Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolution***

Same one as last year. Same one as every year:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

From me and Mrs Franklin to you and yours, may you have a Happy New Year's Eve! By that we mean, drink all you want and drive as fast as you can...let's thin out the herd a little.

And to those of you who survive the night, may your 2012 be happy, healthy and prosperous...

***(I've finally given up on losing that 5 extra pounds. Screw it, it's too hard. Besides, it's 10 pounds by now. I'm an old and beaten man, and I know would somebody please pass the pie and ice cream?)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The most contemptible blog post of the year

As 2012 nears, I've been looking back at quite a few blogs I've read this year and bookmarked for future reference. I don't know why I didn't write about this one before, but better late than never. You really have to read the whole post instead of just the few little bits I'm quoting here -- this person makes Glenn Beck look like an educated saint.

Homeless in Hawaii

Dr. Diane Medved is the wife of conservative pustule pundit Michael Medved, a man for whom I hold nothing but contempt. Unfortunately, his wife is just as bad. A dinner conversation between these two must be fascinating.

Mrs. Medved is really, really upset that the view of some homeless people in Hawaii has ruined her vacation -- which, incidentally, she makes sure to point out will be tax-deductible as her husband "works" during these trips.

Some highlights from this remarkable piece of chicken crap:

Their tents pitched under banyans in parks and their groaning shopping carts draped with plastic bags stationed along sidewalks remind us that hospitable liberal government would rather enable freeloading on public property than business to high per-square-foot rent-paying establishments.
My god, the horror! Let's get rid of those damned public places -- that way I won't have to look at these homeless vagrants!

On last night's walk, we saw a guy lying asleep on the Kalakaua thoroughfare sidewalk. Near his extended form he'd laid out a couple necklaces, ostensibly for sale. His fingers clutched some kind of rifle, even in his sleep. His clothes and person were dark with dirt, in contrast to the white sidewalk. What an appealing incentive to spend big bucks in Fendi, Coach, and the other glitzy stores a few feet away.
You people are really ruining my trip -- how can I possibly step around you to go blow my money on my completely unnecessary designer goods?!

We've been privileged to come to Honolulu, where my husband works during our stays, many times over the years. I've never seen so many and such conspicuous homeless encampments, just plopped down in the most desirable footage on the planet.
You've just gotta love this bitch. Nowhere does she stop to ponder about how these people ended up in this situation, or what she as an individual or we as a society might be able to do to help -- except to mention that she thinks that Hawaii really needs more mental health centers for these folks. Of course, forget about taxing her to help pay for those centers. Heaven forfend!

And people sometimes wonder why I have such absolute contempt for so many right-wing idiots. I have no doubt that there are very, very many well-meaning conservatives out there who have well-reasoned opinions and have hearts to match -- many of them are friends or even relatives. But let me tell y'all, these lunatics like the iron bitch Medved make all of you look bad.

Same As It Ever Was

In this season of joy and rebirth (you know, the Winter solstice and all that jazz that predates Christianity by a few thousand years), it's important to remember who we hate.

We hate socialists. They advocate sharing the wealth. They give healthcare to all. They favor the weakest over the strongest. You know, like Jesus. We hate socialism--and you better keep your goddamn socialist hands off my Social Security and Medicare!

We hate the poor. They're a drag, a well known drag. And there are so many more of them than there used to be! Let's ignore them and maybe they'll go away.

We especially hate Islamo-fascists. Except for the Saudi's. Because they do business with the Bush family. So, even though they comprised most of the 9-11 hijackers, and even though their society is stuck somewhere in the Middle Ages, and even though they are totally, violently, anti-democracy and anti-equality, and even though their money funds radical, fundamentalist, "Hate The West" madrassas all around the world, the Saudi's are our friends. Just ask the Bush family and their business partners.

But most of all, we hate liberal progressives. We've hated them all the way back to the Enlightenment. What a bunch of busy-bodies! We were much happier as illiterate peasants, shackled by a lack of education, blinded by religious superstitions, picking through the filth, hoping the lord of the manor wouldn't take our daughters for his pleasure, our sons for his wars, and all of our food for his table--but completely powerless if he did. "Keep us stoopid!" is our proud motto.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My War On Christmas

The guy across the street has done up his house and yard in what can only be called a real hillbilly Christmas motif. You got your quarter mile of lights and multiple Santas and reindeer and snowmen and angels and a manger complete with Baby Jesus and wise men (some of whom look suspiciously like Osama Bin Laden) and, who's that way in the back? Winnie the Pooh!

Did I mention the tape loop of every effing Christmas song ever recorded? Well, he has that, too. And he cranks that mother up so that everybody can share in the joy of the season. I tell you people drive by in gape mouth wonderment.

He does this every year, starting sometime around Thanksgiving. And every year Mrs. Franklin and I grit our teeth, because hey, it's Christmas! And besides, the guy has young kids, and blah, blah, blah...

And we don't want to be the neighborhood Scrooges--but Jesus Christ! Winnie the Pooh?!

Anyway, today I saw this quote on a website somewhere, "I cannot eat your prayers."

That pretty much sums it up, OK? So, if you really believe in the true meaning of Christmas, please don't buy any more inflatable Santas or another strand of lights or one more "So And So Sings The Joyous Songs of Christmas" CD.

Instead, give that money to the nearest food bank or homeless shelter.


Because it would be the Christian thing to do...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Aiding And Abetting The Enemy

Since the Republican debates just won't go away--not unlike a particularly nasty venereal disease--and since the level of the debates has been, to be kind, abysmally low, I thought I'd help them out by coming up with a line of questions that should liven things up a little.

I think we can all agree that money is our one true God here in the good old USA. And the Walton family (of Wal Mart fame) has been the biggest capitalist success story of the past 40 years. (If old Sam Walton were still alive he would be worth 3 or 4 times as much as Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. As it is, his immediate heirs are all worth $20 billion or more each.)

The Walton's business strategy has been a ridiculously simple one: continue to demand that your suppliers lower their costs year after year. That means breaking unions, cutting workers, and ultimately shipping millions of jobs overseas. Until everything is made in China. Along the way, the Wal Mart economics of scale drive their competition to either do the same or go out of business.

It's the kind of unfettered free market approach that makes guys at business schools go all giddy and weak in the knees and Republicans everywhere break into spontaneous applause. Break the unions? Yeah! Drive down labor costs? Yeah!! Move all manufacturing off-shore to a place without any environmental regulations, and a billion cheap, disposable workers with no rights? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!!!

So here's my first question for Newt and Rick and Michelle and Willard Mitt and Ron and other Rick (and you too Jeb, hiding in the bushes): as red blooded American patriots, how can you defend the end result of the Walton's highly successful business strategy, which has been to transfer enormous amounts of America's wealth directly to the Chinese Communists?

'Cause that's where it ends up. Oh sure, there are a handful of Chinese millionaires and I'm sure that they're enjoying the fruits of capitalism to the fullest. Private jets, and Bentley's, and shopping sprees in Paris and New York. But the wealth of these new Chinese "capitalists" is just a tiny, tiny fraction of the amount in question.

And more importantly, they can only continue to prosper with the permission and under the guidance of their government. And that government is still a Communist one. A Communist one that is starting to flex its muscles around the world--usually in direct competition to American interests. They need oil and minerals--we need oil and minerals. And these are finite things. We continue to send billions and billions of dollars to our fiercest competitor. As a nation we get weaker while the Walton's get richer.

Here's my second question for our distinguished panel of Republican worthies: if you all truly love this country as much as you profess to, what are you prepared to do about this?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The $10,000 Man

"The very rich...are different from you and me."

--F. Scott Fitzgerald

Poor Willard Mitt Romney. He went to a very good school. He was elected governor by the voters of one of our better educated states. For what it's worth, he apparently ran the Olympics about as well as they can be run in any non-totalitarian country. Along the way he made a lot of money. He made it by gutting companies and firing people, but hey, that's the modern American way.

Anyway, don't ask how he got it, ask how much he got. Romney got so much that he can afford to spend many millions on a house just to tear it down and build a larger, more expensive one. And this isn't his principle residence either. This is a vacation home.

Judging by our usual standards Willard Mitt Romney has had an extremely successful life.

And yet, through all this, he never learned something fundamental about the American people.

While most of us desperately long to be rich and cling to the fantasy that it's just around the corner, none of us like to have our faces rubbed in it. But he can't help himself. See, there are people like Willard Mitt Romney and then there are the rest of us: The help. We are interchangeable and disposable. He needn't bother to learn our names.

There is only so much hypocrisy that even the most hypocritical of us, and by that I mean all you Republicans, can stand.

So here Willard Mitt finds himself, successful, wealthy, seemingly the perfect Republican candidate. And despite all these things, he's running a poor second to a seriously flawed buffoon, whose truest calling in this life would be as a carny barker. Newt "Will Rogers Never Met Me" Gingrich.

Money can buy you many things. But it definitely cannot buy you love and it seemingly will not buy Willard Mitt Romney his party's nomination.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


J. Danforth Quayle, who many of you may remember as one of our more laughable Vice Presidents, ("No Jack Kennedy"? Hell, he was no Roman Hruska), has weighed in on the 2012 Republican presidential contenders.

Quayle, who is most famous for the trouble he had with words from a 3rd grade spelling test, and whose most recent contribution to democracy was the siring of Young Ben Quayle, Arizona's "ass-kicking" freshman Congressman, (that's what Young Ben promised to do when he got to Washington and who am I to argue with the scion of such a distinguished family?), has used the sacred podium of The Arizona Republic to give his endorsement, which is worth more than gold, to one Willard Mitt Romney. Say what you will, but Rich White Guys stick together.

Quayle's bloviating contains the expected potshots at President Obama. (No Republican can be truly whole without them.) And I quote, "As Americans observe the wreckage of our country over the last three years..." Three years? Really? So the country was wrecked on Obama's watch? What about the eight years prior to that? When we were ruled by a simpleton and a sadist? Those don't count, huh? Oh Danny, Danny, Danny. What a sad and empty little man you are!

Here's another pearl from J. Danforth: "Because of President Barack Obama's (Hey he left out the Hussein! Somebody's ghost writer is slipping!) failed leadership, Washington has become dysfunctional."

No, Danny, Washington is dysfunctional because your party takes its marching orders from a radio talk show host and a lobbyist, and its one concrete goal is to destroy the President. Not to create jobs, not to end the wars, not to restore our country. Just to destroy the "uppity" black guy. Oh yeah, and to keep taxes low on the very rich and the corporations, too.

I won't trouble you with the rest of his crap. Let's just say that J. Danforth has a very strong man crush on Willard Mitt, who is, in his eyes "capable", "a leader", with a "deep love of the principles that make America great." Cue the Battle Hymn of the Republic and light the fireworks.

Anyone with a conscience would be troubled by this complete disregard for facts. Not to worry. Quayle is a Republican, after all. And a close adherence to the truth doesn't really enter into that. Besides, the Republic's My Turn column has never been too concerned with facts. It is, after all, an opinion piece, and for today's GOP, opinion always trumps facts.

So there it is. One country club, silver spoon Republican schmuck endorsing another. And all is right in their world.

PS My favorite part of the whole Jan Brewer vs the Redistricting Commission imbroglio was the rumor that Young Ben Quayle's Mom, who apparently is right up there with Liz Cheney and Barb Bush in the roll call of vituperative bi-atches, upon hearing that the proposed new district would pit Young Ben against another Republican, maybe even a qualified one, (hahaha!), got on the phone to Jan "Chuck Tell Me What To Do" Brewer and demanded that she do something about it. Everybody involved denies it, of course, but it sure sounds like something that could happen in the grand old state of Arizona...

Friday, December 2, 2011

The $60,000 Question

What kind of moron(s) would pay Newt "I'm Not A Lobbyist, I'm a Historian" Gingrich $60,000 to talk about anything?

Furthermore, what kind of morons would then pay the first moron to sit and listen to Newt "Some Moron Just Paid Me $60,000 To Talk to You Morons" Gingrich?

And so the 2012 Tea Party Republican presidential talent show has a new flavor of the month. Of course, he's not "new" and the flavor is putrid, but still...

What the hell is going on here?

Apparently poor Willard Mitt "The Human Weather Vane" Romney is so hated by the Tea Party Republican base that they are willing to grasp at any straw, no matter how covered with manure it may be, to avoid embracing him.

Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and now Newt. A veritable murderer's row of skanky sleaze--yet all in their own way preferable to Willard Mitt "I Create Jobs By Firing People--Ask Me How!" Romney.

Now, how do you suppose that makes Willard Mitt "Just Tell Me What You Want Me To Be And I'll Be It**" Romney feel?

**(Does that make Willard Mitt sound kind of like a whore? The difference is that whores, even cheap ones, at least supply a service.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ill Health

The old adage is that "you get what you pay for".

Unfortunately, as far as the American health care system goes, that just isn't the case.

We pay more and get worse results than any other "civilized" country on earth.

(For the sake of this post, I'm going to give us the benefit of the doubt as far as being civilized goes. It would be hard to prove in a court of law is all I'm saying.)

A quick look at the latest "spending on health care per person" and average lifespan charts shows the U.S., the best country there is and ever could be, spending the most (by far!) and living the shortest.

Sure, you'd expect the Scandinavian countries to be ahead of us. But Spain? And Italy?

They both spend less than half as much as we do per capita and yet, on average, citizens of both countries live longer than we do.

And let's not even mention our obesity levels--especially childhood ones. Suffice it to say that the Land of the Supersize Me and Big Gulp has no competitors when it comes to those categories. We're #1, we're #1, we're #1, USA, USA, USA!!!!

How can that be? There must be some mistake! Everything is better here--we all know that. The free market, for profit system, was designed by God himself and given to us, his chosen people. And anyone who tampers with that is the anti-Christ!

If you can't afford to pay for better health care it's your fault. Don't come crying to me.

Besides, those other countries practice some form of socialized medicine and we all know how wicked and corrupt and cruel that is. You've heard the stories, "People dying in the streets for want of a tongue depressor."

So, no thank you, none of that single payer Marxism for the good old red, white and blue!

No, we're much better off letting the insurance companies or the size of your bank account decide who lives and who dies.

Remember what Jim Morrison said, "no one here gets out alive."

The United States' health care system is designed to constantly remind us of just how fragile life is and to spare a good portion of us from the the sorrows of old age.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Goon Squad

This was going to be a post that examined the timely question: Why do Republicans lie so much?

Is it genetic? Or is it the loving, "family values" based nurturing they all receive?

Is it an inherent part of their profound religious beliefs? Or is it just the easiest way to a big payday from Fox News?

Or could it be that they've gotten away with it for so long, since Reagan at least, that they simply don't recognize the truth anymore? Hmmm.

Clearly these are all questions that deserve long and intense study. But today is my birthday and frankly I just don't have the time for that sort of thing. So instead I'll analyze the 2012 Republican Tea Party presidential candidates.

It occurs to me that what we are really witnessing is a race to see who can be the biggest asshole.

I mean, Christ, look at them! Cain and Bachmann and Willard Mitt and Ricky, and the human cipher, Rick Santorum. And let's not forget Ron Paul--although everyone else has. A day does not pass without at least one of them saying something that is either a bold faced lie, completely inane, clinically insane, or some combination thereof.

I know what you're thinking. "Gosh Mr. Franklin, how can we choose just one?!"

Fortunately there is one candidate whose "assholiness" transcends all the rest. A candidate whose major accomplishment while an elected member of government was shutting down the government, a candidate who made millions of dollars as a lobbyist--and yet insists that he never lobbied anyone, a candidate who calls President Obama an "elitist" while maintaining his own $500,000 credit line at Tiffany's, a candidate with a dime store brain who fancies himself an "intellectual", a candidate who recently floated the idea of doing away with child labor laws, and a candidate who is a known adulterer and yet preaches family values. All this in one person? You betcha!

The list of his credentials is long, but time is short...

Maybe someday scientists will discover a lower form of life than Newt Gingrich, but for the time being we just don't have the technology. As our Spanish friends might say, "Quien es mas de un asshole? Newt es mas de un asshole!"

Monday, November 21, 2011


I just never tire of watching cops assault defenseless people. It must be the red-blooded American male in me.

And what is it about police work that attracts the kind of person who, when he sees someone who is completely defenseless and offers no threat to anyone, his first inclination is to hit them with the old baton or drench them with pepper spray?

I mean, is that on the "Hey Sociopath, Wanna Be A Cop" test? And if you answer, "uh, just ignore them" do you fail and end up a minimum wage security guard at K-Mart?

What's next? Do they unleash the dogs? How soon before someone gets shot? Are we back in Alabama circa 1960? Where is Bull Connor now that we really need him?

Do not fear--he may be gone but his spirit lives on in Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly and every Republican Tea Party candidate.

And in the dark hearts of a bunch of cops, too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hell Freezes Over

This headline actually appeared in The Arizona Republic a couple of days ago:

"Federal funds help city"

I tell you, I almost choked on my cruller. Here in the heart of our delusional "self-made man, we don't need no damn gubmint, free-market libertarian utopia", some poor, misguided soul had the nerve to tell the truth!

Sure, he or she has probably been fired by now. Or at the very least been severely reprimanded and lectured about the dangers of creeping socialism by the Republic's overseers. But in any war there are casualties. And if one reader of that mostly worthless rag had their eyes opened a little, even by accident, I say it's worth it.

Of course, it is early. Plenty of time for the paper to publish a retraction. Or for those flatulent gasbags at the Goldwater Institute to deluge the op-ed page with more of their garbage. I'm sure that the counterattacks will be relentless. To quote Poppy Bush, "this will not stand!"

But for one brief shining moment, etc etc...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

True or False: Football Is The Most Important Thing In The World

I'm not sure what my favorite part of the whole disgustingly sordid Penn State scandal is. I mean, my God, there's so much to choose from!

You've got the old "I did what I was legally required to do" shuffle from a bunch of supposedly mature men in positions of authority.

And the apparent lack of police involvement at any stage until now.

Then there's the fact that this Sandusky guy continued to run his foundation for at risk kids after his alleged offenses were first reported. I guess no one thought these acts were serious enough to remove him from any position that involved contact with children.

Or that he was still allowed to come and go on the campus.

Or that the judge who set his bail was a buddy of his.

Or that he and his wife took in foster children.

Or that the title of his autobiography is Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story.

Or the discovery that, whatever his merits as a football coach, Joe Paterno is somewhat lacking as a human being.

Or maybe it's all the folks who obviously care more about the football program than they do about the victims of these terrible acts.

So sure, it is shocking and sickening, but it is also a highly entertaining and enlightening look at the way our love of sports has blinded many of us and corrupted even those institutions that should be above such things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Perry Diaries (part 2)

Dear Diary,
Newt Gingrich? Really?

Dear Diary,
That Cain guy makes a lot of sense. Especially about Libya and them other foreign places.

Dear Diary,
Putting all that politics stuff aside for a second, that Willard Mitt guy is one handsome sumbitch. I mean it's not like I'm gay or anything, but if I were...

Dear Diary,
I mean, come on now, Newt Gingrich!?

Dear Diary,
You know, I'm not sure I even wanta be President anymore. It seems like a lot of work and knowing a bunch a stuff, and hell I really kind of like bein' governor. You get to meet a lot of nice folks in suits and ties who give you lotsa money. And even better, you get to hand out justice, swift and sweet. Just like Jehovah or that Wyatt Earp guy. Whatever happened to Hugh O'Brian?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's past time for a change

I graduated from a small, liberal arts college at the advanced age of 48. At this Division III school, I played on the golf team -- I'm one of the oldest NCAA athletes you will ever hear of. Our football team played in the Knox Bowl -- a "stadium" that consisted of two sets of bleachers my high school would have laughed at, with a field located roughly 30 feet below the rest of campus. Seriously, that's why it was called the "Knox Bowl". Think of a serving dish, and you'll see our football "stadium".

After college I worked as a sportwriter. It is this combination that has given me such contempt for the American sports scene as it now exists -- especially college sports. I believe that college sports should exist for the spiritual, physical and moral enrichment of the student-athlete, not the financial enrichment of coaches, school presidents, administrators, or bowl committee members.

When the Fiesta Bowl scandal erupted a few months ago, I was disgusted. I wasn't surprised -- I've known for far too long exactly how money influences college athletics at the Division I level. The Penn State scandal is so much worse, I am having trouble even fathoming the depths of moral depravity involved.

It seems to me that it is time for colleges and universities to begin accepting the fact that they have an obligation to their students, alumni and supporters. This obligation is not to put the best team on the field -- it is to provide the best education possible for the money to the students in order to help prepare them for life. A good first step would be to destroy the Penn State football program. Eliminate it completely with the proviso that if the University ever wants to have a football program again, no coach shall be paid more than $35,000 per year to start, and with annual raises granted tied to the inflation rate. The coach must than actually teach a couple of classes, and I'm not talking about "The History of Football." Additionally, there should be absolutely no football scholarships ever granted again. This should be the first step towards eliminating Division I athletics completely.

We have turned our universities into minor leagues for the major sports. The athletes don't get paid, a large number leave school with no education to speak of, yet the coaches, boosters and administrators get rich off the labors of the students. It is estimated that the Penn State football program is worth approximately $150 million dollars, yet most of this money does not go into providing superior academics. When was the last time you heard Penn State being mentioned as on an academic level with Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Columbia? Hell, I'll put Knox College and its students and professors up against Penn State any day and we will win any academic contest they want to have.

We make gods of our athletes and coaches, and then we act surprised when these gods do not live up to our ideals. Does not anyone remember the lessons of the Greek gods about hubris?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Proof Is In The Puddin'

Sure the competition was tough. After all, you've got Haley Barbour and John Kasich and that moron in Maine, whose name, thankfully, escapes me.

Still, all this time I was absolutely certain, that of all the governors, Jan Brewer had to be the biggest imbecile.

Mais non! With his sterling debatin' skills, Rick Perry has proven once and for all, and without fear of contradiction, that they really do grow 'em bigger in Texas.

Ye hah, y'all!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Still Worthless

Tomorrow, November 8th, Phoenix voters will wander off to the polls to cast their votes for mayor. They will choose between Wes Gullett and Greg Stanton. That choice should be a simple one:

Greg Stanton.

As I've mentioned before, Wes Gullett is a lobbyist. Everybody needs to find something that fulfills them in life, and apparently Wes finds fulfillment in subverting democracy. Because that is what lobbyists attempt to do. They spend their days engaged in what might be called bribery. Of course, in a nation where corporations are people and money is speech, anything goes. So, why not?

Because he is a strong advocate for what is erroneously called "the free market", Gullett is, naturally, beloved by the Chamber of Commerce types. In case you haven't been paying attention, the Chamber of Commerce is generally made up of smarmy, glad-handing poltroons, whose one consistent goal is to keep wages down. Because that's "good for business." Unions, collective bargaining, a liveable minimum wage, or anything else that might conceivably help working people in our benighted state and city, are "bad for business."

Gullett and his friends and supporters are part of the concerted effort to keep the desert hillbillies distracted and confused and, I must admit, they are very good at that. The powers that be have a long list of convenient scapegoats to cover up the consistent failings of their economic and social policies, and local voters are eager and indeed happy to accept any and all disinformation. Look around you, stupidity is always in full bloom in the Valley of the Sun.

In summation, if you want a city governed by people who don't think government has any function beyond enriching their cronies, then by all means Wes Gullett is your boy.

Make no mistake, Greg Stanton isn't a LaGuardia or Daley. Phoenix is not and will never be that kind of city. Stanton may not even reach the level of Terry Goddard, who remains the gold standard of Phoenix mayors in my lifetime.

However, despite his limitations, Greg Stanton would make a much better mayor than Wes Gullett in every measurable way.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lie Hard, or: It's A Shame

The title of Mission Man's last post included the words "should be ashamed, but isn't."

This brings up an interesting question: "Whatever happened to the concept of shame?"

It is obvious, looking at the ongoing spectacle of American democracy, that the idea of "shame", of "being ashamed" about anything, has fallen out of favor.

Take the Republican Tea Party for example. Its candidates and their paid lackeys lie and dissemble about everything. The economy, Obamacare, jobs, obstructionism, Libya, Iraq, Social Security, Medicare, abortion, taxes, racism, gender issues--pick any subject and the lies fall down around us like a steady Spring rain. They hit the ground and little patches of fresh new lies quickly sprout.

When their lies are pointed out, they either continue to just lie harder or simply change the subject. And they have no shame about it. None at all. It seems that shame has gone out of fashion.

For instance, in a country where shame still played a role in life, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld would be ashamed to show their faces in public. Instead they all have lucrative book deals and speaking tours. They are not war criminals, they are celebrities and they have fans!

When I was a boy, many, many, long years ago, I was taught to tell the truth. I assume most, if not all, of you were told the same thing. Of course, as I aged, I quickly realized that sometimes it is necessary to tell a little lie if only to ease yourself through some tense social situations. "Yes, you were great in that play" and "No, I love the green bean casserole" come to mind.

Apparently, our Tea Party friends decided to expand these few necessary exceptions to every single aspect of life. When exposed, they have one time tested, automatic retort, (all together now) "the liberals/Democrats do it too!!!"

When it is pointed out that this is not always true and anyway, even if it were, it doesn't lessen their perfidy, they, you guessed it, lie again.

Maybe they're doing us a favor. Perhaps after years of having passive consumerism shoved down our throats as a substitute for active, participatory citizenship, "we the people" couldn't handle the truth. But at this rate we'll never know.

Shame, shame, shame.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jan Brewer should be ashamed -- but of course she isn't

Arizona's accidental governor outdid herself yesterday. It seems that Ms. "I'm a high school graduate and proud of it" Brewer is threatening to call the state legislature into special session in order to attempt to impeach the bipartisan independent redistricting commission that has just completed its duties and presented its findings. The commission is composed of two Republicans, two Democrats and one independent.

In a state with 1.13 million registered Republicans, 1.01 million registered independents and 1.0 million registered Democrats, it seems that the commission has been just a little bit too nice to the Democrats. Arizona currently has five Republican representatives and three Democrats in the U.S. Congress, as well as two GOP senators. Under the new plan, four GOP and two Democratic districts will remain safe, while three will be competitive. In addition, in the State Senate only 17 of the current 22 GOP seats can be relied upon to remain in Republican hands. Quelle horreur!

Brewer is claiming that she's only threatening impeachment in the interest of fairness, yet claims that competitiveness was given too much emphasis in the commission's deliberations and findings. Seriously. You can't make this shit up. According to our beloved governor, this amounts to "neglect of duty and gross misconduct,” the requirements for impeachment here.

She is actually arguing in a two-page letter outlining her reasoning for impeachment that the commission “has not satisfied its constitutional duty requiring it to conduct this vital electoral activity in an honest, independent and impartial fashion that upholds public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process.” In other words, everyone in Arizona knows that the only fair thing to do is to give the Republicans control of every seat in the state legislature, as well as the U.S. Congress. In the eyes of Republicans, fairness means Republicans win while collusion and criminality combined are required for Democratic wins.

If this blatant power grab succeeds, then every other state which has adopted independent redistricting commissions in efforts to end gerrymandering better look out -- I guarantee that every state with a GOP governor and state legislature will try this if it works here.

State Senate President Russell Pearce's (Criminal-Mesa) recall election is next Tuesday. If Brewer continues this farce, perhaps we can follow the lead of Wisconsin and go for our own gubernatorial recall as well.

UPDATE: Well, she fucking did it. Today she called the legislature into special session and fired the independent chairperson of the redistricting commission, Colleen Mathis. Republicans control 22 of the 30 seats in the Senate, while needing only 20 to uphold the removal and neutralize the commission's work. In a statement released late this afternoon, Brewer said "The Arizona Constitution provides that the Governor has direct oversight of the Independent Redistricting Commission, as well as the ability to remove any member due to 'substantial neglect of duty' or 'gross misconduct in office.'" In Arizona, anything even vaguely helpful to Democrats is seen as substantial neglect or gross misconduct.

I'm not sure I've ever seen anything, Wisconsin and Ohio included, that shows more contempt for the electorate than our accidental governor's blatant power grab. We've gotta get rid of this idiotic, uneducated, hyperpartisan bitch.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Perry Diaries

Dear Diary,
That's it! No more debating for this cowboy. All them words, and rememberin' stuff, and thinkin' and, well, no way Jose as we say in Texas.

Besides, the American people don't want a President that thinks too much. At least the ones that would vote for me don't. I mean look at old Reagan. Hell, he didn't think at all! And they loved him.

If'n you want a lot of thinkin', hell, you must be a Democrat anyway. No, my kind of voters want action, not thought. Enough talkin', I need to get back to doin' what I do best: executin' folks and takin' big checks from corporations. A "Man of Action", that's what I am. Shit howdy!

Dear Diary,
Why don't people like me more? Hell, I'm smarter than W. and better lookin' too. And he was elected President twice. Sort of. Jesus, my wife's better lookin' than old what's her name, too. Why don't Karl Rove like me? I didn't nickname him Turd Blossom. But I gotta admit it suits him to a "T".

Dear Diary,
What's the deal with that colored guy? No, not him, that other one. Cain. And what's all this "9-9-9" crap? Hell, even at A&M we learned enough math to laugh at that horseshit. And yet he's ahead of me in the polls! What's wrong with folks?

I didn't mean nothin' bad with that Nig, uh, "N-word head" stuff. Hell, it's just a place for guys to let off a little steam, drink a few beers, and shoot things. Some people are just too damn sensitive, if you ask me. Always lookin' for race in everything. Jesus! Anyway, I was gonna paint over that sign years ago, but my Mexicans never got around to it. You know how it is with them, "Manana, manana, Senor Rick."

Dear Diary
I miss Sarah Palin. People said she was dumb, but she always made a lot of sense to me. Easy on the eyes, too. Down boy! And anyway, what's more important, lookin' good or thinkin' good? I know the answer to that one!

That Bachmann gal's a pretty nice lookin' lady, too. And her husband seems like a real sweet fella. Sensitive and all. Good dancer, too. What's his name again? Maurice? Somethin' like that. Those Northern guys, I don't know, there's somethin' about 'em. Can't put my finger on it.

Dear Diary,
I'm not a theologian, but I'm pretty damn sure that Jesus wasn't a Mormon! I wish some folks would wake-up to that.

Dear Diary,
OK, new strategerie. I'm gonna do them debates, but I'm not gonna say anythin'. Anybody asks me a question I don't like, I'm just gonna squint at 'em--so it looks like I'm thinkin', then cock my head, sorta smile, and nod. That'll show 'em.

Go Aggies!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shocked, Shocked! (Redux)

For the last week or so we've been inundated with various pundits announcing that they are shocked--shocked! to discover that Pizza Man Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan would in fact lower taxes on millionaires while raising taxes on the middle and lower classes. Really? They're surprised by this? Really?

Lest we forget, Cain is a Republican. He is also a millionaire. As are Willard Mitt "Do As I Say And Not As I Do" Romney and Rick "Try To Forget All Of The Crazy Things I Say And Gaze Instead At My Beautiful Head Of Hair" Perry. So is Sarah "Material Girl" Palin, who isn't running because she feels that she can best serve the America people by collecting enormous speaking fees from starstruck saps.

Michelle "Yes, I Am This Stupid" Bachmann? Millionaire. Ron "FEMA Is A Bad Idea" Paul? Millionaire. Newt "Lover Boy" Gingrich? Millionaire. Even Rick "For The Love Of God Please Don't Google Santorum" Santorum is a millionaire.

So of course they want to lower taxes on millionaires. They're all millionaires. "Duh!", as the kids say.

I mean really, what would be the point of being President if you couldn't feather your own nest? Leave austerity to the little people. It suits them.

Republicans never govern very well, their "hearts" aren't really in it. Besides, since their cornerstone belief is that "government is the problem" you can't expect them to do a good job for the rest of us. It goes against their very nature.

But give them credit for one thing: they sure know how to look out for their own kind.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"I Don't Recall"

Joe Arpaio has been a blight on Arizona for more years than I can recall. His type of "get tough law enforcement" has cost the good folks of Maricopa County tens of millions of dollars in accidental death settlements for the "justice" carried out in his jails. He is a publicity whore without equal and, when you take a good hard look at the crime statistics, not really much of a cop.

But despite all of his indisputable failings, the desert hillbillies still love them some Sheriff Joe enough to keep re-electing him. Why? Because he has a big mouth and a flair for the kind of gestures that appeal to bitter, scared hayseeds. Gestures that demean and dehumanize anyone, guilty or not, who is unlucky enough to spend time in one of his facilities. Pink underwear? Check. Green baloney sandwiches? Check. Chain gangs? Check. Outdoor holding tents in the Phoenix summer? Check. Oh, and one more thing: They love Arpaio because he's gonna show them "Meskins" who's boss.

There may be dozens of meth labs scattered across the desert. There may be thousands of unserved warrants. There may be organized crime lurking in the shadows of some of our oldest establishments. And what does Joe choose to do? Raid restaurant kitchens. Our boy's a regular Eliot Ness, isn't he?

Or maybe J. Edgar Hoover is a better comparison. The FBI's fabled director wasted years harassing anyone on the political left, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Dalton Trumbo to Martin Luther King Jr. while completely ignoring the Mafia.

But now "America's toughest sheriff" has a tiny PR problem. Called to testify at the ethic's hearing of Andrew Thomas (yet another "law and order" Republican who should be behind bars), Arpaio used the old "I don't recall" defense so often it began to sound like sudden onset Alzheimer's.

Let's take a look at the scorecard: In addition to all of those wrongful death suits, he misused 100 million bucks entrusted to his office; many of his hand-picked underlings have serious legal problems of their own; and now he can't remember anything about how the county attorney's office came to bring criminal charges against a couple members of the county Board of Supervisors.

"I don't recall."

Of course none of this will matter to the desert hillbillies. They will continue to vote for their beloved Sheriff Joe, scourge of short order cooks, dishwashers, busboys, and gardeners everywhere--until he ends up getting thrown into one of his own jails. And even then I wouldn't count him out. Arizona voters are nothing if not loyal.

No, I'm afraid that Arpaio will be with us forever, like those other civilizational plagues, the cockroach and cancer.

It does have a nice ring to it, though: Joe "I don't recall" Arpaio.

And it'll look good on his headstone, too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Theatre Of The Absurd

In a moment of weakness, I considered watching the Republican's latest "debate". After all, there is a slight chance that one of these "people" might be elected President of the United States. Plus it was in Vegas, and I was wondering how all these self professed stewards of Good Christian Values would deal with the undeniable fact that if you took the sin industries out of Nevada there wouldn't be anything left but that "secret" air force base, a couple of uranium mines, and a handful of Basques tending sheep. And I always enjoy watching a room full of hypocrites grappling with a moral dilemma.

Luckily, good sense grabbed hold of me, and instead I chose to completely ignore the proceedings because, really, what would be the point?

Like the fifth sequel to a terrible movie, every single thing that might be said by one of the "worthy contenders" is entirely predictable.

First the Black Guy would say something stupid. Then the Millionaire Mormon Male Model would say something stupid. Then the Superdooper Christian Corporate Whore from the Republic of Texas would challenge the Mormon male model's stupidity with some down home y'all superdooper stupidity of his own. Then the Batshit Crazy Lady would blurt out something so bizarrely inane that the entire universe would pause for a second to ponder what the fuck she was trying to say. Did I leave anyone out? Oh, of course we can't forget Rick "Please Don't Google Santorum" Santorum, who has his own special brand of desperate loser stupidity to share, if only someone would ask.

This process would then be repeated until our eyes crossed and our ears began to bleed.

The term "Theatre of the Absurd" took root in the years after WWII. The unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust and the Atomic bomb led Samuel Beckett, amongst others, to tackle the fundamental absurdity of living in the shadow of such overpowering nihilism. Becket's Waiting for Godot was like a slap in the face to audiences used to Noel Coward and the well made play.

However, the years rolled past and the societal attacks and musings of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Beyond the Fringe, Monty Python, Dr. Strangelove, The President's Analyst, and many others have made Godot's compounding absurdities seem almost quaint.

But none of them could have prepared us for the Tea Party Republican Presidential Contenders of 2012.

Listen closely and you'll hear the ghost of Samuel Beckett sigh and say, "OK. You win."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Day, Another Ridiculous Statement From A Republican Presidential Contender

And you thought Herman "9-9-9 Shall Be The Number Of The Beast" Cain was only stupid about economics?

Au contraire, mon frere!

Today we learned that, according to Hermie Pepperoni, "Jesus was killed by a liberal court." I will now pause for a moment to fix myself a strong drink while you digest that...

Ahhh, that's better! Now where were we? Oh yes...

Come on Herm, we all know that the Jews killed Jesus. By God, that's been the basis of Christian theology (and much of Western civilization) for nearly 2000 years. Ask any good, anti-Semitic Catholic.

I know that it's hard to believe that the Romans would allow anyone anywhere to interfere with their administration of justice. I mean, really, is that anyway to run an Empire? Still, it is a long way from Rome to Galilee and who knows, maybe things got a little bit lax in the farthest provinces.

But "killed by a liberal court"?

No Herm, we can blame those dirty meddling liberals for many things: the 40 hour week, paid vacations, child labor laws, the G.I. Bill, student loans, Medicare, Social Security, various clean air and water acts, workplace safety laws, civil rights, voting rights, and much, much more. But not for whacking the Son of God. Sorry. But no.

See, it is possible, in this age of multi-tasking, to be stupidly ignorant about several things at once. Just ask Herman Cain, pride of Tea Party Republicans everywhere.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


The other day, The Arizona Republic endorsed Wes Gullett over Greg Stanton for Mayor of Phoenix. This did not come as a surprise. The Republic has a long and distinguished history of supporting the worst possible candidate. One fondly recalls Little Ben Quayle and Jan Brewer and Trent Franks and Rick Renzi and--well, the list is long and life is short. Suffice it to say Wes Gullett fits right in.

Gullett has been a GOP hack off and on for many years now. At one time or another both John "Maverick" McCain and J. Fife "They Should Have Known I was Lying On My Financial Statements" Symington have signed his paychecks. Quite a resume, huh? But mostly he's been a lobbyist.

A lobbyist is someone who scuttles around the the darker corners of our statehouses carrying large sacks of money. They ply politicians with lunches, or tickets to ball games, or just plain cash. Like the vast majority of the Wall Street Gang, most of them do nothing to make things better for the rest of us. They certainly do not have our best interests in mind. That isn't the point. Influence and power are the points. Lobbyists buy influence and power, which I might add in Arizona are surprisingly cheap, and the public good be damned. They are, in essence, purveyors of anti-democracy.

To repeat, Wes Gullett is a lobbyist.

The Republic called Gullett "right for these times." If I thought anybody down there had a sense of humor, I'd say they were being sarcastic. Alas. They think he'll be more likely to rein in the unionized city worker's benefits than Stanton. If you really believe that the benefit package of city workers is the most pressing issue facing the city then you are just as stupid as the Republic's editorial board, and you probably should vote for Gullett.

The paper also supports Gullett's goal of "leveraging city investments" (I think this means trying to privatize whatever he can get his clammy little hands on) and "getting government out of the way" of business. Sigh. Maybe someday the desert hillbillies will wake up and realize that electing people to govern you that don't believe in government is just plain dumb. Maybe not.

To repeat once again, Wes Gullett is a lobbyist. As such he has spent most of his professional life acting on the belief that government's only true purpose is to enrich his friends.

**In the interest of full disclosure, I once sat next to Greg Stanton at a banquet of some sort. To be honest I can't remember a single interesting thing he said. At the time I wasn't overly impressed. However, compared to Wes Gullett, Greg Stanton is a combination of Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Many years from now, your grandchildren will ask you "where were you when you heard that Glendale had been awarded the 2015 Super Bowl?"

Personally, I began weeping with joy when Mrs. Franklin told me the news. It's taken me many hours and some pretty powerful medication to compose myself enough to write these words. When I saw the front page of the paper with Young Michael Bidwill and "Governor" Jan Brewer beaming with joy at the wonderful news I almost relapsed.

Sure it's more than 3 years away. Sure the only new jobs it will create are temporary and low paying. Sure the local municipalities will get stuck with paying overtime for police protection. Sure the huge numbers being floated around for the game's alleged economic impact are totally unsubstantiated. Sure, most of the money will ultimately end up wherever the hotel, rental car, and restaurant chains are headquartered. (Hint: it's not Arizona.)

That's not the point.

WE GOT THE SUPER BOWL!!! Take that, Tampa Bay!!!

And when I say we, I don't mean "we" as in you and me. That "we" gets next to nothing. The chances of one of "us" even getting tickets for the game are minuscule. No, I mean the greater "we". The "we" that defines itself by the success or failure of its sports teams. The "we" that is always willing to give billions of dollars of taxpayer money to wealthy team owners so that they can become even wealthier. The "we" that glorifies men who play kids' games while vilifying teachers. That "we". "They" are ecstatic right now.

2015. Maybe some of you are worried about whether or not you'll still have a job by then. What if you get sick and don't have any insurance? Will you lose your house or be able to feed your kids? That just shows how selfish you people are. Listen, your problems don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed up world. No, what matters is that Young Michael Bidwill and "Governor" Jan Brewer have something to crow about.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Last Refuge

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." (Samuel Johnson)

It's time to update Dr. Johnson's famous observation. By necessity we must now add religion to the equation--at least on the Republican Tea Party side of the ledger.

It's simply just not enough anymore to hide behind phony, flag waving patriotism. These days you also have to shove Mr. Jesus in everyone's face to prove your bona fides.

So one of Rick Perry's Crazy Legion of Jesus minister buddies called Mormonism a "cult"? Hey, take a good close look at your Merriam Webster's--by definition, every last Christian sect is a cult.

Perry had to apologize of course--wouldn't want to run off any potential Mormon voters.

(For this he apologizes? But not for executing a possibly innocent man? Strange times we live in.)

Why any Mormon would vote for Perry when they still have one of their own tribe, the Human Weather Vane, Willard Mitt Romney, to vote for, is beyond me...

It's a long way to 2012 and we can expect a lot more of this "My love for our Lord and Savior is greater than my esteemed opponents' love for our Lord and Savior" nonsense between now and the Republican convention.

Of course, it's completely beside the point. The Founding Fathers didn't spend much time worrying about that sort of mumbo jumbo; nor did Lincoln, or either of the Roosevelt's. They were busy with weightier matters and just didn't have the time or inclination to dabble in fairy tales.

But the old My God is Bigger Than Your God is endlessly entertaining, and these days that's much more important than ideas or governing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Today's Chuckle

Jan Brewer, who is still masquerading as Governor of Arizona, even though the truth is that she is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chuck Coughlin and the For Profit Prison gangs--oops sorry, Corporations--that pay him, had this to say about endorsing a 2012 Republican presidential contender: "I'm going to wait until (the December 1st, Arizonan Republican Party/CNN debate) and see what comes out of there and then make the very best decision that I can make."

So there it is. Still time to make a bid for the "governor's" endorsement. Please, small denomination, non-sequential, unmarked bills only. Thank you!

PS Based on her previous decisions, that bit about the "very best decision that I can make" is priceless.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Republican Jobs Program

Don't worry, after the Rapture there will be lots of openings...


Sunday, October 2, 2011

All Apologies

Here's a thought for the Dark Lord Cheney and his daughter Liz, who is a particularly nasty piece of work in her own right:

President Obama doesn't have to apologize to anyone for anything until lil' Dick Cheney apologizes for the following: all of the lies about WMD's and yellow cake uranium that led to the bait and switch war with Iraq; the billions of dollars that Halliburton subsequently made in Iraq; the secret energy policy meetings with his oil company buddies; the secret, unrecorded testimony to the 9-11 commission where he sat Simple W. on his lap just like a ventriloquist's dummy; the instituting of torture as official policy; being a chicken hawk despite the five draft deferments he got during the Vietnam War; about a million dead Iraqis; and well, anything else he ever did as a member of the US government. Oh, and for generally being just a no good lying sack of shit.

That ought to keep the old prick busy until the mechanical heart finally gives out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pick A Card, Any Card

So the good GOPers of Florida think Rick "My State Is On Fire And It's Obama's Fault" Perry is too crazy? And Willard Mitt "When I Say Don't Tax Rich People What I Mean Is Don't Tax Me" Romney is not crazy enough?

The 3 card monte game that is the Republican presidential primary system continues...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you this week's Tea Party chosen son, Herman "9-9-9 Shall Be The Number Of The Beast" Cain!!! Who favors a 9% flat tax, 'cause rich folks love flat taxes. 'Cause they don't pay as much under a flat tax. And that means they have more money to create jobs! Ha Ha Ha.

(The most famous promoter of the flat tax idea is that flatulent load Steve Forbes, who in my humble opinion would look good roasting on a spit with an apple in his mouth. But I digress...)

And because flat taxes never raise as much money as that socialist scourge of free market capitalists everywhere, the progressive income tax, it also means that there are even less services for the people who aren't rich. Less money for libraries and schools and mass transit. Because those are things that rich people don't need. So away with them!! Less money for roads and bridges. And cops and firemen. Away with them, I say!!

Hermie Cain, pizza mogul, would also like to privatize Social Security, following in his words, "the Chilean model." Because when you think of progressive economic and social policy, Pinochet era Chile is the first place that comes to mind. Right?

Sadly for all concerned, the ugly truth is that after being in effect for more than 30 years, the "Chilean model" has been found somewhat wanting.

Oh, the fees charged to invest the people's money have made the Chilean bankers very rich indeed. (Which I'm guessing was the idea all along.) However, an estimated 50% of Chileans will still need some form of government assistance to avoid living their golden years in abject poverty. Or maybe they can just work as Wal Mart greeters until they drop?

Nice try Herm. Thanks but no thanks. Enjoy your week or two as Republican Tea Party frontrunner, bask in the simpering adoration of the Fox Talking Heads, and then it's off to the ash bin of history for you. Say hello to Augusto Pinochet for me, OK?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just when I was feeling better...

I was happy when Obama seemed to decide that it's time to fight. I was happy when DADT was finally (after far too long) ended. And then.....

We once again stake our claim to be among the most barbaric nations in the world. I am extremely anti-death penalty. Even in the case of Timothy McVeigh, who deserved it if anyone did, I did and do not feel that the state has the right to murder one of its citizens. That said, if you're going to kill someone, at least make sure you've got the right person. I would say there is less than a 20% chance that the state of Georgia had the right person when they executed Troy Davis tonight. All but two of the witnesses against him have recanted their testimony. Several jury members have stated that they would note have voted for the death penalty had they known of the evidence that is now available. There was no forensic evidence presented at the trial. One of the two witnesses that didn't recant is and has been a suspect in the murder and he allegedly confessed informally recently.

Our system says to be convicted of a crime you must be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For the state to actually murder someone this must be at least the standard. The Davis execution does not reach that standard. The state of Georgia and, by extension, the United States of America should be ashamed tonight.

I know I am.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Class Warfare, or: Give 'Em Hell, Barry!

Apparently it's only class warfare if you complain about the injustice and try to change it...if you just surrender, shut-up, and take it like a man, it's business as usual, the good ol' American Way!

And so it goes...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wil Cardon Is Just Another Republican Putz

And here I thought I'd have a nice, peaceful Monday. The Cardinals lost, which is always a good thing. (Nothing against the players or the coaches, but as long as the Bidwills own the team I wish a pox upon them.)

Most of the teams I care about are doing well, thank you very much. The weather is finally breaking, our son is safely back in school, Mrs. Franklin is in good humor, nothing aches too badly, and all is reasonably right with my world.

Of course, it couldn't last...Today's Arizona Republic brings another of its wretched My Turn pieces.

This one comes from someone or something called Wil Cardon. He is, naturally, a Republican businessman, a self described "jobs creator" from Mesa (of course), and he is running for the U.S. Senate. (insert your own joke here.)

Remember when, in the dewy naivete of our youth, we honestly believed that the Senate was full of qualified, highly intelligent, practical, ethical, men and women, who even when they might disagree about some policy issue at least always had what they perceived to be the best interests of the country in mind? Boy, were we dumb!

I will now try to dispense with Mr. Cardon's "thoughts" as quickly as possible. Let's see...uh, Business Good/Government Bad!!; Less Spending!!; Balance Budget Amendment!!; Fewer Regulations!!; and of course, our old friend, Lower Taxes!!

Where to begin? Mr. Cardon believes that "the dollars that leave Arizona for Washington never truly return." The truth , however, is that Arizona is another one of those Red state's that gets more back from the Federal government than it pays in. Which means those wicked Blue states, chock full of hateful unions and crawling with secular humanist liberals, have been helping us pay our way for years and years. Oops.

Here's another pearl of Wil's wisdom: "cutting taxes will take the handcuffs off businesses and spur economic growth." Apparently he has been in a coma for the last 10 years. This would not surprise me. Just a reminder: the Bush tax cuts did nothing to stimulate job growth. American corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars. The problem is one of demand. Note to Wil "I Honestly Believe That I Am Qualified To Be A U.S. Senator--No Seriously" Cardon: buy an economics book and have someone read it to you. Slowly. And make sure they explain the big words.

Like many free market capitalists, Cardon the Wise is sure that EPA regulations suffocate businesses. You see, businesses small and large need to be free to poison all the air and water and anything else they can, including their workers, because otherwise they just can't compete. Thinking like that will certainly guarantee him a seat at the grownup's table should the Koch brothers ever invite him to Thanksgiving.

(I guess the Koch's must have their own separate stash of air and water they can draw from while the rest of us are suffocating and sprouting tumors...right?)

And I guess the reason Wall Street turned into a lawless casino that wrecked the world's economy was because it was over-regulated, not under-regulated. Dear God, but I am sick of morons!

There is some more of the same, "live within our means", "government should be run like a business" bullshit from this empty headed Mesan, who declares that "the most successful businesses and families share a basic principle: they don't spend more than they earn." Apparently they never borrow either. Not for wars, not for natural disasters, not for college, not to repair the gaping hole in the roof and the cracks in the floor--not for any emergency. Certainly not to pay for Grandma's surgery.

I could go on about United State's Senatorial candidate Wil Cardon and his big ideas, but frankly, I'm tired of the pathetic, rhythmic, bleating of truly stupid people. However, it seems that I am in the minority in Arizona. And anyway, based on what I've seen, we really don't require any qualifications to hold office in this state...

So a featherweight putz like Wil Cardon, who has the intellectual capacity of a small wad of dryer lint probably has a good chance to be your next Senator.

I mean, why not?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oh, I See

Having just watched the most inept half of allegedly professional football I think I have ever seen--how 'bout that high powered Cardinal offense!--I pause to turn my attention to today's news.

There are times in life when the veil is lifted from our eyes and we see things clearly at last. The Arizona Republic, which is the final word for all things concerning Phoenix, the 6th largest city in the US and a well known hot bed of conservatism, free market capitalism, personal freedom, rugged individualism, and just dad-burned God loving, Get the Damn Government Off My Back Americanism, has an interesting story in its Sunday edition.

The Republic tells us that the state is suffering from a glut of doctors who over prescribe narcotics. That's right. A whole bunch of guys and gals who were absent the day they went over the Hippocratic Oath at Med school have been handing out prescriptions for "oxy" this and "perco" that and all other manner of legally mind altering substances. Lots of prescriptions. Lots and lots. I guess the idea is that "a stoned public is a happy public." Or at least a docile public. (It probably sounded better in the original Latin.)

All this time I thought the problem with our state was that it was overrun with a bunch of ignorant, bigoted, hateful, racist, Hillbillies. Turns out I was wrong. The problem isn't ignorant, bigoted, hateful, racist, Hillbillies. It's ignorant, bigoted, hateful, racist, stoned Hillbillies.

I stand corrected.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Triumph Of Mediocrity

John Boehner is a perfect example of a fellow who has risen well above any position he might be capable of mastering. In a well ordered world and with a little luck he might be managing a Dairy Queen or selling used cars. To give him any say in serious matters that involve anything beyond his own immediate family is laughable. There simply isn't enough brain power there to get a complicated job done.

He is not alone in this deficiency. What wisdom can we possibly expect from the likes of Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and all of the other ethical and intellectual dwarfs? Do you really want to trust these people with your future and the future of our nation? Really? Well, what about Rick "Life Is A Ponzi Scheme" Perry or Willard Mitt "I Create Jobs By Firing People" Romney? Trust them to save us? Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann? Now we've crossed over into the realm of Pythonesque satire: The Really Loony Party. Ditch the tricorner hats and get some of those beanies with the propellers on top.

The primary goal of the typical Republican politician seems to be to find the backers with the deepest pockets that they can comfortably fit into. This is not a sign of intelligence, or talent, or ethics, or anything of substance. It is certainly not a sign of patriotism.

It is a sign of nothing more than the crassest greed coupled with opportunism and a kind of animal instinct survival-ism. But sadly it is also a sign of the times.

"...It may be true that there's no accounting for taste. But ultimately there must be an accounting for no taste at all. In my lifetime I have witnessed the almost complete triumph of mediocrity. Look around. It's everywhere. Art, politics, literature, business. The lowest common denominator is king. This doesn't seem to bother anyone else, so why should it bother me so much? There used to be giants, you know. It's hard to believe that now, but it's true. Giants. Today I look around and I'm surrounded by an army of pipsqueaks. Pipsqueaks with attitude and a super human sense of entitlement. Hell of a thing."**

(**excerpted from the play Lost Languages, by permission of the author)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Death Wish, Too

It should have come as no surprise that at the Ronald Reagan Death Cult Whoopdeedo and Square Dance the other night, Rick "Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme" Perry was applauded for the number of executions he's overseen as governor.

Or the total lack of concern that at least one of those executed was innocent.

Or that a few days later one of Ron Paul's flock shouted out that people without health insurance should just "die".

You see, The Republican Tea Party is the party of hatred and death, and day by day its dark heart is exposed more and more.

Oh, they march around in their stupid little tricorner hats, misquoting the Founding Fathers, waving their tiny guns, and pretending to be patriots deeply concerned about the Constitution, but deep down they're just a bunch of hate filled, mostly racist, fools.

And dupes, as well. They may have cowered and paralyzed half of the Congress, but their noise and bluster only benefits the corporate status quo--the status quo that has left this nation in the sad state it is today.

They scream about welfare and entitlements and yet 44% of Tea Party members are on Medicare, or have a family member who is and 48% of Tea Party members are on Social Security, or have a family member who is. And yet these idiots applaud talk of "Ponzi" schemes and "vouchers."

They weep and moan about the rights of the unborn and then turn their backs on the living. And then they go to church on Sunday and congratulate themselves for being good Christians. Oh boy, the shear hypocrisy of it all takes my breath away!

Listen, the facts are that the only people who won't end up needing both Social Security and Medicare are either very rich or plan on dying young. Which one are you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Making The Hard Choices

'Tis the season of this politician or that harping on the terrifically onerous burden we all face of "making the hard choices."

Hard choices?

Let's see, should we continue putting the squeeze on the poor and middle class or raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires? Hmmm.

How about Federal subsidies for ridiculously profitable oil companies? Maybe we should send that money to the green energy side of the ledger instead?

What makes more sense, cutting a few hundred billion from the Pentagon or eliminating Head Start and the hot lunch program for school kids? Redundant arms systems or Pell Grants?

Make it easier for corporations to ship jobs overseas or harder?

Leave a few hundred thousand troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or start to rebuild America's infrastructure?

Hand Social Security over to the thieves on Wall Street or simply raise the existing wage limits to insure its solvency forever?

Leave your healthcare at the mercy of the "for profit" insurance companies or replace what we have with a single payer, Medicare for all system?

See, for a sane and honest person, these aren't "hard" choices at all.

Ahh, "sane and honest", there's the rub...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

If it was good enough then, ......

Perhaps my favorite thing about watching President Obama's speech tonight was seeing John Boehner visibly cringe every single time that Obama pointed out that he is proposing in his jobs package things that Republicans have proposed in the past.

Down Memory Lane

Gee, it's funny what we remember and what we don't.

I'd forgotten how insufferably smug Peggy Noonan is...

I wonder who they'll roll out next. Is Ollie North still alive? Does the uniform still fit?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Great Debate--A Preview

And now, live from the Ronald Reagan Crypt in Seamy Valley:

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Republican presidential candidate debate. I'm your moderator--"

"It's all Obama's fault!"
"Kenyan Socialist!"
"Black man!"
"Cut taxes!"


"Yes, well, I'm sure there will be plenty of time for that late--"

"Cut taxes!"
"Cut taxes!"
"Cut more taxes!"
"Shouldn't even be taxes!"


"Alright. Let's begin by asking each of the candidates to--"

"Cut taxes."
"Cut taxes on the rich!"
"Cut taxes on the rich and the corporations!"
"That's what I meant! And let me just add that I love this country!"

(lengthy applause)

"Uh huh. Let's take a moment and talk about Global warming and its potential effect--"

"No such thing!"
"No such thing!"
"God's will!"
"Obama's fault!
"Cut taxes!"

(thunderous applause)

Rick Perry's America--A Preview

Hey Kids! You too can be a pragmatic, conservative, business friendly Republican governor--just like Rick Perry!!! It's as easy as 1-2-3!!!

1) cut the funding for Texas's volunteer fire departments by 75%.

(Extra credit if you can figure out a way to funnel this money to your corporate friends.)

2) pray that there aren't any fires.

3) after that doesn't work, and by the way HAS IT EVER WORKED?, and a good chunk of Texas is in flames, scream about the Federal government's slow response.

(Yes, this would be the same Federal government that you don't want interfering with Texas...)

Next week: how to execute innocent people for fun and profit!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coffee Talk

I'm sure, like me, you spent Labor Day wondering what a very rich guy thought about the State of the American Union, 2011.

Well, lo and behold, our prayers have already been answered!

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, where they put all the mystery and randomness of the universe into every cappuccino, (consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds and has no place in the $5.95 cup of coffee business), took some of the enormous pile of money he's made from the aforementioned $5.95 cups of coffee and bought a full page ad in the Sunday New York Times to discuss what's wrong, with this, the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

And, wonder of wonders, it's that ole devil "partisan politics." That's right, President Obama and the Democrats and the Republican "loyal" opposition need to set aside this partisan bickering and get down to making America great again.

Yes, he really said that. This only proves that you can make lots and lots of money and still be something of a naive goof.

It gives the impression that each side is equally guilty of "partisan politics", which is a load of crap. The phrase "false equivalency" comes to mind.

Every single proposal the President has made for the last 32 months--even those proposals that were initially Republican ideas--has been stonewalled, filibustered, distorted--whatever, by the Republicans and a few of their kissin' cousins, the Blue Dog Democrats.

That is not simple "partisanship". That is a concerted, scorched earth effort to destroy the President, and the country be damned.

The house is on fire. Side A wants to find ways to put it out. Side B wants to watch it burn, so they can blame Side A. Both sides have opinions and objectives, but that doesn't make them equivalent.

I cannot image a more conciliatory man than Barack Obama. To many of us it appears to be his greatest weakness. But even if it turns out to be his greatest strength, to imply that he has been equally partisan and therefore equally to blame is just plain stupid.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

They Must Think You're Stupid

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Simple W. got his way and Social Security was privatized in, say, 2005-2006. What do you suppose would have happened to all of that money in the great Wall Street meltdown of 2008?

Would Baby Jesus have come down and magically saved all the old folks' pensions?

Uh huh. That's exactly what would have happened! And they all lived happily ever after...

But those wicked socialist Democrats wouldn't let Simple W. and all the rest of the the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight get their slimy hands on Social Security. So there was no need for divine intervention, and even though the economy crashed and burned, and millions of people suffered, there was at least some form of safety net for the most vulnerable of our citizens.

Time passes. People forget. 2008 was such a long time ago. Not to mention 1929. Who was this FDR guy again? Weren't things so much better when Reagan was President? Who's on Dancing With the Stars and what are the Kardashians up to?

There is much discontent across the land because President Obama hasn't been able to wave a magic wand and fix everything that his predecessor messed up. Also he's, well, black. And that doesn't sit well with the large number of Americans who are still living in the toxic past.

Lies become a kind of currency and an oxymoron-ic chant is heard across the land, "Keep your government hands off of my Medicare!" Wait. What?!

"Corporations are people! They have the right to unlimited free speech!" Huh?! "The Supreme Court says so!" Well, OK then.

Besides, didn't Lincoln say "of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations"? I'm pretty sure he did--I think I heard it on Fox News.

In the confusion, the billionaire owners of the country see a chance to finally destroy the pesky labor movement. "Those damn union workers have been stealing from us all these years! And all those annoying government regulations? They're stifling growth! Tell you what, let us do whatever we want to the air and water and soil, and maybe we'll give you a job. Deal?"

As the chaos continues, the really big brains of the Republican Party are back again with their "let's privatize Social Security" mantra. Because, to quote the great bank robber Willie Sutton, "that's where the money is." And we're talking about a lot of money. Imagine the broker commissions! Imagine the campaign contributions to Republican candidates! Tax deductible, of course.

And the beauty of it, at least from a satirist's point of view, is that there are people who listen to them and nod their empty heads and say "Yeah! What a great idea!"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One More Thing

One more thing about Limbaugh. Believe me, it pains me to mention him again so soon, because the mere thought of his porcine face makes me nauseous, just like certain odors bring on an instant gag reflex. But I can't let this pass.

In his latest screed, El Pusball advised that orange faced baboon, John Boehner, to put Obama "in his place." And I'm wondering just where the fatuous turd thinks the President of the United State's place is?

Obviously somewhere beneath Boehner's. And Limbaugh's. And all the mental and spiritual dwarfs that make up the Republican presidential contenders. And the ghost of the "sainted" Ronald Reagan (God, don't get me started on that asshole).

And all the other white men, living and dead, in America, too?

Just guessing, but if Obama were white, this shit wouldn't be happening. Oh, there would be plenty of other shit for Rush to roll around in. That, after all, is what pigs do. They can't help it--it's genetic.

But this particular, "let's put him in his place" shit? I don't think so.

At Least He's Consistent

The sun rises. The sun sets. The tides go in and out. And Rush Limbaugh makes a racially tinged remark about President Obama. Ho hum. Just another day on planet earth.

Say what you want about that mendacious, pustular, bloated bag of noxious fumes, but lil' Rushie sure knows his audience. And ain't no uppity colored going to put one over on the retarded hillbillies as long as Rush is there to warm 'em! No sir, no way!

I'm sorry, did I say "retarded"? I meant intellectually challenged.

"Only in America", as Don King--yet another charlatan grifter--but of a slightly different sort--used to say, could a malicious, sneering, drug addicted buffoon make many millions of dollars a year by appealing to the basest instincts of a bunch of stupid, fearful, sexist, racist, homophobic, hateful, morons.

Everything You Need To Know About The Phoenix Mayoral Race In 25 Words or Less

Wes Gullett used to work for J. Fife Symington III and John "the Maverick" McCain. And he's proud of it. The end.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cheney v. McCain

So in this "book" that the Dark Lord Cheney "wrote" he apparently takes some potshots at John McCain, R-Hensley & Co.

This is reminiscent of nothing so much as two old, neutered, toothless tomcats yowling away on a ramshackle fence somewhere.

Except that the Maverick has decided to take the highroad and not yowl back.

He is a statesman, after all. Also, the last time he dared to mess with the Bush-Cheney-Rove lie machine, circa 2000 in the South Carolina primary, he got chewed up pretty badly.

And there are two things every old, neutered, toothless tomcat knows: where they stand in the pecking order and not to make the same mistake twice.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday night music video

Because I'm quite frankly fed up with the political situation these days and the fact that I'm hot and tired and the fact that I'm really bummed about the earthquake and hurricane both hitting the east coast in one week (even though that's actually the good news -- they turned out to be much less serious than expected and everyone I know came out OK), I need something to cheer me up tonight -- and I'm betting you do as well.

Therefore, I offer you this: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes along with Bruce -- doing one of the greatest Jersey Shore songs ever!

Tales From The Dark Lord

Dick Cheney, who is, despite all of our prayers, still alive, has written a book!

The Dark Lord Cheney, whose soul, if he ever had one, was, I'm sure, a small and shriveled thing, must keep whatever little conscience he has left in an undisclosed location. How else could he possibly presume to write a book? What was it the man said? "Have you no shame, sir?"

I'm afraid that for the next few days at least little Dick will be unavoidable. His hand picked interviewers will ask fawning questions while he sneers that still boyish sneer of his.

I will not read his book. You will not read his book.

I'm reminded of something Mary McCarthy once said about Lillian Hellman: "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."

That pretty much sums up my feelings about Dick Cheney's literary efforts.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What Year Is It?

Ron Paul, who is from Texas, which, when you get right down to it, accounts for most of what he says, doesn't think much of FEMA. In fact, he'd prefer us to do things the way they did them in "1900". Folks helpin' folks on a local level--without the dadgum gubmint interfering. (At this point, feel free to spit some tobacco "juice" and hitch up your pants.)

So, when the hurricane, or tornado, or earthquake flattens your town, don't come crying to Ron Paul. Just bend over, grab your bootstraps, and pull. If that doesn't work, tough. You don't need no Federal aid--you just need to pull harder!

You see, this is what we're up against. There are people, not as many as Fox News wants you to think, but definitely enough to screw things up for the rest of us, who want to turn back the clock 100 years or more, to what they imagine, in their tiny little brains, was a "better" America.

Admit it, things were so much better before child labor laws, when you could work those little suckers until they dropped. When women could not vote, black people dare not vote, and homosexuals didn't even exist, except in European novels. Before all those pesky, intrusive Federal regulations that keep our food and water and air (reasonably) clean. Before the 40 hour week and OSHA, before unemployment insurance, before universal elementary education and Social Security and Medicare and all those other "socialist" ideas that have destroyed the Eden that once was.

You know, being nostalgic for the "golden age" that people like Ron Paul hold so dear is like being nostalgic for a cholera epidemic.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Need some federal funds for hurricane relief? F.U. says Cantor...

Every time I think Eric Cantor couldn't be more cruel or stupid than he already is, he proves me wrong. It's really a bit unbelievable to see the lengths this guy will go to to please Grover Norquist. You see, he's now decided that no money should be spent on hurricane relief without corresponding cuts on other federal programs (you're right, he only wants to cut those programs that help the poor -- God forbid we should cut defense!).

Cantor's spokesperson told Talking Points Memo today:
"We aren't going to speculate on damage before it happens, period," his spokesperson Laena Fallon emails. "But, as you know, Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts."

Now note that Fallon says "ought", not "must" -- but I think that's a distinction that really doesn't matter. We've already seen what Cantor and his ilk want to do to the federal budget -- in their ideological world, the only purpose for government is to transfer money from the bottom up to the wealthy. They have shown this to be true over and over and over again. Yet people still vote for them -- go figure.

I'm sure there have been more despicable people to reach positions as powerful as the one Cantor now occupies, that of House Majority Leader, but with the notable exceptions of Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay I have to think really hard to remember one. Usually the system realizes just how inhumane these people are and spits them out after they have their few moments of fame -- but Cantor is still with us and I doubt seriously that his district will vote him out, especially since they are inland and won't bear the brunt of the coming storm. I suspect the rest of the state (especially the coastal areas) will disagree with Cantor, after all,  Governor McDonnell has already declared a state of emergency -- precisely so the state will be eligible for federal disaster funds.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You Can't Argue With Crazy

Jon Huntsman seems like a reasonable fellow. Moderately intelligent and with mostly moderate beliefs. There's no way I would ever vote for him, but I'd understand if some of you would. Of course he's got that goofy religion weighing him down, but hell, they all have some form of goofy religion weighing them down. That's the American Way and there's no getting around it.

Too bad Huntsman has chosen to be a member of a party that has gone completely crazy. I mean howling at the moon, rolling around in its own feces, frothing at the mouth, barking mad.

A day doesn't pass without either Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry, the two current darlings of the Republican base, saying something that astounds us all with its slack jawed stupidity. The groundlings eat it up and Fox News roars its approval. No, you just can't be too crazy for the typical Republican voter these days. Global warming? Hoax! Raise taxes on billionaires? Job killer! National Healthcare? Socialism! Medicare and Social Security? Privatize!

Look, there's poor Sarah Palin, filled with envy, feeling left out as the circus rolls past, her nose pressed to the glass of her idling non-campaign bus, as she screams plaintively "What about me? Don't you remember me? I can be just as crazy as they are!" Of course you can, dear.

The sad truth is there's no place left in the GOP for someone who even occasionally recognizes and acknowledges those troubling things called "facts". They really have created their own reality and they will not brook any form of rational dissent.

So, sorry Jon Huntsman, you may well be a sane and honest man, but you've picked the wrong party and the wrong century. Save your breath. You can't argue with crazy. It's pointless.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Senatorial Snark

John McCain, R-Hanoi, and Lindsey Graham, R-Hillbilly, could not muster up the decency to give President Obama any credit whatsoever for the impending demise of Moammar Gadhafi. They managed to praise the Libyan people and NATO forces but found nothing good to say about the actions of our President. In fact they condemned Obama for not using more US air power earlier.

Of course, Graham is stuffed so deep in the Israel Lobby's pocket it's a wonder he can still breathe, and both he and McCain were cheerleaders for W's Iraq war, (Arizona's favorite POW also had a hardon for bombing Iran), so maybe this dynamic duo's realpolitik expertise is just a little suspect.

McCain in particular has been wrong so many times that taking his advice about foreign policy (or anything for that matter) is the same as taking Casey Anthony's advice about childcare.

Indeed the "legend" of Maverick John McCain is based almost entirely on his being a prisoner of war 40 years ago. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that means he got caught and surrendered.

Call me old fashioned, but holding your hands in the air and saying please don't shoot me does not qualify one as either a hero or a foreign policy expert. And only in Arizona does it qualify you for the Senate.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Free Market In Action

Because we don't really like to leave the house unless we positively have to, Mrs. Franklin and I always vote early by mail. (Her Mother was fond of saying "there are a lot of kooks out there", and the funny thing is, she was right.)

This time the ballot contained, in addition to the chance to vote for the ineffectual cipher of our choice for Mayor of Phoenix, the rare opportunity to engage in free market economics, the bedrock of this great nation.

See, somebody wants to build a gas station near a neighborhood and naturally, the NIMBY gene being so strong, this has caused an uproar.

In the past, the compassionate, caring part of me would side with the neighbors. But not anymore.

I voted for the gas station. Hey, this is Arizona, remember? The rights of businesses are more important than the rights of the individual. You folks keep electing a bunch of neo-conservative, free market luvin', "corporations are people" spouting, mostly Republican, punks and this is what you get.

Live by the free market, die by the free market.

Enjoy the toxic fumes and plumes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some Good News in Arizona

State Senate Majority Leader Russell Pearce's recall election has been certified and will take place in November. The unfortunate thing of this recall is that there is an obscure law in Arizona that apparently means the taxpayers will have to foot Pearce's bills for the recall!

Funny -- Pearce is the guy against big government, against wasting taxpayer funds, against ANY public financing of campaigns. Yet he seems to have no problem in accepting those same funds in an attempt to hold on to his power, power that I would argue has been misused against the Arizona taxpayer.

If you go to the comment section, be aware that some of the people who comment on the Arizona Republic website seem to be tried and true crazy freepers -- and there are some particularly ridiculous comments here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


As we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11th, the avoidable tragedy that will be forever known, like Pearl Harbor, by its date, we find ourselves in an increasingly terrifying world.

Even though Bin Laden is finally dead--and killed not by order of that smirking, flight suit wearing, dry drunk, AWOL prone National Guardsman, Simple W, or his puppet master, the gun safety poster boy, multi student deferment wielding, Dark Lord Cheney, but instead by Barack Obama, our Kenyan Socialist semi-Democrat President--the world just gets scarier and scarier.

It turns out the enemy, to paraphrase Pogo, is "us".

"We" get fooled over and over by the same divide and conquer tactics that Nixon proudly called his Southern Strategy. Emphasize fear more than anything else. Play the whites off against the blacks. As an added twist play both off against the browns.

"We" accept stupid, simplistic explanations from bought and paid for corporate mouthpieces masquerading as statesmen or "mavericks".

"We" forget the lessons and struggles of the past at the drop of a hat. As a nation we have ADHD. We believe in a fictional history, fairy tales about a nation that never existed. And whoever tells them the best, Ronald Reagan being the prime example of this, gets our vote.

"We" make millionaires out of Murdoch, Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly and all of the other purveyors of hate, fear and divisiveness.

"We" don't want to pay taxes--but we still want services. But just for "us" and not for "them". Because "they" don't deserve them and "we" do.

"We" want to blame someone else. Usually the wrong someone else.

This nation will never fall to a foreign enemy. But the enemies within? I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

If nothing else, remember this!

Jim Hightower, former TX State Agriculture Commissioner, author, activist and close friend of Molly Ivins on Rick Perry: "He's George W. Bush without the intelligence or the ethics."

That ought to scare the living shit out of you.....

Monday, August 15, 2011

B. Franklin's Book Club

I bet you're as tired of the Washington gambol as I am. Call it a Super Dooper Committee of the Devoted and Caring, if you want--I don't care. As Vladimir said to Estragon in Waiting for Godot, "I begin to weary of this motif."

Really, how many times can they avoid the obvious solutions? Talk about the blind leading the blind. Here's an idea: let it burn to the ground...perhaps we can make something interesting from the rubble. No? Well then I'm sorry, but my dance card is full and I'm looking for other, more soothing, forms of entertainment.

How about a book or two? Glad you asked.

Comedian-actor-screenwriter-director Albert Brooks has added another hyphenate: novelist. His Twenty Thirty: the real story of what happened to America is a fairly entertaining look at what becomes of the USA in the year 2030. Hint: we're deeply in hock to China and the BIG ONE finally hits Southern California. Brooks is not much of a prose stylist, but some of the dialogue is clever, and the book is brimming with interesting ideas--sometimes amusing, sometimes frightening--about the future of our benighted land.

Crime is a collection of short stories by a German defense attorney, Ferdinand von Schirach, and it contains enough fascinating characters to keep a legion of film noir screenwriters busy for years. Mr. von Schirach knows the intimacies of the criminal mind and this is flat out a wonderful book. Like the man says, "most things are complicated, and guilt always presents a bit of a problem."

Equus and Amadeus, two of the great plays of the last century, were written by Peter Shaffer. His most recent play, if 1992 can be considered recent, is The Gift of the Gorgon. "A famous playwright has fallen to his death on the Greek island where he exiled himself after the failure of his last play...leaving his wife and a son he never acknowledged to sort through the wreckage..." And then the "fun" begins. It is a difficult and complicated piece, laced with allusions to Greek mythology, which probably accounts for it never having any major American production. Judi Dench, who starred in the award winning London production, reportedly hated the play. And, as you read it, you can understand her reasons. But still, a major work from a major playwright, and attention must be paid. PS there's a multi-part conversation between Shaffer and the playwright John Guare posted on youtube, if that sort of thing interests you.

And last but not least, Padgett Powell, a novelist I was previously unaware of, gives us The Interrogative Mood, a novel?, which consists of nothing but questions. It is laugh out loud funny, but also much, much more. A short book that you never want to end. Trust me, my poor words do not do it justice.

If they haven't shuttered your local library--necessary austerity measures, you know--or if there are any bookshops left open near you, preferably of the independent variety, put down the remote control, get thee hence and start thee reading.

Remember, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Unless you're in the Congress, of course, where wasted minds go to quorum.