Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Political shell games never pay out

I didn't get the chance to include this the other day in the sidebar about veteran GOP Sen. Arlen Specter switching parties (again) but Springfield Republican Party head Mike Puppio pointed out - and I have to agree - that gaining Specter is no win for the Democrats.
In fact, it could very easily become a loss when all is said and done next November.

The reasoning basically goes like this: Pat Toomey, the strongest current contender for the GOP nomination in the 2010 race, potentially could have beat Specter in the primary. But anyone the Democrats put up (short of Baby Huey) would likely take out Toomey in November.
Result: 100 percent, full-blooded Democrat taking over for Specter in 2011.

With Specter's switch, however (plus swift backing from the Dems, who already say they won't endorse another candidate) Toomey can stop playing to the ultraconservatives and move more to the middle, while hammering Specter on his principles (or lack thereof) over the party switch.
Toomey, who many regard as a raving lunatic, is undeniably out of step with Republicans in the Southeast, but he could find a good deal of support from conservatives in the west on those two prongs alone. Compound that with Delco Democratic Party leader Cliff Wilson's observation that Specter could lose votes from new, young Democrats and independents if they see his switch as simple political self-preservation (which, you know, duh) and the odds of the seat remaining GOP would be at least even.
On top of that, if Republicans were to run someone like, say, Tom Ridge, who could defeat Toomey in the primary standing on his head, Specter could be in real trouble.
Result: 100 percent, full-blooded Republican taking over for Specter in 2011.

Now, let's say Specter somehow mystically wins out in November against whomever (which is entirely possible, though not full-on plausible).
Result: 40 percent Democrat taking over for a 60 percent Republican (himself) in 2011.

So, as Mike asked, what did Democrats really gain?
Not a whole hell of a lot, it would seem.

On a completely unrelated note, today marks Obama's 100th day in office. The television program "Lost" also airs its 100th episode tonight on ABC. Coincidence? Or do you get the feeling Obama wasn't supposed to leave the island?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No thanks, I prefer coffee

It's tax day, and I am, quite understandably, non-plussed with my current fiscal outlook (see previous post). What with the filing, and the hatred for rich folks, and the impotent, all-consuming rage, it's probably going to take at least my weight in alcohol (and maybe yours, too) just to get to sleep tonight.
But even with all that, you know what I'm not doing today? Anything involving teabags. If you feel like dumping some tea into anything other than a cup today, go right ahead. Just do so with the knowledge that you, sir, are a Class A Nimrod. Aside from the fact that you would be completely missing the point of the original Boston tea party, there is also something to be said about how little anyone, anywhere, at any time (Fox News aside) will care about your little stunt.
No one in finance, no one in government, I mean absolutely no one is going to care how many bags of tea you dip into anything. And they will never care unless those teabags start choking up the system somehow - say, a trading floor or international credit card company.
Until you start actually messing with the Powers That Be in an effective manner, rather than playing dress up with your bowling buddies? Yeah, you ain't changing a damn thing, my nimrod friend.
But, you know, good luck with that anyhow. Have fun at your little "teabagging party" with your revolutionary friends. Down by the docks. Wearing frilly blouses. I'm sure no one will be laughing around mouthfuls of caviar at your expense.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Really, Mr. Tax Man?

You want another 800 bucks? What the hell did you do with the $5,349 I already gave you last year?
Oh, that's right, you tossed it all in a desert and set it on fire. Or tossed it all over Wall Street and let them set it on fire.
Bravo, Douchie Le Rue.
Well, you know what, government? I'm not buying you any more toys to play with if you can't treat what I've already given you with respect.
I mean, seriously. What the hell is the matter with you? I'm lucky if I pull $420 a week with all the damn taxes you're hitting me with already, and now you want even more? For what? A new war? You barely did anything with the last one you started.
And that take-home figure, by the way, has not gone up in three years. Oh sure, I'm in a union and I get contractual raises, which is all well and good. But I also pay more every year in non-income taxes and medicare and all sorts of other little odds and bodkins that get sucked out of my check on a weekly basis. So I never actually see more money go into my pocket, but you jerks at the IRS don't care because on paper I made more in 2008 than in 2007.
Well, hooray for me.

And I ain't complaining about having a job, because lord knows that's not easy to come by these days (if you're not related to someone at the government center). Hell, I just watched someone put out 100-plus resumes before getting anything, but COME ON.
It's like if I'm not spitting out half a dozen ignorant, unwanted rats to suck at your teat or entering into some ill-advised, legally-binding relationship (read: marriage), I don't get any break at all. Where's all this compassion for the working man I hear so much about? Huh?

Oh, that's right. I get an extra $11 a week in my paycheck. Woop-de-freakin-doo. Let's see now, $11 ... times 52 ... carry the staggering debt, and that comes to ... ONE TENTH OF THE FREAKIN' MONEY YOU'RE SUCKING OUT OF MY WITHERED HUSK!
Well, bad news there, buckaroo, because I ain't got it. As of this writing, I have 22 cents in the bank. I am not even kidding.
So you say, "That's okay, we can work out a payment plan." Oh, goodie, can we? "Sure," you say. "It'll only cost you $45 up front, an undefined percentage of interest, plus penalties for any late payments if you should happen to come up short one month because, you know, YOU'VE ALREADY BEEN TAXED TO DEATH."

Well, forget that, man. And forget you. I ain't playing your stupid reindeer games anymore. What're you gonna do, send me to debtors prison (read: Georgia)? Good! I'll alert the media. Let's make this a big, fat, ugly political statement. I'm gonna enjoy being an economic martyr, roasting on the cross for the sins of bankers everywhere, critiquing all the horribly stupid garbage you rich bastards throw cash at like its a damn carny game with baseballs and milk bottles.

First item I'll be shouting incoherently about from the stockade? You guessed it: bailouts for the perversely rich, all of whom I would at this point like to bludgeon to death with a stack of junk bonds.
Unless you're giving that bailout money directly to me in a zero-sum exchange for your insane economic policies, then forget it. Look, this one should be easy: Let poorly-run companies die, that well-run companies might thrive. That's capitalism. Get with it, or I'll set you on fire.

Number two? Iraq War. You say we gotta stay around to make sure we "safely" redeploy over an 18-month period? Wrong again, jackass. First of all, the longer you're there, the less safe it becomes. Secondly, if an invading force finally decides to leave a country, I promise you, I guaran-freaking-tee you, the natives will not only help you pack, they will drive you at break-neck speeds to the airport without firing bullet one.
Which oughta free up a few billion, doncha think?

Or hey, how about we don't put ads for MONEY on television anymore, huh? You think we really need a $20 million advertising campaign telling people there's a new Washington dollar coin? No. No we don't. We'll see the things when they get into circulation. It's not like I won't figure out it's legal tender and just start throwing the stupid things away in the trash cans next to Septa ticket machines (which is the only place you'll ever see them dispensed, by the way, because FOR THE LAST FREAKING TIME, THIS IS NOT EUROPE AND WE DON'T WANT YOUR STUPID COIN MONEY).

And that's just a taste of my wrath, Mr. Tax Man, I got plenty more where that came from. Enough to write a book - or a manifesto, maybe?
It's up to you. Do what's right and this can all go away. If you don't, well ...
Then I guess I'll see you in court.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Headlines The Onion overlooked this week

"Area Man's Minimum-Wage Paycheck $11 Less Intolerable Than Before Obama"

"'No, Jer Booty!' Jokes on Rise in Wake of Piracy."

"Chitwood to Media: 'No Comment.'"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A brand new Afghanistan!

The Associated Press reported today that a new Afghan law makes it "legal for men to rape their wives ...(according to) human rights groups and some Afghan lawmakers."
Oh, a new law about wife rape. What, was the old one getting a bit outdated?
"As long as the husband is not traveling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night," according to the AP's dissection of the law. "Unless the wife is ill or has any kind of illness that intercourse could aggravate, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband."
Great. Good job, Karzai, you slimy oaf. Tell me again why we haven't framed some pawn for assassinating this guy yet?
Now listen, I don't usually agree with people that just want to nuke the living hell out of whole chunks of desert, but I have had it with these people. They are never going to join us here in the 21st century - not societally, anyway.
To which I say: Fine. You want to remain in the 15th century as a society, you take all that comes with that. We'll stick you in a bubble and take away every advance made since, oh, let's say, 1500.
Which means no guns. Sorry, you'll have to make do with longbows. It also means no bombs, which is nice for the rest of us. No schools for the poor (not that anyone there is taught from any other text than the Qua'ran anyway). How about no cars? Don't worry, the exercise will do you good when you're heading to the candle shop because hey - NO ELECTRICITY, NUMBNUTS.
No farm equipment beyond a yak.
No water treatment plants.
No packaged foods.
No digital watches.
No plywood.
No #$%^ing air conditioners.
You starting to get the picture here?
Hey, you want to live in the past, I'll be more than happy to provide that for you. Just hope you know how to build a fire without matches there, Skippy. Enjoy your pitiful medieval existence!