Monday, March 30, 2009

Soy Màs Borracho, Soy Màs Peligro

So our neighbors to the south have become, como se dice, problematic for us, despite our noble laws and ways and our valiant thousand-mile wall abutting what is apparently the world's shallowest major river. This is Saint Ronnie's War On Some Drugs come full circle on us, folks, a blundering ouroboran catastrophe that has never successfully interdicted neither source nor demand, but has wasted countless lives trying all the same.

And now the problems are writ large, as if our efforts to put these people to work building our shitty cars and picking our strawberries weren't enough. Ingrates. I think John Robb has sussed the situation better than most, certainly more accurately than anyone in the federal government can afford to admit publicly. A "hollow state" can be just as dangerous, perhaps more, than the "failed state", because the former still has many of the trappings of a conventional political entity.

But here's the thing: we've trained the cartels' most lethal enforcers; we sell them our guns, because the Second Amendment means nothing if a drug thug can't whip out a bankroll and snag a trunk-load of assault weapons; and most importantly, we buy their drugs. I'm not moralizing, believe me, people have the right to do their thing in their own home, but someone's keeping these nasty fuckers in business. It's time we sat down and did the math, if we still remember how.

And all these little bullshit maneuvers we've tried over the years -- mandatory minimums, no-knock warrants, trashing the Fourth Amendment, turning urban police forces into paramilitary garrisons, covert ops in banana republics -- have failed utterly. Even without the direct threat of prison, we systemically condemn entire socioeconomic swaths of people to lives of hopeless debt peonage and miserable wage slavery, and then wonder why they want to get fucked up all the time.

It's hard to find sympathy for chronic fuck-ups and drug addicts, especially in a country so hopelessly addicted to self-help scams and the ethos of bootstrapping in an entropic economy. But it's even more difficult to sympathize with people who know about all our failed efforts, as well as our failure to admit and change them, and still have the balls to point the finger at the country our appetites helped hollow out.

Your Liberal Media

To be fair, whom exactly was supposed to be on the defense-contractor-operated chat show to limn the official narrative with the loser's perspective, if not Poor Ol' Straight Talk? It's his gig until he surrenders it. Perhaps when Gregs is done sniffing the ass groove in Johnny Mac's favorite green-room chair, he can sit down and draw up a nice list of alternates for the next go-round, the obligatory "other side" appearance. Michele Bachmann would be entertaining, just for the scary-silly factor, like Terry Bradshaw on the pre-game show.

I swear, they must have a dartboard with the same dozen or so names. Time to groom some new talent, fellas.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Northern Exposure

Looks like everyone's favorite Wasilla hillbilly has stepped in it once again, big time. [Link via Gin and Tacos.]

I disagree with Ed at G&T's assessment, however; the tone of the Portfolio article simply confirms what we all realized months ago, that Miss Thang has outgrown her parochial ambitions, that it's the pictures that have gotten small, and that the GOP bench is so severely thin that the national party org will be happy to double down on her future. Who else they got? Bobby "The Exorcist" Jindal? Michael "Wickety-Wack" Steele? Michele "Mary Tyler Moron" Bachmann? Good luck with all that.

And Alaskans are most certainly dumb enough to vote her in again no matter how badly she screws the pooch; we are, after all, talking about a state that damn near returned a patently corrupt, insane coot like Ted Stevens back to the Senate after he was convicted. This is a state whose residents apparently take some measure of twisted pride in bucking standard assumptions such as logic and rationality, and Palin, whatever else she is, is obviously adept at pushing the right emotional buttons. It's how she got this far.

But again, her whirlwind trip through the lower forty-eight appears to have enhanced her most notable trait, that of smarmy, grasping ambition, borne of pure gall and the ability to pull the most amazing, ridiculous shit straight out of her ass and run it right up the flagpole. If she can get the blessing from higher-ups, I would bet money on her challenging Lisa Murkowski for that other Senate seat. I don't think we've heard the last of her, especially as whatever economic "surge" begins "working" invariably leaves the usual swaths of low-income, low-info folks -- Palin's base, of course -- where they've always been, seething with resentment, ready to vote for whoever will validate their bitterness.

It's something when the brightest stars of one of the two major political parties in the world's most powerful nation are a couple of card-carrying morons like Palin and Jindal, the latter of whom may want to confer with the former about her state's Mount Redoubt continuing to erupt, given Jindal's smug ignorance about the whimsical nature of volcano montioring. There's nothing left of the GOP but a cadre of moronic assholes, and the sooner they're written off for good, if they're not going to get their shit together, the better.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Everyone's a Winner

Contra Edroso's take on Obama's Leno gaffe, I simply assumed that "Special Olympics" was internal code for the collective of rightard bloggers Roy compiles on a weekly basis. Given their lack of coherent thought processes and reflexive nattering substituting for logic (not to mention their representatives' stellar work on their "alternabudget" -- awesome graphs!), it's not an unreasonable assumption.

If anything, the pejoratives are unfair to people who are actually retarded; they have enough to deal with in life without all these Malkin-come-latelies making a serious condition seem like a strange, aggressive pandemic.

But hey, I suppose someone had to take the side of AIG execs and idiots dumping tea bags in rivers and such.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Kids Are Alright

It would be easy enough to characterize the rise (or even the general rate) of teen pregnancy as simply the result of youthful ignorance, dumb impulse, or even the usual polarized cultural excuses of abstinence or condom education. All of them have a part to play, no doubt.

But perhaps there's an economic factor that not only complements but supersedes the usual tedious cultural explanations. Maybe it happens when people stop viewing unplanned pregnancies as an impediment to their future upward mobility, because they don't feel that they have any upward mobility to look forward to. Hell, not all of them are unplanned anyway, which presents another set of issues.

The [New York] Times article quotes a 19-year-old Guatemalan woman named Amalia Raymundo, who "was a rising star in her remote village in Guatemala, the region’s beauty queen and a candidate for college scholarships." Because of her experiences in American public school, Amalia saw that her dreams of becoming a doctor were so far out of her reach, she thought about dropping out. “If I am going to end up cleaning houses with my mother ... why go to high school?”

Exactly. Where's the disincentive, if you're not going to go to college and get that sweet law degree anyway? It may be even more true in small towns, where the opportunities are all elsewhere, so staying is itself a life decision on a par with getting knocked up.

Sometimes it seems like viewing social and cultural issues through the prism of economic opportunity -- especially the economic empowerment of women -- is like beating a dead horse, yet it's an undeniably compelling common element. Perhaps when the Democrats get that 90-seat margin in the Senate, they'll pay attention to mundane things such as income disparity and wage stagnation, which are the real hidden drivers behind the economic crises, and the different ways those problems touch people's lives. Not as entertaining as the rubbers-versus-abstinence scrums, but probably more useful.

Deep Thought

Apparently folks are no longer allowed to drive or shop without yapping into a fucking cell phone.

The Torture Never Stops

Some of the more strident comments in this post are a good example of people not thinking through the practical and operational ramifications of a situation. I agree with the catharsis of the writer, in mocking poor Bernie Madoff's plight. You know, fuck Madoff. Although there doesn't seem to be any harm in giving the poor old bastard some books or something. Confinement is sufficient in this case; the torture of sheer boredom is unnecessarily punitive.

The thing about Madoff's conditions being "torture" should be considered in context. The problem is that the sentencing phase is still a couple of months off, and they need to house him somewhere in the meantime, before he ultimately gets routed to Club Fed to spend the remainder of his life. Metro jail facilities are essentially full-on penitentaries in their own right, with the conditions and crowding that you might otherwise assume exist in San Quentin or Angola.

So the options are either gen-pop, where Madoff would be turned out or killed probably within hours, or protective custody, which has its own set of inviolable protocols, which are in place as much for the guards' safety as anything. Not that Madoff is going to throw his feces or shank a guard with a sharpened toothbrush, and they are no doubt going easier on him than they do on a gangbanger or terrorist.

However, if these conditions are "torture" for Madoff, then they're torture for everyone in that PC block. And if that's the case, then you're talking about releasing them into gen-pop, where they may present a very real danger to guards and other prisoners. A friend of mine from high school has worked at Pelican Bay for over a decade, and there are things that go on that the public does not hear about. Guards literally have to take extraordinary measures to protect their families, since even supermax facilities are not 100% foolproof in preventing gang members from getting info and marching orders to their associates on the outside. I don't think people are considering those ramifications when it comes to discussing how we warehouse and treat prisoners.

I would say it's torture across the board, where non-violent drug offenders are housed with truly vicious people and routinely victimized by them; where low-level drug mules take mandatory-minimum double-decade hits so some grandstanding prosecutor can show that he's Doing Something, while the gang boss roams free; where guards use gang families as enforcers within the prison, turning the place essentially into a gladiator school; where people treated like animals (and indeed, many of them are, but treating them as such only reinforces their behavior) eventually have to be released back into the real world, utterly unequipped for the adjustment and with a much worse attitude.

Perhaps the biggest injustice here is actually that Madoff is probably going to be one of the very few -- perhaps the only -- person of any consequence to receive any punishment for his deeds; in fact, many of his colleagues and partners-in-crime have been rewarded out of our pockets for doing essentially the same things Madoff did. If what AIG and Merrill Lynch and the rest of these animals did wasn't a Ponzi scheme, or at least a blatant scam, I don't what is. These people really should be subject to forfeiture of ill-gained assets, removed from society for an extended period of time and kept under close supervision, until a court of law has determined that their sociopathic behavior has been curtailed to the best of the system's ability.

After all, if a society is to remain civilized, it should operate under the premise that most people can be rehabilitated to some extent, and I do believe that, as with your garden-variety loser holding up a liquor store (who, unlike your finance predator, can actually be negotiated with), the depraved indifference shown by what passes for the American financial industry can and must be rehabilitated. Sadly, despite the incessant claims of "change", Obama and his little sidekick Timmy are determined to reinstate the sociopaths with a fresh supply of Monopoly money, and a different set of loopholes to circumvent. Someone should remind Obama and Geithner that this is all a game to these guys, because no one has told them that it isn't.


I don't think any rational person will mistake Iran's mullahs for being terribly, well, rational, at least by secular western standards, but characterizing Khamenei's response to Obama's Persian New Year overture as a "rebuff" seems to be a fundamental misreading of the situation.

"We do not have any record of the new U.S. president," he said in a live television broadcast. "We are observing, watching and judging. If you change, we will also change our behavior. If you do not change, we will be the same nation as 30 years ago."


Khamenei said that lifting economic sanctions and retracting "hostile propaganda" would be among the welcomed shifts in U.S. policies.

"For you to say that we will both talk to Iran and simultaneously exert pressure on her, both threats and appeasement, our nation hates this approach," he said.


To improve America's standing abroad, Khamenei advised Obama, "avoid an arrogant tone, avoid arrogant behavior, avoid bullying behavior, do not interfere in nations' affairs, be contented with your own share, do not define interests extraterritorially all over the world."

This is actually more reasonable that one might have come to expect from the weekly "Death to America" rallies (which, as every knowledgeable person on the area from Juan Cole to Fareed Zakaria has pointed out, is far more of a mob chant; individual Iranians are mostly pro-American).

Of course, Iranian funding of Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism has to cease, and might actually be a better place to focus on than nuclear empowerment for now. The two groups are not likely to be snuffed out, but they probably can be steered toward a Sinn Fein type of political compromise, which will not satisfy past victims, but will help prevent future ones.

Some of this is generational also, and as some of the old hardliners who still harbor bitter memories of the excesses of the White Revolution die off, normalization of relations can advance. But it's not just about the anti-Zionist rhetoric that Tehran uses to stoke its revolutionary guff, it's the fact that Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter enemies as well, and that even if Tehran tore down the Isfahan nuclear facility tomorrow, planted a nice red-white-and-blue community garden in its place and named it after George Washington, the Saudis would probably calibrate that situation against their own relationship with us.

The Saudis probably wouldn't mind having nukes either, whether or not Iran gets them (they will) and their populace has a much greater anti-American, fundamentalist whackjob undercurrent. So it's more than just the usual tone present in the article, it's that no one really seems to follow that trail of geopolitical relationships all the way through to how dependent our foreign and domestic policies are on that balance.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dumb and Dumber

Which is worse: octogenarian virgins dispensing sex advice, or people taking that advice? There's no winning a quality-of-life argument with a deeply closeted (therefore self-loathing), deeply hypocritical faction, the official rhetoric of which has frequently alluded to the concept of suffering being a celestial gift, an opportunity to seek redemption (or something).

There could be 6 billion AIDS-riddled inhabitants dying on top of one another in Africa alone, and the church would still insist on preserving the sanctity of every tadpole. Not exactly a secret. Perhaps dealing with them accordingly might be in order for a change. The idea that legitimacy is automatically conferred just because of longevity is unnecessary, and frequently cruel in practice. The club is not going to change its rules to satisfy dissenters unless the coffers start dwindling.

The only thing more irritating than the pope being a jerk is people asking why the pope has to be a jerk, instead of why they're still listening to him in the first place.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Malignant Narcissism

Let's take a look at a few of the more egregious media morons of the past few days, starting with our old buddy Richard Dice Cohen, who is apparently itching to prove that he knows about as much about financial journalism as he does about comedy. The Diceman decided that poor ol' Jim Cramer needed someone to stick up for him, after the vicious on-air cornholing Cramer got from Jon Stewart.

What Jon Stewart needs is Jon Stewart. He could use a droll comedian to temper his ferocity and correct him when he's wrong, as he was about the financial media, particularly CNBC and its excitable analyst Jim Cramer. They didn't cover up the story of financial shenanigans. They didn't even know it existed.

Sigh. That was Stewart's point, that Cramer and the rest of these clowns were billing themselves as having their fingers squarely on the pulse of what was going on, and Stewart provided extra video definitively proving that Cramer understood how to game the system -- indeed, was both hunky and dory with it. But even without the video, Cramer and CNBC were left exposed as being useful idiots for Wall Street swindlers.

Another guy seems a little unclear on what really seemed like a simple, obvious concept. [emphasis in original]

If CNBC were to have been anything but cheerleaders, they might not have gotten the interviews that Jon Stewart was talking about. Thus, you can’t talk about asking harder questions and digging deeper with the assumption that you’ll have the same network of information, because in reality that depends on the questions you ask as well.

Yeah, 'cause there was absolutely no other way on the fucking planet to figure out that this was a global-scale Ponzi scheme, capitalized on three-dollar bills and unicorn farts. Nope, the only way was to get the CEO of Wachovia on and butter his ass while he lied through his teeth. Jesus Tapdancing Christ, people, this is why we get the coverage we get.

For those who missed it a couple years back when I first started talking about it, I'll tell you one enormous, undeniable clue that hit me like a ton of bricks: reading newspaper stories about regular people with regular jobs, maybe $50-60k household income, outbidding each other by five figures for the sweet-ass opportunity to pay $500-600k on a goddamned tract house in the East Bay.

Anyone who has ever been to Antioch or Concord knows there's not much there worth half a million bucks, certainly not a cookie-cutter crackerbox, but more importantly, there was no way these people could afford that. But they got ninja loans thrown at them, supplemented with a fat HELOC and encouraged to use that as an ATM, and urged to ignore that pesky little rate-adjustment date down in the fine print.

Friends 'n' neighbors, I am by no means a financial genius; I don't even live in or near the Bay Area, so it wasn't like I had a stake in it. I don't know the specifics on how credit-default swaps and collateralized debt obligations work, or the nuts and bolts of leveraging securitized derivative instruments on the margin. But a rabid chimp could figure out that using these bullshit loans and a spreadsheet formula that could only be interpreted by a few Good Will Hunting types to purchase a bunch of arcane wagers waaayyyy on the margin was untenable. It was clear that no wealth was being created, only debt being rejiggered.

I just looked at the numbers. A lot of people -- actual economists, even -- looked at the numbers and came to the same conclusions. It was a numbers racket, like in the old mob movies, except here the mobsters traded their souls for skyscrapers and unlimited gall. It wasn't that hard to figure out -- this shit never even worked on paper, never.

It only worked as long as there was an unspoken mutual agreement among the mobsters not to look at it too closely. And when someone finally did, they poured gasoline, threw a match, and pulled the fire alarm, right after filing the insurance claim. You can almost imagine Pesci hounding Liotta "do me a fuckin' favor, Hendry, help me nail dis fuckin' broad, I don' axe you fer fuckin' favors," as the scumbags at AIG wrote themselves fat bonus "contracts" last April, a full month after Bear Stearns took a header and the Euro central banks were getting involved, well after people realized there was some shit going down.

So when I see these high-tit buffoons sit there with their shit-eating grins and swear on a stack of Rick Santelli toupées that there was no way you coulda seen this comin', that there was no better way for financial reporters and commentators to do their job other than to serve as a bullhorn or billboard for the swindlers and grifters, they're either lying to you or to themselves. Stewart was mean, and Cramer was believable in his contrition, but there's no getting around that they failed -- not because they were wrong, but because they didn't care enough about getting it right.

Of course, the finance dorks have a ways to go before they catch up to the crass, guilt-free self-regard of the political smart set, who hop from teapot to teapot, looking for a proverbial tempest. Obama backed out of the Gridiron Dinner -- big fuckin' deal, right? Name one person outside the Beltway who knows or cares.

But there's so much intrigue here, n'est-ce pas? The journos feel snubbed; they're fine; they're snubbed but are pretending they're fine. The dinner is important; it's not important; it's an honored cultural tradition; it's an outdated pageant for ancient cronies and hacks. Let's make up our minds about this, people. It's not everything to everyone, it's a circle jerk for people who can't get on the list at Bohemian Grove.

Right now Obama has better things to do than help a bunch of codgers slather verbal Ben-Gay all over one another. Fuckin' dig up Henny Youngman and tell each other borscht-belt jokes or something. Buncha damned eighth-graders, thinking it's all about them.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


So the bailout babies are continuing to conjure up excuses why they deserve more of our money in their pockets. They seem not to realize that Bernie Madoff's fate is but a puny appetizer in what people expect out of this; it would be such a shame if one or more of these greedy cocksuckers got dragged out of the office and hung by their heels from the nearest traffic light.

But get a load of these fucking excuses, and tell me if I'm missing something here:

The payments to executives in A.I.G.’s financial products unit are in addition to $121 million in previously scheduled bonuses for the company’s senior executives and 6,400 employees across the sprawling corporation. Last week, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner pressured A.I.G. to cut the $9.6 million going to the top 50 executives in half and tie the rest to performance.


Word of the bonuses last week stirred such deep consternation inside the Obama administration that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the firm they were unacceptable and demanded they be renegotiated, a senior administration official said. But the bonuses will go forward because lawyers said the firm was contractually obligated to pay them.

First of all, maybe I've been in the wrong line of work my entire life, because I have never heard of contractually obligated bonuses. It sounds like some sort of accounting loophole, frankly. Who the fuck puts a bonus in a contract? If the company does well, people get a bonus determined by how well they've exceeded performance, and by their position and seniority in the company. What is this legally binding contract shit?

Which brings us to the second issue: if these bonuses are, in fact, performance-based, then they are way out of line. Their performance fucking sucks dead rhino. Their bonus should be a public flogging, or a kick in the crotch. The adjustment is not "arbitrary", contra Edward Liddy's pathetic whinging. I can't think of another occupation where people would demand to be paid extra for absolutely miserable performance.

I do not understand this weird idea they keep spouting, that these bonuses are necessary to retain talent. These people are not fucking talented; they are a bunch of dipshits who tanked the world's economy. Who else would hire such people, when they demand to be so well-compensated even when they screw the pooch? I wouldn't let these morons clean my gutters; I sure as hell don't want to pay them a bonus. You work for us peons now, you thieving motherfuckers, you may have to earn your keep.

Curricula Vitae

The future is now, and everyone is a mixed martial artist for fifteen minutes. It may get in the way of semiotic deconstructions of Leif Garrett, Billy Jack, Family Ties and/or Obama's incipient Marxism, but greatness has its risks. Not sure whether cock-punching and dick-slapping is Tae Kwon Do or Jeet Kune Do, but I guess I'll figure it out as I go along.

At any rate, yeah, I would set up a dojo and make a lot of money teaching discipline and self-reliance to Teh Children, who are Our Future, but as the Romans famously said, blogito ergo sum.

Your Liberal Media

Some might be pissed by John King's craven water-carrying for a universally loathed, thoroughly discredited ex-veep here, but I think it's a wonderful trick how King is able to enunciate his calumny so clearly with Cheney's cock wedged so deeply in his throat. Didn't realize that being able to suck a dick and eat a hero sandwich at the same time was such an integral part of the skill set.

Good also to know that King reads a short-bus rag like Human Events. It's like reading an alternate version of Highlights, where Goofus has murdered Gallant, moved into his house and started banging his mom. It is as mercifully fact-free and conjecture-full as any ideologue could hope for. So at least we know where King stands now. I mean fuck, dude, why not bring up a sandwich board from a sidewalk lunatic next time, and validate that?

CNN: the Tijuana donkey show of cable journamalism.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Southern Man

Sounds like Southern cops have really lost a step. I mean, in the old days, they'da took your money and made sure there wasn't enough left of you to tell anyone. Might want to check the dumps and swamps around this festering shithole, though it's probably all dumps and swamps. You'd think they would have at least tasered somebody just for practice.

Officials in the tiny east Texas town of Tenaha are accused in a federal lawsuit of stopping African-Americans driving through town and seizing their money and property by threatening them with criminal prosecution -- or worse.

Among the plaintiffs are two African-Americans who claim they forfeited more than $50,000 under threat of money-laundering charges, and a biracial couple who gave up more than $6,000 after officials threatened to put their children in foster care. No one was charged with a crime.

What year is this again? What country is this again? I just read Tom Bissell's Chasing the Sea, and cops in fucking Uzbekistan aren't this shamelessly corrupt. Bissell writes of cops shaking him down for five bucks or so at a time, and actually being pretty civil about it. This is just organized crime here.

But here's the thing that's most galling:

"The police and local district attorney there say they're operating within the law, and it appears as if they are," said Howard Witt, the Tribune reporter who wrote the story. "Texas has an asset forfeiture law similar to many other states, and it basically allows police to seize assets [that] are used, or suspected in being used, in commission of a crime."

The law as it currently exists does not mandate that a person be convicted of a crime or even charged with one before the police can seize the assets, Witt said. A bill was introduced Tuesday in the state Legislature to close that loophole, he said, because of the alleged goings-on in Tenaha.

This is what your War on Some Drugs gets you, America, a nearly complete forfeiture of Fourth Amendment rights, and due process. Low-level drug dealers doing long stretches because of mandatory minimum sentencing, redneck cops literally getting away with highway robbery, transit cops blowing away physically restrained partiers for no goddamned reason, the world's highest incarceration rate, and no real dent in the actual problem. It merely chips away at the situation, while eroding everyone's basic rights as a citizen. It's been going on for a full generation now, and it should be unacceptable.

More importantly, in this case they're obviously hiding behind the WoSD rubric, when the real problem is the timeless cracker-cops-pushing-dark-people-around-because-they-can syndrome.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vacation, Interrupted

I've been sitting on this one for a couple weeks now, but what the hey -- as it turns out, the big interview I went on last month was successful, and I started the new gig at the beginning of this week. And it's a really good job, better money, great people, better situation. I was starting to wonder what the over-under would be for having to settle for a Kwik-E-Mart job or whatever was out there, and this came through.

I'd like to be able to say that it was constant hard work and perseverance, blah blah blah, but it was really more a case of preparedness and mindset. As I said before, I read and exercised, drank profusely, played guitar, spent time with my family. I probably spent an average of 90 minutes a day job-hunting, if that, but I made goddamned sure that every bit of it counted, the materials were tight, and that when asked for something specific (such as the aforementioned presentation) I knew my shit cold. So there is hope, just keep at it and keep perspective.

Of course, this now means that I can no longer sleep in till ten, do vodka shots in my underwear all day and watch Rachael Ray. And the intermittent bursts of punctuated snark and epic jeremiads will be even more erratic, if that's possible. The sacrifices we make.

The Doug Feith Award (NFL Edition)

There are dumb motherfuckers, and there are dumb motherfuckers. And then there's one of our favorite targets, Father of the Decade Travis Henry, by now infamous even in non-sports circles for siring nine children by nine women. Check this shit out:

His eldest child was conceived while Henry was in high school, before he was named Mr. Florida Football and a Parade All-American. The child was unplanned as were all but one of his offspring, he said.

“I’m like, ‘Whoa, I’m going to be a dad,’ ” Henry recalled.

He was wed, at 19, to another of the nine mothers, who was six years older. Henry’s mother, who picked oranges for a living, disapproved.

“She was going crazy over it,” Henry said. He added that he filed for annulment within a year “for her.”

Two relationships while he attended the University of Tennessee produced two more children. Attending the annual N.F.L. rookie symposium as a 2001 draft pick of the Buffalo Bills, Henry watched a skit that dramatized the repercussions of imprudent sexual activity. It might as well have been geared toward him.

Henry laughed through the sketch. “I thought, ‘That ain’t ever going to happen to me,’ ” he said.

Consider that for a second. He's 21 and already has been married and annulled, and has four kids by four women. And he didn't think it was "ever going to happen" to him. My friends, that is motherfucking dumb you can believe in.

Henry maintained that he was involved long-term with many of the mothers. Some, he said, told him they were using birth control, and he professed surprise at discovering they became pregnant by him.

“I did use protection at first,” he said. “Then they’d be saying they’d be on the pill. I was an idiot to trust them. Second or third time with them, I didn’t use it. Then, boom!”

In four instances, he attested, “I was trapped.” If not for his football cachet and accompanying wealth, “I guarantee you that wouldn’t have happened.”

Yeah. The hell you say. So let's see if we have this straight -- you're saying that sometimes these women, who hook up with you because of your fame and notoriety in the first place, might be trying to trap you into a paternity suit? That is weird, wild stuff. Too bad the league didn't put together some sort of, oh I dunno, rookie orientation video to give you a heads-up on that shit. This brain surgeon had to get "trapped" at least four times before he figured it out. There are fucking mice smarter than this asshole.

I actually hope Henry beats the rap and can get himself reinstated in the league, because as with that Octodingbat, I don't think the taxpayers should have to foot the bill for this clown.

Idle Threats

The more these morons threaten to go Galt on the rest of us parasites, the more details they proffer, the more hilarious it becomes. Keep in mind that this (bowel) movement is all a reaction to having to pay three percent more in taxes when your income is over $250K, and there's no way the three panelists in the Speedos Media vlog make half that combined.

Now, I've no doubt that there absolutely are people out there who are stockpiling food, water, ammo, gold, etc., waiting for the grand collapse which, since we're refunding the bozos that started the mess, is not entirely out of the question. But these clearly aren't those people, and the difference is that the guys who are hoarding 55-gallon drums of rolled oats in the shipping container out in the back field aren't holding playtime conference-vlogs discussing it, nor do they pretend that quitting smoking is a way of sticking it to The Man (not to mention, of course, the symbology that smoking carries in Atlas Shrugged, assuming the dingbat actually read it).

Cafeteria Catholics are bad enough, but cafeteria Randroids somehow manage to be even more insufferable than the real kind. They might have less time to fritter away on crude philosophizing that they don't quite apprehend in the first place, if they could just get laid. Failing that, quit talking about going Galt and please just do it already.

The Great Santelli/Cramer Vs. Cramer

Watching Erin Burnett on Bill Maher's show last week (and jeez, Billy, next time you're short a guest, feel free to shoot me a call; I'll even bring a few bottles for the after-party), I was instantly struck by a second wave of irritation at the refusal of these financial journamalists to see what is in front of their faces, to acknowledge what is empirically observable.

In this case Burnett was defending the monkey antics and dartboard prognostications of In Cramer We Trust, and lamentably nobody opted to dig deeper and ask what the fuck Santelli's major malfunction was. (Since his little boiler-room manifesto, showing off for all the pimps and bookies who engineered this clusterfuck, Santelli seems to have gone back to his usual fourth-tier status on the radar. We can at least be thankful for that.)

Naturally I had churned a nice 10,000-word jeremiad in my fevered brain before the show had even ended, about what a nasty piece of work Santelli must be to conjure up that fulsome crock of shit, about how maybe he should go to one of the tent towns springing up across this great nation of ours, and call these working-class dogs "losers" to their faces. He may wish to take a bag with him, in which to carry out his fucking teeth. But at this point it's like calling water wet, Cheney evil, yada yada.

Cramer is actually more interesting to me at this point in the week, because Jon Stewart has been screwing with him all week, after eviscerating Santelli. And Cramer has been making the rounds on every sister-network pseudo-news entity he can find, sometimes with Burnett at his side, perhaps to distract folks from his own glaring baldnesswrongness, perhaps because Meredith Vieira wouldn't let him bring his studio toys and novelty noises on the Today show with him (no doubt out of deference to Lauer's reputed penchant for bright and noisy playroom gadgets).

And now it's come full circle, and Cramer will venture onto The Daily Show tonight to face his tormentor directly, and they will be frustratingly civil, and Cramer will still not quite understand what the problem is. He and Santelli, sadly, are a bare step above your garden-variety talk-radio blowhard, in that they prefer heat over light, that they specifically speak for and to a certain niche (hint: the folks who would sympathize with Santelli's boiler-room butt-buddies), and they are rarely bothered with facts or depth. But when you get 'em face-to-face they tend to be disarmingly, almost disappointingly sober in temperament. Which would be fine, except for the small issue of them knowing what they're talking about, and what their mission as journamalists should be.

Someone should ask them why only peons are "losers", but dipshit stockbrokers who insisted that they knew what they were doing deserve our grandchildren's money. Or why it's "socialism" to throw a bone to neighbors, even dim-witted ones, out of rational self-interest (preserving property values, public services, community order, etc.) but we can socialize trillions of dollars lost by smug coke-head assholes and that's supposed to be capitalism.

I don't think those words mean what these poseurs seem to think they mean, and maybe it's time they stopped being the beneficiaries of this unearned perceived relevance.

[Update: Alrighty then, Stewart was more relentless and scathing than one might have thought. He seems dead serious about pursuing this issue to its logical conclusion, though it would have been helpful to revisit Santelli's original transgression, which is actually where Cramer inserted himself in the first place, before commencing on his defensive magical misery tour from Leno to Martha and all points in between.

They all want to have everything both ways -- to be entertaining and informative, while actually not being much of either; to "inform" the peons and the rentiers, even though the latter drip with contempt for the former, and the feeling's become mutual now that the question of trust is resolved; to not presume to speak for their colleagues, but still to intercede when one of them says something stupid. It really comes down to whether they wish to be taken seriously or not; if they do, then calling Obama a "marxist" and showing off for a roomful of asshole traders by flipping off most of the country is directly counter to that effort.

Stewart put it well by reminding Cramer that too often, he and his cohorts act like the world of finance is a big game, and if they haven't figured out by now that it is not a fucking game, then they've earned every bit of the scorn and distrust they've engendered. That they had to be told this by a basic-cable comedian, as they put it, shows you what brains they've got.]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bonfire of the Manatees

Every Camille Paglia column seems to take one back to the same question -- has she ever held an actual job, or has she spent her entire adulthood shuffling around an ivory tower? Who else would insist on being the architect of endless logical spirals, wispy curlicues of lunacy wafting into the clouds, look there they go!

Paglia decries the awful tactics of Obama's people doing what every administration does; that is, tying blocs of the opposition to the most ludicrous person they can find, in this case our good friend Nacho "Are You Gonna Finish That?" Limpballs. But don't get her wrong -- she rilly rilly supports Obama, except when he has the nerve to rebut talk-show clowns who openly pray for his failure on a daily basis, to the delight of his retard listeners. Apparently he's supposed to just lie back and take shit from the dumbest people in the country.

Paglia segues so effortlessly from "no shit, Sherlock" observations to "I don't think so, lady", it's almost an art form unto itself:

As a student of radio and a longtime listener of Rush's show, I have gotten a wealth of pleasure and insight from him over the years. To attack Rush Limbaugh is to attack his audience -- and to intensify the loyalty of his fan base.

If Rush's presence looms too large for the political landscape, it's because of the total vacuity of the Republican leadership, which seems to be in a dithering funk. Rush isn't responsible for the feebleness of Republican voices or the thinness of Republican ideas. Only ignoramuses believe that Rush speaks for the Republican Party. On the contrary, Rush as a proponent of heartland conservatism has waged open warfare with the Washington party establishment for years.

It should be obvious even to Paglia that the goal of attacking Lunchbox is to attack his audience, intensifying their loyalty perhaps, but forcing them into relative isolation, surrounded by deep but narrow ideological crevasses. The attacks take away the fence that people like Paglia enjoy parking their rhetorical armchairs on. And yes, it's because the GOP has nothing else to hang their hats on. Nicely done, Columbo.

And while "conservatives" (who are now actually authoritarians) might want to disassociate themselves from "Republicans" at this point, the reverse is not necessarily (or even likely) true. In fact, the Republicans pretty much have to cater to the moran bloc more than ever at this point. The idea that Limpballs' toxic sophistry is "heartland conservatism" -- when it is clearly neither of those things -- just makes Paglia look almost as ridiculous as our beloved Nacho.

And I'm sick of people impugning Rush's wealth and lifestyle, which is no different from that of another virtuoso broadcaster who hit it big -- Oprah Winfrey.

Um, sure, except for maybe the drug addictions, the mysterious jaunts down to the Dominican Republic with oxy and viagra, the multiple failed marriages. Yes, Oprah is obscenely wealthy and seems to have her own commitment issues, and certainly lives much larger than anyone really needs to. But she also gives a lot more of it away than she has to, and her philanthropic endeavors appear to be more than his (although, to be fair, Nacho does give generously to veterans' charities, which is the least could do).

But while Oprah may be somewhat precious and eminently ripe for parody in her daily affirmations of housewives' emotions, Limbaugh's affirmations are of a distinctly uglier stripe, and always have been. It's pretty disingenuous for a career ankle-biter of Fatboy's heft to suddenly cry uncle when he gets slapped back for once, and he doesn't need Paglia to sing a sad song for him. They still have a few Republicans left to do that shit.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

If They Only Had a Brain

The entertainment value of these articlescannot be overestimated. As long as they're still debating the validity of Sharia Plan and Nacho Limpballs, arguments about the "heart and soul" of a party with neither neglects the most important organ. They're really just coasting on past notions of being the party of balls, which has devolved into blind, impotent rage.

It'll serve 'em well when they finally make good on their threats to go John Galt on the rest of us. Hope they don't forget to take Pantload and company with them.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Biggest Loser

It's nice that more moderate Republicans such as Frum recognize the clown college forming in their midst, and the concomitant danger in tying their collective fortunes to that of Limbaugh, who might as well have given his CPAC manifesto in a Nacho Libre costume, rather than that vory v zakone Leningrad mafiya knock-off (thanks for that imagery, Marius).

Barring some black-swan Katrina-type event that tests Obama's will or skills (unlikely, since Obama seems to prefer seasoned tax cheats over horsie-show doofuses for his appointments), it's probably too little too late already for this round of oppo-party ambitions. And while the corporate party does need opposing wings, the far-right wing (as opposed to the center-right wing helmed by the current crew) really needs to figure out what it stands for anymore.

Frum takes a skillful tack in approaching Flush's credibility by way of his well-known proclivities. This allows Frum to avoid admitting the failures of the previous crew of geniuses. Limbaugh is not driving the stupidity of the hangers-on so much as capitalizing on it. Everyone else simply gave up on their happy horseshit. It has to rankle milquetoast "moderates" of the Frum/Bobo stripe to no end, that their bloodless epistles of more traditional conservative sentiments, of fiscal prudence and moral sobriety, are ignored in favor of a man of Limbaugh's prodigious, consumptive appetites.

It does not seem to occur to Frum/Bobo that the remaining revanchists have no interest in prudence and moderation and all that shit; in fact, these are people who are well-conditioned to embrace a preening vulgarian like Limbaugh. He understands his audience perfectly well, the imaginary grievances and rampaging id defining their perceptions of the world.

And he caters to their conviction that everyone else aspires to their pellucid understanding of the universe, that only librul perfidy thwarts flawed humanity's divine purpose of achieving Nietzschean superman status, found in the persona of the aforementioned Nacho Limpballs. It is not the effete exurban utilitarianism Bobo and Frum are preaching, it is seething consumerist authoritarianism, the righteous conviction that muscle and gall trump ideas and intellectual honesty, that happiness is accumulation and jonesmanship. I am fascinated by what the psychology of a man who lives with a cat and a car collection in a 12,000+ square foot mansion might be, and the various argumentative tactics deployed by him and his fans are a pretty good indication.

As entertaining as their flailing and foaming has been (and it is pretty fuckin' hilarious), there's a nasty undercurrent to it all that will only be exacerbated by the economic free-fall and the eventual realization that a lot of the toys are never coming back, and that expectations are going to have to be permanently dialed down for a lot of people. And the lack of cohesion and consistency in terms of generating new ideas is impossible for them to work around anymore. They shot their wad with Fredo, hitched their wagon to him and are lamely trying to walk all that back.

They've given up the notion of trying to finesse any principled distinctions between the Obama administration's enormously flawed efforts thus far to fix the economy and their own policy proposals, in that they haven't bothered proposing anything. They take turns pretending that they don't really want Obama (and in turn, the entire economic system, fatally debauched as it is) to fail, even though their strategy dictates otherwise. The only way tactics of prophylactic obstructionism work is if Obama's policies achieve fail sufficiently epic that they can plausibly say, "Hey, we tried to tell you," even though they haven't really told anyone much of anything.

And now they've stepped on their dicks, letting Rahm Emanuel play them hard on this Nacho Limpballs thing. All they had left was the dead-enders in the base, and now they have to finesse them, lest Sarah Palin and Sam the Plunger jump off and form a Know-Nothing splinter and drag all the village idiots. It's a very deft political maneuver, and it'd be more fun to watch if there wasn't so much at stake, and if all those cool superpowers Cheney granted himself weren't still being continued.

Upscale Rabble Rousing

I think Stewart's rant against Prick Santelli last night, initiated by Santelli cancelling (per CNBC orders), was not about the lack of prognostication skills at CNBC, though there was a well-deserved element of that. It struck me as being primarily about the fact that network and its commentators exist only to serve as a more direct conduit for transmitting the sentiments of the casino owners. All too frequently this bleeds into their political sentiments as well, for which a hired goon like Jim Cramer is all too happy to put on big floppy shoes and a red rubber nose, and be the financial grifters' butt-boy.

Let's not put too fine a point on this: it's not about pointing the finger every time someone happens to be wrong about something. It's about systematically putting forth arguments and "news segments" in clear bad faith. It's about a punk-ass like Santelli loudly proclaiming that the interests of the nation revolve around the chance predictions and greedy hunches of a cabal of coke-head short-sellers who would kill their own grandmothers for a quarter-point hedge.

It's about the pretense that the short-sellers know what they're doing, and that terminal dipshits like Santelli and Cramer know what the fuck they're talking about, that the complexities of the planet should be run by chasing a daily graph posted by a crew of inbred thieves. It's about being skirt-lifting cheerleaders, willing dupes for a manifestly corrupt industry whose malfesance borders on domestic terrorism. For some reason we have allowed financial agitprop to achieve this exalted status, instead of showing scenes of people playing craps and roulette behind Cramer's bulbous head every time he opens his piehole. Motherfucker should be pimping Shamwows at the Saturday flea market.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Teabag Etiquette: Notes and Errata

Edroso's column profiling wishful thinking and charitable head-counting of these stupid tea parties over the weekend reminds us of several important things, contra the teabaggers' (and some of the cap-blasting mouth-breathers cluttering up Roy's comments as well) more strident claims:

  • "Taxation Without Representation". We've seen this phrase on some of their signs, and indeed the second comment in the column conflates it with the "no birth certificate" myth. But that first one -- I don't think that phrase means what these fucking retards think it means. The original tea partiers lived under a monarchic (albeit a comparatively weakened post-Restoration version) system. The brave suburban culture warriors do not. There was an election. It was in all the liberal papers and everything.

    And Obama's approval rating went up, way up, and way over theirs, after the speech. Whether they like it or not, a majority -- an indisputable one, at that -- of Americans are still placing fault for missteps with the inept, dishonest financial weasels that wrecked the economy in the first place. "Taxation Without Representation", in other words, is not merely erroneous, it's completely meaningless here.

  • Nobody really cares what these dumb motherfuckers think anymore, to the extent that they do. They lost, and lost big. Of course, the 'tard doxologies require them to attribute that loss to inordinate Black Jesus love from twink libruls and their media butt-lovers, but 'taint so, fellas. People simply decided to try something different because their guy (love how they try to walk away from him now, he's theirs and always was) fucked the dog so royally.

    Their empty quackery has been repudiated. The media covered the CPAC and the lame tea-dumping stunts the way they occasionally cover Civil War re-enactors, or people who have eight-foot balls of twine in their garage they've been adding to for twenty-five years. Some things are simply too odd to ignore.

  • Not only are we all laughing at you, you ridiculous little conservatard assclowns, but we encourage you to keep this shit up. Every time you try to invoke some historical reference, you fuck it up. Every time you try to talk about something fact-based, as opposed to faith-based or freebased, you make it clear you don't know anything about anything.

    It's sort of an intellectual Affirmative Action at this point -- when you want a false premise, an argument loaded with straw-men, a completely botched understanding of basic principles, the same tired-ass Limbaugh/Coulter/Dennis Miller borscht-belt schtick to try to distract from the hackery, call a conservative. Their insularity and belligerent ignorance has turned their party into a political short bus. And it's never not going to be hilarious.

  • People who actually knew anything about "socialism" and wanted to be angry about it, would be much more angry about the past, present, and future downward socialization of costs on the backs of the reg'lar folk.

    All of it -- the tax cuts and giveaways, the environmental depredation and community health consequences, the soaring costs of health care and decent insurance coverage, the ever-expanding spread between the have-mores and the peons, the loosening of securitization regulations that led directly to the casino going broke, the bailouts, the bonuses, the insane CEO/exec compensation packages -- has already been coming out of these dipshits' hides for generations.

    But they're infinitely more worried about keeping people in their houses, never mind that letting them go under will directly impact everyone's property values and public services, just for starters. A founding father once famously said that if we don't hang together, we hang separately, yet they avoid that shit like the New Testament.

  • Funny how the capitalist leaders they claim to admire all seem to be fine with paying more taxes -- indeed, think it a small price to pay for the privilege of living in a society that afforded them their opportunities. Or better yet, how most of the people who bankroll these bullshit astroturf projects are not the captains of industry and innovative thinkers revered by the unwashed masses, but grasping trust-fund assholes bitterly clinging to the past glory of dead money.

Hypocrites, clowns, buffoons. If they keep this up the next four years, maybe they'll marginalize themselves once and for all, at least until Limpballs' eventual Deep-Fried Baconnaise Putsch which, like their ideology, ends in clogged arteries.

Thug Life 4Evah

So ghetto prophet Michael X Steele gets the golden opportunity to flex nuts and let his homiez know who's in charge of this 'hood, yo, and bring the smackdown to sucka MC Fatboy Limpballs.

Bring da noise, Open Mike:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an "entertainer" whose show can be "incendiary."

"My intent was not to go after Rush - I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh," Steele said in a telephone interview. "I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. ... There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."


Asked if he planned to apologize, Steele said: "I wasn't trying to offend anybody. So, yeah, if he's offended, I'd say: Look, I'm not in the business of hurting people's feelings here. ... My job is to try to bring us all together."

I don't know if Steele has seen any prison movies, but in the parlance of that genre, he just got his ass turned out. Good luck in the midterms, buddy -- you just ceded control of your, um, serious opposition party to a drug-addled, serially divorced, sex tourist radio blowhard who speaks to and for a lot of angry loners and obtuse cranks. Nice circular firing squad ya got there, Holmes.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lost Quatrains of Nostradamus: CPAC Edition

From the bowels of a swamp shall they rise anon,
A captive audience fresh from rigors,
Of salty snacks and carbonated fructose,
Basement warriors brandishing cardboard swords and shields.

The lobby patiently awaits their grand designs,
Of tea bags and sea breezes and projected anxieties,
Darkened commie muslim hitler stalin bailout,
Word-salad egg-man walrus kookookajoo.

Beware the milky dawn on the day of Thor,
Court jesters whose blinds match not yon carpet nor drape,
Appeal their pagan gods for mushroom clouds over Wrigley,
Conveniently forgetting their previous employers.

The second hell-rider be neither famine nor pestilence,
But the arctic huntress of piled hair and boutique spectacles,
Conspicuous by her absence from the worshipful conclave,
Maybe next year if there's a side trip to Neiman Marcus.

Other beasties await unsuspecting conventioneers,
Coultergeists and failed morons, cue-bald and brain-dead, openly
Praying for failure and success in the same dissonant breath,
Till they choke from lack of air, or perhaps a stray Cheeto.

Finally the new leader emerges from his pit, a chimera,
Head of bulldog, body of water buffalo, serpent's eyes and tongue,
A painful barnacle in a damp and soiled place,
Soothed by voyages to citadel of Viagra with dark prince Oxy.

Teabag Etiquette

Truly the lives of conservatards are rich with embellished detail and baroque fantasy. Yesterday literally dozens of them across the country took a well-earned break from seeing Plunger/Palin images in their oil stains and toaster strudels, in order to schlep on down to their nearest body of water and throw tea into it. Perhaps re-enacting the Battle of Bunker Hill would have required too much physical exertion. Take that, Black Socialist Hitler!

Now, it's odd, isn't it, that they all spontaneously arrived at this little novelty act, supposedly spurred on by the supposedly spontaneous stock-exchange rant of one self-righteous CNBC hack.

Or not:

What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.”


“Within hours of Santelli’s rant, a website called sprang to life. Essentially inactive until that day, it now featured a YouTube video of Santelli’s “tea party” rant and billed itself as the official home of the Chicago Tea Party. The domain was registered in August, 2008 by Zack Christenson, a dweeby Twitter Republican and producer for a popular Chicago rightwing radio host Milt Rosenberg—a familiar name to Obama campaign people.

Not that CNBC has any credibility higher than putting some money bunnies in the anchor seat whenever possible, but they also continue to employ Jim Cramer. Now they can add wingnut water-carrying to their estimable traits. Nicely done, folks. Can't wait to see what cool grassroots effort Faux News might spontaneously stir 'mongst the freeptards, maybe a bailout Easter egg roll on Milt Rosenberg's back lawn.

These people are impossible to parody anymore. At least the Bush Derangement Syndrome the kids kept babbling about took longer than a fuckin' month to spread.