Sunday, May 31, 2015

The List of Lost Causes Continues to Grow--Part II

NBC reports former Maryland Governor, Martin O'Malley has thrown his hat into the democratic race for the presidential nomination. O'Malley made the formal announcement yesterday in Baltimore. It really isn't a surprise. He has been talking the talk for months now.
During the speech the governor made it clear he is for all those things left wing democrats praise and pray for. According to him, as president, he will work for comprehensive immigration reform, take on the vampires who run Wall Street, tackle climate change, while making sure it will be easier for unions to organize workers and the minimum wage is raised.
In other words he is trying to stake out the ground left of Hillary Clinton, even though Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is already squatting firmly on that particular piece of turf. Mr. O'Malley's current poll numbers are in the single digits.
NBC also says former Rhode Island Governor and republican turned democrat, Lincoln Chafee will announce he is in on June 3rd. He has been a member of the party of Jefferson for a full two years.
On the republican side, Ohio Governor John Kasich made definite noises about running while talking to NBC's Chuck Todd on todays edition of "Meet the Press." Kasich told Todd, "Look, I'm optimistic about where we are. I'm optimistic on the resources. I'm becoming more optimistic on the organization." NBC is saying Kasich has gone so far as to recruit former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu to help him out.
He needs it. Yesterday's Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll of Iowa republicans showed, Mr. Kasich is backed by a solid 2% of the voters, which means he is as popular as the hapless Carly Fiorina.
The poll was won by Scott Walker with 17%. Rand Paul and Ben Carson tied for a distant second at 10%. Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee were also tied at 9%, while Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum were locked together at 6%. The ever grandiose Ted Cruz won 5% and Chris Christie and Donald Trump came in at 4%. Rick Perry polled 3%, then there was the aforementioned Fiorina and Kasich.  Finally Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham were at 1%. George Pataki, who announced Wednesday, didn't even make it to a single digit.
In addition NBC news reports, republican New York Congressman, Peter King is considering jumping into this gang fight and will make a final decision next month.
King is already claiming Kentucky Senator Rand Paul doesn't belong in the GOP. He said in an interview, "We can't allow the republican party to fall into the hands of those who are anti defense and who are weak on security." 
Actually the representative from Long Island has said a lot of things. He once told Fox TV guy, Sean Hannity that 80 to 85% of all mosques in the United States are controlled by Muslim fundamentalists. In addition he has previously railed against the British, saying the Irish Republican Army is the legitimate voice of occupied Northern Ireland and the government in London is a, "killing machine." On another occasion he called George W. Bush, "A tool of anti Catholic bigoted forces," because Bush delivered a speech at Bob Jones University. King was pissed at BJU because a few years earlier it had given Northern Ireland's radical Protestant leader, Ian Paisley an honorary degree.   
While one should never expect anything close to 21st century sensibilities coming out of Greenville, SC, that last line still won't win the congressman any votes south of, say, Alexandria, Virginia.  
Of course, as has been demonstrated by the latest poll in Iowa, you can't please everyone. In fact, if the numbers are right, there's a bunch of these clowns who, at this point, aren't pleasing anyone.
Indeed, it would appear the season of voting for the lesser evil is in full bloom.
And with that, as always, the bar is open.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The List of Lost Causes Continues to Grow

The list of lost causes in the 2016 presidential race continues to grow and the in fighting has taken a decidedly ugly turn.
On the democratic side, 73 year old Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders has declared he is in. Sanders, a self described democratic socialist officially announced his candidacy on the shores of Lake Champlain the other day. He addressed one of his favorite issues, income inequality by saying, "The grotesque level of inequality is immoral. It is bad economics. It is unsustainable."
Unfortunately Sanders' campaign may also be unsustainable. When your highest profile backers are the guys who own Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream you are probably going to find it tough to compete against a multi million dollar machine commanded by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It has been speculated Sanders presence in the race is solely to force Mrs. Clinton to the left, which he might well do. However, he has the dangerously bright eyes of a true believer. If the far left wing of the democratic party feels deserted by her, Sanders, who is an independent, might be able to scrape together enough backing to run as a third party candidate. If that happens he becomes a real danger to the Clinton campaign. He'll never win, but he could drain off just enough votes to cost her close contests in key states. That is what Ralph Nader did to Al Gore and his idealism left us stuck with George W. Bush.
On Wednesday, former republican senator, Rick Santorum declared he is running. Santorum placed second to Mitt Romney in 2012, which makes him, if any thing, consistent. In 2006 Mr. Santorum ran for re-election to the Senate and lost by 18 percent of the vote. It was the worst loss by an incumbent senate republican in the history of the party.
During the last election Santorum's campaign was kick started by a surprise win in Iowa. NBC News pointed out the brain trust which engineered that upset is long gone. Two of his three senior advisers are now employed by Mike Huckabee, while a third is retired from the game. Another important Iowa backer is working for Ted Cruz.
Yesterday, for reasons known only to himself, former New York governor George Pataki announced he was in. Pataki can be thought of as a moderate which will lead to his immediate evisceration by the likes of Cruz, Walker, and other thugs on the far right edge. His only chance, if he has one at all, will be to play to the non tea party middle, portraying himself as an honest version of Chris Christie and a guy not named Bush.
Meanwhile, Rand Paul went on MSNBC and said, "ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party." That's something you don't normally hear from a republican. It led Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal to claim Paul is, "unsuited," to be president. Other GOP contenders are circling above the Paul campaign like vultures waiting to pounce on his perceived neo isolationism. This might be the opening they've been waiting for.  
On the up side the senator from Kentucky appears to be the only republican candidate who actually read the exit polls after the last election. He has repeatedly tried to appeal to minorities in the early stages of the race. That doesn't mean it will work, especially in the GOP primaries where minority participation is spotty at best. To make matters worse one of his opponents, Marco Rubio is Hispanic and another, Jeb Bush, not only studied in Mexico and speaks the language, but married a native of Mexico City. A third, Dr. Ben Carson is African American which, in theory, should give him at least a head start with that demographic.
Finally we come to Donald Trump. Trump, who is more of a carnival barker than an actual candidate, told Greta Van Susteren he has a, "fool proof," way of defeating ISIS. In true Trumpian fashion, he refused to say what it was. According to him, "If I run and win I don't want the enemy to know what I'm doing."
He cryptically added, "...and it will be absolutely 100%--they'll, at the minimum, come to the table, but actually they'll be defeated very quickly."
Yes, it's the old, I have secret plan ploy. The last shyster to play that card was Dick Nixon in 1968. He told everyone he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam. If memory serves it didn't really work out the way we had all hoped.
So there we have it on another muggy Friday here on the southern plains. Idealists and losers are running amok spending money they don't have in an effort to gain an office they'll never occupy.
Hey, who says America isn't great?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

So here we are again. It's Memorial Day, 2015. It is the moment we in the states honor the American war dead. Some of us actually do pay our respects at cemeteries and war memorials across the land to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. However, for scads and scads of citizens all this day means is they get off work, have another excuse to down a bunch of beer, and otherwise entertain themselves.

After all, unless you're a war veteran, or had a family member, or friend come home in a flag draped coffin, the concept of wartime devastation is an abstract one at best. The reason is quite simple. Not one person in the continental 48 states has seen hostile military units storming through their streets, or enemy bombers dropping deadly payloads on homes and factories. Unless you are a Native American, it has been a century and a half since full fledged combat has ravaged village and countryside here.

Wikipedia lists 75 wars, conflicts, military expeditions and actions American troops have participated in.That is one every three years or so since that disparate group of intellectuals, farmers, and slave holders signed off on the Declaration of Independence 239 years ago.

Twenty-two of those "wars" were waged against the indigenous population of America and one was against ourselves, proving that in a pinch we'll take to killing each other rather than just sit around doing nothing.

Wikipedia also says 664,440 Americans have died as a direct result of combat, while 1,498.237 have been wounded. In addition there are 40,917 listed as missing and presumed dead. If that number seems low, it is because we really didn't start keeping MIA stats until World War I. Another 673,929 died during wars from, "other" causes--the vast majority of them were victims of disease. There is no telling how many Native Americans were killed, wounded, or died of hunger and disease.

Of course our numbers pale in comparison to other places. Wikipedia says, the United Kingdom and its colonies lost 734,697 soldiers, sailors and airmen directly from combat in World War I alone. The same conflict cost the French over a million lives, the Russians nearly two million, and the Germans over two million.

The World War II casualty figures weren't as high for the French and British. On the other hand, the Russians and their de facto colonies suffered six times the number of deaths and the European civilian population, especially in the east and southeast, was decimated. Thanks to the Japanese, China lost 15 to 20 million people both in the military and out of it.

Obviously, we humans do many things well, but none of them compare to our ability and willingness to slaughter ourselves.

Yes, we do need a Memorial Day in the United States. We should plant the little American flags on far too many graves, and we ought to remember those who have had their lives end too quickly.

Tragically, what we don't do is take the time to figure out how we can put a stop to all the carnage.

Even worse, it doesn't look like we'll ever even try.

sic vita est


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Reality TV: Child Molesters, a Presidential Candidate, the Family Research Council, and Who Knows How Many Kids and Counting

It started out on cable as, "The Learning Channel." Then it began to morph because, quite frankly, learning and television are rarely a successful combination in the United States. In fact you can argue the medium was designed specifically to repress the act of learning. Once the people in charge of "The Learning Channel" came to this terrible realization they dumped the whole learning part of the title. The network was born again as TLC. Then it began running shows which appeal to that frighteningly large portion of the population who are not just entranced with the utter weirdness loosely defined as "reality," but fully participate in the lifestyle.

Let's face it, when you have a series titled "Toddlers and Tiaras," that is such a ratings hit it inspires a spin off called, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," you are attracting a demographic which is heavily invested in the mobile housing industry.

There is, however, an inherent problem when your programming depends on actual loons. While you're saving money on writers and actors, you run the risk of watching in horror when one of your cast members goes off her nut. as the despicable Mama June, the mother of Honey Boo Boo did. The network dropped the show after she renewed a relationship with a guy who had previously molested one of her daughters and had done time on similar charges in connection with other underage girls.

Now TLC has landed right back in the maelstrom. It turns out one of the members of the Arkansas Duggars featured in "19 Kids and Counting," also has an unsavory past when it comes to underage girls.

Josh Duggar, the 27 year old son of Jim Bob and Michelle came clean this week. After an ugly media report surfaced he admitted to, "unexcusable,"  behavior 12 or so years ago when he was a teenager. The behavior he was talking about involved  fondling the breasts and genitals of at least five underage girls, some of whom were his sisters.

The outcry was instant and shrill. The noise was so intense even a pseudo republican candidate for the presidency felt the need to step in. Former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, a friend of the Duggar family, took the press to task over the revelation. He said, in part, "Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things." He then went on to call the media blood thirsty a couple of times and sternly lectured everyone that minors make decisions which aren't mature and by the way, thanks to counseling and God Almighty, Josh is now a decent person who doesn't deserve public condemnation.

Yeah, yeah, judge not lest ye be judged, let he who is without sin cast the first stone, forgive and forget and all that other good stuff. Actually, if Josh Duggar had simply been some rube on another "reality show," geared toward dim wits all this would have probably blown over without much ado.

The problem is until Thursday young Mr. Duggar was the Executive Director of Family Research Council Action. It is the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council which was founded by James Dobson and is now run by right wing holy man Tony Perkins. The FRC spends much of its time railing on about the dangers of homosexuality, gay marriage, stem cell research, the HPV vaccine, abortion, birth control, sex education, evolution, and pre marital sex.

In 2010 Wikipedia notes a senior FRC researcher for policy, Peter Spriggs went on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" show and claimed gay behavior should be outlawed and "criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior should be enforced." The organization also links homosexuality directly to pedophilia--you know--the practice of sexually molesting underage boys and girls.


Confusion is roiling like a pot of boiling water. Reports are coming in fast and furious. TLC dropped the show, but now they may be considering reviving it next year, sans Josh. Or, they might continue it this year, do some artful editing to delete his presence and rename it "18 Kids and Counting" as if he doesn't even exist. Another outlet is saying, ol' Mama June, always in need of hard cash and fresh press, is threatening to sue the network. The logic being they dumped her show because of a child molester, but it appears they aren't unloading on the Duggars even though they have one too. One can almost hear her lawyer screaming discrimination in some Arkansas courtroom.

The only thing certain at the moment is Josh Duggar resigned from his job at the FRC and everyone there looks to be glad he is gone. Hey, you can talk the talk only so long as your people walk the walk. Once the shit hits the fan it's best to cut your losses as quickly as possible and keep a low profile until things blow over.

It is, after all, the nature of the business.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Bobby Jindal is on Acid, Rick Perry has Dementia, and the Imperial Lindsey Graham is in the Race

The republican mob running for president grows larger every day. According to NBC News, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has formed a committee to explore his odds of winning the party's nomination. Given recent poll numbers it is best to file Mr. Jindal's ambitious fantasy under the heading, Those Candidates Currently On Hallucinogens.

In addition a serious case of dementia has gripped former Texas Governor Rick Perry. He is scheduled to declare his candidacy on June 4th. Hey, let's face it, when everyone knows you won't even be able to win your own state's primary next year, you are what might be described as reality challenged.
NBC also reports, Senator Lindsey Graham will formally announce he is in the race on June 1. The South Carolina republican was quoted as saying, "I'm running because of what you see on television. I'm running because the world is falling apart." He also assured the interviewer he, "...can make Washington work." 
Graham, along with his pal, John McCain, has never seen a war worth avoiding. Given that, it 's not surprising, he's a huge fan of the military. In March, during a stop in New Hampshire, he touched on just how he'd make Washington work, at least when it comes to national defense.
The senator told a crowd, "And here is the first thing I would do if I were president of the United States. I wouldn't let congress leave until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them if I had to. We're not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We are not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts."
That's right, Lindsey Graham really did say he would bring in the military and force congress, presumably at gun point, to do exactly what he wants them to. In other countries we call this a coup d'etat
One of the senator's spokespersons quickly realized someone out there might accuse his or her boss of actually wanting to be that imperial president we've all been hearing about the last few years. In short order a statement was issued to Bloomberg saying Graham's remarks about literally using the military were, "...not to be taken literally."
Ah yes, it appears Senator Graham will fit right in with all the other crass buggers running for the GOP nomination. He and the rest of them were in Iowa over the past weekend blaming Hillary Clinton for everything up to and including George Armstrong Custer's disastrous defeat at the Little Big Horn.
On Thursday this grotesque rolling tour of losers and heartless grifters will be in Oklahoma City for the Republican Southern Leadership Conferences. 
You bet, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, along with Jindal, and Perry will be on a downtown OKC stage one after the other this weekend. Ted Cruz will also be in town, but to hear him speak at the semi private and grandly named, "Energizing America Gala," you'll have to pay extra. The added cost to get that mega shot of right wing hysteria is an incredibly low $100 per person. However, according to the event's site, you can score an even better value at $175 if you bring along a spouse, or, if preferred, a highly discreet escort found in the local yellow pages.
Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul passed on the opportunity to appear for reasons which remain unknown. Donald Trump won't be here either, although in truth his absence might have more to do with him simply not knowing where Oklahoma City is, rather than a reluctance to speak.
Here is a hint, sir. We're not in Japan, you were thinking of Yokohama.
So the field, rather like the universe, is still expanding, although it looks as if the GOP is confusing quantity with quality. Given this bunch is it any wonder Mitt Romney toyed with the idea of running again?

If there are any further questions I'll be in the bar. As always the first round is on me.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Islamic State on the Move and the Downside to Being Part of the Jihad

If we've learned anything over the past few decades it is the Iraqi army isn't worth a shit. We've also learned that there is no amount of training in the world which will turn a bunch of inept clods with rotten leadership into a modern fighting force. The other thing we ought to have figured out is if we give these same bozos bazillions of dollars worth of hardware--everything from light weapons to artillery and heavy armor--in the end all of it will eventually wind up in the hands of people we consider the bad guys.

Yeah, sure, the Iraqi army, with considerable help from Sunni tribesmen, were able to retake Saddam's home town of Tikrit. However in the last 48 hours they got their asses kicked and have lost almost all of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province. That puts IS troops within 60, or so miles of Baghdad.

Meanwhile other Islamic State units are on the outskirts of Palmyra in Syria. The extensive Roman era ruins there are considered a historical treasure. If the IS does move into them, given their record with ancient artifacts, what has been called, "The Bride of the Desert," will certainly cease to exist after a wild orgy of industrial strength vandalism. .

The fact is what started out as basically a mob of disaffected, pissed off felons has turned into a highly maneuverable combat force who routinely outfights and defeats an army we have spent years and billions of dollars sponsoring. The next logical step for this ruthless band of marauders is to somehow put together an air force.

Of course things aren't going well for Islamic extremists everywhere. You could ask Abu Sayyaf, but don't expect an answer. Thanks to a United States Army Delta team he is dead. Sayyaf was a senior IS leader who, according to reports, was in charge of oil and gas operations. The Obama approved raid into Syrian territory ideally was supposed to capture him, but he and about a dozen other militants were killed in a firefight which, at least one source said, included hand to hand combat.

The American troops captured Sayyaf's wife and rescused a young woman described as a member of the Iraqi Yazidi sect. She was being kept by the couple as a slave, because--you know--people mired in 6th century religious mores do that sort of thing.

In Egypt, former president Mohammed Morsi was sentenced to death for his part in a 2011 mass prison break. In addition Mohammed Badi, a Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, and Islamic scholar Yousseff al-Qaradawi were among many others scheduled for an appointment with Doctor G. Reaper. In Egypt's five thousand year history Morsi was it's first democratically elected leader, although more than a few maintain the Muslim Brotherhood fixed the election so he would be certain to win.

The Brotherhood maintains his administration was undermined by supporters of the ousted Hosni Mubarak. Whatever the case public outcry boiled over when Morsi enacted policies which made him look suspiciously like Mubarak in terms of accountability. Which is to say it appeared he was taking measures which would ensure he'd not only be the first democratically elected Egyptian president, but the last.

Finally it looks like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will take the hot shot at some future date. A federal jury voted unanimously to give him the death penalty for his part in the Boston Marathon bombing a little over two years ago.

How long it will take to strap him onto the gurney is up for speculation. The only clue we have is that Tim McVeigh rode off into the sunset four years after his conviction, although the Oklahoma City bomber didn't waste any one's time by appealing the verdict.

So there we have it on this muggy Saturday afternoon here on the southern plains. The IS thugs are still on the move, but being part of this self styled Jihad has a deadly downside. Unfortunately for all of us we've learned one more thing. We can off all the psychopaths in the world who lead this crusade against civilization and decency, but we're guaranteed there will be other, equally demented fucks, ready to take their place.

Tragically that's the nature of the cruel and unusual beast.

sic vita est


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hump Day: Trouble With Another Employee in Pyongyang, Sharia Law in Wal-Mart, Twelve Cigars a Day for 91 Years, and the Gun Crowd Loses One at Last

It is Wednesday, or as large numbers of office types refer to it, Hump Day. With two days left to go before the weekend a couple of known humps have made the news. On the upside, however, I've found a new hero and in Oklahoma the right thing finally happened and even if it was for the wrong reason we should all take it.
First, Kim Jong Un is continuing to have problems with his employees. Last year the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had his uncle, Jang Song Thaek executed, for various crimes against the state. Reports out of the DPRK contend Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a pit filled with ravenous attack dogs. Shortly afterwards a North Korea defector claimed Jang's wife, Kim Kyong-Hui was killed because she complained about her late husband's fate.
Now the word is defense minister, Hyon Yong Chol stepped over the line by committing insubordination and falling asleep during a rally led by Kim. The South Koreans are saying Hyon was stood up in front of a line of anti-aircraft guns at a military school in Pyongyang. With a crowd of hundreds reportedly there to witness the event, the gunnery crews opened fire and it was so long Hyon. Obviously the concept of the golden parachute hasn't reached the offices of Kim Jong Un yet, although it would seem a solid case of paranoia has.
Meanwhile in Dallas, former Florida republican congressman Allen West was outraged a cashier with a Muslim sounding name at a local Wal-Mart was able to avoid ringing up alcohol sales because of his religion. West whined that while Wal-Mart was surrendering to Sharia Law, which forbids alcohol, Christian businesses were being forced to serve gay customers, which might be against their religious beliefs.
Actually the only law Wal-Mart was caving into was one passed by the state of Texas. It prohibits people younger than 21 from selling tobacco products, or alcohol. West figured it out a day, or so later, after he had published his blog and had bitterly complained about the crass liberal double standard. When he realized large numbers of people might, with valid reasons, question his intelligence he inserted an, "editor's note," to explain what happened. Even then Mr. West still managed to claim Wal-Mart was catering to Sharia Law by selling Halal meat at a location in Ohio. Actually, knowing Wal-Mart, they are probably paying far more attention to the bottom line than someone's religious code. If there is a market for the product in that area of Ohio, it is safe to assume the Walton family is busy exploiting it.
On a far brighter note, the Houston Chronicle reports Richard Overton of Austin, TX reached 109 years of age the other day. He is thought to be Americas oldest living military veteran. According to Mr. Overton the secret to a long life is, among other things, "staying out of trouble." In addition he has smoked 12 Tampa Sweet cigars a day for the last 91 years. He is also proud to say he avoids medicines while enjoying a shot of whiskey in his morning coffee. He finishes his day with a couple of belts of hooch and soda water. He walks without a cane, trims trees, helps with horses, and never watches TV.
Other than the horses and tree parts, it is hard to argue with any of that.
Finally, here in Oklahoma, a funny thing happened to the tea party/NRA screamers in the state legislature on Monday. The Happiness is a Warm Gun Crowd had shoved through legislation which would stop businesses and organizations from banning weapons at events held in parks, recreational areas, and the state fairgrounds. As usual, when it comes to firearms, it appeared this piece of legislative insanity would sail through and become law.
But, surprise, surprise. The bill hit the desk of Governor Mary Fallin at about the same moment the head honcho of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce reached her on the phone. Roy Williams, the president and chief executive officer of the chamber pointed out to Ms. Fallin that the people who run things like, the women's college softball world series, the NCAA basketball and wrestling tournaments, plus a bunch of other stuff, won't come to a town who won't, or can't let them ban guns at their events. That's because--well--they're sane.
OKC Mayor, Mick Cornett, a republican, even went so far as to question the logic of a state legislature which, while obsessed with federal government over reach, continually sticks their noses into the day to day operations of municipalities.  
Indeed, hypocrisy is a fine art, best left to professionals. Uninformed rubes from places like Midwest City simply don't have the eloquence to pull it off with the panache of someone like Ted Cruz. The truth is, when it comes down to it, the  republican money people might be willing to put up with these crazed hacks on many things--after all--they're better than a bunch of democrats--but when their crude bullshit threatens major sources of income for numerous businesses, ol' Wilbur is going to have to leave his deadly toy at home. Let's face it, sometimes idealism is just too high of a price to pay.  
Representative Kevin Calvey, is another republican, but one who resides on the far right edge of the universe. He is one of the co authors of the bill. Mr. Calvey quickly parroted the NRA party line w've all heard before. He was quoted by The Oklahoman's Richard M. Green as saying, "Oklahoma City already has a significant problem with crime and law abiding citizens have the right constitutionally and morally to defend themselves against these bad people. So disarming the public is not a wise strategy for deterring crime, or being able to promote economic development, or anything else."
Yes, it was the old, the only thing we need to stop gun violence is more guns theory. That certainly has worked out well for the republic hasn't it? 
Of course what Mr. Calvey failed to mention is Oklahoma City's problem with crime is largely because everyone here already has a fucking gun. In this town they're easier to get than bags of popcorn at the movies. He also skipped over a minor truth, which is there hasn't been a single significant criminal act perpetrated at any NCAA event, horse show, rowing competition, or outdoor art show even though guns have never been allowed at any of them.
Perhaps he and the bill's other co author, Representative Jack Fry should participate in a few group therapy sessions with our pal, Kim Jong Un. They all seem, not just enthralled with weaponry, but a tad on the edgy side when it comes to personal safety.
Hey, it's just a thought.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Strange Things: A Hot High School Principal, A Paranoid Governor, Ted and Hillary on Facebook, and Jeb Rakes in the Cash

It has been a long week with strange things happening nearly everywhere.
Take the case of Krista Morton. She is the 45 year old principal of Mavericks High School in Palm Springs, Florida. Wednesday night she was busted while sitting in her car along with a male student and a little less than 20 grams of marijuana. The police said they were called to the scene because they received a complaint of, "sexual activity." When popped Ms. Morton's blouse was reportedly undone part way and her shoulder and upper chest were exposed. After she was arrested the principal initially claimed she didn't know the kid. She said she picked him up because she was lonely. Madam Principal has been suspended from her job, but it can be assumed many in the student body--at least on the  male side--will lobby for her quick return.
Down in Texas, resident tea party quack and governor, Greg Abbott went into a paranoid frenzy when the U.S. military announced a multi state drill, code named, Jade Helmis. Abbott claimed he was fearful the exercise was a ruse by the feds to ultimately impose a declaration of martial law. He also said it could be the beginning of a crack down on, political prisoners. Without explaining who the political prisoners are, because the governor and other Anglo hot shots in Texas certainly aren't, Abbott ordered the state's National Guard to, "monitor" the exercise.
You know a politician jumped head long into a Twilight Zone episode when someone like Ted Cruz had to step in and sound like the calming voice of reason. Well--sort of. According to Cruz, he had spoken to Pentagon officials and they told him no, there wouldn't be any tanks patrolling the streets of Lubbock, or marines storming the beaches at Galveston. He was quoted as saying, "I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration. The natural consequence is that many citizens don't trust what it is saying."
In other words, while Obama does want to take over the country by force, this was a false alarm.
Speaking of the wild and crazy Canadian, NBC reports his campaign launch on Facebook had 5.5 million interactions by 2.1 million individual users within the first 24 hours. In comparison Rand Paul's Facebook kickoff had 1.9 million interactions in the same time frame. Ben Carson's site took 1.5 million hits, Marco Rubio had 1.3 million, Mike Huckabee 814,000 and Carly Fiorina 515,000.
Hillary Clinton's Facebook launch had 10.1 million interactions from 4.7 million different users in the first 24 hours.
While the numbers Cruz and Clinton garnered might seem impressive, one has to remember an interaction isn't necessarily a sign of support. In fact if I were to become a Facebook member and go to Ted Cruz's site in order to say I consider him nothing more than a Adolf Hitler wannabe, it would be counted as an interaction.
Finally we have Jeb Bush. Politico reports the former Florida governor has set up a super PAC called, "Right to Rise." According to the story it is estimated that by the end of May, Right to Rise will collect $100 million in contributions. Politico goes on to say Bush has decided to wait until middle, or late June to officially declare he is a candidate.
There is a reason for the delay which has nothing to do with indecision. As long as the Jebster isn't officially running he can fly all over the place, performing God only knows what sort of deviant sex acts with mega donors in order to raise money for Right to Rise. Once he does declare he's in the race, his campaign team and the people running the super PAC can no longer legally coordinate their activities. One GOP insider believes Bush, through Right to Rise, will have at least three, or four times more money than any of his primary opponents. Political wonks expect, Right to Rise will actually out spend Bush's official campaign. If that happens it will be the first time in American political history a supposedly independent entity does so.  
And just think, there are still people out there who tell me this is a democracy.
What a bunch of happy go lucky jokesters. They crack me up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Another Day, Another Poll: Hillary Takes a Hit and Everyone on the Republican Side Sucks

Sometimes we take polls too seriously and other times we take them too lightly. One only has to look back on the manic behavior displayed by Dick Morris and Karl Rove prior to the 2012 presidential election to see both ends of the spectrum. Those two chumps were absolutely positive of their own numbers and utterly dismissive of polls conducted by others. In Rove's case the psychosis was so acute he went off the deep end on live TV as the final nail was hammered into Mitt Romney's political coffin.

With that in mind any analysis of the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll should be taken with more than just a grain of salt. After all the real blood letting of the primary season is still a year off.

The short version is Hillary Rodham Clinton took a hit. Her unfavorable rating rose from 36% to 42% and her favorable rating dropped two points to the exact same figure. In addition the number of democrats who think it is important to find a challenger to her in the primaries has taken a large leap.

So conservatives should be dancing in the streets right? Actually, not just yet. That's because on the republican side everyone sucks. Senator Marco Rubio's unfavorable rating is one point higher than his favorable rating and he's doing better than any of the GOP contenders listed in the poll. Rand Paul numbers are 23% favorable vs. 28% unfavorable. Jeb Bush has the same favorable rating as Paul, but his unfavorable number is 36%. The mad Canadian Ted Cruz is seen unfavorably by 32% while only 23% see him in a good light. Wisconsin's governor, Scott Walker is looking at a 15% favorable grade and a 17% unfavorable one. His meager numbers are probably because 21% of republicans asked still don't recognize his name.

He isn't the only one out there with recognition problems. 36% of republicans asked didn't recognize  Dr. Ben Carson's name and a full 52% had no idea who Carly Fiorina is. To show how bad it can get, 18% said they didn't know Rick Perry and he was a living breathing candidate three years ago. Well--for a month or two anyway.

When it came to how they would vote in primaries, 23% of republicans polled said Jeb Bush would be their first choice as a candidate for the nomination.The list from there went Rubio with 18%, Walker at 14%, Paul 11%, Cruz also 11%, Carson 7%, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee were tied at 5%, and Fiorina was at 1%.

Additionally the evidence is clear the GOP is still a deeply divided party. When asked who they would not support in a primary 27% of those answering said Jeb Bush, 28% Ted Cruz, 39% Mike Huckabee. When it came to New Jersey governor Chris Christie a full 50% of those responding said they wouldn't support him for any reason.

Finally, when asked the hypothetical who would you vote for if the national election were held today, Mrs. Clinton beat all challengers. She currently leads Bush by six points, Rubio by six, and Walker by 10. The only republican whose deficit came close to the poll's margin of error was Rand Paul. He trailed her by four points. The margin of error was 3.1.

There were other odds and ends thrown in for good measure. Barack H. Obama's approval rating is now 48% while 47% disapprove of him. 42% of everyone asked had an unfavorable view of the tea party, while 20% liked them just fine. And--if Joe Biden continues to have any delusional thoughts about running he should consider that 81% of democrats are still gung ho for Mrs. Clinton while only 6% aren't.

Looking at all these figures it is easy to dismiss the republican field as a bunch of stone cold losers. It would be a mistake to do so. Someone is going to emerge from what amounts to an extended political gang fight with a veteran and battle hardened campaign staff. Thanks to Citizens United he will have more money at his disposal than God Almighty and he'll have the backing of a pervasive right wing media machine which has the journalistic ethics of a pack of rabid sewer rats. In addition, if the far left decides to run someone in the national election--remember Ralph Nader--Clinton, like Gore, could find herself in a race so tight it ends up being decided by some amoral tea party crank who is the head of a state election board.

So, as they used to say on TV a half a century, or so ago, don't touch that dial. The plot will thicken.

This race has just begun.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Rats Turn on Each Other in New Jersey

It appears the rats are turning on each other with a vengeance in New Jersey.

NBC is reporting that yesterday a former deputy chief of staff of Governor Chris Christie and one of his New York-New Jersey Port Authority appointees were indicted by the feds for conspiring to foul up traffic entering onto the George Washington Bridge in September of 2013. It was an ugly piece of political thuggery which caused massive traffic jams over a five day period in the city of Ft. Lee, NJ.

David Wildstein, another Christie port authority appointee copped a plea on two counts and testified in court he, Bridget Kelly, and Bill Baroni conspired to close two of three entrance lanes onto the bridge. He claims they did it because Ft. Lee's democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich refused to endorse Christie's run for re-election. The lane closures were timed to coincide with the first day of school. In addition to making kids and commuters late, emergency service crews were delayed by the massive tie ups. Wildstein also testified that when Sokolich began making calls to their offices the day after the screws were put to his city, per their agreement, no one would respond to him. After five days of mass confusion at the bridge, Patrick Foye, the Executive Director of the authority and an appointee of NY governor, Andrew Cuomo ordered the lanes opened. 

Baroni's attorney called Wildstein a "habitual liar." He also told the media Wildstein would say anything in order to avoid going to prison. At the time of the closing, Bill Baroni was the deputy executive director of the port authority. Two months after the shit hit the fan in Ft. Lee he testified at a hearing that the closures were due to a traffic study and said the only mistakes made were not notifying the public in advance and Foye--you know--his boss.

Bridget Kelly was the deputy chief of staff in Christie's administration. She initially told the Governor she didn't have any involvement with the closings. Yesterday she stuck to her guns. In a news conference she said, "I'm not guilty of these charges. I never ordered, or conspired with David Wildstein to close, or realign lanes at the bridge for any reason, much less retribution. David Wildstein is a liar."

Yeah, well Ms. Kelly is going to find that defense a tough sell. In January, 2014 several local news outlets found an email from her to Wildstein dated August 13, three or so weeks before the closures. It read, "Time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee." Wildstein's response was, "Got it."

The email was so damning Governor Christie fired Ms. Kelly on the same day it became public. The following afternoon he told the press he canned her, because, "She lied to me."

Christie has maintained from day one he knew nothing of the lane closures and yesterday tweeted statements saying the indictments are proof of it. NBC says it has been told by Department of Justice officials they've found no evidence Christie had any knowledge of the chicanery.

However, Wildstein's lawyer, Alan Zegas claims the governor did know about the plot and he has evidence which will prove it. There was no hint about when the revelations would be made public.

Whatever the case, none of this will impact Chris Christie's chances of winning the republican nomination for president next year. Those went down the drain the moment he appeared on camera with Barack Obama following the Hurricane Sandy disaster. Yes, you can fuck with people as maliciously as you want, but when you hob nob with the radical Islamic socialist currently in the White House, you instantly become persona non grata to tea party hacks everywhere.

Both Kelly and Baroni are due to be arraigned in federal court on Monday. Look for more finger pointing, name calling, denials, and dueling lawyers.

Hey, who says the American political system isn't the greatest in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, as always, the bar is open.