Friday, January 31, 2014

Janurary the last

Stoner Bowl

It seems I am not allowed to use the actual name of the event that will take place on Sunday.  Pretty much everything I publish online is clearly marked as "public domain," because my heirs can make their own money if they are so inclined and talented.  The NFL is not so secure.

Frankly, I think football is dreadful, given that it is rehearsal for war, not to mention all that traumatic brain injury.  I'll be at my local school district's budget hearings this year, urging the assholes to abandon football (and football's enormous insurance costs) for the upcoming year.

Most likely outcome: bleeding forehead from being beaten against brick wall.  Forehead: mine.


Yes, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is NAFTA on steroids, and will do extraordinary damage to working Americans while making a shitload of money for Big Money.  Obama is looking for fast-track authority, of course, since he's in the pocket of Wall Street.  Most likely, he'll get it.

If Elizabeth Warren votes to give him that authority, so help me, I never will vote for anybody, ever again.


Erdogan, of course, is totally corrupt.  So is everybody else, almost certainly including the opposition.  Should we pull our money out of Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and whatnot, and toss it into Germany and Austria?

That's what's happening.  Put it in the USofA.  It, too, is totally corrupt, but better protected.  Nobody is dropping the smart bombs on us now, but maybe there are some targets that deserve it.  The rest of us... well, the rest of us...

When they blow us up, maybe we'll deserve it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

State of the Union

I stayed awake for some of it.

It did not help that Brooks and Shields and Ifill and Woodruff's lead-in dripped cynicism, hence augmenting my own.  Maybe I should have watched it on Fox, or MSNBC.  They'd have been less cynical and more assertive, one way or the other.

Of course, that might have left me feeling even more cynical.

When I was a kid, somebody gave my mother this little plastic house with two doors on the front.  When the weather was allegedly improving, a little plastic girl would come out one door; and when the weather was getting worse, a little plastic boy (or maybe it was a witch) came out the other.  It was kind of like watching Biden and Boehner behind Obama tonight.  One claps.  The other claps.  Two halfhearted clappings.

Nothing said tonight makes a damned bit of difference, and none of it will change the outcome of the midterms.

I'm trying to find the various Republican responses, but I guess I'll have to go to YouTube for those.  They might be good for a giggle or two,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Assorted stuff for late January

State of the Union

I'll try listening to Our President tonight if I can manage to stay awake.  I'm not expecting much, but I like the idea of compelling new federal contractors to pay a higher minimum wage.  Those contractors may employ as many low-wage workers as Wal-Mart or the fast food industry, so it's conceivable that some honest competition for workers might happen.

Needless to say, I don't expect anything about more aggressive actions against the Thieves of Wall Street.  If you haven't read Matt Taibbi's Griftopia, read it.  It's not at all out of date.


Erdogan's putsch against everybody who might prosecute corruption in his government gives us less confidence in the possibility of an actually ethical Muslim government.  Erdogan was the poster child for democratic Islamist governance, but Turkey just is descending into the usual autocracy.

Stock Prices

Prices are down, popularly blamed on troubles in developing nations hurt by the possibility of economic growth in the USofA and Europe.  Oh, yeah, some also are blaming the "tapering" of bond buys by the Fed.

Essentially, it doesn't make a damned bit of difference.  Your 401K may dip a little, but one way or the other, it won't be enough to support you in your old age.  The big players, of course, continue to have everything they've already stolen, and continue to steal more.

Pete Seeger

He lasted a long time, but I'm still sorry to see him go.  Totally apart from the politics, he was a hell of a good clawhammer banjo player.  Bye, Pete.

Monday, January 20, 2014


I probably must have mentioned, in the past, that I was there at the August 1963 March on Washington, but I was wading in the reflecting pond, trying to cool off; the acoustics were terrible, and there was a lot of background noise; and I didn't hear a word of the "I have a dream" speech until I heard it on TV back home.

In the years since 1963, the proportion of the unemployed who are black has not changed — roughly twice the proportion of the unemployed who are white.  Now that more whites are unemployed, of course, it's worse, especially for black teens, who may as well be living in Greece or Spain.  Some suggest the problem is not "racism," per se, but the fact that there are so few jobs in areas with high concentrations of blacks.

Well, when neighborhoods have miniscule incomes, demand is miniscule as well, so there are no jobs.  It looks like the problem is the same as it was half a century ago: segregation.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Chris Christie

I have been laughing my ass off at the great Fort Lee New Jersey traffic jam.  Granted, I was not one of the poor saps trying to get across the George Washington Bridge during four days of needless lane closures intended to "punish" Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich for his failure to endorse fat boy's run for a second term.

Is there anybody, anywhere, who believes in the governor's claim to have been out of the loop?  If he was, than he's far too incompetent to run his state — hell, he couldn't even manage his staff!  And why were the emails released to the press so heavily redacted?  I say, guilty until proven imbecilic.

Anyway, the situation should kill any chance he had of winning the presidential nomination.  I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  Might the Great American Public have elected a sleazebag bully from New Jersey?  I don't have a clue.

Now if Hillary would only get back at Bill by having an affair with Mitch McConnell, well...

One lives and hopes.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back in Iraq

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, uncomfortable with their "liberal" reputations among the Republican Party's crazies, recently came up with a new way to "redeem" themselves: they are blaming Barack Obama for the current disastrous situation in Anbar Province. If Tea Party nut cases manage to defeat them in primaries, they deserve it — and it might help any Democratic challengers.

The person most responsible for the success of the Al Qaeda linked ISIS group in Iraq is Iraq's leader, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. It was al-Maliki who blocked residual American troops from remaining in Iraq. It was al-Maliki who pushed Sunni politicians out of the Iraqi government, marginalizing all Iraqi Sunni Muslims, and leaving them no potential allies apart from Sunni Muslim extremists.

Hopefully, some of the Sunni tribes in Anbar will continue to resist cooperation with ISIS — but when choosing the lesser of two evils, many are likely to choose Al Qaeda over al-Maliki.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Changing Direction

Okay, I was kind of obsessed with the evils of religious belief last month, but the holiday season has a way of doing that to me.  Despite John Kerry's current attempts to make progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace, I will not obsess over the concept of the "Jewish (apartheid) state" for at least a month or two.

So, instead, let's try to parse the significance of Bill DeBlasio's inauguration as Mayor of New York City yesterday.  His address was both populist and progressive, but there was a bit of weirdness involved.  For one thing, he was sworn in by Bill Clinton, the man who led the Democratic Party away from its progressive ideals and into the pocket of Wall Street — the alleged "Democrat" who signed the bill to "end welfare as we know it," would not consider the regulation of derivatives, and signed the bill that ended Glass-Steagall.

Was it a signal?  Hillary was there too.  Did the Clinton presence signal that Hillary is ready to move the Democratic Party back towards the left if she gets her turn to run in 2016?  And if she runs as a progressive, will she follow through if she wins?

Also present was the not especially progressive Democratic Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, also mentioned as a potential candidate in 2016.  Since he currently holds office, if he means to make a progressive turn he'll actually have to do it, right out there in public.  (It also would be nice if he could follow through on his promise to clean up the Albany cesspool of corruption.  New Yorkers used to look down on New Jersey as a cesspool of corruption.  These days, it's kind of a toss-up.)

Andrew's father, Mario Cuomo, anticipated DeBlasio's use of the "Tale of Two Cities" analogy a few decades ago, when he delivered the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic Convention.  To me, it remains the greatest convention speech of modern times, far surpassing the 2004 Obama speech (which turned out to be, largely, bullshit.)  Andrew ought to give it a listen — and so should you.