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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Silver (And Blue) Lining


Some the best U.S. economic news came out of Cairo yesterday when Egyptian protesters distributed images of the tear gas canisters being lobbed at them. Printed across the bottom in small blue print were the words “Made in the U.S.A.” Hooray. We still manufacture something. Now Barack Obama can include Combined Systems Inc. of Jamestown, Pennsylvania as part of his tour of American factories. Among the things he might mention: “What a lot of Americans don’t know is that while banks were failing and automakers were going under, Combined Systems was going strong producing aerosols, chemical munitions, and multi-effect grenades not only for crowd control here at home but for dictatorial regimes all over the world!”

With an annual gift of about $1.3 billion Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. military aid after Israel. If America bought $1.3 billion worth of merchandise from Combined Systems it would probably come out to a sixer of tear gas and 42 muskets. For some reason though, foreign countries get a much better deal on U.S. military contracts. On Friday the tear gas in Egypt was falling like Texas hail.

Unless Mubarak’s economic plan for the past thirty years has been to keep Egyptians poor, it hasn’t worked. That is at the root of the riots. In retrospect when he filled out his annual aid requests maybe he should have checked off corn instead of tear gas. His logic seems to have been “if people find out I’m buying tear gas instead of corn they are going to get pissed off and riot so I better be prepared and get tear gas.”

Maybe I’m na├»ve. It could be that Egyptians don’t like corn and they would be rioting anyway. In that case the police would have nothing with which to control the crowds except corn. Not fun if you consider the dried stuff really smarts when launched at high velocity. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chris Matthews, My (popular racial epithet)



Here Chris Matthews almost bursts a blood vessel as he takes on some typical Tea Party history rewriting. Lesson here: making up your own facts is not okay.

AOTL's State Of The Union Address



Depending on the statistics you find, America is the obesest country in the world. Some have Mexico edging us out, but I don't think that should count. Much of Mexico's fat population is made up of people who came to live in the U.S., got fat and went back to Mexico. So those are actually our American fat rolls undulating on midriffs from Sonora to Sinaloa.

Some people think that the U.S. is the richest country on Earth, but that is untrue. Wealth  is measured in GDP per capita which puts us between sixth and eighth, depending on the source. With the largest GDP in the world, the U.S. does have the largest economy, a distinction we are slated to enjoy for the next 25 years when China is expected to step up and eat our lunch. Look out, China. There's a lot of calories from fat in that lunch. That's how we roll, no pun intended.

Nuts About Obama

The upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference is bound to be a real hoot. My guess is that the book pavilion will be a hit with its volumes of tin foil hat theories and hypotheticals disguised as fact about Barack Hussein Obama. Here are some brief reviews of those books.

The Manchurian President
Aaron Klein reveals how Barack Obama's mother is really Angela Lansbury
who hypnotizes Obama to become a pro-Communist president. Bill Ayers this, 
ACORN that. Indonesia, blah blah blah, Islam. A bold book in its retro use of 
Communism as the bogeyman. 

The Blueprint
While Klein believes Obama wants to turn America red, Blackwell and 
Klukowski argue he wants to turn it blue. Which is it fellas? Unconstitutional
this, lack of freedom that. Activist judges blah blah blah, take away our guns.
If Ronald Reagan's Attorney General who resigned in disgrace likes this
book it must be good.

Culture of Corruption
The subtitle to Michelle Malkins bound effigy is "Obama And His Team
Of Tax Cheats, Crooks, And Cronies." Basically what she is saying is 
that Obama is Nixon without the Watergate. ACORN this, Chicago politics 
that. Blah blah blah, czars and unions. Malkin has hit a note that is too boring
for the crazy people yet still a little too crazy for the normal people. 

Crimes Against Liberty
Socialized health care this, green initiatives that. Endless bailouts,
blah blah blah. 

The Obama Diaries
Boy, this is getting painful.Why does she bother? She'll always be confused
with the other conservative Laura, or as she is now known, the N-Word Lady. 


The Roots Of Obama's Rage
I just did a Youtube search for "obama raging" and did not come up 
anything relevant so I guess I'll have to take D'Souza on his word. Apparently
Obama is ruled by his father's anti-colonial ideology which turns him into an
anti-American, anti-capitalist hulk who bails out American auto companies. In 
all fairness, the book is billed as a startling look at what MAY lie ahead. Of course, it 
would be just like Obama to do the opposite of what D'Souza predicts
Just to make him look bad. Trickster.


Radical-In-Chief
FYI, Stanley Kurtz is not using the word "radical" in a surf lingo context. 
Socialist this, socialist that. Blah blah blah. Liberation Theology. It's amazing that 
with the number of times Kurtz uses the word "socialist," it doesn't lose all meaning 
in the least. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

REPEAL THIS!


I would love to watch John Boehner go back in time and argue with John Adams about the excessive reach of government. As much as he and the Tea wing invoke the Founding Fathers in support of their agenda, one would assume they aren’t just talking out of their asses, right?

Well, it just so happens they may be talking out of their asses after all. Some intelligent person (I wish it had been me) uncovered An Act For The Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen, or as John Boehner would call it A Job Killing Act For The Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen. More details of the act can be read here, but this is the backround: Some of the very same people who drafted the Constitution rammed through Congress a health care bill that raised taxes, expanded the role of government, put health care decisions in the hands of bureaucrats, infringed on the liberty of private citizens via mandate, replaced the private sector with the public sector and probably set up death panels.

Admittedly in 1798, a large number of privately employed sailors were uninsured. While injury and disease among sailors was determined to be a threat to trade and the economy, it certainly wasn’t the government’s job to take over the health care decisions of a syphilitic sailor or one with jibwrist. That was a need that could have and should have been filled by the private sector…

Which it did not, so the government stepped in and by creating the very first payroll tax created a network of hospitals for sailors on merchant vessels*. The organization eventually became the Public Health Service for which my father once worked alongside the father of my fourth grade teacher. Small world. The Public Health Service now oversees various agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

News of this act surfaced over the past week and is beginning to spread to the point where very soon, perhaps later today, healthcare opponents will have some splaining to do. Did President Adams knowingly sign unconstitutional legislation into law? What did the Supreme Court have to say about this? Wasn’t this a government mandate?

I predict Boehner and Company will dismiss any parallels between Adamscare and Obamacare just to placate the 23-26 percent of people who want to take their country back to when socialized medicine was invented. We should expect to hear a lot of “this is different” and “this is the kind of tone we should be moving away from” and maybe even “this is that same gotcha politics from the lamestream media” in the next week.

As I’ve said before and many people know, the Constitution is not the list of laws that can and can’t be enacted. People like Michele Bachmann should know that. She’s a lawyer. But maybe she does secretly know better. She wasn’t screaming “unconstitutional” when she was sucking up farm subsidies from the taxpayer tit. Last I checked (one minute ago), the Constitution doesn’t say anything about farms or subsidies. But I’m sure John Adams would be totally cool with it?

*Not known if this coverage was extended to slave mariners.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'll Take Political Parties Not Funded By The Koch Brothers For 2000, Alex



The Rent Is Too Damn High party is really hanging in there. Their website is still up, they haven't splintered off into the Rent Is Too Motherfuckin' Ridiculous party, and father of the movement Jimmy McMillan is rockin' out with his cock out in this unsurprisingly peculiar Youtube video. Seriously, if I had a show, I'd invite Jimmy on as my musical guest. I'm not quite sure about the improvisational dancer though. She's wearing leg warmers. Her spectacle crowds the stage. It's like the "What Up With That" sketch on SNL where the chubby black guy (I don't know how to spell his name properly and I'm too lazy to check it) plays a talk show host who interrupts his guests to break into absurd, overproduced versions of the show's theme song. Ms. Leg Warmers here looks like she's right out of that kind of catastrophe.

It makes me think of my college years when Dith Pran, the subject of "The Killing Fields" was speaking at my school and I got to go to lunch with him. Accompanying Mr. Dith was a woman with curly brunette hair. They were a strange enough pair for me to be compelled to ask "so how do you two know each other." I remember him identifying her as his friend so she was not there in any working capacity unless he paid his friends to hang out with him. Other than that, what I remember her for mostly is loading her ice water up with a bunch of maraschino cherries while stating emphatically "I love cherries."

Every once in a while I see someone doing something weird and it reminds me of Cherry Water Lady. Ms. Leg Warmers is such a person. I can not attest to the relationship between Jimmy McMillan and Leg Warmers. It is hard to even tell from the video if she is doing him a favor or vice versa. There is evidence, however that what they have is non-sexual. There is an email link on the RITDH website that women can click on if they want to date Mr. McMillan who, according to the site has been single for 30 years. If that is the case he must not be getting any from this Solid Gold Dancer who, if you notice just kind of casually bails towards the end.

I should cut her some slack though. She is probably tired from working two jobs just to put a roof over her head because... that's right... the rent is too damn high.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

GUESS HU'S COMING TO DINNER!

Hu Jintao is just like Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi without all the flash, scandal, money, underage dancers, booze, gaffes, entertainment value, pizazz, sordidness, je ne sais quoi, gossip, skeletons, glitz, and turpitude.

Sure, there is some controversy to the  saga between the U.S. and China if your idea of controversy is the value of your currency to that of the nation that holds the bulk of your national debt. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

If there is anyone with the depth of mind to take on Hu and this tiresome nevertheless crucial matter it would be Barack Obama. With Obama, Hu is getting more than what he got the last time he met with a U.S. president - lunch (“That there’s a turkey sandwich and those are Fritos. Sorry about the plastic plates but they thought it might be insensitive if we ate off the china. Mind if I turn on Oprah?”). The low-key nature of the affair was due to the fact the Bush people did not want to appear to lavish so much attention on such an egregious violator of human rights.

The Obama Administration on the other hand figures that if one of the biggest commie-haters in history, Richard Nixon could famously break bao with the Chinese then why not them. Obama would like a chance to reset relations with the spurned Hu by having a proper state dinner with a bunch of CEOs of companies whose products are made with inexpensive Chinese labor. Yes, it just keeps getting duller and duller. Even John Boehner who loves CEOs could not bring himself to check the "sure, I'm in" box on his evite. This event is bound to be far less fun than taking health insurance away from children.

This entire visit will have a similar life to a Miss America pageant; it is being hyped as a special event, most Americans are probably unaware that it is happening, and unless Hu makes some unfortunate statements regarding his opposition to gay marriage it will pass unnoticed.

The leaders of the largest and second largest economies in the world already have about as much leverage on each other as possible without snapping bones. So there should be plenty of "I'll stop keeping the value of the yuan low if you stop your Federal Reserve  from buying long-term Treasuries which devalues our stake in your debt."  All lovers of Sino-American relations are at the edge of their seats for a doozy of a stalemate which some experts are calling the most important visit by a Chinese leader in 30 years. Back then it was Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping and they apparently had three decades worth of fun times together.

Now the torch has been passed. It's up to the lawyer who excelled at basketball and the hydraulic engineer who showed promise at singing and dancing. Crises averted!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Free At Last

According to this poll, in 2011, more Americans came together; black and white, young and old, gay and straight, Jewish and Buddhist, bald and hirsute, male and female, Jet fan and Steeler fan to lie about what they were going to do on Martin Luther King Day.

Thirty percent of Americans would do something to commemorate MLK on his birthday? I highly doubt it. And surfing past a History Channel documentary on King does not count. If we break down the thirty percent, we are destined to find some truth-tellers. There were parades. There were speeches. There were those who answer the call to service in Dr. King's honor, but I would put that number closer to ten percent, roughly. The other twenty percent were people who confuse their desire to be well-intentioned with the reality of their agenda.

Some people just want a day to plop on the couch and say "Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I'm free at last until tomorrow" and that's okay. It is still a sign of progress. In this country we used to only loaf around in honor of white men. That has changed. I would not say that this is the Dream of which King spoke, but it is an added benefit.

To that proportion of the thirty percent who had every intention to get out and celebrate in some fashion but did not plan accordingly, there is still Martin Luther King Day 2012. Start planning now!

Excerpt of AOTL Interview With John Boehner

AOTL: Mr. Boehner, I typed “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” into Microsoft Word and green squiggly lines popped up everywhere. What made you choose such a grammatically iffy name for the bill?

Boehner: Personally, I think it’s an accurate name.

AOTL: Whose job did it kill?

Boehner: Nancy Pelosi’s.

AOTL is sponsoring a contest to find the best name for a genre of entertainment that has actually been around for some time - the fake interview. No, scratch the contest. I just got it. “Con-versation.” It’s a fake interview so it’s a con. Get it? No. that only works if you are reading it and can see the word broken up. Otherwise it still sounds like the legitimate word “conversation.” The con-test is back on.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Just Because It's Not Sarah Palin's Fault Doesn't Mean She Shouldn't Know Better


I’m willing to say that this rampage in Arizona had little or nothing to do with any comments by Alaska’s Sarah Palin or Idaho’s Butch Otter or Florida’s Robert Lowry, all who have been caught making references to using gun violence against opponents. What I will say is that those kinds of comments whether in front of a casual crowd or in a formal announcement are crass, classless, and demonstrate antisocial behavior. Making jokes about gun violence is not funny and it is not cute to make gun violence metaphors in discussing political agendas. Saturday’s shootings hopefully demonstrate that and if I am wrong I wonder who is laughing now. Is Sarah Palin who suggested that her supporters reload after Laura Schlessinger became unhinged and needlessly repeated the word nigger to a black radio caller laughing? Is Idaho governor Butch Otter who once suggested that permits to hunt Obama would sell well in Idaho laughing? Is Robert Lowry who scrawled the initials of his opponent next to the gun target he was shooting at during his unsuccessful congressional campaign laughing?

Anger and frustration are normal components on the spectrum of human emotions. They are not unique, but when one’s anger gets to the point of wishing violence and death on other people it is a sign that elective politics should wait until that anger is under control.

But that’s just me. I was raised to never EVER point even an unloaded gun at another person, period. A gun that was not pointed at a (nonhuman) target was to be pointed to the ground. It was drilled into my head at a young age that guns kill and foolish behavior with guns leads to accidental death time and time again. Yet tomorrow scores of people, some who should know better will pick up weapons and wave them in the air with little care. According to the statistics, one or more of them will kill somebody. It boggles my mind.

Similarly, somewhere tomorrow someone in the public sphere is going to engage in some deathspeak. The lesson may be lost on them, but enough people will have caught on to the fact that the type of people who speak so carelessly are not the kind of people to rally around, but the kind of people to avoid.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Congresswoman Shot In Arizona

The last time I recall a sitting member of Congress being gunned down was 1978 when Leo Ryan of California was shot while investigating the Jim Jones People's Temple in Guyana. It was the opening to an ugly series of events, namely the mass suicide of Jones' followers in the jungle.

As of now it is not known if Rep. Gabrielle Giffords D-Ariz is dead or alive after being shot in the head while meeting with her constituents at home in her district earlier this morning. While someone is in custody, it is unknown what that person's motivation was.

While it is too early to draw conclusions it should be of high interest that Giffords' office was vandalized shortly after her vote for the Patent Protection Act. In a subsequent MSNBC interview Giffords was asked about the political atmosphere and if it was or was not indicative of real danger. Here is that interview.

In spite of some of the reports I am hopeful that Rep. Giffords and all other victims of this attack recover.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Careful There, Spiderboy

This picture was taken in a spot above short bluff 30 feet above a paved trail in the Beautiful Santa Monica Mountains. I took my dog up there yesterday, but he found his way home. Ha ha ha. But really, as I stood up there preparing to snap a photo of the day my hat blew off to about 12 feet below the edge. I ordered the dog to get the hat seeing as he gets up and down all of the steepest inclines with the ease of a goat. I’m no slouch either, once getting the nickname Spiderboy for my agility among the flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, thank-you very much.

On this day I wanted the dog to have all the glory. I wanted to be able to have something where I could brag like Hank Hill: “Today the old boy scampered down a sandy cliff to fetch my hat like it was an escaped prisoner.” Instead the dog looked at me then walked off in the opposite direction. So I lowered myself about five feet down the near 90 degree slope just as three young hikers were rounding the bend on the path below.

“Look, someone’s coming down.”

“Great” I thought. “They see me.” And just then the mound of loose soil that was supporting my butt began sifting away like it was being pulled into the bottom of an hourglass. Then sloooooooooowly I began to slip downward with my arms and legs extended out like Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man in hopes that one of my limbs would catch a non-crumbling surface. But it was like a mountain of brown sugar; anything that seemed solid would just break off in my hand. Thinking quickly I asked myself what would Bear Grylls do and immediately I was able to answer that question. Bear Grylls would be doing exactly what I was doing – falling downward.

I dropped for a terrifying non-stop three feet or so when I slowed and came to a stop about five feet up and three feet over from the hat. Now all three ladies were looking up at me. To let them know everything was A-OK I yelled over the wind “Just getting’ my hat!” I lifted my right hand off the side of the bluff to point to the hat. The momentum of that gesture was enough to put my body back in motion and I slid another three feet to where I was in range to reach the cap with just the right application of dexterity and a little luck.

“Are you alright?” one of the ladies hollered up. “Just gettin’ my hat” I yelled again to assured her as I nimbly crossed my left arm over and down to retrieve one black youbet.com baseball cap with chewed visor and wave it in the air to let her know I was making an ass out of myself for a reason. I rehatted as my dog who was with me every slide of the way down but as sure-footed as he was on flat ground tried to lick my face. I crankily rebuffed his attempt to now play adoring pet.

I scooched down a couple feet further to where I could easily stand and ride the remaining scree on my feet. When I got down to the pavement I looked up and wondered why I had so much trouble negotiating such an unintimidating face. It was steep. I gave myself that but from the ground it looked more like it was about fifteen feet high, twenty tops. “How pathetic” I thought. “So much for Spiderboy.” Then I remembered, the name Spiderboy came from my ability to scramble up inclines, not down. For a second I considered spidering back up the side to redeem myself. I was almost certain I had scaled this one place before, but not after so much rain. The risk of falling upwards was not worth the loss of a little pride from falling downwards. I got my snapshots for the day. I called it and went home.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Darrell Issa: Gone In Sixty Seconds?

I have no way of knowing for sure, but Congressman Darrell Issa (R) California seems the kind of guy whom if you are in a Congressional men’s room and you hear him entering you immediately rap it up at the urinal even if it means pissing your pants so you don’t have to talk to him.

It’s not that Darrell isn’t a good Republican party boy. He toes the party line in an intellectual stratum somewhere above Birther levels. He enjoys giving the anti-Obama movement stuff to be happy about. In that vein Issa has announced as the new chairman of the Congressional Oversight Committee he will be conducting endless investigations into the Obama Administration which he describes as the most corrupt in history. As evidence of the corruption he cites the extent of the Recovery Act whose large price tag is bound to lead to misappropriation and/or ethical lapses. So using that same brand of logic we can assume that Mrs. Issa finds her husband repulsive by the fact they only have one child. It will be interesting to see if the $680 million in Stimu-cash that went to Issa’s district will be equally scrutinized.

Every party needs its crusaders, but why do the Republicans always end up choosing such dour, unlikable loudmouths? Is there anyone who remembers the fate of the charm deficient Newt Gingrich?

In addition to being the most annoying member of Congress, Issa is also the richest according to Wikipedia. Issa made a fortune as CEO of Directed Electronics which is responsible for manufacturing car alarms. Pretty apt. Car alarms, especially in congested areas have become synonymous with self-defeating nuisances. When people hear a car alarm in Los Angeles they HOPE it’s a car getting stolen; that way the earsore is guaranteed to be gone in sixty seconds. Otherwise it may be one of those miswired boondoggles that goes off like clockwork every few minutes while the car owner is probably swimming with dolphins in Bimini for a month.

In case you are wondering, Issa’s company did not make the car alarm that cycles in different sound themes ad infinitum (dee dooo dee dooo dee dooo dee dooo dee ooooooooop ooooooooop oooooooooop wank wank wank wank wank wank wank wank beeyoo beeyoo beeyoo beeyoo beeyoo beeyoo etc). Directed Electronics made the Viper whose warning salvo is a recording of Issa requesting of any random rabble that gets too close to your ride “please step away from the car.” Still, every time Darrell Issa speaks I feel like I’ve just been woken up at 2 a.m. by the latter alarm. I don’t hear words coming out of his mouth, just loud annoying repetitive tones that should be ignored to the best of my ability.

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