Make Room at the Kiddie Table this Thanksgiving

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Look, I like kids as much as the next gal. I raised two – and survived. They can be cute, disarming, and have a penchant for saying the darndest things. But when they get to be adults and are still acting like children, it’s time to seat them at the Kiddie Table where they can spout their immature ramblings without interference, leaving the adults free to engage in more serious discussion over turkey with all the fixin’s.

The honor of being seated at the head of America’s Kiddie Table this Thanksgiving undoubtedly goes to Mitt Romney. After insulting those who cooked the turkey (or his goose during the election, as the case may be), he will regale the attendant youngsters with tales about how he could have been president, were it not for all of those unfair grown-ups who insisted on facts rather than his fictions, and voted accordingly.

He will also remind the other kiddies that if they find healthcare reform under the Christmas tree next month, it is not a matter of legislation meant to benefit all Americans, but is merely another “gift” to the undeserving 47% who voted for the guy who is willing to cram all of that “free stuff” into their stockings.

The next Kiddie Table honoree to be seated is John McCain, always welcome among his fellow foot-stomping non-adults who enjoy throwing temper tantrums at the holiday dinner table – and pretty much everywhere else. Despite a propensity to chase kids off his lawn on a regular basis, McCain will undoubtedly be revered by those same kids for having the balls to up-end the Candyland board at the end of the evening when he realizes that the game is not going his way.

Surely there can be no dispute that Allen West has more than earned his place at this year’s Kiddie Table. His whining refusal to accept reality will undoubtedly strike a chord with his fellow kids who believe that when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are – and you should win an election even if you only garnered the support of Three Pigs, Seven Dwarfs, and a crazy lady in Tampa who once owned a bunch of Dalmatians – and has the coat to prove it. Perhaps West’s premature electionation was prompted by the fact that Pinocchio was at the top of the ticket and, all things being equal, he should have been able to at least win by a very, very long nose.

The next to be seated are the My guy didn’t win, so I’m seceding kids. I can’t help but remember my son packing his Matchbox cars, his Superman pajamas, and two peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches when he decided to “secede” from the family due to the enforcement of bedtime rules he didn’t agree with. He had an excuse for his childish behavior, in that he was three years old at the time. I keep wondering what excuse for such childish carryings-on the secessionists are relying upon – other than the obvious excuse of never having intellectually advanced beyond a pre-kindergarten mindset. Is there any doubt as to their rightful place at the if I hold my breath until I get what I want, I will actually GET what I want table? Continue reading Make Room at the Kiddie Table this Thanksgiving

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Take Five (Saucy, Cheesy & Sorta Greasy edition)

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ONE: Half-Baked

Just what the hell is it with Republicans and bad pizza?

Remember Tom Monaghan, founder of the resoundingly crummy Domino’s? Monaghan, a Republican and possible religious fanatic to boot, was last seen in the fetid swamps of my perpetually embarrassing home state, building a model God-centric community he calls Brigadoon. Or maybe Del Boca Vista.

A previous edition of this column featured the May 2011 Manhattan summit meeting of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, which began at the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue but, at Palin’s request, continued at the Famous Famiglia Pizza outlet near Times Square. Famous Famiglia claims that their pie is “New York’s Favorite Pizza” so you know damned well it’s no such thing.

Erstwhile Republican presidential gag candidate Herman Cain once helmed Godfather’s Pizza and later became part owner of the chain in a leveraged buyout from previous owner Pillsbury. He sold his ownership stake in 2006. Godfather’s woeful product has been excoriated by as:

… about as good as any gas station or c-store heat and eat.

Now comes word that John Schnatter – founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, Romney booster, and free-range asshat – warned his shareholders the other day that “Obamacare” will force the chain, every time some benighted soul orders one of its joyless pizzas, to tack on:

… 11 to 14 cents extra, “or 15 to 20 cents per order from a corporate basis.”

Schnatter raised this nightmare scenario because he prefers Mitt Romney’s economic positions, positions which would lead directly to a considerable segment of Papa John’s clientele deciding that delivery pizza is a frill they can no longer afford, even if they do get to pocket that “Obamacare” mark-up. If all this defies reason, and good business sense, welcome to the exciting world of savvy Republican entrepreneurs.

TWO: Stall Tales

The old expression “spend a penny” became hopelessly outdated the day then-Senator Larry Craig took his wide stance into a men’s room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport a little more than five years ago. “Spend $217,000” is the updated version.

Craig and his bathroom habits are in the news again as the disgraced ex-politician fights a lawsuit filed by the Federal Election Commission over $217,000 in campaign funds Craig diverted to his legal defense against charges stemming from his licentious potty break. In the process, Craig and his lawyer Andrew Herman have raised the bar when it comes to ingenious legal strategies:

Craig counters that money tied to his airport bathroom trip was for neither personal use nor his campaign, but fell under his official, reimbursable duties as senator because he was traveling between Idaho and the nation’s capital for work.

He cites a U.S. Senate rule in which reimbursable per diem expenses include all charges for meals, lodging, hotel fans, cleaning, pressing of clothing — and bathrooms.

“Not only was the trip itself constitutionally required, but Senate rules sanction reimbursement for any cost relating to a senator’s use of a bathroom while on official travel,” wrote Andrew Herman, Craig’s lawyer in Washington, D.C., in documents filed Thursday.

Genius! And the icing on the urinal cake is that Craig and his legal counsel adduce another rank Republican hypocrite, Jim Kolbe, as precedent:

In documents supporting his bid to have the complaint dismissed, Craig cites the case of former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona, who tapped campaign money in 2006 to defend himself after allegations of improper behavior emerged against him following a Grand Canyon rafting trip with two former male pages.

The trip by Kolbe, the second openly gay Republican to serve in Congress, was an official visit with support provided by the National Park Service.

The phrase “openly gay” should be taken with a big fat grain of salt in Kolbe’s case, by the way, since he came out only after gay-rights groups threatened to out him after his gutless vote in favor of DOMA. Craig, in contrast, is immortal for the line: “I am not gay.” And soon, I suspect, he’s going to be immortal for skating on egregious misuse of campaign funds, but happily, the $217,000 that a bunch of misguided Republicans steered into Craig’s coffers helped pay for, among other things, a lot of free entertainment for the rest of us.

THREE: Party of Personal Responsibility Update

Speaking of legal defenses, New Jersey Assemblyman Robert Schroeder is now facing criminal charges over $400,000 worth of bad checks alleged to have been written to investors in All Points International Distributors Inc., a military contracting business owned by Schroeder. If you inferred from that that he’s a Republican, you inferred quite correctly.

This is only the latest legal trouble Schroeder has faced. According to the north Jersey Record, Schroeder’s entrepreneurial career:

… includes more than a dozen lawsuits from vendors and creditors stretching back to at least 1997.

Uncharacteristically for a Republican, Schroeder initially seemed to signal that he knows who’s at fault here:

 “I made a mistake, I apologize,” Schroeder said. “I’m responsible for my actions. It’s a sad day for my family.”

If you find that statement remarkably mature for a Republican politician who finds himself in hot water, don’t be too hasty. Schroeder has a ready explanation for why he “made a mistake”:

“We’re having tough business times like everybody else,” said Assemblyman Robert Schroeder, who represents the 39th District. “Business has been in decline during the Obama administration.”

Thank goodness. You can’t count on much in this crazy old world, but I’ve always believed you can count on Republicans invariably shifting the blame for their misdeeds onto somebody else. Bonus points for making your scapegoat Barack Obama, Mr. Schroeder. I guess we’ll see how that stands up in court. Continue reading Take Five (Saucy, Cheesy & Sorta Greasy edition)

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