Archive for September, 2011

My nephew is a really sweet kid

My brother-in-law Sandy sent me an e-mail today.  Which is unusual in itself since he is still mired in the Mesozoic era when it comes to computers.

Sandy is on a grandfatherly mission on behalf of his grandson Adam, i.e. the son of his son Tom, and my nephew-once removed.  That relationship, all by its lonesome, commands my immediate attention and your willing assistance.  Adam is a pretty special kid having progressed through all the stages you read about in the child-rearing books.  He fortunately now resides in the good kid phase of his development, much to the relief of his father Tom (my nephew-not removed).

This positive development did not come easily, especially given his father Tom’s turbulent childhood.  Tom, in addition to being a somewhat burly and difficult child, wore steel-toed boots in a purported effort to correct a mysterious foot malady.  The addition of these boots to his already menacing arsenal of flailing fists and strong teeth made him a bear to deal with.  I should point out that, since I myself was an angel of a child, dealing with Tom was for me a character building experience…made somewhat easier by moving from Chicago to California.

Tom benefitted greatly from my departure and prolonged absence from Chicago.  He, now an aging adult, turned out to be a heck of a guy.  I’m proud to introduce him to my friends without fear of retribution.  The removal of the steel-toed boots also helped.

In any event, here’s what you can do to enhance my stature with Sandy, Tom and Adam.  Go to the White House We The People website  by clicking on the link.  There you will find a petition to increase the minimum wage (not a bad thing in these difficult times.)

Sign it and I promise that Tom will never come to your house with his steel-toed boots.

Don’t Ask Do Tell

I stumbled across the Republican debate in Orlando the other night.  Used to be that, given my political bent, I’d quickly switch to the Cooking Channel, Home and Garden TV, or some other mindless pursuit.  But I find that the best shows currently on the tube are the Republicans beating up on one another.  Democrats don’t seem to have yet mastered that skill.

My new most favorite candidate is Rick Santorum.  A nice looking young man who throughout his career has turned insults to minorities into an art form.  This evening was no exception.

Playing to the baser instincts of his base he splendidly called for the reinstatement of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.  This mind-numbing bit of flim-flam occurred right after viewing a video of Stephen Hill, a soldier in Iraq, who had to lie about his sexual preferences in order to keep his job.  Hill asked the arrayed candidates whether they, if elected, would turn back the progress that had been made in dealing with gays and lesbians in the military.

Santorum, looking quite presidential and assuming the pole position, said…and I paraphrase…”Damn right.  You guys are weird and I’m not going to spend good money giving you sickos some undeserved preference.”  He added, to the astonishment of many of the old WWII geezers in the audience, that sexual activity of any kind has no place in the military.

Applause, applause for Santorum.  Boos, boos for Hill.

In addition to the slightly weird candidates, the debates have left the impression that those in the audience are strange at best, a crazy mob at worst.  Cheering when Perry expressed his satisfaction with the Texas executions, and the “let him die” answer to Ron Paul’s feelings about folks without health insurance, are now a grim trifecta with the addition of Santorum’s anti-gay bigotry.  Nicely done.  And not one Democrat needed to get his hands dirty.

I’d like to believe that the folks attending the debates are not representative of the majority of Republicans and it is to the credit of some Republican pundits that they took Santorum to task.  On the other hand, not one of the other candidates standing on the stage had the courage to say something in defense of Hill or even suggest that what was important was his service to the country and not his sexual appetite.  They stood there full well knowing that they would be booed if they dared defend someone who was defending them.

William Kristol, one of my favorite conservative Republicans, was honest in his assessment of Santorum and the reactions of the attendees.  His Weekly Standard column opined…The e-mails flooding into our inbox during the evening were less guarded. Early on, we received this missive from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!” As the evening went on, the craziness receded, and the demoralized comments we received stressed the mediocrity of the field rather than its wackiness.

I suppose I should be glad about the impression this leaves on those who are truly on the fence.  It makes Obama’s job easier.  But what if someone like Santorum really isn’t just playing to his base?  What if he really means what he says?  What if he or someone like him actually gets the nomination?  And what if he wins the election?  Don’t ask don’t tell will be the least of our worries.  And I can spend all my time with the Cooking Channel.

And a Good Time Was Had By All

Paul called me a little after 5.  “Are you watching the debate?  It’s about to start.”  I had intended to watch the Tea Party party but had let it slip away as things have a habit of doing at my age.

Grabbing the clicker, I switched to CNN and saw the Wolfman.  Mr. Blitzer looked as though he had sharpened his fangs and was ready to tear into the smiling faces on the stage.  There they were, the Republican version of salvation, prepared to deal with the questions posed by the 99% white multitude gathered before them.

Sweetie picked up on what I was watching.  “How can you listen to that?”  I promised her that it would be entertaining, amazing and fun…just like going to the circus.   Even the promise of a glass of chardonnay had little effect.  And then she marched off to something much more challenging, her jigsaw puzzle.

I enjoyed seeing the Tea Party crowd as much as I did watching the debaters search for open wounds in their opponents’ somewhat checkered histories.  It was as though the crowd was a school of circling sharks waiting for blood to spill into the water.  They were not disappointed and had lots of opportunities to either boo lustily or cheer without reservation.  Sometimes at the same time.

For those of you who were also fitting pieces into a jigsaw puzzle or, like Bob, watching the Patriots trash the Dolphins, I offer the highlights of the evening.

Assurance by all debaters that Social Security would be sacrosanct for those currently feeding at that trough (aka the folks who always vote.)  Only young people who are preoccupied with making a living need be concerned.  And even those kids will be better off investing their retirement funds with Bernie Madoff instead of trusting the Federal Government.

Further assurance by all that Obamacare was dead once the new president found his or her way to the Oval Office.  A competitive health care marketplace will do a much better job of controlling costs than any death panel could.  Just like it’s done for the last fifty years.

Governor Perry, as the current poll leader, was the chief recipient of pointed queries by the audience and his friends on the platform.  As a result, he managed to turn himself inside out just like my shorts…not a pretty sight.   A particularly entertaining segment involved Bachmann and Santorum taking him to task for signing a Texas executive order ordering little girls to be inoculated with a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.  A very colorful Santorum said “Perry is allowing big government to run amok over 12-year-old girls.”  Ms. Bachmann nearly called for his impeachment, accusing the Governor of taking a $5,000 political donation from Merck, the vaccine developer.  An equally glib Perry responded “If you think I can be bought for only $5,000 then I’m really offended.”

A few more quotes…more or less…

Gingrich…the way out of the budget mess is to get rid of waste and fraud (he obviously does not keep up with current events.)

Bachmann…I was a tax lawyer.  I can figure out how to deal with that mess.

Perry…The first Obama stimulus produced zero jobs.

Bachmann…Obama stole $500 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare.

Cain…Throw out the tax code.  Implement my 999 plan.  Nine percent corporate tax, nine percent personal income tax, nine percent national sales tax.

Santorum…Zero corporate tax.

Cain…Fix the Fed.

Perry…The Fed is used to cover up Obama’s bad financial policy.  Bernanke is dead meat.

Gingrich…We’re in the middle of the Obama depression.

Romney…Fix the health care problem by making folks more accountable for their care.  Health savings accounts and higher co-insurance.

Paul…The government shouldn’t pay for health care insurance.  If a thirty year old chooses to have no insurance and gets a major illness, let the church and his neighbors take care of him.

Santorum, et al…Cure the immigration problem by more fences, storm troopers, boots on the ground.

Perry…The president has a constitutional duty to secure the border with Mexico.

Perry…I did sign a bill to provide higher education tuition benefits to children of illegal immigrants.

Bachmann…Screw the children of illegal immigrants.  It was the liberal members of Congress who changed the immigration laws.

Cain…The way to achieve energy independence is to get rid of bureaus like the EPA.   Appoint a Regulation Reduction Commission and pack it with the kind of people who’ve been abused by the EPA.

Santorum…What a country!  We can do no wrong.  Nuts to people who complain about us while praying to the east.

Ron Paul…Ya know, we may have contributed to the reasons why people in the Middle East hate us.  He was lustily booed by the assembled multitude.

The debate ended with each candidate saying what single thing they would bring to the White House to improve it.  Perry would bring his wife. Romney will bring Churchill’s bust. Cain his obvious sense of humor.  Bachmann, in an heroic effort to win over the undecideds, promised to bring the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights…nothing else.

Too bad.  I’m not voting for anyone who won’t bring a jigsaw puzzle.

The President Speaks on Thursday

The President speaks on Thursday.  Should be easy to remember since that’s when the real NFL TV season begins.  My hunch is that even Obama may be more interested in getting blitzed at some tailgate party instead of standing in front of a testy Congress and a raft of TV cameras.

Nevertheless, I intend to have the minimum number of beers and pay strict attention to our Commander-in-Chief.  I will take notes and be prepared to discuss the speech with Yoram, Shed, Harry and anyone else who may have had nothing better to do.

There have been lots of leaks about the speech and most of the talking heads have already blasted something they haven’t either heard, read or divined from their tea leaves.  However, just so you can be as informed as they are, the conventional Beltway wisdom is that Obama will either:

  1. Propose some specific plans to spur job growth…which have zero chance of passing a Congress that is either afraid to do anything significant for fear of alienating a sizable number of morons in their home states or actually improving the mess we’re in before November, 2012, or
  2. Be fuzzy about what he thinks  so that no one can criticize the specifics of the non-existent plan before November, 2012, or
  3. Tell everyone he’s going to do whatever the hell he pleases without asking Congress, so long as he can’t be impeached before November, 2012.

On the other hand, he could simply say, ya know, there’s really not much point in me being up here spouting things that you either don’t believe, hate, have a rat’s ass chance of passing, or that interfere with you getting ready to watch the Packer-Saints game.  So, I’ve decided to lighten up and give you some of the current ideas espoused by one of my potential Republican adversaries, Rick Perry who, God willing, will be running against me in November, 2012.

Governor Perry has ordered Texas universities to come up with a plan to cut the cost of a BA degree by two-thirds.  Following that, he intends to focus his attention on reducing the cost of colonoscopies which, in his case, require a wide-screen TV.

Citing the astounding success of his recent prayer meeting in bringing the average temperature in Dallas down from 110 to 108 degrees, Governor Perry intends to hold a second meeting focused on moving the remaining Arctic glaciers to San Antonio via transubstantiation thereby eliminating the laborious search for water in his state…which will be seceding from the Union anyway.

Having labeled Social Security a Ponzi scheme as illegal as the fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff,  the Governor will next direct his attention to eliminating the Department of Motor Vehicles because it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution.  And the Highway Patrol too since there is no speed limit in his state anyway.

The Governor has called Obamacare the closest thing to Socialism we have ever had and has promised to obliterate it the moment he can put down the bible used at his inauguration.  He believes that the only way to salvation, once Jerusalem is in Christian hands, is to eliminate all health care regulation including the Food and Drug administration.  However, mindful of the need to maintain the health of a large underpaid working class, clinical trials of new drugs shall continue but will consist of a single dose  administered to Texas cows.  If they live, it’s good to go.

Now let’s party!


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