Saturday, January 29, 2011

That Was the Week That Was-1.24.2011

TW3 staff, early 60's

Gilda Radner, SNL, mid 1970's

I'm not planning on this being a regular thing, but to quote Roseanne Rosannadanna, "It's always something." Let's see... I already covered the State of the Union, but need to add something. Actually, it was Paul Krugman, of the New York Times, who added a bit of fact-checking to Congressman Paul Ryan's blithering nonsense about America going the way of Ireland and Britain...

What, me worry?

"Mr. Ryan is widely portrayed as an intellectual leader within the G.O.P., with special expertise on matters of debt and deficits. So the revelation that he literally doesn’t know the first thing about the debt crises currently in progress is, as I said, interesting — and not in a good way."
Smoke gets in your eyes

And speaking of idiotic Republicans posing as smart and insightful, there's the perennial in-your-face Pillsbury Doughboy, Newt Gingrich. On Tuesday, perhaps trying to steal any thunder the President--or Congresspeople Ryan or Bachmann--may have gotten from the State of the Union and the Republican/Tea Party Movement responses, Newt called for the elimination of the EPA. "What you have is a very expensive bureaucracy that across the board makes it harder to solve problems, slows down the development of new innovations," according to the AP, who interviewed Mr. Gingrich in Iowa, where he was talking with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. Iowa, by the way, has the nation's first presidential caucus. Coincidence? Hmmm. Enquiring minds want to... oh, never mind. The guy is such a self-inflated windbag, it's amazing anyone takes him seriously. Ah, but that's the nutty left talking. Newt was quoted as saying he would like to replace the Environmental Protection Agency with the "Environmental Solution Agency," to be headquartered in Houston or someplace convenient for Shell, Mobil, Chevron and BP. Spouting the virtues of deregulation while being in bed with the industrial fat cats is one thing. Dropping your keys and letting them drive you home is quite another. Ouch!

And while I'm in a kind of right-bashing frame of mind, I can't omit a Sarah related item. Related as in her daughter, Bristol. It seems the former Dancing with the Stars contestant, will not be speaking about abstinence at Washington University in St. Louis next month. The university's Student Health Advisory Committee invited the single mom top speak about prevention of teen pregnancy and abstinence during the university's "Sexual Responsibility Week." Hmmm. Ms. Palin clearly knows a bit about teen pregnancy, but not much about prevention and next to nothing about abstinence. It had been reported that she was to receive between $15,000 and $30,000 to speak. It was reported that a Facebook group called "Keep Bristol Palin out of the sex discussion at Washington University" said, "It's not about conservative or liberal, it's about not wasting our money on people who don't matter... especially people who are only famous for being the teenage pregnant daughter of a politician." Isn't that a bit harsh? I mean, her mom's got a gun or two and has been known to put "surveyors' marks" on her enemies. The Washington University students might think twice before talkin' trash about such a high-profile daughter of white trash royalty. In an unrelated story, Ms. Palin is dating a dreamy new boy who works on the Alaska pipeline but lives in Texas. Huh? I can't make this shit up. She was reported to be trying to extricate former mate and father of her child, Levi Johnson from joint custody. Mr. Johnson was not available for comment.

Can you make it a venti?

In business news, Starbucks CEO and founder Howard Schultz's total compensation rose nearly 45% in fiscal year 2010 to $22 million. That's a lot of Lattes-- enough to bail out Seattle, and some left over for Porltand and you can probably throw in Spokane. Plans to open a Starbucks on every block in every city in the country have yet to be announced, but that's the buzz. (groan)

* * *

And in sports, my hometown heroes, the Boston Celtics, played their worst game of the season last night in Phoenix. What is it about Arizona? Never mind. It was just an ugly, ugly game.

According to Julian Benbow oof the Boston Globe, "A garden variety gripe between coach and referee turned into a heated exchange where Rivers all but called Steve Javie an egomaniac and Javie, quick on the trigger, tossed Rivers.

Rivers exploded.
“You’re terrible,’’ he said. “It’s all about you. It’s all about you.’’
Eventually, Rivers was escorted to the Celtics’ locker room by team security.

In the 4th quarter Canning Frye of the Suns set up for a 3 point shot. KG (Kevin Garnett) got in Frye's face, or, more accurately, his groin. Watching it, it didn't seem like a big hit. But Frye flopped for all the world like a Hollywood stuntman. The refs charged KG with two technical fouls and he headed for the locker room to join Doc.

Like I say, it was ugly. I hope they got it out of their collective system. They're in the Staples Center tomorrow, against the much-despised Lakers.

And, that was the week that was.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The State of The Union

Last night was a little bizarre. The least bizarre was President Obama's State of the Union speech. The instant analyzers thought the first half was stirring, the second, less so. I think he said what he had to say and did so well. He could have taken the Republicans to task for their reactionary and uncivil ways, but he stayed above the fray. He could have focused on what he has accomplished, which is considerable. He didn't. Instead, he spoke of the challenges we still face and the work ahead of us. He reached across the aisle, after the Republicans and Democrats sat among one another.

Yesterday, I heard a woman call in to one of the hate radio shows complaining that she wasn't happy with the mixed seating arrangement. "The tea party won all those seats and they're not going to let us see them."

Oh, but we saw them, beginning with the Tan Man behind the President, who looked like he was dying for a cigarette and a good stiff one. And what was that crystal looking thing in front of him? Well, I'll give him this; he put hardly anything into his applause. Apathy never looked so genuine. But the President almost brought him close to tears by mentioning his humble beginnings, sweeping floors in Cincinnati or something.

And then came the Republican rebuttal...

I don't know. Maybe Paul Ryan has pink-eye. Maybe he got stoned before delivering his genteel little speech and forgot to use Visine. But his eyes were distracting. What was also distracting was his delivery. It took away from his message. He sounded like he was telling a story to children, in a sing-song, kinder-gentler voice, so that he didn't sound like the typical scary Republican who usually use fear to motivate the tea-toting sheep. The message was not any more palatable or believable. A lie told sweetly is still a lie.

But the Republicans weren't done with Ryan. Oh no. They had to foist Michele Bachmann upon us as well. To be totally accurate, the GOP was not totally responsible for her speaking. Some of their ranks were even a bit miffed at her. She spoke on behalf of the Tea Party Movement, being that she is the founder of the Tea Party Congressional Caucus. That distinction alone should give her a one way ticket to the Fergus Falls State Hospital.

If there was a thematic connection between Paul Ryan and Ms. Bachmann, it was optic. Her eyes are pretty crazy, too. Not red... possessed. And... who was she looking at? Someone must have moved the teleprompter or whoever was holding the cue cards moved them, along with her cheese, and most of her mind. Ms. Bachmann, you'll remember, recently announced that the founding fathers ended slavery, which would come as a shock to thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Last night she harped on the scourge of "Obamacare." To her credit, she tried to substantiate her rambling with charts and graphs... oh, and the famous shot from Iwo Jima. The bloviators are having a field day with that one.


But, let's take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. I know I've been harsh with our President in the past. I will admit I pretty much gave up on him there for a while. But you know what? He has gotten quite a few things done in his first two years in office. His approval rating is at an all-time high, the market is going gangbusters and consumer confidence is the highest its been in 8 months. Are we out of the woods? Not by a long shot. Would we be better off with a Republican in the White House? Not a chance. Now, play on...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Good night and good luck.

He's smug. He's contentious. He's pompous and at times boorish. He was invaluable and how much he will be missed is yet to be calculated. Keith Olbermann did not make a particularly big deal of it. He briefly stated Friday night that it would be the last broadcast of Countdown. And then he read the final installment of Fridays with Thurber.

There were hints on the web of his conflict with MSNBC. He is reported to have had conflicts with ESPN when he was with them. Maybe his report card once read that he does not get along with others. Personally, I got a bit tired of his "special comments"-- I thought Ben Affleck did a great spoof on SNL. The issues in general have brought on a certain fatigue. They tend to wear on you. But I already feel the void and it's not even Monday night. Lawrence O'Donnell will take his time slot, but no one will be able to take his place.

Evidently, according to the New York Times, it was O'Donnell that Keith recently had a bit of a problem with. His few words on the subject were due to being barred from discussing it by MSNBC, who have also stipulated that he cannot return to television for 6-9 months.

Our loss.

Keith put his money where his mouth was-- in some cases, to his detriment. He made political contributions when perhaps he shouldn't have. He helped create healthcare events around the country that let thousands see doctors for the first time in years, if indeed the first time ever. It was not his pomposity but his passion that made him imminently watchable and, yes, important. He may have been a bit of a windbag, but he was an honest windbag. Where folks like Glenn Beck admit to being "entertainers," who have the credibility of Lonesome Roads, Olbermann seemed real. His interviews were heartfelt. His reaching out to those who have been rejected by Jan Brewer's health programs was empathic and heartfelt.

Undoubtably, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and the on-air morons at Fox have been dancing for joy. Maybe they have already spoken out. Hannity and O'Reilly and the rest of them. The ones that lie or just blithely misinform. The ones that perpetuate the vitriol, in the name of reporting. states that they have the scoop from John Gibson on what really happened to the "infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann."

John Gibson? Get serious.

Good luck, Keith.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Cover of the Rolling Stone

Years ago, before we moved to Oregon, a kid came to the door selling magazines so he could go to Disneyland or M.I.T.-- I forget which. At any rate, my wife bought the rap and signed on. I think she spent like three hundred dollars on magazines. When she ran out of things she would read in the bathroom, she picked Rolling Stone, for me. It was a selfless and now we see, an unnecessary gesture. It took a long time before we got any of the magazines and we thought for sure we had been ripped off. We contacted the Better Business Bureau. And then they started showing up in the mailbox, beginning with the bonus magazine: Black Enterprise.

I've been reading Rolling Stone, off and on, for like 40 years, since it was a folded up tabloid, with John Lennon on the cover. Recently, he was on the cover again. God rest his soul. This week, the new issue arrived in the mail. Lil Wayne is on the cover. After I picked up the mail and laid it on the dining table, I went through it. There on the cover of the Rolling Stone (to paraphrase Dr. Hook), was Lil Wayne. Something came over me. I looked at it and a second later, ripped off the cover, balled it up and tossed it into the recycling bin. Kind of like Belushi ripping the guitar out of Stephen Bishop's hands in Animal House and smashing it to bits. Only I didn't raise my eyebrows for the camera. It was an internal move. Shortly after, I spat out a letter to the magazine, which in all probability, will never see the printed page. I sounded, and, to me, justifiably so, like some cranky old man, kvetching about kids today and the shit they listen to and all that. Being that part of my brain is wired like an old Wurlitzer with the bubbling lights with no new music loaded into it, I just heard Tom Petty...

Yeah, my momma was a rocker way back in '53
Buys them old records that they sell on TV
I know Chuck Berry wasn't singin' that to me, oh no

But you know, Chuck was singing to me. And so were Don and Phil, and Buddy and Bobby and all that. And they still are. Lil Wayne ain't singing to me. Shit... he ain't singing at all. He's slinging out out this mad tirade with 10 letter curse words and rhyming to a computer driven backbeat. I didn't like Sinatra and Sammy when I was a kid, but you know what? I grew up and learned to appreciate what they did. On the other hand, I doubt I will ever "grow" to like any of what passes for music today. I find very little of it that moves me. Frank, and Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald never needed Autotune to sing on key like Britney.

Am I my parents? Punk and power pop wasn't my music but I think that the Clash was one of the last bands that mattered. My wife can't really stand the fact that I still listen to doo-wop. Sorry, babe, but they don't sing like that anymore. Not on American Idol and not on the radio. The Moonglows and the late great Johnny Ace. That's when music mattered.

So I pick the world up and I'm a drop it on your fuckin' head, yeahh!
Bitch, I'm a pick the world up and I'm a drop it on your fuckin' head
And I could die now rebirth mother fucker
Hop up in my spaceship and leave Earth
Mother fucker I'm gone
Mother fucker I'm gone

Just like Rogers and Fucking Hammerstein, huh? How about this:

I'ma hustla so I be on the grind
I always got the money and the bitches on my mind
And I was born to dine so every where I goes at
The first thing I wanna know is where them hoes at
Where them girls that be takin off they clothes at
And where them girls that be slidin down them poles at

... and so on. So, call me old fashioned, but I still think that Rap Music is an oxymoron. The few things I've heard by Snoop Dogg have been kind of cute. He could be a comedian, and may very well be. I can't take him seriously. I even like a couple of Eminem's older things. But I won't call them songs and I won't buy into 50¢ or any of these other miscreants that believe part of stage attire is a 9mm. Smokey didn't pack heat. And, yeah, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard went to jail but, well... it was different. I swear it was different.

Rock 'n Roll meant the world to me when I was growing up. It was the voice I struggled to find. It annunciated my alienation and sense of not belonging. And maybe for the kids today Lil Wayne and all the rest speak for them. And maybe there's no maybe. And you know, that's too bad.

When I was coming up, there were songs about teen angels and dreams come true. Today, they're called bitches. That ain't right. Call me old fashioned. Call me obsolete. Whatever. I would love to hear some new music that moves me. Something that aspires to reach me and take me to a higher place. Something that speaks the words I can't find. Something like Bomani D'mite Armah...

Read a book! Read a book! Read a muh 'fuckin book!
Read a book! Read a book! Read a muh 'fuckin book!
Read a book! Read a book! Read a muh 'fuckin book!
Read a book! Read a book! Read a muh 'fuckin book!


Monday, January 17, 2011


Villified, or just plain nuts?

I tried watching Sean Hannity's interview with Sarah Palin tonight. Honestly. He fed her the softest softballs and she didn't answer them. She rambled about freedom and being victimized and blah blah blah. He referred to her as Governor Palin. Her responses to him might as well have been patched together from other interviews or speeches. She evaded answering someone who is arguably her most adoring fan. I say I tried watching. I couldn't. Blood-libel? How about mind-numbing. I switched back after watching Keith Olbermann to catch a glimpse of Hannity's post interview wrap-up show... with Lou Holtz, a petrified former football coach from Notre Dame, Kirsten Haglund, the Miss America pageant winner from 2008 and a stand-in "liberal." I watched long enough to hear Hannity claim that "Governor" Palin is the "most vilified person in America." As political theater, it pretty much sucked. It was as predictable as it was unbelievable. I turned the television off.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sarah Pulls a Britney

Oops, I did it again!

According to Steven Thomma of McClatchy-Tribune, "Sarah Palin lashed out Wednesday at her critics, saying it was a "'blood libel' when some in the media and on the left said she'd contributed to an atmosphere of violence... 'If you don't like a person's vision for the country, you're free to debate that vision... "

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I don't understand how anyone in their right mind can believe a word this moron says, let alone support her and consider her for the highest office in the land.

By using the term, "blood libel," she made matters worse. Maybe she doesn't realize "blood libel" refers to the false accusation that Jews murdered Christian children for their blood. Never mind that Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "Despite the strong association of the term with collective Jewish guilt and concomitant slaughter, Sarah Palin has every right to use it."

Shmuley? Is Woody Allen or Mel Brooks writing this?

Mrs. Palin tried defending herself in a video, where she said nothing about the map with crosshairs nor did she bring up her now famous (and well documented) line, "We don't retreat, we reload." Instead she said that "We know that violence isn't the answer. When we 'take up arms,' we're talking about our vote."


Does that even make sense? Does it matter?

Do you remember during the presidential campaign where it was revealed that Mrs. Palin spoke in tongues at some voodoo church in Alaska? Maybe that's what she's doing now. Speaking in tongues... a forked tongue.

She is literally unbelievable.

Lying is not a particularly ingratiating quality. This shit is going to come back and bite her in the ass. With any luck, she will be advised to stop twittering, facebooking... perhaps, talking altogether. She is worse than irrelevant. I don't care what Sean or Glenn or gun-totin' Tammy says-- Sarah is dangerous. She needs to be muzzled, and no... I am not making a gun reference. I am just giving her the same advice I gave Portland, Oregon's answer to the Wicked Witch: SHUT UP.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spinning Out of Control

(note: this post was begun Tuesday, January 11, 2011)

Yesterday, Facebook, and the Internet in generally, fairly buzzed with opinions, thoughts and ramblings on the tragic shooting in Tucson on Saturday. I (may have) made the mistake of entering the fray. I commented on a friend's post, reiterating what I had written on Saturday, while the blood was still fresh on the Safeway parking lot:

Personally, I think Mrs. Palin should be arrested as an accessory before the fact. You don't get to yell "fire" in a movie theater and not face the consequences.

I stand by my words, by the way.

Well, someone decided to respond to me:

Geez, Barry why be so polite in your vindictiveness? Your blog is a perfect example of the inane ramblings of political vitriol. Where is one word of compassion for the victims of a deranged individuals actions? I thought so, none. You're more interested in keeping the pot of dissent boiling to promote your personal agenda called a blog. You're doing an admirable job of it, so keep up the good work, pal.

I prefer to believe that I call them as I see them. And what I have seen, read and heard, since Saturday only reinforces my "inane ramblings."

First off, let me say, that my compassion goes without saying. One cannot be liberal and be dispassionate, or so I believe. Nobody, and I mean nobody deserves to be wounded or killed by an assassin's bullet. Not George Wallace nor Ronald Reagan. Not John Kennedy nor Lee Harvey Oswald. Nothing is ever resolved through violence. As for the victims of Saturday's massacre–and I don't know what else one calls an incident where 6 people were killed and 13 wounded. I have not read a negative word about Gabrielle Giffords (except, I should point out, from the right). She is sounds like a fighter and is already doing the miraculous, although still in critical condition. Randy Rhodes described the nine-year-old, born on 9/11, who was fatally shot in the chest as having a "bookended life." Between the tragic day she was born and the untimely tragedy of her death was a short life filled with love.

In the heat of the moment, people say things that they may at some point regret. And then, there are those who are so thick-headed, filled with hate and even the word du jour, vitriol, that they neither have a reflective or introspective cell in their diseased brains.

Take, for example, "Robert M," who is the author of the website, "Patriot Action Network." The headline on the website Sunday read, "Thank the Lord... HE'S A LIB-NUT!!" His exclamations, not mine. He goes on, "Assassin's politics lean 'left wing, quite liberal'-- 'Communist Manifesto,' 'Mein Kampf,' listed as alleged gunman's favorite reads... "

And then there's Tammy Bruce.

Tammy Bruce, with "Snuffy"

According to The Atlantic website, "Sarah Palin new media aide Rebecca Mansour sought to deflect attention from an electoral map Palin posted on her Facebook page last March in an appearance on Tammy Bruce's radio show Saturday. The images long described as crosshairs or rifle sights were actually just surveyor's symbols, Mansour said."

Not quite. As you can see, Ms. Mansour never said that the crosshairs were surveyors' symbols. Ms. Bruce fed her that little bit of disingenuous nonsense:

MANSOUR: I just want to clarify again, and maybe it wasn't done on the record enough by us when this came out, the graphic, is just, it's basically -- we never, ever, ever intended it to be gunsights. It was simply crosshairs like you see on maps.

BRUCE: Well, it's a surveyor's symbol. It's a surveyor's symbol.

MANSOUR: It's a surveyor's symbol. I just want to say this, Tammy, if I can. This graphic was done, not even done in house -- we had a political graphics professional who did this for us.

All that's missing from that little discourse is Ms. Mansour mimicking SNL's Jon Lovitz as the world's greatest liar... "yeah, that's the ticket."

Surveyors' symbols, my ass.

I know Tammy. She had been to our house in Los Angeles. She adopted a cat from my wife, who I assume is "Snoopy," who is referred to on Ms. Bruce's website-- clearly, not to be confused with "Snuffy," the .38 snub-nose she is seen holding on the masthead of same website. Tammy is, among other things, a bright and articulate woman. I mean, who else could have come up with the surveyors' symbol defense off the top of her head? She is a published author, a USC grad and former head of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW. I really can't fault her for trying to explain away the incendiary graphic on the Sarah Pac website. It was a valiant effort.

Let's give Ms. Bruce the (patently absurd) benefit of the doubt here. Let's say Mrs. Palin was "surveying" the opponents of candidates on the right. No, let's not stop there. Let's say Mrs. Palin didn't even know someone on her staff put the map on the site, removing all complicity on her part. Continuing to play devil's advocate, let's say, she didn't know the meaning of the phrase, "Don't retreat. Reload." Maybe it was just a speechwriter's line and she thoughtlessly read it from her palm. For that matter, maybe she's been shooting blanks on every episode of her now ended television saga, Sarah Palin's Alaska on TLC. I love that one-- Sarah Palin on the Learning Channel. Maybe the wolves, elk and moose and God know what else she leveled and aimed at were trained circus animals, taught to play dead at the sound of her mini-Howitzer.

Sarah Palin, huntress of the Yukon

But let's not stop with Mrs. Palin, who, for all intents and purposes, would have remained unknown had John McCain not plucked her from Wasila to be his running mate. We'll always have John to thank for that.

When Joyce Kaufman, an outspoken South Florida conservative radio talk show host on WFTL-850 AM, who garnered national attention after newly elected U.S. Rep. Allen West hired her as his chief of staff a week after the Nov. 2, 2010, election, said that "if ballots don't work, bullets will," at a Tea Party rally that she was speaking, uh, figuratively. And maybe the members in the audience clapped because they misunderstood her.

Funny, no one seemed to have misunderstood Malcolm X when he said, "if we don't cast a ballot, it's going to end up in a situation where we're going to have to cast a bullet. It's either a ballot or a bullet." We all know how that ended.

Let's say that Gabrielle Giffords' opponent, Jesse Kelly, had not really meant you could shoot a fully loaded M16 to help "remove Gabrielle Giffords from office." I don't know what else he could have meant, but let's just say...

... and let's just say that Lee Harvey Oswald was, as he said, just a patsy.

* * *

The point is not the tragedy in Tucson nor questioning the sanity of Jared Lee Loughner. It is not the debate over whether those symbols on the map were crosshairs or surveyors' marks. The point is, as the gentleman so accurately stated on Facebook, but misdirected toward me. The point is the culture of vitriol, of "us vs. them" -- the utter lack of civility between the parties and supporters of each side of the aisle. We are both to blame.

And maybe Mick Jagger was right, when he answered the question, "Who killed the Kennedeys?" with, "well after all, it was you and me."

I never thought I'd agree with Roger Alles, but I did yesterday, when he implored the commentators on Fox News to "shut up, tone it down."

’nuff said. Time to move on...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

That Was the Week That Was

There was a television program from the UK called, "That Was the Week That Was" or TW3, as it was known. It ran on the BBC in 1962 and 1963. Then it was brought to the US for two seasons with pretty much the same cast. David Frost and Nancy Ames come to mind. That was back in the day when there was no 24 hour news cycle. The show was the precursor to The Smothers Brothers, and certainly shows like The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert. Now, what we have for week in review is not nearly as entertaining. Take this week, for example. It it was any indication of how the next 51 weeks of the year will go, it is time to pack up the tent and head to another sideshow. What began with a touch of levity–if you can call a big heavy gavel light–and ended with a bang, or, to be more accurate, 15-20 bangs, from the gun of Jared Lee Loughner.

John Boehner, the "Man of Orange," as Keith Olbermann calls him, was sworn in as speaker of the house. He asked for, and got, a big gavel. I am not sure if it is a Freudian thing, like a man driving a Corvette or a big hairy 4X4. I do know that Speaker Boehner resisted the urge to cry, as he often does. He did take his hankie out, but only to blow his nose at this historic moment. The he, and his not quite amiable sidekick, Eric Cantor, the new Majority Whip, got down to business. The business, in their case, is to say any meaningless shit that they think sounds good and panders to their core constituency, ie., the Tea Party and related nincompoops.

First, according to the AP, Boehner "made the challenge as the new GOP majority voted to cut funding for House members' own offices and committee operations by $35 million. Rank and file Republicans described that vote as a down payment on a much more ambitious assault on record federal deficits."

Sounds noble, huh? But, according to the same article, "The $35 million would be enough to keep the government running for about five minutes."

It's a little bit like soon to be outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates telling reporters that the Pentagon will cut their budget by $78 billion, (with a "B"). That leaves about $553 billion to be spent in 2012. Can you say Apocalypto? According to the AP, the total is "$13 billion less than the Pentagon wanted but still representing 3% in real growth." Whatever. The United States continues to spend more of military power than every other country on the planet, combined.

... and the Republicans are telling us that they will cut $100 billion from government spending this year... but won't touch the defense budget. Hmmm. They backtracked almost immediately, paring it down to $30 billion. Still, that drop in the deficit bucket would be great. But, again, they're kinda full of shit.

What else would you expect from a guy that is the lobbyists' best friend, a hell of a golfer and someone who likes to cut out of work around five and indulge in happy hour? You don't get to look like John Boehner without liberally applied doses of alcohol and tobacco. There. I managed to use the word liberally in the same sentence as John Boehner.

Then we have the looming repeal of healthcare, or what the–and I'll be delicate–fringe calls Obamacare. First of all, it ain't gonna happen, no matter what the Man of Orange or anyone else says. They may question his place of birth, but as far as I know, the president still has the power of veto. Now, this is where it gets interesting: the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said that overturning healthcare bill that President Obama signed into law will leave 32 million more Americans without health coverage. In response, House speaker Boehner said that the "CBO is entitled to their opinion." Bear in mind, the CBO is one of the most nonpartisan , objective entities in Washington. Boehner went on to say, "I do not believe that repealing the job-killing healthcare law will increase the deficit."

In the words of Mary Chapin Carpenter, "the stars might lie, but the numbers never do."

This ain't climate change, folks. This is math. You know, with numbers and stuff. You can keep disputing climate change, as polar bears scramble for rapidly melting chunks of ice in the arctic, but you can't argue with math. So, the knuckleheads with the tricorns with bags of Tetley hanging from the brims can spew all they want.

* * *

And then there's that Maverick from Wasila.

This is where it stops being funny. When a misguided, off-the-beam 22 year-old (who may or may not have had a 50 year-old accomplice), brings a Glock with an extended clip to a Safeway parking lot in Tucson and kills a young judge and a nine-year-old girl, who was there as an honor. A young congressional aide was also fatally shot. And Gabrielle Giffords, congresswoman from Arizona was shot in the head and lies in critical condition in a Tucson hospital.

Let's give Jared Lee Loughner the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Maybe he didn't hear Mrs. Palin her imploring her adoring pent-up zombies "don't retreat, instead reload." Maybe he doesn't know she likes to shoot defenseless animals from the air. We'll give Mr. Lougher the benefit of the doubt and say that he never read the newspaper nor went on the Internet, that he never saw the graphic "hit list" Palin has on her website.

You know, the cute little map of the United States with hairline targets on it, referring to names on a list. One of those names was Gabrielle Giffords, who is now fighting for her life. Maybe Mr. Lougher never heard the way Mrs. Palin incites her fans and supporters with angry bile, smarmy attacks and inciting directives. But, on the other hand...

From Sarah Palin's Twitter page.

I sincerely hope Mrs. Palin has learned a few things. I am not saying that she had anything to do with what happened in Tucson. Then again, yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater is bound to have unpleasant ramifications. But we live in a time when we treat terrorism seriously. We scrutinize peoples' underwear and mouthwash as they travel throughout the country and the world. We are on the lookout for enemy combatants. What would you call someone like Mark Kerr? A nut? Or something more serious. Lack of action is the only thing that separates him and the man who killed Dr. George Tiller. What makes us think Mr. Kerr is harmless? Has he shown a lack in his courage of convictions? Is he "just kidding?" Or tomorrow, will we say that all the signs were there and we just didn't act. I am hoping that Mrs. Palin will button her flappy lips and stay away from Twitter and Facebook and all the other social media she turns to in order to incite her moron followers. I haven't checked, but I hope she and her peeps have had the sense to remove her target map from her website. I am bewildered why anyone would take her seriously, let alone watch her hunting on the The Learning Channel and threatening elected officials on the Internet. She seems to be veering from a national embarrassment to a public danger.

Like I say, perhaps Mrs. Palin had nothing to do with Mr. Lougher's decision to lock and load, and let loose in a Tucson parking lot. But, just to be on the safe side, I think Mrs. Palin arrested and charged with being an accessory before the fact, if not an accomplice, complicit in the killing of 6 and the wounding of (at least) 12 in Tucson.

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And now we've come full-circle: the AP reports today that "House Speaker John Boehner says that the shooting of an Arizona congresswoman won't stop representatives in Washington from their duties."

Hmmm. I wonder what that is supposed to mean.