Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh, One More Thing, 2010 Year End Thingee

Why our nation is screwed, Evidence #4,718.  The media does not have any accountability for their partisan bullshit.  From Conor Friedersdorf, covering for Sully:

There's a guy named Juan Carlos Vera. He worked at an ACORN office in San Diego, California. One day, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles walked in with a hidden video camera, and pretended to be a pimp and prostitute. They asked for help smuggling underage girls across the Mexican border so that they could work in a brothel. Confronted with what appeared to be a sex trafficking plot, you'd hope that someone would play along, get as much information as possible, and call the police. And guess what? That's exactly what Mr. Vera did! Unbeknownst to O'Keefe or Giles, he called his cousin, a police officer, shortly after they left his office.
Perhaps you know what happened next. Having cut his teeth editing The Drudge Report and its notoriously misleading headlines, Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart published the ACORN videos, which fooled me at the time – I praised them, and even encouraged Breitbart to pressure attorneys general into investigating the organization. I've never felt like such a fool. Some of the ACORN tapes reflect very badly on that organization, but taken as a whole, they are misleading in a lot of ways...
After publishing videos of Vera that made him look like a sex trafficker and costing the man his job, did Breitbart explain how the mistake happened, apologize and correct the record? Did he alert his readers to the truth? Having expressed outrage at the media on countless occasions for trafficking in serious accusations that weren't grounded in facts, did he behave better after realizing that he'd done exactly the same thing?
Nope. As far as I know, neither an apology nor a correction has ever appeared. The vast majority of his readership remains misinformed. The San Diego videos remain posted at Big Government, misleading as ever. I've attempted to get Breitbart and O'Keefe to address this. No luck...

Brietbart Delendus Est.

So What Will 2011 Hold In Store For Us?

If 2010 was any indication, the coming year is going to be batshit crazy.

The Republicans' priorities at the federal level - now that they control the House of Representatives, and have demonstrated how they can bully their way about the Senate - are going to be 1) Screw Obama, 2) Demonize Obama, 3) Pillory Obama, 4) Cut Taxes for the Rich, 5) Shovel More Federal Money to the Rich, 6) Impeach Obama, 7) Take As Many Vacation Breaks As Possible While Railing Against the Lazy Poor and Unemployed, 8) Prepare for 2012 Elections, Because Elections are More Important Than Actual Governance.

The Republicans' priorities at the state level - considering they have a majority of state legislatures and governorships to play with, especially here in my home state of Florida - are going to be worse.

Already here in Florida, incoming Governor Rick "MEDICARE FRAUD, YOU IDIOT VOTERS HE COMMITTED MEDICARE FRAUD" Scott has already spoken openly about eliminating corporate taxes altogether, privatizing our entire school system, cutting state jobs which would affect social services at a time of massive unemployment and poverty, arguing against ANY regulations that would, you know, PROTECT PEOPLE FROM INJURY OR CRIMINAL ACTS, and not really offering any kind of works programs or incentives to businesses to grow and add jobs.

"I'm going to run this state like a business," Scott promises.  Considering he ran his businesses into law-breaking acts that led to massive fines, THIS IS NOT A GOOD SIGN.

What's worse?  I worry for the state of Texas.  There, the state legislature has 2/3rds Republican majority in the state legislature, meaning they could pass anything requiring supermajority vote... like amend the entire state constitution to whatever wingnut obsession tickles their fancy.  Meaning you Texans are going to say goodbye to whatever abortion rights you have, to whatever rights to privacy you have in your bedrooms and sexual lives, to whatever freedom of religion you thought you had, to any sane fiscal policy, and say hello to a secession amendment contingent on whether or not Obama gets impeached before 2012.

So, yeah, here comes 2011.

My predictions for the coming year?

Obama gets impeached right out the gate.  Instead of wasting time investigating Obama for his Hawaiian birth certificate, the House will admit into evidence whatever crazy shit Orly Taitz has and use that as grounds for impeachment.  It won't go anywhere in the Senate, as there are enough Republican Senators there with enough sanity to know how insane the House's move will be, but the real purpose - get Obama embarrassed early and often before the State of the Union speech - will be served.

Speaking of the State of the Union, it's already established that Justice Alito would like to excuse himself from appearing.  The question will be who among the Republican Far Right will excuse themselves along with him?  A half-empty audience will look bad on the television screens, no matter how petulant and childish the Republicans will be pulling this stunt.  That's because no one will hold them accountable for their childish stunts.  Hell, pulling these stunts was why they won in 2010, right?

Obama will then get impeached for the Health Care Reform bill, as it was an act of treason instituting such an obvious communist plot against America.  Never mind the final bill nearly matched the Republicans' proposals from 1994.

The state of Florida will pass legislation firing every state employee and then contracting out to private corporations to cover all services.  Never mind the fact that privatizing all state services - including law enforcement - is actually going to ADD another layer of bureaucracy and will most likely make things MORE expensive.  But hey, privatizing everything (except corporate welfare) is supposed to be a good thing, right?

Oh, and in Texas, half the population is going to flee for Oklahoma and New Mexico before April because their state lege is going to destroy every sane provision and law in their desire to create a Christianist Old Testament nation/state.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Only Good News In a Bleak Winter

At least Congress was able to get this mess cleaned up before the Republicans got back in charge of things:

This morning, a bipartisan group of 57 Democrats and six Republicans broke a GOP filibuster, allowing the Senate to vote up or down on a standalone bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This afternoon, the Senate finished the deal -- the legislation passed 65 to 31.
The legislation is identical to the one that passed the House a few days ago, so its next stop is the White House, where President Obama will gladly sign it into law, officially removing DADT from the books and relegating the discriminatory policy to the trash heap of history.

For those who don't know, Don't Ask Don't Tell was a compromise plan put into play back in the 1990s to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military.  As long as the gays and lesbians didn't publicly state their orientation, nobody was (supposed to) ask what that orientation was.

Problem was, the opponents to having gays in the military (social conservatives reading a very narrow and inflexible interpretation of the Bible) quickly figured out loopholes to that: for example, having a third party report someone suspected of gay/lesbian leanings.  And then using either the soldier's silence on the matter to remove them for insubordinate behavior, or force the soldier to admit their orientation and get drummed out for Telling.  What was meant to protect gays had instead been used to push even more of them out of service than before.

It took time - younger and more tolerant generations getting into the military, growing public awareness that a majority of straight soldiers had no problem serving with gays, the problem of pushing out highly qualified officers at a time of war and manpower shortages - but today, after years of conservative obstruction and flat-out fear-mongering (that homosexuality in the armed forces would lead to body art, adultery, bestiality, and waaaaaay too much make-up girlfriend), the Senate voted on the repeal of DADT.  Basically, gays and lesbians should be able to serve in the military same as straight people.

The Religious Right are going to have a conniption over this.  "Oh noes" they will scream "God will PUNISH us for not adhering to Leviticus!  Our military's gonna be filled with flamers and anal rapists and cow lovers!  Our nation is DOOMED (unless you buy my book about it, for only 29.99 directly from my website!)"

Problem for those "righteous" screamers is this: the ones yelling about it the most are the most hypocritical of all with their own sins (draft dodging, adultery, war-mongering).  So screw them.

The average soldier is not gonna have a problem serving with gays.  If there's a hassle, you take it to the MPs.  The military can maintain discipline in the face of ANYTHING, dammit (The US Armed Forces are quite possibly the most organized, prepared and adaptive military force since the Romans or the Mongols), and we ought to be able to trust all of them on that.

I have no problems with gays in the military.  If an American wants to serve in the armed forces, as long as they are fit and capable, as long as they accept the challenges before them, I don't care of their ethnicity, their religion, their gender, their statehood, their sexual orientation, their foot size, their hat size, their favorite color.  I never served, but that's me, and I'm not about to begrudge those who did with honor, and love of home and family.

This is a good day to be an American.  One more bigotry defeated.  One more right confirmed for those who want to serve this nation.

Tomorrow is gonna feel like a sunny day.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Two Year Anniversary of Unemployment

Dec. 18, 2008... I lost my full-time job.

It's been two years since then.

During that time I've looked for work.  Both full-time and part-time.

The full-time job interviews have been few and far between.  Just one in 2009.  Just one this year 2010.

The part-time jobs had been more frequent... Two part-time job interviews in 2009 and three in 2010.

Out of... lessee.  At least one hundred applications sent in for work through... lessee... twelve different job agencies, four technical corporations, nine colleges and universities, tons of government offices, and seven different job fairs.

I did have part-time employment.  One was for an inventory counter position that wasn't getting a lot of business during a recession.  Even when I made myself more available for hours, they weren't calling me in for a lot of work.  The other job was with the U.S. Census, counting houses and the people who weren't living in them anymore.  That lasted a bit more than a month.  Nothing since.

Not much out there for a librarian.

Not much out there for someone with computer training, computer troubleshooting, and computer repair skills.

The story is that there's currently five applicants per position in this high-unemployment era.  Under normal circumstances it's supposed to be three per position.  The truth?  I'm hearing stories about 150 to 300 applicants per position.  'Cause it's not just the unemployed competing for work, it's also the employed people too, ones who are looking for better job security in an uncertain market.

But, say the naysayers, there are jobs to be had after all!  True.  But when you're one out of one-hundred, the odds are AGAINST you being even on a list of five to get through the door for interviews.

But, say the naysayers, you can ALWAYS find work at a retail or fast food business!  Not really.  I've put in for retail jobs and they never call me back.  And the pay these jobs give out WILL NOT COVER MY MORTGAGE, MY HEALTH CARE NEEDS, or anything else a full-time job would.  I *am* putting in for the part-time jobs anyway, just to have something, but still...  No calls.  Nothing.

But, say the naysayers, you're being too picky about what jobs to put in for!  You're just being too lazy about your job hunting!  Put in for every job and you're bound to get one!  Like a librarian will have qualifications to work in sales?  And like I mentioned earlier, I've put in for jobs where I'm qualified, and I even follow up on them to show my interest for them... and I still never hear a word back!

I'm at that point my depression is getting the better of me.  Convinced that it's not the overwhelmed job market, that it's me.  That for all my intellect, skills, work experience, all that... it's ME that people just don't want to hire.

I'm too young to retire, even if I could.  I'm too poor to have any investments or capital to afford starting my own business.

And this is, for what I know, the last week I have any unemployment benefits at all.  Even all the new benefits extensions that Obama just wrangled out of an obstructionist GOP isn't going to help me.  It's going to help the millions after me who have yet to use up their 99 weeks of unemployment.  All the ones I'm competing with for a handful of jobs.

Meanwhile, Congress is about to get taken over by a Republican Party whose idea of jobs creation is to cut social benefits, test the unemployed for drug abuse, and cut more corporate taxes that DON'T CREATE JOB GROWTH.  The state of Florida is about to get taken over by a MEDICARE FRAUD openly pledging to slash jobs, with a GOP-held state legislature obsessed with cutting state-level taxes to zero while wasting millions on pork-barrel projects.

I am totally serious about running for office.  Getting elected may be the only chance I have to ever seeing paid employment ever again.  "Vote for Wartenberg.  I Need The Work."

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Damage Done: December 2010 Florida Update

That Rick "MEDICARE FRAUD" Scott and the GOP-majority state lege would go after our state's educational system (all to destroy the teachers' unions, never mind the damage done to our kids) was pretty much a given.

It's how they're going to go about doing it that ought to make state residents regret their votes.

Not ONLY will Scott and the Pork Barrel GOP go after massive property and corporate tax cuts that will hinder school systems' ability to PAY FOR ANYTHING (just remember, parents, this was the year the schools started asking you to provide all supplies for your kids, including toilet paper!), they will pursue the most radical attempt ever on pushing their wingnut obsession with school vouchers.  They will make vouchers universal (from the St. Pete Times' opinion section):

It is clearer than ever that Republicans intend to mount a frontal assault next year on Florida's public schools. Legislators show no interest in building consensus on efforts to abolish teacher tenure and create a merit pay system. Gov.-elect Rick Scott also pledges to slash school property taxes even as declining property values and tax revenues have forced deep spending cuts in education. But those misguided approaches are small potatoes compared with their pursuit of a radical plan to give all students tuition vouchers

The whole thing about vouchers is that it's a feel-good proposal by conservatives: a means of introducing "choice" into a public educational system they despise.  Vouchers are meant to give parents money to afford sending their kids to different schools outside of walking distance that can provide better opportunities (say, if your kid is gifted in fine arts but the best art school is on the other side of the county).  But vouchers are an illusion of choice: schools are still limited by how many students they can enroll, and there's no guarantee your kids will get into the school they need or you prefer because - guess what - everyone else is trying to enroll there too.  The push for Vouchers is also a con game: the proponents want them available for private (read: Christian) schools as well, meaning they want tax-funded moneys to pay for something that violates the rules of Separation of Church And State.

To refer back to the Times' article:

It is unclear how much universal vouchers would cost the state and how they would be financed. Taking a portion of the per student funding for public schools and allowing families to spend that amount as they wish would not leave enough money for public education. And presumably, the hundreds of thousands of students already in private schools would receive public money as well.The state already faces a budget deficit of more than $2.5 billion. On top of that, Scott wants to cut school property taxes 19 percent and eliminate the corporate tax. That would be the same corporate tax that companies can avoid paying now by earmarking the money for vouchers. How does this possibly add up?

Again, take a good look at the con game.  The REAL OBJECTIVE here by Scott and the Pork Barrel GOP is to cut corporate taxes ALTOGETHER.  Never mind that 19 percent cut to your property tax, citizen: home owners will still be stuck paying a bill with whatever is left of your millage rate, while corporates get to pay NOTHING toward our state and our families.  And again, no guarantee that all that money saved to the corporations will go back into their workers, their businesses, or anywhere else that would help our depressed economy.

The Republicans are really only interested in one thing when it comes to fiscal policy: Tax Cuts.  Everything else - balancing a budget, paying for social services, KEEPING PEOPLE ALIVE, ALERT AND HEALTHY - is meaningless to them.  They want their tax cuts.  They don't want to pay for anything, and all the while they'll take all the public money they can in state-level pork barrel projects, corporate payouts, and everything else they can get away with because YOU VOTERS DO NOT PAY F-CKING ATTENTION TO WHAT HAPPENS IN TALLAHASSEE.

Please, Floridians.  Please for the LOVE OF GOD.  Try to get this into your heads.  Tax Cuts is just another phrase for Snake Oil.  You are getting conned by political hacks and corporate criminals into buying a product that does not work.  Please, please, learn this now.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Saturnalia Wish List of 2010

Heya!  Once again, dear seven readers from China spawning spam mail in the Comments section, as part of our effort in the WAR ON BILL O'REILLY'S CHRISTMAS we here at this blog celebrate the life-affirming pagan holiday known as Saturnalia! The day where we look for any back issue of Batman comics involving the lame-ass supervillain Calendar Man.  Yes, he did exist and yes Calendar Man had one of the WORST costumes in comic book history...

Anywho. As part of tradition, I'm posting my wishlist to The Roman Lord of Time (hi there!) in the mad hopes that the pagan gods will once again after thousands of years notice us tiny insignificant lifeforms and smite our enemies. And hoo boy, has this year produced a sh-tload of enemies for smiting...

The wishlist is as follows:

1) That when - not if - Rick Scott breaks the law while serving as Governor (HOW THE HELL COULD YOU VOTE FOR HIM, FLORIDA?), I be given the power to visit each and every 2.5 million who voted his criminal ass into office so I can tap each one on the shoulder and yell in their ear "WE TOLD YOU!"

2) That I find a full-time job starting right on January 2011.  That hopefully the job will be getting hired by Obama to walk up to the doors of the Congress every morning, knocking on said doors, and shouting "HAVE YOU CREATED JOBS FOR 20 MILLION AMERICANS YET?"  As long as I've got water and throat lozenges I should do well...

3) That I get this novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo finished for real, edited, and submitted for publication somewhere.

4) That when the House GOP starts their all-too-obvious Impeachment hearings on Obama over his Hawaiian birth certificate, everyone in the nation finally groks just how stupid, insane, and criminal the Republicans they've elected into power actually are.

5) That when the Republican Party at the national level completes their war on social services and the damage starts hitting the Tea Partiers in their own lives, that they fucking wake up to the reality that they just got suckered by the uberwealthy bankers and CEOs... again.  And that the Tea Partiers grok just how stupid, insane, and criminal the Republicans still are.

6) That when the Republicans in charge of all these state legislatures mismanage things to hell - creating even more state-level deficits with their obsessive need for tax cuts - while busying themselves with passing anti-health care bills, anti-gay bills, anti-immigrant bills, anti-evolution bills, anti-fetus bills (they claim to be pro-life, but the way they'll enforce it will end up causing MORE damage, not less), anti-teacher and student bills, anti-higher learning bills, anti-everything that's not Rich and White... ahem, what was the point?  Oh, right.  When the GOP-controlled state leges mismanage things to hell, I hope that the voters try to remember it was the REPUBLICANS who are stupid, insane and criminal, and who deserve to get kicked out of office.

7) I just hope there's still an elective system still in place by 2012... I worry that our elections offices might get slashed in the mad dash for "balancing the budgets" so that billionaires can get million-dollar tax cuts.

8) I hope that there's more than one arrest warrant for Dick Cheney being processed as we speak...

9) That every time the U.S. Senate holds up the unemployment benefits extension, there's another chain forged in Hell for the goddamn soulless bastards who are playing political games with peoples' lives.  WE ARE NOT LAZY OR DRUG ABUSERS, YOU SONS OF BITCHES!  WE CAN'T FIND FULL-TIME JOBS OUT HERE IN THE REAL WORLD!  Gah!

10) The Tampa Bay Bucs NOT make the playoffs this 2010 season.  I'm serious.  While it's nice the Bucs are winning this year, they are still a team with serious gaps of talent at key positions.  The more likely they make the playoffs, the more likely they will drop too low in the rookie draft status to get a half-decent DE, MLB or S/CB to bring the defense back to 1999-2003 dominance.  While this isn't a high priority, it would be nice to just have the Bucs go 10-6 and just miss the postseason.  It will keep the kids on the team (oh God, I've gotten old, some of these players weren't even born when I got into college...) hungry for next year...

And so to you, Lord Saturn, upon this festive time of Saturnalia, I ask of ye for these small favors.  And I just hope that 2011 is a saner, calmer year... (financial institutions collapse again in February 2011) AW GODDAMMIT...

Oh, one more thing.  Brietbart Delendus Est.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

From Balloon Juice, All You Need To Know About Our Corporate Overlords

This is from a comment posted on a thread at Balloon Juice.  The bold text was my addition:

The last election cycle demonstrated that even if you allow Wall Street and the corporations dictate a large portion of the policy, they will still fund campaigns to destroy you because they don’t want their share or ten times their share, they want it all, all the time.They are never going to stop going after social security. They want every single dollar of the education budgets. They do not want to pay any taxes for anything. They do not want any regulation that ties their hands with respect to their workers, the environment, or any other external costs imposed upon the public by their business activities. Oh yeah, and if they screw up and take the economy down, they want the government to bail them out.

I concur.

Until the Greedheads responsible for all the disasters we've suffered over the last three eight thirty years are held accountable and shipped to jail... until all the goddamn Supply-siders get sued for Fraud and selling snake oil to the nation... we are well and truly fucked as a country.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Screw It. Here's more Lost Battalion Badges

This day has gone to hell real damn quick and I have no other recourse but to ignore the stress and mess around on my CorelDraw 9 to create more Badges for TNC's Lost Battalion:

Revamped GAMER Badge: for all those who Discuss the Value and High Priority of Video Gaming in these troubled times.

 Also known as the Rock of Chickamauga Appreciation Badge.  I found a photo of Gen. George "Pap" Thomas and mixed it with a concrete fill pattern available on CorelDraw.  What, you think I'm gonna use confederate flags for artwork? HA!

The LIKE Badge.  Awarded to those who click at least five LIKES.

The REPLY Badge.  Awarded to those who REPLY to at least five Posts.  To make it harder to get, the REPLY must be a first-tier Reply, NOT a Reply to a Reply.

What do you think, sirs?

There Are Many Things To Discuss... But Not Today

I am inconsistent with posting entries to this blog as is.  Making it worse is the NaNoWriMo effort this month, the massive depression I have regarding my failing job hunts, and the fact that the political landscape is batshit insane now and will be for the next two years.  Even the distraction of making logos for Ta-Nesihi's Lost Battalion will have to wait...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lost Battalion Gamer Badge

It's not much to look at:

The artwork software I'm using is 12 years old (CorelDraw 9).  If anyone's got a better idea for the badge, and a better means of crafting one, feel free to design your own...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

For TNC's Lost Battaltion

Ta-Nehisi Coates is patient and forgiving enough of us commenters to give us daily space to drop issues and compliments and grievances.  He's taken to labeling us as The Lost Battalion (with the added tag of Platonic Conversationalists) and the group of regulars have taken to it.

This past week, however, TNC had taken to calling us Team Commie (there had been trolls going after us using such insults), but it caused some rifts among the chatters (myself included).  So when he went back to calling us the Lost Battalion I posted "Does this mean we can break out the t-shirts again?"

After a few LIKES and some LOLs following, I decided to see about creating a logo for a Lost Battalion t-shirt.

This is just a suggestion.

MASSIVE UPDATE (3:26 PM EST 11/15/2010): so far the response to this logo has been overwhelming... but I'll leave it to TNC to place it on Cafe Press or such like, as it's his blog we're just dancing there.

Although the other demand is now for Badges to go along with the t-shirts.  The list so far is:
  • Civil War Badge,
  • Gaming Badge,
  • Music Culture Badge,
  • History Nerd Badge,
  • Poetry Badge,
  • Troll Hunter Badge,
  • Graduate Student Accountability Badge,
  • and now that I'm thinking about it, LIKE and REPLY Badges.

Any other suggestions before I start messing on CorelDRAW?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Veterans Day: A Thought On Armistice

Oh to hell with it, here's the last scene of the BBC Comedy Blackadder Goes Forth:

Everything you need to know about war in 5 minutes.
That this was the closer of a comedy series remains heart-rending, only less so than the real-life madness that World War I really was.  England lost over 800,000 of their young men to that war: entire towns wiped out of a generation of sons and husbands.  In some ways, this war and not World War II - which in itself was a "Good" or necessary war and thus accepted with some cheer and satisfaction - is the more painfully remembered war in England.  Because of the insane loss of life over a war involving treaties and the lust for empire (Britain's to defend, Germany's to win).
As for this show... in England this episode was shown originally on Armistice Day... It's called Remembrance Day there (Veterans Day stateside).  They only had one complaint.  Everyone else was probably too busy crying as the poppies rise up from the debris of No-Man's Land...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Damage Done. The Damage To Come.

Well.  Elections 2010 is over.

The damage is done.  Republicans reclaimed a majority in the House.  More disastrous - for a reason - is that the Republicans gained control of a majority of state legislatures and governors' seats.  Worse of all, it's obviously emboldening the teabagger wingnut crowd into thinking the World is Theirs.  WORST of all: the state of Florida now has as our governor a well-established, well-known MEDICARE FRAUD CEO in Rick Scott, the one person in the state most likely to crash and burn a financial institution with massive acts of fraud and embezzling.  Nice job breaking the state, voters.  /fume

So.  What is the damage to come?

At the state level for Florida, tons of damage is coming.  Remember that "Kill Tenure" bill - SB 6 - the State Lege passed last April that Crist vetoed?  With the anti-teachers Republicans still in charge of the state legislature and with a new governor willing to sign such a bill into law, the fear that an even harsher version of SB 6 - which killed tenure and job protection, shortened teachers' contracts, eliminated salaries based on degrees or experience, rewrote evaluations based on standardized testing which by the way isn't helping our students learn, and was basically an attempt to break the teachers' unions - will pass the second everybody gets sworn in at Tallahassee.  How quickly it will wreck our already wobble educational system isn't certain, but given the horrified response from a majority of citizens (even Republicans) back in April suggest this isn't a way to go.

There's also the fact that voted back into power was a Republican majority in the state legislature that was led by crooks and pork-barrel spenders, a majority that had little true interest in balancing the budget outside of cutting social programs down to practically nothing.  Having a hard core social conservative like Scott with his own history of financial criminal misdeeds holding the veto pen as Governor (and most likely ignore using it to cut wasteful projects) is going to make our budget woes worse.  Considering the state of Florida has 1) massive unemployment and 2) massive underemployment, anything that threatens our social safety nets is NOT A GOOD THING.

Looking at the national level, with Congress divided with a GOP-held House and a smaller Democrat-controlled Senate, creates an even bigger headache.

On the national level, the Republicans were elected with one mandate: Get Rid of Obama.  Seriously.  There is nothing else the Republicans have planned.  Anything they've claimed about balancing the budget?  When confronted to give specifics - "which programs would you cut first?  by how much?" - the party leadership waffled.  The ones who DID give any specifics tended to threaten cuts for things like Social Security and Defense that are still Third Rail issues both inside the Beltway and outside it.

So what should we expect from the Republican-led House?  We already know Congressman Issa is going to press for hundreds if not thousands of subpoenas to investigate Obama's White House on any useless issue, any hairbrained "scandal" that does not really exist merely for the purposes of embarrassing Obama.  And that will be minor league stuff to what Issa and the House are apt to do: Impeach Obama for being born in Kenya Hawaii by going after his Long Form birth certificate.  Hell, the Republican Party and their media cohorts with Limbaugh and FOX Not-News have spent the last two years decrying Obama as "illegal" - an illegitimate fraud who doesn't qualify for the Presidency - and getting millions of their Far Right voters to buy into that bullshit.  And now that they've got a branch of government that can "investigate" (aka harass) Obama on that "issue", they are going to have to appease a voting base that's been convinced Obama is a Socialist Boy From Kenya threatening our freedoms.  The Republican leadership created this fake meme: now they have to live or die by it.

The other campaign "pledges" of the GOP was to balance the budget and reduce the deficit.  And guess what?  Even this week after their massive win it's showing that the Republicans realize it's going to be harder than their campaigning suggested it would be.  There's already a struggle over the issue of the debt ceiling - an artificial cap on the amount our government can officially borrow - and while the Republicans are making noises that they will use the issue to force a deal with the Democrats in the Senate and White House, there's solid evidence that the large number of incoming Republicans (with their Teabagger agenda of "Damn All Hazards") are going to rail against the debt ceiling no matter what.  There's a good possibility that the GOP leadership that wants the compromise knowing that hitting the debt ceiling is disastrous is already losing their newcomers who find themselves obligated to defy the "corrupt old ways of bipartisanship"... something the GOP already defied the last two years just to get here...

Not to mention the fact that the Republicans are still stuck in the ideological mode of "Kill All Social Programs", "Kill Social Security", "Kill All Furriners", et al, and you've got a hard two years coming up until the 2012 elections.

Wanna hear something scary?  The state of Texas is now so solidly Republican, that they got not only the Governorship but also 2/3s majority in both their state houses, that they could easily pass state amendments all over the place.  Get ready to see Texas turn into a Right Wing "Utopia" of anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-workers rights, anti-regulation, anti-human decency inside of 5 minutes... 4... 3... 2...

And you know what?  Considering that our electoral system has been industrialized and turned into a $4 billion cash cow, we're never going to see an end to campaigning and calls for fund raising and all that.  We've already got jokers lining themselves up (even on the Democratic side, damn them) for the 2012 Presidential primaries.  STOP POLLING FOR 2012, GALLUP!  We don't need that crap right now...

On second thought, odds are the way our economy's gonna be the next two years - crappy and painful - I might as well get in on that action.  I'm gonna go get myself signed up to run for Congress in 2012.  I already got my slogans.  "Vote for ME.  I Need The Work."  Plugging away...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Day Update 4: Two-Point-Five Million Floridians Just Voted a Crook Into Office

Sink Concedes To Scott.

The governorship of Florida is now in the hands of a man who committed such outrageous amounts of Medicare Fraud at his HMO business that the company had to force him out and pay $1.7 BILLION in settlements and fines.

The governorship of Florida is now in the hands of a man whose idea for creating jobs is to cut state employees off the payroll, deregulate across the board, and eliminating a corporate income tax that brought $1.8 billion in revenue to the state budget and claiming that will go toward creating jobs (even though history has shown TAX CUTS DON'T CREATE JOBS).

The governorship of Florida is now in the hands of a man with a track record of mismanagement, corruption, obsessive adherence to ideology even in the face of facts.

Considering that an investigation into Solantic's Medicare overbilling (GEE WHERE HAVE WE HEARD THAT BEFORE) is possible, how soon are we going to see policemen knocking at the Governor-Elect's door with a warrant?

To the 2,553,634 registered voters of Florida who went with Rick "MEDICARE FRAUD" Scott: this wasn't a secret.  This wasn't hidden on the bottom column of page 14 of the newspaper.  You saw a crook with the Royal GOP Seal (tm) tattooed on his ass and you still voted for him.  Out of some willful ignorance, some blind rage, or other unexplainable excuse.  Your neighbors had been screaming for months, hadn't they, about the damage this guy could do in office.  And you still voted for him.

I'm making a prediction here: I give it a year.  Scott is going to do something monumentally stupid and corrupt while in office.  It's gonna cause a massive investigation and there will be recrimination and tears and utter horror.  It will most likely damage this state's financial standing the way a sinkhole damages a car dealership.  And we are ALL going to get stuck with the bill, you sons of bitches.

Election Day Update 3: The Morning Sun Found Me No More Wise No Less Troubled

I woke up this morning dreading the dawn.  Mostly because I went to bed knowing the Florida Governor's race between Alex Sink and A GODDAMN CROOK was not then resolved, but with that GODDAMN CROOK holding a slim lead.

This morning, about the same: GODDAMN CROOK at 2,553,434, Sink at 2,500,510.  There's a ton of absentee ballots to count, and right now there's a 53,000 vote difference between sanity and HELL.

I'm staring at that voter count.  There is a part of me that absolutely refuses to comprehend how 2,553,434 of my fellow Floridians got suckered in by the GOP BULLSHIT that Rick Scott was qualified and ethical enough to serve as this state's Governor.

This is why you don't let GODDAMN CROOKS win any primaries, people.  This is why you don't live or die with a Two-Party system when one of the parties goes BATSHIT INSANE.

I want it noted for the record: If Rick GODDAMN CROOK Scott wins, and the state of Florida does indeed suffer in Hell with his bullshit rule (I will bet you within a year there will be a financial scandal in a Scott administration), I want those 2,553,434 to suffer for it, and not the rest of us.

And as for you GODDAMN DEMOCRATS.  There's 4.8 million registered in this state, and only 2.5 million bothered to show up?!  There's 2.3 million Democrats who ought to be FUCKING ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES.  Where the HELL WERE YOU?!

(NOTE: The entry title is a quote from Issue 3, page 22 of Watchmen.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day Update 2: The Long Night

I had traveled to St. Pete to attend the Crist rally at the Savoy, took my laptop with me to see if they had free wifi.  Yeah, I know, it's a hotel, ain't nothing free, but you never know.  And yeah, you were right, it weren't free and besides I had no place to set down with it, so moot point...

Anyway, to report in... the Senate race was called pretty early for Rubio, still currently tracking about 50 percent of the overall vote, with Crist at 29 percent and Meek at 20 percent.  That most of the voters of the state went with a Far Right conservative with a history of pork barrel spending and a plan that unmistakably increased the deficit by $3 TRILLION... I cannot understand that.

In fact the whole damn state is disappointing me at the moment.  As of 10:20 pm EST, Rick "What Part of MEDICARE FRAUD DID YOU GODDAMN VOTERS OVERLOOK" Scott has a 50 percent to 45 percent lead over Alex Sink for the Governor's office.  There are no words for the combined levels of rage and despair I have for my state right now, and can only pray to God that the remaining ballots lean so far in Sink's favor to secure her victory over an OPENLY DOCUMENTED AND WELL-ESTABLISHED FRAUD.

I know my fellow residents of Florida are crazy.  We're renowned for it.  It's why we got our own FARK tag.  But for the love of GOD people, crazy AND ignorant DOES.  NOT.  HELP.

If there are any bright spots tonight, considering the Republican "Screw Everybody Under $250,000" Party is running rampant across this state and this nation?  At least Amendments 5 and 6 - the Fair Districts - are on pace to make over 60 percent of the votes (I hope that's enough, for some reason the news sources have not checked them off as wins and I am afeared these amendments might need 67 percent or 2/3rds to pass.  Oh Gods help us...)  Also, a good friend from the 1992 campaign, Trish Muscarella, seems to have won the Circuit Judge, 6th Circuit Group 18 election.

I hope the next update has me in a better mood.

Election Day Update 1: I Remember

This ad just got shown on Sullivan's site.  It's a perfect summary of why the Republicans CAN'T be trusted with our budgets, our health, our safety, our need for jobs.

Election Day November 2 2010

Lemme just say.  DOOM?

As of right now, I don't care for poll numbers. 

All I care about is getting everybody out to vote. 

All I care about is getting people to vote for Charlie Crist.

All I care about is getting people to vote for Amendments 5 and 6 for the state of Florida: we need those Fair Districts and bring an end to the damn gerrymandering.


All I care about is that the voters do the right thing and DON'T VOTE REPUBLICAN.  If the Republicans get control of the US Congress WE ARE SCREWED.

I'll be updating as often as needed.  I'm gonna see if I can bring a laptop to the Crist Celebration party tonight.

Wish us luck.  May GOD have Mercy on us all!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

All I Want This Election Day Nov. 2 2010

I want everyone who's a registered voter to get up and vote.  I despair that the overall voter turnout is always so meager.  We're supposed to be a vibrant democracy but barely half the nation even bothers to register to vote...

I want my fellow Floridians to Vote FOR Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate.  Of the three major choices, Crist is the one who's had the better, more honorable career.  Yes, he's changed his position on certain votes, but that was because a vast majority of Floridians begged him to do so.  Changing one's mind when it becomes clear that a political stance is wrong-headed DOES NOT make one a flip-flopper.  And getting driven out by the party with all those outside Far Right deep pockets is NOT being a traitor either.  A vote for Crist is a vote FOR Florida.  I seriously believe that.

I want my fellow Floridians to Vote AGAINST Rick Scott.  Scott is a goddamn crook with a history of Medicare Fraud.  There's now more evidence that his more recent health care endeavor, Solantic, has the same problem of Medicare overbilling that they had when Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA.  The crook hasn't even stopped his bad habits!  What the hell do you think someone like that is gonna do in the Governor's office?  Here's a clue: he's gonna take all the money he can grift and make the rest of us suffer for it!  For the LOVE OF GOD, FLORIDA, DO NOT VOTE FOR HIM!  If you don't want to vote for Sink, fine, there's two other choices on the ballot.  Just... NO SCOTT.

I want my fellow Floridians to Vote FOR Amendments 5 and 6The Fair Districts ballots.  Of all the amendments on the ballot, these two are of major import to me: a serious and genuine attempt to stop the political gerrymandering that has favored one party over the rights of the voters, and has allowed incumbents to carve out safe districts to the detriment of honest representation.

I want my fellow Floridians... I want my fellow Americans across this nation to Vote FOR Democrats across the board.  All the Republicans will offer between now and 2012 are questionable impeachment investigations, a refusal to be serious with deficit reduction, and an upfront desire to shut down the federal government first chance and every chance they get.  I mean, the Republicans are the ones who blocked and obstructed and refused to compromise for the last two years... and THEY'RE the ones the voters want back in power?  Don't the voters have kids: any time their kids throw a tantrum and hold their breath and all, do these voters give their unruly kids more toys and candy?  Or do they send them to a corner for well-deserved Time Outs?  The collective GOP has acted like a spoiled 5-year-old brat... AND THEY ARE GETTING REWARDED FOR THEIR BAD BEHAVIOR.  What.  The.  Hell?!

I want to be able to go to bed Tuesday night in a good mood.  I want to be able to post here Wednesday morning that we're going to have responsible, sensible leadership in elected office between now and 2012 that might actually do something about our unemployment and our weak economy.

I want... I want... I want to... Put on my Sunday clothes...
There's lots of world out there
Get out the Brillantine and dime cigars
We're gonna find adventure in the evening air
Girls in white in a perfumed night
Where the lights are bright as the stars!
Put on your Sunday clothes, we're gonna ride through town
In one of those new horsedrawn open cars

We'll see the shows
At Delmonico's
And we'll close the town in a whirl
And we won't come home until we've kissed a girl!


Oh, right.




Monday, October 25, 2010

One Last Week To Try And Convince Florida That Rick Scott As Governor Is a REALLY BAD IDEA

Seriously, people.  43 to 46 percent of likely voters WANT to vote for Rick "1.7 BILLION IN MEDICARE FRAUD" Scott?  Do you WANT me to go to each and every one of your homes to SLAP SOME GODDAMN SENSE INTO YOU?!


Okay.  Okay.  Calming down a bit.  Let's try a little bit of logic here:

Experience as a CEO of a company DOES NOT automatically mean a person will have experience running an elected office.  In Rick Scott's case, his experience as a CEO isn't even good: he mismanaged a major Health Care firm - Columbia/HCA - into such a sorry state that the board of directors FORCED HIM OUT and left the health care firm to pay off $1.7 BILLION in fines, court costs, and settlements related to the massive amount of Medicare Fraud the company performed during Scott's tenure.
Let's take a moment to review his work history here: Scott as CEO did massive damage to his own corporation.  This happened either because A) the Medicare fraud happened outside of his knowledge (Scott's excuse), which means that Scott was incompetent and incapable of keeping track of his own business, or B) the Medicare fraud happened with Scott's knowledge (the whistleblowers' contention, with some evidence backing that claim), which means that Scott was (and very well IS) a corrupt and greedy bastard.  There is no third explanation here.  Either way, Scott is an inept manager or a corrupt bastard.  This is who you want for our state's Governorship?
Add to this Scott's experiences running businesses after his getting the boot from Columbia/HCA haven't been all sunshine either.  Mostly bouncing around as a venture capitalist starting a series of health-related businesses including a planned Health Network that didn't seem to go anywhere after Discovery Channel bought up the rights by 2001.  Scott tried another health care business called Solantic, a chain of "urgent care" clinics... and THAT is a source of headaches involving lawsuits covering discriminatory hiring practices among other questions of mismanagement.  If Scott's had any success post-HCA, it's been running a lobbyist firm opposed to Obama's Health Care Reform laws: successful in that he's raised tons of cash and getting his name out there for, guess what, running for Governor.

The scary thing for me is how blind the voters seem to be of Scott's actual track record.  The voters seem only interested in one thing: that Scott has the Republican(tm) Seal of Approval having won the August primary over McCollum.  Pity there is, given the voter turnout (1 million) for the Primary compared to the actual number of registered Republicans (over 3 million) in the state, Scott didn't even really win a majority of the Party.  He just won with the more obsessed (Teabagger) and dedicated (Wingnuts) elements of the Party that even tried to show up and vote.  Which on its own is a sad state of affairs: did a majority of Republicans just not even care in the end who represents the Party for the Governor's seat?

What is worse is the overall voter turnout: compared to Presidential election cycles, the so-called Midterm elections have fewer voters.  Basically, only Teh Crazies come out to vote.  Which ought not to be the case here: in Florida at least there is the VERY REAL DANGER that a corrupt bastard like Rick Scott could end up in control of:
  • Our state's budget: he can veto and line-item veto things at his pleasure.  And while the Legislature legally has control of passing the budgets, the Governor would have a lot of influence in pushing which programs to fund or defund.  And this is a guy with a history of FRAUD on his resume...  Seriously?
  • How the state's legislative districts and Congressional districts are drawn based on this decade's 2010 Census numbers.  While Amendments 5 and 6 to the State Constitution can pass and could well assure that partisanship won't gerrymander everything to hell and back, there's any number of political maneuvers that could delay that effort of fair redistricting... and Rick Scott as Governor will influence the redistricting to his benefit.
  • Our public and social services.  For all the bullshit Scott is saying about "Let's Get To Work," like he has the solutions for curbing the unemployment crisis our state is suffering (12-14 percent Unemployment!), Scott is openly threatening to cut state-employed jobs.  And someone like him isn't going to stop at 6,000 jobs... or 60,000 jobs.  Any cuts he can find to justify massive tax breaks for his business and corporate buddies will do.  Even if it means closing every library, every child care service, every poverty-fighting program that is staving off the disaster this state is currently suffering.  Someone like Scott will slash first and never question the consequences: let the poor people worry about that...

Just on those three points alone, the whole of the state's registered Democratic population (over 4 million) ought to be rising up out of their seats to rush to the local early voting polls and putting their vote in AGAINST SCOTT.  Alex Sink is a goddamn SAINT compared to Scott... and you Democrats aren't showing up in droves yet?



For the LOVE OF GOD, ANYONE BUT RICK SCOTT!  Just.  DON'T.  VOTE.  For that crook!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

They Took That Sign Down! NOOooooooo

I mentioned last post that I saw a Rick Scott sign at the West Pasco Government Center that had a "He's a Crook!" anti-fan sign taped to it.  After posting, I figured on making an excuse to swing back by with my camera to get a snapshot in case it was still there.

As you can tell by my SPOILER-doomed entry title, someone took that sign down.  Sniff whimper.

Anyway, pics of how it looks along the driveway of the WPGC:

I mentioned how half of all those signs are mostly two people fighting for the Mosquito Control position?  Take a look at the lower right corner of the second picture: the red sign and the pink sign.  Yeah, those two.  Just repeat both signs by infinity and you'll get an idea how cluttered that driveway is with their signs.

People!  Seriously!  All that signage for MOSQUITO CONTROL?  And all clumped together in one spot?!  Just how much money are you all spending on the MOSQUITO CONTROL Job?  What IS the big deal with that job, a springboard to the governorship?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thing That Made Me Smile

I went out to the West Pasco Government Center to wave a Vote For Crist sign alongside Little Rd. this morning.  There's early voting for the next two weeks so gotta Get Out The Vote.

The whole driveway up to the government building is lined with yard signs.  Hundreds of them.  And more than half of the signs are for two people running for Mosquito Control.  That's right, not for the Senate or the Governorship or County Commissioners... Mosquito Control.  That's the big campaign in Pasco County...?  Hmm, now that I think about it, we do have a bit of a bug problem in Florida, don't we...

But the thing that made me smile this morning was this:

Seeing a sign for Rick Scott (BOO HISS), but with a hand-made sign taped to it reading "He's A Crook!  What the Hell Are You Voting Him For?"

When I head back there next time, ought to take a camera with me... also ought to take a lawn chair, my back is killing me after two hours of sign-waving!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Midterm crunchtime

We've got basically two weeks to slap sense into a majority of voters to stop them from voting Republican this 2010 Midterms.

Dear America:
The Republicans have nominated psychotics, ill-informed zombies, outright crooks, and stone-cold liars for high office across the land.

The Republicans carried out a massive and unprecedented program of obstruction and blocking at the federal level that has effectively shut down government at one of the worst times in our nation's economy.

The Republicans are bought and backed by deep-pocketed financial institutions and billionaires who have profited from our economic collapse of the last 3 years, and look to continue the same greedy economic policies that nearly wrecked the entire planet's economy in 2008.

For the LOVE OF GOD, AMERICA.  Don't.  Vote.  Republican!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fool me Thirty-Seven Times, It's Still SHAME ON YOU, You Crooked Bastards

Pretty much link to Digby about the Foreclosure Crisis (Part Thirty-Seven, Or Didn't We Just Have a Problem With Banks Just Two Years Ago?):

...So I'm listening to Andrea Mitchell and Jim Cramer explain the Foreclosure Fraud Crisis as they wail and rend their garments about how terrible it will be for just everyone if these poor banks are held responsible for this problem because the whole economy will implode.

That's nonsense. People should go to directly jail at this point, do not pass go. The real estate market is still officially fucked and while everyone wants it to "find its bottom" coddling the big financial institutions and their crooked subsidiaries and contractors has not worked all that well for average Americans at any point in this ongoing crisis (or for Democrats for that matter.) The only people who are benefiting from the capitulation to the Big Money Boyz's threats and hoary predictions on this one are the Big Money Boyz and the GOP. The economy still sucks and will continue to suck until the incentives for this criminal behavior and self-destructive malfeasance are stopped...

Even those with good motives among the powers-that-be (and there's reason to be suspicious about many of them) continue to believe they can finesse this problem with band-aids or superficial remedies to keep the rubes quiet until the invisible hand fixes everything. They are petrified in the meantime that unless they give the oligarchs what they want, they will pull the plug and then where will we be?

This is magical thinking. There is not going to be any easy way out of this. The invisible hand may be working but it often works on a very, very long timeline and many bad things can happen to a society while it does its thing. Meanwhile, every incantation and folk medicine they've applied to this problem has resulted in another round of infection. It's time to open up the wound and completely clean it out. The patient will heal much faster and it's far less likely to die in the meantime...

...As I wrote yesterday, these banks are once again holding the country hostage with their threats that if anything should be done about their criminality they'll blow up the whole damned place. Well, they already are ---- in slow motion. If we want to find a "bottom" to this market, they need to institute a serious cram-down program to help real people work out these messed up mortgages instead of allowing the banks fix their balance sheets through fraud and the market to stabilize by throwing people into the streets. It's not working.

And everybody needs to stop worrying about the moral hazard of letting average people off the hook for their mortgages and worry a little bit more about the moral hazard of continually allowing these huge financial institutions to get away with murder...

This is the result of decades of failing to hold people accountable for their actions... the slow, inexorable end to oversight... the unwillingness by those in a position to stop the reckless and criminal all because of the glorified concept of "Free-market"... the foolishness of those who pursued their greed and ambitions without recognizing the damage done the last time we let this happen, and their open disdain of the New Deal policies put in place to make sure those damaging acts never happened again.

That saying "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me" is only partially correct.  We've been fooled, again and again by The Geniuses Of Capitalism, the CEOs and Financial "Wizards" of Wall Street, into thinking that they held all the answers and had all the skills to make everyone and everything better by their guiding hands.  But we're not the ones who committed the crimes and fooled the people day in and day out: that's still THEIR fault and those CEOs and banking "wizards" need to answer for their crimes.  We're only to blame if we let them go.  AGAIN.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Burning Down The Housing Industry

For awhile there, I was thinking about making some comments on the horrifying story about how privatizing the fire departments might not be that good an idea.

But this week, something bigger and nastier that can affect everyone's homes has popped up in the news:

...But oddly, when it's revealed that financial institutions have behaved irresponsibly (and in some cases criminally) casting their own industry into disrepute, ruining countless lives and (further) destroying the economy, we are told that they cannot be held responsible, or even be required to stop their irresponsible and criminal behavior, because it will slow the recovery and the poor average worker will be hurt. We've been told for two years now, as wave after wave of financial wrongdoing and malfeasance has been revealed, that it is in our best interest and the best interest of the country that we allow the big banks and their various affiliates to continue on unmolested lest something even worse happens...

...You have to love the idea that average Americans should stand pat while the mortgage industry continues to defraud them so they can protect their alleged investments in mortgage securities. I guess there's a sucker born every minute.

At some point one would hope that this racket would become obvious to the American people: they are being held hostage by financial elites who insist that they be allowed to get away with murder or they'll blow the whole place up and take everyone down with them...

It seems that over the past two years, the banks had been speeding through the foreclosure paperwork for hundreds of thousands of properties that there has been mass confusion over which properties belong to whom, and even if certain mortgaged homes are even foreclosed.  There are reports of people's homes being auctioned off by banks while those same banks are telling the homeowners that they still own their properties.  Reports of fraudulent signatures and false papers are rampant.  Attorneys General of 40 states are starting investigations and the banks have had to freeze their entire foreclosure processes.

As someone who's unemployed, struggling with the help of his parents to pay off a mortgage while I search for work, the possibility that I may have to sell my townhouse/condo is a primary concern.  Problem is, I can't sell in this housing market from Hell.  And this foreclosure crisis is making it worse.  Freezing the foreclosures makes the market more uncertain.  The whole mortgage lending process may be under investigation before too long.  And in this environment people are not going to be interested in buying homes.

It'd be nice to think that someone can come along and fix this all: establish some serious oversight, ensure that the paperwork has been resolved, provide stability to the home-selling and mortgage-lending markets.  But the banks can't be trusted.  The government is tied up right now with partisan bullshit by a Republican Party obsessed with deregulating everything and demonizing any effort to fix our economy (unless it involved cutting more taxes... again... and again.  AND FUCKING AGAIN).

The Latin phrase for "We're screwed"?  Anyone?  The Google Translate isn't all that effective...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Slightly Off-Topic, but Google Translate has English to Latin

Which, if it has any similarity to other language translators I've found online over the years, will get a good amount of the translation wrong.  It's the grammar.  Tense (Past, Future, Pluperfect) use.  Even word incompatability (what's Latin for "iPod"?).

That said, I've been plugging in a few personal quotes I love to see what the Latin would be:

Es fatear hypocritae honestissimis potestis facere.

Vivimus in gentem sunt iaceat numismate.

Okay... I tried plugging in "Buy my book!" and it's definitely having translator issues.  Go figure.  :( 

Monday, October 04, 2010

For All I Know About How the March For Jobs Turned Out

It would have been nice if I had gone so I could report in person what the crowds were like, how the scene was set, the mood of others worried for their jobs...

There's not much online I'm finding at the moment other than this article from The Atlantic Wire, which mostly just focuses on the debates on what the turnout meant and what turnout they actually had (and if the turnout was bigger than Beck's).

The problem is that "official" numbers from the National Park Service aren't given out anymore, so it's left to the rally leaders to proclaim GREAT VICTORY in the millions of people who turn out for their shows.  For Beck, he was gloating he had 500,000 at his rally (CBS did their evaluation and got it at 87,000.  Other observers did their own math and considered numbers between 100,000 to 150,000).  The One Nation crew is pushing that they got better numbers than Beck, but on-the-ground reports are suggesting they got a smaller turnout (like 80,000 to Beck 87,000 kind of comparisons).

The one thing that does seem worthy to note: the largest amount of representation - and what was the stronger effort at the local level to organize buses - came from the unions.  This pretty much got to be a March for Unions than a March for Jobs by the sound of it.  Which makes sense when you think about it. Unions are all about jobs: keeping the union jobs they've got and wanting more jobs created for workers to join unions later on.

The phrase "enthusiasm gap" is going to get played up nowadays: comparing the eagerness of the Far Right to the lackluster responses of the whole Left toward the current political mood and potential results this November.  All I want to say on this matter is WAKE THE HELL UP AMERICA.  You don't want the Republicans to reclaim control of Congress and drive us back to the economic horrors they created from the 1990s and through the Bush the Lesser years.  Okay?  Do I need to re-hash what I've said about the damage the Republicans have caused with their insane obsession with tax cuts and deregulation?

One month to go.  Please DON'T VOTE REPUBLICAN.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If Only On My Resume I Could Claim I Went To Harvard AND Yale, I'd Be President By Now

This is the candidate the Delaware Republicans decided to represent them this election cycle for the US Senate:

...Just when it seemed the story couldn't get worse for the extremist candidate, it gets worse.
[T]he claim that Christine O'Donnell studied at Oxford has now turned up on a second O'Donnell online resume, this one from ZoomInfo. [...]
This morning, the Democratic National Committee pointed out that O'Donnell is also described in a ZoomInfo entry as having achieved a "certificate" in "Post Modernism in the New Millennium" from the "University of Oxford." The Zoom Info entry was labeled, "user verified."
ZoomInfo, which has spent the day looking into this, has sent over a statement detailing what happened with this profile. According to the company, O'Donnell's profile was claimed in 2008 through something called a "double opt-in process."
The only way that resume, with its patently false claims, could have been published is by O'Donnell posting it to the site. She had plenty of opportunities to correct it, but chose to leave the falsehoods in place.
Worse, TPM found instances in which O'Donnell told similar lies on her MySpace page, 2008 campaign website, and 2006 campaign website. She included deceptive information about her education in court filings, and repeated related false claims during recent media interviews.
This wasn't a typo or sloppy word choice.
In other words, Christine O'Donnell lied, and then lied about lying...

Welcome to a political world where people have been lying for years, and have been lying for so long without consequence or accountability that blatant unprovable lies that can be easily fact-checked with a simple phone-call are routine and common.  O'Donnell doesn't even seem willing to clear the record, make a correction or admit that mistakes were made by herself: she prefers blaming others and doubling down on the lies.

At what point will someone within the Republican Party at the state or national level step in to make it clear to O'Donnell that this is too big a story to ignore or shove under the rug?  Probably never.  O'Donnell is the current darling of the wingnut division of the party, which is now pretty much 71 percent of the GOP as I type this.  The most likely end of this story is that O'Donnell is made into a martyr, gets a book deal and a FOX talk show, and makes millions on the scam she's pulling on the state of Delaware, the nation, and the whole entire planet.

There are people who try to profit on lies.  It used to be those that did were charged with fraud and imprisoned.  Today, they can win elected office and get feted for their savvy and charm.  Welcome to the World of Lies and Unaccountability.  It won't last long, and when it collapses as all false worlds do it is going to take the Real World with it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amount of Trouble For This Entry Is Huge, But DAMMIT I Will Say This.

I mentioned elsewhere about some frustration in not getting a bus organized to travel up to the March For Jobs this Saturday. A lady had gotten a bus lined up but then people kept canceling out to where she couldn't keep the bus.  Well, that lady I mentioned, M_____ was able to wrangle FREE seats (25 dollar tip for the drivers) on another bus that had been paid for going from the Tampa area. I still say that libruls can't organize for sh-t and this was stuff that should have been taken care of months ago from a higher level and all, but at least they pulled through. Thanks, M_____!

So now the other problem rears its head.

My dad.

Dad's an old-school Republican. Proof: he still thinks Nixon didn't do anything wrong. But adding onto that is his devotion to all things Limbaugh/Beck. Beck's picked up on the event's happening and has been spending this week complaining that there are Communists leading the event (I have no doubt there are Communists showing up, but um the NAACP and ALF-CIO are the main organizers). As a result, Dad's all in a conniption about this. And mom's telling me that Dad is viewing my desire to go as a personal affront to him.

Never mind I'm 40 years old. Never mind Dad's known me to be more moderate (not librul, dad! MODERATE! You know, more letters in the word!) in my political views. Never mind my frustration at the poor job market and my wanting to contribute something, anything, to getting the word out about how bad the lack of good jobs is out here in the Real World.  Never mind this wasn't meant to be an affront to my father or my family.

If I go on the road trip, it's gonna end any relationship I might have with my dad (and in extension my mom, who I admit is caught in a bad spot).

Considering I'm unemployed, and relying on my parents to bail me out of my mortgage payments...

So I can't go. Just so Dad won't be offended. And I'll just sit there, and let Dad rant about how I need to listen to Beck more, and how I need to be like this, and that, and God knows what else.

You know, Dad? My trying to ween you off Beck? I never order you to stop listening to Beck, I *ask*, as politely as possible. When I add Frum and Friedersdorf to your web browser, I'm trying to broaden your access to conservative opinion, not narrow it. I don't want to turn you into a dirty fucking hippie, Dad, I just want you to be better informed about being a conservative.

But this? I've gotten the order, yes sir, thank you sir, may I have another sir. And if this gets back to you, sir, well then I'll just sit in my corner and sulk like I did back when I was seven years old sir. The way you slapped me and sent me to my room without supper at that age really taught me sir, yes it did sir.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Florida Ballot Amendments 2010: The Quickening

Welcome back to another installment of "We're Voting For WHAT This November?"

Linkage here to official descriptives of the amendments on the state ballot.  Linkage here to reviews, comments and truth-verification on the amendment debates.

Shall we peruse the list?  ...Peruse.  It's an SAT word.  Means "to read."  Sigh...

Amendment One: Campaign Finance Requirement Repeal.
Pretty straightfoward: It calls for a repeal of the public financing of statewide candidates who agree to spending limits.  What does it mean?
It means that, with public financing gone, any candidates for state office will become more ensnared by the need for campaigning and raising funds that will be offered up by deep pocket lobbyist groups and individual millionaires.  A more sensible approach would be to follow other reforms that would reduce outside influences of the lobbies, but hey I'm not able to bribe my local officials with $50,000 of funding so I'm just jealous of those who can.
I'd vote: Against the repeal.  It's not the solution to campaign reform we need.

Amendment Two: Military Assisted Homestead Property Tax.
This amendment creates a homestead property tax exemption to members of the United States military and  reservists who receive a Homestead exemption and who were deployed in on active duty outside the United States.  Basically, anyone who owns a house/property in Florida that gets Homesteaded and was serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other tour of duty on foreign soil gets a bigger exemption.
This is kind of a no-brainer: military service is one of the Big Things a good citizen does for their country.  But a lot of the soldiers and personnel who do serve have problems paying the bills just like the rest of us (some even moreso as a lot of soldiers are volunteering from low-income lives).  Giving them a tax break on home ownership can help relieve some of the pressure on our current housing woes.
I'd vote: For the Homestead exemption for the Military.  I'm not alone.  This is polling at 71 percent approval (like I said, no-brainer).

Amendment Three: Removed by court order.
It would have created bigger tax exemptions for first-time home buyers and for certain types of business properties.  People argued it would have created too many tax breaks during budgetary crises at the state, county and city levels and would have forced counties/cities to hike existing rates to unreasonable levels on those who wouldn't be covered by this amendment.
Personally, some tax breaks - like Amendment Two's - make sense.  Others don't.  This one didn't, and Thank God it's off the table.  (Note: I would not have been protected from this Homestead exemption and most likely would have seen property taxes on my place go up by 20 percent or more if this had passed).

Amendment Four: Comprehensive Land Use Plans.
Hoo boy.  This one's messy.  This one requires voter approval of any changes to local (city/county) growth-management plans.  Also known as Comprehensive plans, they're blueprints of how cities and counties plan ahead on how the communities will look (suburban neighborhood here, shopping mall there, 6-lane highway over that way, etc.).
This amendment came about because Florida has a terrible track record of sticking to any eco-friendly or sensible growth-management plans.  Businesses and developers have pretty much free reign in dealing with local governments to get their way: as a result, Florida is one of several states that overplanned suburban and condo developments.  Since the housing collapse of 2007 to current, there are virtual open lots of planned neighborhoods where nothing's been built other than unused driveways and street lamps.  (Note: I live in Pasco: I've counted about two undeveloped areas up towards Hudson, one out towards Land O' Lakes, and one huge undeveloped neighborhood south of Zephyrhills).
Arguing for this amendment, supporters claim the elected officials in charge of the growth-development too often ignore voters, and the rules for halting unplanned growth don't work. This amendment is their solution: Give residents the power to decide where and how the cities/counties will grow.
Opponents highlight that some communities already allow local residents direct vote on the plans: they also point out those communities cope with constant lawsuits fighting over the votes.  Another problem is that voters, Bless them, aren't fully informed about the benefits or detriments of any plan: after all, most of us are NOT architects or land-use experts, nor do most of us don't have business savvy to see how land could be effectively used.  For all we know, a good plan would get attacked with flimsy arguments and fall to voter ignorance: a bad plan would get sold by snake-oil salesmen and get passed that would later prove a disaster for the community left paying the bills.
I'd vote: Against this.  This one is tricky.  I hate how the developers have shredded half this state to build their fancy condos and neighborhoods.  However, I don't trust the overall common sense of the voters (these are the same idiots who voted for Rick Scott KNOWN TO HAVE COMMITTED MEDICARE FRAUD), and I fear if this passes the developers will find a way to twist this amendment to their advantage.  There's got to be a better way to end overdevelopment.  This isn't it.

Amendment Five: Fair District Boundaries - Legislative
Amendment Six: Fair District Boundaries - Congressional
These are a one-two amendment punch to the horrific gerrymandering that our state government commits every ten years to draw the state and federal congressional districts.  See, the party in charge tends to draw the districts that favor their party and their incumbents: they design districts that show a decent majority of registered voters to their party and as many of those districts as they can (example: creating fifteen Republican districts that have +2 advantages for the GOP in each district while creating three Democratic districts of +20 advantages where there were too many Democrats to feasibly carve out a Republican district).  In order to create these districts, the party in charge ignores basic boundaries such as city limits, county borders, and geographic edges such as rivers and lakes.  As a result, you can get a state Senate district that stretches between three counties and include voters that may actually conflict with each other over agriculture, schools, and development-growth.  The only uniting factor?  The majority of voters there will all vote for anyone with a (Republican) in brackets behind the name.  The final result?  Unstoppable incumbents of a political party that falsely creates a majority in office and can ignore ("The voters never notice, they just vote!") the actual needs of the citizenry.
Hence these voter-approved amendments.  They will force the state government to create voting districts for the State lege and the U.S. Congress so that the districts are equal by population density ONLY and will follow city/county and geographic borders.  There are considerations for minority representation, but the odds are if they go by population density - read urban centers - there will be enough districts for Black and Hispanic representation to fulfill civil rights obligations. 
The State lege was so terrified of these amendments passing that they attempted to insert Amendment Seven as a means to override both these if they passed.  More on that in the next entry.  Suffice to say, the powers-that-be don't like these two amendments: the PERFECT reason to VOTE FOR THEM.
I'd Vote: For both Amendment 5 AND 6.  They are both fair and just: we live in a state with 1-million MORE registered Democrats, but thanks to a Republican-controlled State legislature the districts have been drawn to favor the Republicans.  There's not even any district that's majority-No Party affiliate: I'm hoping that in districts drawn up by these amendments we can actually get a district that favors neither major party!  BWHAHAHAHAHA!  Better still, these amendments will make it harder for incumbents to dictate their favorable districts, albeit the changes that come every 10 years.  Still, anything that shakes up the incumbency is a good thing: you bastards gotta WORK for your votes...

Amendment Seven: Poison-Pill Redistricting Amendment.  Which thankfully got booted by court order.
Mentioned earlier, this was a State legislature-approved amendment designed to counter the amendments Five and Six.  While the wording of this amendment sounded similar to those other two amendments (saying that districts will not be drawn for party bias), this amendment allowed for districts to be drawn "for communities of common interest."  And what common interests would those be?  Mostly based on party platforms, a loophole to sneak in gerrymandered districts based on "common interest" and not on the needs and realities of actually communities like cities and counties.  The wording of the amendment also allowed it to trump any redistricting requirements in case either Amendments Five or Six passed.
The amendment quickly got challenged in court, where the judge noted it was confusing and held hidden objectives.  It got to the State Supreme Court where they ruled it would also counter current requirements that districts be "contiguous".  The legal system basically said it was a poorly-written and confusing law.  Neener.

Amendment Eight: Florida Class Size
Ah, the issue that won't die.  This amendment is an attempt to repeal a previous state amendment that forced school districts to cap classroom sizes to certain student counts: 18 elementary, 22 middle schoolers, 25 high schoolers.  This would end that and allow schools to set classrooms by average student counts by grade level per district (although it allows for higher caps (21, 27, 30)).  There are funding issues as well.
The short of it: implementing the classroom size limits forced districts to A) hire more teachers and support staff, B) build more schools or add on more portable classrooms, C) really hate the state voters for passing that amendment in 2002.  Given the tight budgeting problems this state's had this past decade, I would sympathize.
The proponents of this amendment claim that a study done on the state showed there's been no discernible improvement in student performances since the class limits were put in place.  Those defending the class limits point out the study was funded by a committee that has Jeb "Kill Tenure" Bush on its board.  This argument quickly falls into the He Said / He Said bickering, so lets try looking at the numbers instead.
The St. Pete Times examined the costs of this new amendment and found that by giving more flexibility with classroom sizes this could save the state $1 billion out of the $16 billion the current amendment supposedly spends.  Question there I have is, will that $1 billion still go to the schools to help fund other necessary reforms such as upgraded schools, pay performance improvements, and programs designed to help struggling kids stay in school for their degrees?
I'd Vote: This is tricky for me.  My mom was a teacher: based on her experiences griping about teaching the kids, I'd come to the conclusion that classroom sizes did make a difference.  A room of 33-40 kids sounded harder to reach than a room full of 25 kids.  There is no evidence I can find that quantity affects quality of education either way.  If there is anything with the class limit, it forces schools to hire more unqualified "teachers" than usual... but that could be countered by improving the degree programs at the state universities and colleges.  The biggest problem the schools face involve keeping the kids IN school, as well as actually getting them solid educations (the current obsession with FCAT exams are making these kids good at testing but NOT at learning or application of learning).  There's more to our education reform needs than just classroom size.  I'd have to vote against this: the state ought to look at other reforms first.

Amendment Nine: Removed by court order.
This was an amendment submitted by the Republican-controlled Legislature to override Obama's Health Care Reform bill.  The courts ruled the language in the amendment was misleading, confusing, and gave off an unpleasant odor (okay, I threw in that last bit, but trust me this thing had a partisan stench to it).

Advisory: On a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment.
This is new.  I don't recall ever voting for a non-binding referendum before.
This is merely a "question" that would be passed on to the federal level: asking Congress to pass a constitutional amendment requiring a Balanced Budget.
My personal views on this need re-stating.  In theory I like the idea of a Balanced Budget Amendment.  In practice I find the Balanced Budget Amendment is being pushed by a political party - the Republicans - who have proved on their own to be unable to stick to a balanced budget in any way shape or form.  I find that when the Republicans WERE in charge of the budget - the Bush the Lesser years between 2001 to 2006 - they spent our money like drunken teenagers with their parents' credit cards and NOT ONCE during that time did they even bring a Balanced Budget Amendment up for even a committee vote.  And now?  Now that the Democrats are in charge trying to fix the massive deficits the Republicans created... NOW the GOP wants a Balanced Budget Amendment.  The hypocrisy of it reeks!
What's worse, the Republicans' definition of "Balanced Budget" usually reads as "No taxes to pay for costs, and Cut everything we don't like."  It's their excuse to purge every social-oriented funded program - Food stamps, Unemployment benefits, Education block grants, even Social Security and Medicare - on the books.  Never mind the fact that the Republicans' plan would literally kill millions of Americans via starvation, lack of shelter, what have you.  Anything for their goddamn precious tax cuts.
I'd Vote: No on this.  Out of pure survival.  The last thing we need is any state being on record supporting a "Balanced Budget Amendment" platform that would honestly cause more damage than we need.  If I support anything it's this "Pay-Go" practice of justifying every government expense dollar-to-dollar (or close to) from existing or found revenue.  It's more a stop-gap procedure but it's better than the "Let's Balance the Budget on the Backs of the Broken" bull.

So, there you have it.  The ballot proposals for the state of Florida, 2010.  All comments to be directed below on the link that says "Leave Comment."  Or "Make a Comment."  Or "Hey!  Prove You Read This Blog By Making an Inane Comment Here!"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Republicans' New Contract On America

I thought about titling this blog entry "The GOP Lemon Pledge" but dammit I think Olbermann beat me to it.

(Mixing the "Pledge to America" with the "Lemon Pledge" furniture cleaner, with the underlying pun of "Lemon" being a poorly-patched product for sale that no sane customer should ever buy.  Okay, now that's been explained...)

The recently-released "Pledge to America" by the current Republican congressional leadership is, of course, an attempt to re-capture the success of the 1994 "Contract With America."   The Contract was viewed at its release as a gimmick (The Left still considers Newt Gingrich's ploy the "Contract ON America"): however, it galvanized the GOP base and gave their congressional candidates a platform to run on.  As such, when the Republicans were victorious that midterm - winning control of both House and Senate for the first time since the early 1950s - the Contract was cited as the key to victory.

Even though half of that Contract never saw the light of day under Newt's years as House Speaker.

So... what of the Pledge?

The current Republican leadership is thinking the Pledge can replicate the earlier success.  However, there are severe problems with that Pledge:
  • It wants to extend ALL the tax cuts created under George W. Bush back in 2001-2003 to permanent status (those cuts are set to expire this January anyway).  The problem: nearly every chart graphing the massive government deficit we're living with shows that most of that deficit is caused simply by those tax cuts.  Keeping those cuts intact would simply make the deficits WORSE.
  • It wants to hold all unspent funds from the TARP stimulus package.  The problem: most of those funds have been spent out, making this an empty gesture.  Whatever IS left in the stim package could affect the states' collective budgets crises: blocking that could force local governments into drastic and destructive actions...
  • It wants to place a spending freeze on all domestic spending, except anything that would affect seniors such as Social Security and Medicare.  And also, no spending freeze on our defense budget.  The problem: The biggest spending portions of our annual federal budgets ARE the Defense, the Social Security and the Medicare, meaning this won't do anything about the biggest parts of the federal bureaucracy in the first place!  And the stuff that will get affected?  Item one: the Unemployment benefit extensions.  Item two: social programs.  Item three: pretty much everything the federal (and even states) budget provides to keep the majority of this nation out of poverty, hunger, and despair.
  • It wants to repeal the 2010 Health Care Reform bill.  The problem: The Pledge - and the GOP itself - offers no alternative to the Reform bill that would resolve the ever-growing and ever-threatening health care costs that can kill our economy within the next 10 years... if not sooner.
  • It wants to place a permanent ban on federally-funded abortions.  The problem: most Americans actually don't even consider Abortion a Top-10 Problem anymore.  If the Republicans push this, they might run into the problem that a majority of Americans may not like abortion as a practice but they want the choice of it, meaning that the GOP can and will lose even more voters in the long term.
  • It wants to place a requirement for all congressional bills to be posted online for review during a three-day period before voting.  The problem: This is the only sane thing in the bill.  The problem is that this feels like a gimmick the Republicans will easily overlook the second they seize control of the House and/or Senate this midterm.
  • It wants to make it a requirement for legislation being voted on to cite the specific constitutionality that allows the bill to be voted on in the first place.  The problem: The Republicans want to have evidence of which parts of the Constitution - the Commerce Clause, the 14th Amendment, the 4th Amendment, the 8th, the 9th, etc - they will later want removed.
  • It wants to spend millions on a missile defense system.  The problem: This is a hangover from the Cold War when we were planning to fight the likes of Soviet Russia and Red China.  Guess what?  WAR'S OVER!  Yay Capitalism!  The odds of Russia or China launching against us are remote to the point of laughable: China's not about to start a war (too much internal security issues) and Russia can't afford one.  The next closest threat to American soil - North Korea - can barely reach Alaska for any target, and they don't have enough arsenal or political backing to do anything so foolish (if North Korea DOES try to launch nukes on anybody like Japan for example, the international condemnation would be so overwhelming it would make the coalition into Afghanistan look like a autumn bake-off).  Our national threats are no longer missile launchers by air but mad bombers on the ground. We don't NEED a missile defense system anymore!  Especially one that's been proven over the years to be a massive boondoggle run by the Defense industry.
  • It wants to place a hiring freeze on federal jobs not pertaining to National Security.  The problem: WE'RE IN A RECESSION YOU GOP ASSHOLES.  A recession defined completely by the largest, and longest, unemployment crisis this nation has had since 1933!  And the Federal government ( is pretty much the ONLY institution in this jobless economy THAT'S CONSISTENTLY HIRING!  The banks aren't helping with business loans!  The private sector shows no sign of massive upticks in hiring people!  And you REPUBLICAN BASTARDS WANT TO BLOCK US UNEMPLOYED FROM GETTING ANY JOBS WITH THE GOVERNMENT?!  Dear God, if you ever deign to send me a Messenger, can you PLEASE assure me that 99.99 percent of all unemployed people are aware that the Republicans are trying to destroy us?  And that those 99.99 percent of the unemployed are registered voters who are going to vote ANYBODY BUT REPUBLICAN?  grrrrrr.

The Contract WITH America was relatively tame compared to this crap.  The Pledge is literally THE Contract ON America.  Broken down into its three basic components, the Pledge wants to extend tax cuts, curtail federal spending (that won't piss off the hawks and the elderly voters that make up the GOP base), and basically rewrite the first two years of Obama's administration.  In the particulars however lie the devil's details.  The Republicans' obsession with tax cuts will do just one thing: enlarge an already massive deficit.  Lemme add that chart showing the current deficit projections (from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities):
Everyone should look at this chart.  The big clay-brown color in the middle of the chart?  That's the deficit created by Dubya's tax cuts.  Just by themselves.  I've lived through two massive tax cuts programs: Reagan's 1981 tax cuts and Bush the Lesser's 2001-2003 tax cuts.  Both times, we were promised that A) the tax cuts would pay for themselves by generating more taxable revenue (repeat after me, wha?), B) the tax cuts would create jobs (both tax cuts were followed by massive unemployment: job creation under both Reagan and Dubya were weak compared to other administrations) and C) it would force government to cut wasteful spending (Reagan included massive military spending during his term; Dubya mismanaged two wars and signed off on GOP budgets especially a big Pharma buyout that made LBJ look like a penny-pincher).  Both times, I witnessed only one thing: MASSIVE DEFICITS.  Tax Cuts CREATE Deficits.  That's ALL they do.  That's ALL we need to know.

And yet, this Pledge by the current Republican leadership seems to continue this fantasy-based belief that Tax Cuts Can Solve All Ills.  Even AGAINST tons of evidence to the contrary (even in opposition to other governments like Great Britain, where they are facing their deficit issues with a strict program of spending cuts AND tax hikes: and that's a CONSERVATIVE-led coalition over there).

My supervisor back at my last employ kept telling me "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  The Republican party leadership is obsessed with the idea that tax cuts will work and that their plans on Social Security (kill it) and Unemployment Benefits (kill it) and Government regulatory oversight (kill everyone in mines, on oil rigs, and eating poisoned eggs) and Defense Spending (kill the rest) will create their heavenly laissez-faire utopia.  And yet each time these tax cuts don't create the Promised Results, the Republicans act all surprised and then blame it on those damn libruls who are stopping them from committing EVEN BIGGER tax cuts.  Each time a Democrat gets elected into the White House the last 20 years - first with Clinton, now with Obama - the Republicans amp up the Fear that ZOMG Commie-Hippie-Controlled Evildoer Democrats are gonna destroy this country and that we need to return the Republicans back to power so they can continue The Grand Reagan Revolution That Will Save Us All (Except for, you know, the Poor and Middle Class and Ethnic Minorities and Women Who Will ALL Be Shit Out Of Luck).

I'd said it before here and elsewhere: Utopias are flawed because their creators keep ignoring complex human conditions.  The Republican Utopia of their 100-Year Era of Reagan is flawed because tax cuts alone do not create jobs (investment in business growth does).  It is flawed because Social Security and Medicare are not massive government boondoggles (privatizing either one would actually RAISE costs of each service: and tying Social Security into risky investments like the stock markets would have literally destroyed millions whenever those markets can (and do) collapse).  It is flawed because THEY, like nearly every other human that ever lived (well, except for that one guy) are flawed.  And they won't admit it.

If we're lucky, this Pledge will backfire: already it's proving to be more gristle for the Democrats' campaigning efforts than impressing the more vocal tea-bagger crowds.

But this is a crazy midterm election, and I still can't understand why enough of my fellow voters across this nation are even giving the crazed Republican party a serious look (yes, the Democrats may be cowards, and they may be incapable of aggressive campaigning, but for the love of God they're not the ones stymieing government it's those damn Republicans!).  If the Republicans do win, there is every conceivable chance they will take this Pledge seriously.

And that would be the WORST thing the Republicans could do.