Saturday, February 27, 2010

Health Summit: Fail. Huge.

I hate meetings.

In business I resisted having meetings until they became absolutely necessary and even then, I employed a meeting Czar whose job was to keep everyone including myself on point, wasting as little time as possible.  To me, meetings were always a colossal waste of resources and allowed for much too much tomfoolery with myself being the biggest provocateur. Any time spent in our conference room was time spent away from accomplishing tasks. I always felt the most efficient dissemination of important information was by memo, e-mail, and phone.

I am an immediate kind of guy; problem arises, solve it right now, end of story, and end of problem. Of course that may seem over simplistic and obviously if your business does anything other than put lemonade into plastic cups at the entrance to your driveway, then meetings here and there are required. But, they should be limited to strategy meetings held sparingly. My opinion, of course.

In two years as a government official, I believe I must have wasted at least one or two lifetimes in meetings listening to blow hard wannabes, party hacks and people with basically no lives, mentally masturbating the most ridiculous notions and topics known to mankind. Does anyone really have to go to a public meeting and waste two to three hours of their time listening to a bunch of taxpayer paid lawyers and professional gadflies tell them how their 36” curb cut fits into the fiscal plan of the town, state and country, and how it will effect the wetlands 10 miles downstream from their 900 square foot house? And, then having the earth shattering curb cut the purpose of which was to accommodate your 100-year-old uncle Jebediah’s wheelchair, denied and sent through some board of appeals process the end of which will most likely coincide nicely with Uncle J’s death? Ridiculous.

Summit is a fancy word for meeting. A fancier way of saying; let’s waste some really big time and money. Lord Falderal’s summit meeting met that goal in spades.

This train wreck was billed weeks in advance as a “gesture” on Falderal’s part to bring together Republicans and Democrats to reach a more common ground on the failed Healthcare Reform bills. It was in direct response to Scott Brown’s victory and warning shot that shattered the bow of the Democratic supermajority. Falderal insisted there could be a bipartisan solution to the Healthcare Reform debacle if they just got into a room and hashed it all out. It also gave him the opportunity to save a little face in living up to earlier promises to televise open meetings for all to see. No more closed door meetings.

Nice idea. Big fail though, since as usual the extremely slow learning person posing as President was once again mired in his own world of egotism and arrogance to listen to what the Republicans were saying.

It was no secret Republicans were looking to Falderal to scrap all previous Healthcare Reform bills and start all over again, a prudent idea to say the least. Falderal’s response was to present a watered down version of the original Senate version. Huge mistake.

Falderal missed a gigantic opportunity to show some actual leadership and admit he the House, and Senate may have been wrong, and get to work on a plan that works for everyone. That would have gone very far in garnering Falderal some much needed credibility.

Instead Falderal used the opportunity to scold and whip Republicans for putting him in this position. If he really didn’t want to hear what Republicans had to say, why have a summit at all? He basically talked down, disparaged, and cajoled every Republican in the room, most of whom had their facts straight while Falderal did not.

Check this clip out: (yes, it is a Fox clip but it was the only place I could find it)

Chief News Analyst at NPR Daniel Shorr is a fav of mine. I don’t care what side he leans to, after 60 years of reporting and too many awards to mention, I have large respect for him. However, for once I find myself disagreeing with part of his assessment of the summit. He believes like most, the summit was just for show. But, Shorr also said he thought Falderal bought himself a few weeks of credibility by showing he could keep command of such a summit. I think the complete opposite. Falderal showed no leadership whatsoever. He acted like a spoiled brat and made absolutely no attempt to even hide the fact he had no intention of listening to the Republican’s side of the story in the first place.

Falderal has said he is glad to have the American people see exactly what his plan entails and exactly how the Republicans feel about it and that the summit made that possible. His strategy was clear, he wanted to appear the good guy looking to help everyone out while the R’s are the bad guy and would prefer everyone who is uninsured to perish and decrease the world’s population (I love Dickens references). However, I think this strategy will prove to have backfired in the upcoming elections.

Here is how Congressman Rogers of Michigan explains the crux of the Healthcare Reform debate. This is not from the summit but a lot of the same content came through at the summit.

This summit did nothing to help the situation except give Falderal a platform on which to publicly state he will shove Healthcare Reform down all our throats through Reconciliation. It was a PR stunt intended to show he has strength over the Republicans and will exercise it by not allowing the R’s to filibuster. As I said, he is a VERY slow learner.

What Falderal did was ensure two things; his allies will get booted from office in November and there will be billions and billions wasted trying to facilitate his Healthcare Reform only to have it scrapped when the new Congress is seated next year. It’s not like the writing isn’t on the wall. Americans are ready to throw "the bums out" and they are going to. Polls from every respectable polling organization show a large percentage of Americans are ready to clean the House, Senate and White House.

I guess we can just add this to the growing list of epic fails for this President. Glad he is working so hard on the economy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Introducing Connecticut Senate Candidate Richard Blumenthal

This is the first of a series of posts on Connecticut Attorney General turned Senate Candidate, Richard Blumenthal.

Ah, the case of Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D), or as I refer to him, “Dickie”. I have studied the dance of Dickie for years and years, wondering exactly where he would land after wearing out the AG’s lair. He is by far the smarmiest of political figures in the great State of Connecticut.

For those of you unaware of Dickie and his dastardly doings as Attorney General of Connecticut, let me scribe a little tome that is both entertaining and disgusting all at the same time. Dickie’s story is possibly one of the best political tales in modern American politics.

Dickie is an amazing politician, but not an amazing public servant. He has served (I use that term loosely) the State of Connecticut as its Attorney General since 1991, gaining such popularity as to be considered by most people in the political know, a gubernatorial candidate in the last four Governor’s races, although he never did commit to running in any of them. Popularity is not the only thing he has had all these years, he also has the chops needed to stay relevant. 

Dickie is the perfect example of consummate career politician. He’s a Harvard Law grad, big surprise I know, and has some pretty good legal tutelage under his belt including a stint as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. He was voted into every office he ran for at a very young age, eventually rising up from State’s Attorney to State Representative to his present position. Now, the good Attorney General is gunning for the Senate seat being vacated by long term Senator and master thief, Chris Dodd.

His latest maneuver is a magnificent illustration of just how Dickie plays the political game so successfully. In an effort to look “independent” of the currently unpopular Falderal (Obama) Administration, Dickie has squawked about distancing himself from the President during his Senatorial campaign. This is interesting given he received a congratulatory phone call from Falderal and Gaffemeister Biden about five minutes after announcing his run, which he was quick to bandy about to every news agency willing to listen, very proud of his Presidential approval apparently, at least at the time.

This latest development is sure to piss off the Falderal Administration given their relief at Dodd’s retirement announcement.  Dodd was facing a very tough run indeed; given his past scandals were beginning to catch up to him. Falderal et al, cannot afford to lose any more seats in the Houses than already projected in the mid terms. Certainly they must see Dickie as a safer bet than Dodd, however being frozen out by the darling of the Connecticut Democratic Party doesn’t bode well for them, it could bode well for Dickie, though.

This “independent” strategy is something Dickie has always found useful in order to promote his own political agenda. See, Dickie gave up caring about such small things as constituents’ years ago. He knows how to use the power of popularity, and if you happen to be a politician within his particular orbit experiencing popularity challenges when Dickie is trying to achieve something, consider yourself persona non grata until you clean up your house; even if you happen to be the President of the United States!

There is always a little bit of a wink, wink with Dickie when it comes to members of his own party. He’ll look you in the eye while stabbing you in the back with wild abandon, yet even the ones being stabbed seem to forgive him. Dickie is on the ultimate of power trips and he masterfully navigates his way through by clinging to what has been a good run, lacking any semblance of scandal in his career. Well, none that has made the news anyway.

AG Dickie is the master of making minutiae seem big. He can blow up a headline like no one’s business, and it is oft said amongst Connecticut politicos that the most dangerous place to find yourself is between Dickie and a TV camera! Especially, if the topic at hand has hit a hot button somewhere.

(This example is obviously an exaggeration, but the meat of it is actually a fair illustration of Attorney General Blumenthal’s modus operandi.)

Example: A puppy has been hit by a GM car in Podunk, CT. Expect to see a dark Crown Vic with CT Plate #3 prowling around somewhere in the vicinity whilst Dickie holds the bleeding carcass in his arms vexing not only the driver of the car and the owner of the dog, but GM for designing a car with engineering flaws disallowing unencumbered views of wayward Chihuahuas underneath the bumper line. And, he will sue everyone involved. The cases will never make it to court because all Dickie wants is the headline. What happens after that, means nothing while the risk of losing a case in court and looking bad is not an option. Settling is what Dickie wants because he can do it by using fear.

Dickie is famous for using the might of the AG’s office to smack down his targets in favor of making himself look like the savior of the State’s taxpayers. And, it is a heavy sword he carries. No businessperson wants a beef with the State and their formidable resources.

The AG’s office has claimed hauling in many millions of dollars in settlements for the State of Connecticut during the reign of Dickie however questionable it is as to how that money made its way into the State’s coffers and how much taxpayer dough it took to realize those settlements. I can’t prove this because the available numbers are nebulous at best, but I would be willing to bet the taxpayers are getting a pretty good screwing when all is said and done.

There is one very telling example of Dickie’s work, which has garnered some serious media attention lately and proves that at the very least the AG may cost the State an $18 million jury award sometime in the future.

The short story is; a small computer company who had contracts to deliver Dell computers to Connecticut State Agencies was accused of selling inferior units. Dickie stepped in and launched an investigation in which the owners were given the whole of four, that’s 4, days to comply with an court order to account for the specifications of thousands of computers sold over many years. That’s like tying your hands behind your back and being told to build an Ark in four days. When the company couldn’t comply, their owner was arrested and charged with larceny. Then Dickie sued the company for $1.75 million, three times what he figured the actual amount due to the State could have been… if proven.

The computer company, as aforementioned not a big business, fortunately had the wherewithal to countersue the State of Connecticut and were awarded $18.3 million by the jury, who stated many different reasons for why they reached that verdict including the conclusion that Dickie overstepped his bounds. The company surely won’t see the whole 18 mil, but they will get something, indeed the company should get something as they lost dearly over the years it took to dredge through this case. A smart State Attorney General would settle this thing and go fishing for some other innocent sucker. Not Dickie. Nope, Dickie has avowed vengeance and will spend many more hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of taxpayer money appealing the verdict. Because of course, Dickie cannot be made to look bad!

I like to use Dickie’s hair as a metaphor for his career. Yeah, it’s mean but hey, you want a friend in politics? Get a dog.

Dickie has some extreme follicular challenges. There is a base of hair on which to work with, but it ain’t much. I am certain however, that when let down, at least one portion of it must hit the floor at some point. Through some miracle of modern science he is able to coax the remaining veteran hairs into a magnificent piece of sculpture that gives the appearance of covering almost all of his Harvard educated dome. It has to take some real aplomb to achieve such majesty. From the front it is a facade of something almost normal in the hair lifecycle of the average man, if not a bit heavy on the axle grease. But, from behind, well, that is where the real beauty is. The rear view of Dickie’s head strongly resembles the stern of a classic Christ Craft day cruiser with the perfectly shellacked swooping lines coming back from the ears and colliding into a marvelous dovetail. The stuff is even Mahogany colored!

Yes, the more I think about it, the more ol’ Dickie’s career resembles that mop of amazing hair. Even though there is not much to work with, the appearance of a solid base never truly realized, is able to carry through and lift up to amazing heights of perceived achievement. Just watch out when the wind starts blowing.  

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Is Lord Falderal (Obama) Muslim?

If there was ever any doubt the Falderal Administration is soft on terror, all one has to do is look at Lord Falderal’s latest move. The same day Gaffemeister Biden laid into Dick Cheney’s assessment of our security as weak, the AP announced the appointment of Rashad Hussain, a White House attorney, as special envoy to the OIC, or Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Before I get too far into this, let it be known, I believe in peace; however I realize the human race has been unable to take the necessary evolutionary steps out of the primordial slime needed to abolish war. Therefore, our Government leaders must act accordingly when there are actual, or perceived enemies gunning for us in order to assure the safety of US citizens.

To say that all Muslims are bad is of course absolutely ridiculous. I have Muslim friends and you have Muslim friends most likely. This is not about them. This is about extremists who loathe the United States with a hatred so bad as to never be mitigated by the cursory efforts of someone like special envoy Rashad Hussain, just another in Falderal’s cadre of inexperienced fools.

One thing to remember is none of this is actually about religion. This is about hate. I am not a religious guy. When queried about my religious status I always say I am a member of the Church of the Poisoned mind. That said, I begrudge absolutely no one his or her religious beliefs and that is as it should be in a free nation. You want to practice Islam in America? Go for it. Just don’t blow up any of my friends or family while you’re at it.

Many people believe that Islam is not a legitimate religion and serves only to cause chaos, and that killing is a major part of their philosophy. I don’t really believe that, but what I do know is many millions have been killed in the name of plenty of other religions including Christianity. When people are killed in the name of religion, it ups the ante, and our President needs to show a strong front against those affecting such motives.

Lord Falderal has time and again proven his inability to show the United States in a strong light to any country, and certainly this latest maneuver isn’t going to help matters. This isn’t like bowing to the Saudi King, or being pushed around by China on our debt, we owe them that money after all. No, this is far more serious.

We as a country legitimize the Islamic extremists by appointing Hussain. The United States sends the message that somehow we are partially to blame for the attacks against us. Tell me, does any US citizen feel we are to blame for attacks against our country? I hope not.

I believe a dialog with Islam would be good, if and only if, we were ever to start hearing condemnation of terrorist attacks from important Islamic leaders. Thus far we are yet to get that. What we do hear after a terrorist attack or attempted attack, are cursory condemnations by low level Islamic clerics and diplomats from the various countries sporting a heavy Muslim population. I question whether these are genuine in their sincerity, or not.

We need to hear serious Imam contrition before we start any real peace talks, or allocate any of our resources to Muslim countries.

Apparently, Falderal doesn’t feel that way. He would like to give them the keys to the storehouse. Here is a small list of what Falderal is proposing to “help” Muslims with:

A partnership with Muslims on education, economic development, global health, science, and technology.

Of course, Falderal has promised the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan & Iraq by August. (good luck with that)

Lord Falderal has also stated he will bring Israel & Palestine to the table to “jump start” peace talks. (can you say: narcissism)

And, get this; he wants to have a summit of Muslims from around the world to discuss entrepreneurship! (because our economy is working so well under him)

That is a pretty ambitious list, which should come as no surprise given his campaign promises yet to be kept.

All of this leads me to cogitate on another problem with this new appointment and all the effort and resources Falderal is putting towards fostering our feel good relationship with Islam. Has he taken a look around him? If ever there was a time for at least a modicum of ethnocentricity, this is it!

Partnerships in education, economic development, global health, technology and science for Muslims? A summit in entrepreneurship? How about some of that for Americans! How about taking some of that tax money and funneling it towards our own plight. How about this, how about be a freaking leader to your own people!

I realize the United States enjoys a certain satisfaction in thinking we are better than everyone else and forcing our capitalistic model on everyone, but we need to force that thinking on ourselves right now. This country is in serious trouble and coddling our enemies is not making things any easier. 

I do not necessarily share the opinion that Falderal is a Muslim himself, I do believe because of his background there is more sensitivity towards Islam. But, who can know what is really inside the head of a person? One thing is for certain, these kinds of moves coupled with the fact he doesn’t attend a regular Church, are certainly giving the people who believe Falderal to be a Muslim more ammunition and credibility.

What we need in this country right now is a guarantee of safety from our enemies, and an economic plan that works. Without those two things, health care reform and all the other various pipedreams of Congress aren’t going to mean jack shit.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

White House: The New Carnegie Hall?

I love culture and art. But, man am I going to piss off my artist friends with this blog!

Music has been behind any project I have ever done creatively that was worth anything more than a trip to the circular file. In my mind, I can document any and all important eras and events in my life through the songs or artists I was listening to at the time. I put a very high value on music and it is an integral part of the memories that make up my life.

If I were President, you could bet your Great Aunt Betty’s sweet bippy that any chance I got, my musical heroes would be entertaining my “Leader of the Free World” fat ass right there in the East Room. Ian Anderson would be prancing around with his flute like my own personal Krishna, or Kokopelli, (although he’s a bit long in the tooth, that whole standing on one leg playing the flute thing may not work anymore) I would have Sting doing an acoustic set with Mary J. Blige, and L.L. Cool J would be telling me about my mom telling me to knock someone out. All of the best scientists would be replicating Johnny Cash’s DNA so I could hear “Tennessee Horse” one more time, and Soundgarden would be doing “Spoonman” with the White House’s best silver. Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

Lord Falderal has been doing a pretty good job hosting some decent jam sessions since he got into the White House and far be it from me to begrudge him that, or the basketball court for that matter. (Although I would replace that with biggest freakin wet bar made of ice you have ever seen.) All Presidents bring in their favorite musicians at one time or another during their terms. I wonder if JFK had Maurice Chevalier perform? Have to look that one up!

Recently, Falderal hosted a night of protest music from the Civil Rights movement in the East Room, and man, I would have loved to been there. Smokey Robinson, Seal, Bob Dylan and a host of others were there doing live versions of some of the best music ever written. Morgan Freeman, who quipped he wished he could sing, delivered some of the most powerful lyrics and quotes to come out of the civil rights era.  I would have loved to hear that. Hell, I would even sit through one of Falderal’s laborious TelePrompTer fed rhetoric sessions to just to get Freeman’s voice belting out words of inspiration from people much smarter than I, or Falderal.

This was a good thing, especially during Black History month. The message was very important and I give Falderal credit for arranging such a night. It’s admirable he is expressing and using his own ascension to showcase what has been a hard and well-fought fight by people of color. I like that Falderal is drawing attention to the success of civil rights leaders and not backing away from it. I felt he downplayed the authenticity of the civil rights movement during his seemingly endless campaign in favor of appeasing his political handlers who obviously told him to softball those issues.

There is only one positive thing that came out of the Falderal election in my opinion; the American public has finally evolved enough to elect a person of color to the most powerful position on Earth. I’m proud of that. These days that’s the only thing I am proud of when it comes to the American Presidency. I remember being both incredibly psyched and completely devastated on election night. The fact this country elected a black man President was an overwhelming feeling. The fact they elected the wrong black man made me want to pull my teeth out one by one. It also made me pissed as hell at George Bush, but that is a blog for another time.

The problem with Falderal exercising his executive privilege to bring artists to perform for him at the White House is the situation has become out of control. There is to be a White House concert series broadcast on NPR called “In Performance at the White House”, and it is actually getting a lot of press.

My issue here is this; is this the right time to be spending taxpayer money on a concert series at the White House? Is this the right message? I’m for federal funding of arts projects even in bad times, but does anyone realize what the cost is to put on one of these White House soirees? Once in a while, fine. Keep in mind, we pay for EVERYTHING associated with these performances and with a 4 trillion dollar deficit, that means my great-great grandchildren will be getting FICA withdrawals for Jennifer Hudson’s Town Car service from Reagan to the West Entrance.

The White House as Carnegie Hall? Nah, not a good idea. If we were living fat and happy I wouldn’t have much of a problem with it, but we’re not.

This is not a huge issue, but it is a common sense one. If I have a $200.00 paycheck and I need it for food, rent, diapers, whatever, but there is an Oingo Boingo show I really need to see for $199.99, what am I going to do? In this scenario I am not 18, but my current age of 40, so the answer should be clear. This is a wild example since Oingo Boingo would be lucky to get $9.99 per ticket, but I think the point is well illustrated.

I am not even going to get into the message it sends to those already dying to blow our butts to Kingdom Come. That’s a horse of an entirely different color.

Right idea, right message, wrong time.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rob Simmons vs Linda McMahon Smackdown!

The Real Linda McMahon
Well, I guess if you live long enough you really will see everything.

Political theatre is always entertaining until it becomes disturbing and perverse. I love my home state of Connecticut because it is small enough that I have been fortunate to meet most of our State government officials and political operatives over the years, thus enabling me to make personal determinations of who has the best interests of the state at heart and who is really just gunning for their own piece of posterity. I also get to know who the real hypocrites are.

I was gratified beyond belief the day Chris Dodd announced he was hanging up his Senator suit and sliding into private life. His is a career that would make any corrupt politician blush. If ever there were an argument for term limits, Dodd should be the seminal example. I was further gratified to learn that Rob Simmons a former Congressman, military man, CIA employee and Republican was willing to throw his name in as a candidate for Dodd’s seat.

Rob Simmons
Rob is a guy with the right amount of political polish, life experience and a clear understanding of what voters expect of their elected officials. Despite having lived and worked in Washington, Simmons is not a DC insider, which became obvious when he was voted out of office in favor of a political shill, who only won after being coddled and supported by Dodd and other useless Connecticut Democrats who have darkened the halls of Congress for seemingly eons.

I had two very small dealings with Simmons, which he wouldn’t even remember I am sure, but they struck me. I called his office for help on a business matter and even though I was outside of his congressional district, Simmons instructed his staff to jump on my issue and run with it. I called him because the representative in my district, one of the people who supported Rob’s Congressional opponent, never answered my repeated correspondence. Even though Simmons had no idea who I was and regardless of the fact I lived outside of his voting arena, he helped me out.

My second encounter with Simmons occurred at the State Capitol after he was voted out of office and our Governor Jodi Rell appointed him as the very first Business Advocate for Connecticut, a job he dove into and performed extremely well. I was impressed by his willingness to listen to any and all businesspeople with their varying problems while delivering honest, frank and sometimes brutal answers to their queries.

What really impressed me was that at the announcement of his appointment, Simmons had yet to be assigned an office, or even a telephone. Hell, they hadn’t even given him business cards yet. So, what did Simmons do? He handed out his own personal cards with his personal cell phone number written on the back to everyone and anyone who had an issue to discuss. That’s pretty damn cool. Rob’s particular brand of experience coupled with the ability to effectively communicate is rare.

As would be expected just about every yahoo wannabe senator has crawled out of the political muck to try and grab the much coveted seat being left by Dodd this year, especially Republicans. The smell of blood is in the air and anyone with the slightest red tint is ready to pounce.

One of those people ready to pounce is Linda McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. Yes, you read that right, the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.

Now, we shouldn’t pass judgment here just based on the fact the company McMahon runs happens to be a joke to most of us. After all, regardless of their end product, the WWE is wildly successful and we should give the devil his or her due. McMahon is obviously a capable businessperson but that doesn’t make her a good potential public servant.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, as much as I love political theatre and this situation really could be entertaining; there is a twisted and troubling aspect to this affair.

Linda McMahon popped out a series of beautiful glossy mailers, all depicting smiling attractive women in different positive lights as a very obvious and determined attempt to court the female vote. Admirable. Well, under normal circumstances, but not so much in this instance.

McMahon’s company thrives and ultimately exists on violence and in particular violence involving women. Whilst she may be correct in the idea that women fake fighting women and men fake fighting women may be titillating to a certain demographic, this philosophy really doesn’t lend to the idea of empowering female voters. Not to mention the message it sends to women in general, especially young women. How does she qualify this bizarre dichotomy? How does she justify wanting to represent the people of Connecticut in one of the most austere offices of our Federal government, while supporting the ideal that violence against women by men is morally acceptable?

To be fair, yeah, it is all fake and one does have to make a living somehow, but really this is not the platform from which to launch a career in the Senate. This is a person who by her everyday actions supports the degradation of women for profit. Women on WWE programs are routinely referred to as hos, bitches, sluts, what have you and are portrayed in the very worst possible light. Imagine your daughter emanating this piece of garbage?

Voting this person into office would be like voting in a President whose only job experience was working for an organization that pushed using taxpayer money for housing deals for pimps and pros-t-i-t-u-t….whoops…

Anyway, the idea that a guy like Rob Simmons has to suffer a pre-primary, or possible actual primary campaign against someone of this caliber makes my teeth hurt. I hope this obstacle goes away for Rob so I can start commenting on the pathetic lot that awaits him on the Democratic side! They are not quite as colorful as Linda McMahon, but they do make for good fodder!

Check out this video to get an idea of what Linda McMahon and her company profit from.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Shelby; Way to Make the Democrats Cry, Dude!

I am getting a real kick out of the hold Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has placed on Lord Falderal’s nominations for a lot of reasons. While it is true that I love political theatre in any form, I particularly love it when it is entirely misconstrued, misunderstood and mis-communicated by the press.

There is a mechanism in the Senate that allows Senators to put holds on Presidential nominations especially in the case of a perceived intense preference by the President to a particular nominee. The mechanism actually allows a single Senator to put holds on as many nominations as he/she feels necessary. Holds happen all the time, usually one at a time. Senator Shelby has decided to invoke his right to hold up all 70 of Lord Falderal’s pending nominations.

Most of these nominations are, well, nominal to say the least. Very few are actually important and the President does have a remedy to the situation. He can actually temporarily appoint his nominees and have them formally take their jobs at a later date.

Senator Shelby is being cast as the poster child for Republican obstructionism by the Falderal administration for making this bold and unprecedented move. Headlines in the Washington Post like; America Taken Hostage, Day 1, have been the norm for just over a week now. What the Falderal Administration and Senate Democrats are insinuating is that Shelby’s hold is bad for America because it has put a stop to any forward motion for any legislation in the pipeline for the last year, including health care reform.

Shelby’s motivation for placing the holds is he wants earmark spending for his State fast tracked. The Democrats are calling foul as this maneuver represents pork barrel spending in their eyes. Well, they would know, wouldn’t they? They are trying desperately to use their own philosophy on pork as a weapon against Shelby and the Republicans by saying that R’s have been consistently against earmarks since Christ was a Corporal in the Footguard, and therefore should back down on these holds.

True enough.

However, let’s consider a few things here.

First, what are the earmarks Shelby is looking for? The good Senator is looking for dough that would go directly to funding our country’s defense. The FBI is seeking to build a lab for improvised explosive device testing in Alabama, the state Shelby represents. Something Team Falderal has spent the last year trying to kill.

The other pet project of Shelby’s is a little stickier. There is a $40 billion dollar contract to build air-to-air refueling tankers at a Northrup facility in Mobile. The company has threatened to bail out on Alabama unless the Air Force makes some changes to a draft request for proposals. One would assume, a change that would benefit Northrup in the bidding process.

Both of these programs are good for the country and are job intensive, meaning unlike most of Falderal and Senate Democratic programs, there will be job creation, a lot of it.

What Shelby is doing is his job, representing the State he was elected in and the people who elected him by looking out for their best interests. He is taking action, something Senate Democrats certainly know nothing about.

One of the responses taken by Falderal and the D’s is an investigation into Shelby’s campaign contributions. Well, lo and behold, the defense contractors mentioned above were major contributors. Is that somehow surprising? Are we 14 years old here? Of course, his contributions were heavy on the contractor side. Where is the big story?

What the Democrats are really whining about is their power and platform being pulled out from under them. Perhaps they should reconsider their own actions in the past year and apply them to the Shelby situation.

We wouldn’t be in this mess had Falderal kept to his word and fostered an environment of bi-partisanship after taking the train to the White House. Instead what he fostered was an air of power that due to the super majority in the Houses made him and his partners in the axis of evil, Pelosi and Reid, feel as though they could do anything they wanted. The problem with this is they read the public wrong and forced upon their constituents’ legislation they never wanted as evidenced by the whole Scott Brown situation.

Falderal’s attempt to garner Republican partnership after the State of the Union was too little too late. Had Falderal listened to what the other side had to say throughout the year, perhaps he and us, the American people, wouldn’t be in such trouble.

Shelby isn’t holding the country hostage at all. What he may actually be doing is saving us from this dysfunctional Government that can’t get out of it’s own way. Maybe forcing the shut down of the Senate is a good thing, or at least crippling it until the mid terms so we can get some new blood.

It’s time for the Falderal Administration and the bags of dung they drug along with them into the Houses to wake up and start playing ball. If Falderal was smart, he’d fire everyone on his staff and start over with qualified professionals from both sides of the aisle. But he’s not, as was clearly indicated at the State of the Union. So, we will have to wait until next year when guaranteed come Hell or high water, there will be new faces sitting in those chambers. Let’s just hope they are not as dumb as this batch.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Dismiss the Tea Party Movement

I am not a member of the Tea Party, but I’m not a hater either. In fact, I am extremely gratified as an American and political junkie for their existence.

Like most people, I am no fan of hypocrisy; something we have in abundance in this country when it comes to politics and Government. The big problem with political opinions in the United States is they are so polarized, and that polarization is what effects the negative opinions people have towards the Tea Party movement. That polarization of political ideologies is what fuels the hypocrisy in political opinion.

That’s one crazy paragraph up there so let me explain.

Most political opinions, at least the ones thrust at us by the main stream media, come from either the East Coast or the West Coast, where people tend to think they are more sophisticated than the average voter from any other region of the country.  I feel qualified to say this having grown up in Connecticut, attending University in New Haven and having spent some time in small town and state politics.

The mentality in New England and New York is that of being the intelligentsia capitol of the world, the power brokers of the universe. Yes, I am generalizing and I am doing it with confidence and wild abandon. We are a snooty bunch us New Englanders and we know everything. We have money, most of it old money passed down from idiot heir to idiot heir and we possess the luxury of being able to mentally masturbate every single political notion out there, with the incorrect view that we can experiment with these notions to appease our intellectual curiosities. Forget there are other people living in this country without our advantages, it is us that matter. That is why New England can afford such liberalism when it comes to their political opinions and philosophies.

Now that I live in San Diego, I see the very same thing only more clearly than I ever did before. Because of course, when I lived back East I didn’t give a flying you know what about the West Coast, their opinion on politics meant nothing to me. But, the West Coast fosters a different kind of liberalism, in my opinion, an even more disgraceful form. The West Coast is all Unicorns and Rainbows. The political power base in California is fueled by guilt and glamour.

Most of the money and power out here comes from Hollywood with a few exceptions of East Coasters who have moved west for various reasons, and of course there are the millionaire software geeks. The money and success fueling the politics on the West Coast doesn’t come from the same ilk as the East Coast, no not by a long shot. This philosophy is fueled by people who either feel guilty about having so much when others are so desperate, or the need to be recognized as actually mattering on the political front. They want to feel like they have more substance than they actually do. And, they have the money (new money) and the infrastructure to do so. Mainly, what they are looking for is access to major politicians.

Lord Falderal benefited greatly from this in last year’s election. Hollywood helped deliver him the White House and all he had to do was stack the White House guest list with serious star power upon taking office.

Both coasts’ philosophies reek of idealism and not realism. They do not live in the real world but somehow think they are qualified to comment on it. The information they choose to process comes from a faulty mainstream media, which they themselves basically control. It is this incestuous micro chasm that has absolutely nothing to do with real life on which major decisions are made.

The healthcare debacle really is a great example of this as is the failed stimulus program. The benefactors of both those abortions of legislation certainly weren’t going to be regular people.

The useless bunch of offal occupying the White House and the Houses learned a big lesson when Scott Brown was elected. The message to Congress being; you are not doing what we elected you to do. You must listen to the people in order to keep your jobs. Even in the most liberal of all states, people are fed up with not being heard. Real people.

Scott Brown is the new Rosa Parks for the American people. He is a symbol stating that the politicians we elected to represent our interests will not be allowed to push the American people to the back of the legislative bus. (Let’s just hope he lives up to the hype!)

These self appointed masters of politics on both coasts call themselves American Patriots. They feel their perceived political superiority is license to pounce on groups like the Tea Party folks, using such negative slurs as un-intelligent, rednecks, extremists, nut-jobs, and oh-my-god…Republicans even. They disparage the very name Tea Party, apparently not understanding the symbolism.

The Tea Party movement is something this country has sorely needed. It is a refuge for the disenfranchised from many different political bents. And, it showcases for everyone to see that in between the coasts, there is a huge area inhabited by people who also care about their country. Real people, living their lives through what was once the American Dream and having seen that dream bastardized, are now pissed and doing something about it.

The Tea Party is made up of a diverse array of people from all walks of life but sharing one thing in kind; they all love their country. The core values and platform of the movement are admirable; fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. If I remember my history correctly, it was those same ideals the founding fathers launched this country.

Pay attention to the Tea Party movement.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Talk About No Clue, Obama & Small Business

With the painfully obvious need to try and shine up his image, Lord Falderal takes a trip up to Nashua, NH and tells small business how he is going to save them from the disastrous situation he has created by proposing a new and improved disastrous situation. As usual, the proposed solutions have nothing at all to do with what small business is actually concerned with and include a whole new set of flawed equations.

What Falderal told small business owners is that he will lobby Congress to free up $30 billion to loan out to banks sporting assets under $10 billion dollars with the proviso through a slew of incentives, the money be funneled to small business owners in the form of easily obtained low interest commercial notes. Kind of like what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did for homeowners before they tanked.


That would be great except for two things:

1.      Small business does not currently give a rat’s ass about favorable interest rates, or financing in general. According to the National Federation of Independent Business it ranks a lowly second to last in favor of more immediate needs, you know, like staying in business in the first place! Something this faltering economy of Falderal’s is not making easy. Going into further debt at any interest rate is not something responsible business owners, the cornerstone of American business, are interested in. But, of course, Falderal or any other Democrat for that matter, couldn’t possibly relate to that notion.
 The second and more telling problem (since we know Falderal can’t understand basic business models) is where the $30 billion is to come from. Falderal intends on using money paid back from Wall Street bankers who took TARP funds. Remember, a lot of those guys were forced to take the dough against their wishes. Current estimates say that TARP will have ended up costing taxpayers close to $115 billion when the chips finally fall. I say double that since those are government estimates and they use the “new Falderal math” in their calculations.

Let’s think about this for a minute.

Taxpayers give $700 billion in TARP money to what essentially are the bad guys. The program fails miserably but we regain an estimated $585 million, a loss of $115 million. (Man, even my financial guy did better than that last year!) Then we take $30 billion of that repaid money bringing our immediate loss to $145 million and loan it out to some more scum bag banks in the hope that they will do the right thing. Unlikely. For the most part Falderal is taking a failed program and reinvigorating it although on a smaller scale, with the same tax dollars, your tax dollars. Does this make sense?

Meanwhile, to ensure Wall Street actually does pay us back, Falderal would like to institute a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee (FCRF). Isn’t this fun all these acronyms? Falderal is really good at them. This is a fee, or basically a fine imposed on all the institutions that took TARP, including those who didn’t want to in the first place.

Here’s the $30 billion dollar question.

Just who or whom, does Falderal think is going to pick up the tab on those FCRF fees? Us, that’s who, because in a capitalist society, when costs increase to the merchant they also increase to the consumer, or at least that is what I learned in business school. And, that just ain’t good for anybody!

Make no bones about it, those FCRF fees (the ones we are going to pay for) are not intended to help cover the costs of TARP, they are a slush fund for the Falderal Administration’s gigantic new spending spree.

The Federal Government is about to become the largest in the history of the United States. The White House states there will be 2.15 million workers in the Federal Government by the time Falderal’s budget passes.

We are completely screwed.

Until Lord Falderal takes a basic course in math and civics (to learn what the word Capitalism means), he would do well to stay away from taking meetings with actual business people and consider carting his Teleprompter to garden club outings. Or, maybe just keep touring the country campaigning with that same recycled bullshit he used for the State of the Union and give up attempting to be an actual President. He is a much more convincing campaigner and that might work a lot better for us.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mayor Nick Valentine, My Kind of Leader!

Let me preface this blog by saying that in no way do I support the idea of trying the accused 9/11 terrorist scumbags in a Civilian Court.

This has to be far and away one of Lord Falderal’s more stupid notions. Justice should be delivered through the military courts as the attack on the twin towers was an Act of War, not civilian mass murder. The argument should end there.

However, it looks like there may be no escape from holding the terror trials in civil court unless Congress can be effective in cutting the funding for such a travesty. The only question is in what city will the trials take place.

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has made it clear the trials are not welcome in Manhattan given the cost of security, hype and potential danger to the citizens of the Big Apple. He estimated the cost of security alone to be upwards of $200 million. Great use of our tax dough, huh? Providing security for terrorists. Lovely.

As one would imagine there aren’t a lot of Mayors jumping up and down to host the trials in their cities. To the average thinking American it would seem a foolhardy enterprise to actively seek such a thing.

Enter Nick Valentine, part-time Mayor of Newburgh, NY.

Newburgh, NY is one of those charming Hudson River Valley towns forgotten by time and society. It is rich with history not forgotten, but neglected as so many historical Hudson River towns are. There is no real industry left in the town and it has suffered the effects for quite a few decades. This is a polite way to say that in essence the place is very poor and run down.


Most people from the Northeast know Newburgh only as a highway sign they see on their way either west to Pennsylvania, or East to New England. The town’s main landmark which isn’t really in the town at all, is the I-84 Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, a formidable span which on a clear day allows you a slight view of Manhattan 60 miles to the South.

One thing Newburgh has is a shiny new state-of-the-art courthouse that is super secure, and being only 60 miles from Manhattan, convenient to any and all players in say, a terror trial! Newburgh also falls into the jurisdictional requirements of a civilian murder trial. Add in a close proximity to West Point and a Federal Prison a mere 27 miles away and you have a great recipe for a terror trial venue!

Hizzoner Valentine knows this better than anyone and has taken his case to bring the trials to Newburgh public; hitting as many news shows and media outlets as he can.  

This is a real leader and visionary.

Now, I have no idea how the Mayor really feels about the core subject; whether or not the trials should take place in Civilian Court or not, but I do know one thing, he is definitely looking out for his town and that is admirable. Valentine did say at first he wasn’t very keen to the idea of the trials being held in Newburgh, but upon reflection changed his mind. To me, the Mayor is taking advantage of a shitty situation in order to give Newburgh an economic jump-start.

Nick Valentine is a businessman in addition to being the part-time Mayor. He owns a tailoring business right across the street from the courthouse and understands the nuances of simple economics. That is something most government officials lack, in addition to morality and ethics. Most politicians get ethical bypasses at birth!

Newburgh would benefit greatly financially from the terror trials through a wide variety of income streams. There is the obvious onslaught of media types who will bunk down for as long as the trials take, pumping their dollars directly into the local economy, there is the Federal money that will go into ramping up security and then there is the International attention that could spike tourism both during and after the trials.

Are there risks? Of course there are, the very same ones that would apply to Manhattan as the trial venue. Terrorist attacks could ensue, violence from protestors and any of the other sundry items that lay the foundation of the argument for not having these trials in civil forums could occur. But, one would hope these are calculated risks and will be mitigated by the security funding.

No doubt the good Mayor has taken these risks into account and as a small businessman realized the reward in the long term is well worth the risk. Anything worth doing always involves some kind of risk.

I haven’t the foggiest clue whether Mayor Valentine is a Republican or Democrat, and I don’t care. I do know that Mayor Nick Valentine is a breath of fresh air in this climate of bad government. He is doing the right thing for the people who voted him in by trying to draw attention to their plight. Even if they don’t get the trials, which they probably won’t given the inability of the Falderal Administration to give in to common sense, at least he hung it out there for everyone to see.

Surely, there are lots of folks who think this Mayor is crazy including some of his constituents, but those are people who fail to take in the big picture and they are part of the problem not the solution.

Good Luck Mayor Valentine, and citizens of Newburgh.