Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Brilliant Strategy? 

Watching the Clinton/Obama/Geffen BS being tossed around -- with John Edwards in the background -- I can't help but wonder whether the Democrats have finally gotten smart, and are playing an amazing chess game against the Republicans which will cut them off at the knees at the exact moment they can do nothing about it -- right before the first primaries of 2008.

First off, any politician with a brain must realize one important thing: No matter how liberal American politics seem to be swinging, there's no way in hell the majority of voters are ready to give supreme power to a Woman or a Black Man. While we've had female and black presidents in many fictional accounts, and while it's far past time for either group to take power, in the world of RealPolitick, it isn't going to happen.

But... Clinton and Obama, as red-state bait, are the perfect early candidates to push to the forefront. And, as Senators, they have great fundraising power but, also, the ability to later transfer that money to someone else.

I don't want to give anything away here, but I suspect that there's some deeper strategy at work. Phase One: Pit Clinton and Obama against each other, let the right wing go nuts and shoot their wad trying to destroy them both. Phase Two: John Edwards, as failed Vice Presidential Candidate of 2004 suddenly rides into the breach as the untouchable. He pops into the field free and clear of the Clinton/Obama "war" that is going to be engineered by the rightwing. The Media touts him as the front runner for about three months.

And then, long post-Oscar win, long after denying wanting to run, long after redeeming his public image, Al Gore is drafted a month or two before the first primary. Reluctantly, he agrees -- and the rightwing has no ammunition against him, no valid argument, because they've been concentrating on the wrong target.

While Clinton and Obama have been playing the public face of the campaign, Gore has been waging a private campaign, via An Inconvenient Truth. Because, honestly, if the face he presents in that documentary had been the personna he'd run in 2000, his SNL Monologue would have been the truth, not a fantasy. In much the same way that Bob Dole became "cool" after the fact by just being himself on the talk show circuit after he lost, Gore has done the same, but without the pretense of running for office.

Much like Jimmy "Who?" Carter came out of nowhere in 1976 to defeat Gerald Ford, I think that Al Gore is going to come back in 2008. By then, it will make sense. By then, it will feel like "The Return of the King". And, by then, the Republicans will have spent whatever political capital they still have trying to slam Clinton and Obama.

Also, they'll have commmitted to an inferior candidate by then. McCain? Giuliani?

No chance in hell for either of them.

And then Gore and... someone suddenly tosses their hats into the ring. Maybe Gore Clinton, maybe Gore Obama, maybe Gore someone else. But the resurrection of an elder statesman who stayed out of the muck of 2007 while building public good will is an undefeatable possibility.

No matter how much the Republicans try to fark with the results in Ohio and Florida.

My very early prediction: Gore/Obama '08 for the win.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ridiculous Wrapped in Crap and Served with a Side of "Who Cares?" 

I told myself I absolutely wasn't going to blog on the "Britney Shaves Her Head!!!" story when it first hit last week. It was unimportant, inconsequential, meaningless.

Except that -- the news has been flogging it to death. Every night, from whenever the hell it was she did it until now, early in the hour -- whoops, they ran it again. Pop Idol checks out of rehab, shaves head, GETS TATTOO! OMFG, this is the most important thing to happen in the history of... ever. Since, like, OMG, ever.


Memo to TV News Editors everywhere. I don't give a flaming shit what Britney does. Probably 99% of the people in this country with an IQ bigger than her shoe size would say the same. Why did she shave her head? I don't care. Maybe she liked the look, maybe she's insane, maybe she's just an attention whore. But -- I. DON'T. CARE.

This story should have been reported, dead and buried fifteen minutes after it first aired, what with important things going on in the world. Because, frankly, the actions of a trailer trash, possibly drugged-up, skanky, stupid little bimbo with issues are not going to impact my life a hell of a lot.

But the actions of a trailer trash, possibly drugged-up, creepy, stupid little cowboy with issues and the Nuclear football at his disposal are going to impact my life and all life on this planet for a long time to come.

And, instead of the important stories, I've gotten to watch the media turn into the sniveling gossips of Fitzgerald's "Berenice Bobs Her Hair".

Britney is a little girl. She does stupid little girl things. There are no greater meanings to her actions, and there are no reasons at all to waste any time whatsoever on them. But the fact that our news media has been doing so for nearly a work week now has compelled me to waste the previous 325 words bitching about it.

I swear, though, if I were the dictator, the next news director anywhere to okay any news story whatsoever about this non-event would get a nice, hard kick in the jooblies with my heaviest pair of steel-toed boots, then be locked in a windowless room and be forced to listen to K-Fed's CD on repeat from now until January 21, 2009.

Memo to the Media: The antics of spoiled and callow pop stars are just as unimportant to the course of human events as the inbred, mindless ramblings of professional athletes. Ignore them. Idiots.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Subsidizing the Stupid 

While the recent homophobic rant from a beloved sports figure is no surprise to me, I have to ask this question... what is wrong with American society that brainless dipshits whose sole talents are playing with balls get multi-million dollar salaries per year, while teachers, who are entrusted with the welfare of our children, get really shitty salaries?

In an ideal world, all professional athletes would get minimum wage, while all teachers would make tens of millions of dollars, plus endorsements.

And Tim Hardaway has provided at least one valuable service: he has expressed, in words, how worthless all professional athletes are. People, wake up. You idolize these assholes? Guess what -- they're the same people who were whipping your asses with towels in PE, snapping bras, making fun of you because, OH NO!, you managed more than a B average. In a just society, they'd be forced to wear paper hats, and to go play their little games for $5.50 an hour. Because that's all they're really worth. Or less. And it doesn't matter the sport. Football? Basketball? Baseball? Soccer? STFW. Their contribution to human society is exactly equal to this: Nil minus Infinity.

And, thinking back to high school, I can't think of anyone with a brain who didn't hate jocks with a passion. And yet, those are the same people who graduated and suddenly turned into sports fans. Thereby shoveling money to those same jocks who were so farking useless in school.

Sheeyit. It's like the nerds have decided to subsidize their own abuse.

And I just can't understand a society that spews millions into the hands of homophobic, racist, plain out stupid jocks who contribute exactly nothing to the world, while giving barely a cent to teachers, scientists, astronomers, researchers and other people with brains, who just might save us from ourselves.

If this were a just universe, here's what would happen. Tim Hardaway would be relegated to trash collector and/or porta-potty cleaner, never making more than five bucks an hour. Meanwhile, every geek who went to his school would split his former salary, and go off to research whatever important thing they were interested in.

If this were a just universe, as noted above, professional athletes would make minimum wage, while teachers would make millions.

And assholes like Tim Hardaway would be stoned to death before their ignorant statements could even make it out of their drooling, useless, dipshit mouths.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cui Bono? 

There's an old saying in politics, organized crime and conspiracies. "Follow the Money". Now, I was a big fan of Anna Nicole Smith. I admired what she did, know people who knew her, and understood how she brilliantly turned her beauty and her "dumb blonde" act into a career, going from small town Texas WalMart girl to international superstar. But... I don't think her death is the "STOP THE PRESSES!" newsworthy event the media are making it out to be. At least, not for the reasons the media is touting because, as usual, they're missing the real story.

The real story, what is of importance here, is the elephant in the living room that has been left unmentioned in every single second of overblown coverage I've seen of the event.

It's this: Anna Nicole's was not the second unexpected death over the course of events. She was the third. And there have actually been four deaths, if you include J. Howard Marshall, Anna Nicole's 89 year-old husband. Her marriage to him was the instigating event in this entire Greek tragedy. Now, he was older than dirt when he died, so no surprise there. But -- all the other deaths? Untimely, sudden and suspicious as hell.

The forgotten third death, the elephant in the living room? E. Pierce Marshall. The son of J. Howard, he's the one who sued Anna Nichol originally in order to keep her from inheriting any of his father's estate. Now, J. Howard died on August 4, 1995 (one day shy of the 33rd anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death), and the lawsuit dragged on. It dragged on for nearly eleven years. Then, On May 1, 2006, Smith won in her appeal to the Supreme Court; rather a landmark, since that body rarely deals with probate cases. In effect, they gave the nod for her to go back to the California courts and claim her fortune.

One month and nineteen days later, on June 20, E. Pierce Marshall died suddenly, of an "aggressive infection". He was 67. He left one survivor, his widow. No children. Not to be too cynical, but an "aggressive infection" is exactly the kind of thing best administered by an accidental cut or a hidden hypodermic; a swift load of nasty bacteria that will do the majority of its work unnoticed, then present symptoms when it's too late. Look up how Jim Henson died and it's the same thing. Sudden sepsis is almost impossible for doctors to treat.

Two months and sixteen days later, on September 7, 2006, Anna Nicole gave birth to her daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, with her attorney, Howard K. Stern, listed on the birth certificate as the father. (Incidentally, Stern was admitted to the California bar in the same year that Smith married Marshall. I haven't been able to determine when exactly Anna Nicole acquired him as counsel. But note that, if he is the father of her baby, she was fucking him at least four months before the Supreme Court victory.)

Keeping track of the money, at this point, with the death of E. Pierce, the likely heirs to Marshall's estate are E. Pierce's widow, and Anna Nicole and her children: her 20 year-old son Daniel, and her newborn daughter. However, in all likelihood, E. Pierce died intestate (who'd have time to draw up a will with all the other crap going on, and who'd expect to die suddenly at 67?), and his widow would not have the strongest claim to anything.

Then, three days after Dannielynn is born, September 10, 2006, Anna Nicole's son Daniel dies suddenly and unexpectedly, officially OD-ing on prescription medications. The second mysterious death in the series, but now the likely heirs of half if not all of J. Howard's billion dollar estate are Anna Nicole and Dannielynn, and no one else. Anna and Howard are both around when Daniel dies.

Follow the money.

Two weeks and four days later, on September 28th, Anna Nicole and Stern have a commitment ceremony on a boat in the Bahamas -- a non-binding oath taken before a Baptist minister.

And then, out of nowhere, two days shy of the five-month anniversary of her son's sudden death, Anna Nicole becomes the Marilyn Monroe of the new millennium -- leaving little Dannielynn as sole heir to her mother's share of the Marshall estate.

Half a billion dollars is a mighty incentive. As it stands, we now get to watch the battle royale between Howard K. Stern and Larry Birkhead -- both of whom claim to be Dannielynn's father. (Zsa Zsa -- or was it Eva? -- Gabor's husband briefly claimed to be the father, but that may have been a misrepresentation by the press, blowing Prinz von Anhalt's "what if, 'cause I screwed her too" into a claim he never actually made. Although one has to wonder why a married man would publicly admit to his wife that he'd been banging an international star many years her junior -- unless those silly Europeans are just sort of into that kind of thing.)

I'm not going to offer any theories here -- although I do have my own. I just thought I'd toss up the time-line and facts for anyone else interested in playing the "follow the money"/"cui bono? (who benefits?)" game.

This will not be the last act of this Greek Tragedy, of course. Anna Nicole's death was only the end of Act IV. Act V is yet to come, and it's going to get very, very messy. Expect very interesting revelations, accusations and arrests around about May, 2007. If Birkhead wins custody, put him in your death-pool. If he doesn't, then toss your chips Dannielynn's way. And re-read your Shakespeare.

In June, watch for Congress to suddenly realize that hefty inheritance taxes on ridiculous estates are actually a very, very good thing; along with one of the many players in this drama to be the most hated public figure since... ever.

But, in the meantime -- the stink of murder is heavy, and the murderer should be obvious to anyone with half a brain.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Thirty-Six Sure-Fire Ways to Know Your Empire Is Crumbling... 

Go read this, courtesy of David Michael Green at The Daily Reckoning.

Sadly, every word is true.

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The Party that Cries "Wolf!" 

First it was (gasp) her attempts to give an exemption over minimum wage laws to fisheries in American Samoa that -- oops, turned out not to be exemptions because said territories were not covered by Federal minimum wage law. End result, a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing, but Pelosi did then sponsor an exception to the law so that said fisheries were also subjected to minimum wage.

Now, the rightwing spinsters are getting totally self-righteous over an airplane. That is, over a request by Capitol Security, and not Pelosi, that she be provided with a government plane capable of flying from DC to her home district, San Francisco, without stopping for refueling. Their original red-herring was pointing out that Dennis Hastert flew in some teensy business-class commuter jet. They conveniently "forgot" to mention that Hastert only had to fly about six hundred miles back to his home district in Illinois. Pelosi has to go six times that distance.

And they will never mention in public that Air Force One is a modified 747-200B. Or that Air Force Two, the Vice President's plane, is usually a 757 or 737. Or that the Speaker of the House, as second in line to the presidency after the Vice President, generally deserves the same level of security as the others.

Or that the entire Cabinet is entitled to military aircraft as well, since they are also in the line of succession.

ABC's Nightline made an interesting point about all of this tonight and, although they were trying to blatantly bash Pelosi in the process, they failed. They pointed out that the US is the only country where the heads of state get their own private planes. Tony Blair and the Pope travel on commercial jets; in fact, when Blair and his wife flew to the US recently, they bought economy class tickets on British Airways, "hoping for an upgrade". The Pope flies outward bound on Al Italia, then back home on the national airline of whatever country he visited.

And that's sort of the crux of the biscuit. If W is willing to give up his private plane and put up with the same crap that the rest of us have to when trying to fly commercial, fine. Likewise, Dick "Duck Hunter" Cheney. Pelosi even offered to fly commercial if there were no alternative available. But the most telling point came when press secretary Tony Snow came out in defense of Pelosi after the failed attempt at indignation by the rightwingers. At least the White House seems to have the sense to realize that this argument is a no-win situation. It's the equivalent of complaining about someone owning a Lexus when you've got a Lamborghini.

But, to all those rightwing nutjobs who think this kind of crap is important: Please, keep harping about it. Keep bringing up these meaningless, stupid, pointless, untrue arguments. Get them up for a news cycle, watch them torn apart. Do it on a weekly basis between now and November 2008.

Because, long before then, the American Public will wise up, and classify you as the "party that cries wolf". They will cease to take anything you say seriously the second its uttered.

Which they should have started doing during the Clinton Administration. But hey, better late to the party than to have never shown up.

The American people are starting to show up, and they sure as hell aren't drinking the Kool-Aid this time. But, rightwingers, please keep serving it up. It just gives the rest of us more and more reasons to point and laugh at you.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Question Answered 

The following is the text of an email I sent in response to a long-time reader, regarding my comments on Hillary Clinton. Normally, I wouldn't do this -- but after re-reading what I sent to him, I felt that it was valuable to share in order to explain my comments and my position on the possibility of a Hillary '08 candidacy...

And... Hillary/Kucinich would be nice, but Hillary/Edwards would also be nice. Although if she wants to assassination-proof herself, her running mate should be Ted Kennedy. Or Jane Fonda.

Text of the email, slightly redacted, follows...

Well, first -- a statistic. If you're under 45, then you have never voted in a Presidential election that did not have a Bush or a Clinton on the ballot. 1980 and 1984, Reagan/Bush. 1988, Bush. 1992/1996, Clinton. 2000/2004, Bush II. And a Bush or Clinton has been in office, continuously, for the last 26 years.

I'm reminded of the outcry when FDR was re-elected for a third and fourth time. When he was up for his third term, an anti-FDR campaign slogan read, "Washington Wouldn't, Lincoln Couldn't, Roosevelt Shouldn't." [INSERT NOTE: Ultimately, FDR was President for about 13 years and a month or two -- half the time a Bush or Clinton has been either Prez or VP; or, six years shy of the time a Bush or Clinton has been President.]

Which is my long-hand way of saying that I would really prefer anyone other than Hillary in office in 2009. And anyone other than a Bush. In my ideal universe, we'd wind up with a Kucinich/(neither D nor R) ticket winning it all in November '08. Not that I don't like Hillary, and it's really kind of funny to watch the bitching about her "blowing in the wind." Unlike W., she's a person who listens to what the electorate wants, then moves her position toward popular opinion. Hey, once upon a time, that was called "a populist". Remember -- elected officials are our employees. They should do what we want, not what they want. And I'd much rather have a politician who listens to the people than one who arrogantly seals himself up in his castle and declares, stamping his little foot, "I'm the decider!!!"

Barack Obama would be my first choice out of the mainstream, but he's got a couple of strikes against him. First, I think that the country as a whole would rather elect a woman, a Jew or an openly gay candidate to the Presidency before they'd elect an African-American. (The reactionary "24" demographic and that show's black president notwithstanding.) I also think that that's pretty sad, but it's probably a political truth. Second strike, and a sad comment on the state of discourse in this country: his last name is way too close to "Osama", and that's the kind of thing the wingnuts will hit the inbred NASCAR set over the head with. You know -- the same people who still hate France because they're clueless knee-jerk morans. [INSERT NOTE: the haters, not the French] All it will take is Rush making his weekly "Barack Osama said..." joke, and those dickwits will eat it up.

All that said, I think that election 2008 is going to be one of the most important Presidential elections this country has ever seen. '06 will already find its place in the history books as the moment when the people at large told the current Administration to go piss up a rope. '08 will determine whether the People focused on their collective will. And, granted, it's a long time between then and now. I'm thinking back to the election of '76 -- in which a guy no one had ever heard of came out of the pack to win the office. That'd be Jimmy Carter.

And there's an outside chance that an outsider will suddenly appear, as all of the early front-runners destroy each other with rumor, gossip, innuendo and truth. But, if that doesn't happen, and if Hillary gets the nomination, you can bet your ass I'll support her and hope she wins.

First off -- any D, no matter how far to the center they are, is going to send a huge message to the world and to all the R's. Second, Hillary would have the most capable First... uh... Man? Dude? Gentleman? in the history of the office.

It's the closet we can come to sliding around the 22nd Amendment and putting Bill Clinton back in office. And the more I look at his two terms as President, the more I realize that he was the FDR of my generation. The man who could have saved America, if only he'd gotten into Federal politics eight years later.

So that's it in a nutshell. Hillary would not be my first choice. But if she gets nominated, she'll be my only choice.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Irony's a Bitch 

Speaking of Hillary, the right-wing are so blind that they don't even realize she is their own creation. That's right. It wasn't the Democratic party, or the grassroots, or the "liberal" (ha-ha) media that put Senator Clinton in the position to run for president in '08.

Nope. It was the right-wing hate machine, for one simple reason. By attacking Bill Clinton's sex life so vehemently (after they could find no other skeletons in his closet), they forced his first lady to step into the spotlight. Yes, she always had political ambitions. Well, duh. But by creating the environment in which she could appear as the "wronged but noble wife", who did not immediately decide to divorce her husband but, rather, stood beside him, they themselves empowered her.

Quick -- who is Mrs. George H.W. Bush? Would you even know who Betty Ford is if she hadn't suffered a very public addiction problem? What has Mrs. Jimmy Carter done lately?

Answered that first question yet? (Trick question -- of course it's Barbara, but the focus on George W. made you forget for a second that she's his mother and not his grandmother, didn't it?)

The point is -- Hillary Clinton would have remained in the background if the right-wing hadn't dragged her front and center, kicking and screaming. Her two successful senatorial campaigns in New York were her first and second revenges. Election 2008 may well be her third.

There has never been a First Lady so placed to run for president, no matter how popular. Jackie Kennedy could probably have run in 1964 and won, but she didn't. Eleanor Roosevelt could also probably have run in 1948, except that it was a different era.

But, at any time post 1979 - when Margaret (fucking) Thatcher became the first female PM of the UK, the "female" thing should have no longer been a question regarding the American presidency (It never should have been, but... well, water under the bridgework). But, because of that, Nancy or Barbara or Laura could have been natural choices. Or Sandra Day, Ruth, or Condie. But none of them have made it that far, because none of them have been given the great leg-up; validation by persecution.

And there's no one to blame for that but those evil and bad men -- Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, et al.

Suck on that, cons. You are Viktor Frankenstein, and Hillary is your monster -- and our salvation.

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