Take Five (Aw, Shut Up edition)

ONE: Family Circus of Horrors

Among the persistent annoyances of modern life, like “smart” phones, white kids desperate to make the world think they just came straight outta Compton, and those infuriating micro-commercials that have started to crop up between batters in televised ballgames, one stands out as especially irksome. His name is Dick Cheney.

Everybody’s favorite scabrous, loathsome heap of lurid hell-spawn crawled out of the anus of Satan into the daylight last Tuesday (which, not at all incidentally, was September the 11th) to vomit forth a few sulfurous lies about the President before disappearing back up the Great Deceiver’s bunghole.

Actually, it was a little less dramatic than that. The retired war criminal simply had a spokesperson send an e-mail on his behalf to Tucker Carlson’s scurrilous website The Daily Caller, in which Cheney fulminated:

“If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden…

“Those who deserve the credit are the men and women in our military and intelligence communities who worked for many years to track him down. They are the ones who deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.”

The dusty old vampire obviously based this bogus accusation on a recent Washington Post screed by noted imbecile and former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, wherein the President was accused of “skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings.” (A day after Thiessen’s tripe ran, Jonathan Capehart, with reference to an earlier Post piece by Walter Pincus, calmly and thoroughly debunked it.)

Since President Obama has never made any effort to take “sole credit” for the killing of Osama bin Laden, it was difficult at first to understand why Cheney was so vigorously trash-talking him all of a sudden. Things became much clearer when I read Kurt Eichenwald’s New York Times article about the Bush Misadministration’s repeated failure to act on clear warnings throughout 2001 of an imminent terrorist attack. Turns out there was a hell of a lot more than just that infamous August 6th PDB that Cheney and friends turned a blind eye to. Imagine that. Better, then, to distract, deflect, and denounce Barack Obama rather than concede the obvious, which is that Cheney’s entire career in nominal public service has been obsessively devoted to damaging the nation he nominally served, along with as many others as expedience dictated.

For good measure, the bilious old fossil’s eldest daughter Liz weighed in with her own bullshit-based anti-Obama jeremiad in the benighted pages of the Wall Street Journal just a couple of days later. Its fifteen scandalously stupid paragraphs imply that the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya were “the logical outcome of three-and-a-half years of Obama foreign policy,” and proffer the usual stale accusations of “apology” and “appeasement” and “rushing for the exits” in Iraq and Afghanistan and “leaking intelligence” and “slashing our military” and a whole bunch more aggressively offensive calumny and cant.

By the way, if you’re wondering what Ms. Cheney is doing with herself after serving as a wholly unqualified Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs back during daddy’s crime syndicate days, she’s chairing an organization called Keep America Safe, which also counts famed neocon nincompoop William Kristol as a board member. Feel the safety, America!

TWO: Starstruck

Republicans sure do love celebrities, except for all those really famous and talented ones who are Democrats, of course. And there’s nothing like an upcoming election to compel the Z-list, like freeze-dried action star Chuck Norris and clownish family embarrassment Hank Williams Jr., to add their voices to the national conversation.

Norris kicked off September bin Laden-style, with a video. With help from his granddaughter – sorry, wife, Gena, Norris wastes 2:15 of his and the viewer’s time, confiding earnestly:

“We know you love your family and your freedom as much as Gena and I do, and it is because of that we can no longer sit quietly or stand on the sidelines and watch our country go the way of socialism or something much worse.”

Gena urges us to register to vote. Chuck quotes Edmund Burke and Ronald Reagan. Gena ups the Reagan ante with that storied bit of Gipperspeak featuring, in the space of three portentous sentences, the clichés “rendezvous with destiny,” “last, best hope of man,” and “a thousand years of darkness.” The video was shot in what appears to be the cloakroom at a Klan meeting, albeit with the radiant light of God’s love, or maybe just the sun, streaming through an open doorway behind them. Old Glory stands watch over their left shoulders, presumably in case Obama and his fellow socialists try anything funny while the camera rolls, though we all know that Chuck would stop them in their tracks if they did.

The intent, as Gena makes clear elsewhere in the video, is to rouse evangelicals to get off their asses and vote out the President this November. Mitt Romney, a man many of those recalcitrant evangelicals consider a devil-worshipping cultist, is not mentioned.

Pretty thin soup, Mr. and Mrs. Norris. Next time, take a cue from Hank Williams Jr., who never lets his brain get between his mouth and a microphone. Williams enthralled a crowd at Fort Worth’s Stockyards Music Festival with an impromptu rant about, you guessed it, Barack Obama:

“We’ve got a Muslim for a President who hates cowboys, hates cowgirls, hates fishing, hates farming, loves gays, and we hate him!”

What’s next for Williams? I have no idea, but if it turns out to be recording an “unplugged” set on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, I for one won’t be shocked.

Barack Obama still has friends, though. One of them, the Most Interesting Man in the World, is hosting a fundraiser for the Obama campaign tomorrow.

THREE: Secession from Reality Narrowly Averted in Kansas

After all the ridicule, scorn and opprobrium directed at Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett over his brief public flirtation with birtherism in May, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach must have scratched his head and wondered: Hey, how do I get me some of that?

Courtesy of a guy named Joe Montgomery, Kobach’s wish has come true. The Secretary of State, a – surprise! – Republican, along with fellow State Objections Board members Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer and Attorney General Derek Schmidt, also – surprise! – Republicans, did Kansas proud on Thursday by deciding to request copies of the President’s birth records from Hawaii. Leaving no stone unturned, they also sent requests for information to Arizona for that state’s investigation results, to Mississippi for some birther litigation documents, and announced that they would defer a decision on whether to strike Barack Obama from the state’s ballot this fall until they had a chance to examine the requested documentation.

Montgomery, who works at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, said Obama hadn’t provided valid documentary evidence to establish his birth in the United States.

In Montgomery’s written complaint, he declared “there is substantial evidence showing that much of Mr. Obama’s alleged birth certificates have been forged or doctored, and have not been confirmed as legally valid, true and accurate.”

Kobach, who is also – surprise! – an adviser to the Romney campaign, commented:

“I don’t think it’s a frivolous objection… I do think the factual record could be supplemented.”

The day after this momentous announcement, Montgomery had second “thoughts”:

The Manhattan Republican who posed a formal challenge to President Barack Obama’s place on the Kansas general election ballot Friday requested immediate withdrawal of the appeal due to an avalanche of criticism…

“There has been a great deal of animosity and intimidation directed not only at me, but at people around me,” Montgomery said in the formal request to Secretary of State Kris Kobach. ”I don’t wish to burden anyone with more of this negative reaction.”

Poor guy. Just what does a delusional closet racist have to do to get some respect these days? The board announced this morning that the Hawaii documents were found satisfactory and that Barack Obama will remain on this November’s ballot. Sounds pretty cut and dried, right? Wrong: Continue reading Take Five (Aw, Shut Up edition)

Take Five (What a Fool Believes edition)

ONE: Bleatings from Asbury Park, N.J.

Which little city has the sixth-best beach in New Jersey, was famously name-checked in a Bruce Springsteen album title, and just got a self-appointed Republican nanny? If you guessed Asbury Park, then kudos to you, even if you only got it from the subtitle above.

Louise Murray used to serve on Asbury Park’s city council, and although the predominantly blue burg no longer has to put up with her in that role, it will have to endure her tenure as chair of the local Republican Party, a position she assumed this week. Murray’s avowed first order of business is to “concentrate on re-energizing the Republicans in the city,” and if you’d like an example of what it apparently takes to re-energize Republicans, here you go:

Beachgoers may be surprised to learn beachwear is illegal on the boardwalk in Asbury — and one resident wishes the city would enforce the dress code rules.

Louise Murray… spoke during public comment at the June 20 council meeting about the issue.

Murray’s remarks no doubt sent an electric shock right through the hindquarters of local Republicans:

“I’ll be darned if I want to be standing at a bar and have somebody slither up in a Speedo or bikini that shouldn’t be in a bathing suit,” Murray said. “It’s disgraceful… I implore you to enforce this, but do not amend it.”

Good thinking. This will finally give Asbury Park’s 86 police officers something to concentrate on other than a violent crime index over five times higher than the national average. And – bonus! – Murray’s position has the support of at least one local Democrat:

Deputy Mayor John Loffredo responded, “I honestly don’t disagree with you.”

So here’s to a boardwalk unadulterated with butt-floss, postage-stamp-sized banana hammocks and other assorted fashion crimes. After all, as Murray insightfully points out:

“I don’t want to go back to 1940 or 1950 but the bottom line is you have on your books an ordinance — no person clad in bathing attire shall be on the boardwalk or public walks adjacent thereto,” Murray said. “Asbury Park was known for being the classiest boardwalk in the summertime. You never went down there unless you were dressed.”

Even if The Boss didn’t want you to be:

“Chasin’ the factory girls underneath the boardwalk where they all promise to unsnap their jeans…”

For all her admirable heavy lifting in New Jersey, I do hope Louise Murray stays away from Oregon. I’m just not sure how she might react to a recent wardrobe-related incident there, what with the GOP being The Official Political Party of JesusTM and all:

State police say a 26-year-old Texas man, who identified himself as Jesus Christ, has been arrested after he was discovered disrupting traffic near Roseburg wearing only his underwear and socks…

The man, whose name has not been released, was able to evade arrest from [a state] trooper for disorderly conduct, even after the trooper used a baton and pepper spray to try and subdue him.

A vacationing, off-duty Virginia police officer who was in the area and an officer from Roseburg soon joined the fray to help apprehend the man.

The Roseburg officer used a Taser on the man as the state trooper and Virginia officer put him in handcuffs.

Now, I don’t know if God so loved the world that He couldn’t even wait until His only begotten Son was fully dressed before sending Him back to this screwy planet, but the last time the authorities got hold of Jesus, things went south pretty quickly. And now we wait uneasily to see if Governor Kitzhaber gets involved, or whether he washes his hands of the matter.

TWO: Joe Rockhead

Viewers of The 700 Club got a rare treat recently when Congressional aspirant Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher related to the program how he came to Christ. It all began when his youth pastor invited him out for a bite and told him to bring along a science book:

He put the Bible on one side and I put the science book on this side.  He said: Okay.  Read the cover. And I don’t exactly remember, you know, if – my biology or chemistry book, but I do remember this, you know: “Revision 7.”

And he said: Now look at the Bible. What’s it say? I said: “Holy Bible.” He said: Do you see any revisions on it, Joe? I said: Well, no. He says: Well, the reason why is because this is God’s word. You know, it was right the day it was penned, as it is now, as it will be in a hundred years or a thousand years. Man’s always looking for an answer. That’s why it’s revised.

It hit me like a ton of bricks right then and there, and I accepted Jesus Christ there at Frisch’s Big Boy, and it was – it was pretty incredible.

Pretty incredible? The only way it could be more incredible would be if Joe had seen the face of Jesus on the rye bun of his Brawny Lad.

Along with this artful pandering to evangelical voters, Joe is making sure to kiss some NRA ass, as well. A recent web video offered up an idea so thoroughly scrambled it makes the ravings of Wayne LaPierre seem almost rational:

Mr. Wurzelbacher released a campaign web video in which he blamed the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide on gun control laws.

“In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917 one-point-five million Armenians, unable to defend themselves were exterminated,” Mr. Wurzelbacher says in the clip. “In 1939, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, six million Jews and seven million others unable to defend themselves were exterminated.”

Mr. Wurzelbacher’s video features footage of him on a shooting rage blasting fruits and vegetables with a shotgun. As the clip draws to a close, Mr. Wurzelbacher, gun in hand, proclaims, “I love America.”

Maybe you do, Joe, but why do you hate her produce?

THREE: Birth of a Notion

A chastened Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett appeared in Take Five late in May, apologizing for having made his state a laughingstock by pestering Hawaii to provide proof that the President was born there:

“If I embarrassed the state I apologize, but that certainly wasn’t my intent,” Bennett, a Republican, told Phoenix radio station KTAR.

Bennett must believe that his brief lapse into remorse cost him some of his GOP street cred, so last week he decided to just go for the conspiracy theory gold:

Secretary of State Ken Bennett says he’s convinced Obama was born in Hawaii, but he now believes the president fraudulently claimed to be born in Kenya so he could get into college. He also believes the president has spent millions of dollars since then to cover it up…

“So if there was weird stuff going on,” he said, “I actually think it was happening back in his college days because I think he has spent $1.5 or $2 million through attorneys to have all of the college records and all of that stuff sealed. So if you’re spending money to seal something, that’s probably where the hanky panky was going on.”

I have to disagree, Ken. I think the weird stuff is still going on. Weird stuff like 59% of Arizona voters actually believing you’re fit to be their Secretary of State. That’s so weird I still have a hard time believing it. Continue reading Take Five (What a Fool Believes edition)

Take Five (WTF edition)

ONE: “Ma’am, are you aware you have no clothes on?”

Some weeks back I breezily suggested that there might be a plot afoot to destabilize America via inconvenient nudity. It seems my jocularity was misplaced. A startling incident in Ballston, New York provides chilling new evidence that something eldritch is indeed unfolding. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

On May 15, Barbara LaFleur, naked as a jaybird though significantly taller, strolled into Curtis Lumber on Route 67 in Ballston, chatted with several employees, asked for the time, then walked out of the store. Manager Bob Eakin was not present at the time of the occurrence, but did a fine job describing what his employees endured, which was also captured on surveillance video:

“No one wanted to say much to her,” he said. “It’s not a situation you want to be involved in.”

After exiting Curtis Lumber, LaFleur, still bare, walked to a nearby Stewart’s, where store staff attempted a somewhat more engaged approach with the perp:

“The manager said ‘Ma’am, are you aware you have no clothes on?’ She was kosher and cool about it, and the manager told her she needed to leave,” said a Stewart’s employee, who only identified himself as Terry.

LaFleur was clothed again by the time she was apprehended by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and charged with misdemeanor public lewdness. Happily, no injuries were reported. Saratoga County DA James Murphy still sounds haunted by the crime as he tries to get to the bottom of it:

“While the defendant claimed she was merely expressing her freedom to be fully liberated by walking nude into Stewart’s and Curtis Lumber, this alleged conduct is actually a crime under the penal law,” said Murphy in a statement. “Surprisingly, mental health found no psychiatric issues whatsoever.”

Despite her casual crime spree, LaFleur is currently free on her own recognizance, and it’s reassuring that she isn’t considered a flight risk. The TSA has enough nudity problems of its own.

TWO: Will Vote for SNAP Benefits

If one wanted to make a case for the inferiority of white people, a solid start would be to point at Phyllis Schlafly. I don’t intend to make such a case, but I’m going to point in her direction anyway. Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a sort of virtual outhouse that makes you want to stand upwind of your computer monitor, is in a tizzy over a recent New York Times report that white births are no longer a majority of births in America:

Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July, according to Census Bureau data made public on Thursday, while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority for the first time in the country’s history.

Of course it’s been known for many years that this would happen. It’s even reasonably interesting as an alternative to chatting with someone about the weather, but “Roger” at the Eagle Forum blog finds it acutely distressing:

The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.

“Voting in large numbers”? That does seem sort of un-American, come to think of it, but not the way “Roger” might think. “Roger” thinks that voting for anything other than a Republican isn’t patriotic, and that’s because “Roger” is delighted to surrender his freedom to The Party just like a good Soviet. It’s depressingly predictable, as well, that “Roger” thinks all these non-white births are from fecund immigrants, as opposed to simply augmenting the reproductive efforts of millions and millions and millions of American citizens who are not white. I suppose “Roger” doesn’t accept the legitimacy of their citizenship anyway.

This should be more than enough corn-fed stupid for any one skull to contain, but “Roger” goes on.  In particular, a passing reference in the Times piece to Ozzie and Harriet really seems to chafe:

The NY Times liberals seek to destroy the American family of the 1950s, as symbolized by Ozzie and Harriet. The TV characters were happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, honorable, patriotic, hard-working, and otherwise embodied qualities that made America great. In other words, the show promoted values that NY Times liberals despise.

“Roger” left out “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” among other things, but it’s easy to see where he’s going with this:

Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.

Food stamps? Man, these immigrants work cheap. Yet “Roger” didn’t quite purge himself adequately with his original tirade. He has since updated the blog post twice to berate Daily Kos and Right Wing Watch for finding fault with his “thought” processes:

Why do they hate Ozzie and Harriet so much? Draw your own conclusions. I say that they despise the mere concept of a national archetype that extols traditional American values…

Why is it that the only people who use meaningless phrases like “traditional American values” without irony are mouth-breathing bigots?

The liberal blogs hate that archetype, but they are not willing to say why.

I can only speak for one liberal blog – this one – but I have no problem saying why I hate that archetype. I hate it because it’s phony, cartoonish and beloved of xenophobic whites pining for a fantasy version of America where “diversity” only means more brands of toothpaste on the drug store shelf. I hate it because immigrants have always been a boon to America and there’s not a shred of evidence to prove that the newest immigrants will be any different from those of 50 or 100 or 200 years ago in terms of the energy, ambition and imagination they’re eager to devote to their cherished new country. I hate it because even Ozzie and Harriet’s forebears came from somewhere else.

My own tolerance ends abruptly when I encounter intolerance of the sort that “Roger” and his pals in Schlafly’s moral pigpen have raised into a creed and a crusade to turn back history. I hate that too.

THREE: Renaissance Moron

You might remember that the economy nearly melted down under George Walker Bush. While the nation narrowly avoided financial Armageddon, it is still struggling out of the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, the New York Times recently caught up with Bush and found him involved in a little economic self-stimulus:

Two months from now, he plans to publish a book outlining strategies for economic growth.

With all due respect to the Times, I believe the word “strategeries” is what their reporter must have meant, but never mind. I’ll be watching for Tax Cuts for the Rich! You’re Welcome, America in the remainder bins in July, and hoping that in future the would-be author sticks to topics he actually knows something about: weaving lies into wars, shirking a National Guard service commitment, instituting “enhanced” interrogation, prospering from insider trading, ignoring hurricanes, nodding when that nice Mr. Cheney asked for energy policy task force meetings to be kept secret, shrugging off the threat of bin Laden, shrugging off the pursuit of bin Laden, ordering warrantless wiretapping, suspending habeas corpus and stealing two elections.

For dummies. Continue reading Take Five (WTF edition)

Take Five (Mooks'n'Mamalukes edition)

ONE: Say It Ain’t Joe

Joe Arpaio has had one hell of a run. Twenty years as sheriff of a county now comprising 3.8 million people is no mean achievement, especially if said sheriff has a propensity to bend, bludgeon or break the law routinely.

It would be foolish to assume that his run is necessarily over, no matter how things seem to be unfolding for Arpaio, but I’m pleased to see that things seem to be unfolding rather badly for him. As buzzards circle over Maricopa County, John Dougherty (who has covered the sheriff from the beginning) notes that Arpaio is running out of friends:

The latest Arpaio political supporter to fall is former Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas, who was disbarred April 10 for engaging in unethical conduct to intimidate and smear his and Arpaio’s political adversaries…

Thomas’ disbarment comes six months after Arpaio’s closest ally in the state Legislature was recalled from office. Angry voters ousted former Senate President Russell Pearce for his leading role in passing Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB1070… Pearce was once Arpaio’s chief deputy and is credited with coming up with the idea 20 years ago of housing thousands of county inmates in tents.

Arpaio has also lost key support staff within his office, including his longtime chief deputy David Hendershott, who was fired last year for his role in an unfolding Arpaio campaign finance scandal that is the subject of another federal criminal investigation.

The Thomas disbarment, in particular, should make Arpaio sweat, since the Arizona Supreme Court disciplinary panel:

… said there was enough evidence to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the sheriff and three of his closest allies participated in what the panel believes was federal crime in December 2009.

Uh-oh. What with the campaign finance probe, an ongoing DOJ investigation into possible civil rights violations, and speculation mounting that a three-year grand jury investigation into abuse of power allegations will soon result in criminal charges, it’s tempting to think Arpaio might be stopped before he can win a sixth term this fall. Which would be terrific, not least because Arpaio’s buddies over at WND would surely gnash their teeth and rend their garments in hilarious fashion were old Joe to be brought down. Until or unless that happens, WND frantically continues to lobby Congress to follow the lead of Arpaio’s cold case posse:

PETITION DEMANDING THAT CONGRESS OPEN AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF BARACK OBAMA’S CONSTITUTIONAL ELIGIBILITY TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT, IN LIGHT OF THE FIRST OFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT PROBE INTO THE MATTER DISCOVERING “PROBABLE CAUSE” THAT BOTH OBAMA’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND SELECTIVE SERVICE REGISTRATION FORM ARE FORGERIES.

WND claims that 47,321 people have already signed the petition. It seems that the way to a birther’s heart is through the caps lock key.

TWO: Joeverkill

Every stinking time God turns around, some politician is invoking Him or justifying an ill-chosen career by blaming its every detail on poor old omnipresent God.

“God says vote for me.”

“God told me to support all that bad legislation.”

“God told me to run again and act like all that bad legislation I supported is something to be proud of.”

“God says vote for me again.”

As if to demonstrate his political bona fides, first-time Congressional candidate Samuel Wurzelbacher – AKA Joe the Plumber – doesn’t think God is on his side, he knows it. Just like he knows a bunch of other things that are also false:

Obama’s ideology is un-American, I say that every day, and I won’t shut up about it.

Obviously he won’t.

His views are socialist. He’s been hanging around with them for a very long time. It’s connecting the dots, it’s very simple. It’s not conspiracy theory, it’s not a bunch of hoopla, it’s real. And people have to call it out, and not be afraid of the media slapping them down. I won’t be.

Hey, God – may I call You God? – if You’re really on Samuel Wurzelbacher’s side, as he claims You are, could You please inspire him to pick up a book and learn something about socialism? Or plumbing?

THREE: No True Hairpiece

When Donald Trump and his entourage swept into the Scottish Parliament yesterday morning, a stiff breeze barrelled down from the Edinburgh crags and threatened to lift the famously thin but coiffured locks from the American entrepreneur’s head.

As it did so, a bemused bystander remarked quietly: “Aye, now we know why he doesn’t like the wind.”

America’s bilious billionaire blowhard was at Holyrood to renew his threats to take his marbles and go home if Scotland doesn’t cancel a proposed wind farm adjacent to Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course. Trump had planned to add a resort hotel and luxury housing to the course, which is slated to open in July, but maintains that he will cancel the expansions if the 11-turbine renewable energy project goes ahead. His testimony before the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee was, let’s say, quintessentially Trumpian:

At one point he was challenged to provide evidence that building thousands more wind farms would destroy Scottish tourism. “I am the evidence,” he bluntly retorted. “I am considered a world-class expert in tourism.”

Trump accused former First Minister Alex Salmond of misleading him during a 2007 dinner meeting in New York:

Mr Trump said the First Minister had “scoffed” at the idea the offshore wind farm would get planning approval, citing the Ministry of Defence’s concerns about its effect on radar and it blocking shipping lanes…

“So after I’ve invested this tremendous amount of money, all of a sudden this really obnoxious and ugly wind farm appears,” he said. “It’s going to look like Disneyland, except a bad version of Disneyland. I felt betrayed.”

After leaving Holyrood, Trump did what Trump does best. He strutted:

As he strolled out, smirking in pleasure and waving, anti-wind activists hailed his support and his enemies hurled abuse. Police officers rushed into the crowd and surrounded Trump in a protective cordon as the property baron tried to touch hands with admirers crushed behind a crowd barrier.

What a pity that Scotland can’t relocate the wind farm over Trump’s mouth. Renewable energy just doesn’t get more renewable than that. Continue reading Take Five (Mooks’n’Mamalukes edition)

Take Five (Miserable Bastards edition)

ONE: And your money back if the birth certificate turns out to be valid!

Last week Take Five presented “highlights” from the press conference announcing the results of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s cold case posse investigation into President Obama’s eligibility to hold the office he’s held for 38 months. A brief appearance at the press conference by Jerome Corsi puzzled me, since he added nothing material to the proceedings and actually spent most of his time talking about what a peach Andrew Breitbart was.

I’m frankly ashamed to say I completely missed the obvious. Jerome Corsi is a grifter, so what was he doing at the press conference? Why, grifting, of course. Only a tad more surprisingly, so was Mike Zullo, the posse’s lead investigator. Cinch up your hip waders! For only $9.99, you can buy the “book” the two have collaborated on:

Mike Zullo, a retired detective and volunteer Maricopa County Sheriff Posse member, is listed as the co-author of “A Question of Eligibility,” an e-book for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The book is a copy of the investigation findings presented to the press on Thursday.

Zullo’s co-author is Jerome Corsi, a well-known political conspiracy writer who started the Swift-boat case against Sen. John Kerry.  More recently, Corsi, who writes for World Net Daily, has spent the last few years driving the birther movement.

Sufferin’ succotash, Arpaio must be furious! Or, um, not:

Corsi denied using the MCSO as a promotional tool to sell his books and theories…

Corsi said he informed Arpaio of his plans to sell the investigation’s findings six months ago, at the start of the investigation.

“He approved,” Corsi said, since neither he nor Zullo are paid members of the MCSO.

At least one county official isn’t so sanguine:

“I’m shocked to learn about this book,” said Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

Well, Ms. Wilcox, as I confessed above, I didn’t see the grifter aspect of this coming, but at least the only shock I experienced when I found out about it was in being reminded how naïve I am. Thanks for making me feel a bit better.

Here’s hoping the ongoing federal investigation of the sheriff’s misconduct in office leads to Arpaio himself no longer being a paid member of the MCSO. Now, there’s a press conference I’d love to see.

TWO: One Million Moms Circle the Drain

I also mentioned last week that I couldn’t wait to find out what One Million Moms would get all irate about next. Turns out I didn’t have to wait at all. Even as the organization (an appendage of the American Family Association) was busy calling for Toys ‘R’ Us to be boycotted for daring to sell the gay wedding edition of Life with Archie, they were also urging citizens to demand that Clorox pull its new Liquid Plumr ad.

Why would they want to do that? Over to you, Moms:

The commercial starts off with a woman in a supermarket daydreaming about what this new Liquid-Plumr product has to offer. She says, “Double impact,” twice as she reads the bottle. In her dream she is at home and answers the door to find a sexy plumber. The plumber is nice looking with huge biceps and a tight shirt. He says, “I’m here to snake your drain.” She says come on in and he walks upstairs. The doorbell rings again and it is a second sexy plumber. He says, “I’m here to flush your pipe.” She answers with an okay and while he walks on upstairs she lets out a squeal and moan while letting down her hair. Then she wakes up to reality to find the two men in the supermarket. She flirts by giving sexy eyes to the one man in the deli slicing meat and the other in produce holding two melons. These two men are the same as in her dream.

Pretty racy indeed. And there’s more:

It may be coincidence, but the man in produce is standing beside cucumbers with a price sign behind him reading 69 cents.

To summarize, an advertising agency hits on the not-at-all-novel idea to use sex (something most people enjoy) to promote a product that clears disgusting gunk out of clogged drains (something most people find revolting), and One Million Moms swoop in to spoil the fun. And rest assured they’re always soliciting new ideas for more fun to spoil:

NOTE: If you see a commercial or program which is offensive, email us the information. Many of you have done this, and it is very helpful.

THREE: Joehio

Speaking of clogged drains, Joe the Plumber (who is not a plumber and not really a Joe) finally has himself a vocation. Samuel Wurzelbacher is now the official Republican candidate in Ohio’s newly redrawn 9th Congressional District. He’ll be running, quite pointlessly, against Marcy Kaptur, who defeated Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. That he’s headed for an electoral drubbing is almost a shame, since his winning the seat would be a vivid milestone on the drunken Republican march toward Idiocracy, although it sure as hell wouldn’t do the Ohio 9th or the United States House of Representatives any good.

“Joe” was pitted against Steve Kraus – an actual auctioneer and real estate agent, as opposed to someone who just calls himself Steve the Auctioneer and Real Estate Agent – who was significantly outspent and ultimately unable to find a sufficient number of rational Republicans in the district to stave off defeat.

So that’s one more Congressional race to watch closely. I’m hoping for a debate between Kaptur and Wurzelbacher; it would be fascinating to hear his thoughts about, for example, small business tax policy.

Apart from Wurzelbacher’s win and Kucinich’s loss, the most noteworthy Super Tuesday event in Ohio was the delightful primary defeat of Jean Schmidt, one of the nastiest human beings ever to plant buttocks on a Congressional seat. It’s an extremely overdue exit; her most storied career moment is already fading into history:

In November of 2005, she gained fame (and infamy) for her floor remarks attacking Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA), a Vietnam veteran who had recently called for an orderly U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. On the House floor, she declared in a message to Murtha, “that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.”

So it was gratifying that she lost her primary to Brad Wenstrup, an Iraq veteran. Maybe with all her new free time she can go to Afghanistan; the Marines there could use some help. Continue reading Take Five (Miserable Bastards edition)

Take Five (Birth of a Vexation edition)

ONE: Dinner Is Swerved…

Readers will, I’m sure, remember the ugly incident in Phoenix when Barack Obama commandeered an entire airport to land his gas-guzzling private jet, then jumped out of it, ran over to Governor Jan Brewer’s outstretched index finger (which was minding its own business on the runway) and aggressively confronted it with his face.

Energetically wagging the digit in a desperate evasive maneuver, Brewer was nonetheless unable to escape Obama’s patently rancorous smiling and nodding. Following this terrifying experience, she commented: “I felt a little bit threatened, if you will…”

Brewer courageously ventured to Washington last weekend for the annual National Governors Association meeting and once again found herself antagonized, this time by an invitation to a black-tie dinner at the White House. In contrast to the Phoenix fiasco, though, on this occasion she was not caught off-guard by the wily Kenyan’s impudence:

Brewer said in an interview… that she had a scheduling conflict.

“I’ve just decided I wasn’t going to be going because I had some other commitments I had to attend to,” Brewer said…

Obama’s liberal media running dogs predictably refused to take Brewer’s dignified explanation at face value and pressed for more details, but to no avail:

A spokesman, Matthew Benson, declined to say whether the conflict was state business or personal.

“We’re not going to get into our schedule,” Benson said.

Bravo, Mr. Benson! This transparency stuff could easily get out of hand. Best to nip it in the bud, just like your boss did:

Brewer, who dined at the White House last year and will attend a policy discussion with other governors and Obama… laughed when asked to identify her scheduling conflict.

TWO: Posse Comatose

Thursday afternoon, I waded into the fever swamp that is WorldNutDaily to catch their live video feed of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s press conference announcing the results of his cold case posse’s investigation into President Obama’s birth certificate. After enduring two or three choppy, incomprehensible minutes – memo to Joseph Farah and the WND techs: streaming video is supposed to, you know, stream – I opted for Phoenix’s ABC 15, whose feed was perfect.

The press conference didn’t disappoint. It was just the sort of stupendously dumb display of rank birther hokum I’d been hoping for. Arpaio spoke first, and let’s just say he’s as good a public speaker as he is a sheriff. He opened by saying that he had “felt the investigation could clear President Obama’s name,” but – surprise! – it didn’t. He believes probable cause exists to indicate forgery and fraud may have been committed. Arpaio “cannot in good faith report” that the long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration released by the White House are authentic. History was unfolding, right before my eyes!

Arpaio then turned the microphone over to Mike Zullo, the posse’s lead investigator. Zullo noted that he would be presenting a series of videos to assist with his muddled remarks concerning multi-layer PDFs and OCR software, but took pains to point out that they were “draft videos” rather than final versions, and contained some typos. Hey, that’s perfectly understandable! After all, the posse’s only been at this for five and a half months. My favorite typo: “all that ailes the long form birth certificate.”

And Zullo (who, when asked, later confessed to being a Republican, although he denied being a Teabagger) made it clear that he and the other members of the posse (former police officers, attorneys, graphics experts and forensic document examiners) have done a lot more than just misspell words. Zullo insisted that the posse members “were not willing to merely speculate or engage in conjecture” and that the birth certificate “failed every test we put it through.” At one point, he paused, looked around the room, and said in a sepulchral voice, “This is serious. This is very serious.”

He noted that the posse tried but failed to obtain passenger manifests for incoming flights from Kenya at around the time of Barack Obama’s birth. They did obtain microfilm copies of INS records from the National Archives, 685 rolls, 10 years’ worth, but to their shock and awe, the records from August 1 to August 7, 1961 – the very week the President was born… somewhere – were missing.

Zullo turned briefly to the Selective Service document, which he described as “not just forged, it’s poorly forged.” He concluded that “there’s no question” a criminal investigation is needed, and casually added that the posse has identified a person of interest in the forgery of the birth certificate. Jeezum crow!

Swift Boat Liar Jerome Corsi was up next; I still do not understand why. He said something about the death of “fellow reporter” Andrew Breitbart and noted that Breitbart had interviewed Arpaio the night before, or asked to, or something.

Carl Seel, a Republican who represents District 6 in the Arizona House of Representatives, spoke next; again, I still do not understand why. He muttered something about having a bill pending, presumably to prevent Kenyans from making the ballot in Arizona, then said he had to get back to the Legislature to get some stuff done, or something. He commended Sheriff Joe, and concluded with: “Thank you very much. God bless America.”

Arpaio returned to the podium, noting that a lot of media were present and commenting insightfully that some might say his investigation is “pointless, silly, trite.” Having spent over an hour essentially accusing the President of the United States of being a criminal, Arpaio was adamant that he was “not accusing the President of the United States of any crime.” He was refreshingly candid about his ignorance of civics, confessing that he doesn’t know who has jurisdiction over this matter. He’s considering asking the State of Hawaii to get involved, but doubts that they’ll help. Maybe he’ll talk to Congress instead. Maybe not. Who’s to say?

Zullo spoke again, citing “numerous sworn affidavits” attesting to something or other. Then he related a puzzling anecdote about a retired government employee who had a conversation in the ’80s with Barack Obama in the front yard of Bill Ayers’ mother’s house. The future President was introduced as a foreign student. Or maybe it was the government employee who was a foreign student. Or maybe it was Bill Ayers, or maybe his mom. History is terribly confusing.

Arpaio, being the stand-up kind of guy he is, took a few questions from the press. A reporter asked if he wasn’t essentially accusing the President of living a lie. The sheriff clutched his pearls and tut-tutted: “I’m not accusing him of any lying or crime… I didn’t say that… I never said that… he can present other information proving he was born here… it’s not my problem they came up with this information and documentation… I’m not accusing anyone of anything until we find out who may have committed these alleged crimes…”

Last word goes to a reporter who prefaced one of the final questions in the news conference with: “None of us are stupid in this room.” Continue reading Take Five (Birth of a Vexation edition)

Just Sayin’ Is All (Oh, Sweet Jesus! edition)

Well, it looks like the Catholic Church hierarchy have their cassocks all in a twist over the Obama administration’s recent ruling that religious institutions had to follow the same rules as other employers, and offer contraception as part of health insurance coverage.

Now, I hope His Holier-Than-Thouness is sitting down for this news:  Catholic women use birth control. Yep, they do – honest to God.  And they really don’t give a damn what the Church has to say about it.

The basis for the Church’s objection seems to be that they should not have to fund something that is against their conscience as Catholics. That being said, I wonder when the powers-that-be will be reimbursing parishioners who, via their Sunday contributions to the collection plate, unwittingly funded the legal defense of pedophile priests and/or the monetary settlements flowing from same.

Of course, what the Church’s position fails to recognize is that the cost of birth control being covered by insurance does not equate to shoving BC pills down a woman’s throat. It’s a matter of choice as to whether any woman takes advantage of this option – and, as we all know, the concept of a woman having a choice with respect to her own body is something the Church has had a problem with for centuries.

Needless to say – but I’ll say it anyway – the RW talking heads lost no time declaring that Obama will lose the votes of the entire Catholic electorate in November. Yeah, mm-hmm, right. There’s nothing that makes one moan “Oh, Sweet Jesus!” like outraged pseudo-Christians purporting to know what they’re talking about – especially in a political atmosphere where “None of the Above” is ranking at the top of the current list of GOP presidential wannabes.

In a related story of committing the sin of hypocrisy, Cardinal Edward Egan (formerly of the archbishop-prick of New York) has withdrawn his 2002 apology for the Church’s handling of sex abuse cases, now maintaining that the handling of the situation under his watch was “incredibly good”.

“I never should have said that,” he said of his previous mea culpa. “I don’t think we did anything wrong.” As he stated in a recent interview with Connecticut Magazine, “If you have another bishop in the United States who has the record I have, I’d be happy to know who he is.”

Well, given his actual record (during his time with the Diocese of Bridgeport, Egan’s diocese had to settle cases and shell out awards to victims to the hymnal tune of some $12-15,000,000 in damages), when someone does come up with another bishop with a worse record, I hope I’m the one sitting down for that news.

Egan went on to claim that the Church had no obligation to report abuse to the civil authorities (which they have, by law, been required to do since the Seventies).  So we can add the sins of lying and arrogance to Egan’s list of transgressions. He’d better hope Christ was so busy laughing at the idea that Catholic women don’t use birth control that he wasn’t listening to Egan’s administration of Extreme Unctuousness. Continue reading Just Sayin’ Is All (Oh, Sweet Jesus! edition)

Just Sayin' Is All... #1

I’m still reeling over Fox News’ recent onslaught on the new Muppet movie.

Knowing that Fox News is a propaganda tool for the RW (‘tool’ invariably being the correct word usage when referring to anyone who is RW), I was taken aback by the fact that they weren’t standing up for their own.

Look at the current GOP presidential wannabes and – well, can you think anything but Muppets? They’re real people, you say? Don’t make me laugh.

Take one look at Michele Bachmann and tell me that’s not a sock wearing Dumber-Than-Thou lipstick and a pair of google eyes right out of Jim Henson’s spare parts bin. If she were a real person, she would have drowned years ago as a result of being too stupid to come in out of the rain.

After convincing his supporters that he was being victimized by the baseless unproven allegations of his various and sundry lady acquaintances, Herman “Herb” Cain conveniently dropped out of the race just as Miz Piggy announced her new tell-all book. Coincidence? Yeah, sure, whatevah.

Rick “Wannabe” Perry – an obvious reworking of the original George Dubya Muppet, only with more ego and less awareness of the world around him (yes, apparently that IS possible – who knew?).

Rick “Tickle Me Frothy” Santorum – insert your own joke here. The use of lubricant would be greatly appreciated.

“Newt” Gingrich – Newt is no newcomer when it comes to show biz, having starred as a boy centaur in The Mighty Hercules cartoon series back in the ‘sixties, followed by a stint as lead singer of Newtie & The Blowhards. The success or failure of his new career as a muppet remains to be seen.

As one of the Faux News bobbleheads stated: “This is a Muppet movie, for goodness sakes!” Yes, it is. And so was the last GOP debate, and the one before that, and the one before that. And goodness had nuthin’ to do with it.

Speaking of Muppets, ABC News announced that the Stephanopoulos (aka “George”) will be replacing Christiane Amanpour as host of the political talk show This Week. It seems that having an intelligent, knowledgeable and articulate host of a political show was deemed too wild an idea to catch on.

The good folks over to the Florida Family Association, a Tampa Bay group, has led a campaign urging companies like Lowe’s to pull their ads from the TV show American Muslim. Lowe’s promptly complied. I don’t know about you, but I’m reluctant to buy household fixtures from a company whose principles are that flimsy. Who wants a toilet that’s liable to collapse the minute a big, fat, ignorant, pseudo-Christian ass sits on it?

To their credit, the Association’s website provided a handy-dandy e-mail letter for its adherents to send to sponsors of the program – recognizing that most people who buy into this sort of bigoted crap can’t reed, spull, or rite gud Inglish. You just have to scratch your X at the bottom of the pre-fab screed, and away you go!

Senator John McCain had another “senior moment” this week while talking about Obama’s withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, stating:

“I believe that history will judge this president’s leadership with scorn and disdain, with the scorn and disdain that it deserves.”

Obviously McCain was talking about W’s presidency – but in the old geezer’s defense, he can’t be blamed for yet another demonstration of his encroaching senility. Most of us knew his mind was gone when he decided that Sarah “Quitterella” Palin had just the kind of stick-to-itiveness the nation needed in a VP.

On the topic of Quitteralla, it looks like some posters on Republican websites are convinced that she’ll be announcing her campaign kick-off any day now, leaving the other wannabes choking on her dust as she surges ahead in the polls. These are the same people who were convinced their Great White Hope, Fred Thompson, was going to be elected in 2008 in a landslide. Some of you might remember Fred’s stirring rallies on the campaign trail – you know, the ones he’s spent the last three years trying to forget.

Unfortunately, events in the latter part of the week bring us back to Newtie-Patootie, and this from a recent conference call with reporters:

“In order to restore balance between Congress, the White House, and the courts, Gingrich recommended ignoring rulings, impeaching judges, subpoenaing justices to have them explain their rulings and, as a last resort, abolishing the courts altogether.”

Apparently Newt thinks he’s running for All Fall On Your Knees Before My All-Powerful Dictatorship of the US, rather than the office of the presidency. My prediction: he hasn’t a chance of winning either race. Continue reading Just Sayin’ Is All… #1

TSW #6

“Fox News can confirm the President of the United States is a citizen of the United States. Period.”

- Shepard Smith, Fox Report, April 25

Trump's Birther Strategy Makes Sense if You Understand its Purpose

Check that. It not only makes sense, it is masterful. Let me state for the record that in my opinion, any assertion or belief that President Barack Obama was not born in the US is insane. It isn’t, however, Donald Trump’s intent to prove that one way or the other. Once you understand what the Donald is trying to do, he appears shockingly brilliant.

Here is the problem. Imagine that you are the Donald Trump of a few months ago. You want to run for President in 2012. You don’t want to wait for 2016, and that eliminates running as a Democrat. Your first problem is how to secure the Republican nomination. Forget about the general election. If you get that far, you can pivot in your positions like most nominees do.

That problem of how to win the Republican nomination must have seemed very difficult to many in Trump’s camp. The last New York Republican who tried, Rudy Giuliani, enjoyed a high positive rating in the country and Republican party prior to trying to run for President. He was the mayor of New York City through the tragedy and aftermath of 9/11, and had that performance to highlight his leadership skills. That should have made him a strong contender. It didn’t.

From the very beginning of the race for the 2008 Republican nomination, Giuliani’s conservative bona fides were questioned. Conservatives throughout the country are generally suspicious about Republicans coming out of the northeast or California. Giuliani had also been pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-gun control. The combination of regional bias plus Giuliani’s stance on social issues was too much for the conservative electorate.

Donald Trump’s positions on those issues are/were very similar to Giuliani’s.  At a time when the activist and most conservative wing of the party is asserting itself (the Tea Party), how is someone like Trump supposed to contend for the Republican nomination? Sure, he could make a number of speeches indicating he has changed his stance on many of those issues, but that didn’t work so well for Mitt Romney. Romney is still paying the price for appearing to be not just a flip-flopper, but a rank opportunist who will say anything the voters want to hear to get elected.

So how do you appeal to the Conservative base when you have a history of Liberal stances on the issues and you don’t want to appear to be a flip-flopper? The answer is: become a birther. The conservative base loves the birther conspiracy. Go to any conservative internet discussion forum like Free Republic and you will find not only a lot of talk on the issue, you will see that most of the folks discussing the issue are (or at least seem) convinced that President Obama was born in Kenya. Continue reading Trump’s Birther Strategy Makes Sense if You Understand its Purpose