Saturday, July 12, 2008

Annals of Humour (UPDATED)

Milton Berle (born Mendel Berlinger in NYC) observes his 100th birthday today, from wherever in the ground he is rotting. Also called "Mr. Television," "Uncle Miltie," via the Texaco Star Theater, pretty much broke the whole telebision thing wide open in the early '50s, as people got sick of visiting the neighbors Tues. nights to watch what was then must-see tee vee, & decided to buy their own sets.

So, Mendel, thanks for ruining This Great Nation of Ours™ by paving the way for an almost infinite selection of mind-numbing crap.

Mr. Berle was also rumored to be hung like a horse. And a half.


UPDATE (12 July 2008 @ 1623 PDT): Berle of course shared the initials "M. B." w/ the editor here, the Milton Bradley game co., Milton Bradley, the Texas Ranger (baseball player, not lawman) & Mercedes Benz. He was also said to have been at least part of the inspiration for another Great American, Bugs Bunny©™. Dig the head shot below. What do you think?

Annals of Mental Illness

As if we didn't have enough trouble already, what w/ the Second Great Republican Depression just around the corner, & so much bile from 50+ yrs. of, as James Brown put it, "Living in America" built up in our mind & body, now we see that our chance for ulcers (& we're surprised that we don't have several already) is increased considerably by the medical/psychiatric power structure's attempt to make us a conformist producer/consumer. (Imagine were we a paranoid schizophrenic rather than a mere melancholic agoraphobe w/ schizoid personality "disorder." What's left of the mind boggles.)
Antidepressants raise ulcer risk Taking an antidepressant may increase the odds of developing an ulcer, although the overall risk remains small, according to a report published Tuesday in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The study of 1,321 people with gastrointestinal bleeding found that such drugs as Eli Lilly's Prozac, Forest Laboratories' Celexa and Lexapro, GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil, Pfizer's Zoloft, and Wyeth's Effexor could trigger gastrointestinal bleeding in one of every 2,000 patients. The risk increased to 1 in 250 patients when aspirin or pain drugs also were taken, according to the report. The medicines interfere with platelets, a critical part of the body's normal clotting process, researchers said. Drugs that suppress the production of acid in the stomach -- Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium and Protonix -- may avert bleeding for those most vulnerable and should be considered, researchers said.
Other possible/potential side-effects of our regimen: Drug #1 (Taken daily.): Delayed ejaculation in males; Decreased sexual desire; Unusual, painful & prolonged erection; Nausea; Difficulty falling asleep; Diarrhea; Dry mouth. And watch out for: The emergence of anxiety, panic attack, confusion, irritability, worsening of depression, and suicidal ideas. This is supposed to help? Drug #2 (For insomnia & anxiety, doesn't do anything for anxiety, but makes one take a nap two or three hrs. after using.): Drowsiness; Dizziness; Visual disturbances; Unusual tiredness or weakness; Loss of bladder control; Constipation; Vomiting; Diarrhea; Nausea. What a drug! Can cause constipation or diarrhea. That's some full-spectrum action. And now you know why we're so cranky & irritable. Up yours, jerks!!

Sports Round-Up

It comes down to NFL trivia Presidential candidate John McCain apparently isn't one for trivial pursuit. On Friday, Morning Briefing reported that McCain told a Pittsburgh television station that he had named members of the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line in 1967 when he was a POW in Vietnam and captors asked for the names of his squadron mates. However, in McCain's autobiography, he wrote that it was members of the Green Bay Packers that he named. A campaign spokesperson called it a memory lapse.
Call it what you will, we call it lying. Perhaps he changes it for each community he visits. And, as indicated below, the Steelers' best known defensive line (The Steel Curtain) didn't happen until the 1970s.
Trivia time McCain would have to have been quite a Steelers fan to name their 1967 defensive line. They were 4-9-1, and it isn't that easy to name even the coach of that team. Can you?
Quite a fan, we'll just fucking bet.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cold War Continues

The Rooskies & the Chicoms are still our enemies & the enemies of democracy. Not that any form of government isn't an enemy of democracy. Not that democracy is worth it, considering the humanoids that might eventually attempt to practice it. Not a U. N. Security Council resolution amounts to a hill of beans, or a bucket of warm piss, or any other anything. Anywhere. At all.

UNITED NATIONS - Russia and China vetoed proposed sanctions on Zimbabwe Friday, rejecting U.S. efforts to step up punitive measures against its authoritarian regime linked to a rash of violence surrounding a disputed presidential election. [...]

Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said sanctions would have taken the U.N. beyond its mandate to deal with threats to international peace and security.

Russia not being too much higher on the lack-of-political-violence scale than Zimbabwe, that's no surprise. The freedom-loving peoples of the Peoples Republic of China didn't offer an excuse either. (Or simply weren't quoted by the AP. This media criticism or whatever the fug we're up to here is very difficult.)

Lying Sack of Shit & His "Love" Life

Read if you will the latest leftist smear against noble Republican war hero John Sidney McCain III. As nearly as we can figure it, agents of communist influence must have doctored Sen. McCain's memoir (Worth the Fighting For) or Florida court documents. Or both.

A few interesting points we'd like to emphasize follow.

On Christmas Eve 1969, while she was driving alone in Philadelphia, Carol McCain's car skidded and struck a utility pole. Thrown into the snow, she broke both legs, an arm and her pelvis. She was operated on a dozen times, and in the treatment she lost about 5 inches in height.

After John McCain was released in March 1973 and returned to the U.S., he told friends that Carol was not the woman he had married.
Nice fellow, huh? Who was she then, an alien pod person? One can only wonder if McCain was the man that Carol married.

[Melinda] Fitzwater [a cousin of McCain's] recalled visiting the family on Thanksgivings, and McCain seemed content barbecuing a turkey on his outdoor grill near Jacksonville, Fla.

Excuse us, but what the hell kind of crap is this? Barbecuing a turkey on an outdoor grill? Just this a. m. we heard a sound clip of "Bay" Buchanan (Pat's equally Catho-fascist sister) whining about Sen. Obama not respecting or understanding or something "our cultural traditions" or crap like that. And yet John Sidney McCain III is allowed to grill his turkey on a fucking barbeque? Beyond belief. Where is the stuffing? What would grandma say, if we hadn't shipped her to the old folks' home?

But two years later, while on a trip as a Navy liaison with the Senate, McCain spied Hensley at the Honolulu reception. In a recent television interview with Jay Leno on the "Tonight Show," Cindy McCain joked about how the Navy captain had pursued her. "He kind of chased me around . . . the hors d'oeuvre table," she said. "I was trying to get something to eat and I thought, 'This guy's kind of weird.' I was kind of trying to get away from him."

John McCain was 42; she was 24. During the next nine months, he would fly to Arizona or she would come to the Washington area, where McCain and Carol had a home.

Carol McCain later told friends, including Reynolds and Fitzwater, that she did not know he was seeing anyone else.
Why we'll never understand women: He's got 18 yrs. on her, he's married, he's "kind of weird," & before you know it, they're flying all over the country to be w/ each other. Not to be more sexist than we already are; maybe it's just heiresses (of whom we have even less knowledge than we do of ordinary women – not that any woman is merely "ordinary," of course) that we'll never understand.

Carol McCain was distraught at being blindsided by her husband's intention to end their marriage, said her friends in the Reagan circle.

"They [the Reagans] weren't happy with him," Fitzwater said. Carol McCain "was this little, frail person. . . . She was brokenhearted."
Two points w/ this one. If Carol McCain was so distraught, blindsided, etc., we can only wonder why she never agrees to interviews on the whole miserable subject. This may give a hint:

She [Carol McCain] has two sons from an earlier marriage: Andy, a vice president at Cindy McCain's beer distributorship, and Doug, a commercial airline pilot.

When J. Sidney married Carol, he adopted Hensley V-P Andy. We wondered a bit when first reading that Andy had a job w/ Cinderella's outfit, yet wasn't even Sid's biological offspring, but our cynical mind came to the realization that if Carol wants her son to hold on to his job, she'd best keep her trap shut. (WARNING! CHEAP SHOT FOLLOWS: And we hope that Doug is a better pilot than his adoptive father.)
And one more cheap shot: That's Carol McCain on the left, above. We understand she lost five inches after the hideous accident, but where do they get "Carol McCain 'was this little, frail person. . . ?'" Huh? Looks pretty healthy to us.

Enough Is Enough, Already!!

When the fuck-tuck-tucking hell will it stop? Don't give us this 20 January 2009 shit either. We are begging someone to choke this asswipe w/ a pretzel!! What's causing our outrage now, you ask? (And aren't you tired of pretending you're surprised or outraged all the time?) This crap is!!

The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

Hey, speaking of Berlusconi (as we were in the item just below):

Mr Bush also faced criticism at the summit after Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, was described in the White House press pack given to journalists as one of the "most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice".

The White House apologised for what it called "sloppy work" and said an official had simply lifted the characterisation from the internet without reading it.

Ha ha. The Bush White House accusing anything else of being known for gummint corruption & vice. And did they get their WMD info about Iraq by lifting it from the Interwebs w/o reading it? Seriously, how much longer can this go on?

Godwin's Law Not Invoked

Here at Just Another Blog™, we like to call a fascist a Nazi, & vice versa, stupid Interweb "Laws" notwithstanding. And if this lovely item about overt fascist & crypto-Nazi Italian billionaire Silvio Berlusconi's gov't. doesn't call for the suspension of said law, what does?
The Italian government knew it was courting criticism when it began rounding up and fingerprinting the oft-targeted minority known formally as the Roma. But the proclamation from Europe's chief elected body was an especially embarrassing blow to the 2-month-old right-wing administration of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Italy immediately said it would ignore the resolution. "Our aim is to put an end to the disgrace of nomad camps," said Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, member of a small xenophobic party that is part of the ruling coalition. He was referring to the ramshackle settlements around major Italian cities where thousands of Gypsy families live.
One good way to "put an end to the disgrace" would be to build or provide housing for these poor fuckers, who've been on the receiving end of scapegoating, discrimination, projection, displacement & every other pop psychological term we can come up w/ for hundreds of yrs. in Europe. Oh, not to mention that the Nazis offed hundreds of thousands of them, putting them right behind the Jewish people on the final solution list. (We think. Look it up yourself if you give a shit, which you of course don't.) That's what gives us the nerve to violate Godwin's Law. And note that the Interior Minister is a member of a "small xenophobic party." Not unlike one-time Yankee Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, who as a Babtiss was quite the xenophobe himself.
After several high-profile crimes blamed on Gypsies, the new government launched a crackdown on the itinerant population, sending police to round up individuals and raze their huts and homes. Scores of Gypsies and other foreigners were expelled. Vigilantes burned some camps.
Reminds us of, oh, Burma/Myanmar, & some of those African countries where the problem of refugees &/or poverty is solved by burning out the refugees/poor. See? Problem solved. How interesting that a "xenophobe" who doubtless has a few choice things to say about Africans & Asians would adopt similar solutions. Also a "solution:"
A proposed package of tough security measures could remove children from the camps while expelling their parents from the country.
WTF? Those of you w/ a passing acquaintance w/ the anti-American history taught at our liberally biased universities may remember similar programs right here in the United Snakes. Except there wasn't as much expelling of parents as plain old fashioned massacring. Details, details.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who until recently served as the EU justice commissioner, criticized the European motion as unfounded and politically motivated. Fingerprinting "does not target ethnic groups and is not inspired by racism but by the elementary need to identify anyone who does not have a valid document," he said.
Ah, Europe..."May ve see your paperzzz, pleasse?"
In a letter this week to EU officials, a Rom advocacy group protested the crackdown, alleging that Italy had become a police state that is depriving residents of constitutional guarantees. Rom families, says the human rights group EveryOne, "are subject to every kind of pressure and intimidation until they give up protesting or turning to the legal system."
Democracy & freedom: Just so, y'know, 20th century. Let's put it all behind us & move on.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Eyes (& Ears of Crawford,) Texas Are Upon You

Let's Have a Class War, So The Rich Can Go Die

Here's how "they" feel about "you."

Gramm [...] told the [Washington] Times: "You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession." He noted that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. "We may have a recession; we haven't had one yet."

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners," Gramm said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline" despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.
We are now anxiously awaiting some right wing ratbag to start whining about "class warfare." Or about what an "elitist" Barack Obama is.

Former Sen. Gramm, who left the Senate to become a vice chairman (not vice-president, mind you, vice chairman!!) of UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) &, per the AP, has a doctorate in economics (We'd really like to know where he got that doctorate. Mail order divinity school, perhaps?) is one of Republican presidential hopeful (It's all about hope by now, 'cause they got nothing else. Seriously, this is starting to look like Fred Thompson's non-campaign, right down to the bottle-blond wife.) John Sidney McCain III's primary economic advisers. McCain moved quickly to cover his ass, saying, "Phil Gramm does not speak for me. I speak for me." Does that mean that no matter what we hear from any of McCain's advisers, consiglieri, surrogates, endorsers, & the like it's just bullshit & we shouldn't pay any attention to anything they say? Why, yes it do. Whatta ya know?

P. S.: Phil Gramm's best known statement prior to this: "I have more guns than I need, but not as many as I want." Just Another Blog™ would like to jam Gramm's chin into a vulnerable part of his nervous system, but, sadly for us, fortunately for him, Phil is a chinless dweeb.Indeed, Phil, above left w/ his good buddy J. Sidney, bears some resemblance to Walter Brennan, now that he's stopped coloring his hair.

P. P. S.: In our endless research (Google™ response time: 30 secs.) we found an interesting "assessment" of Chinless Phil from 7 September 2001. Yes, before "Everything changed." He was a piece of shit seven yrs. ago as well.

Let's Have a Photoshop© War, So You Can Go Die

Below, top: The Prophet lies to you. Below, bottom: Reality.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards (sounds good, but they're really pretty fucking reactionary) had some trouble w/ their saber-rattling & missile-launching, so they decided to apply some of that Photoshop© trickery to their press release. No wonder the Qu'ran is opposed to graven images.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Still Speaking Ill of the Dead (Yes, Those "Jam Bands" All Suck!)

Jack White (No, not the guy from the White Stripes, yeesh, wise up!) has something to say about the treatment of Jesse Helms, that is, the denial of his flagrant racism after his death.
Bob Dole, the Republican former senator whose wife Elizabeth now occupies the North Carolina Senate seat once held by Helms, asked rhetorically, "Was Jesse Helms a racist? I never spotted that in him," which suggests that Dole must be either blind or really stupid. And in what might be the most extreme example of white-washing since Tom Sawyer, Marc Thiessen, the chief White House speech writer, rhapsodized in a Washington Post op-ed that, "What his critics could not appreciate is that, by the time he left office, Jesse Helms had become a mainstream conservative. And it was not because Helms had moved toward the mainstream—it was because the mainstream moved toward him."
Nice, huh? The mainstream moved toward this wretched old bastard who wished he were still in the 19th fucking century. Now he's in hell, of course, if his religious beliefs actually meant anything to him, and suffering as he so richly deserves. Ineresting sidelight: Just heard a caller on the radio say that as the Senate's FISA bill vote was delayed a day for Old Man Helms' funeral, Helms did more dead than live Democrats did to stop the bill's passage. Oh, irony.

FISA Bill Passes: It Makes No Difference

Oh, stop wringing your hands & get up from your fainting couches, precious leftist/liberal flowers. The passage of the FISA bill today makes not a dime's worth of difference. The unauthorized & illegal monitoring of everything that you do that doesn't involve cash transactions (ATM w/drawals excepted, of course) has been going on since before 11 September 2001, has not stopped for one minute since, & wouldn't have stopped even if the House & Senate combined had voted 535-0 against any electronic monitoring whatsoever, warranted or not, & w/ a warrant or not. Stop kidding yourselves: Wake up to the real world, where most U. S. Gov't. "security" employees put in their 20 or 30 yrs., retire w/ a healthy pension, & then go to work for a telecom or a banking firm, becoming essentially an inside person for their friends & colleagues still working for the unitary executive. Bear in mind that your fellow Americans, being even stupider & more ignorant than you, could not possibly care any less, as they think they're "not doin' nothin' wrong, the gubmint's jus' tryin' uh ketch turrists. Whassa big deal? I don' give uh fug. Stop whinin', sissy boy. If yew ain't lookin' at kiddie porn, whatta yew wurred 'bout?" And don't pretend for a minute that places like Room 641A have ever stopped working, or will ever. The telecom cos. are willing to do anything for the gov't. in exchange for greater opportunities to consolidate & charge consumers more; even if they weren't, the shadow world of former FBI personnel & former employees of other agencies working for any & all corporate entities will assure the free exchange of information between corporations & gov't. (It's a two way street, you know, & both sides are more than ready to do the proverbial tango on it.) About the only advice we can give you at this point is to get as many of those guns to which the Stupreme Court recently said you have a right, & just start using them on any governmental representative that gets in your cross hairs. Perhaps you could start on actual Representatives & Senators, work your way up to the various cabinet members, & finally do a little "impeachment" right at the top, if you know what we mean. Now we'll see if they're really monitoring this web log!!

More Dead Bodies Piled Up in Mounds

We note in passing the passing of two sci-fi types.Thomas M. Disch,into whose oeuvre we've never dipped (Perhaps a bit too dark, even for us. We've read our share of dystopic futures already.) seemed to have been having a hard time lately.
The home he shared for years with his partner, Charles Naylor, allowed friends to see a whimsical, humorous side. Disch was "an enormously creative, infinitely amusing and often unhappy genius," said Gioia, who is also a poet and had known Disch for many years.
In recent years Disch suffered a series of problems: Naylor died, health and financial issues ensued, and Disch battled to remain in his apartment.
So, like any sensible person confronted w/ the end of most of his life, & the non-stop predations of landlords, mortality & publishers, he
fatally shot himself in the head July 5, according to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Friends said he was found dead inside his New York apartment.
And more power to him. We can quibble that he should have taken his landlord w/ him, & we hope there was a terrible mess of blood & genius brains left to be cleaned.

Yes, we do enjoy speculative fiction, though we try not to bore those of our audience who don't give a shit about it. And while we prefer the written to the bastardized televised versions of the genre, we are truly saddened to note the passing of Don S. Davis, whose work we always enjoyed on Stargate SG-1, & never noticed on Twin Peaks. Huh. That was a while ago. Maybe he had more hair then. Any one who serves in the U. S. Army & then moves to Canada to teach acting is O. K. by us.

Where Are They Now? Doris Day Plays Twister©™

She's not naked, & she's playing self-Twister©™ (Kinky!) but we like the message.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesdays Avec Zoidberg

Once again, like the annual groundhog thingie, Jonah Goldberg raises his head from the bunker & looks for his shadow. Shame we can't get him to do this on an annual basis, like Punxsatawney Phil, rather than the wkly. sked he's on. Jonah, we will assume (Much as he "guess[ed] in Obama's mind it must be a crime to be born or to go to college.") has been told by someone that conservatism & Republicanism are pretty much circling the drain, although he still makes the occasional "Oh, no, George Bush isn't a real conservative" complaint. He certainly couldn't have figured it out himself, having blindly hitched his wagon to the late W. F. Buckley's wingnut welfare some time ago. But he does attempt/pretend to be a"libertarian" these days, figuring that's where the hand-outs will be coming from soon enough. Case in point? His several hundred words on Sen. Obama's call for national service. It's the typical pointless meandering diatribe, but he does manage to hit a few important (to him) points. Point 1:
There's a weird irony at work when Sen. Barack Obama, the black presidential candidate who will allegedly scrub the stain of racism from the nation, vows to run afoul of the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery.
We're glad he pointed out that it's a "weird" irony. The big point here is that the Senator is, yes, a "black presidential candidate." He mentions that in case you hadn't heard. Now in which plank of the Obama platform does it promise to do this scrubbing? We find it hilarious that when a candidate connects w/ the American people on a level other than "Be scared, but we'll cut your oppressive taxes," or actually inspires some of them (not us, of course, we're too old & cynical, & we just plain know better) that candidate is instantly derided as a sort of messianic cult leader promising the difficult today & the impossible tomorrow, no matter what his or her record, platform or public statements actually indicate. Point 2: Only Jonah can stand athwart history & stop "the snake oil of 'bipartisanship'" from greasing the slippery slopes. Point 3: JFK? Cult. Not like the worshippers of beloved ol' Ronnie of Reagan, the Senile Saint.
Perhaps thanks to the JFK cult, which sees the refrain "Ask not what your country can do for you ..." as an all-purpose writ for social meddling, even the idealistic hipster crowd is on board. Devotees of Rolling Stone and MTV, who normally preen like cats in a pool of sunshine over their alleged libertarianism when the issue is sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, see nothing wrong, and everything right, with involuntary servitude -- as long as we just call it "voluntary."
We only note here that "sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll" are three separate issues, not one. Point 4: Really, Americans are almost too generous.
Americans are vastly more generous with their time and their money than Europeans. According to social demographer Arthur C. Brooks, in 1995 (the last year international comparative data on giving was available), Americans gave 3 1/2 times as much money to charities and causes as the French, seven times more than the Germans and 14 times more than the Italians.
We'll see how long that sort of thing lasts once the Great Bush Depression really gets moving. And here's a point of our own: The L. A. Times Investigation revealing how much charitable giving ends up in the hands of professional fundraisers, & how little goes to the non-profits, let alone those who need the help. That's not going to help donations any, though we're sure it warms the cockles of Goldbrick's heart to see people grubbing money w/o providing anything of value for it. It encourages him, really. Point 5: Uh, well, nothing.
This is the real problem with national service mania: It seeks to fix what ain't broke. No, national service isn't slavery. But it contributes to a slave mentality, at odds with American tradition. It assumes that work not done for the government isn't really for the "common good."
The "slave mentality" was quite an American tradition for several hundred yrs., & continues to this day. Most of the volunteering in question is doubtless to be done at private agencies & organizations. Whatever makes Mr. Goldbrick think that is some sort of gov't. indoctrination? And two paragraphs above that one we found this:
Time magazine's Richard Stengel speaks for many who insist that American government must consecrate everything. "The reason private volunteerism is so high is precisely that confidence in our public institutions is so low," he wrote last year in praise of universal national service. "People see volunteering not as a form of public service but as an antidote for it."
How does private volunteerism being so high, because Americans don't think gov't. is doing a good job of helping, lead to Jonah's belief that Stengel wants the gov't. to "consecrate everything?" Maybe if Dr. Zoidberg would stop throwing the religious terms around he'd be able to think a bit more clearly. In the meantime, remember: Obama is a black presidential candidate ("Black, I tell you!!") & Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance has been Bliss for Jonah for quite some time.

Clusterfuck w/ Dice

Per the NYT, a potential McCain admin will be a colossal mess of conflicting advisers, consultants, counselors & so on, many of them demoted or at least replaced, but w/o being told. This is the "executive experience" J. Sidney obtained from being the commander of a peacetime training squadron?

All of this intrigue breeds discouragement among even those former McCain associates who do not dispute the notion that voters now might be getting an early glimpse of the messy, unstructured way in which a McCain White House might be managed. They are hard-pressed to explain why Mr. McCain tolerates this — or encourages this — or why he has trouble cutting ties with people who have not served him well over the years.

“I can’t answer the why,” said John Weaver, who was one of Mr. McCain’s closest advisers before being forced out in a shake-up last year. “It is just that way and for his own sake, he needs to finally, firmly decide where he wants to take this campaign.”

Maybe Senator McCain could toss some dice to make the final decisions.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Judgement?

From Time:

Only recently have McCain's aides urged him to pull back from the pastime. In the heat of the G.O.P. primary fight last spring, he announced on a visit to the Vegas Strip that he was going to the casino floor. When his aides stopped him, fearing a public relations disaster, McCain suggested that they ask the casino to take a craps table to a private room, a high-roller privilege McCain had indulged in before. His aides, with alarm bells ringing, refused again, according to two accounts of the discussion. "He clearly knows that this is on the borderline of what is acceptable for him to be doing," says a Republican who has watched McCain play. "And he just sort of revels in it."

You want this weasel-dick taking chances w/ your country?

That About Which We Could Not Possibly Care Any Fucking Less

La Tour De France. Francophile that we are, c'mon, vraiment?

Real Elitism

Seems as if it was only a wk. ago that we reviewed a review (Were we any more "meta," we'd cease to exist.) of a book by L. A. Times national economics correspondent Peter Gosselin in the L. A. Times Book Review. Those cursed to live here in the Hot Zone, & foolish enough to purchase the frigging tree-killer, will know that in the continuing Times attempt to downsize, save paper, etc., the Book Review section is the obverse of the Opinion section. Flip the mess over & there's Opinion. Or vice versa. Had you done that this wk., you'd have noted that Mr. Gosselin is again using his employer to pimp his book, High Wire: The Perilous Financial Lives of American Families, w/ a front page Opinion article which neatly sums up his book. Ha ha, Pete, now we needn't buy it from Basic Books!! Gosselin's take on why Murkins' economic high wire act is perilous is that the "safety net" (such as it was) has been pretty well destroyed. Feudalistic corporations are not meeting the requirements that even property owners in the Dark Ages had to provide for the serfs who came w/ the land.
"People who try to claim their employer-sponsored benefits are worse off than they were two or three decades ago," said Judge William Acker Jr., who was appointed by President Reagan to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham and who has written extensively about ERISA. "The law that was supposed to protect them has been turned on its head."
Feudal lords were also expected to provide some sort of housing for the serfs. But not in 21st century America.
On average, 60% of the value of American homeowners' possessions -- 60% of everything we own -- is accounted for by the value of our homes, according to my analysis of the Federal Reserve's most recent Survey of Consumer Finances. That means houses are a big deal for families' finances. And so therefore is what protects them -- homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance is a classic case in which people go out and try to buy their own private safety nets rather than turning to government or to their employers for security. But homeowners have not had very good luck with this do-it-yourself approach in recent years.That's because over the last two decades -- with relatively little notice and almost no awareness on the part of the buying public -- the insurance industry has changed the nature of its policies in ways that leave homeowners on the hook for vastly more than they used to be on the hook for. As recently as the early 1990s, the most widely sold type of policy, especially in the nation's most populous areas, was a "guaranteed replacement cost" policy. Under it, your insurer promised to replace your home if it burned or was destroyed by a hurricane, essentially no matter what the cost. It was up to the insurer to get the price right and keep the coverage current. However, following a rash of disasters that included the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, insurers phased out guaranteed replacement cost policies in favor of "extended replacement cost" policies. Under these, the insurer provides you with up to a certain fixed dollar amount of coverage, plus typically 10% to 20%. It is up to you to decide what the amount should be. It is up to you to figure out what it would cost to rebuild your home. And it is up to you to keep your policy current. Theoretically, you could do this job. But the industry's own estimates show that more than half of American homeowners simply have too much else going on in their lives to keep tabs on changing building codes, the fluctuating price of plywood or what carpenters and plumbers are making in their neighborhoods. Similar changes -- with similar shifts of economic risk from business and government to families -- have occurred in retirement, where the switch from traditional pensions to 401(k)s has left individuals largely on their own to provide for old age.
It's almost enough to make the typically sheep-like American wage-slave sit up & take notice. Except he & Mrs. Wage-Slave are being worked to an early grave in order to keep up w/ their credit card debt. At least they won't have to worry about retirement, or paying off their creditors. Gosselin, as an employee of the "objective, two sides to every story, & both of them equally valid" L. A. Times, probably wants to hold onto his his job for a while, and so, as Chris Hedges noted in last wk.'s review, he doesn't get to the underlying issues. Dig these last two paragraphs of Gosselin's piece for a lesson in weaseltry:
Some argue that in the new, globally competitive economy, U.S. business and government simply cannot afford to provide the kinds of protections against financial peril that they used to. Perhaps not. But that doesn't mean that we should automatically shunt the job of bearing these dangers to families alone. And it most assuredly doesn't mean that we should pass along the task without letting people know they've just been assigned the job of bearing a big new load of risk. But that's essentially what has happened. As a result, working Americans and their families are operating on an economic high wire -- only one or two missteps from a steep financial fall. Little wonder people are so bleak about their prospects now that times are tough.
Oh, yes, we shiould at least make it clearer to the suckers how we're conning them. Crap on a crutch, what a fucking jerk!! Listening to Thom Hartmann (0900-1200 PT on your local commercial but communist radio station) this a.m., we were presented w/ a pimping of Mr. Hartmann's new book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against The Middle Class, in which he presents the thesis that "supply-side" rather than "demand-side" economics are essentially making the middle class live in the fear that Americans seem to welcome in virtually every aspect of their horrid existences, & that this fear, of losing their jobs & houses, among other things, makes them unable to participate in the political process, even to the extent of voting. Which goes perfectly w/ the general attitude of many of the Founding Fuckers, desirous of a republic limited to white, male, Anglo-Saxon property owners, preferably Protestant, who would be allowed to elect their state legislatures, & House members, but would leave the election of U. S. Senators & the president to the state legislators. Gawd forbid that the rabble should have a say in their gov't. The current "voodoo economics" (Extra credit if you remember who called it that. Hint: His son is running This Great Nation of Ours™ into the ground at this very moment.) then, is designed to return power & wealth to the powerful & wealthy. Hartmann mentioned that even w/ the recent loosening of credit (Remember when people saved for things, at Savings & Loans or banks that paid an observable interest rate?) to the middle & lower classes, "supply-side" just doesn't work. No matter how many new factories the rich build (and when factories are built they go up in Mexico or China to exploit the fuck out of their serfs & lax health & safety laws & enforcement) w/ their tax breaks in which to make cheap plastic crap if the consuming masses don't have any moolah, the economy isn't going anywhere. Well, now we're out of money, the dollar is worth one bucket of lukewarm urine, & about 1/150th of a barrel of light sweet crude, & Mr. & Mrs. Hard Working America are in debt up to their necks, commuting zillions of miles 7 hours a day to the ticky-tacky boxes they can (sort of) afford, far away from where they work, thinking that some bullshit "mortgage deduction" will keep their taxes low, & watching their lives wasted as they work harder & longer just to keep up, their pathetic wages eaten away by inflation & minuscule to non-existent raises. To this stirring condemnation of all that America is, we can only add that the Xtian Wrong's continual effort to reëstablish the "traditional" family of the 19th century, w/mom dropping a new piece of cannon fodder for the Hebrew war gawd as often as possible, then remaining at home to "educate" the children away from the pernicious influence of the 21st century & liberal gov't. schools, is also part of the economic plot. In a single income household, he who brings home the bacon is much less able to resist the predations of his corporate managers, go on strike or whatever, if there's no other income & the missus can't possibly get any kind of work besides cleaning up after the offspring. Works out pretty well for some people, doesn't it? So our masses are just too run-down to think about or participate in political life, & are fated to remain bent over & waiting for it for all eternity. This plays in perfectly w/ the general attitude that Republicans have about voting: "It's not for everyone!"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"My Friends, I Am Simply Too Short to Serve"

Below: Dwarfed by the podium. Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP
John Sidney McCain III (remember, he's not an elitist) has a reading problem. (We've just suffered through almost eight yrs. w/ a dyslexic at the national helm, do we need the four more yrs., maximum, that Johnny Mac would serve if elected?)

We steal our story today from the Liberal Bible™ (as Bill O'Reilly refers to it) the N. Y. Times.

By his own admission, Mr. McCain is not a great orator. He is ill-suited to lecterns, which often dwarf his small stature, and he tends to sound as if he is reading his lines, not speaking them. His shortcomings have been accentuated in a two-man race, particularly because the other man — Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee — can often dazzle on stage.
Oh yes, not only does he have trouble reading, he's a fucking shrimp. (Have any of the "old media" given us his exact height yet?) Do we need some twisted Napoleonic geek trying to prove something to his father & grandfather, both of whom made four-star admiral, while he barely got out of Annapolis, & only made captain, even after his hideous prisoner of war experience?

It's entirely "Bush III" in the campaign as well. (Except for the Fox News people, of course.)

[McCain] brought in a new adviser — Greg Jenkins, a former White House official and Fox News producer — who will oversee the producing and staging of Mr. McCain’s events. Mr. Jenkins is considered an expert at political stagecraft, oversaw many of President Bush’s appearances and served as executive director of the 2004 inaugural committee.

Mr. McCain is working closely with aides like Brett O’Donnell, a former debate consultant for Mr. Bush, to improve his speech and performance. He is working to limit his verbal tangents and nonverbal tics. He is speaking less out of the sides of his mouth, which can produce a wiseguy twang reminiscent of the Penguin from the Batman stories, and he is relying less on his favorite semantic crutch — the phrase “my friends” — which he used repeatedly in his campaign appearances.
We'll miss that semantic crutch. We at Just Another Blog™ always equate "my friend" w/ someone of a Middle Eastern culture who is about to screw us on a rug deal, but that's just us. Speaks out of both sides of his mouth, does he?

[Li'l John] sheepishly volunteered that he received complaints after a recent Newsweek profile of his wife, Cindy, said that he sometimes referred to her alma mater, the University of Southern California, as the University of Spoiled Children.
Oh, crap. Are we (who dropped out of said university) going to have to stop saying that as well? The man is an absolute bastard.