Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chick-fil-A: Eat More Crow

Chick-fil-A is mostly noted for their cutesy "Eat Mor Chikin" slogan, complete with the misspellings. Some know it as a kind of cult.
Chick-fil-A's Corporate Purpose is 'To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us' ~ COO Dan Cathy
Bo-Muller Moore is an Vermont artist who loves his kale. He loves it so much he sells a line of t-shirts reading Eat More Kale. You'd think it wouldn't be a big deal since no one is dumb enough to mistake a kale clothing reference for a chicken sandwich.

But Chick-fil-A have brought the full force of the corporate attorneys and, no doubt, an angry, wrathful God down upon poor Mr. Moore. It seems the company is claiming ownership of every use of the words "eat more" (spelled correctly).

Eat More is the name of a Hershey candy bar.
Eat More Brook Trout is on a t-shirt sold by an Idaho fisherman.
Eat More Cheese is a Green Bay Packers fan site.
You can find the phrase "eat more" connected to just about every healthy, and a lot of unhealthy, food.
There is even a line of Eat More Shit shirts for Chick-fil-A to go after.

If I haven't angered the Chick-fil-A priests/lawyers yet, how about this image.
Note: the Happy Chicken suicide Cult is an unconnected blog that had the perfect graphic. My deepest apologies if Chick-fil-A comes after you now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paulson's Helped Hedge Funds Cheat

If non-government folk did this it would be a crime. Not that government folk would ever prosecute Wall Street denizens because we all know that are pure and without sin.
Back in 2008, Bush's Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was telling the public that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae stock was solid. That same day behind closed doors, he was (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) telling hedge fund managers and his old Goldman Sachs buddies that just maybe the Feds were going to wipe out the stock equity of the two mortgage companies.

The crime is insider trading and no effort has been made to find out who profited from Paulson's secret disclosure. Paulson's actions constitute conspiracy, allegedly.

Hat tip to Atrios for discovering this.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gov. Brownback Sucks

Lots of politicians have thin skins, which is weird given their chosen profession ought to make them insensitive to criticism.
Sam Brownback is one of those hyper religious politicians who believes God ordained him to impose strict morality on others while ignoring the Ten Commandments himself. As a senator, Brownback took money from pornographers and crooks and lived in a congressional dorm where he slept with eight men. Called "C Street House," it was known for group prayer and sex scandals. Brownback ran for governor of Kansas last year.

As governor, Brownback has had two major concerns. Imposing government ownership over every uterus in the state and monitoring social media for any sign of disrespect.

On the latter point, when some teenaged girl Tweeted that he sucks to her friends the power of the State of Kansas jumped into action. The Governor's office investigated the girl, discovered where she went to school, and made a phone call to that school's principal that was sufficiently threatening that Principal Karl Krawitz jerked the girl out of class and gave her an hour long browbeating where he demanded she apologize.

The letter was due today but the girl has decided to refuse to apologize. The girl believes that she has a right to her opinion and she has a right to express that opinion.

Brownback does, in fact, suck. This is an objective fact. He is also extremely stupid. By making a big deal out of this, Brownback has spread the story of his suckiness around the world.

As always, Comedy Central has the best insight on this.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is, by all accounts, safe and relatively unharmed following a harrowing Twitter attack from an 18-year-old high school student last week. ~ Comedy Central's Indecision

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The War Against the Poor

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. ~ Anatole France
Not to be confused with the War on Poverty, which is so last century. The war against the poor is the organized effort of the elite to drive the nation's poorest citizens into hiding.

There is no thought given to eliminate poverty because, to the 1%, an expanding class in abject poverty make for a bottomless pit of minimum wage workers. The war included disenfranchisement and insisting that the poor start paying taxes.

But the biggest effort in this war is the battle to ensure the poor cannot gather together for mutual support and safety. Whenever the poor peaceably assemble there is the chance they may talk or even revolt. So the police are tasked with the never ending job of breaking up homeless camps and driving the poor, like human cockroaches, into the shadows.

(This is not about reducing crime. Homeless camps tend to be mostly peaceful because: a) the residents look out for each other, and b) there ain't much of anything worth stealing.)

The War Against the Poor ~ Mother Jones

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Maybe because I'm a cranky socialist curmudgeon but here are a few things that bug the fucking hell out of me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day Football

Going all local and non-political with a look at the San Diego Chargers.

Best of the Best
Dan Fouts - Quarterback
The best player in team history. Full stop.

LaDainian Tomlinson - Running Back
One of the top six best running backs in NFL history.

Lance Alworth - Receiver
Bambi. Graceful leaper with sure hands. If not for football he would have kicked ass in ballet.

Worst of the Best
These guys are not as good as their reps.
Philip Rivers - Quarterback
At the start of the season many people were calling him the best QB in team history. He still outstanding and tough as nails. There are, of course, the interceptions and all that losing.
Ryan Mathews - Running Back
Better than average yardage but fumbles a lot. Usually has more fumbles in a game than Tomlinson had in a season.

Best of the Worst
John Hadl - Quarterback
Hadl (r) with Sid Gilman (l) and Lance Alworth (c)
His stats suck. Completed barely half his pass attempts, threw interceptions at the same rate as Ryan Leaf, and had a QB rating in the 60s. But Hadl was a winner.
Hank Bauer - Running Back
Six years. Only 123 career carries for an anemic 3.1 yards per carry average. But he scored 20 touchdowns in his limited touches. And Hank was a suicide gunner on special teams. 

Worst of the Worst
Gilbride and Leaf
Ryan Leaf - Quarterback
Drafted second to Peyton Manning and ahead of Fred Taylor and Randy Moss. A man-child who was more child than man. Is generally considered the worst quarterback in the history of the NFL.
Kevin Gilbride - Head Coach
The coach who made Ryan Leaf the man he was. Still considered an offensive genius because of four years in Houston in the 1990's when it was really Warren Moon who was responsible.

Special Teams Best 
Speedy Duncan - Returner
Better by a hair than Darren Sproles, which is saying a lot.
Mike Scifres - Punter
Better by a foot (actually a yard) than Darren Bennett, the man he replaced.
Nate Kaeding - Place Kicker
Only better than John Carney because he's younger and his leg hasn't aged yet.

Special Teams Worst
Ray Wersching - Place Kicker
Back when Dan Fouts was young and learning his trade the Chargers had a kicker who missed everything outside of 40 yards and was so inaccurate they didn't even trust him to kick extra points.
Jeff West - Punter
Another guy who handicapped Fouts. Averaged only 38 yards a kick.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Day Innocence Died

November 22, 1963 was the day the last vestige of American innocence died. The United States was never the great beacon of liberty it saw in itself (see Slavery, the Philippines concentration camps), but at least we had our illusions. The entirety of the 20th century seemed dedicated to burning away America's goodness.

The Red Scare
There is no time to waste on hairsplitting over infringement of liberty. ~ Washington Post, 1920
The end of World War I saw the American government searching for a new enemy to fight. The chosen target was labor. Foreign Communist anarchist terrorists, the nation was told, were planning on bombing all we hold dear. Workers striking for fair wages were really waging war on the United States. Thousands of Americans were rounded up and imprisoned for attending labor union meetings with no regards for legal niceties like warrants or due process or just cause. Government whim was sufficient. The Red Scare had one lasting effect, it was when a 24 year-old Justice Department lawyer earned his chops; his name was...

J. Edgar Hoover
 I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce.

Hoover loved to play at being a cop. He never was one. Hoover was a lifelong bureaucrat who built a reputation by claiming other people's successes. But mostly, Hoover loved spying on Americans. He spied on Americans who might be Communist, he peeked in the bedroom windows of the famous and influential looking for dirty, sometimes for blackmail but often just because he was a voyeur.

Hoover didn't blackmail for money but to get more power. He sought power because he was convinced America was filled with enemies. Blacks, gays (even though J. Edgar was a closet fag), entertainers, teachers, and liberals were all possible communist spies who had to be rooted out and destroyed.

Before computers, Hoover invented the concept of compiling dossiers on regular American citizens. A system that continues to be expanded and enhanced to this day.

CIA shoelace code.
If the FBI was a sledgehammer, the CIA was a scalpel. While the FBI searched the US for enemies, the CIA used innocent Americans as lab rats. Even as late as, well now, the CIA has used science to refine and enhance their ability to torture people. There is no law, foreign or domestic, the CIA doesn't regularly break. Including becoming major players in the international drug trade.

Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency? ~ Joseph Welch to Sen. McCarthy in televised hearing, 1954
Senator Joe McCarthy was a drunken lout and a failure as a Senator until he found a way to worm into America's hearts by teaching us to fear each other. The government was filled with traitors; there are Communists under every bed. That little old lady doing her laundry, is she a secret Communist? McCarthyism taught Americans there is nowhere safe from the international Communist conspiracy. It also taught us that anyone can have their lives ruined by a neighbor denouncing him as a spy.

Death of Innocence
All of the preceding century of fear and loathing was brought to a head when the dreams of Camelot were felled by the assassination of John Kennedy. JFK, in many ways, was the last hope of the United States. A dynamic young father with darling children and a glamorous wife, brought a fresh spring to a nation that had grown sour and cynical. That died, abruptly and brutally, on that sunny fall day in Texas.

Whether you believe in the miracle of the Lone Gunman or the more likely scenario of a CIA coup d'etat you have to agree that something more than one man died that day.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

UC Davis Police Outrage

So casual, so carefree. Strolling down a line of peaceful protesters showering them with pepper spray as calmly as if he were spraying weedkiller on a row of prize rose bushes.

It would be comforting to believe that was one rogue cop, only it's not. There was no other cop out there saying, "Carl, don't you think that's going too far." In fact, this is standard police practice.
This video is New York City in September. Again, peaceful protesters sprayed in the face by a uniformed officer as nonchalantly as if he were picking up a stray gum wrapper. Pepper spray is not as showy as beating someone over the head with a billy club but it is equally violent.

Another common police tactic used in Oakland and Portland recently is to use police violence to stimulate riot-like conditions that justify violent suppression. One could fill a volume with photos of police violence against peaceful Occupy protesters. Here are 32 shots from New York.

In many cities in the United States, the police department is just another brutal street gang victimizing a peaceful population.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Newt the Con Artist

Gotta say I love Newt Gingrich's self defense skills. Following the reveal that Newt took $1.8 million from Freddie Mac before it went broke (Aside: Anyone who thinks the news came from Mitt Romney is absolutely right.) Newt came up with two brilliant responses.

At first, Newt said the report proves his insider Washington credentials which makes him the ultimate Washington outsider. That was a good effort that appeals to both Tea Partyiers and professional politicians.

Yesterday, Newt topped himself. To counter claims that Newt was responsible for the collapse of the mortgage market Newt is insisting he didn't do anything for the money. Newt says he only devoted an hour a month to Freddie Mac (meaning he was billing at $30,000 per hour) and that most of that time was spend just listening to his clients jabber. Freddie Mac could have gotten the same service by hiring a particularly attentive dog.

This will certainly strengthen Newt's polling surge. Republicans love a man who sticks it to fat cat bureaucrats. By boldly stealing money from Freddie Mac, Newt can position himself as the Robin Hood of modern politics. Except Newt doesn't take from the rich and give to the poor because that is socialism, Newt takes from evil government and buys expensive jewelry with it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What Super Committee?

I haven't wasted time thinking about the deficit reduction Super Committee because the Super Committee itself is a colossal waste of energy. Any agreement would mostly follow the Republican plan of Grecian style austerity coupled with a few more tax cuts for the wealthy. No agreement is far better than that.

No agreement would trigger automatic cuts. Except $600 billion in military expenditures are included in the trigger cuts and there is no way Congress will allow even a penny reduction in spending on totally useless weapons systems.
The littoral combat ship USS Independence cost over $700 million, serves no military function, and has corrosion problems. Congress intends to have 20 of these white elephants built no matter what.
If the cuts are triggered Congress will be quick about repealing them. The Super Committee is super worthless and I have already wasted more time on it than the twelve congressmen who sit on the committee.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Scalia and Judical Ethics

As a prelude to hearing a case before the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas attended a banquet sponsored by the lawyers for one side of that case.

The question before the court is whether cheap champagne and Lumpfish caviar on Ritz crackers is sufficient to buy a Supreme Court justice or is addition financial inducement required?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1936 Election Follies

Lousy economies make for weird elections. There was 1992 with Bill Clinton's zipper problems and the strange case of H. Ross Perot ("giant sucking sound") with his on again, off again, third party campaign.

1936 - What Might Have Been
Huey Long (aka: The Kingfish) had all the honesty of Newt Gingrich, sanity of Michele Bachmann, and down-home country radicalism of Rick Perry. Long would have been a hero to Occupy Wall Street for his Share Our Wealth Society movement. He would have been a Tea Party hero for his fascist control of Louisiana and attacking President Roosevelt as a dirty socialist.

He was supported by the Rush Limbaugh of his time, Father Charles Coughlin. Long planned on running for President in 1936 on a third party ticket of his own creation. But first, Long had to consolidate his dictatorship in Louisiana where his opponents had begun to form armed paramilitary groups. As Long worked to oust an honest judge Long was assassinated by the son-in-law of that judge. That the assassin was also Jewish led Long's followers to conclude he had been the victim of an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers.

1936 - What Was
Deprived of Huey Long, opposition to President Roosevelt coalesced reluctantly around the sparkless Alf Landon. Landon, at one time or another, had opposed and supported most of President Roosevelt's policies (which makes him a good Mitt Romney analog). He believed in saying as little as possible as seldom as possible (which made his as electrifying a speaker as Romney).

Then, like now, the Republican platform included repealing Social Security. Republicans were convinced their platform of supporting Wall Street against the rabble was a winning strategy and that they would take the White House with a landslide. They even had Literary Digest polling data to back them up.

Didn't happen.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Newt on Top

Giant Chinese Salamander or the Republican candidate for President

I don't think I have ever seen a sillier campaign season. Every few weeks somebody new shows up on top of the national polls for the Republican nomination. Meanwhile, always, simply always, Mitt Romney is stuck in second place with his 25%. This week it's Newt Gingrich.

It's not like Newt is a better man than Herm Cain. Cain just wanted to have multiple affairs, Newt succeeded. Newt isn't that much smarter than Rich Perry, he's just better at hiding the stupid (Here is a collection of dumb Newt quotes.).

Granted that Newt isn't wild-eyed Bachmann crazy but his does have something of the psychopath in him like when he suggested the Bush Administration should allow a few successful terrorist attacks to keep people on edge. Or there was the time when he said anyone opposed to congressmen taking bribes is a socialist.
The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument. ~ Newt Gingrich
Somewhere out there is this great country of ours there is a new Not Mitt waiting to be discovered and run from President. I can't wait to find out who it is.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gold-Plated Gitmo

Money Hell-hole
The world's biggest torture chamber is also the world's most expensive. At a cost of $800,000 per prisoner per year, the Guantanamo Bay prison is not only illegal and immoral, it is also obscenely extravagant. Do the math: 171 prisoners, ten guards per prisoners, annual budget of $139 million. It would be cheaper to just buy the terrorists off.

Basketball Fly-by
Last night, around 5pm, the skies over San Diego were filled with low flying fighter planes. It sounded like I was living in Kabul. I figured something big was going on like maybe we were at war with Mexico. Then I realized the President was attending a hoops game on an aircraft carrier. Remember that scene from Return of the Jedi when the Emperor arrived on the Death Star and there were scores of tie fighters flying defensive cover? It was like that.

Romney's Turn
Maybe it's a game. All the Republican candidates are taking turns being stupid. For Romney's turn he proposed what amounts to selling the Veteran's Administration to Humana Health. And to rub salt in their wounds he suggested it on Veteran's Day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"But Um..." Division

Perry's Brain Freeze
The TV show "How I Met Your Mother" had a bit about a drinking game whenever Robin said "but um" on her early morning TV news show.

Trying that with Rick Perry could lead to alcohol poisoning.

Where's the Drama?
Sorry, but the Republican primary season is all over except for the rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth. Mitt Romney will be the candidate with Tim Pawlenty his Veep. In the grand tradition of Jerry Ford, Bob Dole, and John McCain, Republicans are going to pick the only man they universally loath and the one man in their party with a total and complete lack of charisma. [NOTE: The current Intrade odds are: Romney (2 to 5), Ginchrich (10 to 1) Paul (19 to 1), Perry (21 to 1), Cain (22 to 1), Huntsman (30 to 1) and Bachmann (90 to 1)]

Really Too Big to Fail
Who could have predicted it? Italy has been led for over a decade (on and off) by the most insane person to head a Roman government since Nero. Who could have expected the fourth biggest economy in Europe would now be on the brink of collapse as a result? Italy is too big to fail because in failing it will drag down the whole of the European Union. However, it is also too big to save. Italy is a real life Humpty-Dumpty.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Michele the Terrible

I miss the days when Michele Bachmann was Number One with a bullet on the Republican Hit Parade. So does Mad Mikki. In an ABC interview Bachmann proposed:
  • Total war with Iran.
  • Putting James Garfield (or Calvin Coolidge) on Mount Rushmore.
Garfield's sole achievement in office was dying six months into his first term. Coolidge (like George Bush Jr.) used his term to set the stage for an historic economic collapse that plagued the nation for the next decade.

As for Iran, Bachmann is concerned about all those soldiers leaving Iraq and Afghanistan (idle hands are the devil's playground) and she is obsessed with delusions of Persians attacking us (who let her watch the movie 300?). She wants herself a big, fun war.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Outlaw Divorce Movement

My center is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall attack. ~ Ferdinand Foch, WWI
The religious right is losing the fight on gay marriage so they have decided to expand the fight and outlaw divorce. What began as satire in California is being taken up seriously by Republicans. Christians for a Moral America and this Oklahoma Republican have opined that the best way to end the gay marriage plague is to make it impossible for heterosexual unions to break up.

Other than some subtle attack against Newt Gingrich and Kim Kardashian, I'm not sure what they hope to accomplish. It is true that some Catholics have declared divorce the equal of murder, meaning seven to life for attempted disunion is appropriate punishment. Certainly the prison industry needs a constant inflow of new criminals and with traditional crimes on the decline new crimes need to be invented.

Think of imprisoning divorcing parents "for the good of the children" as a jobs program. 

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Threat Level Republican

This looks at how much the various Republican candidates scare the shit out of me regardless of their chances of victory.

Michele Bachmann
(Level 10 - Ivan the Terrible)
Behind her crazy eyes is a crazy mind. Ivan, remember, murdered his own son after beating the son's pregnant wife for immodesty. That is just the kind of thing you wouldn't be surprised if Michele did. Give Michele the keys to a nuclear arsenal and she would certainly find the need to use it to rid the world of evil irresistible. Nothing scares me more than the thought of Michele Bachmann possessing ultimate power because there is no chance of a rational thought staying her hand.

Rick Santorum
(Level 9 - Torquemada)
Rick views himself as the righteous sword of God's vengeance. He has no economic plans and no foreign policy initiatives. Like the great High Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, Santorum's political philosophy begins and ends with his religious fervor. Santorum focuses his holy wrath on sodomites and there is no telling what atrocity God's voice in Rick's ear will tell him to do.

Mitt Romney
(Level 8 - Robespierre)
I know what Rick and Michele think. The problem is that nobody knows what Mitt thinks. At one time or another Romney had held every side of every opinion on every topic. Romney has no moral compass and no guiding principles. Such people are capable of anything.

Newt Gingrich
(Level 7 - Cesare Borgia)
Like Romney, Newt has no moral compass. He does, however, have guiding principles. The lack of both makes one terrifying unpredictable. Being principally amoral is, I suppose, better because at least the latter is occasionally predictable. While Newt is amoral he is at least not batshit about it.

Ron Paul
(Level 6 - Leon Trotsky)
Paul is a True Believer. There is not a practical bone is his body. He is not just wedded to his principles, he has had them surgically implanted in his skull. If Ron Paul were faced with the dilemma of compromising a small, insignificant part of his principles or insuring the complete and total destruction of everything he holds dear, he would eagerly embrace destruction.

Rick Perry & Herm Cain
(Level 5 - George Bush Jr.)
Rick Perry and Herm Cain, combine their intelligence and you get one imbecile. Whether Perry is a drunk or a cokehead is up for dispute, that he couldn't pass third grade in a California Montessori school is a certainty. Cain took a mid-level pizza chain and made it a smaller mid-level pizza chain. Cain didn't bankrupt his firm but at a time other chains were growing exponentially, Cain could only succeed in shrinking his business. How many presidential candidates proudly brag about being somebody's puppet like Cain has?

Jon Huntsman
(Level 1 - Pu Yi)
Huntsman isn't at Level 1 because he is (by Republican standards) liberal but because his is just so adorably insignificant. He reminds me of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China who gained the throne at the age of two.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

News for the Easily Distracted

Nutty Newt Surprise
With Herm Cain (thanks to an overly hormonal mid-life crisis) going bad faster than a vegetarian pizza left out in the sun, it appears the next Flavor of the Week is going to be the Newtster. Boy, Tim Pawlenty really dropped out too soon.

Slow Me a Rivers
The San Diego Chargers have a well earned reputation of lethargic under-achievers. QB Philip Rivers is so easily distracted his forgetting to grab the ball lost a game this week. Coach Norv Turner is now telling his quarterback to stop trying so hard.

The Graying of America
I remember when terrorists were young, foolish fanatics. It is quite disappointing to know we are reduced to watching a band of geriatric Wolverine (lame Red Dawn not hot X-Men) wannabes bungling their revolution. ("Don't blow up the bathroom yet, I have to pee again.")

Defending Rick Perry

I absolutely object to the charge that Rick Perry was drunk during that famous New Hampshire speech. If you watch the video it's clear Perry did three lines of cocaine before going on stage. Perry only gets drunk before grabbing his gun and taking his dog for a walk.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

How Did Rick Perry Get Rich?

Rick Perry is a multimillionaire. That is surprising financial success for someone not born to money who has spent his entire working life as a politician.
Wherever you find a crooked politician, you'll find a crooked businessman behind him. ~ Harry Truman
Perry claims he made his millions on shrewd land transactions done in his spare time while a Texas Agriculture Commissioner and governor.

That assumes that Perry is capable of a shrewd thought (unlikely, see Perry decidedly unshrewd tax plan). More likely, Perry cooked up several buy low/sell high land deals with rich businessmen wanting favors from him. I've seen it before.
  • One politician I know created a non-profit foundation to attract large corporate donations then hired his family at six-figure salaries to manage the foundation. Perfectly legal.
  • Another, a San Diego City Councilman from years ago, bought a new home in an upscale neighborhood for half what others were paying. He claimed he "negotiated a good deal," although ever after whenever that developer had a project before the City Council that politician was it biggest advocate. I worked on a campaign against this guy and we never used this story because it wouldn't be an effective attack. We also didn't use that fact he was married and separated because he had been caught banging his chief-of-staff in his private office after hours (couldn't prove it, no pictures). 
The fact is that Rick Perry got rich by selling his services and successfully laundered the bribes as "land transactions." The other fact is this is so common most voters don't care.
The way my luck is running, if I were a politician I would be an honest man. ~ Rodney Dangerfield