Sunday, July 31, 2011

My cynicism keeps me sane

So what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object?  In the case of the nation’s capital you end up with leviathan like legislation or watered down solutions.  In the case of the former we have Sarbanes-Oxley, the Affordable Healthcare Act, and the Dodd-Frank Banking Regulation laws that are so complex they lose effectiveness.  In the case of the latter you end up the American Reinvestment Act or what appears to be the coming debt ceiling/deficit reduction bill that end up being so watered down they are not effective; which brings me to the latest efforts to avoid default, higher interest rates, loss of AAA rating, and loss of faith in the U.S. Government. 
We have the required “vote” to implement a balanced budget amendment.  This piece of the deal is an appeasement to the Tea Party that in the end will end up like 99.99% of all New Years’ resolutions: never going to be implemented.  Never mind the fact that to get the Constitution changed requires a bill to pass both houses of the legislature, by a two-thirds majority in each. Once the bill has passed both houses, it goes on to the states where it must be approved by tree fourths of the states.  This is the route taken by all current amendments.  A second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. This route has never been taken. 
What else do we have?  The establishment of a bipartisan commission that will be appointed to identify further cost reduction targets in both discretionary and mandated spending; perfect, another commission.   Apparently Congress thinks its commission will come to a different conclusion than the President’s Bowles-Simpson commission.  No word on whether the Judiciary will be establishing its own commission.
Where are tax reforms and revenue increase methods?  Go ask Alice, because you won’t find them here.  The absence of addressing the revenue side shows how incompetent Congress is an addressing any big issue, though they do seem capable of naming US Post Offices.  I imagine the negotiations went something like this:
Democrat: You’re not getting a Balanced Budget Amendment.
Republican: You’re not getting any new revenues
Democrat: How about I give you the ‘vote’ on a Balanced Budget Amendment?
Republican: How about I take that and we add tax reform as a discussion point for our new commission?
Democrat:  OK.  Boy caving gets easier all the time.
Republican: Don’t fret, we both know the cuts that are on the table are ‘theoretical’ and won’t amount to real savings.
Democrat: True, but it looks we did some good work here and this will make me look good with my constituents. Want get a drink?
Republican: Now that is something we both agree on.
Both now laugh and walk away.

Meanwhile the debt continues to increase because we continue to run excessive deficits and now nation crumbles from no new investment.  Cut, Cap, and Balance was a joke.  I propose: Reform, Invest, Cut, Tax.  Invest and reform now.  Cut and tax when we start having real growth.  More on that later. 
Happy Birthday Cindy, Moshe, and Fegie,

Friday, July 29, 2011

Supply Side Economics, Honest Tea Partiers, and Unicorns

Outspoken freshman Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) has loved to bash President Obama and Democrats about spending.  He is famous for saying:
“I won't place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money.”
How noble.  Unfortunately a man is measured by his deeds, not by his words.  It seems according to a court filing made public Tea Party darling Walsh paid only limited child support between November of 2005 and March of 2008, and stopped paying altogether after that point. Unpaid obligations and interest combine to $115,294, the filing claims.  Walsh apparently also loaned his campaign $33,500 but did not have funds to pay for his children’s food, clothing, and care.  Further, Joe has paid himself back at least $14,200 for the loans he gave himself. Again, he failed to make any child support payments to Laura from these returned loan proceeds.  I guess Life’s Been Good to him.
Speaking of Tea Party Heroes and Heroines, our favorite bat shit TP’er Michelle Bachmann is at the top of the charts.  The Social Conservative anti-government ding bat is for smaller government but takes farm subsidies.  She likes to criticize First Lady Michelle Obama, but says her family is off limits during the campaign.  She fully supports fellow Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan which calls for an increase of $7Trilion in debt, but says she won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling.  She says she if for freedom, but is against gay and lesbian rights.  So is Batshit Bachmann a hypocrite, a liar, a fool, or an ignoramus?  How about all of the above?
Ex US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s column in today’s Financial Times was a sound analysis of what our leaders need to be doing to solve our long term deficit and debt problems.  Rubin says “It is imperative, for both the nearer term and the longer term, that we meet the deficit commission’s goal of $4,000bn of deficit reduction over roughly 10 years, which would first stabilize and then begin to reduce our debt to gross domestic product ratio.  That program must include room for public investment in areas critical to our economic future, a balance of revenue increases and reductions in all categories of spending that enables the government to provide the services and safety net that most Americans expect (albeit with appropriate reform), and an effective date two or three years from now to allow time for recovery hopefully to take hold.”
Want to know why politicians can’t figure out how to create jobs?  Simply because 70% of our economy is driven by consumer spending and the American consumer is not spending.  Our household savings rate is hovering above 5% compared to -2% leading up to the Great Recession.  Our property bubble debt fueled spending spree kept the economy chugging along until the bubble burst and suddenly Americans needed to repair the personal balance sheets.  So as long as you keep the tax rates low for the richest Americans and keep giving businesses tax loopholes and subsidies, the supply side economic theory will be proven to be a myth because it is all about demand.  Consumer demand.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Robert Kraft should be Speaker

For whom the bell tolls.  Looks like Tiger Woods has a new caddie, long time high school friend Bryon Bell will carry Woods’ woods next week at the Bridgestone Invitational.  Bell has caddied for Woods three times in the past resulting in a win and two seconds.  Bell presently serves as President of Tiger Woods Design; whatever the heck that is.
Not so Happy Meals.  Umpire Jerry Meals’ call during the 19th inning of Tuesday night’s Pirates-Braves game may have been the worse call of all time.  While that call was terrible, the cries for instant replay for plays at bases are premature and represent a kneejerk reaction. 
Pats picked up Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco on the cheap today.  While many scratched their heads about adding these ‘troubled’ players, if anyone can get these guys in line and on board it’s Kraft, Brady, and Belichick. 
How great is the Boston sports scene?  Bruins win the Stanley Cup, Sox are in first, and days after the lock out ends, the Pats are making major player personnel moves.  Suck it Buffalo.
What’s more embarrassing crying at your swearing in as Speaker of the House or being unable to control your caucus to get a debt deal approved?  I wonder what tonight’s Tea Party movie will be: Dazed and Confused.  Oh well, I am sure the Evangelical Social Conservative Tea Party members will get their guidance from prayer.
The House did get around to voting on a bill naming some US Post Offices.  Yes, that’s true.  While Congress remains gridlocked on the debt ceiling issue, they had time to deal with Post Offices. 
Producers from AMC’s The Killing announced they will reveal who killed Rosie Larsen during season two.  Really?  Well that’s a relief considering the tag line for the show is “Who killed Rosie Larsen?”
It’s tough watching the demise of once entertaining Weeds and Entourage.  Unwatchable.
There is a special corner in hell waiting for John Allen, Samantha Allen, Cynthia Stoltzman and Judith Deal.  The four adults were arrested in the murder of 10 year old Ame Deal who died after being locked in a storage container for taking a Popsicle.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Slow News Day

I love HBO for putting on documentaries every Monday during the summer.  Do yourself  a favor and check them out.  Hot Coffee was a disturbing look at how citizens civil suit opportunities have been throttled by big business backed legislation.
40% of this weekend’s Comic Con attendees were female.  So perhaps I was wrong when I called it the world’s biggest collection of virgins, when in fact it may be actually a whole new Big Bang Theory.
Breaking Bad returned last weekend with a bang.  AMC and HBO are so far ahead of the other networks in terms of quality original programming.
Entourage’s final season starts this evening and sad to say that the show had jumped the shark with ridiculous story lines.  To prove my point, this season features Andrew Dice Clay.  Wow, was Fabio not available? 
Story from USA Today: you are more likely to die on the job than get fired if you are a government employee thus making the performance review process at the Federal Government as useless as well…most of the federal government.
California wants to start taxing Amazon sales into the state.  Amazon says not so fast, as e-commerce received sales tax exemption from the government in the 1990’s to help nurture the nascent commercial model.  The concept that without a physical location in California, Amazon still believes it should maintain its exemption will soon be challenged.
Dead at 27: Morrison, Cobain, Hendrix, Joplin, and now Winehouse.  Strange coincidence.
Red Sox on a roll.  Wait until Lester and Buchholz get their groove back in time for the fall.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I can’t be the only person who sees this.


Republicans go on about how we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.  Really? Income tax revenues as a percentage of GDP in 2010 were 9.58%, the last time it was that low was 1950.  The highest point was 2000, you know the Clinton era, when the tax revenues as a percentage of GDP hit 14.67%.  As for Business tax revenues as a percentage of GDP, during the Clinton era, this measure ranged from 3.21% to 5.19% while averaging over 4% for his entire administration.  Meanwhile from 2001 through 2010, the Bush years and the post great recession years, the same metric hasn’t exceeded 4% in 7 of 10 years.  In other words, supply side economics doesn’t work.
Republicans like to say that they will do whatever it takes to defend the “Full Faith and Credit” of the United States, but that doesn’t jive with The Tea Party wing of their caucus who think not raising the debt ceiling is no big deal because the government can still pay its creditors, soldiers, and seniors.  That may be true, but global investors and bankers will not have faith in the US Government if we start that kind of gamesmanship.  Simply, a dollar is worth a dollar because you faith in the credit worthiness of the United States.  Perception is reality.
Boehner and the rest of the Grand Obstructionist Party (GOP) are complaining that there isn’t enough time to make a deal and that the only way around the August 2nd debt ceiling deadline is a short term deal that brings us back here in three short months.  Not enough time?  We’ve known about this date since March when the government shutdown was threatened the Dick that Whined Eric Cantor.  Not enough time?  How many of your caucus members are doing their Christmas shopping on December 24th?  Not enough time?  It’s math, not cancer research.
While the economy is sputtering and the unemployment rate is still too high, the Obstructionists should not be overplaying their hand thinking the debt ceiling is their best chance to damage Obama’s reelection chances.  Recent CBS News poll indicated that 43% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the debt ceiling negotiations, 21% for the Republicans, and 66% say that the final deal should include a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.
Did you know that Ronald Reagan, the 5th face on Mount Rushmore in the minds of Conservatives, raised the debt limit 17 times during his eight years?  I know I was much younger, but I don’t remember such a hullabaloo and tumult about raising the debt ceiling then.
Finally, the House GOP Cut, Cap, and Balance plan was as stupid as it was its likelihood to fail.  Changing the Constitution to put in an annual balanced budget amendment will be simply a big harbinger of short term actions that will cripple us over the long term.  Imagine having to suddenly cut $100Billion in defense spending due to some unplanned and unbudgeted event?  If that doesn’t make Boehner Cantor his pants, nothing will.  Remember little minds, budgets are annual, most Constitutional Amendments are forever.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Said It?

Who said it:
Congress consistently brings the Government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility – two things that set us apart from much of the world.

A.      Barack Obama
B.      Ben Bernanke
C.      Alan Greenspan
D.      Ronald Reagan
E.       Bill Clinton
The answer is (D).  Yes, the same man who Conservatives hail as their champion against Big Government, actually said it the above during a radio address on September 26, 1987.

Allen West is afraid of a nice Jewish girl? (Must be said with an elderly Boston Jewish accent)

Failure to get our nation’s debt issues under control with a credible plan could risk its AAA bond rating from the major rating agencies.  But it isn’t just the nation that could see a rating hit, five states: Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia have been warned by Moody's Investors Service that they could also lose their ratings.  Is it coincidental that four out of five (Maryland is the exception) of the states in question are governed by Republicans?  In related news four out of five dentists are also Republicans.
Looks like retired decorated Lt. Colonel turned U.S. Republican Freshman Congressman Allen West has quickly learned not to waste a good fund raising opportunity.  This week’s tiff with fellow Floridian and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz is being used by West to raise campaign donations for a 2012 re-election campaign.  I find it equally amusing that a retired Army officer felt so threatened by a nice Jewish girl that he came a across as a whiny junkyard dog.  Here’s another prediction: Colonel West will be a one term candidate.   
Comic Con is underway in San Diego marking the annual concentration of virgins.  Wouldn’t it be funny if the Islamic suicide bombers and terrorists actually ended up at Comic Con to collect their 76 virgins instead of Heaven?   Yo Ahmed enough with the ‘Death to America’ crap and put on this Wookie costume we’re about to meet Mark Hamill. 
Day One of the Arizona Build the border fence solicitation raises $37,000; or enough for 50 yards.  Small steps for small minds.
If the Americans keep losing in the Ryder Cup, perhaps we should switch from Match Play to Gun Play.  No more Better Ball, let’s go with gun duels.  The Maryland-based Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association reported that $2.8 billion worth of firearms was sold by manufacturers to sporting-goods retailers in 2010, eclipsing the $2.35 billion in golf equipment sold that year.  By the way, in Arizona alone, it is estimated 350,000 guns were sold in 2010. 
This story is not generating a lot of buzz, but it is important.  Danielle Chiesi was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty and testifying against Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon hedge fund.  Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Akamai Technologies Inc and IBM were the subject of several tips, and Chiesi made $4 million from insider trading.  The former blonde beauty seduced executives in these firms and fed the info to Rajarantam, who is facing up to 19 years in prison.  Sometimes, the good guys win. 
House Republicans and their water carries at Fox News and the right wing radio waves and blogospheres are making a big deal about President Obama’s 50th  birthday party plans scheduled for Aug 3rd (Dude where’s my invite?).  The right wingers are tying the timing of the party to the August 2nd debt ceiling deadline.  Can we stop being so petty?  I am talking to you Louie Gohmert of Texas: "[W]e find out the president has a big birthday bash scheduled for August the 3rd, celebrities flying in from all over.  And lo and behold, August 2nd is the deadline for getting something done so he can have this massive, the biggest fundraising dinner in history for a birthday celebration."
Memo to Democrats in Congress take the Bowles-Simpson based debt deal.  It is the right thing for the country and you need to get your liberal heads out of your….

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bachmann, Cantor, and West: Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion

Hats off to Wendi Deng Murdoch for her lightning quick reaction and right cross to the punk who pied her husband, Rupert, the 80 year old besieged chairman of NewsCorp.  The 42 year old ninja clearly showed that Mr. Murdoch Is not only a savvy business man, HE IS 80 AND SHE IS 42. 
Every time I hear Eric Cantor’s voice I think of Mr. Haney from Green Acres.  And when I hear it I can appreciate the debilitating migraines that Balloon Head Bachmann experiences. 
Speaking of Batshit, it seems her security team roughed up ABC’s reporter Brian Ross as he pursued the GOP contender in an effort to get further clarification of reports that her migraines have left her incapacitated on frequent occasions.  I wasn’t there, so it is difficult to say if Ross went all Paparazzi on her, but it is safe to say her base will rally for her and the intelligent people will say “She’s still a dolt.”
Cantor and the rest of his ilk in the House will pass the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” bill which will die in the Senate.  Feel better Mr. Haney?  Now quit wasting time and get ready to cope with the Gang of Seven (Lamar Alexander has endorsed) proposal.  In the meantime, here is something you can understand “Shut Up, Sit, and Learn.”
Freshman Republican Congressman Allen West should be censured for the email he sent to Ms. Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Whip McCarthy, and Majority Leader Cantor (I guess he felt that Speaker Boehner need not be made aware of the situation).  It seems West, known for his temper, took exception to his fellow Floridian’s comments on the floor of the House where she chastised West, without naming him, for his support of the aforementioned Cut, Cap, and Balance Bill.  Make up your own minds below is the excerpt from Wasserman-Schultz’ comments on the floor and West’s email in response
Wasserman-Schultz “President Obama has vowed to veto this bill, which ends the medicare guarantee and the gentleman from Florida who represents thousands of medicare beneficiaries as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for medicare beneficiaries, unbelievable from a member from south Florida.”
West:
Subject: Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz
Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!
I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior......which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.
You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!
Steadfast and Loyal
Congressman Allen B West (R-FL)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Red Rover Red Rover send Grover Norquist right over

Watched Marco Rubio’s appearance on Face The Nation and I was not impressed; his silly comment that people would rather do business with ‘Communist China’ than the US was pure folly, and maybe in time he will become wiser.  In the meantime child, let the adults have the conversation and you can sit at the child’s table with Ryan and Cantor. 
If tax reform in the form of lowering tax rates while eliminating tax breaks creates increased tax revenue is it a tax increase?  I bet Red Rover Red Rover send Grover Norquist right over would say so.
If entitlement reform that improves the solvency of Medicare and Social Security includes benefit cuts, higher premiums, and minimum age changes ‘end these programs as we know them’?  I bet Bernie Sanders would say so.
Congratulations to Darren Clarke and his victory at the British Open, his first major.   Also, nice showing by the Americans after placing five of their countrymen in the top ten.
The distortions of the nomination political process are becoming clearer and clearer.  As Bachmann’s ultraconservative bordering on fundamentalist social beliefs make her less and less attractive as a candidate, and as a person I might add, her popularity in Iowa goes up.  Heck even Matthew Dowd called her prejudiced against homosexuals. 
Best part of the format change on This Week: less mike time for George Will.  This week’s Willism: the Tea Party is best thing to happen to the Republican Party since Goldwater.  Suddenly he makes Krauthammer and Kristol look like sages.
I pledge to praise any Republican who demonstrates some back bone and comes out against the ridiculous Norquist no tax pledge and the ridiculous marriage pledge in Iowa.  You must be against both pledges to get my praise.  I am not holding my breath.
Having sat through thousands of hours of PowerPoint presentations and yes you could call me hypocritical here, I laughed at the creation of the Anti PowerPoint Party in Switzerland.  Claiming the Microsoft software package robs the nation of economic activity, this nascent party is quickly building a following.
Watched Dick Armey, ex Republican Majority Leader and current Freedom Works chief, on Fox News and I wonder if he and Boehner go to the same tanning salon?
Speaking of Boehner, his color has taken on a more reddish hue as of late.  My guess his anger is up thanks to the usurping he is getting from Eric Cancer, errr Cantor, his own Majority Leader.  Wonder if Cantor’s been listening to “While My Speaker Gently Weeps”.
Karma.  Perhaps if Venezuelan dictator and vehement anti-American douche Hugo Chavez had been a better diplomat and person, he could be getting treatment for his cancer in the US.  But alas, that door is not open to him; have fun in Havana.
And once again for the people in the cheap seats: we need a National Infrastructure Bank that leads to reinvestment in this country, puts people to work, and doesn’t crowd out the private sector. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

News Corporation and The Tea Party: Don't let the door hit you on the ass...

I am the first to eliminate voter fraud and I believe that you must have government provided identification in order to vote.  But this latest bull crap from Republican controlled legislatures and governorships in Florida, Maine, and elsewhere is a chad too far.  Claiming to be trying to stamp out voter fraud, these Republicans are pushing legislation that is excessive.  Take Florida, where bill HB 1355, reduced the length of the sunshine state's early voting period and stopped voters from being able to change their address at the polls.  From personal experience I can tell you that polling stations face significant numbers of address and registration issues.  Heck, we’ve been living in the same house for 10 years and have resided in two towns with three different zip codes.  I gave up voting at the polling station when I was told I my ballot would be deemed provisional.  The law forces third-party voter registration groups to turn in voter registration cards within 48 hours of them being filled out or face a stiff fine.   This law is forcing the League of Women Voters to drop its voter registration campaign.  Hell, we’re not talking about the new Black Panthers or Acorn, it’d the freaking League of Women Voters.  This has nothing to do with voter fraud.  This is all about denying minorities their voting rights.
This classless class of Republicans in Congress should be ashamed of themselves and hopefully citizens will realize that pitchfork promises and rally time rhetoric don’t lead to proper governing.  These illogical ideological infants were best described by a veteran political analyst “Sixty to 100 of the Republicans he (Boehner) leads are damn near nuts.”  They are willing to walk away from $3trillion in cuts over 10 years because they aren’t willing to consider tax reform that could generate $1Trillion in revenues.  If there is not logical reason to oppose an argument, then you must be friggin crazy.
Meanwhile from the campaign trail:
-          Newt Gingrich’s campaign is in debt to the tune of $1million where half that amount is owed to a private jet leasing firm.  If Gingrich is the intellectual in the GOP field, what the hell does that say about the rest of the field?  By the way, do campaigns have debt ceilings?
-          Rick Santorum raised ~$1million personally and through his PAC for his reelection campaign.  Meanwhile Romney raised $20million.  When does Santorum try the bake sale and lemonade stand strategy to close the gap.
-          Michelle and Marcus Bachmann are realizing what it’s like to be in the limelight.  Gays are barbarians and here’s breaking news:  Mr. Bachmann must be Attila the Hun. 
Let’s hope Murdoch’s reign of terror is finally coming to its end.  British politicians are feeling free now that the Murdoch oppression has been uncovered.  Now that there is an FBI investigation into allegations that News Corporation may have tried to wiretap the families of 9/11 victims, could Fox news, the Post, and the once great Wall Street Journal all be in trouble?  Let’s hope so.
Finally, memo to Sarah Palin: Andy Warhol called and your time is up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ollie, you know my feelings about arming morons: you arm one, you've got to arm them all, otherwise it wouldn't be good sport.

Latest from Arizona: Pineapple Head Russell Pearce, the bigoted Republican Senate Leader has been recalled and will face an election in three months.  Since Pearce represents one of the most conservative Mormon districts in Arizona it is unlikely Pearce will face any real challenge with such a short period to the special election.  Then there is Anthem Republican state senator Lori Klein who pointed a loaded handgun at a reporter in the legislative building.  Both serious no no’s and equal parts illegal and stupid.  First thought that came to mind was the line from Judge Flatt in the 1994 underrated ‘Nobody’s Fool’: Ollie, you know my feelings about arming morons: you arm one, you've got to arm them all, otherwise it wouldn't be good sport.  And finally there is the latest public health news.  As reported by KPHO: A new report finds high rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea among the arrestee population of America’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County.  The report was issued by the Arizona Arrestee Information Network (AARIN), in partnership with the ASU Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety.  Male arrestees are 54.4 times more likely to be infected with gonorrhea than the population at large.  Female arrestees are 80.6 times more likely to be infected with gonorrhea.  So what happens when these prisoners are returned to general population without treatment?  Public health crisis, that’s what. 
I have to wonder who is the bigger piece of shit: Wikileaks Julian Assange or NewsCorp’s Rupert Murdoch?  Assange may not have broken any laws and yet conservatives called for his head.  Murdoch very well may have and yet the only ones calling for an investigation are democrats.
When the dust settles on the debt ceiling and deficit reduction debate, here are the winners and losers:
Winners: Wall Street, President Obama, John Boehner, the Senate, bond traders
Losers: Eric Cantor, deficit hawks, progressives, Tea Party, GOP battleground congressmen who vote to raise the debt limit

Unemployment rate in the Construction Industry still sitting at 15.7% and yet Republicans continue to resist the notion of a public/private National Infrastructure Bank.  Remember all of those pledges to create jobs 9 months ago?  Yeah, what this classless class of new lawmakers from the right has brought us instead:  wars against light bulbs, abortions, sharia law, same sex marriage, and rape victims. 
Glad to see Kyle Chandler, Peter Dinklage, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Margo Martindale, Mireille Enos, Steve Buscemi, and Michelle Forbes earn Emmy nominations in dramatic acting. Great performances.
Don’t you find it ironic that NFL owners, the bastions of free market capitalism, the heads of America’s iconic game, are using revenue sharing to help even the playing field between big market and small market teams?  NFL free market governed by socialism and operated by Karl Marx.  The horror, damn Obama.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I wish I could boo Congress.

McDain’s Restaurant serving cocktails and fine casual dining, but it won’t be serving children under six.  The Monroeville, PA. establishment’s owner Mike Vuick seems to have the public on his side.  A poll on the website of a Pittsburgh TV news channel found 64% supported the under-six ban, compared with 26% who said it was a bad idea. About 10% said they didn't care. More than 10,000 people voted.  By the way, McDain’s is home to the $19.99 Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail combination and a free bucket of balls.  That’s right, free balls….McDain’s includes a driving range.
Turn out the lights the party’s over.  Or is it?  Republican Congressmen led by Texan Joe Barton (he of apologizing to BP fame last year) keep pushing to repeal the 2007 Energy Act signed by fellow Texan GEORGE W. BUSH.   To listen to Republicans, these newfangled curly fluorescent light bulbs are being pushed by an overreaching government that's forcing people to buy health insurance, prodding them to get more fuel-efficient cars and sticking its nose into too many places.  I know Republicans like to return things to the way they used to be, but to go back to energy-wasting bulbs that have changed little since Thomas Edison invented them in 1879 is even a stretch for them.
NFL Owners and Players’ Union Officials better come to an agreement soon.  The longer that the players are away from organized practices the greater the odds they will say something really stupid.  Take Steeler linebacker James Harrison on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: "If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it," Harrison told the magazine. "I hate him and will never respect him."  Keeping it classy James.
Great three days of MLB All Star Game festivities.  Highlights/Lowlights:
-          Nick Jonas gets booed at the Celebrity Softball Game.  Seriously?  I mean it’s not like he is Casey Anthony?
-          Seeing legends Ernie Banks, Henry Aaron, and Rickey Henderson sitting behind us.
-          Home Run Derby
-          The big event was anti-climactic.  Boring game
-          Screw Derek Jeter for not making the trip.
-          Having a foul ball go in and out of my hand and end up in the lap of the woman behind me. 
-          Grown men bringing baseball gloves to the ballpark
Darrell Issa House Oversight Committee Chair postponed a hearing to review the investigation into the House FCIC committee charged with investigating what caused the financial collapse.  It seems Mr. Issa was worried that the investigation had uncovered evidence that the Republican members of the FCIC had been trying to manipulate the report in an effort to repeal the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act.  In other words, when you don’t like the committee’s report you create another committee to investigate the investigative committee for wrongdoing, and then decide that you don’t want to hold that hearing either.  Did Dr. Seuss write this? 
The good news for Michelle Bachmann is she is climbing in GOP polls.  The bad news for Bachmann, is the increased scrutiny that comes with.  Here is the latest: Bachmann was a longtime member of the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., which belongs to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), a council of churches founded in 1850. According to the WELS “Since Scripture teaches that the Antichrist would be revealed and gives the marks by which the Antichrist is to be recognized, and since this prophecy has been clearly fulfilled in the history and development of the Roman Papacy, it is Scripture which reveals that the Papacy is the Antichrist.”  There you have it, the pope is the antichrist and Bachmann belonged to that church.  Talk about your Reverend Jeremiah Wright story.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Todays Villians: Republican Leadership and FIFA

So now the Republicans are against tax reform.  They will scuttle the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan for pure politics.  And this is what I mean when I say I hate the politics of politics.  In the 80’s we had President Reagan and Speaker O’Neill, and irrespective of where you resided on the ideological spectrum, these two men were Americans first and politicians second; shame on you Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, and the rest.  Calling you pieces of crap is an insult to dung.
Just watched the USA-Brazil Womens World Cup Quarterfinal and I remain as convinced as ever that FIFA is the most corrupt and incompetent sports organization in the world.  Secondly, watching a Brazilian player, Erika, writhe on the ground get taken off by stretcher, and then sprint back on the pitch is an embarrassment.  That being said, I sat glued to the TV and screamed when Abby scored the tying goal from the tremendous cross from Rapinoe, when Hope Solo made the one save in PK’s, and when Krieger locked it up. Don’t mess with the US.
Tim Pawlenty is still unsure of being gay is a choice or genetic.  Yep, millions of Americans CHOOSE to be persecuted and harassed, denied basic civil rights, and told they weren’t worthy to fight for their country.  Pawlenty and the Social Conservatives are closer to the radical Muslim imams than other Americans.  Think about that.
In Maryland, kids going to summer camp must have parental permission to allow camp counselors to apply sunscreen to campers out of concern of inappropriate touching.  Simple solution, train TSA employees to be camp counselors and call sun burns and skin cancer a national security issue.  What the hell is happening in this country?
Congratulations to Joey Chestnut for winning the Nathans Hot Dog Eating contest and with it: 19,158 calories, 1,246 grams of fat, 2,170 grams of cholesterol, and 42,408 mg of sodium to go along with the 62 hot dogs.  Yep you won dude.
Just like it was described in Freakonomics, one must be careful about the bad behaviors that incentives can generate.  In Atlanta, 178 teachers and principals have been identified as culprits in widespread cheating over a span of 10 years.  The cheating scandal involved finishing student tests and correcting wrong answers all in an effort to boost standardized test results and preserve salaries and benefits.
As stated in this column as part of the 2011 predictions, four members of Hezbollah have been indicted by a UN criminal tribunal for their part in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.  The tribunal called for the arrest of these individuals within 30 days and not surprisingly, Hezbollah has said no way.  Let’s see how this Mexican standoff plays out.  Will the UN have the teeth to do something about this?
Kudos to Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn for standing up to Grover Norquist, the head of the Americans for Tax Reform when Coburn pushed to remove all ethanol subsidies.  Norquist called that a tax increase when you eliminate corporate welfare.  Norquist is a real player and he has a lot of clout after getting 235 congressman and 41 senators to sign his no new tax pledge.  The concept of signing such a pledge is foolish especially when considering the King of the Modern Republican party Ronald Reagan pushed 11 tax increases during his time in office.  Freaking boyscouts.



Friday, July 8, 2011

Half off Happy Hour Appetizers

Rupert Murdoch’s vile tabloid News of the World will end its 168 year run in Sunday as a result of a heinous phone hacking scandal involving the Royal Family, a murdered 13 year old girl who had been missing, war widows, and terror victims.  4,000 instances of phone hacking have been reported by Scotland Yard.  The paper that once employed Sir Winston Churchill will come to an end and before it’s over it may cause significant harm to the government of Prime Minister David Cameron as a former aide has been arrested as part of the tabloid’s criminal acts. 
Hey Anita Bryant, same sex marriage is now legal in New York.  Love, enlightened society.
Honestly, I do not know why anyone would want to be President.  Our economy is stuck in the mud, revolutions and uprisings in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen, Eurozone nations going insolvent, Pakistan imploding, 10 year wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, nuclear aspiring Iran, and simmering territorial battle in the South China Sea.   
I think I would rather elect a Mormon Scientologist who performs animal sacrifices than an Evangelical.  If God tells you to become a lawyer (Bachmann) or run for President (Bush), it may be time to ask Nurse Ratched to up your meds.
JP Morgan agreed to a $228Million settlement as a result of a Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation into price rigging of fees it charged municipalities for bond issuance.  This follows earlier fines levied against Bank of America and UBS.  The Morgan fine comes weeks after settling a $154Million fine for mortgage security fraud, which came weeks after British regulators fined the bank $69Million for failing to protect its clients’ investments.  Now I ask you, are these good upstanding corporate citizens?  Is this an industry that doesn’t need regulating?


Thursday, July 7, 2011

I love politics and the politics of deficit reduction

Back on June 13, this blogger shared his deficit reduction plan:
“I came up with a 65%/35% split between spending cuts and tax increases and came up with $300Billion in deficit reductions.  Big hits were felt in Defense, non-Medicare Health, Medicare, Civilian Retirement, Aid to Low-Income Families, and Social Security.  Those that had their budgets maintained or increased included: education, transportation, children’s healthcare, and military servicemen medical benefits.  Tax increases will be felt across the board of individuals and many corporate loopholes will be closed.  Are these cuts staggering?  Hell yeah.  Would they solve our financial problems?  Tough to say, with these deep cuts a double dip recession could ensue which would further reduce revenues.  The point of my budget was to demonstrate that to be intellectually honest our politicians are going to have to piss EVERYBODY off.” 
Today, details of President Obama’s plan were ‘leaked’ to the media and no one can call his plan timid or tentative.  Mr. Obama is looking at $3-$4Trillion in deficit reduction and he has targeted many of the same items I noted above; I knew he was a genius.  A brilliant strategy by Mr. Obama as he has clearly outflanked the Republicans as he now comes across as a bigger deficit hawk than the self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives.  Better yet, by putting this offer on the table on the condition that the package includes significant revenue generating changes, he has boxed Boehner (when “hell no” means maybe) and the rest of the GOP leadership in a box.
But wait, there’s more.  Speaker Boehner now finds himself trying to come to agreement with the President and do what’s right for the nation while his Brutus and Cassius, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, maneuver in the shadows to block his deal with Obama.  Watch your back Boehner, or these SOB’s will really give you something to cry about; which brings us to Senate Minority leader Mitch “Frank Burns” McConnell.  McConnell who would love nothing better to bloody the President’s nose to elevate his chances of becoming Majority leader while fending off intraparty attack of his leadership from Tea Party hero South Carolina’s Jim DeMint.
But my absolute favorite part of this debt ceiling story is the sudden emergence of President Obama’s Plan B: The 14th Amendment.   Section 4 states: The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.  In other words, is the concept of the debt ceiling unconstitutional?  Now isn’t that ironic?  The Tea Partiers love to go on about the Constitution and how Obama continues to trample all over it.  And the sweetest part of it all: the only people who could challenge Obama’s position abolishing the debt ceiling would be Congress, and it is doubtful that a joint resolution suing the President would ever pass.
Damn, I love Politics.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hey GOP, Clemens shouldn't be the only one facing perjury.

Jury selection is underway in the Roger Clemens perjury trial where a litany of past baseball greats including Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, and Palmeiro, all with checkered PED pasts, are expected to testify.   If you thought getting 12 jurors for the Casey Anthony trial was difficult, try getting 12 unbiased jurors with no opinion of one of baseball’s most polarizing players.
Pyeongchang, South Korea gets 2012 Winter Olympics.  Leading to scores of reporters struggling to correctly pronounce the host city, screams of fix as the South Koreans push and shove their way to short track speed skating gold, and taped delay broadcasts with ratings on par with NHL games as Americans learn of results through that recent development:  The Internet.
California Governor Jerry Brown is weighing a bill that will require public schools to teach the history and accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. His decision could be significant because California is the largest textbook buyer in the United States, representing almost 15 percent of the $3.5 billion market.  Now, I am all for equal rights, same sex marriage, repeal of DADT, and partner benefits, but to say that gays and lesbians deserve special recognition for achievements in history smells of overreach.  Gaining equality does not require special treatment and overexposure.
Proving that the U.S. does not have a monopoly on a tone deaf dipshit bureaucrats Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of New Zealand's Employers and Manufacturers Association suggested women earned less than men because "once a month they have sick problems." He added that when women become mothers "they have to take time off to go home" to look after their children. 
I heard Rush Limbaugh go on how the Obama administration is killing space exploration by cutting NASA funding.  So let me get this right, Big Government is bad unless the idea of cutting government spending comes from a Democratic President.
Did you know the U.S. is now ranked 23rd in the world in terms of infrastructure quality?  Yep, we’re right behind Chile and Spain.  And yet when facing a rapid collapse that will make the Ottoman Empire look like a powerhouse for millennia, House and Senate Republicans continue to resist the concept of a $500Billion National Investment Bank.  Why?  Do they hate Obama that much that they would sacrifice the Republic?
I hate the politics of politics.  These hypocritical scumbag Republican congressmen who go after pork spending and stimulus money and then have the balls to say we spend too much in infrastructure.  From the Huffington Post: Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) petitioned the Department of Transportation, for instance, to spend $13 million for a port project in his home district. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) asked the department for $4.365 million for airport runway repairs for his district. Rep. Steven Southerland (R-Fla.) wrote a letter to the department encouraging it to guarantee a loan for the company Boldini, S.A to build off shore vessels at a shipyard in Panama City, Fla. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) pressed the department to send funds for high-speed rail construction to New York after they had been rejected by Gov. Rick Scott of Florida.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Of Debts and Deficits, I Opine...

We are 1 month away from when the Government of the United States of America will either increase its debt ceiling or default on its debt.  I emphasized Government, because the United States of America does not lack the means to restructure its debt, raise capital, issue new debt, cut spending, invest strategically, devalue its currency, etc.  The Government of the United States of America lacks the political will to do the right thing; and why is that?  We have all seen or have been directly involved in an argument or debate when both sides were 100% convinced they were in the right.  Now take that ‘he said/she said’ and multiply it by 14 trillion because both sides are convinced they are right and both sides believe public opinion is on its side.  But what if there actually aren’t two sides.  What if there are three and ½ side: The Democrats, the old guard Republicans, the new Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, and the President.  Presumptively, the Liberal democratic leadership won’t budge on Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and other massive social programs.  Presumptively, the old party Republicans want to protect corporate cronyism.  Presumptively, the Tea Partiers want to end all public and corporate welfare.  Presumptively, the President will push for some deal that improves his reelection chances.
What are we to think of this mishegas?  Everybody is wrong and everybody is partially right and leadership is sparse across both sides of the aisle.  The fiscal solution will require something along the lines of the Simpson/Bowles or Rivlin/Domenici plans that include spending cuts and tax increases.  It will require something along the line of $3Trillion in deficit reductions made up of $2Trillion in spending cuts and $1Trillion in tax increases, and these numbers are not draconian by any measure.  When all sides get entrenched in their beliefs of no changes in spending or no changes in taxes the President must step in and take the kids behind closed doors and smack them upside the head.  In public he should make statements that are less petulant than those last week and more adult such as:
 “As President of the United States, elected by this nation’s citizens and speaking for its citizens, I say enough is enough of the politics.  We have real problems in this country, and if you thought the Great Recession was bad, the collapse of our debt rating will lead us back to the Great Depression or worse.  I have cleared my calendar for the next two weeks and the leaders of both parties will do the same.  Congressional leaders and the Executive team will hammer out the details of a 10 year fiscal plan based on the findings of my Deficit Reduction Panel chaired by Bowles and Simpson.  All sides will give, because that’s what responsible adults do when faced with difficult decisions.  I am not exempt from this necessary tough medicine that must be taken by all of us, and therefore I am willing to do the right thing, not the politically expedient thing.  Proper public policy isn’t driven by public opinion polls or political preferences and safety, and that is why everything is on the table and why we will present a 10 year plan that is not driven by talking points.  This country has a history of doing remarkable things and rumors of its demise are premature.  Around the globe we have fought and defeated evil, we have invented and developed great technologies and scientific advancements, we have improved the quality of life for our citizens, and we have become and remain the greatest nation on earth.  We have sacrificed in the past, we will sacrifice in the future, and we must sacrifice now; and we means all of us no matter our station in life or whether we are an individual, a business, or a multinational corporation.  For too long politicians and pundits have told the American people what they want to hear and not what they needed to hear.  That time has come and gone, no more I say to you.  Now Reid, Pelosi, Boehner, and McConnell, get your asses up to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and pack a bag and grab a Snickers, it may take a while.  Good night and God Bless America.”