Inheriting Wealth is Such Hard Work


Poor Gina Rinehart thinks that inheriting money is "hard work?"

Granted, her remarks are directed at Australian society, but still. Her attitude is such that it would be difficult not to laugh at an heiress who tells people to "do something to make more money yourself" and then doesn't have the self-realization that her something was the mere act of being born.

Our global elites are as incompetent as ever, and Rinehart should be their standard bearer.

The Chevy Volt Starts to Sell


What can you say? Besides "suck it, bitches?"

The Chevy Volt isn't selling like hotcakes, but it is selling. It is just one of many steps in the right direction. You gotta love American ideas and getting things done, just because.

The NHL Wants Desperately to Shoot Itself in the Foot


You have the world's greatest fans in spite of the fact that the National Hockey League routinely shoots itself in the foot on the way to badly marketing the best sport in all of human history. The application of ice skates on ice inside of a controlled oval full of crashing bodies and a puck moved about with sticks is the sort of thing that should market itself.

Unfortunately, in Gary Bettman, the league found the one man who couldn't sell shit to farmers.

Bill Cosby is Not Dead


The German translation of this leading news story is "bad joke: Bill Cosby declared dead" and it speaks to a practice of sending out fake notices about celebrities.

As far as I know, Bill Cosby is still alive and well.

George Bush Doing Dana Carvey Doing George Bush

Another Lie About Veterans From Mitt Romney


What a pile of crap.

Mitt Romney has no right whatsoever to criticize President Obama's record on Veterans. It far surpasses that of his predecessors and it reflects on a universal truth few Republicans dare utter in public:

Had it not been for George W. Bush's war of choice in Iraq, there wouldn't be so many Veterans who desperately need help right now.

Mitt Romney forgot to explain how that part means that President Obama has actually done a great job of addressing these issues. More needs to be done, but, come on. What a pantload of lies this man loves to tell.

America Isn't Buying Whatever It Is Ann Romney Is Selling


From the transcript of Ann Romney's speech:
I’m not sure if men really understand this, but I don’t think there’s a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better! 
And that’s fine. We don’t want easy. But these last few years have been harder than they needed to be. It’s all the little things — that price at the pump you just can’t believe, the grocery bills that just get bigger; all those things that used to be free, like school sports, are now one more bill to pay. It’s all the little things that pile up to become big things. And the big things — the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy, just get harder. Everything has become harder.
Funny how she didn't mention the fact that things are harder because the Republican Party has actively been destroying our nation's economy since the moment President Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Funny how she selects the idea that "school sports" now come with fees. These activities have come with fees for many, many years. School districts have been squeezed hard because of the kinds of draconian, granny-starving cuts espoused by the likes of the man that the Koch brothers told her husband to put on the ticket.

Funny how she misses the fact that, because of Republican obstructionism, life really is harder for the people she's trying to win over.

Funny how so many Americans now understand that the stark choice between the two candidates means the possibility of a recovery or bread lines and misery. Mitt Romney is the patrician candidate of breadlines and ruin.

Cheated Out of a Summer


My customary rants are usually directed at anything other than the weather; what's the point, right?

This summer, I feel cheated.

I feel like we were cheated out of a great deal of swimming pool time. There were whole weeks where we couldn't go swimming outdoors and there were stretches that were unbearably cold followed by unbearably hot. Yes, we swam when it was hot, but couldn't when it stormed and when there was lightning.

Ugh.

Here's to a better summer next year. Yes, I'm early. For me, it might as well be September.

The Eternal Cool of Tom Hanks

The original image should be credited to Reddit...
This is Tom Hanks, fooling around with a fan. He's giving Bill Murray a run for his money these days.

I think I like this better than when Hanks flips people off in traffic for taking his picture.

Tragedy Strikes Track and Field

Given the German preoccupation with rules and safety, I'm as surprised about this as anyone. Clearly, it is a tragedy. Somehow, something went wrong with how the competition was being organized and judged.

The javelin is an outmoded event, as are many of the track and field events that are rooted in the old Greek games. If we were to do away with shot put, discus, and the javelin, who would really care?

The Likability Gap


The American Prospect goes a little too far with their inside baseball analysis here, but I don't find much I can really disagree with. I would say that things right now are much simpler than they are making it out to be. Romney is a fraud and a fake; he is so artificial that he appears to be something out of a robot factory. People do not connect with fakes.

There is a likability gap, and Obama is crushing Romney:


We have not even begun to factor in the effect that the extreme and bitterly un-American positions taken by much of the Republican Party over the last few years is going to have on American voters in November. The Democrats are now running full tilt with a strategy that is highlighting just how far outside of the mainstream--and how extremely anti-common sense--the Republican Party has swung.

The economy is not giving them any traction. It should, but it isn't. The bottom line is, people don't know anything yet because we haven't had any debates. It's still far too early to get comfortable if you want Obama to win. There are a lot of news cycles left; what they throw at each other between now and the end of the World Series is going to be the thing that defines this election. It'll be negative. So what?

The effect of this is going to be one of two things: either the extremists will continue to drag the party back to the 11th Century in order to become a regional party forever or moderates will come back into vogue. I would bet on a return to the glory days of the rack and the plague.

Russia's Version of the Easter Bunny

This antique postcard is from Russia and it uses a typical motif to show the Easter Bunny in all of his sly glory, getting the credit for everything while sitting in a basket, looking nonchalant.

In examples like this, it is clear to see that there is something else going on. I have to do some more research on marketing techniques and old advertising methods.

Seven Years Ago

I'm very interested in seeing how Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal handles this crisis; if anything goes wrong, I'm sure they'll find a Democrat to blame. Seven years ago, Katrina blew a huge hole in the American psyche. That hole hasn't been filled in, not by a long shot.

These kinds of storms have an impact on the poor that most people don't realize. When you're barely getting by, and when you have to face several days of massive rain and possible flooding, what little you have becomes more precarious. Unfortunately, we live in a time when it is fashionable to believe that the poor have too much going for them are are living off benefits that are far too generous already.

This push and pull nonsense between the government and Red State governors has brought a lot of misery to the southern United States. And now this storm? It could end horribly, and no one is prepared to deal with the consequences of poverty and the original abandonment of the poor, which happened as soon as someone figured out this was all the fault of some hapless Democratic governor.

Bobby Jindal won't be blamed for anything this time around; denying the poor everything under the sun is how things are done now.

Todd Akin Isn't Going Anywhere


This is what hubris looks like.

If Todd Akin stays in the race, it will make it that much easier to convince people that the War on Women is real, and it's here to stay as well. If Akin sticks to his guns, and loses, he can simply blame it on the liberals and collect at the wingnut welfare trough.

Akin is delusional. I hope he is front and center in Tampa and I hope every American is allowed to revisit his terrible remarks early and often. He is very, very close to Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and, if history tells me anything, you're a fool if you don't exploit the personal relationships and associations of political candidates.

The Sad Demise of the Houston Astros Franchise


The Houston Astros have jumped the shark on this one. What used to be a relatively proud baseball franchise has sunk to a new low. Only a team mired in suckage would contemplate giving a 50 year-old man who hasn't pitched in five years a place to chuck a few mercy pitches. Baseball is a game where sentimentality goes to the showers and then home to a plate of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? Baseball isn't about letting some old guy have a few throws for old time's sake.

Roger Clemens should definitely be allowed to pitch again. He won his case, he beat the rap, and he personifies the baseball credo--if you can get away with it, keep doing it. This is how Bud Selig runs the league. How 'bout we do Mindy McCready night and Roger can throw a few pitches while they play her old songs and then they can hand out bobbleheads that say "not a douchebag" on them?

When you have to say that what you're doing isn't a publicity stunt several times in one interview, you're making it a publicity stunt.

Why I Love FiveThirtyEight


This is the kind of thing that makes the Internet such a happy place for me.

I love being able to check in with the Five Thirty Eight blog and see things like this. It gives me hope for the world.

Seriously, this is how you present information and data. You put it out there and you let people evaluate it. The design and the thought and the work behind this sort of thing should not go unnoticed.

Oh, Mitt Romney Will Fix Your Taxes Alright




Did you know Keith Bruzelius of Alden was a billionaire? Because he's firmly on the side of making taxes lower for the billionaires and much, much higher for the working people of America.

Never one to pass up a slice of wingnut mania, the Albert Lea Tribune can be counted on to let some sad sack who is going to vote against his economic self-interests in November have some column inches to remind people that, gosh darn it, Mitt Romney is better on the tax issue, don't you know.

Never mind the fact that he has moved a tremendous amount of his wealth overseas, used tax shelters to dodge his obligations, and has an IRA worth between two and a hundred million dollars.

Apparently, Keith Bruzelius has a pile of money he's sick of seeing get taxed. Maybe he needs to hook up with Romney's tax accountants and protect some of that Alden mad money from those doggoned tax and spend liberals.

*Updated to reflect the fact that the Albert Lea Tribune now claims copyright over letters-to-the-editor.

Mitt Romney is a Tough Guy?


I'm afraid that I have continued to absolutely lose my mud over this piece from the Esquire politics blog. I cannot figure out who runs that page or how to get a hold of anyone (I'm a nobody so their indifference to my opinion is a foregone conclusion) so I'll just write another forehead-smacking post about this quaint notion:


Bullet item five is the most ridiculous thing I have seen in a good long while. Mitt Romney will "stand up to the Russians?"

Really? And how is he going to do that? Nothing in his past indicates to me that he is prepared to do anything of the sort. He is a moral and physical coward who displays none of the toughness required to deal with our former Cold War adversary. He is a moral coward because he is more comfortable destroying livelihoods than taking care of people; he is a physical coward because, when it was time to serve his country, he found a way to get out of having to go to war. And, like a true chickenhawk, when the dust settled, it was a war he supported and "wished" he had served in.

Do you think the Russians are concerned about a man endorsed by George W. Bush?

Do you think the Russians are impressed with anything he's ever accomplished?

This is a man who, at the height of the Vietnam War, went to France.


He went to France and rode a bicycle around. Compare that with whoever and whatever you want and get back to me on who looks manly right about now.

Think about that for a moment. The man that the Republicans want to pass off as being tough and steely and a man's man went to France so that he could claim religious exemption from having to go to fight in a war that, it turns out, he wished he had served in.

France, baby.

Once again, the Republican Party is so bereft of leadership and talent that the best candidate they can produce has a mile-wide raspberry on his record that cannot be ignored.

I don't know about you, but the mark of a tough guy does not come with a French passport stamp when Americans were fighting and dying in Vietnam.

Who Gave the Keys to Richard Grenell?

Imagine checking in to read a post by Charlie Pierce and seeing this steaming turd of neoconservative bull-fucking-shit instead.

Why would you let an ignorant shill for the Romney campaign appear in print with this nonsense? The Romney Administration would, in effect, follow the same failed neoconservative foreign policy choices that doomed the Bush Administration. It would involve us in yet another foreign war in the Middle East. It would send tens of thousands of Americans to be wounded and killed for a people who don't want us in their country.

A Romney Administration would "identify and arm the legitimate opposition?" What?

There is no "legitimate" opposition in Syria. These are Sunnis, backed by Saudi Arabia, and they are pushing to create a fundamentalist state that would align itself with the Sunni bloc in the Levant. That's all this is. There are no "freedom fighters" and there are no Oxford-educated democrats who want to bring one man, one vote to the streets of Damascus. They want to institute a government that will follow the trend we see everywhere else--slaughter the opposition, suppress the media and any dissent, consolidate power, and put women back under control.

The Romney Administration would "stand up" to Russia? There is no Russia anymore. Russia is a failed state that has little or no economic power anymore, save when they choke off natural gas supplies to Europe.

What a farce. What a Romney Administration wants is war. More war, more killing, more slaughter, and the ability to say "oops!" and stick the problems to whatever Democrat comes along and has to clean up the mess.

So Much For OPSEC


The people screeching about "OPSEC" and "zipping it" fail to realize that our military loves a good story, especially one that can be used to justify increasing budgets, expanding little empires, and one that can help recruit more soldiers. This is what this is about; success has a whole lot of fathers, as the saying goes.

You are hearing these people because there is a presidential election happening right now. President Obama gave an order, and Osama bin Laden got shot in the head. This is something that Bush Administration failed to do, and the people who want to see Obama beaten in November are having a boo-hoo hissy fit because the Kenyan Born Pretender made it happen.

Sucks to be a Republican these days. Sucks really, really bad.

Aaron Sorkin and Kristin Davis Have Split

This is one of the funniest articles I've seen all week. The close friend who said "they're very different people" probably meant to say "Kristin is a mother and an actress and Aaron is a drugged-up asshole who can't function in polite society."

Or something like that.

And, yes. I do know Sorkin had a problem with drugs. He may have solved that problem, but he is still an asshole.

The Consequences of Small Town Hate


In the city of Albert Lea, Minnesota, there are trailer courts where people on the fringes of the economy live and work and try to do better for themselves.

We tend to have a view of trailer courts as "tornado magnets" or "skid row," depending on how you look at the people who get a lot and put a trailer house on it and try to live their lives. It is inherently elitist to view the people who live there as being permanently poor or lazy; there are always going to be people who choose to give up and stop trying. But, by and large, a trailer house is a stepping stone to other things. This is how people do things, and, given our economy, who can blame them?

I don't remember much about Rainbow Terrace, other than that it exists on the southern edge of Albert Lea. I'm sure that I knew people who lived there; I seem to remember visiting this place in the 1980s. How it was then does not stand out to me. I do believe that you can't judge people who live in places like this because people are always moving up or moving down, not because of some fatalistic plan but because luck and fortunes change and the vast majority of our fellow citizens do work hard and try. Only a handful really seem to surrender to their laziness and stop trying. Given our media, you'd think this nation is nothing but a paradise for loafers. If that were true, even for an instant, America wouldn't look anything like it does.

This particular trailer court is now square in the sights of the Federal Government, and not for any of the right reasons:


The article, which is excellent and details a great deal more than you would normally expect from a small town newspaper, reads like a litany of ignorance and hate. I don't know who Mary Ann Jensen is, but she sounds like just about the most ignorant cracker you'd ever expect to find in Albert Lea. She must walk around with Mal Prinzing's business card sticking out of her craw.

There are consequences for hating people. Hating Mexicans, or people who have come here to work and get a leg up in this world, is fashionable right now. Albert Lea is virtually roiling with this hate and intolerance. It's as if someone were about to empty out the trunks in the attics all over town and produce those Klan robes I heard so much about when I was growing up. Albert Lea has some issues with race and tolerance that have not really been solved by the modern world and by things called books, facts, knowledge and common sense.

It is a fact that it is illegal to discriminate against people because of their race, creed, or color. It is a fact known to virtually every adult and child in America. You'd have to be the stupidest person alive to not know this--hello, Mary Ann, your bus to stupid town has a seat up front for you, hon. Enjoy the ride and try to not look so dumb, okay?

If you're in business, you know this. But, here, in the environs of a small town in the middle of Southern Minnesota, you had a property manager charged with overseeing a property licensed to accommodate trailer homes, who thought she could get away with running her flapping gums about lazy, drunk Mexicans and who actually, truly believed in her heart of hearts that it was perfectly okay, in America, circa 2012, to carry out an active and vocal policy of telling a Hispanic woman that she couldn't live there because of her ethnicity.

Never mind the fact that everyone is different and that a hell of a lot of people with Mexican heritage come here, raise families, obey the law, pay taxes, and live as well as everyone else; never mind the facts or the statistics. Just go with your gut and hate, right?

How goddamned stupid do you have to be in order to think that this is a perfectly okay thing to do? And then to run these statements by the investigators, hoping that they would have a sympathetic ear and chime in with their own horror stories about the damned brown people? Pathetic.

Well, Mary Ann Jensen and the people she represented and worked for are exactly that goddamned stupid and now the Federal Government is going to rain misery down upon these ignorant, racist backwoods asses.

This is not how you want your home town to appear to the outside world; even though it isn't fair and doesn't really represent how the town actually is, Albert Lea is now the capital of Hating On Mexicans in Minnesota and in the upper Midwest. A litany of racially charged incidents, hate crimes and now a full-blown, what-the-hell-were-you-thinking Federal case makes it clear that this small town has a huge problem.

But, then again, maybe the people who live there want to be known for hate and intolerance. Maybe that's how they can explain why there are no jobs, why no one wants to relocate there and why no one can make a business operate. Maybe that's the way they want to live. Maybe we've found a whole town that wants to give in to ignorance and give up.

I would like to think otherwise, but when things like this happen, what can you do?

The New $315 Shoe From Nike

The new LeBron James shoe from Nike is a complete and utter disgrace of a product. They're going to sell a shoe that will become a new status symbol, and thus desired by young people, for $315? And no one sees a problem with that? Where did simple values go? Why is this shoe being offered for anything more than fifty bucks? Because I can guarantee you, the cost of making that shoe doesn't even approach fifty dollars; I would be willing to wager that Nike is still getting these from sweatshops and child labor.

How many young kids are going to be robbed of these shoes? How many of them are going to fight to keep them and end up dying or killing someone? How awful.

It's Jimmy Kimmel For the Win


ABC is going to give Jimmy Kimmel a nicer piece of real estate on which to operate. I cut this piece off BEFORE the marketing hype:
The late-night TV talk war grows more competitive in January when ABC moves "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to an 11:35 p.m. start, pushing the long-running "Nightline" back an hour. 
ABC cited "increased revenue potential for entertainment programming" as a motive for moving Kimmel from the midnight timeslot he's occupied since January 2003. 
The decision is "a strategic shift in its late-night strategy to better position the network for increased ratings and financial performance over the long term," according to an ABC statement released Tuesday. 
Kimmel, 44, will go head-to-head with the older and more established hosts of NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" starting January 9.
This is a good move. People need to give Kimmel a try, especially since Leno is being carved up by Comcast and, well, why do you even bother watching Letterman anymore? He's cranky and old, and the music on his program is so God-awful, how could anyone tolerate the smash! bang! crash! anymore?

Kimmel is doing what no one else can--he's surviving in a medium chock full of talent that simply will not get off the stage.

Never Heard of a Child Getting Pregnant From Statutory Rape or Incest


The Republican Party's spiritual path to mind-blowing insanity continues today, and Representative Steve King of Iowa has just created a brand new firestorm of controversy.

There really, really is a war on women, and these are the people responsible for waging it. There is a war on women, on women's rights, on the decency of a society trying to mend the rips in the fabric that have been torn by the depraved and the sick and a war on common sense. There is a war on science and there is a war on all that makes sense to thinking people.

These fuckers are waging it, full blast, and they will continue to double down and speak their minds and the difference between whenever and now is that these men--King, Todd Akin, Rush Limbaugh, Jim DeMint--are in positions of power and influence. These are not fringe players. These are not the backbenching wackos of yesteryear. They are elected officials or string-pulling influencers. You have any number of Republicans who spout crazy talk and then get away with it--birthers, liars, cheaters, haters and racists. They are personified by the Family Research Council, which, yesterday, doubled down and backed Todd Akin. These are the people awarding Donald Trump prime time at their convention. These are the people for whom the idea of common decency means absolutely jack shit nothing squared if it means going against their gut, their instinct, and all of the internalized nonsense that they cling to like a security blanket.

Vote Republican, vote for insanity. Vote Republican, vote for more of their demented war on women.

What a disgrace.

UPDATE: Flopsweat and panic much? Hunter at the Great Orange Satan has an excellent roundup on how King and his staff are frantically trying to walk this one back...

Why This Obsession With Chemical Weapons?


One of the most overstated and ridiculous fears perpetrated by the "foreign policy" establishment is the effectiveness of a chemical or biological weapons attack. If the Syrian regime decides to use these weapons, the reaction should be "so what" and definitely not involve the deployment or use of U.S. troops.

These weapons rarely work as effectively as advertised, but they can do some damage. The damage done would inflict serious casualties on both sides under perfect conditions; good luck finding a time and place where everything would work as advertised. Chemical weapons degrade over time; how fresh are these stocks?

Chemical weapons are, by their nature, the last resort of a retreating army or the first strike of a desperate regime. They are so dangerous that handling them makes cowards out of even the sturdiest die-hard regime supporters. Depending on how they are deployed (my bet would be on shells fired by some very nervous artillerymen), they will be limited by how close to the target they hit and things like the environment, along with prevailing winds, if any. They will kill people, make no mistake about that, but will they matter in terms of preserving the regime? Probably not.

This would limit the options by the Assads as far as seeking refuge in a friendly country, something which looms larger with each passing day. Would you order the use of such weapons if it meant that you and your pretty wife couldn't visit Europe or live somewhere decent for the rest of your days? Probably not.

There is an end game in play, and the use of chemical weapons are probably not a huge part of it; some faction within the Syrian Army could use them to involve another foreign power or to escalate the international interest in the conflict. They would not deliver any kind of "knock out" blow to the rebels nor would they create a game-changing event that would sway international opinion.

The American government needs to keep itself out of this conflict; what will result from the survival of the Assad regime is bad enough. If it falls, the radical elements that are in the pay of their Saudi handlers will bring fundamentalism and all that entails to Syria and it will probably be worse than what we have there right now.

Only a fool would get involved in a civil war where one side is awful and the other is atrocious.

Phyllis Diller 1917-2012


Janine Turner is a Birther


Former television actress and erstwhile movie star Janine Turner has gone full tilt for the "birther" nonsense that is no longer sweeping America.

Here, she explains just a little of what she believes:


That's from May 23, 2012. Yes, you read that correctly.

Long after everyone moved on, Turner was still pushing birther nonsense. Does that mean that she won't be taken seriously anymore? Of course not. She'll still be welcome on television and on the radio.

For some reason, she is getting attention for her conservative talk show in the Dallas, Texas area. Perhaps someone can explain why she hasn't moved on from something that was dropped more than a year ago by even the craziest of wingnuts.

Todd Akin is Getting a Really Bad Break Here


The Family Research Council has gone full metal wingnut, fully and completely, with no stops on the way to crazy town. They have doubled down and made nuttiness their bitch.

The number of people abandoning Todd Akin grows by the moment. Literally, by the time I hit publish, the FRC might well be on their way to publishing their own condemnation of his lunacy.

Be that as it may, the real story is not so much Akin or the FRC, it is the extremism of the Republican Party. They have become so extreme in their defense of life it is a wonder more people aren't tearing around with their hands in the air, screaming like maniacs. The amplified extremism of the Republican Party right now has reached a fever pitch. These people are seriously--seriously--held in the thrall of the most deranged and demented people I have ever seen in public life.

Think back to the 1980s and 1990s. There were always nuts in both parties. In the Democratic Party, the nuts are still well off the stage, consigned to making their own outrage out of blog posts and the occasional Fox News appearance. The nuts on the right are in charge; they're telling people what to do. The nuts on the right are holding Senate seats and positions of major influence and power.

Tony Scott 1944-2012


What a sad way to leave this world.

Now We Can Call For a Lifetime Ban For Melky Cabrera


I suppose that if we had left it at a fifty game ban, everything would have ended there. This is what they call a WTF moment:
San Francisco Giants star outfielder Melky Cabrera mounted a campaign to avoid his 50-game suspension that included a fake website featuring a fictitious product in an effort that was quickly uncovered by MLB investigators, the New York Daily News has reported. 
Citing an anonymous source close to the case and an associate who told the newspaper he was "accepting responsibility for what everyone else already knows" concerning the fake site, the Daily News reported famed investigator Jeff Novitzky and agents from MLB's investigative arm have begun looking more closely at Cabrera and the scheme purportedly hatched in July as they seek the source of the synthetic testosterone found in his urine.

"There was a product they said caused this positive," the source told the Daily News. "Baseball figured out the ruse pretty quickly."
You have got to be kidding me.

Cabrera should be banned. For life. Starting yesterday. And that should be the end of that nonsense.

Amanda Bynes is a Disaster in the Making


Amanda Bynes needs help. Not fashion help, just the kind of help that a troubled 26 year-old former television child star sometimes needs.

The people in her life are either trying really hard and failing, or no one gives a crap. Take your pick.

Bear in Mind That Todd Akin is Already in Congress


"Doctor" Akin is merely representing mainstream Republican thought. If you're a woman, you should not have any control whatsoever over your own body--especially since it has heretofore unproven abilities to "shut that whole thing down" by itself.

If you're a woman and you use contraception, you're a slut.

If you're thinking of having an abortion, you have to have an invasive transvaginal ultrasound.

If you're a Catholic, then and only then do the archaic rules of your religion, dictated to you in a foreign land, trump those of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Got that, honey? Your body belongs to Doctor Akin, and to the Republican Party for which it stands, somewhat divisible depending on what day it is, their nation, definitely under God, with liberty and justice only for the white people who run things and have money. Amen.

The Rich Kids of Instagram


I guess the saying is "get on my level."

Well, if you are lucky enough to have a daddy who can steal and get away with it, getting on this level isn't difficult at all.

And people wonder why there is so much class resentment in America right now.

Who Has Gambling Money?

Click to enlarge...
I still cannot figure out the allure of gambling.

You might as well throw your money away--the odds are always against winning. And, with odds like that, why buy into the fallacy that, somehow, you're going to be "smarter" than the house and walk away with money?

In the short term, sure. It can certainly happen. But that hook remains, and there is simply no way to sustain a long-term winning streak against the odds present in gambling. This is yet another old idea (astrology, the Republican Party, eating yourself fitter) that simply will not go away.

When Did Goofy Hats Come Back Into Style?


This is a graphic that Complex is using to get people to believe that goofy fedora hats are somehow a positive style choice; truly, they are not.

What I think brings this graphic down is the fact that the images are completely out of sync with one another in terms of size and order in which they are worn. The shoes are at the bottom, the hat is at the top, normally; here, you start with the hat pointed one way, the shoes are cantered backwards and to the right, and the sunglasses are skewed facing away out of the image to the lower left. This creates confusion for the eye. Did you notice that the shirt has a pocket? Where are the socks?

Not a great way to sell anything, including style.

Japanese Nationalism and Natural Gas


Is this really about nationalism? Is this really about a resurgence of pride and conquest amongst the Japanese population? Or is this yet another troublesome protest fueled by outside interests who are more motivated by publicity and helping to draw attention away from the fact that the natural resources of Asia are being stripped and extracted faster than ever before?

There is such a thing as Japanese nationalism; these are the same kooks you'll find everywhere else. Someone is being paid to stir up trouble, nothing more. That "trouble" is being used to disguise the fact that natural resources and the poor are being exploited.

Asia is ripe for a war over resources. This is why we are maintaining a huge military presence in Okinawa and are considering a move to return to the Philippines.

The Boston Globe is Ridiculous


The remarks by the Vice President resonated with people precisely because so many have been chained to serious debt and financial ruin by the banks in this country. How many homes have been stolen out from under people? How many people were ruined when the housing market crashed? How many have seen their savings wiped out by banks that are still failing?

Biden's remarks were remarkably intelligent and thought-out. The Boston Globe is simply defending the status quo, which is saddled with enough chains as it is.

Paul Ryan is a Chickenhawk


Paul Ryan has inadvertently established his chickenhawk credentials, and the funny thing is, he committed this unforced error by talking to Fox News.

A chickenhawk is someone who supports war but refuses to go fight in it; chickenhawk credentials are established when a person continues to defend their support for a war long after everyone else has made amends for their errors in judgment. A good number of people were forced to make amends for their votes or support for the Iraq War. When the lies that led us into war were exposed, those people made honorable attempts to right the wrongs they committed and undo the damage done to the United States.

Not so with Paul Ryan; he is using his vote to send Americans to war as a badge of courage and honor. What a shameful display of phoniness and cowardice. Unlike many, he has doubled down on his vote as voting in lock step with a lying administration and a Republican caucus run by fools is a credential worth bragging about. It is not; it would be braver for Ryan to admit that the war was a mistake that has helped bring the country to the brink of ruin.

Only in our dismal times can the act of "voting" to send people to war not bring peals of mocking laughter. Forty years ago, that would have driven the man from public life.

Comcast Slashes the Budget, Staff of the Tonight Show


The paragraph cited above, which trades on this ridiculous idea of Jay Leno as anything other than the hapless captain of a sinking franchise, is self-serving and should be mocked as such.

If the Tonight Show was profitable, would there be cuts? If the margin of profit was high enough, would 20 people have been let go? If the Tonight Show under Leno's tutelage was viable, would he have had his salary cut by five million dollars?

In business, if you have a guy running something and if you go to this guy and take away twenty of his employees and five million dollars from his salary, he's not doing a "great job." This is your signal to him that he's about to be let go, and that he is not doing a great job. This is your signal to him to fire up the resume and think about taking Jimmy Kimmel's job away from him.

Oh, and if this had been done when Johnny Carson was running things, there wouldn't be a Tonight Show anymore. Carson would have walked out. Leno doesn't have the spine, the courage, or the ethics to know that it is long past the time for him to move on. He will hang on to the bitter end.

German Speed Camera


This is a very typical German speed camera. If you drive by this thing too fast, it will flash a bright yellow light (it is distracting; you cannot help but notice that it has flashed) and someone in Germany will process the image and send you a ticket. You have to pay it; there is simply no contesting it, despite what you may have read.

The impact of these cameras has been felt throughout Germany. People will warn you by flashing their lights at you when the more sinister mobile speed cameras are deployed ahead of you. Drivers proceed at exaggeratedly slow speeds near these cameras or where the mobile speed cameras have been detected. Then they will promptly speed up when past them. This impact on driving habits has not really gotten people to drive more safely; they drive more aggressively to avoid or cheat the cameras.

I don't know what the real impact will really be when the final tally of this speed camera experience has concluded. We live in a surveillance state; you must obey. And machines never make mistakes, right?