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      So, back in the 80s, when I was young, green and wet behind the years, one of the great thinkers about how to help poor people was a guy named Hernando DeSoto. (Great name, aces on parents!) DeSoto, who was mostly concerned with Latin and South America had one big idea: the reason that poor people were fucked is they didn’t have clear ownership of what they […]
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Republicans are going to screw the blue northeast states over Irene

National Guard vehicle surrounded by Irene flood waters, Somerville, NJ, 08-28-11

Update: Corrected.  I had Ohio on the brain this morning for some inexplicable reason.  My bad.

So, we have devastating floods here in the Northeast and it’s particularly bad in NJ, NY and VT.  Only a few miles from my house, there are towns under water even after the flood control measures that were instituted after Hurricane Floyd in 1999.  I can’t imagine how much worse it could be.  Even my own house was flooded when the power went off and my basement sump pump couldn’t keep the water at bay.  The townhouses on my side of the street that never had floods before in the 26 years since these houses were built, now have wet basements, warped drywall, damaged furniture and the possibility of black mold that will lower our property values if something isn’t done about it as quickly as possible.

I’m lucky because my insurance policy covers this kind of damage but I also have a large deductible and now that I don’t have a job, I can ill afford to shell it out.  In this Lesser Depression, there are hundreds of thousands of families like mine in central NJ who are stretched to the limits financially when just a year ago we were paying some of the highest taxes in the nation and filling the coffers of other states, like Virginia.  Now, here come Republicans like Eric Cantor and Ron Paul who are stirring up resentment of the “heartland” voters who don’t want to pony up when it’s their turn to lend a helping hand.  From the NYTimes story Federal Austerity Changes Disaster Relief we get this little “mine, mine, mine!” moment from Cantor and Ron Paul:

Holding fast to their push for lower federal spending, top Congressional Republicans have argued that any federal aid in the aftermath of the double whammy of an earthquake followed by a hurricane should be offset, if possible, by spending less on other programs.

“Clearly when disasters and emergencies happen, people expect their government to treat them as national priorities and respond properly,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Representative Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican and majority leader who has advocated offsetting emergency aid. “People also expect their government to spend their dollars wisely, and to make efforts to prioritize and save when possible.”

Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination, has gone beyond that view to argue that the federal government’s role in disaster preparation and relief should be cut substantially. Mr. Paul said he saw little value in the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying the federal approach has given birth to an intrusive bureaucracy and supplants what should be an area for private insurance.

“The bleeding heart will say, well, we have to take care of them,” Mr. Paul said on “Fox News Sunday,” calling FEMA “a gross distortion of insurance” and saying that workers for the agency “hinder the local people, and they hinder volunteers from going in.”

Let’s not let Obama off the hook here.  He went after the caucus states to “win” the nomination in 2008 but if he wants a second term, he would be very stupid to ignore our plight.  Actually, given his knack for capitulating to Republicans, we’re probably screwed.  Thank you DNC.

Lest anyone forget what it is we Northeast states contribute to the federal coffers, here’s a handy map from 2005 that in all likelihood, probably hasn’t changed significantly in 6 years.  See that little navy blue state hugging the Atlantic?  That is New Jersey.  For every tax dollar we send to Washington, we get 61 cents back.

 Eric Cantor’s state of Virginia benefits from New Jersey’s largess so I suggest that the first place we look to make cuts would be Ohio.  Let’s shave some funds off of your educational budget next year.  Or maybe we can cut back on your agricultural subsidies.  I can almost see the Virginia rural farmers, mean little faces screwed up with rage, angered beyond all reason that they have to fork over even one penny to keep some hapless, unemployed schlub in Somerville from losing everything he has.  Texas almost breaks even so it really should be more sympathetic but when have we ever expected Texans to act like their part of the Union?  Let that be a lesson to us bleeding hearts to be a lot more particular about the states we send our money to in the future.

We should set up a review panel to decide which of them is deserving.  I have a soft spot for Vermont.  It has never hurt anyone.  But do we really have to keep bailing out Alabama year after year?  Why don’t they just pay people in that state more money and impose a more progressive income tax?  And all those red states in the middle of the country.  There’s hardly anybody there.  (hmmm, didja notice how many of those states caucused for Obama in 2008?  And look at all the blue states that the DNC shafted. Yes, let’s just ignore all of the people in the most densely populated states.)  Shouldn’t there be a threshold level population before we give them our hard earned cash?  Maybe we can make them all take random drug tests or get tested for SDIs.  Yes!  That’s the ticket.  Let’s make all of those judgmental Tea Party voters pee in a vial periodically before we give their states money.  Oh, we know they aren’t really druggies (or DO we?).  We just think it’s only right that they undergo ritual humiliation and put in a couple hours at a crisis intervention session if they want our charity.  It will make us feel good about our superior, upstanding, moral lives.

Don’t piss us off or we’ll send Snookie after you.


Battening down the hatches

Update: A friend of mine is stranded in Atlanta until Monday. His connecting flight to Philly was cancelled. Does anyone in the Atlanta area have suggestions for a good night’s sleep? List them in the comments. Also, anywhere to hear good live music in Atlanta tonight? Recommendations for local cuisine? I should mention that he is a newly independent entrepreneur. Some people are born entrepreneurs, some have entrepreneurship thrust upon them. My friend is in the latter category so economical suggestions will be given priority.

Hi all, I’m busy today trying to get all of the outside stuff fastened down so they don’t blow away.

Susie Madrak is back! Yay! But she could probably use some sugar in her bowl to offset the costs of the best health care in the world. So, visit her tip jar and tip generously, if you can.

Susie found this little ditty from Eric Cantor about what we storm ravaged Northeastern Liberal Elites can expect in the form of disaster relief from the federal government:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is insisting that “any potential emergency disaster aid be offset by spending cuts.”Huffington Post reports that “Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring on Friday declined to say where Republicans would look to make cuts to pay for a potential storm aid package.” Speaker John Boehner’s spokesperson “ducked the question altogether when asked if Boehner agreed with Cantor’s call for offsets for emergency aid.” Boehner and Cantor’s position is “a break from a bipartisan tradition” of immediately appropriating funds to help those in need following a natural disaster.

Can I just say that besides being mean-spirited and short sighted, I find this incredibly offensive to those of us on the east coast. The coast populations pay some of the highest taxes in the country and send more money to Washington that we get back. That money pays for farm subsidies and ethanol subsidies and wars we did not wish to engage in and all kinds of things that the “heartland” takes for granted. In fact, I’m tired of us always bowing and scraping to the holiness of the midwest and rural voters. They think way too much of their own self-importance.

Resentment and righteous indignation is NOT what the midwest want the coastal states to feel about them right now. Seriously. We share an awful lot of our money with them. Every year when I do my taxes, I’m shocked by the amount that I shell out to everyone else while I try to figure out how I’m going to pay for my own needs in this ridiculously expensive state. Even next year when I do them I will have paid more in taxes as a newly unemployed person than some voter in a midwest state makes in salary in a year. It pisses me off to no end to hear some financial domestic terrorist like Tea Party Eric Cantor shooting off his mouth about what we will and will not get in aid from the feds. Who the f%&* does he think he is?

The east coast suburbanites who may be washed out of their houses from Irene are going to come down on the Republican party like a hammer if there’s any monkeying around with the FEMA funds.

Don’t even go there, Eric.

Monday: The Thot Plickens

Jaguar earlobes, wolf nipple chips, get'em while their hot!

Lot’s of juicy tidbits going on in the News International scandal (did I hear Milliegate?).

In no particular order:

Scotland Yard’s second in command, John Yates has resigned.

Sean Hoare, the former News of the World reporter who spilled the beans on the hacking has been found dead.  The death is not ruled suspicious, yet, but maybe Scotland Yard doesn’t have time to investigate it thoroughly, what with just about everyone in the police and their brother somehow involved in the scandal.

Rebekah Brooks resigned over the weekend and lo and behold!  Her computer and business papers were dumped in a trash bin by her husband.  I’m sure he was just helping her clean up her office crap.  I have a garage full of office flotsam and jetsom.  But unlike Rebekah, I didn’t take any incriminating work home with me.  Next time, chuck the bloody thing in the river, not the dumpster.

The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial defending its parent company.  This one will go down in history as the most pathetic “Well, everybody does it but we get blamed for everything we do” set of lame ass excuses ever to grace the editorial page.  It’s a doozy.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, President Obama, John Boehner and Eric Cantor met again over the weekend to figure out how the respective parties could screw the middle class and pin the blame on the other party.  No agreement was reached.  Enough, already.  This is not a game of stratego.  There are real people, real countries at stake here.  Raise the debt ceiling and quit f^&*ing around.

You know, I’ll bet we wouldn’t even be discussing this debt ceiling thing if the Milliegate had broken about 6 weeks ago.  Is there a connection between the obsessive focus on the deficit at the expense of the unemployed and Murdoch’s evil empire?

Damn straight there is.

Note to commenters: The words Sarah, Palin and any combination thereof are trigger words that will get your comment relegated to the moderation bin.  The comment will be released when I get around to determining whether or not you are pushing Palin on us.  This afternoon, I found *12* such comments in the moderation bin and have released only a few.  Don’t get me wrong.  We don’t have anything against her personally but she doesn’t share our political philosophy and we’re sick and tired of having to explain this to Palin supporters.  If she’s your kind of gal, you might be more comfortable commenting elsewhere.  This is non-negotiable.  To paraphrase Douglas Adams, “The internet is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to internet.”  It is difficult to be censored in the blogosphere so we encourage you Palin supporters to find your voice and speak up- vigorously- somewhere else.  Ditto for the Ron Paul supporters and their novel-length manifestos.

Obama: I Won, You Didn’t, So Shut Up!

ObamaThere have been a number of recent signs that we are in for an administration where petty is politics, and it starts right at the very top.  In a “private” (in a “transparent government” kind of way) bi-partisan meeting about his stimulus proposal, President Petulance basically told one of the members who made the meeting “bi-,” (partisan) Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that he was going to get his way because he was president and he wanted to.  From FOX News:

During his private meeting with congressional Democrats and Republicans on Friday, President Obama ended a philosophical debate over tax policy with the simple declaration that his opinion prevailed because “I won.”

ABC News reported it this way:

On one of the issues, regarding whether the lowest individual tax rates should be cut from 15 percent to 10 percent and from 10 percent to 5 percent, Obama told Cantor that “on some of these issues we’re just going to have ideological differences.”

But Obama added, “I won. So I think on that one, I trump you.”

The Associated Press claims that the response was to Jon Kyl of Arizona:

At one point in Friday’s meeting in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, GOP Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona objected to a proposal to increase benefits for low-income workers who do not owe federal income taxes.

Obama replied in a friendly but firm way that an election had been held in November, “and I won. I will trump you on that,” according to several people briefed by participants who took notes.

So, not only can we look forward to snotty, schoolyard attitudes from the President, we can also expect continued levels of shoddy journalism.  Not that Sir Nose In The Air cares.  His “can’t I just eat my waffle, I already answered like 5 wasted questions from people I picked to talk to me in advance” peevishness was on full display yesterday when he dropped by the “worse than Middle East” White House press room to say “hi.”  News Busters asked what took the media so long to get semi-pissed about it:

NOW they get worried that Obama is not too dedicated to freedom of the press? After Obama is fairly elected, NOW the Old Media is beginning to question The One on his treatment of them?

“Fairly elected?”  Et tu, News Busters, with the KoolAid?  Anyway, seems the media is just waking up to the stage-managed nature of all things Obama, too.

It’s not exactly Watergate but Barack Obama’s inauguration was back in the dock today after it emerged that the quartet of classical musicians who ushered him on to the steps of the Capitol were faking it.

In a report headlined “The Frigid Fingers Were Live, but the Music Wasn’t”, The New York Times said that the four, including the violinist Itzhak Perlman, had already recorded their contribution two days earlier and played along just for show.

Politico proves that the press can be a bit petty, themselves, by reporting the Earth-shattering “news” that nobody likes recently appointed Senator and Hillary Clinton cohort, Kirsten Gillibrand, anyway:

“Nobody really likes her,” sniped one New York City-area member, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“She’s smart and capable, but she’s rubbed people the wrong the way,” said another.

Then, talk about petty, there’s the media and Blago.  His lawyers expect him to be removed from office, and one of them, Ed Genson, is quitting the team because Blags won’t listen and insists on mounting a public relations defense in the press instead of in the Illinois Senate, which only makes sense since that’s where he’s being tried and convicted first.  On Monday, Blagojevich will make his case on ABC’s Good Morning America and The View.

Aaaaannnnnddddd, theeeeee wheels on the bus…

*X-posted @ Cinie’s World