I’m Not Positive It Happened…

…and I don’t endorse violence against insane geriatrics…

(Language not safe for work – not even close)

…but if our idiot former governor did say “we deserve to lose some guys” at a wake for a dead SEAL, I can’t say as a defense attorney wouldn’t be justified in exercising their peremptory challenge to keep me off the jury, if I were the jury pool for a hypothetical assault trial.

Hypothetically.

(Via commenter PJKelly)

Couldn’t See This Coming

Submitted without comment:

Former President Jimmy Carter has sent North Korea a message of condolence over the death of Kim Jong-il and wished “every success” to the man expected to take over as dictator, according to the communist country’s state-run news agency

To be fair to the former President, all those concentration camp inmates will make a heck of a market for Habitat for Humanity when they get released.

But Carter was never good at getting people released.  To be fair, Carter probabably think

Oh, wait – I submitted this without comment, didn’t I?

Sorry.  My bad.

Killed

Whew, image what they'd have paid me if I won at USC

The Gophers mortgage what’s left of their long-since tarnished Golden status.

If you’re possibly the worst team in 1-AA college football and your newly installed head coach (who has a limited history at coaching at this level) has won one game while being humiliated in several others, what would you do when finalizing a contract?  Probably not add two years and an extremely expensive buyout clause:

The University of Minnesota formalized the hiring of Jerry Kill as its football coach, announcing Tuesday that the two have agreed on a seven-year contract that pays $1.2 million a year in base salary and compensation for media appearances and endorsements…

There are also numerous performance-based incentives including winning the Big Ten ($150,000) [that's just cruel to include - Ed], reaching five conference victories ($50,000) and additional bonuses of $25,000 for the sixth and subsequent victories in a season [not a problem for the foreseeable future - Ed].

As Kill’s biggest critic points out, beyond the obvious idiocy of extending a contract from 5 years to 7 despite the program seemingly going backwards, the cost of ending Jerry’s contract virtually assures Kill will be the Gophers’ head coach well into this decade no matter how bad the team performs:

My first reaction upon hearing this was to assume that the additional 2 years were an exchange for a more favorable buyout structure, but according to the Star Tribune the University is on the hook for $600K/year for any years they buyout.  Odds are the University wouldn’t seriously consider Kill’s dismissal until at least the end of his third year meaning the cheapest buyout available to them will be a $2.4M buyout.  That’s one expensive fumigation.

The University’s policy seems to be to create expensive buyouts.  Tim Brewster’s buyout cost the U $775,000.  That was chicken feed by comparison to the Glen Mason buyout that cost $3.6 million – and likely forced the U’s hand in hiring the cheapest coach they could find at the time.

All this would be understandable if Kill had a major conference resume.  Instead, a coach who compiled a middling record in the Gateway Football Conference and the MAC has become the 51st highest paid coach in the NCAA.  Not impressive sounding?  It’s the same amount of money that Paterno earns at Penn State.  It’s more than Rick Neuheisel takes at UCLA.  And it’s considerably more than Danny Hope at Purdue pockets, and Purdue just thumped Minnesota 45-17 weeks ago.

One day, the Golden Gophers will hire an accomplished head coach.  Unfortunately with this contract, that day doesn’t look to arrive until 2018 at the earliest.

A Day In The Twitter Life Of Every Conservative

Someone in Wisconsin – who describes herself as a “Passionate Dem, lover of justice fairness freedom animals bflies quilts words & nyc. RW asshats: be gone or be blocked. I don’t cast my pearls before swine” – cast forth the following pearl via the miracle of Twitter::

@moronwatch @mitchpberg thinks the unions and George Soros are “an oligarchy” while he supports RW’s destruction of our democracy. Moron!

I asked – she didn’t think Soros, AFSCME, the WEA and Big Labor are an “oligarchy?”

She replied:

 @mitchpberg George Soros’s efforts are to help the people and country. Real oligarchs like Kochs work strictly for themselves & u r thr tool

He’s like a Hungarian Robin Hood!

I’m pretty sure she blocked me.

Neuropathological

Politics may not be rocket science, but apparently it is brain surgery.

Understanding the genesis of political orientation has long been a subject of biological interest, with every few years a new study suggesting our ideological differences aren’t skin-deep, they’re sub-atomic. 

Add to the list the findings of the University College London, which takes the theory of different liberal and conservative genes to another level.  Liberals and conservatives have always thought the other had their brains wired differently and, according to the University, physically speaking they’re right.

But the University’s study is also a case example in the sideshow of the politicization of science – namely, “proving” that conservatives are mentally (or genetically) deficient:

Using data from MRI scans, researchers at the University College London found that self-described liberals have a larger anterior cingulate cortex–a gray matter of the brain associated with understanding complexity. Meanwhile, self-described conservatives are more likely to have a larger amygdala, an almond-shaped area that is associated with fear and anxiety.

Using every inch of my larger amygdala, it’s hard not to notice how many of these studies inevitably lead to a conclusion that liberal physiological differences are viewed as genetically preferable – if not superior.  A similar outlook could be found just this last year with the ballyhooed discovery of a so-called “liberal gene”:

As a consequence, people with this genetic predisposition who have a greater-than-average number of friends would be exposed to a wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which might make them more liberal than average. They reported that “it is the crucial interaction of two factors — the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence — that is associated with being more liberal.”

Outgoing, popular kids equals well-balanced, politically liberal adults?  Conservatives are creepy, adolescent shut-ins?  Curse my shriveled anterior cingulate cortex for reading anything into that study.

Of course, not all scientists are inferring that our political and genetic differences are so stark as to invite a Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal comparison.  In fact, some recongize the potential for political bias in such a report and actively work to tap down any broad-based partisan conclusions…including the actual authors of the study:

While the London study does find distinct differences between Democrats and Republicans, its authors caution that more research needs to be done on the subject. One unknown is whether people are simply born with their political beliefs or if our brains adjust to life experiences–which is a possibility, Kanai writes.

“It’s very unlikely that actual political orientation is directly encoded in these brain regions,” he said in a statement accompanying the study. “More work is needed to determine how these brain structures mediate the formation of political attitude.”

Talk about burying the lead.  And I thought we were just told that larger anterior cingulate cortexs led to understanding complex subjects better. 

Truthfully, we want our differences to be genetic for they absolve us of needing to convince others.  And seeking to find that absolution – that genesis of political thought – in the genius of others brings to mind the words of the discoverer of the double helix, J.D. Watson

One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.”

Trumped Up

The Donald leads the field.  I blame women and independents.

Are his 15 minutes of this election cycle up yet? 

It may only be a poll of 385 Republicans nation-wide, but carrying the increasingly limited gravatis of CNN as the poll’s sponsor, few news outlets will miss the opportunity to write the following headline: “Trump GOP’s frontrunner.”

CNN/Opinion Research 2012 Republican Nomination Survey

  • Donald Trump 19% [10%]
  • Mike Huckabee 19% [19%] {21%} (21%) [14%] {24%} (17%)
  • Sarah Palin 12% [12%] {19%} (14%) [18%] {15%} (18%)
  • Newt Gingrich 11% [14%] {10%} (12%) [15%] {14%} (8%)
  • Mitt Romney 11% [18%] {18%} (20%) [21%] {20%} (22%)
  • Ron Paul 7% [8%] {7%} (7%) [10%] {8%} (8%)
  • Michele Bachmann 5%
  • Mitch Daniels 3% [3%] {3%}
  • Tim Pawlenty 2% [3%] {3%} (3%) [3%] {2%} (5%)
  • Rick Santorum 2% [3%] {1%} (2%) [2%] {3%} (5%)
  • Haley Barbour 0% [1%] {3%} (3%) [3%] {1%} (1%)
  • Someone else (vol.) 3% [4%] {5%} (7%) [6%] {5%} (8%)
  • None/No one (vol.) 4% [3%] {4%} (4%) [0%] {5%} (2%)

Trump may be nothing more in the current field than a name ID with an awful comb-over, but the Trump Brand apparently has some political value – especially with Republican-leaning independents and women.  Trump is the first choice of both demographics in the poll, with 24% and 23% respectively. 

The poll may well represent the zenith of Trump’s 2012 candidacy.  On the same day that Trump may capture headlines with his likely dubious polling “lead”, the real estate mogul of New York City politically shot himself in the foot – twice.  First, by publicly claiming that he’d run as an independent if the GOP didn’t nominate him and secondly, by writing scathing notes to a Vanity Fair blogger over a profile.

2011_04_donjtrump.jpg

Harry Truman once wrote an angry letter that caught the public’s eye.  Of course Truman, writing to Washington Post music critic Paul Hume, was defending his daughter against what he believed to be an unfair assault.  Truman’s critique was equal parts Oscar Wilde and Rocky Marciano in it’s prose.  And to channel Lloyd Bentsen: Mr. Trump, you’re no Harry Truman.

Donald’s “Trumpisms” have only continued in recent interviews.  In addition to his “birtherism” fetish, he’s “only interested in Libya if we take the oil,” “I would not leave Iraq and let Iran take over the oil,” and “I would tell China that you’re either going to shape up, or I’m going to tax you at 25% for all the products you send into this country.”

Trump has said he’ll wait until June to make a decision – or perhaps until “The Apprentice” gets off the TV renewal bubble and signed for another season on NBC.

Trump Card

P.T. Barnum runs for president. 

He’s vowed that he’s taking a presidential bid seriously.   He’s sent aides on “exploratory trips” for his nascent campaign.  He’s pledged millions of dollars towards his candidacy.  And what’s more, he’s taken seriously – by the media, the punditry, and the polls. 

Of course, all of that was in 2000.

When it comes to the media’s political fascination with eccentric billionaire millionaire massive debt holder Donald Trump, few could argue that the Donald is the rightful heir to 19th century showman P.T. Barnum.  For Trump’s multiple aborted presidential candidacies, ranging from 1988, to 2000, and now, prove Barnum’s misattributed cultural epitaph that indeed a sucker is born every minute.

Like Charlie Brown convincing himself that this time Lucy will not pull away the football, much of the media has engaged Trump’s third would-be presidential bid with increasing seriousness.  And why not?  Trump polls surprisingly well against the expected Republican field, placing fourth with 11% just days ago in a Fox News national poll.  Even Trump seems to be taking his latest political dalliance seriously enough to risk his most important attribute – his brand – by claiming to seek the nomination of one of the two major parties rather than another circa 2000 independent bid.

What remains harder to fathom is Trump’s appeal in the first place.  For a man known for his super ego, getting to the id of Donald Trump is vexing for many in the punditry.  Some view Trump as a symptom of the weak Republican field.  George Will likewise dismissed Trump as part of the gaggle of “spotlight-chasing candidates of 2012.”  Charles Krauthammer looked pained to even have to discuss Trump’s candidacy.  Others view Trump as the closing argument in their case of the failure of the political class:

Trump is suddenly “winning” as a political figure because the political class has failed. The authority of our political institutions is weak and getting weaker; it’s not that Americans ‘lack trust’ in them, as blue ribbon pundits and sociologists often lament, so much as they lack respect for the people inside them.

There is a lot of crazy surrounding the Trump phenomenon — some excellent, some embarrassing. But the massive fact dominating it all is that never before has such a famous outsider jumped into national politics with such an aggressive critique of a sitting president and the direction of the country — and never before has the response been so immediate and positive.

Um, not quite.

The novelty of Trump 2012 isn’t that novel.  The celebrity politician is nothing new – nor is Trump’s anti-Obama bravado.  Trump’s “aggressive critique” has largely been an ad hoc foreign policy mixing neo-conservative bluster and paleo-conservative isolationism with a chaser of paranoia that Obama is the country’s first super secret Nigerian sleeper agent.  Perhaps the only true novelty of Trump’s “candidacy” is that he would link his image to “birtherism.”  Or maybe Trump is merely projecting and he’s the sleeper agent sent to undermine the GOP.  After all, he did call Nancy Pelosi “the best.”

Understanding how an arrogant, over-the-top self-promoter has risen in the polling ranks of the GOP field doesn’t require searching for some sort of meta answer.  After a number of political cycles in which the presidential race started incredible early, for once the field is not settled nor is any candidate dashing out of the gates.  Trump represents a known name whose actively in the news – for better or for worse.  Few other contenders or pretenders can claim the same. 

The Donald wouldn’t mind being president but would rather use his candidacy as a perpetual trump card whenever his media image needs a boost.  Once the more serious candidates get underway and the early measures of success – fundraising, debate performances, endorsements and volunteers – become the most important yard markers, attention towards Trump will shrink.  With fewer and fewer onlookers to his latest political act, in Barnum like fashion, Trump will fold his tent and move on to his next show.

Festival Of Duh

Before I start, let me be crystal-clear on a key point: Gawker is to journalism what the “E” Network is to Edward R. Murrow.

Gawker sets a bar so low that nothing can get under it – save for its various copycats and spinoffs, Defamer and Awl and Oh, Noes, I Can Say Naughty Things About People I Don’t Like On The Intertubes and whatever the hell else was bubbled up from that entire suppurating puddle of intellectual pus, each of which limbo handily beneath that already-minuscule standard.

Clear?

Anyway – they’ve just discovered that not everything you hear on morning radio is spontaneous, and that some of the callers are actually actors.

On Monday we learned about a curious new venture from Premiere Radio Networks that offers radio shows “voice talent to take/make your on-air calls”—in other words, fake talk-radio callers.

And then we heard from a few folks in the business, and it turns out this is a thing!

That’s right!  Morning radio – all radio, really – tries to entertain.  And the fact is, most people just aren’t that entertaining.

And so when you tune into your chuckleheaded morning zoo, remember – there is no codecil in the social contract saying “we, the radio station/network, pledge that your entertainment is organic”.

Morning radio is not “journalism”.  (Either is an awful lot of journalism, as it turns out).

This confuses some people:

All of wacky morning drive-time radio, apparently, is populated by voice actors pretending to be jilted lovers—or in at least one instance, an aviation expert talking about a local plane crash…”Any time you hear something surreal on a morning radio show, it’s bullshit,” one veteran independent radio producer told me. “The great prank phone calls—they’re all fake. If it’s top 40, and if it has a morning show, then it uses actors.”

While Premiere’s “On Call” service is relatively new, there are several long-standing services that supply scenarios, story lines, and actors to desperate local morning shows. The problem is obvious: DJs have hours to fill, and if anyone is actually calling into the station, they are in all likelihood boring people with boring problems. Enter United Stations Radio Networks, a radio company co-founded by Dick Clark, who still serves as its chairman emeritus.

United Stations generates wacky characters and scenarios—basically mini-radio plays—and sends them out to shows across the country. “It’s, ‘Hey, can you pretend to hate black people for the next 15 minutes so we can get people talking?’” said the producer.

The Gawker has the victorian vapours, in this case, over a syndicated bit, “War of the Roses”, which KDWB’s “Dave Ryan Show” uses – but that’s just one of many.

It actually sounds like a fun gig:

Another strange one, he said, was when he was told to pretend to be a little person outraged at the way American culture becomes obsessed with Elves each Christmas. There was no scenario or storyline, just an opinion designed, presumably, to attract mockery. “I was supposed to be angry about the overmarketing of little people during Christmas,” he said. “They wanted a ‘little guy with a big voice.’” Aside from those cases, Burt said, he mostly played cheating husbands and boyfriends. “It was pretty surreal. I’d get an email with the radio station, the character, the set-up, and the number to call. The hard part was always having to deal with wacky fucking morning DJs. These are the things you do when you need to eat.”

Now, I have to wonder – given that there’s an apparent market for stupid phone bits, wouldn’t it stand to reason that there’s a concurrent market for stupid, risible blog writing?

This next bit (emphasis added) has gotta make you wonder:

Somewhat surprisingly, there’s nothing even remotely illegal about populating radio shows with fake characters and passing it off is real. The FCC does have regulations barring “hoaxes,” but that only bars stunts that “directly cause substantial public harm.”

(Um, yeah – the “War Of The Worlds” clause).

Run of the mill shitty gags, it seems, are OK.

I’m almost tempted to write the guy and ask if he knows that “The Real World” is kinda scripted, too…

Jamie Lee: You Lie!

I know this is a bit off the radar for SITD but I don’t know of many television commercials more absurd; more ridiculous; more annoying than those yogurt commercials where Jamie Lee Curtis pounces on chipper but apparently constipated passers by all too willing to sample yogurt that’s way too yummy to be formulated to assist you in “cleaning our your accounts payable.”

(…and yes, that’s an arrow pointing to a woman’s crotch)

As if the spots weren’t aggravating enough, it turns out they were bogus. Who can imagine a world where a delicious magical milky pudding that helps you “drop off the kids” and keeps you safe from the common cold…is just a fairy tale?

The U.S. unit of French food giant Danone S.A. agreed to settle state and federal investigations into alleged false advertising about the health benefits of its Activia yogurt and DanActive dairy drinks for $21 million, federal officials announced Wednesday.

The Federal Trade Commission said Dannon, a unit of French food and bottled waters company Danone, will drop claims that its Activia yogurt and dairy products will help prevent colds or alleviate digestive problems. The company wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Well we know it’s not because they were in the bathroom.

Good to know the FTC has the time and resources to care…let alone investigate the claims that Activia helps you “lay down the law.”

I would expect no less than ten additional references to “boweling for dollars” in the comments section. Thank you in advance.

And now, something totally different:

Get Out of the Way

"Oops. Gotta go dearie. I crapped myself."

Just what we need…

To reach the older market, wireless carriers are offering lessons in how to text, introducing phones with oversized buttons and fine-tuning their marketing strategies.

…octogenarians texting behind the wheel…how much slower could they go in the left lane with their turn signal on for the last ten miles?

That Little Bit Of Wind In My Morning Sails

A few months ago, I attended a get-together with a few candidates.

Now, the upside of a huge surge year like this is that you get a lot of people who are taking their first run at politics, and miiiiight need a little polish to their presentation skills.

But I can feel good that not a single Republican candidate I met came across quite like this.

No, I’m feeling pretty good now.

The Write Choice

Vanity starts with an ‘M’ in Alaska’s senate contest.

Like a horror movie villain, the candidacy of Sen. Lisa Murkowski keeps returning from the dead.  Despite losing on election night, losing the absentee ballot fracus, and even conceding the GOP primary, Murkowski’s political ego has shown staying power the envy of Jason Voorhees.  Even the failure of Murkowski’s latest attempt to woo Alaska’s Libertarian Party apparently hasn’t dampered her efforts to return to D.C. short of buying her own ticket.  Instead, Murkowski’s newest bid is to prove the pen is mighter than the ballot with a longshot write-in candidacy:

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is expected to mount an independent campaign for senator after losing her primary, much to the dismay of her Republican colleagues, who won’t back her, according to a senior GOP leadership aide. 

“The entire Republican leadership has endorsed and would continue to support Joe Miller,” a the aide told Fox News on Wednesday…

A National Republican Senatorial Committee official made it clear that more money would be on the way to Miller, and suggested that Murkowski might be going through “the seven stages of grief.” 

“You know, first they concede … then there are the rumors of a write-in candidacy … then you get the acknowledgment that they’re done,” the official said.

If Murkowski does go through with a write-in effort, than she truly is “done”; which may suggest that she’s not Freddy Krueger, she’s Bruce Willis in the “Sixth Sense.”

Murkowski doesn’t appear to be gaining any options as the window for her to make a decision narrows.  The Libertarian option isn’t offically closed as long as endorsee Brian Haase continues to entain the notion of removing himself from the ballot.  But the LP’s executive committee has already voted against nominating Murkowski short of Haase presenting them with a fait accompli with his withdrawal.  And given some of the statements by the LP’s committee, even that scenario might not produce a Libertarian-endorsed Lisa Murkowski.

Only Strom Thurmond has ever won a general election write-in candidacy for the U.S. Senate.  Thurmond’s 1954 candidacy was far stranger than Alaska’s current senate tift.  The death of the Democratic incumbent, the Democrat Party’s decision to not hold a primary election, and former Governor Thurmond’s backing by the major players in the party were the only reasons why the endless South Carolina Senator prevailed.  Considering only one candidate was on the ballot – St. Sen. Edgar A. Brown for you political junkies out there – Thurmond’s candidacy was unique in the extreme.  Nothing approaching it awaits Murkowski on the frozen electoral tundra.

No pollster has yet demonstrated the effect of a Murkowski write-in campaign in Joe Miller and Scott McAdams minor league showdown.  While others polls show Murkowski with a narrow lead over Joe Miller (and Scott McAdams trailing badly), all were done with the assumption that Murkowski would actually be on the ballot.  A Murkowski coalition of moderate Republicans, independents and assorted anti-Palin voters could have propelled her to victory in a three-way race.

But a strategy that relies on such deep candidate committment to write-in her name – regardless of the hundreds of thousands of dollars Murkowski still has available to encourage voters to do so – is bound to attract only the hardest of hardcore Murkowski supporters.  It’s also one of the few strategies that could provide a victory to Democrat Scott McAdams.  While Murkowski’s holdouts certainly won’t be the 50% of the Republican electorate that voted for her on primary day, any votes for her will almost certainly be coming out of Miller’s side.  Couple that with even one poll showing Murkowski pulling low double-digit write-in support and the DNC might change it’s mind about bypassing the 49th State.

Murkowski could still be a viable force in Alaska politics – possibly even challenging first-term Senator Mark Begich in another four years.  But the longer Murkowski openly flirts with continuing a candidacy out of a cocktail of ego and spite, the less likely she’ll successfully seek office again.  Much like Charlie Crist, Murkowski’s unwillingness to suffer a present political setback has endangered (or in Crist’s case, likely ruined) her political past and future.

The Independence Party

Since the DFL and media (pardon the redundancy)  are in full promotion mode trying to keep the “Independence” Ventura Party going long enough to try to try to spoil the Emmer campaign, it’s time to  remember the madness that Ventura brings to Minnesota

On King’s show the “Tag-Team” of Jesse Ventura and Oliver Stone staged a vicious “Smack-Down” against Florida Republican Congressman Connie Mack, who serves as Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. (But what does he know about this stuff?)

He’s become a big supporter of Hugo Chavez (on top of being a 9/11 truther):

Having been honored to see a private screening of Stone’s new film [about tropical socialism],  the self-styled  “libertarian”, Ventura,  declared on camera that Stone’s  U.S.–bashing  Infomercial  for  Tropical Stalinism  “should be mandatory viewing for every U.S. high school senior.” (That’s “mandatory,” remember.)

When a smirking Congressman Mack heard this proposed mandate for the U.S. school curriculum, he pulled a “Jacknife Flip” on his “libertarian” opponent by pointedly asking Ventura how he could suggest enforcing such a thing.  Ventura’s stint in the World Wrestling Federation (as both performer and announcer) sprang to the rescue in the reply: he manufactured an impromptu tantrum. For full effect, Ventura’s performance featured hurtful frowns followed by blood-curdling snarls. Congressman Mack, you see, had not addressed Ventura as “Governor,” and so ignited his ire.  Needless to add, Governor Ventura never answered the question, as Congressman Mack stood patiently waiting–and smirking.

Maybe he’ll stay in Venezuela.

The Genius Of The Left

Bill Maher  wants Obama to be a “Real Black” President:

Bill Maher: “I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt so you can see the gun in his pants. That’s — (in black man voice) ‘we’ve got a motherfu**ing problem here?’ Shoot somebody in the foot.”

Shall we chalk this up to racism?

Or maybe he was just falling-over drunk, like a “real Irish” comic?

I Shall Call Them “Fort-Baggers”

Because they claim they want to bag any reconstruction at Fort Snelling.

Oh, yeah – there’s going to be a leftist romp and play fest at Fort Snelling tomorrow, as the usual plethora of lefty shrieking groups protest dog’s breakfast of issues, from the money spent on restoring the ageing Fort to the Arizona Illegal Immigration law.

Just remember, the next time some lefty gets the victorian vapours about Tea Party rhetoric, to ask your lefty friends what they think of this:

I’m trying to think of the whinging that would ensue if any Tea Partier showed an armed party storming, say, the Department of Health and Human Services.

And I’m pondering the irony of lefties and pro-illegal-immigration ninnies protesting in league with the Dakota, who would know the dangers of allowing illegal immigration more than most.

Why I Am A Second-Amendment Activist

I shoot because shooting is fun; it’s the best stress relief one can get alone; it’s the best way there is to ensure ones’ safety from violent crime. 

But why am I a Second Amendment activist?  The honest truth – it’s exactly, precisely because of displays like this (safe for work, albeit crude and deeply stupid); it’s Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who was asked whether his city, ravaged by gang gun violence, is benefitting from having the strictest gun controls in the US:

 

Is Chicago’s idiotic (and possibly soon-to-be-unconstitutional) gun ban effective?

“Oh!” Daley said. “It’s been very effective!”

He grabbed a rifle, held it up, and looked right at me. He was chuckling but there was no smile.

“If I put this up your—ha!—your butt—ha ha!—you’ll find out how effective this is!”

For a moment the room was very, very quiet. I took a good look at the weapon. It had a long bayonet. (Was it seized during the Civil War?)

“If I put a round up your—ha ha!”

I am a second amendment activist because it’s a thumb in the eye of authoritarian scumbags like Richard Daley.

(Via Ed)

Bananas, Crackers & Nuts

Perhaps Woody was just merely testing a plot to the sequel?

Woody Allen has a strange take on the democracy that allowed him to become rich and famous.

The “Scoop” director said it would be a cool idea for President Barack Obama to be dictator for for a few years.

Why?

So he could get things done without all the hassle of opposing views getting in the way.

In an interview published by Spanish language newspaper La Vanguardia (that we translated), Allen says “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him.”

But wait – there’s more!

The director said “it would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.”

In other news, Allen revealed that he has redubbed Obama’s inaugural address and centered it around a secret egg salad recipe.

Thanks For All That Civility, Mr. President

President refers to Tea Partiers as “Tea-Baggers”:

Three days after he decried the lack of civility in American politics, President Obama is quoted in a new book about his presidency referring to the Tea Party movement using a derogatory term with sexual connotations.

In Jonathan Alter’s “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” President Obama is quoted in an interview saying that the unanimous vote of House Republicans vote against the stimulus bills “set the tenor for the whole year … That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans.”

Tea Party activists loath the term “tea baggers,” which has emerged in liberal media outlets and elsewhere as a method of mocking the activists and their concerns.

I guess this means calling half of America “bitter gun-clinging Jesus Freaks” wasn’t an out-of-context mis-step?

Question for my liberal readers:  Does that fact that I’m writing about this make me racist, seditionary, or merely extremist?

The Last Temptation of Crist

Florida’s political version of Hernán Cortés burns his last ship back to the GOP as he tries to chart an independent path to Washington.

It was barely more than 12 months ago that Florida Governor Charlie Crist found himself basking the media limelight.  The politically-saavy governor of a swing state, Crist quickly positioned himself not only as the prohibitive frontrunner for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat but as a presidential dark horse.  That one year later Crist is bolting the GOP while the party’s Senate leadership that had once backed him are now suing to drain his campaign coffers speaks volumes of how fickle political fortunes can be.

Much has been already written of Crist’s numerous campaign missteps and penchent to spend his dwindling political capital faster than a crack addict with a gold card.  Whether it was Crist’s ill-advised embrace of Obama and the stimulus (both literally and figuratively), his veto of a Republican-backed education reform bill or his Roger Muddesque inability to state why he was running for Senate, Crist’s once-famous campaign aptitude seemed to disappear into a Brigadoon-like political mist.  As NRO‘s Jim Geraghty notes:

You don’t get to be governor of Florida without a halfway decent sense of political judgment, and in fact that’s supposed to be one of Crist’s best qualities: He may not be the boldest or most principled politician, but he’s always been popular and displayed a knack for staying on the right side of Florida voters…

Yet during this election cycle, Crist’s keen judgment disappeared and was replaced with the bumbling instincts of some of our most legendary modern political blunderers…Almost every key decision made by Crist and his campaign since entering the Senate race has backfired.

Less has been written about Crist’s path forward.  While a few polls have shown Crist leading within the margin of error in an electoral ménage à trois with Marco Rubio and Kendrick Meeks, the political math remains at a calculus level of difficultly.  Crist would need a bare majority of independents plus nearly 1/3rd of all Republicans and Democrats to secure a plurality.  Just a political combination isn’t impossible but nevertheless rare among candidates not prone to wearing spandex and feather boas.  Nor is Crist aided when 52% of independents claim to be unwilling to vote for him under any circumstances, despite a 60% approval rating among the unaffiliated.

Undoubtably, an independent bid was Charlie Crist’s best chance of being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.  Unwilling or believing himself to be unable to seek the Republican nomination in 2012 against Sen. Bill Nelson, Crist has bet his once rising star on an all-or-noting Cortés-like strategy.  But left unanswered in his decision is how Crist believes he’ll be welcomed in Washington should he win. 

Should Republicans win the Senate seats they lead in current polling, the GOP would pick up 8 seats this November.  With California and Washington creeping into contention as well, one seat could easily tip the balance of power come January 2011.  Such narrow margins will bring tremendous political advantage to any independent Senate candidate.  Indeed, should the GOP come up one seat short, expect massive political pressure to be applied to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to switch caucus allegiances.  Unable to afford a credible candidate to his right in what will likely be an incredibly bitter general election against a well-funded Democratic opponent, Lieberman might be tempted to caucus with the GOP even if his party affiliation remains unchanged.

Crist has little such luxury.  While if victorious he’ll be courted by both left and right given 2010′s likely outcome, neither is likely to embrace him come 2016.  And should control of the Senate shift sharply away from a narrow divide, Crist almost certainly would be discarded, his political leverage gone.  Thus it would appear that Charlie Crist has gambled his entire political career on trying to acheive a single – and perhaps very lonely – term as Florida’s senator.

Pun Rock

The story itself  is dog bites man:

Three men who showed up in full Nazi regalia to a hardcore punk show at an Old City bar Friday night were attacked by as many as 50 people on the streets after leaving the venue, according to witnesses and club management…

“I guess being on 2nd Street in SS uniforms on a Friday night is a way to incite a semi-riot,” [the club owner] said.

But the headline was worth it…:

Concertgoers show the Reich stuff, are beaten by crowd

…as was the lede…:

How did they Nazi this coming?

I mean, I got a yuk over it.

Some Days It Doesn’t Pay To Wake Up

Drunk driver  Mpls. slams into a lightpole outside a Minneapolis police precinct:

The perilous scene took place just outside the department’s Fifth Precinct headquarters at Nicollet Avenue S. and W. 31st Street. A driver slammed into the light pole outside the precinct office at 3:45 a.m.

A second driver – perhaps gawking, perhaps too stewed to know better – happens on the scene:

Sgt. Dudgeon and another officer left their office to investigate the crash, but as Dudgeon circled around the car to see if it contained any passengers, a second driver veered over and hit her.

Sgt. Dudgeon had minor injuries, but was left in a state of high dud…no.  Too easy.

Both drivers are arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, and a grab bag of other charges.

The Twin Cities AFSCME office has not yet issued on a statement on whether the incidents constituted a threat to them.

Three Degrees Of Stupid

Ask any parent; teenagers are morons.  Even the supposedly-smart valedictorian ones supposedly bound for the Ivy League; indeed, if teenagers don’t get their stupidity out of the way, they wind up as Robert Gibbs.

But I digress; another group of teenage bobbleheads has incited a racial incident in Jersey:

For the second time in less than a month, a New Jersey teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a racist announcement over a store’s public address system.

The latest incident happened over the weekend at the Whole Foods Market on River Road in Edgewater, according to the Bergen Record.

A 14-year-old girl reportedly grabbed the microphone at the store’s courtesy desk and said, “All blacks leave the store.”

Now, let’s be clear; duh.  Duuuu-uuuuuu-uuuuuh.  If either of my kids did this, I’d kick their asses, and never stop kicking.

Which would, indeed, be a better idea than what actually did happen:

A store employee immediately called the police, according to the Record, and the girl and a 14-year-old boy who was with her were taken into custody moments later.

The girl is reportedly charged with bias intimidation and harassment.

“Intimidation”?  An idiot 14 year old girl?

I’m trying to think if there’s anything about this incident that couldn’t have been better handled by a couple of irate black customers pinning the little scumbags to the wall by their hair and giving them what-for until they were ready to slink away beneath their own shadows.

Now, I’ve never bought into the “the media made me do it” defense – but if you’re a not very bright teenager, you’ve literally spent much of your cognitive life in a society where Eric Cartman and Chris Rock say exactly that kind of thing, and it’s considered edgy comedy.

“But it’s just common sense…” is the response I expect – from people who don’t have teenagers.

At any rate – what does it say about our society that “a couple of kids saying something stupid and racist on an intercom” is “intimidation”?   It’s audible vandalism, of course, and it should be the sort of thing a store could sue the kids over; it damaged the image of WalMart and Whole Foods. 

But am I the only one wondering who would actually call it “indimidation?”

Oprah Don’t Surf

Oprah?  A diva?  Who’da thunk it?

On the appointed day and time, two limos pulled up and Oprah went into Deborah Gore Dean’s shop across Wisconsin Avenue. After waiting 30 minutes, Colasante walked over and found his famous client berating Dean. He told Oprah and her entourage (secretary, pilot, hairdresser, makeup man, guards) that he had other appointments scheduled and she needed to honor her timetable.

“Oprah does not walk,” she told him, referring to herself in the third person. “Who is this guy?” Then she started screaming at her staff, but finally agreed to cross the street and come through his front door.

“I just don’t feel it,” she told him. “The vibrations aren’t right.”

“You’ll feel them once you see the paintings we’ve assembled for you,” he said, pointing up the stairs where Court’s art was hanging.

“Oprah does not do stairs,” she said.

Things went rapidly downhill from there: Colasante’s partner hissed that maybe Oprah could use the exercise (unclear who heard), and she stormed out in a huff without buying anything.

It’s from Kitty Kelley’s new book on Oprah, by the way.  It’s the book you might not be hearing about, because everyone’s scared of Oprah:

No telling what else Kelley has unearthed or who gets to hear it: Her book has an initial printing of 500,000 copies, but she said some major news organizations have refused to schedule interviews for fear of Oprah’s power and displeasure.

Ms. Kelley – obviously, you need to come to the one media organization in America that won’t chicken out in the face of Oprah and her masses of droogs.  Come on the Northern Aliance.  I booked you 26 years ago for your book on Sinatra, so you know perfectly well I’m up for it.

By the way; while I’m sure it’s not a complete reflection of their own characters, much less of larger social trends, I think it’s interesting to note that while the babbling diva and top-flight Obama supporter Oprah acts like 18th-century French royalty, refers to herself in the third person and tramples people, especially “servants”, like crabgrass, Rush Limbaugh leaves 1000% tips and is apparently renowned by waitstaff as the best customer there is.

Again, not drawing broad conclusions.

Honest.

On the appointed day and time, two limos pulled up and Oprah went into Deborah Gore Dean’s shop across Wisconsin Avenue. After waiting 30 minutes, Colasante walked over and found his famous client berating Dean. He told Oprah and her entourage (secretary, pilot, hairdresser, makeup man, guards) that he had other appointments scheduled and she needed to honor her timetable.”Oprah does not walk,” she told him, referring to herself in the third person. “Who is this guy?” Then she started screaming at her staff, but finally agreed to cross the street and come through his front door.

“I just don’t feel it,” she told him. “The vibrations aren’t right.”

“You’ll feel them once you see the paintings we’ve assembled for you,” he said, pointing up the stairs where Court’s art was hanging.

“Oprah does not do stairs,” she said.

Things went rapidly downhill from there: Colasante’s partner hissed that maybe Oprah could use the exercise (unclear who heard), and she stormed out in a huff without buying anything.

How accurate is Kelley’s version? Dean, who declined to be interviewed for the book, said she doesn’t discuss her clients. Winfrey spokeswoman Lisa Halliday declined to comment.

“Kitty got it just right,” Colasante told us this weekend. “I was somewhat dumbfounded to see this side of Oprah. I’ve been in business 37 years, and I’ve never seen anyone behave that way before — least of all anyone well-known, who are generally pussycats. We had a wonderful time with Barbra Streisand.” (He eventually sold two of the three Court paintings.)

No telling what else Kelley has unearthed or who gets to hear it: Her book has an initial printing of 500,000 copies, but she said some major news organizations have refused to schedule interviews for fear of Oprah’s power and displeasure.

But Kelley told us she’s still a fan. “I love her — she is a biographer’s gift. I started the book the same way I ended up, with a great deal of respect for her.”