Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Movement is Animal Farm Herding Cats.

Occupy Whatever has become what they are fighting.

I went to Occupy Philly and found that an individual cannot petition the government system they have installed. This is the story of how this movement is already off the rails.

In my last Huffington Post piece (Link) I proposed the Occupy Movement invite everyone running for office in the next election to speak before them.

Rather than just run my mouth online about this, I went down to Occupy Philly during a down time to find out how to do this. Spent the better part of Tuesday night (from about 9:30 pm to 2 am) speaking to people about this proposal. I found a lot of people liked this idea.

None of the people on the ground I spoke to were associated with the "Working Groups". I am convinced the Occupy Movement has been co-opted by the Legal Industrial Complex.
The "Working Groups" is where I found resistance.

The first wall of resistance was from a "Democracy Outreach Group". What Occupy Philly has done is created a complete bureaucracy for their operations. I had to get through at least 3 people before I got someone to tell me they would not do this because it would jeopardize their IRS 503c Status. "We cannot endorse people, or we would be seen as political and we would be jailed for tax evasion".

My first thoughts - If putting tents up in the City Hall Courtyard cannot be construed as political, then what is political? Do I still speak English?

My second thought was about how folks here are complaining about how the money has co-opted the process. If the leaders of this group (yes there are leaders - it takes time to find them, but they are there) are already more concerned about keeping a tax status rather than doing things to advance Democracy then the Legal Industrial Complex is winning.

The amateur lawyer passed me to the next person who said that we would have to invite everybody? My response was - "Yeah - that is the point. We would need to invite everyone who is stepping up for their communities to see what they have to say."

There is an undercurrent that all politicians are evil. That is a damaging prejudicial statement. Yes - it is a form of bigotry - just like sneering when you say Tea Bagger , Liberal Pinko Commie, Tree hugger, Fascist, Pig or whatever it is that sits across from you on the political spectrum.

Good people step up to run for office. They put their lives on hold. They put the jobs at bay. They sacrifice time with their kids (a sacrifice that I could not make).

To do what - Serve their communities.

To get what - A ration of garbage from people who do not understand the system they are railing against. To get their reputations impugned for even stepping up.

It has to stop. Because the more you denigrate those who serve you the more you will get exactly the people you may not want to step up.

The Occupy Movement would not have to formally endorse anyone, but allowing these folks to present themselves before the Occupy Movement will create the interaction that may allow minds to be changed on both sides of the process. If an individual occupier is sparked by what a particular candidate says, there is nothing wrong with the candidate giving a phone list or other campaign contact material to an Occupier so they can help out. It is a form of political speed dating.

Besides, in this environment, just showing up to an Occupier forum says something about the bravery of the candidate. (I would give bonus points to any GOP candidate that has the stones to present themselves.) The Occupiers can see who may be with them. There is going to be an election on November 8th whether they are Occupying or not. Wouldn't be better to know who may be sympathetic to you.

Being passed from group to group I learned there are not written rules of engagement here. My brain spinning, I went home.

I returned on Thursday during the day with the hopes of getting to speak before the General Assembly. This idea of inviting candidates is now constrained by time. Contact needed to be made with the Boards of elections to get contact information together to reach out to those running. To do this properly, a schedule would need to be set so that a couple of hundred candidates could be evaluated in a reasonable manner while respecting their schedules of the jobs and the campaigns they are running locally. If a candidate wanted to bring some of their people with them to check out the Occupy movement first hand; networking and connections could be made.

It is Thursday night, an OK from the General Assembly would allow me or others to contact the boards of elections in the 5 county Philly area to get the names to start contacting candidates over the weekend. Time is tight, but doable in a sane manner. Losing Friday and the weekend (we are dealing with the county governments here) contacting candidates would not be able to start until at least the middle of next week. You lose the sanity factor and it becomes a half-baked process. Everyone looks bad.

The only way to bring something up for a discussion at a General Assembly - where the work of this "Organization" get done - is to form a working group, get it approved, then present your working group to a at least 2 other committees BEFORE you may speak formally.

Again - Victory to the Legal Industrial Complex - It is Briefs over Boxers.

As I was trying to shepherd this process I was getting resistance and bad information from a number of people within the Occupy Working Groups as to how and when these things may be done.
I was finally told of the "Facilitators Work Group". These are the people really running the show. They are the gatekeepers of the General Assembly. I found where and when they were meeting after being given yet another run around by the Democracy In Action Group (I hope I spelled that right, it may be called the Democracy Inaction Group).

I went to where Facilitators were meeting and prior to the start of their business I attempted to explain the situation. I was told that since I am an individual with an idea - I had no standing to even speak to these people.

It blew me away that this movement about Freedom, had created a rule system so restrictive that an individual could not speak or seek redress.

One of the people who gave me the bum steers approached the group area and irritated, I said that he gave me bad information.
His response was - "I will get Security".
My response was - "Maybe you should get them".
"Are you threatening me?"
"No, but if you feel safer having security, maybe you should go get them."

He took his place among the Facilitators Work Group and stepping away I began to think about how the government at large uses their security forces. Again, an example of how Occupy Philly is replicating the system they are railing against.

Briefs over Boxers once again.

The General Assembly started around 7pm. Evidently, I would be allowed to speak to the General Assembly as part of The Stack. But I was told no one would act on my idea. There were reports from about 20 of the working groups.

Then were the proposals that the Facilitators had approved for presentation. The first proposal was to limit the General Assemblies from twice a day to once a day. After it was approved, I started to think about how the government limits access to their meetings too. Another great comparison to how this "Democracy" is mimicking what they are railing against.

The next 3 hours was a discussion about a letter the City of Philadelphia sent to Occupy Philly. They wanted to meet with leaders of the group to find a place for the protest to go later in November when construction will start around City Hall. The Occupiers had their list of demands too - basically they want some police behaviors to be modified.
The problem is the facilitators do not know how to run a meeting. None of them every bothered to look at Roberts Rules. Roberts Rules is the How-To book on running a meeting - you know facilitation. The General Assembly stacked up with amendment after amendment that could not be managed.
It was very easy for those who do not want to talk to the city to completely gum up the works so that nothing was done. I thought I was looking at Congress - but don't tell the Occupiers because they would get insulted.

Ironically one of the legal team (about to be co-opted by the ACLU and some National Lawyers Guild or something) actually offered up the method to short circuit the entire Occupy Process. So paranoid was this member of the legal team she said that the City could overwhelm a General Assembly with 200 paid city employees and take over.

The Government does not need police with batons and riot gear to make this go away. If City wants to make the Occupy Movement go away the cops, in uniform (I think most of them ARE in the 99%), could form a working group, issue a proposal to decertify and shut down the whole thing. It would not be hard to use the Occupiers own rigid system against them.

BTW, when I got to the stage to speak my peace - I got about a minute to speak before I was pushed out of the way. I get more respect from my all GOP Board of Township Supervisors. (I may have created an opening on the board by giving one of them a heart attack after reading that.)

The last thing I said dropping off the stage was...

"Is this what Democracy really looks like?"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Charles Bronson Movie

This may be the edgiest piece I have ever written.

As we celebrate – yes celebrate - the execution of Troy Davis I started to think of a neat little movie to write.

What – you don’t think we are celebrating his death in this society.  I am sorry, but was that cheers I heard when it was noted how many people were “put down” in Texas over the last few years?  Or do I have a hearing impediment when I heard “Let him die” at the big GOP debate?

This is the people we have become.  We love violence – we put crosshairs on our leaders and wonder we are so coarse.

Out institutions are so screwed up that punishment of those with ties never quite matches the crimes.   Look at the Lackawanna judges who put kid after kid away for their own profit.  Look at the prosecutor of the Duke Lacrosse case.  Since we are running a for-profit prison system in this country; I wonder how many innocents they placed in jail as they have created their own reasonable doubt?  (BTW, isn’t that for-profit prison business being paid for by taxpayers anyway?)

But I was thinking about writing a movie that picks up today – about Troy Davis.  My movie would open with a fictional Troy Davis being put down.  The facts and the doubts would be roughly the same.  In my fictional version the executed would have a son.  The news people would be all over kid are part of today’s news.  The Nancy Grace-like smarmyness would infect the kid.

The real killer of the cop would be found and would confess of his own volition – to the kid and the authorities who do nothing. The kid grows up with revenge on his mind.  He learns the trade of death by reading mysteries and takes criminal justice courses in college. 

He has his targets lined up: the prosecutor who withheld the evidence, the judge who stopped the testimony that would have exonerated the father, the parole board, the governor, the media maven who tried and convicted for fun and profit on TV (she wrote a book after the execution detailing what she knew and did not reveal at the time).  Even AFTER it was obvious that each of these folks lied for their own reasons – they still each had an untaken chance to undo the execution of the innocent man – each let the man die.

The kid hunts each of his targets.  Some show remorse and are grateful for the chance to make it up to the kid.  The revenge here is to assist the kid in the next target.  

Some are already dead with a letter of an apology.

For some – the sight of the kid induces suicide. 

Some show remorse but are useless to his cause.  They are put down the same way the father was, by another target.

He lets the senile go.

Some are so callous and unfeeling they tell the kid they would do it again even WITH the conflicting information.  The kid knows killing this person will do nothing so he kills her family in front of her.

When the kid has meted out his justice he turns himself in.   He is brought before a jury.  He admits his guilt.  He also stands defiant as he lays out the fact no one sought justice for HIS father. 

He gets off.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why $250,000 as the Cutoff? or WWJD with that Cash?

The big fiscal legislative issue of the lame duck session was the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. Everyone gets something? Nobody gets anything? Do we go in the middle with some number picked out of the air?

I guess the $250,000 number was a campaign promise from 2008 that needs to be honored.

But seriously, you can't make it on $250,000 PER YEAR?

People actually have the unmitigated gall to complain about this?

Part of the reasoning of the rich and greedy was, "We need to extend the Bush Tax Cuts to keep the Economy Productive!"

If the Bush Tax Cuts were supposed to spur jobs; where are they? We should be up to our ears in job openings right now.

If those who benefited from the Bush Tax Cuts were going to create jobs, they would have by now. They haven't; therefore, we need to make the cuts go away for at least those making more than $250k per year. I don't what to hear the "fairness" whining from the BMW crowd.

The reasoning behind the whining is that you can't raise taxes during:
  1. A recession
  2. A depression
  3. A flush economy
  4. A snowstorm
  5. A year starting with a "2"

All of these seem to be really valid reasons to stop raising taxes. (Read this as sardonic)

I know I have a hard time wrapping my small wallet around that $250k number. I am sure most of you reading this may feel the same way. But I am not going to make this a class-warfare argument to extend the cuts for those under $250k, but not over the magic number.

I am going to make it a competency issue.

Let's take as a given we live in a capitalist system. That system only works properly when there is a free flow of cash. Money brought into the system is then sent out again in the form of reinvestment. If we stop reinvesting in the system we get a clogged system (kinda like your home plumbing). Yeah some stuff may get through, but we will have an eventual large and smelly problem.

Those people who are making more than $250k per year and are not reinvesting it are the problem. They are the clog. We tarp'ed them; we stimulated them; and still nothing. They are either greedy or incompetent. If they are greedy, tax the hell out of them! None of us have any sympathy for them.

If they are incompetent we need to use the tax laws to make them competent. If you are bringing in that kind of coin and can't figure out how to shelter it to get it under $250K, I don't think you can handle that kind of cash.

Sorry, you need to flush it back into the system. Create a small business entity that will hire somebody to do something. There are plenty of people who would love the opportunity to do something. There are a lot of hard luck cases right now that you can hire. Would you rather a tax bill go to the government or a neighbor down the street who needs a job?

The tax laws are such that you can do this. Incorporate yourself, pay yourself a salary out of the corporation and set the corporation to do other stuff. Talk to an accountant. Get you number under $250k and start producing for the economy. You want to make money - invest it in our people. I want you to make money. Really, I do! The more people you hire the quicker we get the economy back.

Otherwise, if you don't do this, then you don't deserve to have that much money.

This is no different than the Parable of the Talents from the Gospel (Matthew 25:14-30).

If you are unfamiliar with this particular story it is the one where 3 guys walk in to a bar (a rabbi, a priest and a duck) and...

Oh, no, sorry - different parable...

3 guys are given various sums of talents (or cash) by their master. The master goes away and leaves these guys to their own devices. 2 of the guys push the limits with their cash and double their investments. The third guy buries on the cash and didn't get anything for it.

The master comes back and gives big atta-boys to the two guys who tried. The master looks at the third guy and gives him the "What-the-hell-did-you-do-nothing-for" speech.

Moral of the story: Take your Talents (read:Cash) and make them multiply. Bury them and you should get ripped a new one from Jesus Christ (and the IRS).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pay 2 Play at the Iowa Straw Poll

I like to wait until the smoke clears in the mainstream media and find an unoccupied spot on the chessboard to make a stand.

The Iowa Straw Poll was over the weekend and I became interested when Steven Colbert took his SuperPac Money and started running ads.

The thought of messing with Rick Parry (with an A) instead of Rick Perry (with an E) was a really cool idea. I hope he extends this into other situations.

What I didn't realize until I looked further into it was each of those voters had to pay $30 to vote in the Straw Poll. This blew me away for a couple of reasons.

  1. It is not a good thermometer to take the temperature of an electorate that is essentially broke.
  2. I cannot believe that Colbert's iteration of Rick Parry gathered no votes. If they were counted in with Rick Perry - then the Colbert Nation did have a significant impact. I hope that the Colbert SuperPac employs a lawyer or two to impound the ballots and demand a recount. If the GOP cannot run a fair election within it's own party - how can anyone expect fairness at a larger level?
  3. Based on the results of the Straw Poll - Tim Pawlenty dropped out. I didn't think that his demographics were going to be the frothing-at-the-mouth Republican that would put the family food money on the table to vote for him. I got the impression that he was going for a more moderate and reasonable crowd. He would never get a crowd this intense.
  4. Since Michele Bachmann won this poll with a total of 4832 votes, this election could have been had for the paltry sum of $200,000 ( 5000 votes to be bought * ($30 per vote plus $10 lunch money) ). It would have exposed the real nature of this type of polling.

If you think that $200,000 is a staggering amount - think about all the commercials that went into this. Think about all the media time it generated on the news stations. This was a product that was sold to the consumers as content on the national news cable stations. Wrapped around that content were advertisements. $200,000 is a drop in the bucket.

Stepping away from the Iowa Straw Poll makes me think the whole thing was gamed like a sleazy carnival's 11 foot basketball hoop.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

S&P and Other Parasite Companies

Published: Huffington Post 8/9/11

I am a one man operation. I like it that way.

I get calls all the time from companies looking for the Owner/IT Dirtector/Head of Food Services -- you get the idea. They want to sell me stuff I am not generally interested in. It goes with the territory.

Occasionally, I get calls from an over-perky, over-caffeinated Dun and Bradstreet marketer (they got 2 strikes right there). The call generally goes something like this:

Hi, can I speak to the head of finance?

You got him. What can I do for you?

We noticed that we have no record of your company, Find A Nerd, on file. People are making inquiries.

What do they want to know?

They want to know about your credit.

What did you tell them?

We couldn't tell them anything -- that is why I am calling.

That's good.

Don't you want people to know about the financial position of your company?

No. Why?

We sell that information to other companies.

So you get paid to tell people about my company?

Yes -- and you can have a report too if you sign-up!

But, I already know about my company.

But you will see what we are telling other people!

So what do I get out of it?

You get to be known as a Dun and Bradstreet subscriber!

OK -- what are you going to pay me for my information?

Nothing -- actually -- you pay us.


So we can rate you properly.

Oh -- let me get this straight -- so you charge me to get my information so you can turn around and tell other people about my information?

Yup -- isn't it great!

But they are paying for my information too?


Wow -- you got it going both ways. Do you like the book Catch-22?

Not heard of it -- what's that?

Nevermind -- I don't think I want you to tell other people about my business.

But but but...

And we go around in circles for a while because I have this odd notion that I should get a cut of the action if they are going to sell my information.

I look at these guys as just a bunch of parasites.

Now we have another parasitic company (in my eyes) doing essentially the same thing. Standard and Poor's sits there and "rates" companies, governments, whatever and gives them a score. I don't know who gave them this power, all we know is they have it.

The information being gathered by S&P is being used to set a reputation about the companies it rates. The 500 Companies don't get a cut of the profits S&P makes on selling their information. But S&P can destroy them.

They are now using this power against our economy and our country in a profound way. This firm held Congress and the president hostage to get what they wanted. Then they shot the hostage.

Moving the rating from AAA down may have caused world markets to tank.

American business has a vested interest in having responsible people running this firm. This company asked for a compromise out of Congress and the president and got it. Then -- the first chance it got to do the most damage -- Friday afternoon after the markets closed -- they struck. The downgrade had all weekend to simmer in Asia for a Monday Morning Tanking.

Can American companies defend themselves against this ratings system? It appears this ratings company can drive other companies out of business.

As stock prices go down, the companies can become targets of takeover bids -- further chaos in the marketplace.

What can the business community do to force S&P to take responsibility for tanking these firms and the jobs of the people who work for them?

To keep S&P honest there needs to be a way to place a check on them.

I am no lawyer -- but can these companies sue for a cut of the S&P action? I am sure each of these companies has a copyright on their names. Every time Standard and Poor's references a company name -- should they have to pay a royalty to that company because of copyright laws?

After all, if the company's name or brand did not exist S&P would have nothing to sell.

It is their good names on the line when S&P played games this weekend and watched the values of these stocks start to bottom out.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rick Perry's Revival as a Soccer Match?

Published: The Huffington Post 2011.08.04

Was looking at "Rick Perry Day Of Prayer Shadows 2012 Ambitions" and saw that of the 71,000 plus seats only 8,000 were going to be occupied.

I thought about the Gospel story of a man who prepared a great feast and invited all his friends. None of them showed up. So the man walks out and gathers everyone else he can find to attend his feast. He gets a full room and a lot of fun. Then the original invitees start complaining. The man essentially says, "Look -- you didn't want to come so I invited them -- they're having a good time and so am I. You have a problem with that?"

I started thinking about soccer (God knows why -- The Philadelphia Union is losing Carlos Ruiz so I guess they need some prayers). My mind turned to the European and MLS Soccer stadiums where each of the teams fans come out in their own colors to sing songs and cheer for their team.

Then I started to think: What if Atheists started showing up at this Rick Perry thing? They got nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon (or Sunday mornings for that matter). They could all show up wearing big Scarlet A Tee-Shirts.

Hey -- it's Ramadan Month - I could see a competing section of Muslims walking in with big green pom-poms.

Catholics start showing up in White and Yellow Miter caps.

Jews in blue yarmulkes.

Protestants show up in Alligator shirts and plaid golf pants.

Pagans and Druids show up with Pine Sprigs.

Charismatic Christians can cheer in tongues.

Mormons can work the crowds on the way in and the Jehovah Witnesses can work the crowds on the way out. (During halftime of the rally they can send teams out to try to convert each other with leaflets and magazines.)

I am not a big fan of Rick Perry. I think he's more than a little wacky -- a side effect of global warming is that a lot people's brains have roasted down in Texas.

But I am a big fan of God (sorry Atheists and Agnostics) and The United States Constitution (sorry Theocrats).

When I looked at the FAQ for this event I saw that it was an exclusive Evangelical Christian thing. The man set a feast and they ain't showing.

If Rick Perry wants to have a Day of Prayer -- invite everyone -- and allow everyone's faith (or non-faith) to speak to God and to speak to the gathered. It is a reflection of the America that this man is thinking that he wants to lead.

We'll see if the Evangelical Christian-only crowd can show some tolerance towards other folks. We will know they are Christians by their love.

Or do we have to build barbed-wire moats around each of our groups to stay safe?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sand Castles for the TP and GOPOS

Published: The Huffington Post 2011.07.20

Can the GOP be split by the President into two factions -- Tea Party (TP) and GOP Old School (GOPOS)? GOP Old School are moderate GOP Members who are too scared to move without TP approval, but disagree with what the TP is.

Until the end of the month, President Obama has some interesting cards in his hand.

My guess is that he will let the TP and GOPOS attempt to destroy the economy, as they have scheduled for August 2. Then President Obama will step in with the 14th Amendment and obliterate their sand castles. All the whining over the last 2 months will get flushed out with the next tide.

President Obama can hold-up the GOP jellyfish in a shovel and say, "Look these guys wanted to poison the economic ocean and make it unsafe for anyone to swim in. Can they be trusted with anything?"

Another card is more interesting.

Stories like "Tea Party Nation Targets John Boehner, Mitch McConnell On Debt Ceiling" are the starting point.

The TP is using threats to bully the more moderate GOPOS members and leadership into submission. These threats are a sign that the GOPOS is going to get hammered anyway. It is a hostage situation that the GOPOS will need to stand up to and take defensive action. This is the fissure point.

Anyone looking at the polls can see the TP holds about 15%-20% of the population. That means 80%-85% see them as nuts. The GOPOS can still save the Republican Party from itself by showing some courage and standing up to the TP.

It is clear that all GOPOS members have TP targets on their chests. They will be primaried anyway -- so why sell their souls to the TP?

The President has a role in this too. Everyone knows the first rule of negotiating is to deal only with people who have the power to make decisions.

It has become abundantly clear that the House GOP has no real leadership. The TP and GOPOS are playing a rope-a-dope game with President Obama. The TP has threatened their own coalition, now is the time for the fissures to be exposed.

The President can pick who he wants to deal with -- and make a spectacle of it.

President Obama can offer cover for GOPOS members to get themselves out of an abusive political relationship. The President needs to strengthen the hand of John Boehner against the likes of Ryan and Cantor to create a clear thinking coalition to be joined with the Democratic Caucus.

At the next press conference, I would love to see President Obama throw out the idea that he will only listen to one GOP Voice. Speaker Boehner needs to muster a coalition of his own members or President Obama will look for a new dealing partner. If Speaker Boehner cannot supply enough votes to form a coalition with the Democratic Party, then he needs to step aside, simply because dealing with him is a waste of time. Time is of the essence.

Boehner will be given the opportunity to form a coalition government of GOPOS and Democrats to stem the flow of the Tea Party. The President can make it clear to the GOPOS Leadership that if they will not negotiate with him in this manner he will cut THEM out of the process. The GOPOS refusal will allow the President to negotiate only with TP Representatives.

Why -- because the GOPOS are cow-towing to the TP. Who would bother wasting time talking to the GOPOS since they will do what the TP wants anyway?

The Speaker will be exposed as a leader without any power. The President will unleash the TP Congressional sharks to pose an immediate challenge to Speaker Boehner. The question becomes -- Does Speaker Boehner have enough support to withstand a TP Challenge to his leadership?

If President Obama can topple the GOP Congressional Leadership from the inside, will he be able to isolate the uncontrollable TP Members from the GOPOS? If he can, President Obama can create a situation where the Democrats could return to some form of control in the current Congress.

In other words -- force the silent GOPOS members to take sides -- Boehner or TP. If enough GOPOS members stand up we will see the formation of a third party from the molten rock coming out of this fissure. A power-sharing deal would be cut with the Democrats for the next year going into the election.

This is a last chance for the GOPOS to have credibility and to stand up for themselves.

Otherwise, I see a President with a shovelful of GOP jellyfish on the beach.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Social Security's Surgery

Published: The Huffington Post 2011.07.08

It's on the table. It is being prepped by the doctor's group called Oboehner Centrist Inc. The dotted lines are being drawn on the torso and the legs.

The appendage called the Nextus Generatoid is going to be completely cut out of the process. But that appendage will get to pay for all of this. It isn't looking good for the Morphious Geratricus either - they are really talking about killing grandma here.

The Koch American Funeral Company and Associates (KAFCA), where the Spirit of Freedom gets cremated and buried, are truly in control of the system. Centrists in both parties need to do something to wake up the populace - something like that shot of adrenaline administered in Pulp Fiction.

Putting the Social Safety Net on the operating table is that filled needle.

The situation with the debt limit has gotten totally out of control. That clacking sound you hear is not the Tea Party Express steaming on its tracks as we go over the cliff - it is the knees of both parties' enablers knocking so loud that it is just more white noise.

Oboehner Centrist Inc. needs a plan - but they are powerless. Congressional politicians are, for the most part, a spineless bunch (Boneless Chicken Ranch Syndrome). If there is blood on the ground - you know there is a bus scheduled to run a political colleague over (Anthonyweinerectomy). When there is blood in the water - the sharks have a party (Ensignitus).

When there is cleanup to be done - it is nothing but pointy fingers (Digitus Theydidittou) and tumbleweeds.

President Obama needs to stop running backwards for the last 2 years. Moderate Republicans (defined as "not Tea Party") have sold their souls and are co-opted by their own electoral fears. Standard house Democrats want a purge (Azure Canine Extermination Syndrome). All of them need some brass plating applied to their private areas for something other than fundraising.

Putting the Social Safety Net on the Operating Table is not a "Punch the Hippie" Surgical Procedure as much as it is something else.

Remember the movie Fantastic Voyage - the one where a machine shrinks a surgical team and really gets into the head of a poltician. Well, I have one of those machines too! (Craigslist is really amazing.) I got inside the head of one of these guys and here is what these politicians are saying to the American People:

WAKE THE @#$% UP !

We need YOU to step up and get really mad at us. That is the ONLY way we will do ANYTHING for you.

This operating room will have plenty of klieg lights and cameras rolling. We love to perform here!

We need you to do what the Tea Party did to get their start:
  1. Scream.
  2. Yell.
  3. Carry on like 4-year-olds.

We will give back your binky - but you have to yell for it. LOUDLY.

The only way we can do that is to threaten to take something away you all need.

Could it be they have already tried this with?
  • The Educational System with its cuts
  • The Military Complex with its treatment of our troops
  • The Environment with fracking and spilling of oil everywhere
  • State Governments with the curtailment of everything
  • NASA and the smartest guys on the planet not knowing what is next after the shuttle
  • The Unions with successful busting efforts

These are not some theoretical set of political bases we are talking about here - it is the entire flipping country having a stake in this.

This country has been put to sleep by the gas of apathy. Our country is more interested in complaining about the made-up outrage of the Casey Anthony trial at the expense of its real living conditions.

The only way to blunt the effect of the Koch Brothers and their Congressional Tea Party Pallbearers is to create a situation where EVERYONE gets off their butts and onto their hind legs and starts fighting.

What will knock us to our senses?

Neither the President nor the Speaker wants to be the one pulling the plug on grandma. But they are not going to pay the electric bill without a large number of citizens behind them. This may be a cynical method to get us to take to the streets to defend what is ours and what we are paying for and what we have paid for in terms of this Social Safety Net.

If we cannot snap out of it, do we really deserve to have these things?

If we cannot snap out of it, do we really deserve to call ourselves the "Land of the Free"?

This may be the last chance as the President and Speaker, one from each party, are politically screaming at all of us to WAKE UP before they put a knife to us.

Without a word from the population - we are sausage.

Friday, July 1, 2011

PA and DE Declare War on NJ

Originally Published on Norristown.Patch.Com

In a move that is shocking many, the First and Second States (Delaware and Pennsylvania) have declared war on the Third State (New Jersey).

The Geography of New Jersey is a large peninsula bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. The only land access to the Garden State is via New York.

The opening of this war will take place in coordination with 4th of July Celebrations.

Both Delaware and Pennsylvania plan to blow the bridges that link New Jersey to their states as part of municipal and county fireworks displays. No one is planned to be on the bridges as part of the demolition. (Although some are trying to bait the New Jersey governor with a pile of free cheeseburgers strategically placed in the middle of the Commodore Barry Bridge.)

Part of the pressure to blow these bridges is the unprecedented number of refugees expected to be coming across to the mainland in response to Governor Chris Christie's draconian policies and to keep this guy bottled up.

But there are also other reasons.

A spokesperson for Philadelphia Mayor Nutter (THAT is his name - I can't make that up) expressed relief that something is finally being done.

I get up in the morning and look across the river and what do I see? Camden - Camden, New Jersey - that would put anyone in a nasty mood. You know what they put on prime riverfront property - a prison. We put classy stuff on our side of the river - like casinos.

Pennsylvania resident Marcel Wrubbernekker, said it well:
Anything north of Trenton is filled with Yankees and Mets Fans. The Yankees fans are arrogant and Mets fans are delusional. Even though South Jersey people are cool - we just can't take the chance on the people in the North getting out. We certainly don't want them here. It would be great if Wyoming would take them.

In response a New Jersey based Mets fan Dominic Wrubbernekker responded,

Yeah -like what do the Phillies got - they're nuthin'. I got your cheesesteak right here!

A Delaware resident Harriet Wrubbernekker piped in saying,
They only like us for our cheap tax-free booze and outlets catering to polyester suits and QVC overstocked merchandise. We can take the hit on that since all their credit card charges are coming thru here anyway.

Vice President Joe Biden, a Delaware resident, responded with,
New Jersey? It's not a big f___ing deal.

The Cape May-Lewes Ferry will remain as the only way to get to New Jersey from the South or the West. The folks in Lewes are looking forward to the money that may be coming in, but the new title of the town, "Gateway to New Jersey" has some worried; but Lewes, Delaware resident Marjorie Wrubbernekker sees an upside.
They overcharge for everything in Cape May - Now it's our turn.

It appears the action New York will take in response to this issue will be to raise tolls on all the bridges and tunnels leading into their state. Spokesman Chet Wrubbernekker stated,

Look, it's a question of supply and demand. We can charge more because more people want to escape New Jersey. We'll make a killing here.

This story is a cynical way to create panic right before the 4th of July - to get people off the beaches and out of New Jersey for a couple of days. If you are taking this seriously, then you need a vacation.

We could use a little more space on the beach in Sea Isle.

Have a great 4th.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Does Nikki Worry About Being Alvined?

Published: The Huffington Post 2011.06.27

A story has now surfaced that South Carolina may revert to a caucus system.

Could Nikki Haley's paranoia be getting to her?

After 2010, I had a strong suspicion that the GOP played games on the Democratic side of the fence. How else does someone like Alvin Greene get onto the ballot?

Jim DeMint was a shoo-in for the GOP race last year -- no one was seriously going to primary him. That left a machine, well-oiled and ready to do something. If I was DeMint's campaign manager last year, I would quietly approach the most ardent of my supporters and have the quietly change parties and vote for a guy like Alvin Greene. It would essentially knock the serious opposition out of the box while catching the Democrats sleeping. The Democrats got Alvined last year.

Now coming into 2012 the shoe is on the other foot. President Obama does not have any serious opposition in the primary. He has a well-oiled machine with nothing to do in the primary.

Wouldn't it be a hoot to see the DNC come up with a strategy to Alvin the South Carolina GOP Presidential nominee?

Isn't Steven Colbert from South Carolina? Could you imagine a write-in vote for Colbert on the GOP Ballot? How much fun would that be?

Or better yet, pick one of the seven dwarves or Snow White and actually get the Democrats to vote for that person. Pick the one who would never win in the general and who would drain the most money out of the Koch Brothers. The beneficiary would have to be down in the national game going into South Carolina and running out of money.

Another option could be that the Democrats make it known they will support one of the GOP candidates in the primary and actually host a forum. Make the GOP do a dog and pony for the Democrats. After all they will have to appeal to the Democrats in November -- let them start during the SC Primary.

If there are still 7 or 8 candidates still in the running for the GOP nod when the South Carolina Primary rolls around an influx of thousands of Democrats taking their field could turn the GOP upside down.

When the Democrats Alvin the GOP nominee -- they throw a monkey wrench in the GOP process. Anyone who wins will be tainted from a GOP perspective.

The losers could say -- oh the Democrats decided to play in the primary so they should be ignored. The winner could say - oh the Democrats decided to play in the primary so they should be respected. (We all know how much the GOP respects the Democrats...) Absolutely no real information could be gained from such a primary.

The more I think about this "veto" it is a defensive maneuver to keep South Carolina from being embarrassed on the national stage once again.

Inside a caucus, the party elders can deem their favorite to "win" representation for their state. How much fun is that?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Who Should Really Get Blown-up Over an Inflatable Doll?

Personally Published (Opinion) 2011.06.17

Great headline and story:

Tyell Morton, Indiana Teen, Could Face 8 Years Behind Bars For Blow-Up Doll Senior Prank.

Cliff Notes Version:
The kid, a senior at Rushville High School, puts an inflatable doll in the girls' bathroom and the school goes ape doo-doo.

The story only listed Rush County Prosecutor Phil Caviness by name as the person who is going after the kid. He claims the prank cost $8,000 to mitigate. I guess if you want to run at tab up that high - you can do that at McDonalds (I'll take 2,000 happy meals to go).

Caviness is up for election in 2014. I hope the graduating class of 2011 will remember the graduating gift Mr. Caviness has bestowed upon the high school. I hope the rest of the voters can see this guy's budgeting techniques.

Tyell has been held in jail for this. I am sure he did not get to graduate with his class on June 5th.
Judge David E. Northam, who is up for election in 2012, has allowed Tyell to go home on a $30,000 bond.

Do you really want people this uptight running anything?

It is really a shame we can't go back and prosecute the prosecutor and judge for they did at age 18. They have forgotten what it is like to be a kid. Too bad the bullying programs schools now have to implement cannot be applied to these guys.

There are some holes in the story from a reporting perspective.

Would it be fair - since Tyell may get racked up for 8 years over this to put the names of the people out there who will be taking the time of his life? After all - they are the ones calling the cops on him.

Here is an excerpt from the Rushville High School Principal Matt Vance' Welcome Letter (Link):

"Our students and staff are some of the best in the state of Indiana and we will strive to continually improve. Our theme is "Excellence is our Expectation", we want to strive for excellence is every way possible."

Now I am not going to rip the students here, they are the vessels the education is poured into. However, let's look at the "Excellence" of a staff and administration that would allow a kids' prank to get this kind of press.

How excellent was it that this wasn't handled behind closed doors?

Let's look at what the qualities of the education this outfit is giving their kids. They are fair game since they gave up one of their students to a media frenzy...

Here is who is running the show at the high school...

From the high school web page: (Link)
Mr. Matt Vance, Principal
Mr. Jason Bass, Assistant Principal
Mr. Robert Hadley, Assistant Principal
Mr. Dave Green, Athletic Director
Mr. Jerry Craig, Assistant Athletic Director

It is interesting that the Athletic department has 2 people on equal level with assistant principals. No one from the Math, Music, Art, Language or Science Departments is on equal par with these folks. Athletics does get more play on the site than does the academics.

That must mean they are really into sports in Rushville!

Looking at the focus on sports at this place, I imagined a real powerhouse athletic outfit. So I went to, a page that shows the results for the school this year. Of the 16 sports this high school participates in only 2 - boys and girls basketball show winning records. I am not knocking the kids here, but for a place that is putting all this emphasis on sports - you have to deliver. If they were in Philly, we'd be rightly calling for the coaches' heads on a platter.

I wonder how the non-jocks fare at this school. I went to the Teacher Pages for the school and neither of the Business Teachers even have a web page up. But I did get to see the "Excellence is our Expectation" tag line all over the site. For all the talk about small business and prepping kids for the real world one would think the business department would be fully ramped up?

According to, Rushville is 180th of 385 public school in Indiana.

Drilling further about this school district on, they gave this school a cumulative grade of C-.

It makes me wonder if anyone down there knows the meaning of the word Excellence.

If the legal system in Rushville and the school are going to call Tyell's performance into question - then their performance needs to be called into question too.

Do I hope to embarrass these public officials by putting their names out there in the same way an 18 year-old kid's name is out there? Yepper !

Give this kid an apology - then fix your school and judicial systems.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yo Ed, Who’s Team You Playin’ On?

Ed Schultz has been ranting all week about Anthony Weiner and how he should resign.
He comes on at 10 pm with the rolled shoulders ready to pounce on a guy who is already down.

The impassioned pleas and how pure the Progressive Movement is and how he’s just sorry about Weiner’s issue.

Here is the link on the whiney rant: (

I could only watch for a couple of minutes before thinking:
“Who does this guy think he is?”
“Didn’t he just get off a suspension for what, again?”

I flipped around and fell asleep.


I was in a dream on a football field where I had a whistle around my neck and a blue baseball cap.

I watched a scrawny running back hit the line, stumble and fumble the ball.  (That’s not good I thought, it’s a boneheaded move that happens in the game, but I could live with that.)

Then I saw one of the overweight offensive linemen with rolled shoulders pick up the live ball and hand it to the red team.

The stunned defensive back looked at the lineman with the expression of “Sure, I’ll take that…” and started running the other way.  To make matters worse – the lineman jumped on the scrawny running back so he couldn’t get up to at least catch the new ballcarrier.

I used to coach all sorts of sports, but after the red team’s touchdown I lost it on the offensive lineman.  I was never this out of control as I grabbed the offensive lineman’s facemask so that I could make sure I could see what wheels aren’t spinning in his head.

“What the #$%$ are you doing?”
“He couldn’t keep his act together – he sucks as a running back.”

“Why did you give the red team the ball?”
“Because I know we’re better than them.  We have to put a better team out there.”

“Why did you jump on the running back?”
“So he won’t be able to get back in the game.”

“OK Genius, now that you took your teammate down – who’s running that ball now?”
“I dunno.”

“Ok Champ - you want to say you play for the Progressive Team – here is your job – you only have to do one thing.    

Block for your teammates.  You are not fast enough to run the ball.  Given your responses here, I wonder why you even signed up to play.  We have enough problems with the red team, the blue team doesn’t need you ripping on them from their own side of the field.

Politics is the only team sport that means anything.

When your man goes down you help him up.

If he drops the ball you pick it up and give it to him.

You do not bad mouth your own guys.

So let me ask you, how do you think your teammates see you?”
“I’m Big ED – they should be happy they ‘Got ED’”


At that I awoke to a commercial about a prescription to cure a condition called E-D.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What Penalties for Breitbart?

Personally Published (Opinion) 2011.06.07

"I'm doing this to save his family, okay? And if this guy wants to start fighting with me again, I have this photo."

Here is the source material for this: Andrew Breitbart Takes Over Anthony Weiner's Press Conference (VIDEO)

Does that sound like Andrew Breitbart is blackmaili­ng a member of Congress?

Breitbart could have easily said,

"I want the nuke plans to give to my Russian comrades or I show the picture."

It makes no difference - you will behave a certain way or I will do nasty things to you. I don't know the difference between blackmail and extortion, but it sounds the same to me.

Anthony Weiner is making decisions on National Security and Andrew Breitbart has publicly compromised him. Is it worse because this isn't a local trash hauler leaning on township officials for their contract? Are these felonies?

Look, I had a good time making fun of Anthony Weiner's situation on this - jokingly I posted that Weiner should have to serve two days naked on the floor of the Congress. Or the only way we are going to see Justice Thomas' Tax Junk if it is stapled to Andrew Weiner's Junk.

If Anthony Weiner really wants to get past this - here is the opening. It will serve the greater good but cause him even more personal pain.

He needs to say to Breitbart,
"Let's have it, let's have it all.
I am not going to allow you to blackmail me or extort me."

When he does this the Justice Department should have a pair of cuffs handy for the Breitbart Perp Walk. Politics aside, you cannot put an elected official in a compromising situation. It doesn't matter if it is the local tax collector, state representative, governor, congressman, senator, or president.

Anthony Weiner then needs to get a hold of this material and release it with another painful news conference. Go naked to the world...

He is then cathartically released as an Elected Official.
There is nothing left to hold over this man's head.
He becomes a totally free man.

Andrew Weiner is a tough enough guy to weather this storm.

He will become a devastating force once again in the Congress because he has come totally clean. The inquiry into Justice Thomas' shaky finances can be attacked with gusto.

As part of this process he will have gotten rid of one of the most damaging elements in this society, Andrew Breitbart.

Weiner has not done this personally, but actually in this episode Breitbart has entrapped himself by overplaying his hand publicly.

Doesn't Catherine Ferguson Get a First Amendment Too?

The week before we melted down bin Laden, Rachel Maddow ran a 10 minute story on the Catherine Ferguson High School ( Link ) . You can see from her report what is happening to this academy.

In Summary, this is a school for unwed pregnant kids. The school augments their public school funding by urban farming in Detroit ( Link ). Yes, the Detroit that serves so often as Michael Moore's palette of what is wrong with our country.

Looking at how this school describes itself as well as the numbers associated with it show a real success story. From the Detroit Public School website ( Link )
When a teenaged/pre-teen girl discovers she's pregnant, her life changes far more than she could ever have expected...

The school offers early education classes for infants and toddlers along with business partners who can help needy students meet their child's basic needs such as food, clothing and medical care...

Everything at the school encourages young mothers to stay on the right 'life' track. This structure has led to a graduation rate of over 90% at Ferguson with most of the girls going on to college...

The numbers here are outstanding. An attendance rate of 97% ( Link ) tells me the only reason a kid is out of class is to deliver their child.

This facility can easily be looked at as Vo-Tech for Mom. Seriously, if you want to set an example of how to break the cycle of poverty - this is it.

The kids going there, yes ninth graders are kids having kids, are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. They become the example to not only the child they are about to raise; but to others in the community that education is the great equalizer.

Everyone is allowed to make mistakes. How you recover from the screw-ups defines how you grow.

If you are Pro-Choice - these girls, I am sorry; women, have made the Life-Choice to gut it out with their kid under tough circumstances and need to be supported.

If you are Pro-Life - these women have made the Life-Choice to put their future where YOUR mouth is. You also need to support these women.

Why does this school need to be supported?

The Detroit Public School System is outsourcing education. (I guess strangling a school system first makes it easier to say it isn't working.) They have decided to close 45 of their facilities and Catherine Ferguson is one of them.

I guess the thing that caught my eye on this was not the educational factors here (I am sure a ton of bloggers can do a better job on that than I can), but how the protests were handled here.

These women need this facility open and they are willing to peacefully fight for it. I am sure they are teaching those quaint Amendment things as part of the curriculum, especially the one about being able to peaceably assemble to air your grievances.

The school district forcibly removed these women from the facility, claiming they owned it. Hmmm, what does "Public" mean when it says "Public" School? It means the common ground owned by everyone - including those kids (women). What these women are being taught in the real world here is that our systems are fraudulent; especially, as they are being manhandled away.

What about those manhandling men?

I thought they took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution? Are they really Americans anymore? Or will they use the Nuremburg defense of, "I was told to do this by my boss, and I have to follow every order"? I do not see how Detroit School's Chief of Police Roderick Grimes can consider himself an American for following orders that destroyed these people's First Amendment Rights.

I am putting this police "Chief" in sharp contrast to what happens when people like the (not-so-) Reverend Phelps or Jones come to town with their travelling freak shows and their rights would NEVER be abridged.

It is almost like - "These are little black pregnant girls - We can trample on their rights." And I hope this "Chief" gets angry with this assessment, because he is part of the problem. He needs to look in the mirror and ask, "Is this really the country I want"?

The revolution in Egypt took place because those with the guns and the power on the ground knew when NOT to use them. This "Chief" could use a sabbatical in Cairo to learn about police restraint. He needs to learn how to stand up for the U.S. Constitution. This is something bigger than the paycheck he receives from the Detroit Public School System - it is a solemn oath that he is violating.

The Maddow link above can show you what it looks like when "The State" takes over?

Ferguson student and occupier, 17-year-old Ashley Matthews is why the lessons of Freedom need to be taught properly. The audio is lousy as she describes her arrest:

Athletics isn't the way out of poverty - brains are. Ashley is showing there seems to be a pretty good crop to be grown in Detroit.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Stopping The Fictional History Tour

Published: The Huffington Post 2011.06.06

The appalling lack of knowledge of Sarah Palin does not seem to stop her.

It is almost to the point where I think she is sitting in the back of her bus making stuff up just to see if it will get covered. As she goes from town to town, she has to be laughing at the fact she is seriously being covered while saying this stuff.

The most dangerous thing about this is she is opening a window of acceptable stupidity. The more off-the-wall stuff that comes from her -- the more she is covered and -- the more people listen. If she were to win the GOP nomination next year she could accept in a speech constructed solely of one syllable words and grunts and it would be taken as if from on high.

Think about what this woman could do in the White House. On second thought -- don't. We theoretically have an election system that can protect the rest of society from people like her.

This is a game where our country gets yanked around by a now fully documented uneducated person from the furthest reaches of our country.

She has rebuffed all attacks from the side of intelligence. No number of intelligent rebuttals can make any headway on this political vampire of the Midnight Sun. The only way to put a stake in the heart of this political dance is to go unreasonable. She needs to be flanked from her stupid side.

Tina Fey is the perfect stalking horse. So why not let her actually stalk Sarah Palin?

If I had my way, I would get a corporate sponsor for Tina Fey and the old Partridge Family Bus. Get Danny Bonaduce (the perfect stand-in for the ex-first dude of Alaska) to drive it with Shirley Jones to navigate. With all the feel good sensations generated by the bubblegum music, the name of the endeavor could be "The Second Coming Bus Tour". (I wonder if Spinal Tap would be available?)

The current Palin bus tour would be renamed as The Fictional History Tour based on the grasp of Sarah Palin's facts. The Second Coming Bus Tour would take the exact route of The Fictional History Tour only delayed by 2 days. The bands can play as a warm-up. Tina Fey could do a recap of each stop with a "translation" of what the first person said. Two days would be more than enough time to create the material needed to respond to the fictional history of the first tour.

I would be willing to bet that you would be able to get more people out on The Second Coming Tour than the first one.

Another reason to call this "The Second Coming Bus Tour" with Shirley Jones in tow is that the Mama Partridge has an Oscar under her belt. It is for a movie called Elmer Gantry. One of those films that deals with religion and power... Maybe not a bad Netflix download?

You could do a reality TV show based on the travels that would rival the Grizzly Mama's travels.

The point is stupidity sells.

Sarah Palin is making a killing on it.

The only way to stop Sarah Palin may be to intelligently out-stupid her.

As I said, if I had my way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Uptight Parents Brigade Fights Common Sense

This entry was first released at, part of the AOL Family. (Link)

I worked the late shift security for the Methacton's After-Prom this weekend. When I reported in, the buzz was a large number of kids didn't make it to the Prom because a parent rented a bus after allowing kids access to booze.

I saw my kid at the After Prom and he told me about a few kids who were fall-down drunk. The cops clipped them at the prom.

Ok, alcohol consumption is against the law. Personally, I think it is a stupid law, but kids are going to get swept up in this. Lawyers and the Justice System will get a payday. The kids will get racked up with records that will hold them back. And the idiot Uptight Parents Brigade (UPB) will get to click their tongues.

The local paper has been championing one such idiot who wants all the kids' names in public - just to make them feel worse. Maybe this person needs to feel morally superior. The funny thing is this parent's identity is being shielded behind the reporter's skirt. The reporter is giving this UPB member their secrecy. But that doesn't stop this person from whining that this is the somehow the worst prom they have ever seen. (I guess this person is lucky they haven't heard about the Prom Night tragedies that were the impetus for holding an After-Prom).

Meanwhile, another UPB idiot is talking to every camera that will power on. This one is putting her kid out there as some shining example. It is the same story - these kids have to be punished and their names exposed. The irony is the second UPB Member ran for school board and got trounced. In this case, the voters could not be more right in their assessments. I feel sorry for the kid.

Also - when you trot your kid out there, you are tempting Karma. Most parents of kids from about age 13 to 24 hold their collective breaths. Parents with sense whisper the phrase, "There but for the grace of God..." when something stupid happens.

When something stupid does happen - you don't need some UPB squawking about how you raise your kid.

The school so far is acting responsibly and intelligent in the face of these UPB's. Hey are giving no information out. It should stay that way.

Kids are stupid. It is axiomatic. It's nothing personal against your kid. In fact, we all go through that stage in life where we do stupid stuff. That's how we make our transition to being 'grown-ups'. That is why we used to have rules protecting kids from adult punishment. We don't have that anymore.

Kids test their limits. Every child is parentally guided on this transition from toddler to self-sufficient differently. It is growth for a parent too.

Anyone who has a clue knows that Proms will have booze. I am not excusing it - it is just a fact. The UPB's have forgotten what it was like to be a kid.

I am not going to directly excuse the kids who messed-up. They messed-up. I just think the penalties are too much for the kids.

I am sure the parent who ran this stunt will end up doing time. (So much for having at least a little sense to rent a bus to keep the compromised kids from getting behind a wheel.)

The kids messed-up in part because our society has messed up. To any post-boomer, the movie Dazed and Confused is our American Graffiti. It accurately reflects what it was like to be 15 in the mid-70's. (I was 15 in '76.) None of these UPB members can remember what they did. I guess the nastiest of them never got to do anything and are compensating.

It's not just the local Methacton UPB's, it is all the Law-and-Order types who take discretion out of the hands of Judges. If you are going to elect and pay someone based on their wisdom - let them use it.

I am not calling for the kids to get off scuff-free. But a record to trail them around for life when they are not out of high school yet is unfair - especially for a first offender. Messing up college for them - NO! Holding them back from Graduation? What does that really do? It puts a bad taste in the kid's mouth for good as the last high school experience.

But, it will make the hyper-punitive happy - and they are the ones who scream the loudest. Meanwhile the rest of us who worry and know moderation is the key in anything remain quiet. We can't seem to stand up to these people.

Instead of being punitive, why don't we get to the cores of the problem? There is nothing wrong with putting kids in a class to help them reflect on what any addiction (booze, drugs, gambling, etc.) can do. There is nothing wrong with getting some free labor for the community out of these kids via a service term. It would be a good thing to assign a stint at a rehab hospital where people recovering from DUI accidents are paying the real price for stupidity are healing. Scared Straight can work.

An unintended consequence of this may show up next year. If kids are going to feel pressured and hassled about the prom, maybe they don't go? Maybe some kids get tuned up in the parking lot and instead of going into a Prom where they'll get hassled, they stay behind the wheel for something worse. The whole point of the After Prom was to get the kids off the street after the Prom so there won't be tragedy.

You can accuse me of being soft on this topic, but if a kid has a problem with drugs or booze, I would rather see them inside on Prom night where they can be looked after and helped - not punished. Sometimes we have to have a No Questions attitude instead of a Zero Tolerance policy.

Here are some ironies. Many of the seniors (who don't get totally jammed up over this) will become college freshmen next year. Some will be going to schools participating in the Amethyst Initiative.
"The Amethyst Initiative (Link) supports informed and unimpeded debate on the 21 year-old drinking age."

Many of these signatory schools turn a blind eye to drinking in campus dorm rooms. Hmmm.
How about the military? Are they seriously carding 18 year-olds in uniform? Be real.

What the state and federal legislatures have done is bred contempt into the system. Laws about booze need to change. We are giving quazi-adults (18-21 year-olds) full adult punishments and records. The whole point of not having adult rules on kids is that they can't handle them.

If we as a society are saying that kids in this age group can't handle their liquor, why are we punishing them as if they can?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Enraptured with Local Politics

Origianlly posted on (Link).

I had a good time this weekend with all this Rapture stuff.

I worked my kid's post prom on Saturday Night. I don't think the public school would have taken kindly to getting a firehose to wash all the kids down in a last-ditch attempt to get them baptized. Although, I think the kids would have been agreeable to the idea because it was pretty hot in the gym.

On Facebook, I ran a couple of joke questions - feel free to participate.

Are you going to get Raptured tomorrow night? Link

So - How does it feel to be Raptured? Link

But after the (non-)event I began to think about something.

None of us were Raptured.

We were all Left Behind.

I find the entire Left Behind "literary" series almost self-mocking because of all the non-Christian stuff they do with pretzel-like logic precision for their own self-justification. It was written by modern Pharisees who care only for their own self-adjusted rules.

That means all the self-righteous boobs who climb on their crosses to tell the rest of us how wrong we are - well - they are - well - wrong.

As evidence - they are still here.

Do we have a body count of GOP Caucus members who disappeared? I think the number is somewhere around zero. Hey - maybe they aren't as perfect as they are saying.

Last week we had a Primary Election here in Pennsylvania. My town didn't have a strong local Democratic presence before the election. We had 5 School Board slots and 2 Supervisors running as the main local attractions. A week before the election the Democrats had one guy on the ballot for the school board race. Another woman stepped up late in the game. The party was running a write-in campaign for a woman with a long Italian surname.

There were 3 GOP candidates running for the 2 supervisor slots. No Democrats. One of the 3 GOP members was a Tea Party candidate. She opted to run a write-in on the Democratic side. The other two candidates who were endorsed by the local GOP followed suit.

By the end of the campaign things got murky as a local evangelical church began to politic for the Tea Party candidate. Evidently, they had her on the stage of the church getting the Pastor's blessing. The assistant pastor sent emails on how to help this person at the polls - to help convince Democrats.

It gets really murky because last fall this pastor had reached out to the local Democratic Party for assistance. He made noises that he wanted to run for school board. In fact, all this man had to do was say that he was running and the local Democratic Party would have given him an endorsement. He was qualified as he represented himself as having an advanced degree in Government. (In Pa., School Director is a non-partisan position and it would have been ok for him to run on both sides.)
It gets really, really murky because the church is located in the same building as the local trash hauler. The principles involved with this trash hauler are politically active. The firm uses an elephant as a trade mark (I can't make this up). After the last local election cycle the principals of the trash hauler actually sued a couple of the people running for supervisor. They are fighting for residential single-payer trash care for more towns in the area. (Wonder why more people don't step up to run?)

These factors combined themselves and the local Democrats finally got fed up. They were offended at what the Tea Party Candidate attempted to do and were even more offended at the bald nature of the politics practiced by the people in the church / trash hauler campus.

At 10:15 the night before the election, 2 Democrats stepped up and decided to run. The Democrats did phone calls to their own letting them know to get to the polls. This was not just an election - it was a literacy test. The Democrats ran 3 write-in campaigns at the same time.

By the time the dust cleared the Democrats had one candidate for School Board - the guy who properly filed with the most Democrats by far going for him. The woman with the long Italian surname had a remarkably strong showing but did not make it.

For Supervisor, the Democrats successfully took the first position by a wide margin and lost the second position by a short number to a non-Tea Party GOP member. On the GOP side the Tea Party person won with the other non-Tea Party member taking the second position. The Tea Party person was shut out of the Democratic ticket.

The fact is: had the Evangelical Church NOT gotten involved the Democrats would not have woken up.

With the non-Rapture this weekend, will GOP / Evangelical types reconsider their hell-bent self-righteousness in the political system? Will they be able to ask themselves why they weren't taken this weekend?

Can these folks see how they take the name of the Lord in vain (violation of 2nd Commandment - 15 year penalty with a demotion of 3 rings in hell with a heavy dose of bad karma) as they try to render more from the hand of Cesar than they are entitled (violation of the Word of Jesus - another 15 yard penalty with a potential IRS visit to talk about tax-exempt status)?

November is coming. Will the Democrats be able to stand up to these zealots as they pervert the political system?

Get involved to find out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's the Bullies

Published: The Huffington Post 2011.05.05

Two weeks ago all we heard about was Birther garbage 'The Donald'-style; will President Obama cave to Paul Ryan on the budget/debt ceiling; can we get anything right as Seth Meyers was writing his jokes poking fun at the president's inability to get bin Laden.

I got sick of watching it. I got sick of seeing the president get pushed around. I was dreading the next year and a half as I was thinking to myself, why help this guy? Hell, the ONLY reasons I re-activated as a Democrat was because Joe Sestak as a Congressman stood up to some big interests in my hometown and I thought President Obama could actually do something. (I am fed up with my county and area parties.)

Sestak is gone -- replaced by GOP functionaries. Month after month of seeing this president absorb body blow after body blow made me punch drunk. It made me angry that he wouldn't hit back.

He was being pummeled by the school yard bullies. I am happy to stick up for someone who's getting hit, but I can't see extending myself for someone who won't at least attempt to stand up for themselves.

I don't know if it was the plan from the start to sucker the GOP so far down the rabbit hole that they cannot come back up with any credibility. Any of the GOP contenders now have a bankable array of spewed stupidity that can be used against them in a series of Willie Horton style attack ads next year. (The Democrats damn-well better be in the gutter fighting with this stuff.)

Was it The Donald's whining accusations that finally got the president to ball his fist, plant his back foot and start swinging?

I dunno -- but it sure looks good.

How politically coordinated was all this? After all, President Obama had a bead on bin Laden last August. Had this raid been conducted in October of last year would it have saved the Democrats in Congress? Even if it failed, President Obama would have gotten major points for at least showing he is in the hunt for bin Laden.

President Obama knew when the White House correspondents' dinner was marked on the calendar. He knew the GOP would start fermenting their presidential brew shortly.

In retrospect, Seth Meyers' prodding about bin Laden followed by the president's toothiest smile ever will certainly be worth buying the book of President Obama's Memoirs. I want to know what President Obama is really thinking at that moment. 

Humor is a sword that does a great deal of political damage. You just don't know who it is going to damage. Poor writing or delivery is public hari-kari. Would you pay to hear the comedy musings of Michael Dukakis or Rick Santorum? This president can hold his own with anyone.

The surgical political castration of Donald Trump performed by Dr. Obama was something to behold. Was Dr. Steven Colbert DFA, taking notes on that one? It will make for a good peer review session.

But all that means nothing and everything in reality. It means nothing because it doesn't create or save one job, or get our guys home a moment sooner from overseas, or pay for another breast exam. But it means everything because now President Obama has finally bought the political ammunition to fight the real battles ahead.

Now that President Obama has exorcised our national boogeyman he can get down to really governing (btw, all the confusion on Osama/Obama can be solved by using the surname of the man who's head we have gotten into).

When you punch back at the bullies, they tend to fade away.

President Obama has finally stood up and taken his ground. Can the Paul Ryan led GOP really offer any resistance? Can President Obama call these bullies out for what they are when they try to attack Medicare to give their buddies more tax breaks?

President Obama had the best arguments against the GOP a couple of weeks ago when he put the Mediacare/Fatcat fight in terms of how many seniors will be giving up $6,000 apiece to give people who don't need it more money. That argument went into the tidal wave of information overload never to come back.

The seismic shift in the political landscape has the GOP down on the ground as they were in February of 2009. The president cannot let these guys back up. 

Since the GOP likes getting into wars so much, President Obama can use the GOP language against them. President Obama can start by telling Congress what he will veto upon arrival. 

He can start with the Ryan Budget by renaming it the GOP War on Seniors Act quickly followed by the equally obscene HR 3 -- also known as the GOP War on Women Act.

And we all know that GOP Wars tend to fight the wrong people.

These bullies need to be put in their place.

Please do it Mr. President.