Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lucy Richards is a No Show

Ah, the webs we weave.

A little over a year ago a woman named Lucy Richards sent four messages to Florida resident Lenny Pozner. Two were emails, the other two voice mails. None of them were what you'd call friendly.

One message said, "You gonna die, death is coming to you real soon." Another read, "Look behind you it is death. And there's nothing you can do about it."

Mr. Pozner hadn't lived in Florida long. His previous address was located in Newtown, CT where his six year old son, Noah attended Sandy Hook Elementary school. Noah was one of 20 students murdered by Adam Lanza on December 14, 2014.

At least that's what those of us with functioning brains know. Lucy Richards, on the other hand, saw things differently. After her arrest she told Florida authorities she was one of the many out there who believe the Sandy Hook nightmare was a false flag operation. In other words, the entire shooting did not occur, Noah Pozner never existed, and his father, Lenny--or whatever his name really might be--was and is, what's known in the trade as, a "crisis actor."

By last January it had become clear to her the only way to stop such an unrepentant anti gun shill like Lenny Pozner was to threaten his life.

She was charged with four counts of, "transmission of a threat to injure." Richards pleaded not guilty. While awaiting trial she was out on $25,000 bond, banned from visiting, or contributing to conspiracy theory web sites, and from contacting Pozner, or anyone else involved with the Sandy Hook shooting.

Then she got a public defender. He worked out a plea bargain with the prosecution which would get her off with probation and a period of house arrest as opposed to possibly five years of hard time on each charge. The kicker was, in order to secure the deal, she had show up today in U.S. District Court and plead guilty to a single count. You know, admit she had committed a crime.

As we all understand, these things are never that easy. Especially when you are saying to someone like Lucy Richards you'll have to admit you were wrong. Apparently doing just that didn't appeal to her ego. The Guardian is reporting she called her attorney this morning and told him she wasn't going to show up. She wouldn't tell him why. When Judge James Cohn was informed he immediately issued a warrant for her arrest and ordered her jailed without bond once she is picked up.

There is no word regarding Lucy Richards' current location. Perhaps she has taken it on the lam to Austin, TX and is seeking sanctuary in the studios of Alex Jones, the king of all conspiracy theories.

Or not.

Jones' "Info Wars" broadcasts have frequently featured guests who believe exactly what Lucy Richards does--that Sandy Hook was faked so the government would have an excuse to confiscate every gun ever made. However, Jones himself has always hedged his final decision on what exactly happened that terrible December day in Newtown.

This reluctance to come down firmly on the side of those who claim the shooting was faked has caused him to be condemned in some conspiracy circles. In others he is considered just another part of the problem. Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi site, "Daily Stormer," refers to him as a, "Zionist millionaire."

Other conspiracy sites have come to the conclusion Alex Jones, like Noah Pozner, doesn't exist at all. They contend he is a character created by stand up comic, Bill Hicks. The theory goes that Hicks faked his death, caused by pancreatic cancer, in 1994 and came up with the persona of Alex Jones. The reasons for the deception are varied and somewhat vague, but when dealing with this Nuevo Twilight Zone one should never expect clarity.

No matter what the case, our Lucy is still out there, somewhere. When last seen in public she was using a walker and wheel chair while claiming to be disabled. She is in her late 50's and presumably remains really pissed off at Lenny Pozner.

Well, what do you expect? In this brave new world anyone who gives up the fight and admits wrong instantly becomes part of the conspiracy--just another paid crisis actor. Obviously such an accusation is too much for Lucy Richards to bear.

Indeed, now it's just a matter of time before we see how the whole martyrdom thing works out for her.

The latest odds are it won't go well, but, hey, when it comes to these cranks, you never know for sure.

sic vita est


Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Bullet Proof Don

There are 441 people who sit in the United States House of Representatives. Of that number, six--the members from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the American Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas--cannot cast a yea, or nay. That means ideally there will be 435 votes on any given piece of legislation.

As of March 1, 2017 there are 193 democrats who are current members of the house. The republicans hold 237 seats and five are vacant for one reason, or another. Earlier this year all those people sat down and decided who would become the Speaker. They elected Paul Ryan, R-WI because traditionally everyone votes strictly along party lines and this year the GOP has that 44 member edge.

Being the Speaker of the House in this country is a huge deal. The speaker, while ranked behind the vice president in the line of executive succession, is in fact, the second most powerful person in the nation when it comes to legislative influence and pure politics. He can appoint a congressman, or woman, to committees which oversee the most important and sensitive areas of national security and economic well being, or exile some poor hack to a sub committee studying the breeding habits of dung beetles. More importantly he can kill almost any bill with a single word while at the same time even his tacit support means a proposal will be seriously considered by the entire body.

All of which brings us to Brother Ryan, Donald Trump, and this week.

A little over four years ago Paul Ryan was the republican candidate for vice president. He ran around the country talking about ending what he and others called, "Obamacare." According to Ryan, Obamacare was a disaster, a socialist pox on the national soul.

A whole bunch of Americans didn't buy into his bullshit and he and his presidential running mate Mitt Romney were thoroughly thrashed by the creator of the Affordable Care Act, Barack H. Obama.

Then along came Donald Trump, his unrelenting fascist hyperbole and a campaign which not only pandered to those who readily believe in conspiracies, but might have actually participated in one. Early in race, Trump latched onto the entire Obamacare is a nightmare thing. So much so, at one point he promised his rabid followers he'd get rid of it on his first day in office.

In the mean time Ryan and others were busily crafting a replacement for the Affordable Care Act in the hope Trump's appeal to all that's evil in us would carry the day. It was more than apparent he abhorred the big orange guy, but, in the end, El Don was a hell of a lot better than Hillary Rodham Clinton, who might actually improve the Affordable Care Act and further cement it as a necessity to millions of Americans.

So, in January, after years of playing the dog chasing the car known as the ACA, Paul Ryan and the republican party finally caught it. Within moments after latching onto the bumper everyone realized they had no viable idea of how to deal with it.

Trump, who obviously hadn't read Ryan's proposed replacement before endorsing it, was immediately proven to be either a cold blooded liar, or an idiot. After spending weeks on the campaign trail last fall promising he'd never touch Medicaid benefits he was suddenly, "honored," to support a law that would gut them. After promising to make sure everyone had access to affordable insurance he was pushing a bill which would cost 14 million people their health coverage within a year and 24 million over three years. After talking about taking down the Wall Street greedheads, he was going all in to get a measure passed which would allow the huge insurance companies to pay their CEOs tens of millions of dollars per year and then write those salaries off as tax deductions.

Yes, quite the man of the people.

The Ryan vision of health care was doomed from the beginning. Despite eviscerating Medicaid and forcing senior citizens to pay huge increases in premiums the ultra right wasn't satisfied. As far as the tea party types and billionaire brutes like the Koch brothers are concerned any federal health care program is a by God communist plot.

The revolt was on and despite having 44 more house members than democrats, Ryan and Trump couldn't muster enough support for the ACA replacement bill to pass. Yesterday, rather than suffer a humiliating public defeat on the house floor they called off the vote.

Trump, being Trump blamed the entire debacle on the democrats. He told the press, "We were very close, it was a very tight margin. We had no democrat support--no votes from the democrats."

Okay, here's a thought, Don--if you are the all powerful negotiator you claim to be you shouldn't have needed the democrats. Those last few fuckers you and Paul Ryan couldn't convince to get on board weren't wild eyed progressives from San Francisco. They were the same hideous goons who voted for you a few months ago.

Yes, it is easy to gloat right now if you loathe the venal sonsofbitches who are currently in charge of the republic. These last few days they've seemed to be an unorganized, self consuming bunch, utterly incapable of governing.

Tragically it's just that sort of dismissive assumption which allowed them to win the White House in the first place.

Hey, let's face it, despite what happened this week, if Donald J. Trump were to go on the road tomorrow he'd pack 10,000 to 15,000 screaming fanatics into some overheated arena without breaking a sweat. It doesn't matter how grotesquely he twists the truth, or blatantly mismanages the government--as one wag put it, when it comes to his base, he is bullet proof.



Monday, March 20, 2017

The Weekend Nightmare: You Can Always Count on Duke to Screw Up Everything

When it came to tournament action, Thursday was mediocre at best. That's the only way you can describe it when you win 75% of your bets. You're ahead, but certainly not out of the woods.

It was the same on the next day. I won 12 of 16 again, but on Friday things began to turn ominous. As anyone who has played the tournament can tell you dropping a game here, or there in the first round isn't that bad so long as you've bet against your loser in the next game. In other words, that poor schmuck from Vanderbilt who forgot his team was ahead and mistakenly committed an intentional foul against Northwestern--ultimately costing his team the victory--wasn't a back breaker. That's because I had Vandy losing their next game. It was what we, on this side of the river, call a small money set back.

However the same couldn't be said for that clique of big spenders from SMU. I had them making it to the sweet 16. By by late Friday night they were back in Dallas, drinking heavily over on Dyer St. at The Green Elephant.

It turned out the SMU debacle was just a preview of the disasters to come on Saturday and Sunday. Villanova went first, losing to those bratwurst and beer swilling grinders from Wisconsin. I don't know why I was surprised. Over the years Wisconsin has proven itself to be deadly in the tournament. They are a pack of plodding bulldogs who invariably make speedy, up and down the court high flyer types, look like they're playing ankle deep in one of those inky pools at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Then on Sunday came the Louisville nightmare. The Cardinals blew an eight point half time lead and were taken out by a Michigan team who has been literally living and playing on the edge for nearly two weeks.

Suddenly my Final Four, which had looked solid as a rock was cracked and the entire 2017 venture was in a tailspin.

The ignominious coup de grace came later that evening when Duke played South Carolina.

My terrible history with the Dukies is well documented. Over the years they've destroyed my brackets no matter how high, or low I pick them. It is as if that vile little cretin, Mike Krzyzewski is listening in on the phone as I lay out my March strategy so he can plot the exact moment to screw up everything I'm counting on.

This year the moment was last night. Yes, he and his cold blooded enforcer, Grayson Allen, along with the rest of that band of unabashed tweakers, choked mightily against South Carolina. After leading by 10 at the half the entire Duke defense decided to take the rest of the night off.

Well why not? After all, the poor clod in Oklahoma City should know better by now. South Carolina scored 65 points in the next 20 minutes of play and I was--once again--fucked.

The situation is dire. It's no longer a matter of winning, but rather slowing the outflow in order to minimize the damage. I'm down to two Final Four teams, but at least my winner, Arizona, is still alive as is Kentucky. In addition I can make up limited ground next weekend with Purdue and North Carolina.

Of course it is all a risk. Even the best in the business can't predict some things. You know, like the meaningless three point shot Oklahoma State drained at the buzzer Saturday. In a breathtaking instant the final result of the game didn't change, but OSU covered the two and a half point spread against Michigan and untold tens of thousands of dollars swung the other way. Indeed, attempting to predict the outcome of any contest isn't for the weak hearted. No matter what the odds, or how much time is left there is always a chance the results can turn ugly in the blink of an eye.

Just ask those of us who put money on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

sic vita est


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Ralph Shortey Checks Into a Motel and Out of the Oklahoma State Senate

Oh how far the arrogant fall.

According to his official Oklahoma state senate bio Ralph Shortey represents senate district 44. It stretches from the lower northwest corner of Oklahoma City down as far as SW 89th St, which serves as the line between Oklahoma and Cleveland Counties. The brief biography also tells us the republican senator is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, was born in Casper, Wyoming, and moved to the OKC suburb of Moore, where he attended high school.

After graduating he attended Heartland Baptist College in Oklahoma City. His aim was to do mission work in Uganda. However before he could grab a flight to Kampala he married his high school sweetheart and they had two kids together. Rather than jet off to Africa, Shortey stayed around, beginning a career in the oil and gas industry as he started to dabble in local politics. He was first elected to the state senate in 2010 and during the past presidential election he was Don Trump's county coordinator.

Despite all that from 2010 until lately he stayed pretty much under the radar. He was, in fact, just another right wing wanker lost in a brackish pond full of right wing wankers. Then came early February and the sexual adventures of fellow senator Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa. Kirby resigned from the senate because of an affair he'd had with a senate aide. However, after consulting Ralph Shortey, among others, he called off his resignation and claimed the affair--which included trips to strip joints and the receipt of topless photos from the female assistant--was a perfectly legal relationship between two consenting adults.

The senate disagreed and Kirby's ass was kicked to the curb.

Around the same time Shortey made it public he was putting together legislation which would nullify two state questions the voters had approved in November. The questions, which passed easily, would cause some drug crimes to be reclassified from felonies to misdemeanors and at the same time set up a system of county rehab centers that would house and treat low level drug offenders so they could avoid jail time.

When asked by the media why he was attempting to usurp the will of Oklahoma voters, Shortey answered, "Because people didn't understand what they were voting for."

Well maybe not, but what people do understand is Ralph Shortey's senate career and quite possibly his marriage began to collapse on March 9th. That was the day Moore police knocked on the door of a Super 8 motel room on I-35. Inside they found Shortey, a 17 year old boy, a backpack containing lotion and an open package of condoms, all accompanied by the overwhelming smell of marijuana.

According to the OKC paper, The Oklahoman, yesterday, the state senate acted unanimously to suspend all of the senator's privileges. That includes access to his office and his personal parking space at the capitol. In addition Shortey isn't allowed to buy any office supplies, his only aide has been reassigned, he cannot sponsor any bills, and he must return his state provided laptop computer.

In other words, he is fucked.

If there was any doubt of it, earlier today the Cleveland County D.A. charged the soon to be former senator with, "engaging in child prostitution," "transporting a minor for purposes of prostitution," and "engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church." There is no word, yet, on any drug charges. The report in The Oklahoman says Shortey is refusing to answer calls, or respond to texts.

Well, who can blame him? These sort of things truly are difficult for people to understand. Especially if you're a Christian evangelical who believes the Ralph Shortey's of the nation are leading Oklahoma and America back to the greatness their God applauds.

In the meantime, as I write, Princeton could not pull off a win against Notre Dame and my first upset special in the NCAA men's basketball tournament went down in flames. It was an inauspicious start, but a minor bump in what is turning into--at the moment--a good day.

Hey, who needs these closeted ultra conservative types who preach righteousness and law and order while practicing hedonistic rituals that make Roman Polanski and those degenerates in the Bohemian Club blush?

That's right, screw 'em.

Now, let's get back to West Virginia vs. Bucknell and our immediate financial future. It is, after all, what we professionals do.


sic vita est


Monday, March 13, 2017

Kellyanne Conway and Microwaves That Turn into Cameras...Just a Fact of Modern Life... And at Last, There are More Important Things to Deal With; It's Time to Contact The Professionals

The headline in the Bergen Record read, "Kellyanne Conway Alludes to Even Wider Surveillance of Trump campaign."

What prompted the shocking news was an interview Ms. Conway gave to Record columnist, Mike Kelly. His question to her was, "Let me ask you about one of the things that seems to be dogging, at least this last week, is the wire taps--the allegation that Trump Tower was wiretapped. What can you say about that? Do you know whether Trump Tower was wiretapped?"

Now, think about it for a moment--all she had to say to steer the conversation and a day's worth of news stories off into a different direction was, "No, Mike I don't know if it was, or not." Or maybe, "I have no evidence, but I'm sure the congressional investigation will come up with the answers."

With either of those statements, or another similar one the subject of her boss' paranoid, utterly unsubstantiated, twitter rant of a week plus ago would have been quickly fading in the rearview mirror.

However Kellyanne Conway works for Donald J. Trump and if we've learned anything since the inauguration there isn't a single Trump staffer who can, or will put the lid on a controversy. Their genetic makeup demands they insist, no matter how obscurely, their man was wronged somehow, someway by a leftist cabal led by the evil Kenyan, Barack H. Obama.

She responded to the question with, "What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately."

Kelly, paused, then began, "Do you believe that was..."

She interrupted him by saying, "There was an article that week that talked about how you can surveil people through their phones, through their--certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. We know that is just a fact of modern life."

That's the ticket. Make sure the Volk realizes that even if every man jack one of you can't prove the candidate's telephone was tapped it doesn't mean Barack, Michelle, and the kids weren't illegally listening in, or watching. Indeed, there are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your trailer park.

Today after the shit hit the fan, Conway tweeted, "Response to Bergen Record was about surveillance articles in news and techniques generally, not about campaign. Headline just wrong."


The question was, "Do you know whether the Trump Tower was wiretapped?" The Conway response was a rambling statement about various surveillance methods. In other words she was either telling us the different ways her campaign might have been bugged, thereby excusing the big orange guy's lack of proof, not to mention making us all think twice about wandering into the kitchen naked.  Or--she blundered terribly in a crude attempt to avoid admitting she, personally, had no proof of wrong doing by the previous administration.

The mainstream media immediately pounced. On ABC this morning George Stephanopoulos pressed her and she allowed she didn't have any information to substantiate either her innuendo, or Donald Trump's claim. Later, as the interrogations began to wear her down, she said in perfect Trumpspeak, "I'm not in the job of having evidence."

Yeah, there's a lot of that going around at the White House lately.

Of course this is all just so much bullshit to the rubes out in Pot Hole County, West Virginia who voted for, El Don. They could give a rat's ass about the man's lack of morals and brute prevarications. All they know is Donald Trump vowed to bring back their jobs in the coal mines and not gut the Medicaid they are so dependent on.


Well, those are issues for another day.

Right now it is time to hunker down and do some serious research on the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Film must be pored over and hard decisions will have to be made within 48 hours. All of that followed by endless calls to the professionals who control the action.

Yes, screw Trump and the yokels shilling for him. Let the poor bastards at MSNBC and CNN wrestle with those swine for the time being.

Now, at last, there are more important things to deal with.

sic vita est


Monday, March 6, 2017

Tap, Tap, Tapping Trump

"We have as a president a man who is erratic, vindictive, volatile, obsessive, a chronic liar, and prone to believe in conspiracy theories. And you can count on the fact that there will be more to come, since when people like Donald Trump gain power they become less, not more restrained."

Peter Wehner

So who is this liberal crack head saying such vile things about the man in the White House? Indeed, what sort of Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama Kool-Aid has he ingested?

According to Wikipedia, Brother Wehner served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, and George W. Bush. He is now working as a conservative commentator for a number of publications and is listed as a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank.

His statement was in response to the latest outburst of lunacy from Donald John Trump.

On Saturday, after a week of thrashing about in an increasingly fetid swamp made foul by tales of collusion between his election campaign staff and the Russians, Trump struck back.

As always the counter attack was launched via Twitter and was chock full of self pity and martyrdom while generously garnished with the stems and caps of psilocybin mushrooms. More importantly to Trump--it had nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

That's right, when floundering in a debilitating scandal with no quick out, create a new one. Yes, accusing the Kenyan guy of devious, yet unsubstantiated, crimes has always worked in the past. Let's face it, no matter how implausible the charges might be we know the main stream media will follow us down another rabbit hole. They will howl to the moon about the lack of sources and how crazy it all is, but at least they'll stop screeching about the fucking Russians for a while.

One tweet read, "Terrible. Just found out Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" Another said, "How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"

Trump's spokes people said their man was referring to news reports about the wire tap, or taps. None of the big orange man's, "information," originated with the U.S. intelligence community, or even the White House staff.

In truth the news reports have the feel of being similar to classic run amok Facebook conspiracy theories. Or, what some would call, "Fake News."

Trump's people have cited FOX in defense of their boss' accusations. However FOX claims it was only reporting on a story which appeared on Breitbart. Breitbart's piece was really nothing more than a link to a story on the conservative site, Heat Street. The Heat Street article was a re-hash of an east coast radio screed broadcast by another far right wing source, Mark Levin. In the final turn of the plastic hamster tube, Levin's information was based on a prior Heat Street article written by former British Tory MP, Louise Mensch before the election. She now claims her initial report does not back up Trump's claim of wiretapping. None of this surreal roller coaster ride has been verified by American news agencies, including FOX.

Levin, who sort of started all the nonsense, is hardly an unbiased journalistic source. In the past, among other things, he has gone on the air and called Obamacare supporters Nazi brown shirts and accused Obama himself of being an active sympathizer who worked with the Muslim Brotherhood to destroy truth, justice, and The American Way.

It should come as no surprise nearly everyone with a functioning brain, including Obama's people, James R. Clapper, former director of national intelligence and the ever slippery FBI director, James Comey have denied there was any wire tapping of Trump Tower.

And if there was? Well to do so would have required a U.S. judge's approval based on an affidavit of probable cause. In other words the FBI, or another entity would have had to show they had reason to believe someone within the Trump campaign was getting buddy-buddy with the Russians on the phone in a manner which was illegal.

So in the end we have three choices. Do we believe Donald J. Trump is living in a world which mainly exists on the frayed edges of YouTube while possessing the emotional temperament of a second grader? Do we consider him just another inept politician trying to dodge a scandal in his own clumsy, amateurish way? Or, finally, was he a despicable and treasonous candidate working with an adversarial foreign power in order to rig the American presidential election in his favor?

To conjoin and brutalize a couple of lines from the movie, "Casablanca," I like to think it is a combination of all of all three. Hey, it's the romantic in me.

sic vita est