Archive for October, 2012

A Storm in the Making

OK, I admit it.  I’m scared and in hiding.

A tempest threatens us and all I can do is wait.  I can’t bear watching the depressing news on TV.  It’s full of ominous rumblings, dangerous predictions, and imminent disaster.  So I seek  safe haven in mindless detritus.

Even my computer is no refuge from the specter of impending doom.  Hourly, I’m bombarded with e-mails that warn me of the consequences of my inaction, the urgent need for resources to cope with the onslaught, the pleas for assistance.  Minute by minute updates stridently report the status and odds of it hitting us where it can do the most damage.  I feel sorry for people exposed and in its path.

Whole communities lie in the track of this unstoppable juggernaut.  The social fabric of the country is imperiled, about to be challenged by irreparable damage to schools, roads and bridges.  Millions of people left to suffer without adequate support and the very real prospect of limited government aid.  Only those with substantial assets may survive and even prosper as a result of the unthinkable.  The consequences of what may happen will be irreparable for years to come.  A perfect storm.

Oh, and I’m also worried about Hurricane Sandy.

It was all I could do to muster enough energy to watch The News Hour on Friday.  Even then I had to click away from it whenever the conversation centered on what might happen next Tuesday.  He’s up…he’s down.  A shoo-in…a nail biter.  He said…she said.  Give me an Advil…puleeeze!

And  I am so very tired of hearing about Ohio.   Even the Weather Channel is fixated on it.  With less than four percent of the electoral votes, it rivets our attention as though it were the center of the universe.  Nobody gives a crap about California with three times as many votes, or New York for that matter…we might as well be an alien planet populated by Mork and Mindy.

Forgive me, but even that pinko, liberal MSNBC is a pain in the ass.  Valiantly struggling to keep pace with Fox even though it has less than half the viewers, it finds a fascist plot in anything said by the Dark Side and claims that seventy million old Democrats in wheelchairs will be stripped of their voting privileges because some lame brained Republicans want to see their birth certificates.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer has to calm down, get his act together and stop casting himself as the bearded version of Cassandra.  Coupled with Anderson Cooper, who I swear was put together in a high school physics lab, it’s no wonder that CNN’s viewership has fallen to its lowest in ten years.  No amount of placing daredevil reporters in hurricane force wind and rain will help.  Yes, we know it’s wet and windy…now get out of there, you bozos.

As my visits to Fox are generally restricted to whenever we have a total eclipse of the sun, my principal exposure to the Red team is Bill O’Reilly’s column.  His most recent diatribe chronicled media bias and listed a dozen left-leaning TV broadcasters and their potential negative impact on the election.  He somehow missed any mention of anyone on the Fox staff.  Maybe he watches CNN. 

Thank goodness for the once-a-week News Hour musings of David Brooks and Mark Shields.  They have very different political persuasions yet find a way to voice their opinions while maintaining a collegial rapport.  I somehow feel cleansed and refreshed when their fifteen minutes of fame ends.

Unfortunately, the rest of week will have begun all over again.  Might even rain.

Romney Supports Obama for President

While continuing his support for Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdoch despite Mourdoch’s declaration that a child born of rape is a gift from god, Mitt Romney announced that he will support President Obama’s re-election.

Interviewed on CBS this morning, Governor Romney said “I realize that I have no scruples and have waffled all over the lot for the last year and a half.  So I find no conflict in what I think I believe and  who I can support.”

When asked what it was that brought him to his decision to support Obama, the Governor said “It is a continuation of the meek approach I took in the third debate with the President where I applauded the President’s stance on foreign relations.  I figure that if I agree with everything the President has done for the last four years, that people will see how friendly I am.  Supporting his re-election will also reinforce my contention that I am the candidate best suited to work hand in hand with the opposition across the aisle.”

Reporters pursued the logic of Romney’s decision and noted that the polls since the third debate seem to have reversed their earlier movement and were heading slightly in Obama’s favor.  “It’s all part of my grand strategy”, the Governor said.  “If they continue to move in the President’s direction, I will simply claim that I was misquoted in this video interview.  Everyone knows that the media is populated by flaming liberals, except for Fox of course.”

Concluding his remarks, the Governor offered his own views on a woman’s right to determine what to do with her own body.  “I think a woman should be able to do whatever she wants.  And I intend on my first day in the Oval Office to offer legislation that moves us in that direction, starting with giving them the right to vote.  I realize that this may not sit well with some in my party but we’ve got to move vigorously into the twentieth century.”

 

Muscle bound

Dick Shawn, who died on-stage in 1987, was one of my favorite actors and comedians.  His role in The Producers as the flower-power-hippie cast as the lead in Springtime for Hitler was classic.

Perhaps less well-known was Dick’s stand-up routine as a muscle-bound weight lifter.  Proud of his bigger than life physique, he was asked by his mother “So what good are big muscles?”  Stumped for an answer, he stumbled around giving inane responses to this simple question.

I was reminded of Dick’s routine as I watched the debate last night.  The first question posed by a young college student was “So, how are you going to create more jobs?”  Smiling as he stared into the young man’s eyes, Mitt attempted to lay out the specifics of his job creation plan.  Only there were none.  Dick Shawn had risen.

Next came a question from a motherly middle-aged woman.  “I understand that you want to simplify the tax code and give everyone a 20% tax cut.  And that you want to balance that cut by limiting deductions.  How will your plan impact my home mortgage deduction, charitable contributions and the deduction for  my kids’ college tuition.”  Mitt smiled and flexed his big muscles.  Dick Shawn was having a hell of a night.

When the debate took on the issue of women in the workplace, the two contenders tried their best to become the champion of the fairer sex.  Obama cited his signature support for the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay for equal work legislation and for Planned Parenthood’s myriad of services.  Mitt muted his promise to de-fund Planned Parenthood and chose to ignore his running mate’s vote against the Ledbetter legislation.  He instead cited his search for qualified women while Governor of Massachusetts.

When his closest advisers were incapable of identifying women for his cabinet, he said “Well, gosh, can’t we find some women that are also qualified?”  He was then presented with “whole binders full of women.”  With big muscles, I’m sure.

Another questioner asked “How will Mr. Romney’s presidency differ from that of George W. Bush?”  Mitt lamented Mr. Bush’s budget busting wars, crossed his heart and promised never to do that again.  Obama noting that in spite of his other failings Mr. Bush had never proposed Medicare vouchers, proceeded to chastise Mitt’s vaporous health plan, a scheme that according to a new study by the Kaiser Foundation would cause six in ten Medicare recipients to pay higher premiums.

And so it went.  In the end we were treated to interviews with ten undecided voters who had been gathered together in the studio to observe the debate.  The moderator asked  “So, now that you’ve seen the debate, which of you will be voting for Mr. Romney?”  One hand went up.  “And which of you will be voting for Mr. Obama?”  One hand went up.

The other eight were obviously living in some alternative universe.  Maybe looking for some guy with bigger muscles.

In a nutshell

Many of you were probably watching the baseball playoffs, the football game or some porno movie.  So being a public-spirited, non-partisan guy, here are the highlights of the VP debate.

You can guess what Joe Biden had to say since you watched him four years ago when he fenced with the Snow Queen.  So to save time, I’ll just tell you what Paul Ryan said.

About Iran.  We need to get the Ayatollahs’ attention. I’m personally going to send them an e-mail or something equally harsh.

About Afghanistan.  We’re going to get out in the middle of 2014…unless we don’t.

About Libya.  We can say anything we want about that attack on our embassy.  Even if we haven’t got a clue about what happened.

About Syria.  We should have already given lots of guns and missiles to the good guys over there.  Even if we don’t know who they are.

About Israel.  The President was on The View while Mitt was at the Wailing Wall looking for Jewish votes.  And forget about what Mitt said about kicking the Palestinian ball down the field and hoping for the best.  He misspoke, again.

About the military.  We’re going to give them another trillion dollars even if we have to shove it down their throats.  Don’t fuck with us.

About our budget balancing plan.  We’re going to lower taxes, especially for rich people, and cut the crap out of spending.  Keep tuned for details.

About jobs.  The black guy hasn’t done nearly enough.  We will do much better by taking money from the middle class and give it to rich people so they can hire poor people.

About abortion.  Life begins at erection.  And if you don’t want a kid, don’t screw.  And if you want to screw you can’t have a contraceptive.

About war.  We’re not going to have any unless it’s in our best interests.  And, by the way, the hell with the U.N. and the rest of the world.

About bi-partisanship.  We’re going to reach across the aisle and be as cooperative as we were when we filibustered to death every plan that might have improved the lot of the American public.

About social safety nets.  We don’t need them.  Mitt and I will personally visit everyone who needs help.  Or maybe we’ll send Billy Graham or Pat Robertson.

About Social Security.  Trust us.  Old folks who vote Republican don’t need to worry.  Youngsters can invest their money with Bernie Madoff.

About healthcare.  Trust us.  Old folks can have anything they want as long as they vote for Mitt and me.  Youngsters can have a voucher good for about half the cost of their care…maybe.

About Mitt’s remarks.  He doesn’t mean what he says.  And that goes double for his bonehead remark about 47% of the country being deadbeats.  So don’t pay any attention.

About my remarks.  I spent a lot of time memorizing stuff for this debate, especially the names of the Pakistani tribes that I repeated twice so you would say “Wow, what a foreign relations expert he is.”

I feel so much better about Paul Ryan.  At least he’s no Sarah Palin.

Is Anyone Listening?

My buddy Irv called today.

How ya doin?  How come I haven’t seen a blog from you in the last two weeks.  I enjoy them so much that I send them to my Rabbi.   God knows he could use a laugh.

Oh, we were in Chicago for about ten days.  Just got back on Saturday and I’ve been busy sorting my socks and stuff like that.

I didn’t tell him the truth.  That I was too depressed to write.

What a debacle.  What a mess.  What a downer.  Sailing along on rising poll numbers and then he has a president-sized  brain fart and lets you-know-who back into the race.

I finally did fess up to Irv.  And funny thing, he felt the same way…in spades.  Didn’t sleep a wink after the debate.  Sherry had to rub my head for hours, give me a cookie, and tell me it would be OK.

I was so down since last Wednesday that I couldn’t get a single thought in my head that was worth blogging about.  What else could I say about you-know-who that hadn’t already been said a million times. Why bother?  Is anyone listening?

I thought about the high school play we saw in Chicago.  The Wizard of Oz.  Remember when Toto pulls the curtain aside and there stands Frank Morgan pretending to be the powerful wizard.  He stares at Judy, Ray, Jack and Burt.  He says into the mike “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” and goes on with his wizard impersonation as though nothing had happened.  He might have gotten away with it if Judy and gang were as dumb as some voters.  But being bright kids, they spot the hoax and confront Frank with his lie.  I thought I would write something like that.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Then just last night around dusk, I was reading and saw a flash of color in the back yard.  A fox.  Next to bears and mountain lions, the rarest of creatures around here. Beautiful.  An endangered species.  So I thought I’d write about Mitt’s views on global warming and his wait and see attitude.  The icecap is melting, it was the hottest summer since the Cubs won the World Series, and the ocean is about to engulf Peoria.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Or maybe I could write about his tax plan.  As The Onion put it in an imaginary meeting with his staff…“Okay, now, think—there’s got to be a way we can make these numbers add up, there’s just gotta be,” a profusely sweating Romney reportedly told his advisers while furiously calculating how in the world he could institute an across-the-board 20 percent cut in the marginal tax rate while balancing the federal budget within a decade and giving the Pentagon $2 trillion it hasn’t even requested.  Nope, no good either.  Folks already know he hasn’t got a plan and no one cares.

And then I heard Lakshmi Singh broadcasting the 4pm news on NPR.  Something about Mitt doing a flip-flop on abortion.  At the same time, daughter Nancy sends another tongue-in-cheek  Onion article about Mitt’s fibs…”it’s really easy to lie,” said Romney…“For example, if someone accuses me of having a tax plan that makes no discernible sense, I just lie and say that I do have a tax plan that makes sense. I also say there is a study that backs up my plan. See that?  Simple.  None of it is remotely true, of course, but now we’re moving on to the next topic because people are usually too afraid to ask me straight up if I’m lying, because that is apparently not something you ask someone who is running for president.”  Moreover, Romney said, if anyone does accuse him of lying, he will simply say he is not lying, which he noted is just an extension of the overall strategy.

Now, the Onion may be joking but I think they were spot on.  His latest abortion comments are an example of his strategy.   Tuesday’s Des Moines registerMitt Romney does not intend to pursue legislation to restrict abortion if elected president, the Republican nominee told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board on Tuesday…“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

Today, the Associated Press reports… A day after Mitt Romney downplayed his plans to fight abortion, social conservatives on Wednesday offered the Republican presidential nominee a not-so-subtle reminder of his pledge to do “everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.”  The head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List distributed an article Romney penned last summer vowing to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood, while backing legislation that would “protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”

ABC reports A little more than 24 hours after he told an Iowa newspaper that abortion legislation would not be part of his agenda if elected, Mitt Romney told reporters today that he would “immediately” move to defund Planned Parenthood.  “I’ve said time and time again, I’m a pro-life candidate…I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also, I’ve indicated I’ll reverse the Mexico City position of the president.”

I’m not so depressed anymore.   Maybe someone is listening.   Maybe the curtain is opening just enough.


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