Friday, January 10, 2014

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) I watched August: Osage County last night. A fine film, with some spectacular performances, but as I watched (for, you know, awards voting purposes), I realized that Julia Roberts needs a new agent. How Meryl Streep is up for lead actress in a film where Julia Roberts is clearly the heroine is beyond my ken. The story is about Roberts, and while she gives perhaps the best performance I’ve seen on screen in a very long time by any actor, she’s considered a supporting player for the awards season purposes. Clearly, this was as an enticement to get Streep to appear.

2) By now, given the little backwater blog you’re currently reading, you know about the breaking news: practically the entire state of West Virginia is in a chemically-induced drought.

3) Chris Christie handled himself adequately yesterday in his news conference, but there are still some issues to be determined in the court of public opinion:

          a) The one question a politician never wants to have hanging over his head is “What did he know and when did he know it?” Precisely the question at issue here for Christie.

          b) Christie wondered how an atmosphere like that could exist that allowed people to lie to him. Unspoken was how could an atmosphere exist that made people think political payback that hurt citizens was a good thing. Christie denies being a bully but this is a clear instance of bullying, and Christie never addressed that.

          c) Even worse, Christie bullied his way into the Fort Lee mayor’s office to insist he personally deliver an apology. Right note, wrong key.

4) This Target stores hack is even worse than we were told. Way worse.

5) But I thought private enterprise could handle things way better than the government?

6) I can sum up what a Super Bowl tourist needs to know about navigating in New York in two words: don’t rush. Take your time, and get out of my -- I mean, our—way. We have places to be and people to see. Don’t try to keep up with us, and don’t try to compete. We’ve spent lifetimes perfecting the efficient art of walking, driving, biking our streets. You’ll never survive.

7) Quietly slipped into Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address for New York was an authorization for twenty hospitals to begin administering medical marijuana. This is in keeping with the Cuomo family tradition of toe-dipping off a diving board.

8) Well, Hell didn’t freeze over, but…

9) This man made an ass. Of himself.

10) If you’re going to do a smash-and-grab, a banana might be the least of the things you grab.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Semantics of Weight

It’s easy to make jokes about Chris Christie’s weight. After all, even he’s admitted it’s an obstacle to any Presidential campaign he might launch, and once you open that door, people will step into the breach. Connecting his weight to his niggardly attitude towards other people, such as the poor or the long-term disabled, is within bounds, I think.

I’m not above making weight jokes, to be sure. Like smoking, it’s most often a behavioral problem and therefore generally controllable. I keep in the back of my mind, however, two things: one, it’s important to know the boundaries of taste and harm, and two, there but for the grace of God go I, having been abruptly reminded last year that I was bordering on obesity myself (BMI near 29) and even after losing that all-important first twenty pounds, the last twenty never really seemed to come off.

So it may be a controllable issue, but it’s a struggle, no different from poverty or illness, and we need to respect that.

So it surprised me a little to see this on

A New Jersey judge is set to hear an emergency request to block the testimony of a political ally of Governor Chris Christie today before the state Assembly about a traffic scandal that has drawn national attention.

The ally, David Wildstein, sued yesterday to quash a subpoena compelling his testimony over closures in September of lanes in Fort Lee, New Jersey, that lead to the George Washington Bridge, which connects with Manhattan. The closures snarled traffic for four days and now threaten to tarnish the image of Christie, a Republican weighing a run for president.

Now, it’s a common phrase, to be sure and I don’t want to put myself out there as some bluenose grammatician, but it seems to me some editor or other might have used a different wording like “considering”. “Pondering” is also possible, although the adjectival form of that, ponderous, carries some connotations of bulky and ungainly.

In this instance, on this story, it seems a cheap shot.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

McCain Both Wants and Doesn’t Want US Troops In Iraq

Senator John McCain is very angry and it is not the hemorrhoids. As you will see, Senator Lindsey Graham is taking care of those. McCain is upset, and rightly so, that Al-Qaida has taken control of the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. According to NPR, McCain is blaming Obama for all this including presumably the hemorrhoids. Or, and I’m just spit-balling here, it could his recent lack of TV coverage.

McCain believes that pulling out all of the US troops was a mistake, leaving the area vulnerable to America’s enemies. Now it’s a he-said-she-said war on why US troops aren’t in Iraq. Seriously. McCain says “top Iraqi officials” were ready to sign a status of forces agreement that would have prevented US troops from being tried in Iraqi courts, but Obama didn’t want to so the troops came home. Apparently, 86 months wasn’t enough for the Iraqis to get their shit together. Good news for John McCain he isn’t alone in this fight -- he’s joined by Sen. Graham (R- Of Course It’s Graham) in wishing we had “a residual force of 10- to 12,000 [troops]” still in Iraq.

Not surprisingly there are opposing views. Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations panel’s Middle East subcommittee, Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, says the Iraqis did not want us there anymore -- at least under the terms explained earlier. And he named a name: Iraq’s foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari.

Then from the frozen tundra of Michigan Democrat Carl Levin explains that American military leaders supported the withdraw and then casually mentions that the pull-out date was set by the Bush Administration. Levin goes on to explain that Obama wanted to leave a residual force but the Iraqis wouldn’t let him.
"That was done ... by President Bush, sitting with President Maliki," Levin says. "There was nothing said, even at that time, about a status of forces agreement."
Realizing they are stupid, McCain and Graham explained that now they don’t want troops there but have some harsh words of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whom they are going to call. But then Vice President Joe Biden, realizing that McCain and Graham are stupid camera whores, whipped out his NexTel and hit up al-Maliki on the two-way explaining that he better get his shit together and start leading. Nouri was all, “OKOK, but can we please have a couple [what?] uh, 100 Hellfire missiles and [what?] and some spydrones?” Biden responded, “You got it, playboy.” And Lindsey Graham swooned.

Bluster to Sell Books

Here’s what’s really weird about Robert Gates’ new book:

In Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War, Mr Gates recounts how Mr Obama appeared to lack faith in a war strategy he had approved and the commander he named to lead it, General David Petraeus, and did not like Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

"As I sat there, I thought: the President doesn't trust his commander, can't stand Karzai, doesn't believe in his own strategy and doesn't consider the war to be his," Mr Gates writes of a March 2011 meeting in the White House.

"For him, it's all about getting out."

First, everyone is entitled to his opinion, even the most underinformed yahoo in Bugtussle, Pennsyltucky. However, you’d like to think that a Defense Secretary would have, you know, done a little research before forming an opinion or, moreover, writing a book. Back in 2008, Randy Scheuneman, then Senator John McCain’s foreign policy advisor, pointed out that then-candidate Barack Obama was focused on getting out of South Asia (Iraq and Afghanistan) at the expense of the security and safety of American troops.

And it’s true: Barack Obama campaigned on an exit strategy from, first, Iraq and then after winning some form of the battle in Afghanistan, out of that nation as well.

Afghanistan was a mess, pure and simple. When Obama took office, there was no strategy. The war seemed to be lip service to the fact that Osama bin Laden was based there and had the support of the Taliban. And even that, then-President Bush didn’t give a rat’s ass about finding him.

Obama focused the military on that conflict, and look what happened. Even Gates had to admit that it was a stunning decision on the part of a President.

So we can only conclude that Robert Gates felt his book would be remained quickly, and decided to…conflate…his opinions.

Pastafarians Rejoice!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Their Satanic Majesties Request

I wonder what kind of blowback we can expect with this....hmmmmmm....

How Cold Is It?

Actual daytime air temps in NYC:                       4º F (-16º C)

Actual daytime air temps in Siberia (Novosibirsk):           5ºF (-15º C)


It’s so cold here that Vladimir Putin is exiling Pussy Galore to New York.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Aliens Exist; Are Progressive And ‘Green’

One of the most truly human questions is “Are we alone in the Universe?” The other being, “When will this fucking pizza get here?” Well, my friends, it appears all you have to worry about now is who will have to answer the door because, according to the former Canadian defense minister,  we are not alone in the Universe.

In an interview with Russia Today, former Canadian defense minister Paul Hellyer explains that some 2-80 different species of extraterrestrials have visited Earth many times over the last few decades. In a strange-because-it’s-true twist, two human-looking female aliens dressed up as nuns, went shopping in Las Vegas, and are now probably strippers. That last part hasn't been confirmed. Nor denied. According to Hellyer, the Visitors would be more forthcoming with their presence if we humans were less apt to kill one another. The atomic bomb really freaked these beings out. By “beings” I mean all beings -- near and far -- but the aliens seem to think that we would do some serious damage throughout the cosmos if they were to share some (more) of their advanced technology. Plutonian Peacenicks. Hellyer goes on to explain his own encounter, saying he’s only seen one alien that “looked like a star.” And added: the “Star of Bethlehem is one of God’s Flying Saucers.” This seems logical because a spiritual being -- like carbon-based ones -- would need a mode of transportation. The former minister believes that the aliens are kind, altruistic, and progressive and want to help us save us from ourselves. This includes providing alternative energy sources (that we are already testing, shhh) that may save the planet. Not surprisingly, the more advanced beings are liberal. But, in typical human fashion, we shot the aliens out of the sky without so much as an “Identify yourself, over.” CNET’s Chris Matyszcyk (I think that’s how it spelled), who “...brings an irreverent, sarcastic, and sometimes ironic voice to the tech world,” explains the most chilling part of all this:

“Perhaps hardest to swallow is Hellyer's notion that the majority of alien species out there are benign, loving, and progressive.”

That’ some damn good snark. I think?! Damn he’s good. But is anyone surprised? Typical liberal media propaganda trying to put its liberal agenda into the mouths (or brainwaves; who know’s how aliens communicate) of our cosmic neighbors. It is now only a matter of time before NASA starts to receive more than less than 1% of the federal budget. For context, according to the Washington Post, the US spent 20% of the federal budget on defense in 2011.  We’re screwed. Back to GTAV.
It’s a shame that all we have to go on is a former Canadian defense minister and an ironic Internet voice to bring this story to the humanity. I feel as if all is lost. But, I remain hopeful because, somewhere, there are two female aliens stripping their human clothes off for money and putting it all on red.

Introducing My Latest Project/Co-Blogger

Part of my probation from-- well, you really don't need to know except that it rhymes with Mernie Badoff -- is to provide employment for all sorts of nefarious and shady characters, including my cat, ThumbPer.

Esteev and I have a long and fruitful on-line relationship which has at times included selfies and Everclear, altho not necessarily in that order. I can't recall the first time I encountered this young man, but I immediately like the cut of his jib. That, and the fact that he wasn't intimidated by yours truly, Actor212.

This is probably a hiring I should have done a long time ago, but as the Suffolk County sheriff's office refused to lift his internet ban until late last year, I sort of put it on hold. Now that the record has been expunged however, I'm free to ask him to co-blog with me.

It happened in an organic moment of clarity on my part: I sort of looked at a comment he made cross-eyed and realized, "At last! Someone to train for the role of Dread Pirate Roberts!" So I got all, "Um, you wanna blog," and he was like, "Well, OK."

And that's how great things begin, with passion!

Anyway, please join me in welcoming Esteev to the fold.

Say, Isn't This The Nation That Edward Snowden Moved To As a Bastion Of Freedom?

“The measures will include boots on the ground, electronic surveillance, video surveillance, electronic eavesdropping – basically, you won’t be able to move in Sochi without somebody knowing you’re moving or knowing where you’re going,” explained security expert Charles Hecker, research director for Control Risks, a commercial intelligence advisory group.

One Presumes They May Be of the Mental Kind

Item: Liz Cheney to quit Wyoming Senate race.

WASHINGTON -- Liz Cheney, citing "serious health issues" in her family, is ending her campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming.

A statement by the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney does not specify whose health has become problematic or the nature of the issue, but implies that one of her children is involved.

The announcement Monday comes nearly six months after Cheney picked a surprise fight within the Republican Party by challenging three-term incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi. The effort quickly became shadowed by a dispute within her own family over same-sex marriage.

The implication that it might be one of her children having health trouble comes from a statement averring how she entered the race to secure the future health and well-being of her kids. The implication, of course, is that she’s leaving because that is now threatened.

Naturally, this has nothing to do with the fact that she trails incumbent Senator Mike Enzi by 50 points, or has embarrassed her entire family with her reactionary stance on gay marriage.

Despite decades of public service pere et jeune filles, the Cheneys value their privacy. Just not anyone else’s, I guess.

And despite pere et jeune fille being the darling of conservatives for decades, Cheney has run into a brick wall of opposition from establishment Republicans in her ham-handed challenge to Enzi, who is also a deeply conservative…possibly the very definition of “rock-ribbed”…conservative. Even a Cheney, even in Wyoming, can overstep a boundary every now and then.

Of course, we wish the Cheney clan health and that whatever is challenging them at this time should pass quickly, but I can’t help that I get the feeling there’s a deeper emotional issue at stake. You don’t get this deeply in denial about what life is all about without being really screwed up.