Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oh God No Not Now! I Was Gonna Go Hand Obama My Resume!



Cough cough cough.

Gahhhhh, sore throat.


Damn you, flu season!  I was going to go see Obama in Tampa today!  I was going to pass along my resume, and get hired in the West Wing, and hopefully get Josh's office and flirt shamelessly with a Donna-type, except you know more brunette-ish, and you know get off the unemployed schnide and everything!  But the Secret Service isn't gonna let my sick ass anywhere near the guy!  NOOOOOoooooooooo...

Off to the walk-in clinic.  Sob cough cough.

If Obama ever reads this, be grateful I was thinking of your well-being.  Now, HIRE ME!!!  (glances about) there's gotta be a way to attach mah resume here...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Notes and Observations for the End of Jan. 2010

Wow.  A month's already come and gone just about.  I wanted to write about the Citizens United SCOTUS ruling, but that's taking more thought than planned, so hopefully later.

Just these tidbits:

  • Tonight is Obama's State of the Union speech.  Also known as the Let's-Try-Bipartisanship-Some-More Surrender speech.
  • A week after crowing that the Massachusetts Special Election victory for Brown meant that Democrats Lose Forever and that Republicans Are ALWAYS Right, the Far Right is already complaining that their Savior Brown is more moderate with his voting record and habits, and more deferential to the likes of Sen. McCain, than they'd realized.  Coming on the fact that the RNC is going to vote soon on that Purity Test proposal, the fact that their current elected darling wouldn't have passed the purity isn't going over well...
  • Speaking of GOP disappointments, their hopes of that young lad O'Keefe being the next conservative media darling took a huge hit this week with his federal FELONY arrest for attempting to wiretap a Senator's home office in Louisiana.  Given how O'Keefe operates - clownish undercover 'sting' operations designed to make ACORN look bad - this may have been in his mind another 'prank' or something similar.  But dude, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and wiretapping (if you're not FBI or NSA) tends to be ILLEGAL.  Especially if the person you're tapping is a sitting US Senator WHO HAPPENS TO BE ON THE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE.  /facepalm
    There is, of course, a lot more to this case than at first glance.  Still and all... BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Ta-Nehisi was right: this was a sweet flagon of Schadenfreude...

  • Obama is planning to visit Tampa tomorrow as part of his tour to promote the White House's suggested plan to create jobs in this harsh economy promote high speed rail construction to create jobs.  Great.  That means I don't have to drive up to DC now to drop off my resume, I can just hand it to him while he's here... whadda ya mean, the Secret Service agents will take it?  Fine.  Just don't... (agent tosses the resume on top of a pile of 50,000 other resumes)... well, just fine... sigh.

So, how goes it in your part of the world?

Monday, January 25, 2010

In the Aftermath of Yet Another Political Debacle

...where the Republicans win through attrition and voters-with-short-attention-spans and the Democrats lose despite a hefty majority in both Houses all because they have no party discipline at all and tend to jump at their own shadows.

A whole year of political warfare, fighting over health care reform that the Democrats should have had signed and ready by last March, having had 20 no make that 60 YEARS of knowing what needed to be done and STILL wasting this year bickering over the details.  And while they bickered, no interest or exertion paid towards the more growing issues of job losses, growing unemployment, insanely criminal CEO bonuses, anything else that would be bothering the 67 million to 250 million Americans still bearing the pains and paying the bills of our current Great Recession (Dear Talking Heads: IT'S STILL A RECESSION).

More to say later, mostly on the economic problems this nation faces.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You know that A+ Exam stuff I was stressing over the past 12 months?

I passed the 602 IT Technician exam today.


/Dances like a white boy

Glory!  Glory Hallelujah!
Teacher hit me with a ruler... what, you don't know that tune?  Sigh.

Okay now, you job listings for IT Techs!  HERE!  COME!  THE DRUMS!

/Dances like a white boy some more

Monday, January 18, 2010

What to Expect from the MA Senate Special Election 2010

Madness, above all sheer inhuman madness.

Dear Massachusetts voters: where you NOT PAYING ATTENTION?  WHAT DID I JUST SAY?!

What had been viewed as an easy pick-up for the Democrats in filling recently deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat has turned into a down-to-the-wire election nail-biter.

Problems abound regarding this election.  The Democratic candidate, Coakley, has turned out to be one of the worst campaigners ever, having spent the earlier parts of the election just coasting, all the while presenting a resume with a few embarrassments on it.  Meanwhile the Republican candidate, Brown, is turning out to be nowhere near the 'moderate' Republican that New Englanders tend to like, showing up with a history of sucking up to Teabaggers and Birthers and pushing a hard pro-life platform.

But the biggest problem is if Republican Brown wins.  If he does, this will happen:
  • The Faux-News mob - the Becks and Limbaughs and O'Reillys and Coulters and Malkins and Hannitys and their proxies - will announce that it means EVERYONE HATES OBAMA AND OBAMA SHOULD RESIGN AND PUT CHENEY IN CHARGE AND CUT ALL TAXES AND END THE STIMULUS AND WORSHIP PAT ROBERTSON AND EVERYTHING F-CKING ELSE AT THIS VOLUME FOR THE NEXT TWENTY GODDAMN YEARS.  Or they die of heart attacks, heat strokes or poisoned air, whichever comes first.  The Republican Noise Machine will explode in celebration obviously, especially because the seat once belonged to the Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy, but they will overreact and claim it a great victory for the Far Right's ideology - Tax Cuts Always, No Health Care Reform Ever, Block All Appointments, Bomb Iran, Torture Everyone, and Deregulate Every Industry - even though the more direct evidence is that 1) Massachusetts voters are more underwhelmed with Coakley as a choice and 2) Republican voters are more motivated at the moment than Democratic ones.

That's pretty much how the Republican response will be.  The Democratic Response to a Brown victory goes two ways:
  • The Democrats as a whole will panic.  Which is actually typical for them.  They will attempt to push the Senate form of the Health Care reform package so they can get it done and signed before Brown can be seated, but the more progressive left of their party might rebel against it and split their own party.  The possibility of no health care reform at all for the next 4-10 years becomes even more dire.  The more conservative and centrist of the Democrats - the Blue Dogs - might openly side with the GOP more often, and could well switch parties.  Nothing substantial gets passed for the next year as the Democratic Senate fails to find any way of breaking the Cloture/Filibuster firewall the Republicans will be sure to enact.  Considering the ongoing problems with unemployment, immigration reform, and climate change, the lack of action from Congress could actually exacerbate those problems, and people will turn against the Democrats rather than the Republicans who are the assholes blocking any fix and was the party in power that caused all these problems in the first place.
  • The Democrats decide to man up and take on the obstructionist Republicans.  Given most of the Dem leadership, this is sheer wish fulfillment.  But in this scenario, the Democrats decide to scuttle the rule of Filibuster, or else take everything that can go into Reconciliation votes as much as possible.  In this scenario, the Dems go on the offensive with an immigration reform package similar to the one Bush the Lesser proposed back in 2006, the same one which sent the Far Right into a race-raged tailspin that pretty much drove half the Hispanic vote - the largest growing voting bloc - to the Democrats.  The Dems could also push very public attempts to reform the financial markets and force the large banks to cut back on their overtly greedy CEO superbonuses, which would kill any 'populist' image the Republicans are trying to sell themselves with for the midterms.  While the Far Right will riot, it's not going to be any different than the bad behavior they're pulling now anyways.

In the case Coakley pulls out a win, either because the Dem Political Machine wakes up or the voters sober up, this is what will happen:
  • The Teabagger-driven GOP will continue to act like total bastards.  The Democrats will sigh a big sigh of relief and go back to avoiding their own shadows.  In short, nothing will change.  Ahh.

Yes, Coakley is not a good choice.  BUT BROWN IS A WORSE CHOICE.  For the LOVE OF GOD, Massachusetts, vote SANE.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


This hasn't been a very good week for the nation of Haiti.

Then again, it hasn't really been a very good century or two for them either.

Link here to charities providing aid and supplies.  Some of the phone lines allow you to send a Text request, it will bill you $10 or so depending on the charity straight to your phone bill, which people are finding easy to implement.

My knowledge of Haiti comes from my job and my studies in History.  My first full-time employment was at North Regional BCC Library where I was assigned collection development duties in the History/Travel section.  The library was joint-use with the community college and the students had a World History program that had them do term papers on a specific country.  Given the large expat population from the Caribbean, we had a huge demand on Jamaica and Haiti.  Maddeningly, there weren't a lot of books on Jamaica available for purchase at the time, but Haiti... ah, Haiti had hundreds, and I was able to broaden the collection on that topic.

Haiti's history has been, and is now, very messy and pretty heartbreaking.  The island and its population never really seem to get a fair shake once the Europeans show up.  Even when the slave population rose up in response to the American and French Revolutions, the European powers still attempted invasions and attempts to recapture the island.  By 1825, the French were able to force a treaty on Haiti that granted Haiti its independence but forced reparation payments that were so severe the country wasn't able to pay them off until somewhere in the 20th century.  Because of that, Haiti remained impoverished, and the nation began a long, painful cycle of coups that kept their government destabilized.  And because Haiti was so unstable, foreign nations - Britain, Spain, France again, Germany at a later point, and the United States - kept interfering, ostensibly to fix the government but - accidentally or intentionally - perpetuating the cycle of coups and adding to the amount of foreign debt to Haiti's bill.

After the U.S. occupation of 1915-34, Haiti had finally achieved some stability at great cost, and still a huge debt that siphoned funds to foreign creditors at the expense of improving the nation's economy.  The occupation also created a border dispute with the Dominican Republic that led that led to genocide and a violent discriminatory policy against Haitians.

And then in 1957, the Duvalier family took over.  Because of the ongoing Cold War and the rise of Communist Cuba that kept the United States wavering between concern and inaction for Haiti, and shady business interests that fed off the corruption, the likes of Papa Doc and Baby Doc were able to build their cults of personality and maintain their death squads and their insane destruction of their own nation.  By 1986, Baby Doc was driven out, but the damage done.  Subsequent attempts to rebuild led to more coups, more government instability, more American intervention that really hadn't ended yet.  And now, with the massive earthquake disaster this week, more instability... more suffering.

The people of Haiti have really suffered.  All of history... living as slaves... fighting for freedom... caught under waves of military takeovers and oppression... fiscally drained economies from corruption and foreign debt... natural disasters on a near-annual basis - all those hurricanes, never a chance to rebuild properly, and now this earthquake, ye Gods...

The people of Haiti need our help.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I *Really* Shouldn't Have Done This...

But what the hell? Only the brave achieve success through risk.

Just posted via the Contact Us link at the White House's official website:

Hi. I may be traveling to the Baltimore/DC area with my parents in a few weeks on family matters. While I'm up there, as I'm unemployed I'm looking to visit a few places that might be hiring to see about applying and dropping off resumes. May I ask where I can visit at the White House so I can drop off my resume, chat up a HR contact person, and perhaps leave the subtle suggestion that you guys need to hurry up getting us 10 percent unemployed people, you know, back to good jobs? Please email back at your convenience.

I'm going to be in so much trouble, aren't I? :-) I might have mispeeled convenience... oh no, I didn't. Whew. Good, they're not gonna grab me for poor grammar.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Schadenfreude and Our Nation's Inability to Prioritize

Sorry for the bland entry title, but just "schadenfreude" itself would have been too vague...

The point of this article? A new book published: "Game Change," an insiders' account as it were about the 2008 Presidential campaign. It's mostly about the personalities involved - Obama, the Clintons, the McCains, Palin, the Edwards. And it's mostly about watching them and the minor sideline characters act like crazed, overly emotional, territorial, gossipy, back-stabbing teenagers.

How much entertainment value will this book have? Tons.

How much practical, enlightening value will this book have? None.

Basically, all the book does is show how real people act when they're away from the cameras and public niceties: usually self-centered, self-pitying, self-everything. But the book doesn't provide ideas or information that could actually improve our nation's situation, improve our economy, promote better policies, any of that. It's just a 300-page-plus tabloid selling for 35 bucks at the nearest Books-A-Million.

Problem is, this book and the 'scandalous' behavior revealed in its pages are going to be the TOP STORY OF THE DAY across the mainstream media. They're talking about it on all the cable news. And there's already buzz over 'scandalous' statements that Sen. Majority Leader Harry "Why Did I Take This Job?" Reid made about Obama's "racial appeal"... namely that Reid used the word "Negro". The Republicans and their media dogs are already screaming for his scalp, claiming Reid's statements are no different than Sen. Trent Lott's - back in, when was it, 2005? - when Lott waxed nostalgic about Strom Thurmond's 1948 "segregation forever" campaigning. Actually, Reid's statements are in the positive, whereas Lott's were in the negative. Truth? Reid's statements are no different than Rush Limbaugh's... so if Reid has to go, so should Rush. WHEN CAN WE EXPECT YOUR RETIREMENT, RUSH?

Sigh. See where this is going? NOWHERE. While all of Washington is buzzing over this crap, this nation is, in no special order:
1) losing thousands of jobs A DAY;
2) facing more financial failures due to failed regulation enforcement;
3) refusing to feed our kids, rebuild our schools, save our communities;
4) failing to fix our broken health care system;
5) allowing criminal malfeasance by our corporate overlords that will eventually doom us all

Where, I ask, are our priorities? Why aren't the papers and the media outlets FOCUSING ON MORE PRESSING MATTERS?!

Because of the old axiom: If it bleeds, it leads. Pain, suffering, human comedy in the form of watching others act like jerks and losers. The crap that makes up our gossip pages. Those type of stories trump policy issues every time.

Well, that should change. That should end. Rather than satisfy our more base urges, the damn media needs to frakking prioritize. They need to FOCUS ON THE STORIES THAT WE NEED TO KNOW, not on the stories that we want to indulge.

I recommend this legislation:
  • That for free speech to be truly free, any publication or media outlet wanting full First Amendment protection must operate as non-profit. That noise you just heard was Rush Limbaugh screaming about his $100 million contract.
  • All for-profit media must be regulated as a business - that is, with due regard for liability, accuracy and quality of product.
  • Quality of media product can be defined by a list of ranking the importance of any particular news item. That is, news of vital interest - War, Business, Policy changes - will rank above news of prurient interest - Sex, Drugs, Inane human behavior.
    For example, a White House administrator forcing a lower-ranked official to lie to Congress about the future costs of a massive Medicare/Pharma buyout package will rank 10 points above a President lying about getting blowjobs from a college-age office intern. Seriously, honestly, which of those two acts have proved the more harmful to our nation? The lying about costs, obviously, is far more damaging than a guy lying about blowjobs. But guess which one still gets coverage in the news all these years later?

If we can get our mainstream media to better prioritize our news, the more likely our citizenry will be better informed, more motivated to act politically, and more likely our politicians will answer to the people than to their lobbyist paymasters.

UPDATE. It's been awhile since I've linked to Greenwald, so here he is bemoaning the media's obsession with gossip:
The real value of a book like this lies in the opportunity it presents for Washington's elite class to distract themselves and everyone else from the oozing corruption, destruction, decaying and pillaging going on -- that these same Washington denizens have long enabled. With some important exceptions, that is the primary purpose of establishment journalism generally. Even better, the book lets our media and political elite -- and then the public generally -- feel good about themselves by morally condemning the trashy exploits of Rielle Hunter and the egoistic hypocrisies of the irrelevant John and Elizabeth Edwards. As The Nation's Chris Hayes so perfectly put it: "Just when you think the news cycle can't get any stupider, Mark Halperin publishes a book." All imperial courts -- especially collapsing ones -- love to occupy themselves with insular, snotty trivialities. As this book and the excitement it has produced demonstrates, providing that distraction is exactly what our press corps most loves to do and what it does best. The media sleazebags who turned Bill Clinton's penile spots, cigars and semen stains into headline news for two straight years haven't gone anywhere; they're actually stronger and more dominant than ever.
It's time to do something about it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Just a Friendly Reminder for this New Year 2010

Just to remind all seven people who've read this blog over the last three years, considering this is a Congressional midterms election (2010 midterms):

The Republican Party were the ones in charge from 2000 to 2006 in Congress alongside eight years 2000 to 2008 in charge of the White House under Bush the Lesser, and during those six years their financial and budgetary performance was one of the worst in American History. The Republicans spent and borrowed like drunken teenagers with their parents' credit cards, wasting money on two wars (billions lost and unaccounted for), wasting money on an unfunded Medicare / Big Pharma payout (still one of the biggest under-reported scandals of the last decade!), and creating massive unjustifiable tax cuts that never 'trickled down' or 'paid for themselves' but instead creating massive deficits THAT DO MATTER. The Republicans do not have the right to call themselves 'Fiscally Responsible' for the next ten generations... and yet here they come in 2010, claiming the banners of "Let's Worry About Deficits Now" and "Let's Tighten Spending" simply because they no longer control the purse strings.
Try to remember people, when the Republicans controlled the purse strings they didn't worry about deficits and they were worse with spending than the Democrats have been since LBJ. And try to note this: the maniacs currently in charge of the Republican Party WANT TO GO BACK TO WHAT THEY WERE DOING FROM 2000 to 2006! They want, if they get back in charge of Congress, they want to CUT MORE TAXES! They want to CUT MORE REGULATIONS IN FINANCE AND BUSINESS where previous times of deregulation (SEE: 2002 and 2008) nearly killed the entire planet's economy! They want to START MORE WARS in the Middle East (Bomb Iran! Bomb Yemen (well, worse than we already are now)! Bomb Iraq some more!) Okay? Do you get it, America? Can you wake up for a moment and take a good look at the current GOP? THEY THINK THEIR IDEOLOGY WAS WORKING IN THE LAST DECADE, THEY DIDN'T CARE THE ECONOMY WAS IN THE CRAPPER AND THEY DIDN'T CARE THE WAR ON TERROR WAS MISMANAGED ALL TO HELL, ALL UNDER THEIR WATCH. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT VOTE THE REPUBLICANS BACK INTO POWER! PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY!

If you seriously think the Democrats today after one year in power are far worse than how the Republicans were (and still are) from 2000 on, and that we need to go back to the GOP leadership that nearly bankrupted this country, there is something seriously wrong with you.

This message has been brought to you by a disgruntled ex-GOP Moderate who's putting in membership for the Modern Whigs. So there.