Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chose your constituency carefully

Recently Representative Tom Price, R-Ga, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, released a video wherein you're shown a clip of President Barack Obama saying:

"And while many stakeholders made sacrifices and worked constructively, I have to tell you some did not. In particular, a group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout ... I don't stand with them"

The "them" was a bunch of (greedy perhaps?) investment bankers who wouldn't negotiate on the Chrysler bailout and, instead, insisted on more bailout money.

Mr. Price, however, decided that the President was trying to divide the country (into greedy and not greedy?) which made him a bad, bad man. On the video he said:

"What I saw in that clip troubles me a lot. What I saw was our president saying I stand with these people, but not with those people. What he said was I stand with some Americans, but not with all Americans. It's a very chilling statement."

So, Representative Price, you say you stand for and with all Americans?

All Americans?

Do you stand with Murders? Thieves? Child molesters? Spammers? Nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, muggers, buggerers, Bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, sh**-kickers and Methodists?

Just who is your core constituency?


Update 6/10/2009: The video has been restricted on youtube so I can't link to it. Clearly even they realized it was absurd. Sadly this post loses a lot without the video but I'll leave it up since I think you get the gist.

It's the dot.slime boom

Over the last few days the GOP smear machine has thrown a broad variety of insults at SCOTUS nominee Sonya Sotomayor including racist, bigot, idiot, grammar snob and hot-head, none of which hold up under even the slightest of examination. Karl Rove insisted that despite being 2nd in her class at Princeton and editor of the Yale law journal she's dumb. Yes, the same Karl Rove who backed Harriet Myers for the same court. She was criticized for correcting the spelling and grammar of opinions written by her clerks, which is only a hair's breadth from the racist's favorite back-handed insult "articulate". She's even accused of having the dreaded empathy. Of course Bush 41 praised Clarence Thomas' empathy during his nomination, but because he's a man it's totally different. Most recently G. Gordon Liddy pulled out all the sexist stops in hoping that her female biology doesn't get in the way of her confirmation hearings. What a guy.

Each day there's a new smear from some foaming-at-the mouth commentator who has totally forgotten the previous day's ranting. Sure, they're the opposition party and opposing is what they're supposed to do, but this isn't opposing, it's school-yard taunting. Fortunately the general population isn't buying it. So why do they persist? They know that, failing some unexpected catastrophe, she's going to be confirmed. Does it make sense to alienate someone you'll see in the halls and at cocktail parties from time to time? Someone respected by most of the rest of the country?

It does if you're trying to earn money by the truckload. The far-right has written off the majority of the US population but is throwing bloody, red meat to their die-hard base. Thanks to GOP policies in the early 21st century much of that base has done very well for itself and now the party wants some of that it back. They see this as their vehicle.

However, in the process they're pushing out Latinos, the fastest growing block of voters in the USA. Not to mention the 51.5% of the country comprised of women and those of us with enough sense to wonder WTF they're doing. So even if they are able to capitalize on this nomination fight and rake in the cash what could they possibly accomplish? 79% of voters won't identify themselves as Republicans and 21% certainly isn't enough to win back any appreciable amount of political power.

I just don't think they've thought that far ahead. In fact, they sound a lot like the dotcom business plans of the late 90's. To paraphrase:

1) Alienate fastest-growing swath of voting public

2) Collect money from hard-core base

3) [TBD]

4) WIN!

Now, if you can figure out step three Michael Steele has a job for you.

Read the *whole* quote lest you look like an idiot

One of the most popular ways to malign a public figure these days is to find a perfectly reasonable statement, rip part of it out of context, then shout the fragment from the rooftops, or - to bring this into the 21st century - the cable channels.

In 2001 Supreme Court nominee Sonya Sotomayor said the following:

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

If you stop after the words "conclusion" or "male" it does raise the possibility that she's a racist, or at least that she thinks ill of white men. (Considering how badly white men have screwed things up especially the last eight years she may be onto something). However, if you finish the statement what she is *clearly* saying is that a wise Latina woman (isn't "Latina woman" redundant, by the way?) will generally make better decisions than a less experienced and therefore less wise white man.

Replace "Latina woman" with "person" and I don't think even the GOP blowhards could make hay out of that. Sure her choice of wording may have been lacking, but if after 17 years on the bench that's all they can find with which to tar her she's going to sail right through confirmation.

Friday, May 22, 2009


It's well known that no one wants Gitmo's rejects imprisoned in their back yard, right? NIMBY is alive and well, you say? Not so fast.

Harden, Montana has a super-maximum security prison sitting empty and the citizens of the town are asking the government to house 100 of them there. Finally, some sanity. The good people of Harden realize that any convicts from Gitmo are no different from other vile criminals: They're not aliens, they don't have superpowers. They need the same things other prisoners do: three hots; a cot; and solid, reinforced, heavy concrete.

NIMBY be gone. This is PIMBY. Please In My Back Yard.

Definitely *not* absurd.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The definition of "I don't get it"

Yesterday GOP chairman Michael Steele hosted a luncheon (what, exactly, does the "eon" add to that? Does it serve to indicate the length of the event?) on reforming the GOP so that it can snap its ongoing losing streak. While discussing their favorite boogeyman, Steele described President Obama saying "He's young, he's cool, he's hip, he's got a good-looking family -- what's not to like?"

That's just it, Mr Chairman. It's not about being liked. It's about being respected, fulfilling promises and accomplishing things that benefit the American people - three areas where the party of Gingrich, Limbaugh and, well, you have been batting exactly 0.0 lately. This isn't a popularity contest. Even American Idol throws in a bit of talent. But you don't get that. Your team flings mud, roadblocks and insults. You're stuck in middle school while the rest of us are looking at graduation.

Sure popularity is helpful but we had a popular guy in the White House for eight years and his incompetence was almost unbounded. Popularity wins you nothing but popularity contests. Popularity for its own sake (also known as "celebrity" - sound familiar?) fails.

Until you realize that Americans are far smarter and more perceptive than you think, you're going to keep losing followers, respect and elections.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My First Blog Post (What, is this a Fisher Price toy?)

Hello. My name is [insert name here]. Really this isn't my first blog post, nor is it my first blog, but I thought it would be a good way to start out.

My intention in starting this blog is to highlight the abundant absurdity I see all around me in the hopes that it makes you laugh, smile, groan, throw things at your computer (I award bonus points for sending me pictures if that happens) but most of all to take a moment and think. You may disagree with me (which is probably a tribute to your sanity) but all I ask is that you give what I say here a chance. If you do disagree you're welcome to leave corrective comments because there's little I like more than changing my mind from wrong to right. I may be pretty ardent in my beliefs but if you stick around long enough I think you'll find that I do consider both sides of most issues even if I decide, in the end, to laugh one out of the room.

So, is this going to be all politics? No! Sure, there's ample absurdity in Washington and State Houses everywhere, but that's a pretty limited selection of what's absurd. Trust me, it's everywhere and I'm just the guy to help you find it.

It's going to be a fun ride. Just keep your arms and heads in the car, your seat backs and tray tables in their full upright and locked position, and your batteries not included. Welcome aboard.