Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thanks to Nameless Cynic!

I'd seen this, thought about it, then forgot it (30-second attention span!).
Allen West Tells Liberal Leaders To "Get The Hell Out Of The USA"
"Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America," Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said at the Palm Beach County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner.
[emphasis added]
Congressman West and I have different visions for America.
He thinks America is just fine as is.
I think it can still be improved.
So - of course - I have to leave!

[Thanks to Nameless Cynic for reminding me about this idiotic tirade!]

The headline we'll never see

Anyone-but-Romney Wins in Florida!
Anyone-but-Romney: 53.6%
Romney: 46.4%

[I'm taking "Anyone-but-Romney" as total of Paul, Santorum, Gingrich, 'other', from Yahoo News election results.]


No - not that Mitt won Florida, but that it was over so quickly.

So far, Iowa has been my favorite: it went on FOREVER...
... to the point that none of the network teams even pretended to be journalists by the end - all were just slap-happy!

Network experts are now counting Newt out.
I'll with-hold judgment...

This explains a lot...

... about state of political discourse:
Fox News on top: Cable net celebrates 10 years at #1 in ratings
"Ignorance can be fixed. Stupidity is forever."

Shilling for the GOP

Monday, January 30, 2012

Uh... [update]

[update] To all: READ TedTheCat's comment!!!
Bill Would Ban Aborted Fetuses in Food
Nope - this isn't from The Onion.

Here's full text:

2nd Session of the 53rd Legislature (2012)

SENATE BILL 1418 By: Shortey


An Act relating to food; prohibiting the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses; providing for codification; and providing an effective date.

SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 1-1150 of Title 63, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows:
No person or entity shall manufacture or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients.
SECTION 2. This act shall become effective November 1, 2012.

53-2-3065 JM 1/30/2012 11:50:46 PM
Full disclosure: I was born & reared in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It's a good place to be FROM!

Oh, good: I don't need a condom!

Gingrich’s Tenn. co-chair: AIDS cannot be transmitted through heterosexual sex
... But we knew this already: AIDS is just G-d's vengeance on FAGS!
... will Newt refudiate him?

note: I suspect Gingrich's Tennessee co-chair just doesn't want to wear a condom when he's with his, uh, 'girlfriend'.

Capitalism at work

Pythons apparently wiping out Everglades mammals

In praise of CNN

Syria forces retake Damascus suburbs; showdown at U.N.
I watch a LOT of news.
As far as I can tell, CNN is the ONLY network deliberately devoting time to covering Syrian mess.

The 'horse race' is fun, BUT...

Full disclosure: I've been a Presidential campaign junkie pretty much forever.
I LOVE following the campaigns... once every four years.

That said: coverage of GOP primaries is getting just a little... well... old.
It's all about today's polls.
"Mitt's up!"... no, wait, "Newt's up!"... no, wait - Ron Paul has a shot (well, maybe not...)

Would it be too much to ask of the press - AND the CANDIDATES - to provide something substantive?
- What, exactly, are the candidates' positions?
How, if at all, do their positions vary?
How do they distinguish themselves ON THE ISSUES???
(... for that matter: what does each believe to be the top three issues facing the country?)

Yeah - Mitt's millions and Newt's infidelity are fun, but... seriously!
How would they run the country?
What legislation would they propose?
How would they deal with intractable Congress?
... What new wars would they launch???

Am I reading this right?

House Republicans want $260 billion for infrastructure
30 Jan 2012
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Republicans will propose legislation on Tuesday calling for $260 billion in spending on transportation infrastructure for up to five years, an election-year proposal touted as a job creator in a tough economy.

House REPUBLICANS!... those stalwart budget-slashers!!!

... okay - it's an election year ploy, but STILL!!!

"Spartacus" redux

Gingrich Says He's in 'Til GOP Convention
By DAVID ESPO AP Special Correspondent
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. January 28, 2012 (AP)
On the weekend before the pivotal Florida primary, Newt Gingrich vowed Saturday to stay in the race for the Republican presidential nomination until the national convention this summer even if he loses Tuesday's vote.
Now it's official: Newt has publicly confirmed his "Spartacus" strategy: keep fighting till the bitter end, even knowing that he'll end up crucified along the Via Appia... Just to inflict as much damage on Mitt as possible!

... an unlikely - but fun-to-contemplate - scenario: With Ron Paul, Newt, and Mitt all in the race till the convention in August, there's just some chance none of 'em will have needed majority of votes for first-ballot win...
... If it drags on, perhaps dark-horse candidate will emerge... hmmm... maybe Florida's Jeb Bush! (... or, extremely wishful thinking, Sarah Palin!).
This could help explain why Mr. Bush has withheld his endorsement!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A "small government" conservative!

Gingrich wants panel to look at in vitro clinics
By DAVID ESPO | Associated Press
29 Jan 2012
LUTZ, Fla. (AP) — Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich called Sunday for a commission to study the ethical issues relating to in vitro fertilization clinics, where infertile women receive treatment to get pregnant and large numbers of embryos are created.

"If you have in vitro fertilization you are creating life. And therefore we should look seriously at what should the rules be for clinics that do that because they're creating life," said Gingrich, who opposes abortion and says life begins at conception.
Keep the Gov't's hands off my Medicare... BUT please let 'em into my bedroom!

Just for fun: Patton

When Samson took the fresh jawbone of an ass and slew a thousand men therewith, he probably started such a vogue for the weapon, particularly among the Philistines, that for years no prudent donkey dared to bray.
[THE EFFECT OF WEAPONS ON WAR, Major George S. Patton, Jr., Cavalry; "Cavalry Journal", November 1930]
Patton is my favorite military philosopher.

(... and the article is worth reading: pretty much kills our Pentagon's infatuation with ever-more-sophisticated high-tech weapons!)

"... an invented Palestinian people..."

"And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it's tragic," Gingrich said.
[Gingrich Describes Palestinian People as 'Invented']
... uh... Newt: an etymological root of "Palestinian" is "Philistine" - the bad folks in the Bible from whom the Hebrews reclaimed the Promised Land.

"Palestinians" (Biblical "Philistines") have been with us - granted, as a thorn in the side - for millenia. Recall:
14And when he [Samson] came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.

15And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.

16And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.

[Judges 15:14-16, KJV]
... An "invented" people? NO!

One would be more accurate to claim that "Jordanians" or "Iraqis" are an invented people - pretty much the product of 19th-century "Great Game" politics!

Newt: You claim to be an historian.
Why can't you demonstrate SOME knowledge of HISTORY?

Just out of curiosity...

... how come coverage of GOP debates - and campaign in general - focuses on trash talk?

Note: I've not watched the debates.
What I glean from news coverage is that Newt & Mitt are saying nasty things about each other.
Are there NO substantive policy issues discussed?
How would they deal with economy? ... with Iran? ... tax policy? ... Afghanistan?

Just asking...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Dog Bites Man"

Bankers resist regulatory restraint on bonuses


During the Xmas holidays - after I confessed that Xmas was among my LEAST favorite holidays - one of my Jewish friends sent me this note:
"You can always do what the Jews do with Christmas - use it as an occasion for Chinese food and a movie. A perfectly lovely holiday! Free of stress and ideology!"
... then followed up with this pic:

Friday, January 27, 2012


Mitt Romney Upbeat After Strong Debate, Compares Newt Gingrich To 'Goldilocks'

Well, okay - "not too hot, not too cold... just right!"

... so, now GOP candidates are explicitly venturing into fairy tales.
Sounds about right. ("... not too hot, not too cold...")
They've been forever telling fairy tales about my country - that'd be America.
It's weak, it's doomed, it's failing.
The Big Bad Wolf - that'd be Iran - is going to blow down our house of straw.

The Wicked Step-Mother - that'd be President Obama - is going to eat us all!

Danger lurks behind every tree in the dark forest.

BE AFRAID! - be VERY afraid!

... this is sounding VERY familiar!
All the GOP has to offer is FEAR!

(... well, FEAR and 0% tax on capital gains!)

hmm... not quite sure I got this right

Previous post suggested Newt would go down in flames to take down Mitt.
Now I'm not so sure - maybe Newt is the phoenix among 'em.
("them" being GOP candidates...)

Nah - couldn't happen!

... I'm LOVING the spectacle.
Forgive me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Darn! - I missed another GOP debate!

Did I miss anything?

GOP: America is a weak, threatened country!

Al Qaeda & Iran: existential threats!

Listening to the GOP it's pretty clear they believe America is a weak country on the verge of collapse.

Me? I'm pretty sure America isn't threatened by the likes of Iran.

Why do GOP hold such a low opinion of America?

[just for grins: self-referencing post]

"You salute the rank, not the man."

... title of this post from well-worn military axiom.
Compare that with THIS:Wagging your finger at the President?
... then again, "YOU LIE!" (SC Rep. Joe Wilson, SOTU, 2011.)
The GOP has no respect for OUR country!

A trip to the barber shop

I went to the barber today - haircut & beard removal + shave.
(I like to pamper myself... and these guys are among the few barbers that still do 'shave'!)

Two barbers - both older Hispanics.
Two customers - me and another guy.

Somehow the conversation turned to politics. The other three had watched State of the Union address, and all three liked it!... a lot!!!
... and none had much good to say about current GOP field.

It was an enjoyable trip to the barber shop!

This is just fun! (... no politics)

Ballboy makes incredible catch during Federer-Nadal match (video)

Just for fun (yet more Newt stuff)

Newt: American politician & GOP candidate for President:
newt: aquatic salamander:Which one would you vote for?

Maybe beginning of a joke:
Q: What's the difference between Newt and a newt?
A: One's a slimy creature crawling out from under rocks.
The other one's a salamander.

I'd missed this (more Newt stuff)

“Let me just say, if Newt Gingrich is the smartest guy in the room, leave that room.” - Joe Scarborough

Best news of the day!

Geithner: Obama won't ask me to stay in a 2nd term
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER | Associated Press
25 Jan 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — Timothy Geithner said Wednesday that he doesn't expect to serve a second term as Treasury secretary. He said he doesn't think President Barack Obama would ask him to remain if Obama won re-election.

Geithner had ONE job when he came into this position: present a PLAN.
He failed.
Instead, he went on TV a lot, and has since been silent.

It really wasn't that much to ask: you've got 2 months to put together a PLAN.
He didn't.
He never did.
The Peter Principle at work.
Bye-bye, Tim!

[just for grins: a self-referencing post - my letter to Obama]


Private Buffoon had been pretty much retired since last January.
I note that when I started posting again, readership reached its previous level.

[... well, ok... pre-retirement readership was somewhat less than two-dozen/day... but still: it's nice to have you all back!]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

... and the GOP wants to give these folks MORE!

Apple CEO faces first test with cash mountain
By Poornima Gupta | Reuters
25 Jan 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple CEO Tim Cook has a problem, a $98 billion problem.

Just 18 months ago, Apple's $46 billion mountain of cash - while huge by most standards - attracted only muted complaints from investors, who did call for a dividend or share buyback, but were mostly happy with the meteoric rise in the stock price.

But with the growing cash balance now a much bigger overhang on the stock, widely considered to be undervalued, investors are clamoring more vocally for Cook to put the money to work.
Apple isn't the only one. LOTS of companies are sitting on mountains of cash.

Recall: GOP talking point - "cut taxes on corporations so's they can create JOBS!"

They're SITTING on mountains of cash, but still no jobs.
AND this $$$ is effectively sequestered - it's just SITTING there!
It's not in the economy.
It's not generating demand.
It's not being invested.

... and the GOP wants 'em to just SIT ON even more, via tax breaks!

... drives me up a wall!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I missed SOTU & GOP response!

Wrap yourself in aluminum foil!

Strongest solar storm since 2005 hitting Earth
By SETH BORENSTEIN | Associated Press
24 Jan 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — The sun is bombarding Earth with radiation from the biggest solar storm in more than six years with more to come from the fast-moving eruption.
Really cool pic:

A prediction

... But first, a bit of commentary.
When the GOP field became apparent last summer, I was delighted: Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, Romney (Herman Cain wasn't yet in the mix then).
THIS is the best the GOP can field???

I've not been disappointed. ... Well, I was sad when Bachmann dropped out.

As the Republican primaries have progressed, everyone has done his very best to run right - pandering to the most conservative element of the GOP electorate.
No one has yet managed more than 50% of GOP voters... 40% is considered a big win.
Turn-out has been low.
Recent general elections have been pretty close to 50-50.
40% of 50% is 20%.
... The leading GOP candidate (whoever it might be this week) is getting 20% of general election votes. This may be how to get the nomination, but it's not much of a strategy for winning the one that counts in November.

... and now, as promised, a prediction: record low GOP turnout in November, and Obama winning by what would - in recent cycles - be considered a landslide - 55%.

[and, yes: as I have in the past, I'll re-visit this prediction to see how well I did.]

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just for fun (Newt)

I'll post the video if I can find it... [update: video now embedded]

A member of the audience at one of Mr. Santorum’s campaign events recently stated,
“[President Obama] is an avowed Muslim... he has no legal right to be calling himself President.”
Rather than addressing the claim, Mr. Santorum promised only that he was doing his best to get Obama out of the White House.

Here’s a more appropriate reply:
“First, President Obama is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian.
“But, even if he WERE a Muslim, our Constitution explicitly states that, ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.’
... even if he WERE a Muslim, he would still have every right as a U.S. citizen to be President.
“Finally, I will do my very best to make sure that, with your help, we get him out of the White House.”
... but, no: Mr. Santorum let the claim stand, without challenge, without correction.

During a similar campaign moment in 2008, Senator McCain had the courage to correct the speaker: No, Obama is not a Muslim.
(... and it was General Colin Powell who provided the follow-up: but even if he were, so what?)

Whatever good will I might have felt for Mr. Santorum was lost in an instant.
Mr. Santorum does not deserve to be President if he can’t stand up for and defend the truth, and defend the Constitution.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Uh, Newt: it's about YOU

Uh, Newt... it's not about the liberal media, or President Obama. It's about YOU.

I'm pretty sure if President Obama's second wife came forward to reveal that Barack had asked for an 'open marriage', that would be NEWS.
... oh, wait! - President Obama has had only ONE wife!

Newt: it's not about the elite media, it's not about Barack Obama.
It's about YOU!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mormonism: you decide

note: I feel sorta bad about this... ya know, going after someone's religion. Religion is personal, a matter of conscience... and the U.S. Constitution does stipulate that "... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
That said: I had a lot of fun making this video!

The Medicine Show

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I watched "Hardball with Chris Matthews" last night.
[full disclosure: I DON'T like Chris Matthews!]

One of his guests was Dana Milbank.
Matthews: Are we near the end of these debates?

Milbank: We're not near the end of the debates, but we ARE near the end of debates that anybody's gonna watch.
I laughed out loud.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


... I missed another GOP presidential debate!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

a return to feudalism

As far as I can tell, the GOP is advocating a return to feudalism.

Tho' the specifics varied with time and geography, medieval feudalism in broad outline was a system of patronage & protection based on land and products derived from land. At the bottom of the pyramid were serfs (that'd be most of us) - in some cases tied to the land, in others not. They labored to produce sufficient food to pay the lord of the manor 'in kind' taxes, to support the manor. Whatever was left over - frequently very little - was for their own consumption. The lord of the manor derived his income from his serfs, and was expected to pay HIS lord both food and service - providing soldiers and servants. Going up the pyramid we eventually find the senior noble class, who owed fealty to the king, and were in turn taxed to support the kingdom - again in food and service. Those at the bottom had no decision-making role - theirs was a life of drudgery to serve those above... always in imminent danger of starvation, pestilence, and war.

Let me call out just ONE GOP favorite: eliminate tax on capital gains.
So the last $1 earned by the foreman overseeing a road-building project - a project that actually produces a tangible benefit to society - that $1 is taxed at a marginal rate of 25%.
The last $1 earned by the 'investor' in the form of capital gains is currently taxed at 15% - and if the GOP gets its way, it won't be taxed at all.
As it stands, the tax code institutionalizes two economic classes: wage-earners & investors, with wage earners penalized and investors rewarded.
IF the GOP gets is way, that institutionalized stratification will become even more apparent: the investor will pay NO taxes on his income.
This is no longer an INCOME tax - it's a tax on labor... sort of like the feudal serf.
The investor will pay NOTHING to support the system of which he is the beneficiary.

This is an even more extreme form of feudalism than any that has ever existed. In the Middle Ages, even the senior nobility owed SOMETHING to support the kingdom - they didn't get a free ride.

More later...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who's outta touch???+

Mitt - just to let you know: MOST of us don't have $10K just lying around for a casual bet!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oops... !!!

... I missed the GOP NH debate...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Electability" is over-rated

In 2004 the Dems went for the "electable" candidate - John Kerry... who proceeded to run a completely inept campaign against a vulnerable incumbent.

Better to go with someone who generates enthusiasm... like McGovern in '72.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I'm searching for the right movie metaphor to explain Newt's campaign moving forward.

Spartacus (Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Peter Ustinov; 1960) seems a plausible choice:
The Roman slave, Spartacus, organizes armed up-rising against pre-imperial Rome. He and his followers defeat Roman legions in open battle... then hang around in Italy to be slaughtered - all crucified along the Appian Way.
Spartacus knows staying in Italy will lead to disaster, but his followers refuse to escape over the Alps. He resigns himself to 'death with dignity'.

Newt seems to have embarked on this course of action: 'take down Mitt at all costs'. Defeat the legions, then perish with honor. He's got to realize he has no chance at the nomination, so he's just hanging around to bring down Mitt.

Another option: The Great Escape. All-star cast - too many to list (1963).
[senior Allied officer] Ramsey: Roger's idea was to get back at the enemy the hardest way he could, mess up the works. From what we've heard here, I think he did exactly that.
... Newt's idea seems to be to get back at Mitt the hardest way he can, mess up the works.
We'll see if manages exactly this.

Any other nominees?

... to the bitter end...

Yep - I stayed up watching Iowa caucus returns.
'Twas fun!

From my perspective, a clear win for Santorum: he came in 2nd by eight (8!) votes.
How much did Romney spend in Iowa? How much did Santorum spend?
I'd guess Santorum got a LOT more bang-for-the-buck!

aside: 'twas also fun watching the broadcast teams on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC getting just a little punch-drunk & slap-happy as the night wore on.

Me? I'm hoping Santorum's Iowa surprise generates LOTS of $$$ for him, that he takes Romney down a few points in New Hampshire, and that the GOP nominating process drags on FOREVER!
'Twas a delight to see Newt pretty much promise that he'll do everything in his power to demolish Mitt. (Mitt's the potential nominee I fear the most...)

If nothing else, the GOP Family Feud oughta give Obama's campaign TONS of great video to use during the general election.

Tonight?... prob'ly a little bit of New Hampshire, and a lot of college football!

Monday, January 2, 2012

... a VERY incomplete thought...

It occurs to me that it is not often that anyone witnesses - at least via reasonably historical memory - the rise and fall of a geopolitical empire. The Roman Empire took some 500 years to expire - at the end there 'twas no one alive with even vague historical memory of its birth. Yes, one could read Suetonius & Tacitus - but no one could query his grandparents.

In the case of the Soviet Union, this memory is available to us. ... and we have better documentation!

I'm now waiting to read a favorable review in "The New York Review of Books" of a book that adequately takes advantage of this opportunity.

"This too shall pass."

"This too shall pass" (Persian: این نیز بگذرد, Arabic: كله ماشي‎, Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎, Turkish: Bu da geçer) is a proverb indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. Some versions of the fable, beginning with that of Attar of Nishapur, add the detail that the phrase is inscribed on a ring, which therefore has the ability to make the happy man sad and the sad man happy. Jewish folklore often describes Solomon as giving or receiving the phrase. The proverb and associated fable were popular in the first half of the 19th century, appearing in a collection of tales by the English poet Edward Fitzgerald and being employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became president.
[This too shall pass]
Nope - no idea why I'm posting this... somehow seems appropriate.

Happy New Year! - Honest!!!
Best to you & yours in the coming year.


I've made a very bad mistake: I've been watching pre-Iowa-caucus coverage on both CNN & FoxNews. At this point I'm left with famous quotation - attributed to both Niels Bohr (Nobel-Prize-winning physicist) and Yogi Berra (NY Yankees catcher):
"Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Maybe I should get a hobby...

Explosives Lab Found
There were some tense hours after explosives are found at a Torrance County home on Friday.
David O'Keeffe passed away two months ago at the age of 81, but no one knew about his own bomb-making lab until Friday. It was in a shed near a house he was renting along Highway 41 in Estancia. When his landlord came to process the property and found the explosives, they called the sheriff.
"He was a scientist for the Sandia National Labs, he worked for DuPont, he's had a long history of making explosives legally," said
[Torrance County Sheriff, Heath]White.
Even though the discovery was a little shocking, Heath says the retired scientist didn't mean any harm. "He was trying to go for some patents on new explosives that he designed, so we believe that he was just still doing what he loved to do."
hmmm... I'm pretty sure that this 'hobby' would've subjected this nice old gentleman to prosecution under the so-called "Patriot Act".