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 worstpizza.com 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The old expression “spend a penny” became hopelessly outdated the day then-Senator Larry Craig took his wide stance into a men’s room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport a little more than five years ago.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)
Trace Adkins sings our national anthem, and not very well, but I try to savor it since the evening will only go downhill from here.
Yep. CNN once again tells us via one of their bottom-of-the-screen FACTs that Palin was elected Governor of Alaska as a “maverick reformer”. Mm, FACTy. I wonder if Adkins could be persuaded to come back out and sing “Fixin’ To Die Rag”…
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman puts Sarah Palin’s name in nomination as the VP candidate. He either has a very sore throat or his voice is changing. If the latter, then in the spirit of bipartisanship I wish him a successful puberty.
“We are looking for a rebel, a renegade. We are looking for Sarah!” he croaks. After already sitting through two nights of this jive, I’m looking for a rusty nail to scrape across my wrists.
After the now-obligatory reference to Palin being a “hockey mom” – what on earth has happened to America? – he tells the convention and the nation that Palin is: “Not afraid to kick a few fannies and raise a little hell.” This probably ties in to those ethics investigations underway in Alaska, but Huntsman doesn’t pursue the subject further.
Mitch McConnell, looking as chipper as I’ve seen him since his heyday as a Muppet, tosses it over to the Alaska delegation to move that Palin be acclaimed the VP nominee. Evidently still jet-lagged, the Alaska delegation complies with his request.
Heart’s “Barracuda” blares from the Xcel Center PA. I’m hoping the Wilson sisters will follow Jackson Browne’s lead and stop the GOP from using this song, but I’ve always been an idealist…
Time for an uplifting feminist message from a revolting little toadstool, Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who claims that Palin speechified yesterday with: “A voice that spoke with the accent of real America.” Is that what that accent was? I thought it was the sound of a cat with its tail caught in a screen door, but I’m a Southerner, so my opinion on such things is perhaps suspect.
Blackburn promises that Palin will be a “revolutionary second in command”. Surely McCain’s Naval Academy training will enable him to identify mutiny when he sees it. He was, however, near the bottom of his class at Annapolis, so maybe not…
Marsha, Marsha, Marsha’s not done yet though. “Last night, my NASCAR dad fell in love with a hockey mom.” My sympathies to Blackburn’s mother. I hope this all works out for her.
The Congresswoman notes that John McCain was a POW. Why on earth have the Republicans been sitting on this information until now?
Flip over to CNN. Wolf Blitzer informs viewers that the Best Political Team On Television is: “watching, paying attention and listening.” Obviously, this is going to be an historic evening.
Tim Pawlenty takes to the podium. CNN opts to interview a weirdly costumed delegate instead. Back to PBS.
Anyone wondering why Pawlenty didn’t get the VP nod is left in no doubt almost immediately. Hearing him speak is as exciting as hearing your dog start to heave at 5:00 AM.
“Barack Obama gives a good speech,” says Tim, “But the best sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived.” Sermons? Preached? Not only do Republicans refuse to separate church and state, they refuse to separate talking from stupid.
Over the past two days, the convention has raised the oratorical device of repetition to a level I can’t recall since I used to watch Romper Room.
“John McCain put our country first.” Well, keep throwing that at the fridge until it sticks, Tim.
Pawlenty winds up with a weird riff on “Sam’s Club voters,” a demographic I’ve never heard of. I only hope they can co-exist in the Republican Big Tent alongside those NASCAR dads and hockey moms.
Reappearing like the fatted calf from his exile to the private sector, former Senator Bill Frist, once the Great White Hope for his party’s nomination, says some worthwhile things about alleviating AIDS and other scourges overseas. As long as he doesn’t intend to diagnose via videotape, so far so good.
Frist calls Cindy McCain “America’s most passionate advocate for peace”. I choke up briefly, remembering Mrs. McCain’s desperate attempts to prevent Shock and Awe. God bless her for trying.
Frist goes on to describe international poverty and AIDS relief as “a foundation for peace.” No wonder the GOP threw this pinko overboard!
Back on CNN, an intriguing argument erupts between Roland Martin and Bill Bennett about McCain’s many flip-flops. Sniffing controversy, Blitzer puts the kibosh on the segment and cuts to a commercial.
Sam Brownback, who once ran for something somewhere, is working up some Romper Room repetition of his own, inciting the delegates with a refrain of: “Yes, we will!”
Brownback, a poster boy for American unexceptionalism, tells us: “I believe in American exceptionalism.”
He then reminds us that McCain can’t raise his arms. Something to do with being a POW, I suppose. I don’t know why the GOP expects me to make these connections for myself. Why don’t they just lay out the facts once and for all?
circa 8:40 PM:
As I’m in the kitchen getting dog biscuits for the two loyal friends kind enough to stick with me watching this crud, the convention airs a brief video about September 11, 2001. I return to the TV to hear John King commenting that there was no mention of Bush in the video. These Republicans sure know how to circle the wagons.
Senator Lindsey Graham, the walking definition of gormlessness, takes the stage. Although I learned long ago never to be embarrassed for Republicans, since they don’t have the sense to be embarrassed for themselves, Graham really pushes my resolve.
He praises Joe Lieberman for “breaking with his party.” He doesn’t specify which party he means.
Video tribute to Sarah Palin. Sample line: “When Alaska’s maverick joined America’s maverick…” Presumably, when McCain hits the stage, he’ll call for Alaska statehood!
Tom Ridge up for 17 minutes of puffery about McCain, marred by a few gratuitous swipes at Obama that he abruptly spits out as if a bug had landed in his mouth.
A video tribute to Cindy McCain, narrated by Gary Sinise. Intentionally or not, it reinforces the stubborn notion I have that Cindy is a Pat Nixon for our time, the difference being that Cindy can afford better than a cloth coat.
Cindy Lou herself takes the podium. And why not? She probably paid for it.
She refers to Palin as a fellow hockey mom. What the hell is going on in Arizona?
“I think John was a hero in Vietnam.” Well, me too, Mrs. McCain, but I wouldn’t marry him or vote for him for President.
Some remark of Cindy’s provokes yet another chant of “USA! USA!” I could believe, over the last few nights, that Republicans think they just discovered the damn place. Continue reading Three Days of Bad Road: Reliving the Horror of the GOP 2008 Convention, Day 3
Yesterday was a race to see whether the GOP convention had more empty seats or empty platitudes. It was a draw. Tonight I expect platitudes to edge ahead, slightly. As Mitch McConnell gavels the session to order, there are just slightly more people in the hall than there are at a typical PTA meeting in Wasilla, Alaska.
But like moths to a flame, delegates file in as “America the Beautiful” is torn to shreds by John Shillington and Ruby Brown, apparently friends of the McCains in Arizona. If they ever perform this at McCain dinner parties, rest assured Cindy has the sense to put away the good crystal in advance. With vibrato more wobbly than the candidate’s positions on tax cuts and offshore drilling, they make their way through a version that rivals “Hey Jude” in length. At some point, they seem to run out of the song’s actual written verses and start making up new ones on the spot. A couple of excruciating modulations later, they’ve provoked at least one woman in the crowd to close her eyes tight and throw her arms skyward. She’s either figuring the Rapture is imminent, or she’s beseeching a merciful God for the PA to blow a fuse.
Phony diversity segment begins with Michael L. Williams (an African American), Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. Williams seems to have borrowed one of Tucker Carlson’s bow ties for the occasion, along with Carlson’s habit of spewing meaningless bilge into the nearest microphone.
Next up is Luis Fortuño, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the United States Congress. He talks for a while and then stops talking.
Diversity be damned, the Republicans have actually found another white person who wants to talk! It’s Meg Whitman, former president of eBay and McCain national campaign co-chair. Proving that it’s a small world after all, she says nothing more substantive than the African American and Hispanic speakers before her. Is this a great country or what! She does mention that the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan is now the party of John McCain. In my mind’s eye, I picture that famous illustration of the evolution of humans from simple sea creatures to Homo Sapiens, only in reverse.
Amazingly, Whitman warns America: “Government shouldn’t spend more than it takes in!” Even more amazingly, the Republican crowd cheers as if they’d never countenance anything else. In the time it takes for the cheering to die down, we’ve spent another few hundred thousand dollars occupying Iraq. This is nothing to Whitman, of course. After all, she was in charge of a company where customers would probably bid $4000 for my dirty socks if I painted a fuzzy image of Christ on them. (And no, they’re not for sale.)
CNN’s annoying little FACT box on the bottom left of the screen tells me that Palin was elected governor of Alaska as a “maverick reformer”. Where would we be without FACTS?
Meg Whitman be damned. It’s time for a real businesswoman. Yep, it’s Carly Fiorina here to brag about how she nearly destroyed Hewlett Packard.
But soft! She doesn’t mention HP, spying on employees, golden parachutes or anything of the like! Nevertheless, she has an awful lot to say.
First off, John McCain – wait for it – was a POW…
Carly says McCain believes: “Americans should be freed and empowered to make their own choices.” As long, presumably, as those choices don’t include reproductive freedom, gay marriage and smoking marijuana.
But Fiorina isn’t shooting for such picayune policy details. She’s turning her fabled business savvy to mass hypnosis. “I know John McCain,” she notes again and again. Carly, AJ Foyt once gave me a personal tour of the pits in Indianapolis, and there was the time I sat one table over from John Updike in a cafeteria at my alma mater, but I don’t like to brag about such things myself.
Fiorina confidently proclaims McCain will balance the budget by 2013. Wow, a mere 13 years of Republican misrule after a Democrat did the very same thing! Impressive.
Apparently, knowing John McCain means you can keep talking and talking at this shindig. Still not tiring, Carly says McCain: “will never shrink from calling evil and oppression by their names.” Unlike that hapless Obama guy who insists on calling these abstract concepts “Beauregard” and “Wanda”, right?
She segues immediately into lauding McCain for valuing the contributions of women to our country. She doesn’t say whether this holds true if they “plaster on the makeup like a trollop,” however.
Diversity redux. Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, an African American, asks the delegates: “Ready to party in this house tonight?” To paraphrase Todd Rundgren, I guess some folks is even whiter than me.
Steele nears the crescendo of his speech with these immortal words: “Government should never be powerful enough to infringe on the rights of individuals.” Umm…
Flip to CNN. Wolf Blitzer is saying to Anderson Cooper: “Sometimes we hype things.” Anderson nods. I leave the room to get my second large drink of the evening.
CNN mercifully cuts away from those two and we get to join Kyra Phillips, who’s chillin’ with none other than Kurt and Heather Bruce at the Peanut Farm Restaurant in Anchorage. Heather is Sarah Palin’s sister.
“Welcome, guys!” chirps the unsinkable Phillips. Asked the family reaction to the Palin nomination, Heather responds, not quite circumspectly enough: “Omigosh, omigosh. I can’t believe this is happening. This is great, but this is crazy.” Yes, well.
Kyra: “Was Sarah interested in politics in high school?”
Enough of CNN’s investigative reporting! Romney is up to remind America why he’s the most oily, most unctuous, most unbearable figure in American politics. He does not disappoint.
He begins by admonishing the “Eastern elites” of America that it’s time to look to the west, because the sun is about to rise in Arizona and Alaska. Not having read the Book of Mormon, I have no idea if this is prophecy, a simple end-times weather report or just Romney being, well, Romney.
He goes on. And on. And on. Time for a change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington. Must stop the spread of government dependency. Need a party of Big Ideas, not a party of Big Brother.
Mitt avers it’s time to: “Keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground!” Nice to see Romney won’t let Al off the hook for the election that was stolen from Gore 8 years ago. Nope, time to go after his plane too. Take that, Al Gore. The first chants of “USA! USA!” of the night begin a groundswell among the well fed, ludicrously attired attendees. Long as the enemy’s name begins with the letters A and L, good enough, it seems.
Mitt, unaware that he lost this year’s nomination – or acutely conscious that the GOP 2012 nom is wide open – follows up with: “Just like you, there’s never been a day when I was not proud to be an American!” I can’t wait to watch Obama bite this supercilious little greaseball’s ass in 4 years…
CNN’s David Gergen dryly describes Romney’s spew as: “A great speech, for the 1970s.” Maybe, but it would have pissed me off back then too. Continue reading Three Days of Bad Road: Reliving the Horror of the GOP 2008 Convention, Day 2
With nine weeks or so until the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa gets underway. I thought it might be a good time to look back at the 2008 convention in all its insipid, infuriating, ignorant, phony, mean-spirited glory. This chronicle originally appeared at Daily Kos, Open Salon and Democratic Underground.
I’d understood that the convention was being held in St. Paul, but the folks in the crowd shots confirm that it’s actually being held in Squaresville.
David Brooks informs the PBS audience that it would be a mistake to skip over McCain’s history as a POW. He needn’t worry.
Bill Bennett reminds CNN viewers that James Madison never left the country, and that when Sarah Palin finally got a passport, she went not to Paris, but to Kuwait. No mention of her tarmac stop in Ireland, however.
From the podium, Norm Coleman threatens Republican Jihad on Middle America: “We’re going to paint the entire Mississippi watershed John McCain red!” Yikes!
Then tells dodgy story about Jefferson as lead-in to the curious and creepy refrain: “John McCain has a face that says ‘Yes’!”
Just saw an African American guy on the convention floor. Not sure why he was there.
Bill Bennett proclaims “the brooding omnipresence of Ronald Wilson Reagan.” Time for a bathroom break.
CNN interviews 19 y/o mayor of Muskogee, OK. Poor kid believes John McCain will keep him safe, says meeting Giuliani would “make my dreams come true.” These kids today.
Tucker Bounds tells Gwen Ifill that Palin has been “fully vetted” and she will “electrify the place” on Wednesday. Then runs out of Xcel Center before mean old Campbell Brown can tease him again.
Video tribute to GHW Bush claims “he helped put the ghosts of Vietnam to rest”. Not sure how this squares with the rest of the party doing their damnedest to achieve the opposite. Oh well.
Wolf Blitzer describes Barbara Bush as a “magnificent lady”. Bathroom break.
David Brooks: “Rush Limbaugh is no idiot.” What an idiot.
Former POW Orson Swindle introduces five Medal of Honor winners. First chants of “USA! USA!”
She’s excited by the McCain/Palin ticket! She’s proud that the first female VP will be a Republican woman!! I have no idea who she was talking about.
Speaking about W, she notes: “A lot has changed in the last eight years.” Yeah, duh.
Pickles tells vets: “America honors your service and gives you our thanks.” CNN cuts to a yawning military man on the convention floor.
And now it’s time for Preznit Satellite. He says his duties have kept him in Washington tonight “overseeing hurricane relief”. Great relief felt in both St. Paul and New Orleans, undoubtedly.
W praises “two people of character, decency and integrity” then goes into a complete non-sequitur about his parents.
Talks about McCain. Geez, apparently McCain was a POW! W says “his arms were broken, but not his honor”. No mention of his 2000 primary attempts to paint McCain as dishonorable.
Bush still talking…
Mentions the “angry left”. Cindy McCain smiles. This leftist is now officially angry.
Surge is working. Dangerous world. Lessons of September 11. Man we need is John McCain.
Says 3 or 4 words about Sarah Palin. Something something something.
“Americans have always lived on the sunrise side of the mountain.” Why does George Bush hate the Americans who live on the other side of the mountain?
Pickles up again, praising Cindy McCain’s charitable work abroad. It’s apparent that Cindy has 100 times more foreign policy experience than Palin. I’m getting really confused.
It’s Gipper Time! Please, Gipper, don’t hurt ‘em!
Video tribute to Reagan discussing his early years in politics. “Some dared breathe the word ‘maverick.’” Some dared breathe the word “jerk” too, but that doesn’t get a mention.
Replaced Carter’s indecision with “conviction politics”. If only Iran-Contra had resulted in conviction politics, I muse sadly.
“Ronald Reagan saved our America, saved our century and changed the world.” Hot damn, how come nobody ever told me about this before?
Fred Thompson is warmly applauded by the same people who ignored him back during the primaries.
Says Palin is a “breath of fresh air”. She’s “from a small town, with small town values” but the pundits have attacked her. Damn pundits! More: “Democrats and the media are in a state of panic!”
Reminds us that McCain was a POW! Very handy, since I’d just forgotten about that.
“If Roberta had been the McCain captured by the North Vietnamese, they would have surrendered!” In other words, John McCain isn’t as tough as a 93 y/o woman… Continue reading Three Days of Bad Road: Reliving the Horror of the GOP 2008 Convention, Day 1
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)
Republicans have rushed to embrace the distraction of possible running mates for Mitt Romney, probably because it beats sitting around lamenting that their nominee is going to be Mitt Romney. The good news for the GOP is there’s no shortage of potential names; the bad news is that all of them are wretched.
Speaking of wretched, Senator John McCain was recently asked by CBS if he had any bright ideas for VP. “I think it should be Sarah Palin,” he said, and then he giggled like a schoolboy on nitrous oxide. Make of that what you will.
There’s no question that Palin still has a solid core of support among a certain type of no-information Republican voter. The party powers-that-be, however, might have reason to feel differently:
At the website for… Sarah PAC, donors are assured that funds they give to the PAC will be “dedicated to building America’s future by supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation.” According to Politico, however, those funds are currently doing nothing of the sort.
The committee’s [April 11] filing says that Sarah PAC raised $388,000 between January and March and spent $418,000 over the same time period, most of it on further fundraising and a bevy of political consultants, as well as a down payment on building space in Tampa, Florida near the site this summer’s Republican National Convention.
None of the funds have been spent on candidates or donations to other conservative causes…
And if Palin’s “ask not what you can do for your party” approach isn’t off-putting enough to the Republican establishment, there’s also the fact that she hasn’t come up with any new material in four years. In an interview with Sean Hannity about Hilary Rosen’s completely justified characterization of Ann Romney, for example, Palin’s contribution to the “nontroversy” was the same old same old:
“The comments that Hillary Rosen made today certainly have awakened many mama grizzlies across the nation,” the former Alaska governor asserted.
Mama grizzlies, Governor? Really? Palin won’t say one way or the other whether she’s interested in being a two-time failed VP candidate, but she did toss out an intriguing name in a March interview on Fox News:
“You know who I’d like to see… Colonel Allen West. Colonel Allen West, who’s been to the school of hard knocks, he should be the one who should be considered seriously for VP.”
Why, yes, he should be, by any party determined to lose 50 states this November. Yet Palin’s not the only one who thinks West’s jib is sufficiently well cut to take up residence at the Naval Observatory. Nikki Haley, who has herself been mentioned as a possible Romney running mate, echoed Palin, albeit a little tepidly:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a top surrogate for GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, suggested Wednesday night that controversial Tea Party freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) could be a “good” choice as the party’s vice presidential nominee.
“You’ve got great ones. You have heard Gov. Palin talk about West, and he’s good.”
And if the Palin and Haley endorsements aren’t enough to persuade the Republicans to go West, maybe that of novelty presidential candidate and serial philanderer Herman Cain will:
“Colonel Allen West out of Florida. Here’s why. He is well-spoken, he is direct, people in Florida love him, he has a huge following. He is from Florida. Florida is going to be one of those key states… But more importantly, Colonel Allen West is a dedicated patriot. He served in the military, and he is willing to serve his country some more.”
And a vice president isn’t subject to Article 15 proceedings, which is a huge plus, but if Romney wants to tap West as his running mate, he might need a time machine. The Congressman was most recently spotted hanging out in the year 1954:
… at a town-hall event in Palm Beach, he told supporters that he has “heard” that up to 81 Democrats are, in fact, communists, the Palm Beach Post reports.
In the video… someone asks West how many members of the Democratic Party are “card-carrying Marxist Socialists.”
“I believe that there are about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” West responds…
When pressed for specifics, a spokeswoman for the West campaign said that West was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Some days later, West proffered more implausible specifics:
I think that if you would take the time to study the political spectrum of ideologies, you’d understand that at the turn of the [20th] century, American Communists renamed themselves as progressives. If you study the Woodrow Wilson administration, people referred to the Woodrow Wilson administration as a progressive administration…
There’s a very thin line between communism, progressivism, Marxism, socialism — or even, as Mark Levin has said, statism. It’s about nationalizing production, it’s about creating and expanding the welfare state. It’s about this idea of social and economic justice. And you hear that being played out — you know, now with fairness, fair share, economic equality, shared sacrifice, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.
I’m starting to think Palin, Haley and Cain are onto something here. That’s certainly one of the most forthright, unequivocal attacks on social and economic justice I’ve ever seen. Sadly, this courageous asininity landed West in hot water with another bunch of America-hating Bolsheviks: Continue reading Slouching Towards Tampa (Veep Doo-doo edition)
TO: Rick Santorum, Presidential Wannabe
I just received an email from you and, given that it starts off with “Nance”, I’m assuming we’re now on a first-name basis.
I am still a bit perplexed as to (a) how you got my personal email address, and (b) why you would be sending your campaign literature to me, an until-death-us-do-part Democrat.
However, being as you took the time to contact me, I thought it appropriate to respond.
“Our campaign continues to pick up steam and generate press. In just the past four days, we won the Louisiana primary, received national attention for calling out the New York Times, and received kind words of support from Governor Sarah Palin.”
Well, here’s the thing, Ricky, right off the top: generating press can be a real positive for a candidate hoping to win his party’s nomination for the presidency. However, since most of the press coverage I’ve seen is due to your inane remarks, your abject stupidity, your total non-grasp of the issues, and your blatant hypocrisy, I wouldn’t exactly put that coverage in the plus column.
That being said, I especially appreciated the publicity you, the holier-than-thou Christian boy, garnered by yelling “bullshit!” in response to a reporter’s query. No doubt that went over really well with the Fundies you have been pandering to.
As for the support from Sarah Palin, here’s a word to the wise: She’s a whackjob. I wouldn’t go bragging about her support. That kind of endorsement is something you want to keep under your sweater-vest – if you get my meaning.
“Mitt Romney and his liberal media machine would like nothing better than for us to go away.”
Mitt Romney has a “liberal media machine”? I’m not quite sure what that statement means – along with most of what you say about anything, to be perfectly frank. Mitt Romney is in no way a liberal, and there is no such thing as the “liberal media” – so I’m a bit confused as to where you thought you were headed with that comment. And I have a feeling you’re equally confused – well, you always look so confused, I just assume that you really are.
“But conservatives know we can win — and across the country they are calling, emailing, and telling us they want us to redouble our efforts. You can help us do that — and reaffirm your support for the campaign – by making an online donation of $5, $25, $50, $100 or more right now.”
At this point, I have to ask: If conservatives from all over the country know you can win, and are calling, emailing, and telling you they want you to redouble your efforts, why aren’t they putting their money where their mouths allegedly are? It would seem that if you’re really the people’s choice, they’d be more than happy to cough up a few bucks.
“Today only, we are going to send all online donors a special token of our appreciation. Donate $5 or more before midnight Eastern time, and we will send you a campaign bumpersticker via mail.”
Well, that’s a major disappointment. Here I was ready to send you a million or two – kind of along the lines of a pity fuck – but the check won’t clear until tomorrow, so I guess I’m shit out of luck. And I really wanted that bumpersticker, too. My neighbors already think I’m nuts – I would have enjoyed confirming it for them.
“It’s time conservatives take a stand. We don’t need to accept what the mainstream media and establishment tell us to think.”
It’s not the mainstream media who are telling Republicans what to think, Ricky – it’s FOX News. Maybe you should ask your party’s own propaganda network to give you a break, and extol your many virtues – oh, except they’re too busy telling everyone that Romney’s nomination is a done deal. We all know what sheep Republican voters are; too bad the shepherds aren’t the least bit interested in what you have to say.
“I am convinced that whoever can activate grassroots conservatives will not only secure the nomination – but will have the honor of defeating Barack Obama in the fall.”
I don’t know what you’re smokin’, dude, but it’s obviously some primo shit. At this point in the game, your party can’t even count on your conservative base. Now that the GOP has pissed off women, union members, the unemployed, the college-educated, the disabled, veterans, and everyone who is benefiting from Obamacare, even your once loyal voters are dwindling down to a precious few. Continue reading Ricky, PLEASE Lose This Number
ONE: Fired Up and Ready to Stay Home!
A couple of weeks back, Take Five looked at a CBS News poll which indicated that voter enthusiasm (meaning a lack thereof) could be a huge problem for the Republicans this year.
The Atlantic Wire recently examined other polls that pretty much confirm the hypothesis. A January 30 Pew poll, for example, pegged the number of Republicans happy with their field of candidates at 46%, while those dissatisfied with it were measured at 52%. As has become a cliché this election year, they can’t resist citing yet another Gallup poll purporting to demonstrate that Republicans remain more enthusiastic about this election than Democrats. The only problem with this is that the accumulating empirical evidence suggests it’s not true.
Nate Silver notes that among “Republican identifiers” only, turnout in Iowa was down 11% over 2008 and New Hampshire was down 15%, and while South Carolina’s turnout jumped 20% over the last presidential election cycle, driven by Gingrich zealots, Florida’s was down 16% from ’08. According to CNN, Nevada’s Republican numbers last Saturday were down by one-third from four years ago.
Watch for increasingly desperate and increasingly amusing spin about all this to emanate from Republican Party apparatchiks and pundits in the coming weeks, but they’ll have to really exert themselves to outdo Romney spokesmouth John H. Sununu, who said this with a resolutely straight and characteristically dour face on MSNBC Monday morning:
In an odd sense when turnout is down, contrary to what you are hearing, people are satisfied with the winning and the candidate that’s winning. They are satisfied with Mitt Romney.
Yeah, sure they are. I’m hoping they’re so satisfied they’ll all stay home in November, too. Sununu’s explanation for that will be priceless.
Ron Paul, seemingly unaware that he himself is a candidate, made some caustic remarks about the Nevada and Florida numbers:
“There’s a lot of people not satisfied with any of the candidates out there,” the Texas congressman said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “And that’s why in many ways we’re seeing a lower turnout right now…”
Mr. Paul said Republicans are wondering why they haven’t been offered someone else besides Mr. Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The last time I looked, Republicans were also being offered, aggressively, not only Ron Paul but also Rick Santorum, and not long ago they also had such choices as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain, not to mention perplexingly premature dropout Tim Pawlenty and even perennial wingnut darling Roy “Ten Commandments” Moore. And then there was the contingent of maybes whose trial balloons, for the most part, never got any altitude: Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Mitch Daniels, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani.
I apologize for taxing your digestive tract with this litany of names, gentle reader, but I think it points up the fact that GOP voters have had no shortage of choices; they’ve only had a shortage of remotely acceptable choices, even by famously lax Republican standards.
So Romney remains the frontrunner, his three remaining challengers – for various reasons – will hang around a while yet, and Republican voters are less than impressed with the whole spectacle. Hey, it’s nice to agree with Republicans about something, I guess.
TWO: Y’all don’t come back now, hear?
The Charleston Place Hotel has filed suit against the Southern Republican Leadership Conference for non-payment of a $227,872 bill. The SRLC disputes the charge and has declared its intention to launch a counterclaim. In a statement released Monday, the organization said:
“After prepaying over $235,000 to the Charleston Place Hotel, we at SRLC 2012 had an unprofessional experience that directly and indirectly breached our contract causing great harm and distraction to our attendees, sponsors, and staff. The Charleston Place’s attempt to mischaracterize this legitimate dispute as the SRLC’s walking away from a bill is in keeping with the pattern of deception and misrepresentation that is a significant part of our ongoing disagreement.
“We continue to seek a reasonable and equitable settlement even as the Charleston Place’s Management seeks to sensationalize. We sincerely hope that cooler heads at the Charleston Place will prevail and they will acknowledge serious errors and actions resulting in a fair agreement.”
The conference lined up a Jan. 19-22 stay… and booked nearly every room in the luxury hotel in the center of downtown Charleston, according to the lawsuit. Political consultant Robert Cahaly signed the agreement on behalf of the group…
The hotel wants to hold Cahaly and others personally responsible for the tab, arguing that the Southern Republican Leadership Conference is nothing but a corporate shell Cahaly uses to hide from his obligations, the lawsuit states.
Cahaly has kept a pretty low profile since threatening to sue the SC SLED before turning himself in on an arrest warrant last fall on charges of making illegal robocalls in half a dozen House Districts in the 2010 election. While there don’t seem to be any recent updates about that case, I’m already looking forward to this new one. If the hotel really has evidence that the SRLC is a corporate front for Cahaly, I can’t wait to read the details. It’s also going to be fascinating to see if the organization’s counterclaim is predicated on something more substantial and credible than Charleston Place management being unprofessional, deceptive, sensationalistic hotheads.
THREE: You’re Nobody ’til Rick Santorum Hates You
Fresh off of telling a seriously ill child and his mother that drug companies should be free to charge whatever the hell they want for the boy’s medication, Rick “Mr. Sensitive” Santorum told a gay Missouri man that he didn’t deserve the “privilege” of marriage. In doing so, Santorum briefly opened a wormhole into the strange and uncharted dimension that is his mind when he said:
“[Marriage is] not a right, it’s something that has existed since the beginning of human history as an institution where men and women come together for the purposes of forming a natural relationship as God made it to be. And for the purposes of having children and continuing that civilization. It is an intrinsic good… And as a result of that, we extend a privilege. We extend certain privileges to people who do that because we want to encourage that behavior…”
Actually, Senator, you don’t need to bother encouraging that behavior, since your enthusiastic advocacy of another type of behavior helps ensure that humans, gay or straight, won’t be around to mess up Creation much longer anyway:
A day before Republicans voice[d] their presidential preferences in the Colorado caucuses, Rick Santorum dismissed climate change as “a hoax” and advocated an energy plan heavy on fossil fuels.
True to form, Santorum couldn’t opine on this without dragging his close personal friend, God, into it:
“We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit not for the earth’s benefit,” Santorum told an audience at the Colorado School of Mines where he was a guest speaker Monday at the Colorado Energy Summit.
“We are the intelligent beings that know how to manage things and through that course of science and discovery if we can be better stewards of this environment, then we should not let the vagaries of nature destroy what we have helped create…”
The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania argued that science has been hijacked by politicians on the left, and that climate change is “an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life…
“I for one never bought the hoax. I for one understand just from science that there are one hundred factors that influence the climate. To suggest that one minor factor of which man’s contribution is a minor factor in the minor factor is the determining ingredient in the sauce that affects the entire global warming and cooling is just absurd on its face and yet we have politicians running into the ramparts, unfortunately politicians who happen to be running for the Republican nomination for president who bought into man-made global warming and bought into cap and trade…”
Small wonder that Sarah Palin’s star has faded; with Rick Santorum in the news, fans of nonsensical word salad can get their fill and more. At least until catastrophic climate change leads to their extinction, that is.
Oh, and about that “sauce” he mentioned… never mind. Continue reading Take Five (Do Not Disturb edition)
ONE: Eight Votes and Counting
Know why Rick Santorum turned in such a strong performance in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses? The Duggars.
Yes, America’s favorite breeding pair recently took time out from their near-constant rutting to endorse the former Pennsylvania senator. This isn’t the first high-profile endorsement Santorum has picked up this year, of course. Nefarious supervillain Rupert Murdoch tweeted his endorsement Monday evening, while failed reality show star Sarah Palin more or less endorsed him immediately after saying she wasn’t going to be endorsing anyone.
With a mere seven children, Santorum is a comparative piker when it comes to “sowing the lower forty” yet Jim Bob Duggar still found much to admire:
“He’s somebody that doesn’t take a poll to know where he stands,” the Duggar patriarch told a crowd at a pizza restaurant north of Des Moines. “I’m asking families, Christians all over America, to get behind Rick Santorum for the next president of the United States.”
He later added, “[Santorum] is somebody that goes and really just votes from his heart and votes on his convictions, votes on things based on the Constitution of the United States and the Bible. And that’s the kind of man we want to support.”
With Jim Bob and his penis out stumping on the campaign trail, Michelle Duggar caught a rare break, and by way of thanks recorded some robocalls for Santorum, probably with tears in her eyes.
So why, after an endorsement as big as this, did Santorum ultimately fall eight votes short of Mitt Romney? Quite simply because the Duggars aren’t Iowa residents, that’s why. If they were, Jim Bob, Michelle and their voting-age children – Joshua James, Jana Marie, John-David, Jill Michelle, Jessa Lauren and Jinger Nicole – could have tied this up. Throw in another Santorum vote from Joshua James’ wife Anna and it would have been an embarrassing second place finish for Mitt.
TWO: Mysterious Ways
Pat Robertson believes God has shown him the identity of the next president, but he said he’s “not supposed to talk about that” as he talked about it on Tuesday. Despite refusing to come clean on who it will be, Robertson went on to share some notes he jotted down during his recent confab with the Almighty. It sounded pretty much like any bull session between two very, very old geezers around a cracker barrel, right down to the predictable “world is goin’ to hell” and “that Kenyan commie’s gonna be the ruination of the nation” sentiments, but at least the Maker didn’t mince His words:
Your country will be torn apart by internal stress. A house divided cannot stand. Your president holds a radical view of the direction of your country which is at odds with the majority. Expect chaos and paralysis.
Holy moly! I always suspected that the Lord watched Fox; I just didn’t realize he took it so seriously. Robertson gamely tried to guess the nature of the coming calamity. EMP blast? Nope. Cosmic or solar or radiation blast? No siree. Mayan galaxy alignment? Hell, no. Iranian or North Korean nuclear threat? Get serious. Earthquake or volcano? Nuh-uh. Massive power failure? Oh, pshaw. Finally, the Creator spat on the floor, squinted to the left and to the right, then leaned in low over the checkerboard and whispered hoarsely:
It’s an economic collapse. This is not my judgment. They are bringing it upon themselves.
All right. I made up the spitting and squinting and stuff, but just to give the story a little more oomph than Robertson’s clinical recitation. Robertson didn’t say whether God intends to head this disaster off, or whether He means to settle back in His rocker with wry satisfaction and maybe smoke His corncob pipe while the economy tanks. Nor did God tell his confidant when this is all going to happen, but since President Obama will be in office for another five years and has a successful track record battling economic collapse, I like our chances.
THREE: “Huge Political Consequences”
Speaking of omnipotent entities, the American Petroleum Institute threatened President Obama yesterday with “huge political consequences” if he fails to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring tar sands crude from Canada to Gulf of Mexico refineries (minus whatever amount gets spilled in transit across the US heartland).
American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard urged Obama to quickly approve the pipeline…
“I think it would be a huge mistake on the part of the president of the United States to deny the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline,” Gerard said during the powerful oil industry trade association’s annual “State of American Energy” event Wednesday.
“Clearly, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest. A determination to decide anything less than that I believe will have huge political consequences.”
Gerard’s threats might have been better directed toward Republicans in Congress, though, since they’re the ones who insisted on including a provision in December’s payroll tax cut extension:
… requiring the president to make a final decision on the pipeline within 60 days.
What Gerard and his Congressional marionettes have yet to realize is that this newest example of GOP overreach provides all the cover necessary for President Obama to kill the pipeline with complete political immunity, despite the inevitable howling it will prompt from the “drill, baby, drill” crowd:
Obama administration and White House officials have said that the 60-day timeline could force them to reject the project because the State Department will not have enough time to conduct the necessary reviews…
Environmental groups – who vehemently oppose the project, citing concerns about oil spills and greenhouse gas emissions – have said Obama has no choice but to reject the pipeline under the GOP-backed Keystone measure.
Should things unfold in this happy fashion, and I believe they will, it will be a splendid example of “huge political consequences.” Continue reading Take Five (Iowa, O! Iowa edition)