jump on over and over. Don't think they aren't all ready sharpening their knives over this one. John Boehner has begun to preach to the troops that they should, "embrace the gas pump anger. This is a debate we want to have," he said.

Indeed they do. Nothing will drive an American into a rage quicker than a sudden hike in fuel prices. The republicans will lay everything at the president's door step. He has stopped the Keystone pipeline that snakes from Canada to Houston, with one branch turning east to Illinois. His new budget calls for for vast cutbacks in the tax breaks oil companies receive for drilling and exploration.The Newt is all ready on the phone tweeting about opening up federal land for more exploration and drilling. Look for the others to follow in his foot steps.

One could go all Ron Paul on this and point out that the oilies really don't like this president and want to see Obama gone. To get to that goal they are artificially jacking up the prices despite reports that gas consumption in this country is at an eleven year low. To hell with all that price and demand stuff. Stick it to the dude and wail about all those oceans of oil just below the surface throughout Alaska and other wildernesses. Give us what we want and we'll make it all better. Never mind that we ultimately control the price, not some temporary occupant of the white house. Ah, for the good old Bush days. Those were people who understood a profit doesn't become decent until it becomes obscene.

It is probably a bit more complicated than that, although the sneaking suspicion is that it is a very real part of it. The angst over Iran has something to do with the current shift. Those goofs are the third largest exporter of oil in the world and they are threatening to shut down the Straight of Hormuz through which one fifth of all the oil in the world flows. The energy demands of places like India and China are going through the roof. We aren't the only big time addict on the street any more. There are, as they say, other markets. Before it is over some are saying we could be looking at $4.25 per gallon.

Yes, it could get ugly. A quick glance at a US map shows that the proposed Keystone runs through the states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas plus a branch through Missouri. A future phase would route another branch through Montana, then South Dakota again and Nebraska. And how many of those states did Obama carry four years ago? None. Those are votes he didn't get and will never get. He did get and desperately needs once again the environmentalists who threatened to not support him if he signed off on the project. It is the perfect Catch-22 that the republicans have been waiting for.

Some Joe Schmoe in Ohio or New Jersey isn't going to give a rat's ass about the environment when the cost of him getting to and from work just jumped twenty-five percent or so. When gas prices hit $3.51 a gallon last year the average American was spending 8.4 percent of his or her usable income on automobile fuel. If that number closes in on 10% people are going to get madder than hell and instead of looking at big oil they are going to be staring directly at the guy who is in charge of the country.

That part of the bumper sticker that says, "He saved GM," isn't going to mean much if no one can afford to drive a car. No, Obama is vulnerable on this one unlike much of the trumped up bull shit the republicans are talking about now. Look for them to home in on this and hammer him day in and day out.

Every time the price goes up the election tightens. Boehner and his lackeys know that. Unfortunately for the president their keepers down in Houston know it too and they control the game.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rick Feels His Oats, Freebies Cause Abortions, and It Is France's Fault

Rick Santorum is feeling feisty these days. He is the new darling of the GOP's far right, anti Romney crowd and he is playing it for everything it is worth. The latest poll in Michigan, where Romney grew up and where his father was governor, shows the former senator from Pennsylvania ahead 43% to Mitt's 33%. Newt Gingrich, who was ever so briefly where Santorum is right now in the hearts and minds of the tea party fringe, is at 11%. The Ron Paul exercise in futility rounds out the field with 8%.

All this success has led Mr. Santorum to change targets lately. The past week his focus has been squarely on Barak Obama and he hasn't anything pleasant to say about the president. In fact he went so negative he sounded positively Newtonian in both his rage and use of questionable facts. Of course anger and white hot rhetoric is what appeals to the far right. Reason and logic are considered weaknesses. So much so that people displaying them are routinely strung up, butchered and eaten during torch light rallies. After all, the cause must be kept pure.

Santorum accused the president of mandating free pre natal testing in his health care program to encourage more abortions. In his words, " pre natal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society." Ah, the "A" word. Yes, pound it in time after time no matter what else might be a consequence. Equate a rational yet painful choice with murder. Shower down guilt on anyone who has ever made that choice and accuse those who support it of some sort of genocide.  The argument, among other things, is one that assumes every parent of an unborn child will always choose abortion if a problem is uncovered, rather than getting proper care, or preparing for a discovered medical condition. It also denies women who live in poverty the ability to get medical assistance that is readily available to those who have insurance, but that isn't new. The entire republican health plan, or lack thereof is an homage to insurance providers and social Darwinism.

Mr. Santorum says in regard to the birth control issue, "It is all about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh not a theology based on the bible, a different theology, but no less a theology." Unfortunately for him the whole birth control issue isn't an issue with the huge majority of Americans. Take away the Roman Catholic hierarchy and people like Santorum and the "issue" would go away in about thirty seconds. As he raves about it the rest of us are yawning. Although it is always a good idea to throw in something about the bible and phony theology when appealing to the right. If reassures them that God is on their side. 

Finally he says, "Ladies and Gentlemen we have a president who not only apologizes for America but consistently makes our country less safe." He is a bit vague on how the president has done and is doing that. It apparently has something to do with meeting the French president who he mis identified as the French prime minister. This was just a few hours before Amin El Khalafi, a Moroccan was busted in a sting operation in Washington D.C. And mere months after Seal Team Six kicked in Osama Bin Laden's door and blew his brains out.  An act that right wing hacks quickly claimed Obama had nothing to do with.

Obama campaign spokesperson Ben Labolt called all this nonsense, "Just the latest low in a republican primary fueled by distortions, ugliness, searing pessimism and negativity."

Well, yeah. Did anyone actually expect these beasts to act civilized? They haven't done that since Eisenhower was president.

Another way to read this I suppose is outright panic. When pitted against Barak Obama in Michigan Santorum trails 50% to 39%. The only comfort he can derive from those figures is that his numbers are the best of any of the four remaining republicans when facing the president.. It was even worse for Mitt, Ron, and the Newt in the home of General Motors. 

Yes, when you are losing you have to go low and vile and do it often. Ratchet up the rhetoric, whip the mob into a blazing frenzy of religious outrage. Don't let anyone have the time to mull over that last time you ran for office, the one where you were thrown out of the senate by the people of Pennsylvania in absolute disgrace.

Screech loudly, then praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Rick Santorum is on a roll.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Buchanan Is Unemployed and We Can Breathe Free

Well there went my old pal, Pat Buchanan. He is on the street now, no longer employed by MSNBC after a four month suspension.  There is always the dark hope he'll end up on some dingy corner hustling for spare change, but people like him tend to land on their feet. I'm sure FOX will offer him a new gig in short order.

He is a better fit over there anyway. The staffers will actually agree with his cracked visions and over blown rages. People will appreciate him for what he is.

Of course he claims he is a victim of blacklisting. All of these right wing yahoos wrap themselves up in martyrdom as soon as the opposition exposes them for the racist fools they are. I'm sure he and his pals will holler about free speech and such. What they won't mention is that he can say whatever he wants, but he shouldn't necessarily expect a pay check from an organization that finds his opinions odious at best. It would be like the management of OKC's  paper, The Oklahoman, a vicious right wing rag, paying someone such as Al Franken to chip in on the op ed page. It just isn't going to happen, or at least it would only happen once.

The reason behind the suspension and ultimate termination was because of his latest book, "Suicide of a Superpower." Critics have called it anti semitic, homophobic, and racist. It has chapters with titles such as "The End of White America," and "The Death of Christian America." Previous literary efforts include the titles, "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America" and "Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization." The critics would seem to have a point. The guy was Lou Dobbs before Lou Dobbs was Lou Dobbs. And when it comes to presidential politics he is a sort of pre historic Ron Paul, only without the organization, or appeal.

Oddly he is apparently charming enough on a personal level that he and political opposites such as Hunter Thompson and later Rachel Maddow actually seemed to get along. When he swung through OKC once there was a photo of him enjoying a beer at a downtown micro brewery. So maybe my opinion of him might soften if he and I sat down with a bruski in some pub and chatted about current affairs. Although in reality that seems a bit of a stretch. Once he started in on how America shouldn't have fought Germany in World War II there wouldn't be enough ale or potato skins on the face of the planet to keep me gracious.

No, it is good this old Dick Nixon political hit man has been purged from MSNBC. Clear the airways and keep the poisonous drivel to a bare minimum I say.

After all, it isn't like he is going to go away. Unlike the blacklisting of suspected communists in the movie industry half a century ago he is going to be able to work. People are going to give him huge amounts of money to continue spewing his horrid bull shit. It is tough to claim martyrdom when you are earning six figures yearly.

Oh Patrick, it isn't like we hardly knew ya. It is more like we knew ya too well. Good riddance and I'll see you soon, somewhere.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Whitney Package on Hold, Conspiracies in Maine, and Future Porn Police

Oops. So maybe you can't have that close encounter with the spirit of Whitney Houston just yet. It depends on which Internet, non journalistic source you want to believe, or disbelieve. TMZ issued the initial report saying the room where the singer died was already occupied and booked for the foreseeable future. E! News says that isn't true and quotes an unnamed source who states, "The room wasn't rented, is not rented, and will not be rented in the foreseeable future." That is a couple of wildely disparate foreseeable futures.

I have not personally called the Beverly Hilton to see if room 434 is available mainly because I feel sorry for the schmucks in the reservations department. They are usually a vastly underpaid group who have to put up with a lot of cruel arrogance, stupidity, and random anger under the best of circumstances. Lord only knows how many cranks, mediums, mystics, and ghouls are on the line to them as I type, driving them quickly to the brink of reconsidering their careers, or worse, a leap off the top of the building.

No, it is best to leave the poor bastards in some sort of peace. The calls from the media alone have probably increased the waiting time for an available agent by something like 500%.

In the mean time there are dark rumors coming out of Maine that the fix was in during the recent caucuses and that Romney might not have carried the state. Because of foul weather, republicans in Washington County Maine in the far north east corner of the state have yet to cast their ballots. They have been informed their votes WILL NOT be counted by the state republican committee, because the committee has decreed that there is no way it will effect the final outcome. In addition when the local chairman in Belfast, Maine picked up the phone to call in the results from there he was informed those numbers were all ready in.

Unfortunately for the Paul campaign the numbers that were "all ready in" showed Romney won Belfast, which of course he didn't. When the state people were informed of this they said they'd correct the figures. The next day the official stats issued by the state machine showed no one at all voted in Belfast. No one, as in zero, nil, nada. To put this in perspective, Romney's victory was by less than two hundred votes. Calls for the state chairman's head began immediately, but so far to no avail.

It is beginning to appear as if the republican establishment, which loathes Gingrich, knows Paul is borderline certifiable, and probably considers Santorum a hopeless loser, has decided to take control of situation. It is all for the greater good of course. Just get Romney nominated, secure the independent and moderate vote, then trust that the right wing of the party will fall in line to defeat the common enemy.

Finally, Romney Gingrich, and Santorum have all said they would appoint an Attorney General who would strictly and vigorously enforce federal obscenity laws in regards to the distribution, dissemination, and presumably the viewing of pornography. Good luck with that gents. Someone needs to let these guys know that the days of receiving an innocuous brown paper package in the mail are long gone. All you have to do is log on to a computer and every dark, twisted, bizarre, and degenerate fantasy imaginable is available. My own wife found that out when she was doing some research on child abuse and corporal punishment and made the mistake of typing in the key word, "spanking." Films and magazines are beyond passe. They are relics. And, unless some as yet unfunded arm of the justice department is prepared to break down the door of every personal computer owner in the US to inspect hard drives, strict and vigorous enforcement seems only a dream.

It is almost as if cabin fever has set in despite the overall temperate nature of the winter. February seems to make everyone a bit buggy. Spring still feels ages away and so there is nothing left to do but dwell on dead celebrities, devious conspiracies, and make unattainable pledges.

It is the nature of the season I suppose. Luckily there are still cigars, vodka and classical music. And of course somewhere in the musty recesses, the nagging question: How is it that Keith Richards out lives all these people?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Whitney Package: Dead Priests and Pregnant Women and Thats Entertainment

"There is something wrong with us. There is something very, very wrong with us."
Bill Murray, from the movie, "Stripes"

Reports from The Beverly Hills Hilton are conflicting. The hotel publicist today has denied reports room 434, where singer Whitney Houston died a few days ago, has been reoccupied. That is at odds with what a Beverly Hilton reservation agent and the Executive Assistant to the General Manager have said. According to them the $375 per night room is occupied at this time and is booked, "for the foreseeable future." If true, the needle has just shot to the top of the creepy meter. One has to wonder at what point the word morbid fails to make the cut and something like grotesque takes over. Or, when being a fan morphs into becoming a zombie out of a George Romero movie. Having spent twelve years in the hotel industry I can promise you that room became available the very second the police released the scene and housekeeping finished cleaning it. I can also promise you that unless the General Manager of the place has the decency to keep them in check the sales department is going to come up with something like a "Spend the Weekend With Whitney's Ghost Package", featuring assorted complimentary bath oils, cocktails, and breakfast in bed.

Down in Colombia two priests were murdered. It turned out they had hired hired the hit on themselves. One was ravaged by not only AIDS, but also syphilis. Reports said they were going to jump to their deaths in a canyon, but couldn't bring themselves to take that long first Thelma and Louise step. There were four killers who split a $8500 fee. Two have been arrested.

That is big money to someone like Brodric Glover. Glover is being held in Oklahoma County in connection with the shooting death of Jessica Brown. He is alleged to have done the job for $250, which might give us some hint as to how highly esteemed he holds the sanctity of life, not to mention making a comment on the cost of his life style. Brown had two children with a third on the way. Her estranged husband and his girl friend are accused of buying the hit. Apparently the girl friend has rolled as has Glover, leaving the husband, Fabion Brown in a world of hurt. No matter what the outcome  he will remain the envy of every true bargain hunter in the world.

Then, of course, there is the case of Justin and Jaymie Adams. The 25 year old woman, who apparently had never heard of the term birth control, was pregnant with her fifth child. She was beaten and stabbed to death. Her body was discovered by some dirt bikers near a lake in south east Oklahoma City. According to police she had turned to occasional prostitution to make ends meet. After suffering through a tsunami of conflicting stories from her husband, Justin, police have charged him with the killing. They allege there was another woman who he wanted to marry and continue his "swinging" lifestyle with. There was also a $100,000 life insurance policy. The other woman, Lisa Marie Leaver-Pate has lawyered up and isn't speaking to police, which might make her the most intelligent person in this entire sordid cascade of ghoulish bizarreness, degeneracy, and brute stupid evil.

So as we await to hear the disposition of charges against, Michael "Monster" Knight and others in the Carina Saunders murder and to see if the OKC PD can find any hint as to who killed Kelsey Bransby and Alina Fitzpatrick, we are left to ponder just when and where the gene pool got so polluted. I mean we are the same species that produced Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein, Mozart, Bach, and Abraham Lincoln. How did it all get so muddied? At what point did the chromosomes become so terribly twisted?

Some will blame the lack of prayer in public schools, because to them that is the end all cure all. Someone up in Topeka, Kansas will blame our tolerance of gays in this society. Everyone will have a theory. Unfortunately no one will have a cure.

In the mean time I was loaned a few DVDs of the Showtime series, "Dexter" by a friend. The hero, Dexter is a forensic expert working for the Miami police, who is secretly a serial killer. Luckily for the population of Dade County he only hunts and kills other serial killers and various ruthless criminals who the law can't put behind bars. Each episode contains a rather graphic scene of him binding and doing away with one of these nefarious persons. There are a lot of knives, pliers, power saws and such involved. It is all in the name of entertainment I suppose.

As always it is quite the relief to live in a civilized world. I will confess however I am starting to have my doubts regarding Mr. Darwin's theory. Recent evidence to the contrary is just too compelling.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Photos With Gregore, Kashgari is Collered in Malaysia, Twenty Thousand Facebook Friends Want Blood

For me it was pretty much the sort of weekend that happens to just about everyone in this country once in a while. On Saturday we attended a book signing in honor of  friend and author, Tom Fowler and OKC TV legend John, Count Gregore, Ferguson. It was held in the cozy confines of the Full Circle Book Store on the north side of town and attended by an eclectic lot. Ferguson was gracious, not only autographing his biography, but, dressed in full Gregorian regalia,  happily posing for photos whenever asked. Afterward we ate an early dinner in a local restaurant. The next day was spent surfing TV, listening to tunes, writing a piece here, and enjoying a huge meal of roast beef, potatoes, corn and such. It was, as usual, high tide and green grass all around.

Hamza Kashgari wasn't having nearly as much fun. Sunday Malaysian authorities deported Kashgari to his native Saudi Arabia where the journalist will face some heavy charges. On Saturday, while I was hamming it up with Ferguson in front of a camera, Kashgari was on the lam from Saudi authorities, not to mention several tens of thousands of Muslims who want his head on a plate. His crime? On the prophet Muhammad's birthday a few days before he wrote three fictional tweets depicting a conversation between the two of them. In one he said something along the lines of he, "loved the rebel in you, loved some aspects of you, but hated others."

The excrement hit the fan immediately. Death threats began to pile up. The Saudi Information Minister gave instructions to ban him from writing for any Saudi newspaper or magazine. Kashgari jumped ship and headed to New Zealand, but didn't make it past Malaysia. The Malaysians have been roundly denounced for the swift detention and deportation by people such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Mona Eltahawy, the Egyptian-American journalist. While Malaysia is a Muslim country it prides itself on being a moderate one, prompting questions about the government's reasoning and courage. In fact a lack of courage is probably at the heart of the decision. They didn't want to be blamed by any number of radical Islamists with access to bombs among other things, for either harboring, or letting Kashgari pass into the relative sanctuary of a western government.

Saudi clerics have called Kashgari an apostate who should face punishment, proving once again Islam is rather like The Hotel California. You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

If charged with blasphemy the journalist could face the death penalty. An unnamed Saudi lawyer says that is probably unlikely, but the punishment he can expect will be severe. The mind reels at what might be considered severe in Saudi Arabia.

Kashgari himself was quoted as saying, "I was demanding my right to the most basic human rights--freedom of expression and thought--so nothing is in vain." Obviously this is one brave man. He needs to be, the other side of the coin is that a facebook page has been established, probably because someone always establishes a facebook page, and its title is, "Saudi People Want Punishment for Kashgari." It currently has 20,000 "friends".

The point of all this I suppose is that while we cruise along unaware here in the United States there are places in the world where something as simple as a fictional tweet can get you killed.  That while we do the fun and inane things that we love to do and eat far too well, people are running for their lives just because of something they said.

It is a different world out there. One as alien to us as any dreamed up by a science fiction writer. One we really don't want to be a part of. Or, lastly and most importantly, one that we must depend on.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mitt Wins Sort Of and Ron Paul Delivers The Message

Mitt Romney and crew won in Maine yesterday, but it should have been much easier than it was. In 2008 he ran away with over 50% of the vote. Yesterday he edged out Ron Paul, 39% to 36%. Except for Nevada he has yet to win a state that doesn't abut the Atlantic Ocean. The Santorum crowd, which didn't actively campaign in the state took 18% of the vote. The Gingrich campaign, which suddenly has all the momentum of the Titanic right after the encounter with the berg garnered 6%.

Of course Paul spent a lot of time and effort in the land of ice and snow, his campaign concentrating now on caucus states. Romney pretty well took the place for granted until the last couple of days when it appeared he might actually lose there with out some quality face time with the voting public.

Paul, who has yet to win anywhere was quoted as saying, "We're not going away." That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, because obviously the guy just can't take no for an answer. More importantly he said, "We have a message America needs at this time. That message is liberty, the right to run your life as you choose and to keep the fruits of your labor." In other words "the message" is all important. More important even than winning. "The message" is what makes it a probability that Paul, who has to know this is his last hurrah, will run as an independent this fall. Anyone this connected to "the message" isn't going to let something as minor as party loyalty get in his way.

And he has the money to keep the flame alive. The Revolution PAC has funneled him over a half million dollars lately. That is chump change to people like Romney and Gingrich for sure, but still enough to keep you rolling. The Revolution PAC has on its board of advisers former Paul political director, Penny Langford Freeman and former legal counsel to the 2008 campaign Joe Becker. Most importantly its founder, chairman, and treasurer, Gary Franchi is as whacked out as they come. His people hold rallies in Chicago on the eleventh of EVERY month to further their belief that the World Trade Center buildings were brought down, not by terrorist controlled airplanes, but by demolition charges planted by federal agents. The reason behind it all was a government pretext to clamp down on American freedoms and privacy. He is also convinced FEMA is setting up secret concentration camps at abandoned air bases, the Rockefellers and a "banking cartel" control the world economy and of course Barak Obama was born somewhere, anywhere, but here. When you have a big money backer as utterly off his nut as Franchi you know the well will never go dry.  Heading off on a final glorious ride to Valhalla probably makes perfect sense to Paul.

Next up is the winner take all contest in Arizona and the Michigan primary on the 28th. The caucuses in Wyoming, like Maine a week long affair, end on the 29th of the month. Romney can spin the results in Maine as a thunderous victory, but his campaign continues to stagger. He has, despite massive efforts and breathtaking amounts of money still not convinced beetle back rank and file conservatives he should be their guy. At some point there could well be a moment of brilliant clarity in which everyone realizes he never will.

However, until then the republicans march on. Santorum is concentrating his forces in Michigan and for all practical purposes ignoring Arizona. Gingrich is probably on his knees in some luxury hotel suite occupied by the Adelsons begging for even more money and performing sex acts outlawed in most states. And Paul is continuing to  preach "the message" even though hardly anyone is listening.

Such is the current and terrible nature of American politics.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Savage on the Cheap As Girl Friends and Relatives Spill the Beans

Emily Matheson and Fabion Brown are accused of hiring nineteen year old Brodric Glover to murder Jessica Lynn Brown. Brown was discovered dead in her home on Jan. 11th as her two young children played in the street. If proven true two things immediately come to mind. Fabion Brown and Emily Matheson are not only brutal sociopaths, but incredibly stupid. And Brodric Glover, aka Savage, needs to re-think his asking price.

According to Matheson she met Glover at a store to give him the second half of his $250 fee for murdering Fabion Brown's estranged wife. It is reported that surveillance footage from the unnamed store show Fabion Brown's pickup and another car pull into the parking lot. Midwest City police contend that Brown rented the other vehicle as a getaway car for Glover. Matheson says she was with Brown when he rented it.

There are other facts alleged by the police. One, that Fabion Brown talked to a relative about the killing. Unfortunately for him the relative taped the conversation during which police say he mentioned details of the scene that had not been released to the public, or to him. It proves once again that people who should, can't keep their mouths shut and you can't trust anyone these days, especially relatives. Or girl friends who suddenly realize just how serious the term, "life in prison without parole" is.

Fabion Brown says he is innocent and being framed, sort of portraying himself as a poor man's OJ, being railroaded by the police. He is quoted as saying he doesn't think his girlfriend, Matheson hired anyone for the hit. If he wants that story to stick he should probably tell her to shut up. The Midwest City police assert his motive was gruesomely simple. He was involved in a custody battle and owed back child support.

Glover was arrested without incident by county sheriff's deputies Wednesday evening. Interestingly enough he was popped within a couple of blocks of the apartment that Bethany police believe was the scene of the dismemberment of Carina Saunders.

When I mentioned to a friend how surprised I was at the alleged fee being charged by young Mr. Glover she simply shrugged. "What are you going to do," she said, "there is a glut on the market."

Indeed. It has not been a good fall and winter for young women in the metro. First Ms. Saunders went missing and then was discovered in pieces in a duffel bag. Within days a former classmate of hers, Kelsey Bransby was shot in a south side apartment and later died. Then Alina Fitzpatrick disappeared only to be found in a field some days later in far northeast OKC. Jaymie Adams, who may or may not of been pulling tricks while five months pregnant was reported missing and later turned up dead out by Lake Stanley Draper. And finally Jessica Brown, mother of two with a third on the way, member of the Oklahoma National Guard was shot to death in her home.

Three suspects in the Saunders affair are in custody. Adams' husband, (who else of course) is being held in that case. Now Matheson, Brown, and Glover are in the lockup in this latest act of stupidity and evil. The Bransby and Fitzpatrick cases are unsolved and getting colder by the moment.

One wonders where this civilization went wrong. Or, has it always been this way? After all it wasn't just yesterday that someone took an ax to the Borden family and Albert DeSalvo was running loose in Boston. We seem consumed by violence and far too many of us see it as the quick answer to nearly everything. We even tend to be that way when it comes to foreign policy. Just ask the Iraqis.

In Oklahoma we like to consider ourselves the paradigm of all that is good and great about this nation. Unfortunately as long as we continue to consume ourselves like we have the last few months in this burg, that belief is totally unwarranted, not to mention utterly false.

On the other hand, as proven by Brodric Glover, we do work cheaply.



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rick Back in the Mix, Newt on the Ropes, and Mitt Still in the Lead

Like the ghost of Banquo, Rick Santorum appears to have rejoined the boys at the table. At least in some eyes, although the truth of the matter is, despite winning caucuses in Colorado, Minnesota, and state wide voting in Missouri he didn't gain a single delegate, at least not yet. Like Iowa, the delegates in Colorado and Minnesota will actually be chosen later, although the results of the caucus polls are pretty indicative of how things will shake out. Missouri was strictly a beauty contest. It has nothing at all to do with the picking of delegates.

No the real joy in the Santorum camp has to rest with the knowledge that large numbers of republicans are still utterly appalled with the idea of Mitt Romney being the nominee. When Romney doesn't spend huge amounts of time and more money than Sheldon by God Adelson in a state he doesn't fare well.

Through eight contests Santorum has won four, although Iowa was, for all practical purposes, a push. Romney has won three, Newt won in South Carolina and Dr. Ron Paul has been shut out. The current delegate count heavily favors the Mittster however. He leads with 91, while Santorum has locked up only 44, one less than the uncommitted delegates. Gingrich is sitting at 29 and the hapless, yet determined, Paul has 8.

Perhaps the most alarming news for every candidate concerned is the decrease in interest in all three states. The turnout in Colorado was down 6.7%  from 2008. In Minnesota it was down 24% and in Missouri a staggering 134%. In other words there were a ton of people who voted for "none of the above." It is not a particularly encouraging sign for the party as a whole.

The national press has immediately begun to squawk loudly about Romney being on the ropes, once again. Next up are Arizona and Michigan on the 28th. Romney should be the odds on favorite in both places. Arizona has a large Mormon presence and Michigan is a home state of sorts for him. His father ran American Motors there and was governor. Of course it could be said Mitt should have won both Colorado and Minnesota. Although Minnesota voters sometimes tend to go off their collective nut. How else do you explain former Governor, Jessie "The Body" Ventura.

No, the one in real trouble here is Gingrich. He finished third in Colorado, fourth in Minnesota, and didn't even make the ballot in Missouri. Worse, it appears Sheldon and Miriam are becoming edgy. Adelson has all ready approached Romney with promises of support "if" he is the nominee. Adelson probably won't dump Gingrich until the dust settles completely, but it has to be disheartening to his campaign people knowing that their cash cow is starting to belly up to the bar with the other guy.

The painful fact is that none of these guys can sustain a roll. None of them have the message, or the personality that can separate them from the rest of the pack. And as the economy continues its slow but steady improvement the argument for retaining Barak Obama becomes stronger and stronger. After all it was a republican who nearly destroyed it, why trust someone from the same party, with the same philosophies to implement a recovery that is all ready happening.

Those, "He saved GM and Killed Bin Laden" bumper stickers are probably heating up presses as I type. As the last four republicans standing continue to duke it out the president can hone his rhetoric and continue to raise funds for the campaign against the eventual winner. A winner, that no matter who it is, will not have the whole hearted support of the entire spectrum of GOP voters and certainly not of the independents.

Look for  large shipments of Maalox and Valium to be delivered on a daily basis to the campaign headquarters of those still involved in this circus the rest of the way. Desperation is quickly becoming the norm. Everyone is starting to sweat.   


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Handel Under the Bus: The Komen Fallout Continues

Karen Handel just went under the bus at the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The organization's Vice President for Public Policy tended her resignation in a letter dated today. Komen insiders have repeatedly said she was the driving force behind the ultimately disastrous decision to cut grant money to Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening programs.

Like any veteran felon, she maintained her innocence to the end regarding the policy change that cost Komen its reputation and an unmeasurable amount of  trust. As she was going out the door she claimed politics and ideology had nothing to do with any of it. She also asserted that the policy change was all ready in the works when she arrived and the were no objections to it by any member of the board when it was presented to them. This is probably not what the Komen people wanted to hear her say. The idea that the plot was afoot and fully approved without her help won't raise the level of confidence among those donors who were outraged by the move.

It doesn't help her case that when she was running for governor of Georgia she continuously bragged about how adamantly anti-choice she was and denounced Planned Parenthood on numerous occasions. No, this was a political move that blew up in her face and cost her that VP spot. It might be called a resignation, but given the foul publicity and dark accusations there aren't any circumstances under which Komen could keep her aboard. She was doomed as soon as Nancy Brinker reversed field and started issuing apologies, "for recent decisions". In public relations nightmares such as these someone must go out the window . At Komen it was Karen Handel.

Always quick to play the martyr the anti-choice Americans United for Life issued the following statement. "The events of the last week show just how ruthless the abortion industry will be to anyone who is perceived as not supporting their agenda."

The press release is, of course, prima facia bull shit. The violent reaction was caused by people enraged because Komen was ceasing to fund breast cancer screening, one of their primary missions. It had nothing to do with abortion or an agenda. What the social conservative movement is trying to do is marginalize Planned Parenthood. They don't want people thinking about breast cancer screening, or family planning, or anything else when it comes to that organization. They want Planned Parenthood to be regarded by the public solely as  providers of abortions.

This has been an ugly affair and it probably isn't over. There is no guarantee Planned Parenthood will continue to receive grants from Komen once the current ones run out. And the ties with the hard right remain despite the departure of Ms. Handel. Former Bush mouthpiece Ari Fleischer is now a communications consultant. Jane Abraham serves as the board director of Komen's advocacy arm. She is also General Chair of the anti choice group, Susan B. Anthony List. Brinker herself is so connected with this crowd she was named George W's ambassador to Hungary.

All this takes away from the basic issue of women's health and a search for the cure of a terrible disease. Pink ribbons are being trashed as I type.The Susan G. Komen Foundation has no one to thank for that, but themselves.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Pete Hoekstra in Michigan and Asians on Bicycles

Pete Hoekstra was a congressman from Michigan's second district from 1993 to 2011. He won re-election several times by large margins. He then ran for governor, but lost in the republican primary. Now he is running for the US senate in that state. Yesterday he put his foot in it.

His campaign ran an ad in Michigan during the super bowl that just about everyone with functioning brain cells are calling at best stupid and at worst outright racist.

The ad is an attack on democratic senator Debbie Stabenow and shows an Asian woman riding a bicycle over a levee separating rice paddies. She pulls to a stop in front of the camera and in broken English says, "Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie Spend It Now. Debbie spends so much American money you must borrow more from us. Your economy get very weak, ours get very good. We take your jobs."

Subtlety apparently is not one of Hoekstra's strong points.

GOP consultant Mike Murphy wrote on twitter, "Pete Hoekstra super bowl TV ad in MI senate race really, really dumb. I mean really."

Jazz Shaw wrote on the conservative blog, Hot Air, "The team describing it as satire, but there is absolutely no way this doesn't just fan the flames and come off as racist."

So if that is what his comrades in politics are saying you can just imagine what everyone else is calling it.

To be honest I'd never heard of this clown before today. I looked him up on the Internet and there are all kinds of things to say about him. When he was in Washington the committee he chaired was accused of creating erroneous and misleading reports about Iran's nuclear capability. He and our old pal, the soon to be former presidential candidate, Rick Santorum claimed five hundred chemical weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. The claims were repudiated by both the pentagon and intelligence sources.

Then there is that whole who is really shipping jobs overseas question. The reality there involves corporations who, not to survive, but to increase their bottom lines, are the laying off Americans and setting up brutal sweat shops from Hanoi to Beijing.

Yes I can write about those things all day. The real issue here though is that when in a pinch this coven of republicans aim straight to the xenophobic and racist heart of conservative white Americans. Denials will come flying, but the truth of the matter is that a large part of the shrinking white Anglo Saxon segment of this society see their grip on power and influence slipping away to people they've looked down on all their lives. An African American is in charge, Hispanics are flowing across the boarder, so are Muslims. The days of the old white guy giving orders are numbered. Barbarians are clamoring at the gates. The ghost of Crazy Horse is howling with laughter.

To many this change is nothing more than a tectonic plate shift of epic proportions. The poles are reversing. The Mayans were right. The world ends in ten months because a guy named Hussein is president. Anti-Christs are everywhere. To quote Bill Murray in the movie "Ghost Busters", "Dogs and cats sleeping together!."

Yes, hysteria is common place and the appeal to it is cynical, cruel and ruthless. Guys like Hoekstra exploit it like McCarthy did back in the early fifties.

We are lesser as a nation because of people like him. Hopefully we'll prove ourselves better as a people by sending him and those like him into the ignominy which they so richly deserve.

It is time for a martini and a cigar. One can deal with this venomous nonsense for only so long.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Football, Politics, Murder: An All American Sunday

Here on the southern plains the sun is out and the north wind has that razor's edge that makes old men's and women's eyes seep pints of water. Viewed from inside all seems perfect, once outside, however body parts shrivel and ears begin to sting. It takes the breath away and makes a retreat into some sort of heated shelter paramount.

It is Super Bowl Sunday and later the New York Giants and New England Patriots will meet in Indianapolis to decide who is the champion of the National Football League. It is, outside of presidential elections, the most over hyped event in the current American culture. The Internet and places like ESPN have been awash with every sort of analysis and statistic trying to point to the eventual winner. If you ever played a high school football game, or even watched one and have an agent you've probably all ready made a guest appearance on some broadcast segment explaining what will happen and why.

Millions of chickens have been slaughtered for their wings in preparation for the feast that will accompany the watch parties. The nation will be awash in alcohol, bar b que sauce and French onion dip. Corporations have spent millions on air time and epic production value commercials to fill the void during time outs. The pre game and halftime shows will stretch out for days and be so pagan and Roman in nature it will seem odd that the mob at the stadium hasn't shown up in togas. Wounded gladiators will be dragged off the field of battle to the applause of many.

Yes, there is nothing quite like America when it runs amok over things like this. No expense is spared while words like garish, classless, and embarrassing disappear from the vocabulary. It is as if for a few hours the entire nation becomes some bizarre Las Vegas stage revue.

Nearly lost in this is moment of collective madness is the fact the Romney machine marches on and as predicted overwhelmed the opposition in the Nevada caucus. The big loser was Rick Santorum who finished dead last. His campaign is now officially on life support and the ceremonial pulling of the plug seems imminent.

Locally, reports indicate that Bethany police feel they've found the location where Carina Saunders was tortured, killed and dismembered. It is an apartment in a quadrant of Oklahoma City so dicey many cab drivers refuse to pick up passengers there. The renter was one, Michael Knight, whose nickname is, "Monster." Knight, who is 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs in at 280 pounds, currently resides in the county lockup on unrelated charges. Items reportedly found in the apartment include a BlackBerry, a roll of black electrical tape, blood and DNA samples and a machete with a twenty inch blade. The imagination reels at the horrors that might have occurred in that dingy slum flat.

I suppose, given what is going down in the real world, maybe the Super Bowl isn't such a bad idea after all. A four or five hour immersion therapy session goes a long way to help the denial process and blot out all the truly crass sales pitches and brute evil. Besides it will be a big day for the bookies thereby further stimulating the economy.

Kickoff is only a few hours away and tens of millions await the outcome. I personally took the Pats and gave three.

Hey, it isn't any fun being the only sober person in a room full of drunks. And, quite frankly, if you aren't part of the hallucination, you are part of the problem.

Viva futbol!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Komen Does the Backup Two Step: Planned Parenthood Wins This Round

"We will continue to fund existing grants including those of Planned Parenthood and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants." Nancy Brinker, Founder and head of the Susan G. Komen Foundation

In other words, "Oops."

It didn't take long for the Komen Foundation to reverse itself and start trying to make amends with the public. In a breathtaking period of just hours Komen had gone from revered to reviled. The foundation was bombarded with irate emails and shredded pink ribbons after it announced that it was making Planned Parenthood ineligible for new grants. Its director of Community Health Programs, Molly Williams resigned in protest. Twenty-six US senators called on Komen to recant. Most importantly the foundation was no doubt looking at the very real threat of a massive short fall in donations.

Brinkman, while making the announcement, maintained the original decision was not done for political reasons, or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. No one is buying that bilge of course and didn't when she first said it on MSNBC before the reversal. Her own people had said the grants were cut because of a congressional investigation. One that just happened to be led by anti choice advocates who have had it in for Planned Parenthood for ages.

The newly amended Komen policy says that for an organization to be disqualified the investigation must be, "criminal and conclusive in nature." This would rule out hysterical witch hunts by radical conservatives that should rate nothing more than a page eight mention in the National Enquirer.

The AP quotes an anonymous source "with direct knowledge" of the original decision as saying the now abandoned criteria was put into place with the deliberate intention of targeting Planned Parenthood. That source added the driving force behind the entire debacle was Karen Handel. Handel, the failed gubernatorial candidate from Georgia and now senior VP at Komen, is a vocal opponent of all things Planned Parenthood. Brinker denies Handel had anything to do with it. No one is buying that either.

Meanwhile Planned Parenthood raked in $400,000 in small donations and a $250,000 pledge from New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Its head, Cecile Richards was jubilant. "This compassionate outcry in support of those most in need rose above political, ideological and cultural divides and will surely be recognized as one of our nation's better moments during a contentious political time," she said.

Of course this isn't over. There is nothing to guarantee that Komen will extend new grants to Planned Parenthood when the current ones run out. As long as the nefarious Karen Handel is still on the payroll at the foundation there is no telling what could happen.

What is certain at the moment is that even as Nancy Brinker denies any of this is political she issued this statement. "We want to apologize to the American people for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives."

She can apologize all she wants and continue to claim the decision wasn't a political one, but simply a merry mix up, however the damage to the Susan G. Komen Foundation's reputation might be long lasting. No one in the foreseeable future will be able to look at those pink ribbons, or see videos of those 5K races without thinking about what went down this week.

And frankly it won't be a pleasant memory for anyone.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pink is Out: Komen Goes Political and Planned Parenthood Takes a Hit

Those little pink ribbons might not be all the rage any more. At least not among a significant segment of the population now that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has halted its grants to Planned Parenthood. The grants were there to provide breast cancer examinations for hundreds of thousands of women who have no other means to receive, or pay for them. It is presumably, among other things, what the Komen  Foundation was established to do

Recently, however, the foundation adopted a policy of not providing grants to organizations who are currently being investigated by congress. That investigation was provided by Congressman Cliff Stearns, R Fl, who is the chairman of the house oversight and investigations sub committee. Stearns, a rabid anti choice, conservative is basing this investigation on a report submitted by an outfit known as Americans United for Life. The report charges Planned Parenthood with mis-use of federal funds, ie taxpayer money going for abortions. And just for fun and good measure adds charges of failing to report child sex abuse and assisting sex traffickers. The "AUL" website is proud to note that is the nation's premier pro life non profit public interest law and policy organization. In other words they get to "investigate" tax free and are hardly unbiased.

Although similar charges last year were thoroughly debunked Stearns has pressed ahead making absolutely no headway whatsoever and in the process thrown away who knows how many tax dollars on his own. The conduct of Stearns and the AUL should be of no surprise to anyone. There are three entities that drive conservatives into frothing rages consisting of bulging red faces, protruding veins, and lycanthropic glares. One is public broadcasting be it radio or television, the next is the National Endowment for Arts, and the last is, of course, Planned Parenthood.

The surprise here is that the Komen people caved into this nonsense. Planned Parenthood head, Cecile Richards says she was shocked and was quoted as saying "women's health is becoming a disturbing political issue."

Or should it be a shock? Last year Komen hired Karen Handel as a senior vice president. She was a former gubernatorial candidate in Georgia who ran on a stern anti-choice platform and has publicly opposed any funds going to Planned Parenthood. The founder and head of Komen is former Bush ambassador and republican, Nancy Brinker. Maybe Richards should have seen this coming.

Of course she probably had the naive idea that women's health should be a bi partisan, non political issue. Silly her. She forgot who she was dealing with.

So the immediate and short term result of all this is that Planned Parenthood has seen an extreme spike in donations and Brinker is on talk shows everywhere spouting gibberish about how all this has been mis-characterized. Meanwhile if you do go to the AUL web site the banner at the top of the page will be a rather large advertisement asking you to "Race for the Cure" with the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Who knows what it will mean for Planned Parenthood and Komen in the long term, or more importantly for the health of women throughout the country.

The only thing certain is that attacks from the far right will never cease and there is no depth to which they will refuse to sink in order to force their social and religious agenda on the majority of Americans. A night of the long knives is not out of the question if these beasts ever get into real power.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mitt Back in the Saddle, This Week Anyway

Watching the ebb and flow of the race for the republican nomination is rather like watching the tide come in and go out at Mont Saint-Michel. It happens fast and utterly changes the landscape.

Iowa thrust Rick Santorum into the picture as some sort of dark horse darling who might give the big names a run. He suddenly seemed a viable alternative to Romney's suspected liberalism and Gingrich's stench ridden past. That lasted until New Hampshire where Romney ran away from the field and was virtually declared the presumptive nominee. Then came South Carolina and the national media went all abuzz about a Gingrich campaign that appeared to be gathering the steam and power of a run away train. Now Florida is over and according to wonks everywhere Romney is back in command.

It is hard to tell whether the press is just run amok fickle, or is so in love with telling everyone who will be the eventual winner that they simply keep babbling nonsense and hope people won't remember what they said a week before. Because of this age of instant information and partisan op-ed broadcasting it is probably a combination of both. You get the impression everyone on the net and more than a few on Fox and MSNBC got their degrees from the University of Central Northeastern Yakistan's, National Enquirer School of Journalism. When this election season is over one thinks the anchors and writers will, thankfully, return to important things like, ancient aliens and the Mayan calender.

To belabor the obvious. Romney won in his back yard and now in Florida. He was edged out in Iowa. Newt Gingrich won in a state whose main claim to fame is that it is the psycho ward that started the civil war. Doesn't it look a bit obvious to anyone out there that these guys are simply winning where their base constituencies are in the majority?

The latest cold numbers are that Mitt won Florida with 46% to Newt's 32%. However, the demographics look doggedly familiar. Gingrich carried those who considered themselves "very conservative" and the evangelical Christians. Think South Carolina. He got waxed by those who consider themselves moderates and not surprisingly among married women. Think New Hampshire and people who look at his ex-wives and say to themselves, "what an absolute slime." The only real news coming out of this is that Romney won 53% of the Hispanic vote. He also won three of every five republicans who said that a candidate's character or true allegiance to conservative issues didn't matter, that beating Barak Obama was the top priority. That is the half a loaf crowd, desperate now that the campaigning has turned dark and ugly. The same ones who, while not completely comfortable with Romney, see Gingrich getting whacked during a general election in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and Indiana.

To put this all in perspective it takes 1143 delegates to win the nomination. A total of 110 are now in someones pocket. Romney has 70 of them which means he is still well over 90% short. This thing, much to the delight of Sarah Palin and the Obama people, still has a long way to go. As much as everyone wants to anoint a winner right now, fulfilling that McWhopper urge that infests the entire culture, we're just going to have keep waiting until the burger is fried.