12/31/08

"Hot Rod" no court jester

John Kass has written a good one in today's Chicago Tribune:

For sheer brazenness, nobody surpasses Rod

Kass makes some good points over former Black Panther Bobby Rush's commentary at Hot Rod's press conference, the one where he announced his appointment of Roland Burris to replace The One as an Illinois Senator (Rush was co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther party in 1968).

Burris is a card-carrying member of the Chikaga and Illinois political machines. He's paid his dues, and he's paid his contributions to the right campaign funds, and now it is 'his time'.

He is also black, and Harry Reid's empty posturing to the contrary, the Senate Democrats flatly do not have the cojones to deny Burris entrance to their hallowed chambers, to deny him membership in their exclusive club.

Rush also played the race card in heavy-handed manner, pretty much threatening political annihilation to any Democrat who stands against this latest political clown act.

Kass correctly points out how it could have all been avoided:

Senate Democrats are talking tough now, saying they won't seat Burris, but that won't hold. The debate has been framed. The only African-American in the Senate leaves for the White House, another African-American is appointed to fill that spot, and Democratic politicians know they owe their livelihoods to African-American voters.

That talk about transcending race was just talk. Skin pigment trumps ideas, and Blagojevich, who may be facing a jury soon, wants all the friends he can get.

Of course, Tuesday's fiasco could have been avoided. Democrats in the state legislature could have stripped Blagojevich of his appointment powers and imposed a special election. Obama also could have demanded it. But as he has done so often in his career, Obama avoided a confrontation and looked the other way.

One can only wonder how Obama is going to handle the Iranians, the Syrians, the Israelis, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda...and all those other hardball players in whose game The One is about to play.

12/30/08

"The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals..."

So wrote Eli Saslow, who was apparently aroused to the point of near ecstasy by the sight of a shirtless Barack Obama:

“The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.”

Steady on, Eli. I don't think the president-elect is your type, no matter his position on gay rights.

Here's more:

Lust-struck Washington Post reporter Eli Zaslow...

Note that the same mainstream media rags roasted George Bush over his fitness routines:

Recounting how President Bush ran 3.5 miles a day, former Washington Post writer Jonathan Chait railed, “Am I the only person who finds this disturbing? … What I mean is the fact that Bush has an obsession with exercise that borders on the creepy.”

There's more over on The Anchoress:

Obama a godling

While you're over at The Anchoress, take a look at this one, too:

O Eve! Reconciled! which has nothing to do with droolingly pathetic 'reporters' of questionable sexual persuasion; check the poem by Sister Columba of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey.

The Emineth Caper

"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what the public thinks; it matters what 168 of us think."

- Gary Emineth, chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party

That's what he said in reference to the election of the next chairman of the Republican National Party. There are 168 people on the national committee.

Since he said it, he and his supporters have been trying to spin it so it doesn't sound as bad as it does. "You have to put it in context," said one fellow.

Context?

It seems clear enough to me. The RNC really doesn't require or desire any comment or input from the hoi polloi.

Emineth is behind the move to force current chairmain Mike Duncan to call a meeting of the entire committee on the morning of January 6. There is a meeting of the 80 member 'steering committee' that afternoon. What Emineth wants is the opportunity for all six candidates for the chair position to meet with, and answer questions from, all members of the national committee. The steering committee is seen by many as a Rovian tool established to maintain control of the party by Bush supporters and their henchpersons.

So on the one hand there is something constructive here, at least at first glance. Whether Emineth's motives will survive closer scrutiny remains to be seen, but he has shot himself in the foot rather nicely with that one comment.

That one comment illustrates the arrogance of the leadership of the national Republican party.

Last post on this I referred to the Repubs as a 'train wreck'. Now I'm thinking 'the Titanic' might be a better one, with grass-roots Republicans being fed this garbage being likened to Titanic passengers: "There, there, my good fellow, you really don't need that life jacket", the Republican captain told the Republican passenger, "the ship is really unsinkable, don't you know, and we know what's best for you."

12/29/08

"And the beat goes on..."

The Eunuch of the Treasury, that vapid airhead Hank Paulson, who can't seem to make up his mind one way or the other what should be done, and who continues to grasp at straws and engage in knee-jerk reactions, has announced that he is dumping $6 billion into GMAC, the General Motors financing agency.

That takes him over the $350 billion limit set by the current Congress, but that's OK, he has 'wiggle room' so he can ignore the limits and snuffle from other funds.

One can only wonder if PCEOC and their henchpersons are going to throw the same fits over this as they did when the Army did the end run around the funding ban.

That ban was limited to funds appropriated in the Military Construction act. It did not prevent the obligation of funds from other sources, a point which PCEOC still doesn't seem to get, given the comments in the T-D recently.

The Eunuch of the Treasury, Hank Paulson, who got on his knees to beg Nancy Pelosi, is doing a similar deal. It isn't illegal, but he is circumventing the intent of Congress.

What's next?

Feds throw GMAC $6 billion lifeline

The GMAC investment commits Treasury to total bailout spending above the $350 billion limit so far by Congress.

Treasury has some wiggle room because $79.5 billion that it has allocated for purchasing stakes in banks has not yet been distributed. Regulators are still reviewing applications from many institutions.

However, to fulfill its commitment to the banks, officials will have to ask Congress to release at least part of the $350 billion remaining in the $700 billion financial sector rescue package it approved in October.

Fine whines

So all the hooha over the land out at the rodeo grounds turned out to be much ado about nothing.

Randall Roberson and Kevin Waggoner were out in left field, taking council to task and reaming out city manager Rick Klein for their 'failures' in supporting the Ace of Spades and by extension, the Kids' Rodeo.

Let's see...

Ace of Spades is a private, non-profit corporation. They are not a city-sponsored recreation league.

The rodeo grounds, though city-owned, are not at all like one of the city's ball fields. The ball fields are used by hundreds, if not thousands, of people over a year's time, as are the city's parks. The rodeo grounds are pretty much closed off to the public, and for anyone to use the rodeo grounds, they must go hat in hand to...Ace of Spades. And, as just about anyone can tell you, Ace of Spades has a rather indifferent attitude toward such requests.

Ace of Spades thinks the city should 'do more'.

Why? The city already gives them taxpayer-based funds to help them pay for utilities out at the rodeo grounds. There is no requirement in the lease agreement for the city to do this. Quite the contrary, the lease specifically states that Ace of Spades is to be responsible for such costs.

Ace of Spades thinks the city should 'do more'.

Why? The city already allows Ace of Spades to use land not included in the lease agreement, albeit different land from that over which Roberson and Waggoner had their little hissy fit. The lease requires Ace of Spades to keep their animals contained...but Ace of Spades wants the city to pay for fixing the fence, even though the lease also states that Ace of Spades is responsible for upkeep of the property.

The city gives Ace of Spades money to help with upkeep, even though there is no obligation for this. That isn't enough, it would seem.

Ace of Spades whined - there is no other word for it - that the city wasn't paying for charges incurred by Ace of Spades, even though the charges made by Ace of Spades were unauthorized. Ace of Spades apparently thought they could just shashay into the store and charge to the city whatever they wanted. An open account, as it were. Boy howdy, but I'd love to have one of those accounts.

The city has essentially given Ace of Spades $20,000 for track maintenance.

The city has essentially given Ace of Spades $60,000 in lighting improvements.

These could be considered 'payments in kind'. Income, of sorts.

How does that affect Ace of Spades status as a 'non-profit'? Are such payments required to be shown on filings with the Secretary of State? If so, were such payments shown?

And yet, Ace of Spades has the unmitigated gall to take city council to task, and to chew out the city manager, and then to make comment in the T-D that the city doesn't do enough for them. Ace of Spades seems to think they are due the same measure of support as are official city-sponsored activities.

Perhaps Ace of Spades should join the La Junta Golf Association in that trip up to the United Auto Workers' country club, there to confer with UAW president Ron Gettlefinger on how to perfect their ability to whine, and to polish their entitlement attitude. Roberson and Waggoner can lead that charge.

You know

From wannabe Senator Caroline Kennedy:

"I'm really coming into this as somebody who isn't, you know, part of the system, who obviously, you know, stands for the values of, you know, the Democratic Party," Kennedy told the Daily News Saturday during a
wide-ranging interview.

"I know how important it is to, you know, to be my own person. And, you know, and that would be obviously true with my relationship with the mayor."

Her speech was often punctuated with extra "you knows" and "ums." "Andrew is, you know, highly qualified for this job," she said. "He's doing a, you know, a great job as attorney general, and we've spoken throughout this process."

"You know, I think, you know, we're sort of, uh, sharing some of this experience. And um, as I've said, he was a friend, a family member, and um so, and uh obviously, he's, you know, he's also had an impressive career in public office."

"It's really, you know, it's not about just the Kennedy name," she said. "It's about my own work and what I've done with those values."


Like, dude, yeah, I, like, know, you know, and like, wow, dude, she like, knows stuff, you know? Like, we should go, like, you know, like, shopping and stuff like that.

Yet another crap sandwich...

...is being shoved down the throats of We the Taxpayers, as the automakers receive their first bailout checks today. GM and Chrysler are getting their first $4 billion today.

We have this:

While there are no specific plans for further cash infusions, many economists think that this problem is far from over, and that the U.S. auto industry could need $100 billion or more before it recovers.

Meanwhile, the CEOs of the Big Three have given up their private jets - or so they say. But further meanwhile, the UAW, the autoworkers union whose president, Ron Gettlefinger, refused to give up that demand for that juicy VEBA payout from the companies, continues to maintain its own resort. Yep. The UAW has a country club that would be the envy of any greedy, blood-sucking CEO:

UAW has $27 million country club

The United Autoworkers Union, which had a total net worth of $1.2 billion in 2007, owns a $27 million resort and conference center that features a $6 million upscale golf course, according to financial statements on file with the U.S. Department of Labor.


The union-owned golf resort was voted the Number 2 Best New Upscale Course by Golf Digest when it opened in 2000 and is currently ranked 35th on the list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.

Lifetime and annual memberships are available only for union members or retirees, while limited memberships are available to the public starting at $1,200 per year.


Holy batpoop, Robin! Chiarmonte's and the La Junta Golf Association, already heavily subsidized by the taxpayers, should go up there - on the taxpayers' dime, of course - and take a few lessons from Gettlefinger and those overworked, underpaid union members.

There you have it. We are funneling $4 billion into the automakers, while the unionized autoworkers get to play golf and shack up in condos, all at special rates.

Next time you are shopping for a car - presuming you can find a bank that will extend you the loan - remember this. Buy Hyundai. Buy anything, so long as it isn't made in a UAW plant.

12/28/08

Tookie goes west

We were once again in The Holy Land Quickee's. We were slurping convenience store cappies.

"So, you went to California over Christmas, did you?" DinkyDau Billy asked of Tookie.

"I did. I had fun. I went all over the place. We went to Arizona and saw the mountains around Flagstaff, and the saguaro cactus all over the place, and then we went across the Mojave Desert, and I got to see the Pacific Ocean at Huntington Beach," she shared.

"First time you've seen the ocean?" he asked.

"Yep. It was awesome," she told him.

She was puzzled somewhat at first, because as she walked down to the water's edge, the water's edge changed. It moved further out. So she followed it.

And then it came back.

Toots Sweet discovered that the Pacific is quite cold.

"I really want to see the Atlantic now," she said, "and all the oceans of the world. It's awesome."

When you are a second grader, everything is awesome. Or it should be.








"Barack the Magic Negro"

That's the title of a bit of political spoofery, set to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon". It isn't particularly well done as political satire goes, and in fact, one might accurately liken it to some of that blackface minstrel stuff that was so popular back in the 30's and 40's. It's the sort of thing that Republican Christian fundamentalists and other people who are fixated on dogma rather than substance might circulate around in endless email chains. If that were all it is, it would be just another bit of drivel such as we have seen from members of both political parties. But that isn't all that it is.

Chris Saltsman, who is a possible replacement for current RNC chair Mike Duncan, distributed a CD to the Republican national leadership which included the subject track. It also included "I Can Talk Like a Coal Miner's Daughter", a spoof of how 'down home' Hillary Clinton became during the campaign...or maybe it was when Joltin' Joe Biden discovered his coal-minin' roots...and several other little jewels. Some of them are even funny, in a middle-school sort of way.

But Saltsman is one of the top dogs in the Republican National Party. The Republicans obviously have 'issues', not the least of which is that they are perceived as a bunch of whitemeat losers out of touch with America. So wouldn't you think their leadership, their potential chairman, would have the political sense to avoid participating in this kind of thing? What's next? We'll be receiving endless chain emails from the RNC about how Obama is still a Muslim and isn't really a citizen of the US, and must be anti-American because he doesn't wear a lapel flag pin?

The Repubs have whined and cried that the Dems played the race card during the campaign. The Dems did, in fact, do just that, though with considerable political skill, since their man won. So why are the Repubs now doing the same thing, though with far less political skill, with their top leadership circulating a puerile bit of drivel like "Barack the Magic Nego"? In that context, it is yet another example of why the Republican Party is the train wreck that it is.

Worse, Saltsman doesn't even get it:

The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper that published a story about the CD on Friday, reported that Saltsman said members of the GOP committee have "the good humor and good sense" to see Shanklin's tunes as "lighthearted political parodies."


The GOP committee members need to develop the good sense to understand that most of the country is in no mood to be putting up with this useless nonsense from the Republicans or any other major political leadership. Of course, Saltsman's observation would explain why our political leadership on both sides of the aisle seems to have their heads firmly up and locked when it comes to solving the real problems besetting the nation.

We might as well have Ann Coulter in line for the chair of the RNC. She couldn't possibly be any worse than Saltsman.

GOP official blasted over "Barack the Magic Negro"

12/24/08

Sallie Mae update

The following appeared on Boston.com:

Headline: Sallie Mae to forgive Marine's loan debtDate: Dec 24, 2008 "Sallie Mae, the nation's biggest provider of student loans, said yesterday that it would forgive the debts of a Marine from Weston who was killed in an accident last summer shortly before he was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq."

The original post is here:

Sallie Mae and Ian McVey

Thanx and a tip of the Blogging Central boonie hat to Mile Hi Rick.

12/18/08

The far side of the moon...


We were sitting on the wall at City Park, watching a lone goose, who was sitting on the ice. He looked...lost.

"What do you think's the deal with that guy?" asked Tookie.

"Dunno. There were hundreds of geese here a couple of hours ago," Leece replied.

"He looks kinda clueless," DinkyDau Billy said, "he's got that 'I jist pulled my head out of my butt; where did everybody go?' look."

"Umhmmmm...sounds familiar, don't you think?"

"Yep. Say. That reminds me. Wut's up with that Ace of Spades thingie?" Billy asked Leece.

"Funny you should ask. Stay tuned for next Monday's T-D. It's downright Kafka-esque," she told him.

Sallie Mae and Ian McVey

An ungrateful Sallie Mae

Some excerpts:

"I have wanted to be a Marine for as long as I can remember," [McVey] wrote in his officer training application. "After September 11, 2001, I knew more than ever that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to serve my country, and after the attack I knew I wanted to join the Marines' ranks and go into harm's way so others would not have to."

Last summer, Second Lieutenant Ian McVey got his orders. He was to go to Iraq as a platoon commander with the Second Combat Engineer Battalion of the Second Marine Division.

On July 19, not long before his unit was to ship out, McVey's motorcycle was blindsided by a car driven by an 84-year-old woman near Camp Lejeune, N.C. He was killed instantly. He was 23 years old.

and

John McVey went through his son's things. Cluttered bureau drawers. Photographs and memories. He also had to settle Ian's college loans. He wrote to the lenders, asking that the debts be forgiven. Two wrote back, saying they would forgive the loans. The third, Sallie Mae, the government-created college loan provider that privatized its operations in 2004, refused. John McVey then wrote a very personal letter to Sallie Mae:

"In the process of his education, Ian amassed considerable loans. But Ian was steadfast in his desire to serve our country rather than begin a life in business where his income would have been double or triple his Marine service payment. Giving to our country was Ian's calling, and we admired and supported his choice of service. He was a good and noble son and better friend.

"We are asking that you forgive Ian's loans as his federal loans are being forgiven on the basis of Ian's choice of service to our country as a patriot and so that our family may not have to bear these financial burdens while we deal with the inconsolable grief over the senseless, tragic and untimely loss of our son. While life has not been fair, we pray that you will be."

Sallie Mae responded with a computer-generated letter that, aside from a "Please accept our condolences for your loss" stuck in the middle, was a demand for $53,144.


and

It is beyond obscene that a government now handing out billions in bailouts to boardroom executives whose idea of risk is using a 9-iron instead of a wedge on an approach shot could spawn a lender like Sallie Mae to soak the family of a young man willing to spill his blood for others.

Take a read of the entire article.

Local dead fish

By now everyone is aware of some of the more interesting behaviors of President-elect Obama's chief of staff-designate, Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel. There was the business of sending a dead, rotting fish to a lobbyist who had earned his ire. Then there was the matter of Emanuel throwing a Godfather-like temper tantrum at one of the Clinton banquets, grabbing a steak knife and stabbing the table repeatedly, shouting "He's dead! Dead! Dead!" as he did a roll call of those he thought were disloyal.

Emanuel is known for this kind of thing.

Lately, here in the Smile Hi City, we seem to have some of our own prominent citizens...either really prominent or simply prominent in their own minds...who have been resorting to similar attitudes if not tactics.

For example, we had the recent taking to task of the city administration, particularly city manager Rick Klein, by Randall Roberson and Kevin Waggoner of Ace of Spades. They were in a snit because they had not been consulted over a proposed change in land use.

Here's the deal:

Ace of Spades leases the Kids' Rodeo grounds from the city for a dollar a year. Yep. One US Yankee buck. There's another 280 acres or so adjacent to the rodeo grounds that belongs to the city but which is not part of the lease. The city has let Ace of Spades use that public land for the last couple of decades, at no charge.

Informed sources tell us that people involved with Ace of Spades allegedly have been grazing cattle on that land. Free grazing on public land, land owned by the taxpayers and citizens of the Smile Hi City.

Do you think the money that comes from the sale of those cattle goes into the Kids' Rodeo? Or do you think it goes into the pockets of the people involved with Ace of Spades?

Free grazing.

Now the city has another entity or two interested in that land. Since it is public land, the city must announce these interests and open the land for bidding. When there was only the Ace of Spades using it - free, did I mention that Ace of Spades had the use of the land at no charge - there was no need to put the land use up for bid. Now there is. The city is required by law to do that.

Roberson and Waggoner insisted at the council meeting that no one had consulted with them. They were mightily put out by that, and really gave Klein a load of grief over it.

But the fact of the matter is, they were notified, but because of their own internal screwups, failed to get the message. Additionally, Waggoner had a meeting scheduled with Klein over the matter, a meeting initiated by Klein, but it was canceled by Waggoner.

Are we beginning to see the picture here?

But wait. There is more.

The Smile Hi City gives Ace of Spades in excess of $3000 a year for maintenance of the rodeo grounds. Yep. We the people give the Ace of Spades more than $3000 a year on top of the one dollar a year lease fee. And, we also give them over $1,000 to help pay utilities bills out there. And, city crews do work for them out there as well, such as moving/installing lighting.

Yet to hear Roberson and Waggoner tell it, the city does nothing for them, does nothing for Ace of Spades, and by extension, does nothing for the Kids' Rodeo.

Worse, Roberson and Waggoner have really shown their asses, in a manner of speaking, with their rude, insulting, and demanding attitudes.

OJC is starting up some kind of rodeo program.

I think it's time that the city let the rodeo grounds go to the college, and let Ace of Spades schedule whatever events they wish through the college. That might cool their 'toods a bit, something that is long overdue.

And, I suspect that other people who would like to use the rodeo grounds would receive a lot more cooperation from the college than anyone has from Ace of Spades over the last couple of decades.

Meanwhile...one wonders...who is going to receive the dead fish from Ace of Spades?

Rahmbo: Missing in Action

Has Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel, he of the dead fish and deadly steak knives, gone missing in action?

Is Rahmbo...MIA?

It seems the FBI has Emanuel on 21 taped conversations, wheeling and dealing with Hot Rod Blagojevich over The One's senate seat. Allegedly. Reportedly. From Mike Sneed over on the CST:

Chicago Sun Times

But where is Rahmbo? It's been a week since he was last seen moving and shaking. He remains strangely silent, during a period when these kinds of people lose no opportunity for face time with the media...can it be that Rahmbo is finding out the fickleness of the MSM? We know that he was highly torqued that they would actually report on something other than the second coming.

Is he off sulking? Is he off packing dead fish to send to his favorite reporters and publishers? Is he off looking for a new set of steak knives?

Is it possible he is off with the Feds cutting a deal? That seems to be the favorite political activity in Illinois these days.

Meanwhile, Gateway Pundit has Rahmbo on a milk carton:

Rahmbo: MIA?

Hope and Change!

12/17/08

New positions with New York State Police

"Hey! Hey!" shouted DinkyDau Billy, as he slid his Ghisallo to a stop outside The Holy Land Quickee's.

"Hey yourself, Billy," replied Leece. She was busy adjusting the seat on her Tasajara.

"Hey! Hey! I'm gonna be movin' to NooYawk!" Billy revealed.

"Say what?" asked Toot Sweet. "Why?"

"I'm gonna git one a them new positions wit the NooYawk State Po-leece," he explained, "since they are gonna be taxin' non-diet soda 18%, there's gonna be a whole new enforcement division for the State Po-leece! It's gonna pay reel good, too!"

"Oh, that Fizz Tax is never going to pass," argued Leece, "King George the Third tried it with tea and look what happened. King George 3A will never get it through the New York state legislature."

"3A? Are New Yorkers building a new gym? If they do that, they won't be fat(ter), and there will be no need for this tax, which is being proposed under the guise of slimming those fatsos down," mused Tookie.

"OK, King George the Fourth, then," Leece backtracked.

"Are you sure these new positions will be with the State Police, Billy?" I asked, "it seems to me they would be with the state's Department of Revenue. The tax people."

"Um. Might be. Might be."

We all thought about it.

"So. Billy. You're going to be..." Tookie said...

"A Pop Cop!" we all shouted, and laughed hysterically.

"Critical times for critical thinking"

Critical times for critical thinking

This is an essay written by Elizabeth Scalia back in June. Scalia is a free lancer, who also writes The Anchoress blog

In this essay, she writes about the lack of critical thinking skills in today's world. She cites several examples, taken from on-line newspaper reader comments, to support her position.

She draws from an article written by Fred Hiatt in the WaPo, entitled “Bush Lied? If Only It Were That Simple”, which is an analysis of the findings of the Select Committee on Intelligence, headed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV). Note that the chair of the committee is a Democrat.

A comment from Scalia's essay:

In writing his piece for the editorial page of the Washington Post, Hiatt — that page’s editor — made the mistake of actually quoting passages of this report, which claimed that a host of “lies” of which President Bush has been accused since 2003 were “substantiated by intelligence.”

Vituperation and ad hominem attacks were left as commentary at the paper’s website, with calls for Hiatt’s immediate firing, for — apparently — his treason in quoting a report, written by a Democratic majority, that dared to depart from a narrative that has become conventional wisdom.

You know? The more I think about this lying idiot that edits WaPo, the more I realize how venal and corrupt the neo-cons really are. They really have no shame. No shame at all. Their corruption is complete. Frankly, the Emperor in Star Wars had more integrity than these neo-cons. Hiatt truly is a lapdog. — santafe2

Then there is this:

A friend who homeschools her children — and does it so well that the oldest has won a full academic scholarship to a university — was surprised that commenters would express such contempt not for the committee findings, which contradicted their worldview, but for the reporter who covered it. “It’s illogical,” she said. “Do public schools no longer teach critical thinking skills?”


Yes. It is illogical, but it is also very typical of the types of comments you will see made about newspaper articles, blog articles, you name it. There is nothing substantive to the comments; they contribute nothing to any discussion. The political blogs were full of this rot in the months leading up to the election.

You can see examples of this on the Tribune-Democrat site, and it is the primary reason why we here at Blogger Central no longer allow comments. Disagreement with a blog posting is one thing; pseudo-intellectual non-sequiturs of the kind we see in santafe2's 'comment' are something else entirely. Unfortunately, santafe2 is all too typical of the thought processes of all too many people these days.

Take a read of Scalia's essay, all the pages of it. The page advance buttons are at the bottom of each page.

Enjoy.

The Fizz Tax and the iPod Tax

New York's Governor Patterson has come up with a master plan to increase tax revenues.

He is going to tax everything.

For example...how about the 'iPod tax'? That's where you pay a 4% tax to download music. It also applies to all 'digitally delivered entertainment'.

How about 'the Fizz Tax'? That's an 18% tax on non-diet sodas. He's going to make mo' munny off The Real Thing. Not only is he going to fund the state, but he's going to keep New Yawkers from getting fat(ter). What a guy!

Paterson seems to be fighting both obesity and budget deficits with a proposal for an 18 percent tax on soda and other sugary drinks containing less than 70 percent real fruit juice.

"People don't really realize the amount of calories they're ingesting through liquids," said Joe Baker acting deputy secretary for Health and Human Services to the governor. "They say, 'Oh, it's just a drink."'

The idea is to discourage consumption of high-caloric beverages — health officials estimate a 5 percent drop — and to raise $404 million in fiscal year 2009-2010 toward the state's multibillion dollar budget gap. Paterson said the proposal would raise $539 million in 2010-2011.

What's next? Will Bill Ritter propose an Enchilada Tax? Fill the state's coffers while keeping residents of the Smile Hi City from stuffing themselves with El Rincon's cheese enchies?

It's good to see our elected officials coming to grips with the vital issues of the day.

"He Madoff with all the money..."

No, I can't claim that title as my own, much as I would like to. Nope. It belongs to Rich Galen, over on Mullings: An American Cyber-column, which Galen has been writing for some time now.

In today's edition, Galen gives a very good layman's explanation of how Bernard Madoff managed to steal $50 billion with his super-Ponzi scheme.

He Madoff with all the money

If the Fed and Treasury and the Security and Exchange Commission were looking for examples that would help begin restoring confidence in the world's financial system Bernard Madoff put a stop to that foolishness.


and

Bernard Madoff had a lot of clients with a lot of money. Over several decades he took in some $50 billion from his clients and told them he was making them money each and every month.

According to reports, the Madoff operation was only open to investors upon invitation. That is, he didn't have salesmen or brokers. He relied on existing investors at country clubs and in big business to tell their friends and clients about the regular-as-clockwork returns they were getting on their money which was invested with Madoff.

As with the best scams, the marks begged to be allowed in and Madoff, upon the recommendation of existing clients, would permit them to write him a check.


Click on the link above to read the whole thing.

12/16/08

Jesse Jackson Jr: Hero? Rat? Toss up?

It's coming out from some sources that Jesse Jackson Jr was working with, or had at least given a heads up to, the federal prosecutor and investigators in the Hot Rod corruption scandal, over alleged 'play for pay' over the Peotone airport project.

If so, did he do it because he has a strong sense of ethics? Or did he do it because he had a chance to stick it to Blagojevich, who had refused to appoint Jackson's wife as the Illinois state lottery director:

Shortly after his 2002 election, Gov. Rod Blagojevich told Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. he didn't appoint the congressman's wife as lottery director because he had refused him a $25,000 campaign donation, a person familiar with the conversation told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Blagojevich went out of his way to say, 'You know I was considering your wife for the lottery job and the $25,000 you didn't give me? That's why she's not getting the job,'" the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing federal investigation.

It would seem that if Jackson were acting out of a sense of high-minded ethical and moral beliefs that he would have gone to the Feds over the $25,000 when it first came up.

But he didn't.

He didn't go to the Feds until after Hot Rod goaded him, stuck the political knife into him and twisted it a bit: "You know I was considering your wife for the lottery job and the $25,000 you didn't give me? That's why she's not getting the job..."

Talk about getting your nose shoved into a pile of cow poop.

And in fact, he really didn't come forward; the Feds went to him, to interview him as a possible witness. That's when he became a model of ethical conduct.

Jackson Jr may have been working with Feds

Another "Welcome home"


WASHINGTON (AFRNS) -- The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced Dec. 15 that the group remains of six U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, are soon to be buried with full military honors.

They are Maj. Bernard L. Bucher, of Eureka, Ill.; Maj. John L. McElroy, of Eminence, Ky.; 1st Lt. Stephen C. Moreland, of Los Angeles; and Staff Sgt. Frank M. Hepler, of Glenside, Pa., all U.S. Air Force. These men will be buried as a group Dec. 18 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington.

Two other servicemen, who were individually identified in October 2007, are also represented in this group. They are Capt. Warren R. Orr Jr., U.S. Army, of Kewanee, Ill., and Airman 1st Class George W. Long, U.S. Air Force, of Medicine, Kan.

Representatives from the Air Force and the Army mortuary offices met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretaries of the Air Force and Army.

On May 12, 1968, these men were on board a C-130 Hercules evacuating Vietnamese citizens from the Kham Duc Special Forces Camp near Da Nang, South Vietnam. While taking off, the crew reported taking heavy enemy ground fire. A forward air controller flying in the area reported seeing the plane explode in midair soon after leaving the runway.

In 1986 and 1991, U.S. officials received remains and identification tags from sources claiming they belonged to men from this incident. Scientific analysis revealed they were not American remains, but it was believed the Vietnamese sources knew where the crash site was located.

In 1993, a joint/U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, traveled to Kham Duc and interviewed four local citizens concerning the incident. They led the team to the crash site and turned over remains and identification tags they had recovered in 1983 while looking for scrap metal. During this visit, the team recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage at the site. In 1994, another joint team excavated the crash site and recovered remains, pieces of life-support equipment, crew-related gear and personal effects.

JPAC scientists used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the DOD's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo/or call (703) 699-1169. (Courtesy of DOD News)

Freebies

"So, what's the deal with the Rodeo grounds?" asked DinkyDau Billy, as we sat at one of the tables in Loaf West, enjoying some convenience store crappaccino. It was cold enough to freeze brass balls outside, and the hot drinks were most welcome.

"Do they pay anything to the city for that lease?" asked Tookie.

"No, I do not believe they do," said Leece, "it's just an agreement that they get to use the property."

"But the other land, that land that Roberson feller was goin' on about, that's not part of the lease agreement?" queried Billy.

"No. That's separate. It is not included in the lease, but the city has let Ace of Spades use it anyway," explained Leece.

"Huh. Roberson thinks they shouldn't lease it out to this other guy because the other guy is a land rapist and has trashed his own land and will do the same to this property now being used by Ace of Spades. Is that right?" he pressed on.

"Something like that. The term 'land rapist' wasn't used but it was certainly implied," Leece told him.

"Now, although the city doesn't charge any fee for that property that is leased, and doesn't charge any fee for using the land that isn't leased...doesn't the city give them some cash as well?"

"Oh yes. There is $3500 that comes out of the city's parks and recs budget that goes to the rodeo people for maintaining the grounds, and another $1100 from the same budget for utilities."

"Utilities! Now there's a sore subject!" exclaimed Billy, "so the taxpayers are subsidizing Ace of Spades and the rodeo with money for maintenance and utilities, and free land use. And Ace of Spades is up there whining about it?"

"Yep. You got it. Councilman Billy Johnson went on about golf course utilities, too, last night at the meeting," I explained, "asking Rick Klein three times about the extra $32,000 We the Taxpayer are going to have to pay to subsidize the golfers. The extra funds were the result of a city error in billing or accounting, which was Johnson's point. But the real point is that there is another $32,000 of taxpayer-sourced funds going to subsidize people who seem to need it least."

"Rich whitemeat golfers," interjected Billy.

"Well, I don't know about 'rich', " Toot Sweet tossed in, "but anyone who can afford to play golf is certainly better off than those two citizens who approached the utilities board about relief from rate increases. So why are we subsidizing the people who seem to need it least while sticking it to those who can tolerate the increases least?"

"I don't think they are 'sticking it' to anyone," Leece argued, "costs have gone up so those costs are passed on to the customer. Any business has to operate that way."

"Uh huh. So why doesn't the golf course?" Toots asked.

Now that's a good question, isn't it. Why do we continue to subsidize a private business, with so little oversight that it's virtually impossible to get a straight answer as to just how much is going into the owner's pockets.

And why are we putting up with rudeness from the likes of Ace of Spades, who are taking from the taxpayer with one hand and flipping the taxpayer off with the other.

Is this that "pioneer spirit"? The Marlboro Man must be spinning in his tobacco-induced grave.

"Bush's Unexpected Legacy"

That is the title of an op-ed piece by Cameron Strang. It's over on the Relevant Magazine website, and has also been published in the Relevant newsletter, "850 Words of Relevant". The essay has to do with George W. Bush's program to fight AIDS in Africa.

Here is a link to it:

Bush's Unexpected Legacy

Here are some excerpts, posted with the permission of Relevant Magazine:

Two weeks ago, on World AIDS Day, Rick Warren hosted a Civil Forum on Global Health in Washington, D.C. The event was an hour-long interview between Warren and President George W. Bush to discuss the unprecedented work being done in Africa through his President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). As Warren said when introducing the president, “No man in history, no world leader, has done more for global health than President George W. Bush.” Not exactly something you hear much about in the media.

That's certainly true. The mainstream media is too busy snickering over the shoe-throwing incident and other vital issues of the day to bother with taking a look at what President Bush has done about the AIDS problem in Africa.


At Warren’s invitation, I actually had the privilege of meeting President Bush that day and was impressed with his compassion and humility. He campaigned in 2000 on a platform of “compassionate conservatism,” and PEPFAR was birthed out of that promise. As our country faces enormous economic challenges right now, it’s easy to overlook the work PEPFAR is doing half a world away. But millions of lives are literally being saved—10 million have been affected since its inception in 2003—and this past summer, those positive results prompted Bush to pledge a tripling of PEPFAR’s funding. When I traveled to Rwanda this past April, I saw evidence of PEPFAR’s work everywhere. Its importance to Africa’s efforts in the fight against AIDS cannot be overstated.


Strang actually recorded the interview between Rick Warren and George Bush. That interview doesn't seem to have popped up anywhere in the MSM. If you go to the link posted above, you can read a transcript of the interview. Here it is again:

Bush's Unexpected Legacy

Also, please visit Relevant Magazine for some interesting reading:

Relevant

12/15/08

A handout mentality?

Randall Roberson was at the city council meeting Monday evening, to complain about the city's handling of the leasing of public property out near the rodeo grounds. It seems that the Ace of Spades has been using the land in question, which belongs to the city, for the last twenty years or so, free of charge. The land is not part of the leased property. Since no one else has expressed an interest in using the land for grazing or other purposes, the city has allowed Ace of Spades to use the land.

Now, according to Rick Klein, other individuals have expressed an interest in the land. Since it is public land, and more than one person has an interest in using the land, it must be put up for bid. The city has done this, with notice given in the Tribune-Democrat.

Roberson, acting as spokesperson for the Ace of Spades, took issue with the manner in which this is being handled. He feels that Klein should have called him/them first, and initiated a conference with Ace of Spades. His manner indicated that he was considerably put out by the situation, which struck me, as well as several others, as a bit over the top. Why? Because the Ace of Spades has used the land, free, for a couple decades. Now that the city must allow public bid for the use of the public land, Ace of Spades is having a righteous...how about self-righteous...hissy fit. They feel insulted. Slighted. Put out.

I don't get it.

Klein explained it pretty well. That wasn't good enough. Klein apologized, though for what, I don't know...and that wasn't good enough.

C'mon. They got twenty years free use of the land. Now they're put out that they weren't consulted first?

This is that typical rancher crap they hand out. First, they're all rugged sons of the soil, individualists to whom we all owe our very lives because they grow...meat. Then we hear more whines over subsidies from and by the taxpayers...cheap grazing fees on public lands...free use of public lands...and arrogant snottiness over the stupidity of city dwellers, like shoveling cow shit for a living while sucking at the public tit (those cheap grazing fees and taxpayer-sourced subsidies) makes one some kind of Noble Creature. The arrogance is incredible. It's like no one else works for a living, like no one else contributes to the national economy, like no one else does anything worthwhile. Why, these guys should get together with Ron Gettlefinger of the UAW. The mindset is remarkably the same.

And of course, let's not forget that blind hatred of everything olive drab...

Then we have the latest tax deal. Sales tax. Remember that business awhile back, when those women wanted an exemption for sales down at the rail station? They were doing the community a service, and so should be exempt, since they weren't really making much money (sounds a lot like ranching as defined by ranchers, doesn't it). That dog didn't hunt very well, especially when I asked if I could be exempt too, setting up a hot dog stand and selling to the AmTrak passengers. And really especially when other business owners got to toss in their two cents worth. I kind of thought any business in town was doing the community a service by contributing to the economic well-being of us all. Well...I guess I just don't get it, being a useless leech on society, in the economic sense.

So then Nancy Bennet comes up with the scheme to have Urban Renewal pay for repainting her apartments over in the 400 block of San Juan. That dog didn't hunt either, though it might sometime in the future. Say. My house in the Smile Hi City is in the TID. Perhaps I should go ask if Urban Renewal will pay for painting it. Reroofing it, too. Hey. Why not. Urban Renewal is looking at demolishing some run down houses, and here I am trying to spiff it up 'for the good of the order'.

And then, Nancy Bennet, who insisted that Somewhere on San Juan wasn't really a business, and that she didn't sell anything there, so why would she need a sales tax license...remember that? Well. Council told her that so long as she wasn't selling anything there, she didn't need a sales tax license. It wasn't a matter of exemption. You have to be selling stuff, and she insisted she wasn't.

Hah. Guess who was. Yep. And guess who now has a ...sales tax license?

So we have people who have been taking a freebie for twenty years throwing a hissy fit and behaving arrogantly and insultingly toward the very people who have let them have free use.

So we have people trying to avoid sales tax payments, using that same "but we're doing the community a service" as justification.

Sounds a lot like the UAW. "We're doing the nation a service by building crappy cars at exhorbitant labor costs. You owe it to us to bail us out."

Perhaps all these local characters should apply to the Eunuch of the Treasury for some bailout munny. After all, they apparently richly deserve it.

Different perspectives

First, the CEO view:

Earning the bonus

Then, the view of The Laid Off Worker:

Pets

And here is my choice for the UAW and the CEO's of Chrysler and GM...and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and just about any other corporation:

Most effective bailout system

12/14/08

"It's a Wonderful Life"

The kids of the La Junta First Church of the Nazrene presented "It's a Wonderful Life" this morning:





The show was directed by Michelle Eveatt, with help from several parents and church members. It was well done, with many of the kids showing a greater comfort with being up on the stage, compared to previous years.

12/13/08

The Chi-town Wimp

Hoodoggie.

"Rahmbo" Emanuel is having hissy fits over the main stream media, who have apparently figured out they are really not the Obama Cheerleading Team. Some of them, anyway.

Emanuel: I'm getting death threats

This is the whackjob that was stabbing the table with a steak knife, shouting "He's dead! Dead! Dead!" with every stab,in reference to those he thought had crossed him. Apparently he isn't such a rough and ready stud when he is on the receiving end of the slime.

Now he is whining about the press. Whining. Getting all red in the face. Getting death threats, according to ABC News, over the "Hot Rod" affair. One can only wonder...is he getting death threats from Illinois citizens who have finally had enough of the Chicago political hand job, or is he getting death threats from the Chicago political machine itself? The way Rezko and the rest of them have been singing, I wouldn't be surprised if it were Emanuel's and Obama's homies doing the threatening.

This is the clown who is going to be the chief of staff to the President of the United States.

God help us. I can only imagine what kinds of 'entertainment' we are in for when these jokers are actually in charge. It's going to make the Clinton Follies look tame in comparison.

12/12/08

The Star

Here is a very good essay written by Vanderleun, over on American Digest:

The Star

Some excerpts:

Theirs was the Age of Myth; a world where night was not dimmed by the web of lights that now obscures the stars. Their nights were lit by flaring torches, dim oil lamps, guttering candles; by the phases of the moon and the broad shimmering river of the Milky Way. As the sun declined and night ascended, life withdrew into shuttered and barred homes. Only the very rich or the very poor were abroad in the dark.

and

Somewhere around 5 B.C. three of the world’s leading astronomers/astrologers noticed something unusual in the sky. It could have been a comet. It could have been a supernova. It could have been a rare conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. Whatever it was, it was strange enough for them to travel towards it. Or so it is said. Or so it is written. Or so it is remembered from the time of myth.

Myth or history? What is the reality of this road trip towards an obscure birth in a wretched town, during a not very pleasant passage in history, over 2,000 years in our past?

We do not know. We cannot know. As it is in so much else that we ignore it is not given to us to know.

and

In 2004 Time and Newsweek, endeavored, in their ham-fisted way, to gin up some circulation with articles that purported to “examine” the miracles surrounding the intersection of the divine with a world now buried two millennia deep in the ash of the Earth. We shall probably see the same sort of thing this year. The cheapening of the spirit in this culture,”the expense of reason in a waste of shame,” by those whose lamp of the soul burns low, is now as predicable as the winter solstice.



The entire essay is well worth a read, as is the quote from Isaiah linked near the top of the page. That link is from the KJV; this one is from the NIV. Here it is from the Tanakh, which I think is far more poetic than any of the "Christian" Bibles:

For I HaShem thy God hold thy right hand, who say unto thee: 'Fear not, I help thee.'

Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I help thee, saith HaShem, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Behold, I make thee a new threshing-sledge having sharp teeth; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.

Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in HaShem, thou shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst; I HaShem will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

I will open rivers on the high hills, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia-tree, and the myrtle, and the oil-tree; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane-tree, and the larch together;

That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of HaShem hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

Buying American

CNN has finally pulled their collective heads out and started looking at what is an American car.

Remember when CNN was going alpha sierra over McCain's fleet, and extolling the virtues of Obama's "all American" Ford Escape hybrid? And never bothered to check, back then, on the content of that Escape?

The fact of the matter is that the Escape was not American made, it had too much foreign content to meet the "American-made" standard.

Now CNN seems to have figured it out:

Buy American!

An excerpt:

But buying a car to benefit the U.S. economy has become an ambiguous, complicated challenge.

"How you define an American car is one of the great conundrums of this world," said Dutch Mandel, the editor and associate publisher of AutoWeek.

Fewer than half of the parts on some Big Three vehicles are made in the U.S.

Looking at a Ford Fusion? It is assembled in Mexico. The Chrysler 300C is assembled in Canada, but its transmission is from Indiana; the brand's V-8 engine is made in Mexico. Engines in the Chevrolet Equinox sport utility vehicle are from China.

On the other hand, Toyota's Camry is comprised 80 percent of parts made in the United States, and 56 percent of Toyota's vehicles sold in the U.S. also are made here, according to Toyota spokeswoman Sona Iliffe-Moon.

The Toyota Sienna and Tundra also have 80 percent of their parts manufactured in the U.S.

Salazar votes "Yes"

Ken Salazar voted "yes" for the automakers' bailout. The UAW cannot commit to becoming competitive with non-union manufacturers, and flatly refuses to take pay cuts to become competitive...so Ken Salazar wants to take our money and stuff it into Ron Gettlefinger's wallet. And the wallets of The Gettlefinger Constituency.

That's particularly interesting, since many Americans are in fact taking pay cuts. Just ask some of the workers, some of Senator Salazar's constituents, out at Colorado Boys' Ranch who have taken substantial pay cuts. Well, they still have jobs. I gotta wonder, though. If CBR were going belly up, and we asked the UAW to siphon off some of their union dues to keep it open, to protect the jobs of the CBR workers and the local economy...do you think they would? Do you hear what I hear? It's the sound of horses laughing. Loudly. And jackasses - or donkeys - braying. Meanwhile, our local people are taking pay cuts, but the UAW refuses, flatly refuses to accept pay cuts to keep their jobs, and we are expected to bail them, the UAW, out. That is beyond understanding.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee wanted concessions from the UAW and the automaking companies. He proposed an amendment delineating those concessions. Corker's admendment was a lot tougher than what the Democrats wanted, and what the Buffoon in the White House wanted. So now Bush is going to let the Eunuch of the Treasury start shoveling out money from TARP?

Here is an excerpt from a Business Week interview with Corker:

Are you of the mind now that Chapter 11 is not a good option and that the better road is for the government to impose Chapter 11-like oversight and conditions, without the stigma of bankruptcy scaring off would-be car and truck buyers?

All along, my point of view has been how do we solve this. That's the world I came from. Where I am now [in the Congress] there is too little of that. I can tell you that the Senate and House Republicans have been totally uninvolved in the negotiations between the Congress and White House. We have laid out some thoughts. I do not believe that any plan can succeed (BusinessWeek.com, 11/20/08) that does not materially deal with the companies' capital structures. They have far too much debt. Labor issues and what labor is willing to put on the table are important, too. But the debt structure is far more important.

If we start writing checks, the bondholders will have no incentive to take a haircut on the debt. GM alone has $28 billion in unsecured debt, and $21 billion due to the UAW for future health-care payments. To put, in GM's case, maybe $70 billion of debt on top of that? There is no business model for that. The UAW has to take half their debt in equity, and the bondholders have to take half their unsecured debt in equity and a total of 30¢ on the dollar, or this has no chance to succeed.

This is a tremendous opportunity for GM and Ford [to achieve maybe four years of restructuring in one year]. I mean that in a positive way. This is an opportunity that comes along once in 50 years.

What's the hole in the plan?

First, we could lose the leverage over the union and bondholders if we start writing checks without spelling it out in the legislation. Second, the alternative is Chapter 11. The bondholders have credit default swaps. If the automakers file Chapter 11, some of them could make out as well if they don't cooperate.

But you do think that this could all take place without Chapter 11?


I have talked to Treasury about how it could go. They changed the capital structures of Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) over a weekend. Of course, it could be done. We've thrown a lot of things out, but they have been rebuffed [by Democrats].

What specifically has been rebuffed?

I don't think there is a desire to put concrete concepts in the legislation. The most simple one is to force the UAW to be at pay and benefit parity with the foreign transplants by Mar. 31. I agree that the numbers thrown around about how much UAW makes have been wrong. But the total cost of benefits to workers and retirees are real numbers. You have to get those costs pared. And make the money conditional on the debt holders taking a substantial haircut. That language should be in the bill. There is a lot of dancing around. Do I think the language will be in the final bill? No.


Here is the entire interview:

Senator Corker and the Auto Bailout

There's just no end to it...

Ron Gettlefinger is working himself into a lather, trying to hog as much as he can for the UAW:

UAW blames Republicans

You gotta love the fact that the UAW can offer no assurances of when they will become competitive with non-union auto manufacturers...yet they want you and me to fill their wallets. They're like those buzzards we saw fighting over the road-kill skunk.

And if that were not enough, we have this:

The $50 billion lie

"...a quiet suctioning of hope..."

Leece sent this one over. It's by Bob Perks:

What do you want from the holidays?

Excerpts:

Right now there are people facing the most difficult challenges of their lives.

Some are losing their homes. Some are wondering where the next meal will come from. Others worked hard all of their lives, retired, and their investments dried up in the market," he said. He had my attention. "There is a quiet suctioning of hope in the world. Every night I get on my knees and pray for them. They get up every morning to negative thoughts of defeat and the feeling of being powerless. I pray that they awaken to something positive. That they can stand tall on the promise of what they see as hope fading. That's no way to begin a day. Negative steps cause destructive falls.

All I ask is to be somewhere where eyes know me, hands welcome me, and hearts warm me." That's what I was looking for. What more could anyone ask? Take away the over-eating, the extravagant presentation, the high expectations for this time of year and see this truth.

More from Bob Perks

12/11/08

Lunchtime conversations

So I was sitting there at the lunch table over at the primary school today with Toot Sweet and her pals. There were a couple of boys sitting across from us, playing junior Butthead and Beavis.

I looked over at them and said: "I used to be a werewolf, you know."

That brought the lunchtime conversation to a screeching halt. They all sat there looking at me.

Finally, one kid asked, "Did you ever eat anyone?"

"Only second graders. They are particularly plump and juicy."

Large eyes now.

"Are you still a werewolf?"

"No. They have shots for it now."

About that time Tookie reached across in front of me, pointing at something. I snapped twice at her finger, as if trying to bite it. With each 'snap!' the kids jumped.

"Sorry. Sometimes old habits die hard," I explained, "sometimes I just can't help myself."

"How did you get to be a werewolf?" one asked.

"I was bitten by a wolf spider, on a camping trip, when I was a kid," I told them.

Lots of nodding of heads, understanding now how this all came about.

"My friend got bit by a brown recluse spider," one young fellow shared.

"What happened to him?" I asked.

"I don't know. I haven't seen him," said the lad.

"There. You see? It's like in Spiderman. You get bitten, you take on some of the spider's characteristics," I replied.

"Huh?"

"Your friend has become...reclusive...".

"Huh?"

"What happened to the second graders?" one asked.

"Well, I ate them, you know. Their teachers were confused."

"Why?"

"Why did I eat them or why were the teachers confused?"

"Uhhh..."

"The teachers were confused because they liked the second graders - so did I, for they were very tasty, but I think the teachers liked them as kids, not morsels - and yet they were so happy that the classrooms were so much quieter. You guys should be careful not to make too much noise, so if a werewolf gets you, people will miss you for who you were rather than what you were."

Deep thinking on that.

So they all left. Tookie was the last kid in the last class in line so we were the last out. In fact, some first graders came along and sat down across from us as we finished up our cheeseburgers. After a few minutes, I said to one of them:

"I used to be a werewolf....".

Obama and the embracing of "Hot Rod"

"Workin' hard for the Hot Rod..."



What did Obama know about Hot Rod, and when?

Well...he endorsed Blagojevich in 2002, and again in 2006. By 2006, half the state was ready to lynch Blagojevich, and it was widely recognized that he was the target of a vigorous Federal investigation. The Chicago Tribune reported on, and commented on, Blagojevichian scheming on a regular basis.

Yet Obama endorsed Hot Rod again:

Obama endorses and works for Blagojevich

The new administration hasn't even taken office yet, and we already have not skeletons, but reeking, rotting corpses falling out of closets.

Hope and Change. You betcha. ;)

From Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz:

State Senator Barack Obama (D-Chicago): …right now, my main focus is to make sure that we elect Rod Blagojevich as Governor, we—

Jeff Berkowitz: You working hard for Rod?

Barack Obama: You betcha. (Comment from Blogger Central: That's too funny, considering the rabidity with which the Obamamanians ridiculed Sara Palin.)

Jeff Berkowitz: Hot Rod?

Barack Obama: That’s exactly right. You know, I think that having a Democratic Governor will make a big difference. I think that I am working hard to get a Democratic [state] senate and Emil Jones President, replacing [Republican Senate President] Pate Philip and once all that clears out in November, then I think we’ll be able to make some good decisions about the [U. S.] Senate race.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you want to see a Democratic State Senate, a Democratic State House, a Democratic Governor—

Barack Obama: I am a Democrat.

Jeff Berkowitz: Is that balanced? And I thought we wanted a fair and balanced approach to things.

Barack Obama: I am a Democrat.

Jeff Berkowitz: Card-carrying Democrat?

Barack Obama: Card-carrying Democrat. I really believe that the core Democratic philosophy is one that is—you know—really helps working people, and hopefully you know, we’ll be able to make sure that we carry out a mandate in this next election in November [2002].


So much for 'reaching across the aisle'.

Hope and Change. You betcha. ;)

Moonshot

From this evening, in The Holy Land:


Fire, EMS, and law enforcement work together at accident scene

There was a one car accident with injuries just east of County Road 25, between Swink and Walmart, about 4:50 PM Thursday evening.

La Junta fire and EMS people did their usual outstanding job in extricating the victims and transporting them to AVRMC. La Junta PD and Otero SO handled traffic control, while Colorado State Patrol is handling the investigation.

Here is the preliminary article on the T-D website. Leece will have more info as it develops.

Tribune-Democrat article

The car drifted off the westbound lanes into the ditch on the north side of the highway, hitting this power pole and shearing it off. The pole dropped down, bringing live power lines dangerously close to the road surface.

In the photos below, La Junta fire and EMS personnel extricate the victims and prepare them for transport to AVRMC.








A different standard

From Campbell Brown over on CNN:

Obama's response insufficient

It's rather amazing that this would show up on CNN, though Brown seems to be a bit less gushy over The Obamessiah than most of the MainStream Media.

But she is right on the money with this one:

Mr. President-elect, we understand there are reasons you have said so little. We recognize you don't want to do or say anything that might compromise the investigation.

But all too often we have also seen presidents hide behind a "no comment due to an ongoing investigation" when they find themselves or their administrations caught up in scandal.

For that reason, and because you asked us to hold you to a different standard, it is fair to ask you to be more forthcoming.

Be more direct and clear with the American people about what you and the people around you knew, or didn't know.

And then we have these:

Obama met with Blagojevich in Chicago over senate appointment

Another one under the bus

Boomerang: The Democratic culture of corruption

and this choice one, to which we don't see the MSM paying a lot of attention:

Obama can get Blagojevich's wife on paid corporate boards

and from KHQA Channel 7 Chicago on 5 November:

CHICAGO, ILL. -- Now that Barack Obama will be moving to the White House, his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois will have to be filled.

That's one of Obama's first priorities today.

He's meeting with Governor Rod Blagojevich this afternoon in Chicago to discuss it.

Illinois law states that the governor chooses that replacement.

There's already been speculation about his selection...from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Chicago's south side who co-chaired Obama's presidential campaign, to recently-retired state senate president Emil Jones, to the governor himself.

It's likely the governor will make his decision quickly so the new senator will get some seniority before newly-elected senators take office in January...

That sure doesn't fit with Obama's statement that he has not discussed the 'issue' with "Hot Rod".

No one so far is accusing Obama of being directly implicated in the senate seat auction. But only a completely brainwashed disciple of the Obamessiah is going to buy this business of a) Obama never talked to Blagojevich about the senate seat, or b) no one on his staff knew anything about the Blagojevich machinations.

What did the Obama crew know, and when did they know it, and who did they tell? Did they inform the prosecutorial team? The investigators? One would hope that having become aware of this kind of rampant corruption, they would be moved to do something to help put a stop to it. After all, that would sit with Obama's mantra of "Hope and Change".

Or did they just keep silent, realizing that it was filthy dirty but being so accustomed to it as part of life in Chicago and Illinois that their reaction was not one of righteous horror, but something like "Blagojevich isn't even trying to be discreet, so we'd better 'distance' ourselves from him before he gets caught." After all, the Chicago Tribune and a good many citizens have been calling for Blago's head on a political pike for years, with recognition that it was only a matter of time before he was indicted surfacing at least a year ago, if not before.

So how about it, there, Mr. President-elect. Let's see some of that transparency, some of that "Hope and Change". Let's see that "different standard". But, we notice that "different standard" is not necessarily a "higher standard". "Different" might mean simply that we are going to become "Chikagans", with honesty in politics - already an oxymoron - being the next victim to get tossed under the wheels of the Hope and Change Express.

The "Hot Rod" that wouldn't quit

President-elect Obama has decided to call for Blagojevich to quit. But the "Hot Rod" ain't listenin'.

It's interesting to see how many of the great and the near-great of Democratic politics are now stepping forward to take their public shots at the fellow who has become, finally, recognized as The Great Embarrassment.

Residents of Illinois have been calling for "Hot Rod's" head for some years now, but like the Pink Rabbit or a Timex, he just keeps on going. There is a bit of a clue in how the writing was visible on the wall when you consider that Blagojevich, governor of Obama's home state, and one of Obama's political benefactors and mentors, was pointedly ignored during the DNC up in Denver.

Obama was yet again 'distancing' himself from someone who had the potential to become 'controversial'. He didn't want to be splattered with the blood, gore, and political feces when it finally hit the fan. In this case, one can hardly blame him, but c'mon...Obama, Blagojevich, Rezko, Cari, all of them, have been in the sack together since Day One.

Obama may not be part and parcel of Blagojevich's current 'issues', but Obama danced with the man, pressed flesh with him, took his political favors.

The Chicago Tribune and columnists like John Kass did a great job by staying on this thing. Now, we can watch all of them, the Democrats up in Illinois and other places, scrambling around trying to send Blago down the hangman's chute while scrubbing themselves madly to make sure none of the splatter shows.

Here is the Kass Column:

John Kass

You can see why "Hot Rod" was wanting the Chicago Tribune editorial staff fired.

12/10/08

Obama and "Hot Rod"

"Hot Rod" Blagojevich, the political pinhead who currently serves as governor of Illinois and who by now we all know was arrested by the Feds and charged with corruption, has a history with Barack Obama:

Obama Advised Blagojevich On His Victorious Gubernatorial Run. “That year, [Obama] gained his first high-level experience in a statewide campaign when he advised the victorious gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich, another politician with a funny name and a message of reform.” (Ryan Lizza, “Making It,” The New Yorker, 7/21/08)

Obama: “If the governor asks me to work on his behalf, I’ll be happy to do it.” (John Patterson, “Senator Says He’s Still Willing To Help Blagojevich Despite Hiring Concerns,” Chicago Daily Herald, 7/27/06)

Obama Endorsed Blagojevich For A Second Term. “Obama, who endorsed Blagojevich for a second term nearly 18 months ago, said he’s ready to help Illinois democrats in the upcoming elections.” (John Patterson, “Senator Says He’s Still Willing To Help Blagojevich Despite Hiring Concerns,” Chicago Daily Herald, 7/27/06)

Obama: “We’ve got a governor in Rod Blagojevich who has delivered consistently on behalf of the people of Illinois.” (Deanna Bellandi, “Illinois Democrats Talk Unity But Don’t Show It,” The Associated Press, 8/16/06)

There is a lot more, of course, but that's a good representative sampling.

Because of that history, Obama has been asked if he has discussed with "Hot Rod" the appointment of his replacement to serve in the US Senate. Obama claimed on 9 December (yesterday) that he has not:

"I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening."

The manner in which that answer was given perked up ears all over the blogosphere:

"...we were not [aware]..." suddenly became "...I was not aware..." in reference to the crooked wheeling and dealing.

Why is this significant? Because he changed it from 'we' to 'I'. It is very easy to infer from that, that his staff has been in contact - that's the 'we' - and Obama backpedaled on that because it would be easy to dig up and prove.

As for his own contact with "Hot Rod", back on 23 November, Obama's senior advisor Dave Axelrod said on FoxNews:

"I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."

Today, the Obamanians sacrificed Axelrod, denouncing that statement from 23 November:

"What the president-elect said today is correct, David Axelrod misspoke," the aide said.

Wow. So now loyal Dave, the senior advisor who saw The Obamessiah all the way through the campaign and the election, has joined the ranks of all those others who have had their throats cut, figuratively if not literally:

Obama's 'bus list'

This is a partial list of people, of acquaintances and erstwhile 'friends', who have been 'thrown under the bus' by Barack Obama. At the first whiff of taint, Obama manages to 'distance' himself from the taintee. There are a lot of them, quite a few more than on that short list.

Let's look a little more.

Back on 9 November, CNN reported that Obama's choice for his replacement was Valerie Jarret:

Obama's choice

Going now to the affidavit, we find this:

On 10 November (Monday) "Hot Rod" held a two hour conference call with Patti Blagojevich, John Harris (the pet weasel, AKA his chief of staff); "Hot Rod's" general counsel, and several advisors operating out of Sodom-on-the-Potomac (Washington, DC). They were discussing the schemes for which "Hot Rod" has been charged. Blagojevich specifically asked “what he can get from the President-elect for the Senate seat,” according to the affidavit Participants in the call also talked about how to “monetize” "Hot Rod's" connections. Allegedly. Let's not forget the 'allegedly'.

That same evening, after the call, CNN reported that “two Democratic sources close to President-elect Barack Obama tell CNN that top adviser Valerie Jarrett will not be appointed to replace him in the U.S. Senate.”

Now is that a two-steppin' shuffle, or what?

Consider this: In that same call, Blagojevich said this about Obama, relating to giving up the senatorial replacement for nothing: “F— him. For nothing? F— him.” Yep.

When you put it all together - read the affidavit and then start looking at the Obama crew's reactions when compared against the dates of the calls recorded by the Feds - it really looks like the Obama people knew what "Hot Rod" was up to. They didn't go for it. That's good. They may have shielded Obama from it. Obama knew something wasn't right, but probably not exactly. That's 'plausible deniability'. But it defies logic that his crew did not know, and recognizing the stench of corruption and the stupidity of Blagojevich, understood very well that this was one to really be distanced from.

It's all Chikaga/Illinois politics.

That's what we will shortly have in the White House.

12/9/08

"Staggering allegations, even by Illinois standards..."

Eric Zorn comments on "Hot Rod"

Excerpt:

The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering .They allege that (Ill. Gov. Rod) Blagojevich put a "for sale" sign on the naming of a United States Senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism...U.S. Atty. Patrick J. Fitzgerald in a news release this morning.

Fitzgerald has prosecuted a lot of political corruption in his years in Chicago, so you really have to go some to find acts that would stagger him. I find no record in the news archives of Fitzgerald ever before describing corruption charges as "staggering."

Yet the charges in the criminal complaint (text version) are, in fact, staggering. They are stunning. Eyepopping. Gobsmacking. Jaw-dropping. Appalling. Unprecedented in their alleged brazenness.

Another excerpt:

Privately, a few people who know the governor describe him as a "sociopath," and they insist they're not using hyperbole. State representative Joe Lyons, a fellow Democrat from Chicago, told reporters that Blagojevich was a "madman" and "insane."

That struck me at the time, as over the top. Today it strikes me as brave and prescient.


That strikes me as a good summation of the current political situation in Illinois. This is what we will have in Sodom-on-the-Potomac.

Hope and Change.
Yah, you betcha.

Wanna buy a seat in the United States Senate?

Federal authorities arrested Illinois governor "Hot Rod" Blagojevich at his posh North Side Chikaga home this morning:

Feds arrest Governor Blagojevich

Here is the 76 page indictment:

How to sell a senate seat

Actually, selling Obama's senate seat is just the tip of the iceberg. Read the indictment. Here is one interesting quote:

"According to the affidavit, Blagojevich floated the idea of "a substantial salary for himself at a either a nonprofit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;" a corporate board seat for his wife worth as much as $150,000 a year; promises of campaign funds, including cash up front; and a Cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself."

The only way that "...a Cabinet post..." or "...ambassadorship for himself.." make any sense is if "Hot Rod" has a hook into The Obamessiah's staff. Someone with some influence with The Obamessiah. Unless, of course, "Hot Rod" is simply hallucinating or suffering more delusions of grandeur, which is entirely possible. It wouldn't take much for this pinhead to over rate his status as an "Obama mentor".

My favorite "Hot Rod" quote:

"I have nothing to fear but truth."

I have nothing to fear but the truth

Yes. He said that. Back in July, at a press conference of all things.

This is all old hat to Illinois. The only reason "Hot Rod" is in the governor's mansion is that the Republicans were at least as corrupt and had just been bagged for that corruption near the time of the last election. Blago's Republican predecessor, George Ryan, was also indicted for corruption and languishes in a Federal prison camp near Terre Haute, IN, as we speak.

Why is all of this important?

Because:

Rezko, the Democrats, and the Chikaga political machine

"Hot Rod" Blagojevich, an Obama mentor