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A little late night ditty for Ron Paul

Before Jane Birkin had a bag named after her…

Thursday: Jim DeMint makes my ears bleed

Last night, Jon Stewart took apart Jim Demint’s worldview piece by piece.  It’s a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately, you have to listen to Jim Demint’s irritatingly folksy South Carolina drawl speaking nonsense right wing talking points during the segment.  By the way, why is it that Stephen Colbert, a South Carolina native, does not speak in the same drawl?  I lived in SC as a kid, in Charleston, and EVERYONE down there had a southern accent.  So, what gives, Stephen?  And is it possible that Fox type viewers respond to the drawl in a hypnotic sense? My natural speech pattern is more like Stewart’s.  It’s rapid, a bit throaty, punctuated.  Demint’s is slower, more musical, even a bit soothing and against it, Stewart sounds harsh, like a splash of uncomfortably cold water on the upper arms.  When you listen to these two go at it, you can’t help but pick a side.  I’m on Stewart’s side but I imagine that Demint’s southern siren call is hard to resist.

***********************************

I love Craig Crawford.  He’s one of the more honest pundits on TV (that I don’t watch anymore).  Check out his blog Craig Crawford’s Trail Mix for interesting observations on the campaign.

However, I did find his recent post on the effect Ron Paul will have on the Republican primary and nomination to be a little weird.  It’s a short post, here’s a lengthy excerpt:

GOP bosses talking about winnowing the field so that Mitt Romney doesn’t face a lengthy nomination battle against multiple foes ought to consider the alternative: Ron Paul goes to the convention with 40 percent of the delegates. That could happen if he’s the last rival standing sooner, rather than later.

With fewer winner-take-all primaries and caucuses, and Paul already proving an ability to garner up to 25 percent of the votes in a crowded field, it’s not a tough mathematical challenge to conclude that he would capture even more of the anti-Romney vote and roll into Tampa next summer as a trouble maker.

It’s not that Paul could threaten Romney’s nomination, but he could steal the coverage, much as Jesse Jackson did to Michael Dukakis, and Pat Buchanan to George H.W. Bush. (Reminder: Both nominees lost the election).

At the very least Paul would want a prime-time speech, and probably a whole lot more. Chairman of the Federal Reserve, perhaps? Just kidding, but …

Ok, here’s the weird part.  Obama and Hillary Clinton went to the convention in Denver in 2008 in a dead heat.  Actually, if the DNC hadn’t busted Florida and Michigan to half votes and reapportioned Michigan votes by giving 4 delegates from Hillary and all uncommitted delegates to Obama, Hillary would have been ahead.  According to Crawford, Ron Paul would deserve a lot more than a prime time speech if he only had 40% of the vote, not even a dead heat.  So, why is it that Hillary only got a prime time speech, no floor debate, and not even a legitimate roll call?  How come Jesse Jackson and every other candidate from the Democratic primary system prior to 2008 got treated as legitimate politicians and their delegates accorded a voice but not Hillary’s?  How do we explain a discrepancy like this?  We should all be asking ourselves this question until we get an answer that makes sense. Oh, sure, the superdelegates all moved like osmosis to Obama’s column, pulled no doubt by a hypertonic money solution.  But the elected delegates should have counted for something.  And they didn’t.

So, either the Republicans are going to be a lot more honest about their convention than the Democrats or they will adopt the Democrats’ model from 2008 and negate the primaries altogether so that they don’t have to accommodate Ron Paul’s constituency.  And if that’s the way the parties are going to go, why go through this expensive and painful process every 4 years?  If the money guys are going to pick the male party nominee anyway, why bother with the façade of electoral legitimacy?  We all know what our preisdential campaigns have boiled down to in the past 12 years.  The preferred candidates get the nod.  It will either be a money wing candidate with social conservative tendencies or a money wing candidate with socially moderate tendencies.  Them’s the choices.  Pick one.

If you don’t like your choices, and that’s all you’re going to get, you HAVE to go outside the parties and pick a different flavor of politician.  Yes, it takes effort to find them on a ballot.  No, there’s no guarantee your candidate is going to win, although it will be easier if as many people as possible show up to vote for the same person.  That’s usually how it’s done.  But at some point in time, enough of us have to decide that we have no other alternative and decide to pick someone else.  It can be done.  Just say no to both parties this year unless they give you a choice you can live with.

******************

For a different take on the 2-party system, check out Virtually Speaking Susie’s interview with Mike Patterson from Occupy DC.  Mike spells it out for the occupy doubters: the Occupy movement is not interested in becoming an arm of the Obama campaign.  It doesn’t like Democrats any more than it likes Republicans right now.  Both parties have let the American people down.  What Occupy will turn into is a different question but it’s not there to support Obama, that’s for damn sure.

By the way, tune your bat channels for Virtually Speaking tonight when one of my favorite bloggers, Lenore Skenazy of FreeRangeKids is on to talk about what happened to American childhood.  I’m convinced that there is a connection between fearmongering and strict behavioral controls of both parents and children and the goals of the right wing.  I hope Jay Ackroyd and Lenore explore this connection.  The one thing you can count on is that Lenore will bring her horror stories from modern day parenting.  The fact that she is not exaggerating makes it all the more frightening.  That’s tonight at 8:00pm EST.  Virtually Speaking A-Z with Stuart Zechman and Virtually Speaking with Lenore Skenazy.

Here’s a little taste of Lenore:

**************************************

This headline says it all: “SOPA Sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith to SOPA opponents: You don’t matter.

Ok, good to know.  I hope he’s not doing anything important when the internet giants decide to pull the plug temporarily for system maintenance.

*************************************

For those of you who have made a resolution to be less of a slob this year (moi!), check out ApartmentTherapy’s homekeeping tips.  Think of it as housecleaning for people who have better things to do with their time and less “impeccably fresh” Martha Stewart-esque attention to obsessive detail.  Like, is it ok to clean your jeans in the freezer.  Or, if your house is really messy, where do you start?  It’s so overwhelming.  Start with the bedroom.  Here’s the list for deep cleaning your bedroom, step-by-step.  You can do this.  Er, *I* can do this.

Just do it.

*************************************

Another one bites the dust: Sanofi closes its Bridgewater, NJ site.  This happened faster than my former colleagues anticipated.  I’m very sorry to hear this and hope that they’ve all been preparing for their Plan B’s.  I’ve been getting a recent flood of LinkedIn invitations in the last week.  It’s nervewracking, guys.  All I can say is get out of NJ if you can.  The money has dried up.  You need to decide to not to live a precarious existence.  Pack up the family and head west or at least mid-west.  Scale down, regroup, renew and reclaim your dignity.  To those of you who didn’t get an invitation to Cambridge, don’t beat yourselves up.  I know how good you are.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s mostly politics and, unfortunately for Cambridge, it will *not* be getting all of the “best of the best”.  One final thing, you will feel so much better once the shoe drops.  I sleep a lot better these days.  Good luck to all.

***********************************

And now, a thing of beauty to relieve you of combat fatigue.  This is a ballet of the seasons from a new version of Cinderella.  The company is Belle Etudes in Arizona and the dancers are pretty young.  The choreography is exquisite:

Land’s Sakes, What’s a body to do?

Why are all those busy body adbusters people riling up plain folks?

Educate yourself.

*********************************

I don’t know what to make of the liberals for Ron Paul phenomenon except that they seem to edge towards the “Single Issue voter” side of the spectrum.  Civil liberties and war are the primary problems for them.  If I recall correctly, Matt Stoller voted for Obama in the primary because of his reputed anti-war position.  I can remember the day that Stoller announced his decision on Open Left even though up to that point he was at least pretending to be objective.

But I would like to suggest that the best way to end the wars and take on the military industrial complex once and for all is to fix the economy.  Because the vast majority of Americans are stressed out, trying to make ends meet.  It was already stressful enough before the crash of 2008 to keep a job and everything that goes with it, like money for housing, food, healthcare and retirement.  Now, it’s almost impossible.  And when people are that stressed out, trying to keep track of dozens of tasks and walking on eggshells to make sure they’re not on the list for the next layoff, they don’t have time to get all up the grill of the US government about wars.  Did you notice what happened to the anti-war movement since 2008?  From what I can tell, it’s been replaced in the news with endless bad economic news.

So, to those single issue voters who have the luxury to pick lint out of your belly buttons and get all breathlessly righteous about the war, turn your attention to fixing the economy.  It shouldn’t have to be said again, but the economy was THE most important issue in the 2008 election.  Because if you want to keep the anti-war pressure up, you need to get people to care about it.  And right now, they’ve got more important things on their minds.  I know this is a foreign concept to young men who have no families to worry about but, frankly, your single issue?  Not even on our radar right now. That’s alarming, I know. That doesn’t mean we aren’t just as anti-war as you are, especially those of us who have brothers over there (I do, do you?).  It’s just that we are fighting our own wars right now and feeding our kids is more important.  That’s how the bad guys get their way and their wars.  They distract the very people who care.

People who are overwhelmed with fighting for their own economic survival are less interested in their civil liberties and war.  It is, and always has been, the economy, stupid. Fix that first and the rest will follow.  And if you are following that much of my logic, then you will stop toying with the Ron Paul option.

*********************************

As long as we’re speculating on whether it is acceptable to vote for the lesser evil, why don’t we take a poll?

Of course I can throw Hillary on that list.  Whether the Matt Stollers and Chris Hedges types like her or not, the Stollers and Hedges types are a tiny fraction of the American electorate and they may find out just how tiny a fraction they are come election day.  There are much bigger fractions out there that the Democrats are in danger of losing right now, like women and people with families and the unemployed. Remember, it’s the economy stupid.  So, if you had to pick a lesser evil, why not Hillary?  How much more eeeeeevil than Barack Obama is she?  The party changes its rules when it wants to.  Right now, it *thinks* it can shove Obama down our throats again but there are plenty of us who are not interested in what either party is selling.  Give us a different option, someone we see as less evil, and we might come back.

Think about that.  Do you want a Democrat in the White House or Barack Obama?

About those Republican candidates- Who gives a f&*#

The horse race coverage is in full stride now.  It’s been neck and neck for the last couple of months, along with a ridiculous number of debates.  First, one candidate is ahead, then another.  One opens a sizeable lead, only to fall back due to something he failed to keep hidden, or bad science.

Let’s take a look at some of these contenders, shall we?

Herman Cain- A businessman who presumably believed that the government should be run like a business.  He’s successful in his pizza biz, why not take that success to Pennsylvania Ave?  Well, for one thing, he’s not a politician and he’s made some really cringeworthy mistakes on the trail.  Not knowing China had nukes? The only thing positive about that is that he doesn’t seem to know anything about China.  Unlike Huntsman, but we’ll get to that in a sec.  And then there are the ladies.  You have to say that like Demitri Martin.  “Ladies“.  A man who thinks he can keep that a secret during a presidential campaign doesn’t have the master manipulator’s fibbing streak to match his gigantic ego.

Newt Gingrich- Everything you need to know about this guy is in his pamphlet on how to manipulate the public during a political campaign using words.  You don’t need to know anything else.

Mitt Romney- One word,”Bakelite“.

Michelle Bachmann- For all we know, she’s a stealth candidate.  She may only look like a fanatic.  She may only be faking her ignorance of how vaccines work.  She may not really mean what she says about destroying the social safety net.  She might really be a bra burning, pro-choice, feminazi who once she has attained power will usher in a new era of equality for women.  Don’t think this possibility hasn’t crossed Rush Limbaugh’s mind.

Rick Santorum- Googling his name doesn’t really tell you anything about him.  So, let me just say that he’s got a house in Penn Hills where I went to high school and he has a respectable number of children for a strict Roman Catholic, which means he has had sex at least seven times.  He probably would have gone to my grandparents’ church where I attended mass when I stayed with them.  I find this much physical proximity to Santorum unsettling.  {{shivver}}

Ok, who else we got?

Rick Perry- Is he really as stupid as he sounds?  He makes George W. Bush sound like mensa material.

Ron Paul- He named his kid “Rand”.  Fergawdssakes, people, RAND!

John Huntsman- another potential stealth candidate.  And a Mormon.  Where did all of these Mormons come from all of a sudden.  Former moderate Republican governor from Utah.  Also, a wealthy scion to a chemical company.  Who was appointed to be ambassador to China by Barack Obama.  What was he doing over there?  Trying to set up new ways to ship the STEM work overseas?  Seriously, I want to know why a guy whose family runs a chemical company was spending time in China on official US business, especially since we have seen a tidal wave of jobs flood there.  Do I trust him?  Not until I see what his mission was.  Cough it up.

Well, it’s not like I’m going to be voting Republican anyway.  It’s not that the candidates bother me so much, except for Newt who I suspect has a real talent for evil.  And not the kind of evil you may first suspect.  I mean evil on a world class scale.  Which is why fundagelical apocalyptic christians will flock to him.  They’ll overlook his infidelities and tax evasion.  The idea that he might be the catalyst that brings on Armageddon will make them breathe heavily and schedule appointments to have their nails done before The Rapture.

The problem isn’t with the candidates, it’s with Republican voters.  They’re not right.  I mean, they’re “tetched”, if you get my drift.  They cheer for misfortune and applaud for death.  They’re like the crowd at the Colliseum, shrieking in orgasmic frenzy for the blood of innocents who were stupid enough to get caught by the Romans.   And they’re motivated.  When it comes right down to it, they don’t really care all that much who their nominee is.  When they get the signal, they will vote in lockstep for whoever that person is.  That person’s job is to knock Obama out of the White House.  He might have faced this kind of opposition anyway but he made it easy for them to want to do it because he’s been so bad at his job.

The Republicans know it.  You know it.  The campaign operatives on both sides know it.  We can all see the train sliding off the tracks and can anticipate the wreck.  But the only party (as of today) that can avoid catastrophe is closing its eyes and praying.

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.