Friday, December 31, 2010

Obama: I voted for him and I still support him, so I guess I am biased.

There were times I wish he had said more and times I wished he said less, got emotional, but not too emotional.   Anywhay, here it goes:
Obama the politician.  Firstly, anyone who can get elected president in the modern era must be a heckuva politician.  That being said, he really wasn’t tested during the first two years as he held strong majorities in the House and Senate.  However, he did lose the independents in the mid-term elections partly due to his aloofness and detachment from real issues such as jobs while delving into smaller matters such as the Professor Gates incident in Cambridge.  A strong close in 2010 as he solidified his base with DADT repeal to counter leaning to the center on the tax cuts deal.
Obama the Commander-in-Chief.  While 50,000 troops remain in Iraq, combat activities have ended under his tenure, while gains in Afghanistan have been realized through a measured surge of combat troops.  While he can neither take the credit nor the blame for Iraq’s future success or failure, that one is on Bush, Afghanistan is his war and the sooner we exit this failed state the better off we will be.  Maintain the capabilities to harass and hinder Al-Qaeda, but nation building with Karzai is a doomed proposition.
Obama the Chief Diplomat.  While many on the right live to ridicule him on his willingness to project an America that can admit its shortcomings, in reality his relations building in Europe and Asia will pay dividends as America continues to deal  with issues on the Korean Peninsula, China, Iran, and India.  Recent victories against China in the WTO, free trade agreement with South Korea, enhanced sanctions against Iran, alignment with India, and forcing China to deal with North Korea are significant.  Secretary of State Clinton has exceeded expectations and hopefully she will receive the commensurate recognition.   The failure to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue will not harm him because no one else has succeeded there either.
Obama the Domestic Head of State.  Thanks in part to healthy majorities; President Obama was able to push his domestic agenda.  Under his stewardship, the US economy did not fall into the abyss as a number of legislative, stimulus 1.0, and executive actions kept the economy grinding forward until the US consumer decided two years later to open his wallet.  That in itself is a tremendous achievement, and coupled with DADT repeal, new START treaty, saving GM, stimulus 2.0, increased stem cell research, increased border security, Lillie Ledbetter Act, Food Safety Act, Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, financial reform, and healthcare reform add up to a high profile and high productive first half.
By the numbers: The Dow was at 8,218 on Bush’s last day and on December 31, 2010 it closed at 11, 578, a 40% increase.  Unemployment is still too high at 9.8%.  His approval rating has settled in at the 45-49% range, and purchasing manager indices are all up.
Obama got aggressive during his first two years when he had Congressional majorities, realizing that resistance to his agenda would be insurmountable after the mid-term elections, he played offense in the first half and will now let the Republicans take the lead for the next two years.  During the campaign, Obama was at his best when he was counterpunching, a position he will assume against a disjointed relatively inexperienced opponent starting on January 3rd. 
Looking at his performance agnostically over the last two years, Obama has had some tactical hiccups such as his handling of the 2010 Christmas Day bomber and the government’s slow response to the BP oil spill, but strategically he has accomplished what he set out to do and some of the things that didn’t get done: DREAM Act and Immigration Reform will end up hurting the Republicans more than Obama and the Democrats.  And just like an NFL Quarterback, the President tends to get more credit and blame then he deserves. 
All said and done, he is not a Marxist, Muslim, anti-American, transformational leader or corporatist.  He is a progressive, a realist, and above all a politician…and a good one at that.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Ain't Got Time for This S--t

Instant gratification; it’s unavoidable and it’s here to stay.  Now, when it comes to patience, I am not known for well…having any, so I may be disqualified from offering any opinion.  Not that all instant gratification is bad, I like fast internet connections, microwave ovens, jokes that don’t take 30 minutes to tell, and movies-on-demand soon after their theatrical release.  But as a society we have merged instant gratification with no accountability (IGNA) creating the Four Loco equivalent of bad behaviors.
-        Wall Street expectations that require quarterly performance at the expense of long term health.
-        Bonus plans tied to short term profits, not long term objectives.
-        Health insurance that rewards treating the symptoms and diseases, not rewarding wellness to prevent the disease and ailment.
-        Coaches must deliver championships in three years else they end up on the chopping block leading to overpaying for overrated free agents.
-        Governmental and individual cheap credit fueled spending leading to the mother of no accountability: moral hazard.
-        Candidates who within months of winning elections are already focusing on re-election instead of governing.
-        The 24 hour news cycle which constantly bombards everyone with sound bites, tweats, and clips poisoning us with lies about death panels, government takeovers, and Muslims in the white house
-        The death of the intelligent serial drama that invests in the story and the characters…yeah I am talking about The Wire.
-        Commentators, pundits, and bloggers who sit on the sideline and never have to get in the game.  Yeah I know that includes me.
-        Frivolous lawsuits from hot coffee, slippery floors, and fast food.
-        Asset booms, bubbles, and busts, the rinse/repeat of the economic world, each time ignoring the root cause(s)
-        Systems that reward years of service not performance and we wonder why our educational system is sinking
-        Those that think patriotism is praising our troops for protecting our freedom, but fail to see that waging a war on borrowed money threatens our freedom. 
And the mother of all IGNA: citizens (they) who blame the government for everything and then bitch when the government can’t fix everyone’s problems instantaneously.  They speak of the free market until it means jobs are created overseas.  According to the Economic Policy Institute American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. Is this government’s fault?  Social Conservative Tea Partiers rally against government in our lives, unless it is a constitutional amendment banning abortion and gay marriage.   They want those responsible for the Gulf Oil spill to pay, but they don’t care about preventing future disasters.  They don’t believe having health insurance should be a government mandate, but they will be the first to use the Emergency Room as a clinic for a sore throat, and then bitch when the hospital closes its doors.
Take responsibility for our actions and your inactions.  Don’t play the blame game and don’t wait for a handout. 
Now, I can’t believe the Sox haven’t a World Series since 2006.  What’s up with that Theo and Tito?

I am neither a witch nor a crook

Christine O'Donnell playing the conspiracy card saying that the Delaware GOP apparatus is behind the recently disclosed investigation into whether she misappropriated her campaign funds for personal issues such as mortgage payments for her condo.  She went on to claim that Joe Biden was also behind the federal investigation brining the justice department into the fray.  Sorry Christine to borrow from a famous 2010 Bidenism, you are "...NOT a big f--king deal."

If the mortgage was too high, you should have reached out to New York Gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan cause he knows the rent is 2 damn high.

Hats off to little Chrissy trying to keep her name in the news.  Waiting to see Palin come to her protege's defense via Twitter. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Refudiate this.

A tale of two mayors:  New York Mayor Bloomberg holds press conference to say that the city is doing the best it can and that these things happen (snow blocked streets) while Newark Mayor Cory Booker was using Twitter to communicate with his constituents and direct help to address their needs.  In some cases help included the Mayor himself getting out in the streets and helping stuck motorists.  He even defended his cross river fellow mayor citing two feet of snow removal in a city as big as New York is a massive undertaking.  If perception is reality, Mayor Booker is on the horizon for bigger and better things in 2014…watch out Governor Christie or perhaps DC bound?
In the retirement community laden land of metropolitan Phoenix, a new trend in self defense has popped up: Cane Fu.  As the name implies the class teaches seniors how to use their canes for self defense.  No word if course includes sessions in Tae-Kwalker-Do and how to turn your dentures into nunchucks.
Should Zen Phil and the Lakers be nervous about their 21-10 record?  A decent winning percentage but when it includes a 2-5 record against teams with a winning record, well that’s worrisome.  Now it’s still only December and there is a lot of basketball left, but …
Further evidence that Palin’s popularity and support is dwindling: (a) a recent Public Policy polling (PPP) survey indicates only 30% of fellow Alaskans view her favorably.  Wow hated in your own state.  (b) In a recent CNN survey only 49% of Republicans would support her presidency, that’s a drop of 18% in two years.  Don’t worry, I am sure Fox will keep her seat warm for her. 
As cities, towns, and municipalities sink further into the budget abyss and winter kicks in, will snow removal become a victim of the budget axe?  Folks may need that one-horse-open sleight to go dashing through the snow.
Chinese have developed a new anti-ship guided missile that can take out an aircraft carrier and likely limiting the US Navy’s ability to project force close to Chinese waters.  Alternative and asymmetric methods will be necessary to offset this new game-changing weapon.  The problem, why do I have a sinking suspicion that this time a new arms race will end with us looking more like the Soviet Union.
A spokesperson for royal couple Kate and William says the engaged pair will look after themselves after they get married.  That means no attendants, maids, chefs, gardeners, and butlers…they want to be regular people.  Well you can start by ditching your spokesperson.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Salmonella, Sprouts, Senators, Students, and Spiderman

-        Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels is getting some notice as a potential presidential candidate in 2012.  Although the odds are against him, he could carve out a patch of support from the moderates in the GOP.  As Governor he has shown innovation in the form of a statewide wellness program while balancing the state finances through a mixture of tax credits and tax increases, often pissing off both the Democrats and Conservatives in the state legislature.  He will probably get skewered by the social conservatives and the Grover Norquist clique for even talking about tax increases.  He is worth keeping an eye on.
-        The CDC is now reporting 94 cases of salmonella poisoning across 16 states due to contaminated alfalfa sprouts.  I guess we could use a new Food Safety Modernization Act, the last one was in 1938.  Well we have a new law as made it through the Senate and awaits the President’s signature.  There were 25 Republican Senators who voted against the bill, obviously because regulating food safety is a Socialist plot.  These ‘freedom fighters’ are listed below:
Barrasso (R-WY), Bennett (R-UT), Bunning (R-KY), Chambliss (R-GA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Graham (R-SC), Hatch (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Kyl (R-AZ), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Wicker (R-MS)

-        The above law, along with the Affordable Healthcare Act and Financial Regulation Act will be in the Republican-controlled House crosshairs as they look to defeat these recent legislative accomplishments by cutting the necessary funding.  I am sure they will also look at budget cuts in the EPA and FDA because we have as a nation such a tremendous track record of allowing industry to police itself.
-        With so many states facing budget shortfalls, look to significant cuts in education funding and teachers.  If these municipalities were like most private enterprises, those being cut would be the lowest ranking employees as measured by some performance standard.  Unfortunately, the rankings will be based on years of service.  Of all of the performance criteria to select the best, I find years of service to be the least important.  And that is why Michelle Rhee’s new venture, is so important.
-        Shout outs to Tom Brady, Logan Mankins, Brandon Meriweather, Devin McCourty, and Vince Wilfork, and Jerod Mayo for their Pro Bowl selections.  Sorry guys, you won’t be playing in the game as you will be preparing for Super Bowl XLV taking place one week later.
-        The latest from the real life Springtime for Hitler also known as Spiderman, one of the lead actresses, Natalie Mendoza, who suffered a concussion during its first preview performance is quitting the show.   It’s never a good thing when people are paying to see your Broadway production for the same reason people watch NASCAR and ABC’s Wipe Out.

Mythbusting the President and the Tea Party

Myth1: President Obama is anti-business.  According to the Chamber of Commerce you would think he was Barack Hugo Chavez Obama.  Fact: In the new $858 Billion tax cut deal aka Stimulus Part Deux, the following tax breaks were included for businesses:
-        Businesses can write-off capital expenditures immediately instead of over time.  This ‘Bonus Depreciation’ benefits capital intensive companies such as utilities, automobile, heavy equipment, and freight companies.
-        A tax shield through 2011 for banks, insurance companies, and other financial firms for their foreign profits.
-        Extending the R&D tax credit through 2011
-        Increased tax rebates to Puerto Rican and Virgin Island rum producers who export to the U.S.
-        Grant extensions for the production of wind, solar, and other renewable energy solutions.
-        50% tax credit for expenses related to railroad track maintenance
-        A tax break that allows TV and film production companies to immediately write off expenses.  Porn industry is not included…so no premature expensation.
Myth 2: The New breed of Tea Party lawmakers are anti-establishment Washington outsiders who are going to return the Capitol to the days of the Founding Fathers.  Fact: these new lawmakers have got in bed with lobbyists quicker than Charlie Sheen at a brothel.  Thanks to the Washington Post for this list:
-        Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) chose energy lobbyist Tim Harris as his chief of staff.
-        Mike Pompeo (R-KS) chose Koch Industries lobbying lawyer Mark Chenowerth as his chief of staff.
-        Robert Dold (R-IL) chose coal and nuclear lobbyist Eric Burgeson as his chief of staff
-        Chip Cravaack (R-MN) chose financial lobbyist Rod Grams as his chief of staff.
-        Krisi Noem (R-SD) chose telecom lobbyist Jordon Stoick as her chief of staff.
-        Jeff Denham (R-CA) chose lobbyist Jason Larrabee as his chief of staff.
-        Pat Toomey (R-PA) chose corporate lobbyist Chris Gahan as his chief of staff.
-        Steve Pearce (R-NM) chose casino lobbyist Todd Willens as his chief of staff.
-        Charlie Bass (R-NH) chose food marketing lobbyist John Billings as his chief of staff.
-        Chris Gibson (R-NY) chose general contractors lobbyist Steve Stallmer as his chief of staff.
-        Ron Johnson (R-WI) chose corporate lobbyist Don Kent as his chief of staff.
-        Mike Lee (R-UT) chose prison and nuclear industry lobbyist Spencer Strokes as his chief of staff.
-        Rand Paul (R-KY) chose anti-union lobbyist Douglas Stafford as his chief of staff.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Perhaps we should focus on synchronized swimming

I think Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell was spot on Monday when asked about the postponement of Sunday’s Eagles-Vikings game to Tuesday. "My biggest beef is that this is part of what's happened in this country," Rendell said. "I think we've become wussies."  For the record this blogger was at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo on Jan. 15, 1994 for the Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Raiders playoff game where game time conditions were 0 degrees with a -32 degree wind chill factor. 
The postponement coupled with the QB protection rules and the proliferation of fines and penalties for hard hitting makes one wonder if the league should be changed to the NFFL: National Flag Football League with its games played in the summer time (not in Arizona due to potential heat stroke) at such venues as Central Park, Boston Common, the Washington Mall, and Balboa Park.

Wrap Palin in a Snuggie

McNabb gets McBenched  by McShananahan in McWashington.  Looks like he’s headed to Arizona in 2011.  McCrap.
When was the last good DeNiro movie?  ‘Heat’ in 1995?
Whatever happened to the Tangerine, Bluebonnet, Peach, and Blue/Gray Bowl games?  Alas when bowl games meant you actually won more than 7 games and the bowls didn’t have such elegant names as the Beef ‘O’ Bradys, San Diego Credit Union, Franklin American Mortgage, Chick-fil-A, Ticket City, and GoDaddy. 
Snuggies have officially surpassed chia pets as the gift most associated with Christmas.  If Charles Schultz were alive today, would Linus be in a snuggy?
Have you seen the State Farm ad with Bob Barker?  He looks like a cross between John Boehner, George Hamilton, and Joan Rivers.
I am not a spinal surgeon, but I did watch Boston Medical this summer and I am stunned by the news that in the last two months there have been three botched spinal surgeries at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital.  In all three cases (two by the same doctor) the surgeon operated on the wrong vertebrae.  How was it discovered?  The patients complained that the operation didn’t cure their back pain.
Irony 101.  Illegal immigrants are included in the Decennial Census.  Meaning the very people that Arizona politicians such as Kavanaugh, Brewer, and Pearce target and vilify helped the state pick up another congressional seat.
Hugh Hefner, 84, got engaged to 24 year old December 2009 Playboy Playmate Crystal Harris.  I think it’s great we live in a country where it is perfectly legal for a man to marry a woman who is 60 years younger.   And equally detestable in 2010 same sex marriages are still not legal?  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is more offensive than picturing a wrinkled Hef on his wedding night with Crystal.  Hope he remembers to put his depends on before he takes his Viagra.
Why won’t Palin run in 2012?  Because she cannot win and being a loser-quitter-loser could damage her brand…whatever the heck that may be.  In spite of her recent PR attempts to improve her likeability:  her TLC show, trip to Haiti, and daughter Bristol’s appearance on DWTS, her negative numbers are at the highest they have ever been and only 35% of independents approve of her.  So it looks like we will have to put up with this twit’s half-wit tweets.
We are amateurs in a professional game.  According to Carol D. Leonnig and T.W. Farnam of the Washington Post: “For three weeks in June, for instance, the members of a joint House and Senate committee worked to draft final rules for regulating the financial industry in the wake of its 2008 meltdown. During that time, the 35 members of the drafting committee collected $440,000 in donations from that same industry, which was then lobbying heavily for looser rules.”  Thanks Reid, Baucus, and Schumer.  Good thing Congress doesn’t think this is an ethical issue.  How about next time you buy us dinner before you screw us.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Diggapredictions for 2011

US GDP will grow by 4% in 2011
Unemployment will drop to a still unacceptable 8.5%
By Q4 the Federal Reserve will be seriously considering a rate hike

Darrel Issa (R-CA) will appear on the Sunday Talk Shows more often any other Republican with the exception of Boehner and McConnell.
Without an Omnibus spending bill in place and with funding only in place to run the government through March, expect the incoming Tea Party and pro-business Republicans to begin their assault on defunding key elements of the Affordable Healthcare and Financial Reform Acts.
Thirteen Republicans will announce Presidential intentions: Barbour, Pence, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Daniels, Thune, Huckabee, Romney, Ron Paul, Greenspon, Karger, Santorum, and Cain.  Palin will NOT.

Patriots defeat Falcons 37 – 31 in Super Bowl XLV in Texas.
Auburn defeats Oregon for national championship 35-34.  Cam Newton drafted by Carolina Panthers in April.
Red Sox defeat Phillies 4-3.  Adrian Gonzalez is Series MVP.
Jack Del Rio, Gary Kubiak, Tom Coughlin, John Fox, Mike Singletary, Norv Turner, Marvin Lewis will be seeking new work.

Realizing Karzai isn’t a reliable partner and Pakistan will not clamp down on the Taliban, US switches it’s Afghanistan strategy to containment of Al Qaeda similar to approach in the Arabian peninsula and begins troop drawdown on schedule.
More South Asian nations embrace the US as regional fears of China’s increasingly nationalistic actions.
Sanctions against Iran bolstered by Russian support lead increased civil unrest as prices skyrocket and Ahmadinejad and his security forces clamp down harder.
The UN Special Tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri will release its findings and will implicate Hezbollah and Iran.  Secretary of State Clinton will earn her salary as she tries to prevent a new Lebanese Civil War.
Credit crises in Europe will lead to further austerity measures and protests in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.  This will drive further anti-immigration rhetoric and legislation across the continent, increased  neo-nazi and nationalistic activities, and new terrorist attacks in European cities.
Russia will continue on its course of human rights violations, private property seizures, corruption, and suppression of all opposition voices.  Worse, this approach will foment similar totalitarian governments in Hungary and Ukraine.

Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Social Network, Hailee Steinfeld, and Christian Bale walk away with Oscars.
Kanye West will say something stupid.
AMC, FX, HBO, and Showtime will air the best dramas on TV because network serial drama is dead.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

1) Best Christmas movie: Scrooged.  "The bitch hit me with a toaster."
2) Best movie set during Christmas: The Ref.  "Lady, your husband ain't dead, he's hiding."
3) Give Natalie Portman the Oscar for Best Actress (Black Swan) now.  Best performance by any actor male or female in years.
4) Cowboys/Cards Christmas Night Game.  I'd rather eat 10 pounds of fruit cake.
5) Father Christmas by the Kinks...the most underrated Christmas Song.
6) I wonder if John Boehner got Smokey Robinson's Greatest Hits for Christmas?
7) Tom Brady missed practice this week due to flu-like symptoms.  Franchise quarterback, and no one thinks to get him a flu shot?
8) Red Sox pitchers and catchers report in 51 days.
9) How big was the lump of coal in Ebeneezer McCain's stocking this year?
10) Loved Joe Biden's response when asked what he wanted for Christmas.  Instead of the PC answer of 'peace on earth', he said 13.5 degree 2-wood. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Not What Arizona Needs

Bristol Palin buys home in Maricopa, AZ.  Mom tweets I can see Mexico from my daughter's house.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Festivus: Time to Air the Grievances

Watched a news story about dog yoga classes in Phoenix.  Not sure if the class includes downward facing human.
Lazarus rises, thanks to us.  The US Airline industry is on pace to be the most profitable in ten years as the industry recognized $7.1Billion in profits through September largely due to successful new fees.  The industry collected $2.1 billion in fees during the third quarter alone, including more than $900 million in baggage fees and nearly $600 million in reservation change fees.   Pretty nice considering only 84% of flights arrived on time and complaints were up in 2010.
First there was Inez Sainz, then Brett Favre’s sexting, and now Rex Ryan’s Fetishgate.  I could care less about what Rex Ryan and his wife do in their privacy.  However, if you put your foot fetish role playing video on YouTube, you cannot later play the ‘it’s a private matter’ card.
Brazil’s incoming President-elect Dilma Rousseff was handpicked by her predecessor, the extremely popular and vibrant Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva who was constitutionally barred from serving three consecutive terms.  Of course the Brazilian constitution allows Silva to serve again, just not consecutively, something he insinuated at in 2014 during a recent interview.  Sorry Dilma, looks like Fred wants back in the big bed.  Stay tuned because a similar situation will be playing out in Russia between Putin and Medvedev.
The Republicans love to vilify Nancy Pelosi.  Her approval rating is a far from spectacular 29%, while Congress in general scores a pitiful 13%.  If Congress was graded on the Bell Curve, Pelosi would be vale-frigging-dictorian. 
Anybody seen or heard from Stanley McChrystal lately?
Intelligence chatter was indicating a potential Al Qaeda plot to poison restaurant salad bars.  Not to be too critical, but Al Qaeda seems to be aiming significantly lower since the USS Cole and 9/11 attacks.  Salad bar poisoning?  Hell that’s the work of a lazy restaurant employee at Ruby Tuesday who didn’t wash his hands before refilling the Romaine Lettuce bin.
Terrell Suggs’ hates Tom Brady so much he cast this Pro Bowl votes for Manning, Rivers, and Fitzpatrick.  Proving once again that players are as ignorant as fans when it comes to all-star voting.
After the church sex scandal, allegations of money laundering, and the recent backing out of the International Task Force for Holocaust Education, the Phoenix Diocese has no moral or any other superiority to call out St. Joseph’s Hospital for saving a life.  The Diocese has stripped the hospital of its Catholic status and this blogger says good riddance. 
Must admit I am ambivalent about Julian Assange.  While I think the person is a pompous dirt bag, I find the rightwing pitchforks and torches rhetoric as hypocritical.  I wonder what the reactions would be if WikiLeaks hypothetically included confidential information about our government’s role in Japanese internment camps, Tuskegee syphilis experiments, and slavery?  Is it me or does this smell like the Muslim fatwa against Salman Rushdie for his novel Satanic Verses? Yeah, I’m talking to you Minister Huckabee.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Census Schmensus

The political fallout of the 2010 census is in and the scorecard shows the following changes in the House of Representatives by affected states: Louisiana (-1), New Jersey (-1), New York (-2), Massachusetts (-1), Ohio (-2), Pennsylvania (-1), Michigan (-1), Illinois (-1), Iowa (-1), and Missouri (-1), Washington (+1), Nevada (+1), Utah (+1), Arizona (+1), South Carolina (+1), Georgia (+1), Florida (+2), and Texas (+4).  The shift shows that traditional red states have picked up additional representatives and the all-important electoral votes; strangely weren’t the Republicans telling people not to complete the census?  So what does it all mean?
From the Electoral College perspective we caution the GOP from getting too excited here.  Yes, states like Utah, Georgia, and South Carolina will add to the red electoral total at the expense of the mostly blue states, and in the short term Texas will remain clearly in the red column.  But Washington, Nevada, and Arizona have been blue or purple trending towards blue.  As for Florida, that state is a toss-up and will be a battleground state for the foreseeable future, meaning Bubby and Zeda will have a lot more campaign ads to sit through from their homes at Del Boca Vista.  In the long term, all eyes will start to focus on Texas.  By the time of the 2020 Presidential Election, the number of Hispanics will be equal or exceed the number of Whites, and considering the 2008 results where Obama got 65% of the Hispanic vote and the GOP opposition to immigration reform and the DREAM ACT may suddenly put the Lone Star State in play.
As for control of the House, in the short term one would expect Republicans to recognize these gains, especially if the redistricting in Texas allows for more representatives like Barton and Gohmert…yikes.  While in Arizona, the citizens of the most populous counties Maricopa and Pima tend to alternate between both parties based on the current state of affairs.  The Arizona 5th Congressional District was represented by Republican JD Hayworth for 4 years (2002-2006), followed by Democrat Harry Mitchell for 4 years (2006-2010), and now it’s back to Republican with David Schweikert, who lost to Mitchell in 2008, for 2010-2012.  The impacts of the increase in Florida will depend on the redistricting map because Florida is a microcosm for the US with a diverse population with regional demographic clusters.
When it’s all said and done, the GOP will recognize a pick up on paper, and will recognize true gains if the redistricting in Texas and Florida is done in such a way that GOP candidates could have an advantage due to registered voter demographics.  However, the biggest factor in all election forecasting is the growing number of non-aligned independent voters who will vote based on the economic climate at the time.   In 2012, the President will need to secure his northeastern and western bases plus Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan.  After that, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado will give him another four years.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Accidents, the UN, broken ribs, sharks, and Jon Voight

The Phoenix Metro Light Rail System has had to scale back operations due to budget cuts.  This has resulted in rail operators having to time their bathroom breaks just right and unfortunately there have been at least two incidents of operators soiling themselves.  It brings all new meaning to “Light Rail accident at the corner of Mill and Rio Salada.”
Stunt double Christopher Tierney broke two ribs in the 4th and latest injury during rehearsals at the Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark musical at the Hilton Theater in New York, making it the 2nd worst mishap in NY/NJ this weekend.  Tom Coughlin also broke two ribs when he was given the Heimlich maneuver while watching the Giants choke away a 21 point 4th quarter lead.
Fox News, as part of its coverage of the START Treat, rolled out one of the biggest names in nuclear proliferation and US/Russian relations:  Jon Voight.  The star of Anaconda and Varsity Blues must be considered an expert because his daughter, actress Angelina Jolie, played a Russian double agent in the movie Salt. 
I knew it was only a matter of time before one of these Dancing Flash Mob gatherings would lead to something dangerous.  Apparently at the Roseville (CA) Galleria mall, the floor started shaking and authorities had to evacuate the mall when the Sacramento Choir started its production of the Hallelujah Chorus.  Not sure if the threat was real or if there is just another case of the war on Christmas and Public Dancing.
Saddened at the passing of one this bloggers favorite kings of sarcasm actor Steve Landesberg and his Barney Miller character Detective Arthur Dietrich.  "Where'd we get the atomic bomb?"
I am so happy that the US Senate was able to pass the Shark Conservation Act this week.  This act will hopefully end shark finning, the deplorable process of hunting sharks solely for their fins.  I am sure the cast of Shark Tale and the scientists at the Discovery Channel are ecstatic, but the fact that this bill was taken up AHEAD of the James Zagroda 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 is disappointing to say the least.
Kudos to Fox News’ Shepard Smith for bucking the trend at Fox and calling out Senator Coburn from Oklahoma for his resistance to the aforementioned James Zagroda 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. 
Noxious fumes from a backed-up sewer led to the evacuation of the UN General Assembly and Security Council on Tuesday.  Initially, the delegation from Pakistan, thinking it was curry induced flatulence, blamed the Indian delegation and promptly sent 10,000 troops into the disputed province of Kashmir.

2010 in Review: Diggatunes, Diggabooks, and Diggaflicks

One Man's Opinion:

Favorite Albums for 2010
Mumford & Sons: Sign No More
Broken Bells: Broken Bells
The Black Keys: Brothers
The Whigs: In the Dark
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tattoo
Two Door Cinema Club: Tourist History

Favorite Books published in 2010
Last Call by Daniel Okrent
War by Sebastian Junger
Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre
The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Favorite Movies of 2010:
Inside Job
Waiting for Superman

Monday, December 20, 2010

Memo to McCain, Graham, Kyl, and every other lying sack of crap Republican Senator

Why do Republicans hate facts?  Because they are never on the same side.  For the last two weeks all I have heard is one Republican after another (exceptions include Lugar, Brown Isakson, Cochran, Corker, Bennett, Snowe, and Collins) go on about how the new START Treaty is being rammed down their throats during the lame duck session.  Well facts are stubborn things.  The excerpt below is pulled from the US Senate Records for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  You will notice the dates and and frequency of hearings.  Well Senators Kyl, McCain, Graham, and McConnell, I quote your fellow Republidick from the House, Joe Wilson (SC): "You Lie!".

Treaty Number:   111-5
Transmitted:   May 13, 2010
Short Title:   Treaty with Russia on Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms
Type:   Arms Control
Countries:   Russia
Formal Title:   Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, signed in Prague on April 8, 2010, with Protocol.
Senate Executive Report(s):   111-6
Related Document(s):   Ex.Rept. 111-6

Legislative Actions   

Floor Action:   May 13, 2010 - Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations pursuant to unanimous consent agreement removing the injunction of secrecy.
  May 19, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  May 25, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  June 08, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  June 10, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  June 15, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  June 16, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  June 24, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  July 14, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  July 15, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
  September 16, 2010 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Ordered to be reported with amendments favorably.
  June 17, 2010 - Committee on Armed Services. Hearings held.
  July 27, 2010 - Committee on Armed Services. Hearings held.
  July 29, 2010 - Committee on Armed Services. Hearings held.
Floor Action:   October 01, 2010 - Reported favorably by Senator Kerry, Committee on Foreign Relations under authority of the order of the Senate of 09/28/2010 with printed Ex. Rept.111-6 and a resolution of advice and consent to ratification with 10 conditions, 3 understandings, and 13 declarations. Executive Calendar No. 7.

See the full record on START

Another Mixed Bag: Snow, Suns, Zadroga, Palestine, KFC, and Dope

London’s Heathrow airport is effectively shut down due to the freak winter snow storm that has hit all of Great Britain.  Thousands of passengers stranded and hundreds of flights cancelled because of 15 inches of snow.  That’s centimeters, not inches?  Oh, so the world’s 4th busiest airport has been shut down for days due to 6 inches of snow?  Did David Cameron’s austerity measures include scrapping all of the country’s snow removal equipment?
Do the Phoenix Suns realize they are playing in the NBA and not part of some kid’s NBA 2K11 roster?  Check out this partial list of moves:
-        February 2008, trade Shawn Marion for Shaquille O’Neal
-        December 2008 trade Raja Bell and Boris Diaw for Dudley and Richardson
-        June 2009, trade Shaquille O’Neal to Cavaliers
-        July 2010, lose Amare Stoudemire to free agency
-        July 2010, trade Leandro Barbosa for Turkaglu
-        July 2010, sign Hakim Warrick and trade for Josh Childress
-        December 2010, trade Turkoglu, Richardson, and for Carter, Gortart, and Pietrus
Bottom line is you can’t build your franchise around an aging point guard…see Philadelphia 76ers and Alan Iverson.
When Wright is wrong.  Memo to the New York Times’ Robert Wright:  learn your Mideast History if you are going to read about it.  This genius wrote “The United Nations created a Jewish state six decades ago, and it can create a Palestinian state now.”  In fact the UN created both the Jewish and Arab states in 1947 it was called The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine.  When it was approved by the General Assembly, the Jews accepted it and the Arabs rejected it.  Sorry Mr. Wright there are no mulligans when it comes to UN mandated nation creation. 
Keep fighting Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.  Hopefully your efforts and the biting attack by Jon Stewart will force the Republicans to vote for this $6Billion bill once the START debate ends.
According to the LA Times, more high school seniors now smoke marijuana than tobacco.  21.4% of seniors say that they have smoked pot in the last month; must be that teenage glaucoma epidemic I’ve been reading about.
Original recipe or extra crispy?  Did you know that in Japan, the Kentucky Fried Chicken Christmas Party Barrel is a Christmas Eve tradition and can be ordered up to 2 months in advance?  In fact, the three day sales of December 23-25 can equal a normal two week period.  Omedetou Colonel Sanders-san
NFC West Update:
Rams (6-8)…lost to KC 27-13
Seahawks (6-8)…lost to Atlanta 34-18
49’ers (5-9)…lost to SD 34-7
Cardinals (4-10)…lost to Carolina 19-12
In election terms, these teams could be represented by Walter Mondale, Barry Goldwater, George McGovern, and Alf Landon.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's all Greek to Brewer

Arizona is facing a structural budget deficit of $1.9Billion in 2011 and $1.5Billion in 2012.  A daunting task considering the 2010-2011 budget is only $8.5Billion and the 2011-2012 budget is $9.6Billion.  And with a large Republican majority in the Senate and House and a Republican Governor the only options they are considering are spending cuts.  Cuts to healthcare , cuts to education, and cuts to services, but no cuts to prisons or public safety.  Could the hands off on the prisons be related to the Brewer Administration’s ties to the Corrections Corporation of America: Chuck Coughlin and Paul Senseman?
While Brewer and her squadron of flying monkeys led by Pearce, Adams, and Kavanaugh were too preoccupied with their xenophobic anti-immigration quest, state finances weren’t placed on the back burner, hell they weren’t even in the kitchen!  Further, her antagonistic rhetoric and war of words with the White House over immigration will come back to haunt her as she now needs a federal waiver to reduce funding of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment (AHCCC) else the state faces further lawsuits and forfeiture of the $7Billion it gets from the federal government for Medicaid.
Now that the one-time gimmicks, such as selling state buildings and leasing them back, are no longer in the deficit fighting arsenal, these misguided Republicans think the budget deficit can be solved solely with spending cuts.  Unfortunately, these economics-challenged lawmakers haven’t realized that Arizona is facing revenue shortage not excessive expenses.  According to George Cunningham, former state budget director, the state’s tax burden of $1,000 of income is the lowest it has been in decades. 
What to do?  Firstly the states leaders need to follow the lead of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker and find the right balance of tax increases, borrowing, and spending cuts.  But most importantly, they need to work with the private sector in generating investment and get the state growing again.  Unfortunately, when your governor acts like this, the chances of success are slim to none and slim left town because he is Hispanic.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Piss and Vinegar: The Diggapedia Cocktail

I am Rafael Cabrera-Bello.  Who is Rafael Cabrera-Bello?  RCB was disqualified when he lost his 11th and final ball during the 2nd round of the South African Open.  Roy McAvoy anybody?
Word is incoming House Speaker Boehner likes the occasional cocktail.  I have to assume he was drunk when he pulled this boner: granting Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) a seat on the House Intelligence Committee.  That’s like putting Charlie Rangel on the House Ethics Committee.  Some famous Bachmannisms:
-         “But there isn’t one even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”
-         “If we took away the minimum wage-if conceivably it was hone-we could potentially wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”
-        “And what a bizarre time we’re in, when a judge will say to little children that you can’t say the pledge of allegiance, but you must learn that homosexuality is normal and you should try it.”
John McCain once again proves he is not a maverick, but a sore loser.  His statements on the floor of the Senate today during the DADT repeal debate included “I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage,” he said. “Today is a very sad day,” McCain sighed later.  McCain has moved from Grandpa Simpson to George Wallace.  Two letters for you Senator: F and U.
This blogger continues to get excited about the Red Sox moves this off season.  While losing V-Mart and Beltre will hurt, adding Adrian Gonzales, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, and now Dan Wheeler are HUGE.
Watched Voyage of the Damned last night.  The 1976 film about the HM St. Louis and its 900 Jewish passengers trying to escape Europe for Cuba in 1939 is a sad reminder of the holocaust and why this blogger is and always will be pro immigration.
Thumbs up to Republican Senators Brown (MA), Snowe (ME), Collins (ME), Kirk (IL), Voinovich, (OH), and Murkowski (AK) for paving the way for the DADT repeal.  Thumbs down to Elephant in Donkey skin Joe Manchin (D-WV). 
The Zadroga Bill, the $7.2Billion bill to provide healthcare coverage for 9/11 first responders, will hopefully come to vote in the Senate during the lame duck session.  The most sickening aspect of whether this just bill is passed is the anti-passage lobbying of the U.S Chamber of Commerce.  The d-bags at the USCoC want to keep open a tax loophole benefiting foreign corporations that the $7.4 billion bill would have closed to provide funding for the American emergency workers.  So tax loopholes for financial markets are more important than the wellness of those that put their lives on the line for us.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why the Senate Needs Me and Why I Would be Impeached

Exhibit 1: Bob Corker (R-TN aka POS #1) has threatened to withhold a vote on the START Treaty if the Democrats advance their motions for votes on the DADT repeal and DREAM act.  Huh?  That's like saying if I have pancakes for breakfast on Sunday I cannot watch Modern Family on Wednesday.  It's called mutual exclusivity.  To preempt Corker from his forthcoming “taken out of context” excuse  Here is the statement: “I’m just hoping that saner minds will prevail and that these issues that have been brought forth that are absolutely partisan, political, issues, brought forth to basically accommodate activist groups around this country. I’m hoping that those will be taken down or else I don’t think the future of the START treaty over the next several days is going to be successful, based on what I’m watching.”
Exhibit 2: John McCain (R-AZ aka POS #2) who was caught off guard during the START Treaty debate when Senator Kerrry (D-MA) granted McCain and his GOP buddies 24 hrs to come up with MORE amendments (there have been 12 hearings, not sure why more amendments are needed) McCain backpedaled by saying “This is one of the really seminal aspects of whether the United States Senate is going to ratify this treaty or not,” an angry McCain declared. “To have a time agreement after all of the fooling around that we’ve been doing on ‘DREAM’ Act, on New York City … we will not have a time agreement from this side.”  This ‘fooling around’ is the Zadroga Bill, the $8 Billion (paid for) piece of legislation to provide special healthcare coverage to the brave men and women who have contracted fatal diseases from their exposure at the toxic ground zero site.  A bill that passed the house back in September and has been filibustered by the GOP in the Senate.
As for the title of this post its origin lies in the growing frustration that I have with the lawmakers in this country that was immortalized by Congressman Anthony Wiener (R-NY) during his 29-July rant on the floor of the House when he challenged his Republican colleagues to have the balls to vote on convictions, not on procedure or bull crap rules.  When it comes to the Zadroga Bill, DREAM Act, START, and DADT Repeal, all you have to do is vote, it’s why we sent you there. 
If that cannot work, perhaps we should adopt the Ukrainian Parliamentary Process:

If Jon Kyl Was Floating in the Toilet I Wouldn't Take the Time to Flush

Please watch this entire episode and get as pissed off as we did about the Republicans in the US Senate.  Fox News isn't much better, politicizing 9/11 to others but crickets when it comes to the first responders' needs.  I have seen this movie before.  The same aholes talk tough about defending our country and how proud they are about our troops, then these paper tigers are nowhere to be found when it comes to funding our soldiers' care.

Jon Stewart Fights for 9/11 First Responders

I didn't think I had anything to say this morning.

-      How bad are things for J&J’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division’s Fort Washington, PA Plant?  The plant, which makes children’s Tylenol, Mylanta, Rolaids, and other products has been at the center of a number of product recalls over the last 12 months, was closed in April after the FDA discovered lapses in 'quality control, including thick dust and grime, and contaminated ingredients.'  Looks like this is something we can keep up with the Chinese.
-      I know Mark Cuban is not wel loved.  But you have to give him credit for trying.  He has put up $500million to end the BS that is the BCS and create a 12 or 16 team playoff.  I am sure there are university and conference officials already lining up to block him.
-      Senate Republicans scuttled the $1.3Trillion Omnibus spending bill.  Anything to stall the process of funding the government right up to the last moment so that they can avoid voting on DADT repeal, the Dream Act, and START. 
-      Footnote to the Omnibus bill it included $8Billion in earmarks  where the top two beneficiaries were Mississippi Republican Senators Cochran and Wicker.
-      Jurgen Trittin of Germany’s Green Party called German chancellor Angela Merkel the “Teutonic savings monster”.  Those Germans sure know how to sling the mud.
-      Hey Tea Party, the joke’s on you.  According to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank  Many Tea Party favorites, meanwhile, have discovered the appeal of Washington lobbyists' cash and advice. South Dakota's Noem (Kristi) is one of at least 13 incoming Republican lawmakers who have hired lobbyists to run their offices.”  For the entire piece:
-      The bipartisan commission charged with looking into the causes of the financial collapse has broken up due to partisan differences (I guess bipartisan means breaking into two parts).   The Democratic wing putting blame on Wall Street Bankers running amok while the Republican members blaming  a housing bubble spurned on by the government.   Last time I checked it wasn’t homeowners selling mortgage backed securities and credit default swaps.
-      Most powerful man in the nation?  Obama? Nope.  Boehner? Nope. Reid? Nope. Palin? Nope.  It’s Grover Norquist.  WTFI Grover Norquist?  He is the head of the Americans for Tax Reform, a watchdog anti-taxation organization that coerces state and federal lawmakers into signing pledges not to raise taxes.  And guess what.  In fear of being defeated in primaries, these weak-in-the-knees incumbents sign on the dotted line.  Good luck with that deficit reduction.