Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just in time! (I'm sure I'll say this even more fervently in July)

When filling out my income tax form, I opted out of direct deposit for my refund and "stimulus" check. I later learned that people who chose checks would get them later than those who took the electronic avenue.

Fair enough. But yesterday this hit me:

"If the last two digits of your Social Security number are 88 to 99, your check should be in the mail by July 11."

I fall in this dubious category, the very last people to receive anything. Reminds me of my experience in jury duty, when they let all the people with names A-L out for lunch, then went from Z-M. What a pisser.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they send all those "Bush is sending you a tax rebate, pardner!" notices at the same time? I saw a really chirpy "local" Fox News report on that a while back.

Oh, well. Guess I'll just have to wait for my chance to grow the economy by putting a small dent in my car debt.

McCain-Kidd '08?

Hell, they're practically twins when it comes to New Orleans!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, the John McCain platform

--Barack Obama has a weird name

--Barack Hussein Obama has an evil middle name

--Barack Obama used to live in scary places

--Barack Obama doesn't wear a flag pin

--Barack Obama doesn't put his hand over his heart like everyone else in that picture

--Barack Obama is a Muslim whose Christian pastor said some bad stuff

--Barack Obama is associated with some people who did some stuff once

--Barack Obama has a questionable middle name in Hussein

--Barack Obama is too charismatic to be president

--Barack Obama is too scripted to be president

--Barack Obama is too people-are-bitter to be president

--Barack Obama is a radical Marxist who wants people to have health care

--Barack Obama wants corporations to pay taxes

--Barack Obama probably wants the Ninth Ward of New Orleans rebuilt

--Barack Obama wears funny red robes and white turbans but no flag pin

--Barack Obama's middle name is scary in its Hussein-ness

--Barack Obama has seen little in his four years on Earth

--Barack Obama wants to talk to world leaders instead of bombing them

--Barack Obama attracts voters who aren't even real Americans

--Barack Obama would end the 100 Years War II

--Barack Obama wants people to do stuff for their country

--Barack Obama speaks nothing of substance

--Barack Obama speaks of an evil agenda

--Barack Obama is the candidate of those who are entranced by mere charm, eloquence, a progressive political platform and an energetic need for change

--Michelle Obama said that one sort-of-honest thing about America

--Barack Obama's middle name is HUSSEIN! Seriously!

--Oh, and Hillary's no prize either

So remember this name come November!
Barack! Hussein! Obama!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dear Hillary...

Congratulations on your victory in the Pennsylvania primary. You knew, as everyone else did, that the fair commonwealth would deliver for you. And, sure, it wasn't exactly the 20-point drubbing you needed over Barack Obama - and seemed to have coming in - that you needed to keep this race a nail-biter. But as they say in sports, you're only as good as your last game...a sentiment Pennsylvania sports fans understand only too well. And this high-profile victory should give you a major boost in the coming weeks. You'll need it.

You won last night 54.3-46.7, which would be decisive except for the circumstances. As I've already noted, you lost nearly half your massive lead over Obama in the month or so that you've both had to go steady with the world's largest pencil. Get it? Pennsylvania? The world's largest pencil? Sesame Street Magazine is here all week, folks.

Oh, stop mocking me, Hill! At least I'm capable of realistic wrestling trash talk.

Anyway...where was I? Oh yeah. So you saw your lead, er, change, as Obama outspent you by huge amounts. Whether or not Obama's gain was offset by his infamous "bitter" remark-slash-goldmine for idiots, he showed that he was willing to make the most of his vast reserves. That are still pretty full, by the way. But look on the bright side: look how much Obama's had to spend just to try to keep up with you! If you keep up your campaign long enough, that's all the more he'll have to spend. And raise from his enthusiastic legions of voters. And the more he fights you, the sharper he'll get, which makes him more likely to continue riding high, which means he'll be on TV more, which gives him more opportunities for you to call him out on trivial things, because there really isn't a lot to attack him on politically...and...gosh... You know what? I can't even do this!

You, girl, are in a tight spot, and one that isn't entirely your own making. After all, in recent years you seemed like the viable candidate for the Democrats in the post-Bush era. Many of us who supported you were further spurred by the idea of getting two great leaders for the price of one - and perhaps a return the better days that preceded the reckless and tragic years of the George W. Bush administration. But then Obama wowed us all at the 2004 convention, and surprised us even more with how quickly and admirably he has proved himself worthy of leadership. So it's not like we don't like you, it's just that Barack is on another planet. And that planet is not Bizarro.

In bringing out his best, unfortunately, Barack has also brought out the worst in you. Condescending personal attacks and that air of inevitability are par for your course nowadays. And what was that you said yesterday about attacking Iran? Are you and John McCain now harmonizing in the Beach Boys together?

My theory is that, deep down, you know that Obama is this generation's version of your husband Bill back in 1992 - the generational shift that marked a staggering departure from a spent generation of button-down politics. Of course, now that such a change is a threat to your own established ways, you have no choice but to fight it with every ounce of your being. Early on, this fight was good for the Democrats - two solid candidates duking it out was the perfect catalyst for those of us mired in years of hopelessness to feel some kind of spark again.

But, as with all sparks, this run has snuffed out. It's not that you should be cajoled into giving up; rather, this is a case of not using smart judgment. Where some see a strong resolve, others see a good leader ruining her reputation at the possible peril of both hers and the party's future. And no one wants that. Aside from the Republicans, that is.

Of course, as Pennsylvania proved, I could be wrong. But I'm probably not. After all, the Keystone Kommonwealth is a Democratic stronghold, whereas Barack tends to triple voter turnout in states that haven't gone blue since the days of your husband (or JFK, for that matter). That's a good thing, right?

I'm not saying any of us out of dislike for you, but rather because I don't want to see you, Bill and Chelsea come to represent all that is divisive in politics. So don't be bitter when reality knocks and votes for change. That day wasn't yesterday, but it's coming. How you handle it will determine your future as a leader. Good luck.

Your friend,

PS -- I realize that my likeness of you sort of morphs into Nancy Pelosi. That wasn't meant to be a statement, though it is a good one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Desperate much?

Hillary rattles sabers at Iran as Pennsylvania hits polls

As the candidates appeared on the US talk show circuit on Tuesday morning, a row erupted when Mrs Clinton was asked how she would respond if Iran launched a nuclear attack on Israel.

She replied that: "If I'm the president, we will attack Iran... we would be able to totally obliterate them.

"That's a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic," she told TV channel ABC.

In response, Mr Obama said: "Using words like 'obliterate' - it doesn't actually produce good results, and so I'm not interested in sabre-rattling."

He said only that Iran should know he would respond "forcefully" to an attack on any US ally.

On the surface, I suppose that sounds like Hillary is just being Girl Obama again. But as she has shown time and again throughout this campaign, she's about as interested in international negotiation as George W. Bush. And don't we already have a candidate in this race more than willing to renounce all his principles to continue the ignorant course of history's worst president?

There's a reason Hillary has squandered her 20-point lead in Pennsylvania. With desperate talk like this, she deserves to.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

We live in such great times

BBC: Bangkok braced for Olympic relay

Thai authorities have stepped up security in Bangkok, for the latest leg of the Olympic torch relay.

You know, the torch relay that signifies putting aside political differences and celebrating international brotherhood and all that shit.

In a few years' time, will we be "bracing" for the Relay of Life?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Obama criticism in a nutshell

Let's see, Mr Obama backs up his racists pastor. Who by the way will soon be living in a predominately white neighborhood in a 10,000 sqft home with a $10 million credit account.

Mrs Obama says she has never been proud of her country. Sounds like Islam to me.

Mr Obama says that hard working people like us cling to our guns and our religion when there is bitterness towards the government.

Mrs Obama says that the rich and middle class need to give more of what they work hard for to give to those who do not want to work.

Sounds like more welfare entitlement.

And you think we have problems with immigration, wait till Obamas government kicks you out of your house to place some "underprivaleged family" in.

Mr Obama is the masked man. He will say whatever it takes to get the vote.

Ever heard of a wolf in sheeps clothing?

This country IS ready for a black president, just not a black democrat.


If you're wondering why I've blogged at a slower pace lately, it's because I'm still waiting to address some real criticism about Barack Obama, rather than the latest Fox News Swift Boat "He's Not Like Us" talking point. Maybe I should talk about something else while I'm holding my breath.

On the radio right now, the morning radio chatterheads are debating the all-time best album art. When a caller suggested Michael Jackson's "Thriller," one of the DJs admitted that he was mesmerized by the "Off the Wall" sleeve design as a kid. He got teased mercilessly by the others for it, as if liking Michael Jackson was some odd fetish in 1979. Michael's Not Like Us! Hell, Obama was probably a fan back in the day.

Oh, dammit...I probably just stumbled upon the next Pointless Obama Talking Point! I should really go ride my bike or something.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Can't New Orleans get ANY respect?

This is the American Editor, a trade publication for people whose business it is to make sure words aren't spelled wrong. Can you spot the typo? Yes, it's on the cover.

And no, I don't think it's a pun.

I also caught a major slip-up within (technically two, if you count Associated Press style for complete sentences). See it?

Hint: It's the guy's name.

These probably aren't accidental. I think they're trying to keep us on our toes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I always used to say...

"At least we have the Olympics to bring us together."

What you may not know is that people aren't really angry about China's human-rights abuses. They're just clamoring for the torch so they can be the best mob on the global block. In this increasingly xenophobic world, all that's really missing is the imagery.

It would be cool if Tibet had an Olympic team, and went Jesse Owens all over China. But I don't think that would happen, because Owens was at least treated well in Germany.

I agree with the protesters; China has a horrendous human-rights record, especially regarding recent actions against the Tibetans. But on a different level, I hate to see even the Olympics get tarnished by something like this. Not that China's the only country with issues, or that the Olympics themselves have been perfect...but, still, this seems wrong somehow. Mary Lou Retton should be vaulting, not blocking a tank.

It would just be fantastic to see something not completely tarnished by the power-trippers currently running the world into the ground. As it is, I can no longer recall my Dream Team memories with much fondness, because their dominance reminds me of how Bush is trying to run the world. Except they won their games, at least.

Speaking of Dubya...I shudder to think how all this will ripple into the Special Olympics.

First the Olympics, and the next thing you know Benetton will have to start selling individual threads instead of shirts. Assuming their united colors even still exist, that is.

Can't you tell I miss the 1990s?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Yay for other peoples' misery!

Official: Recession may be La. gain

Actually, that headline is a tad over-dramatic in relation to the article (even if it seems to be a common theme in state business stories). But its premise is still worth scrutiny:

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana has thousands of available jobs and could seize the opportunity of a looming recession and rising unemployment nationwide to attract new and former residents, state Labor Secretary Tim Barfield said Monday.

My question, as always, is this: What kind of jobs?

As many as 100,000 jobs are vacant in Louisiana and could be filled today if the state had the skilled workers to offer employers, Barfield told the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Again, what kind of jobs?

"We have a unique opportunity to get people to come back to Louisiana," he said.

Well, that depends. College graduates make up much, if not most, of the expatriates beelining out of Louisiana. Part of the problem is the state's inability to diversify its work force. Too many degree recipients discover that their field of study is practically worthless there, yet don't want to fall back on Big Oil. And anyone who is picky about their job (as in, "I want to do more than just have a paycheck") is seen as making excuses.

If Louisiana wants to woo back graduates - something I encourage - then they have to acknowledge its burgeoning creative elements, as well as work to attract industries besides the energy and service sectors. The film-industry movement is a good start. Rebuilding New Orleans would also help.

The hallmark legislation for Jindal's work force development revamp would replace the Department of Labor with a reorganized Louisiana Workforce Commission, with new duties that include overseeing and coordinating many of the state's worker training programs.

Not sure if this will help. But there's always hope. Hopefully.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Return of the rules...again

Rule #42: Prisoner of war! What's it good for?
Being a POW for five-and-a-half years is worthy of respect. But it doesn't give you a free pass to the presidency any more than Tim McVeigh's war experience excuses what he did.

Rule #43: Asinine association
Enough with the Hussein! None of the people who love to play up Barack Obama's middle name seem to care that we had an ally named King Hussein in Jordan during the Gulf War, and no one held that against him.

Rule #44: Rascal's wager
If you are defined by the worst things your preacher says, then we've all got some skeletons in our closet. Except those of us who don't go to church, who are unelectable to begin with.

Rule #45: The Clinton/Go ticket
At this point, the Hillary Clinton campaign is all about ego. I'm sorry, it is. I like her. But it would take a Huckabee-sized miracle for her to beat Barack Obama, and even if she does it's likely to involve a subversion of the popular vote through superdelegates. Also, her chief strategist just quit and James Carville's hiding in New Orleans. Meanwhile, John McCain, the least-appealing Republican candidate since Bob Dole, is gaining ground simply on the fatuous basis that he is somehow the universal choice of the GOP. And Hillary trails him in every poll. You did good, Hill, but this apparently isn't your time. It's not like you can't win in subsequent cycles - unless people get sick of you now that you've crossed the line from tenacious candidate to Nader-esque hardheaded spoiler. And I'd hate to see your legacy plunge just as much as Bill's has by his stumping for you.

Rule #46: The 'con' in 'economy'
We need a new definition for "recession." Somehow, the rapid inflation, soaring gas prices, weakening dollar, increasing destruction of the middle class, record national deficit, increased concentration of wealth, numerous interest-rate cuts and shattered consumer confidence aren't enough to keep Washington from denying that anything's wrong. Technically, we have to make sure that this happens for at least two quarters before we can do anything about it! Hey, as long as we're redefining such terms as "liberal," "healthy forests," "freedom" and "Mideast peace," we should at least revamp a term that's in dire need of it, right?

Rule #47: Stash it, don't splash it
Throw your trash away. In a receptacle. Rivers don't count. On Saturday, I took a guided hike, which was marred somewhat by a massive stripe of garbage that a recent storm had washed up against a bridge. Foam cups, water bottles, drink lids and various paper items covered the entire span of this long bridge. To be fair, though, the turtles seemed very interested in trying out the Sonic shake. To paraphrase one of the nature experts, you really don't see the collective effect of litter until it all washes into one place. And said collective effect looks very much like my family's vacation camp in 1992. Which is to say, like a hurricane nailed it.

Read the other 41 rules

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hillary is very rocky indeed

Hillary Clinton to fight on 'like Rocky'

What a visual metaphor for the Democrats! Except for the obvious.

This may be nitpicking, but didn't Rocky lose to the black guy? I mean, yeah, he beat him the second time around, but barely. And it wasn't until Apollo joined forces with him that Rocky really became unstoppable. But even then, Apollo was the mentor.

Also, there's that whole thing about being the underdog. Hillary's a fine leader, but she can't convincingly go from "inevitable" to "scrappy challenger" just because the election hasn't been a cakewalk.

If only things had gone right in 2004...

On the other hand, maybe Hillary is smart to set herself up as the only one who can beat the Russians. When Ivan Drago slips on those gloves at 3 a.m. and wants to meet America in the back alley like a bleeding Tommy Gunn, we'll be glad we made the right choice in Pennsylvania.

Wouldn't it be great if the Democrats were as good at fighting Republicans as they are at fighting themselves?

(Incidentally, it's very likely I'm mining the same rich comic material as dozens of other bloggers, writers and pundits. If so, it's unintentional. It's just way too easy!)