Hola amigos! Angry New Mexican here! As usual, my angry hombres are remiss in writing. So without further ado, here is Angry Immigrant, waxing rhapsodical about his adopted homeland of California.

Angry Immigrant

With California within a stone’s throw of officially failing, the upcoming governor’s race should be more amusing than most. (Ok, it doesn’t look like Gary Coleman is jumping in this time).

The Dems are throwing an all-wacky team with the mayor of S.F. and Jerry Brown — who is probably Daley’s current rival for best local-politics weasel. The “gay marriage by executive order” mayor is just all kinds of crazy. Popular in SF itself, but otherwise viewed as unserious. Brown is hard to categorize. He’s bounce around through nearly every level of state government (including governor), but he has all of the baggage that comes with a lifetime of shady deals at all levels of government. Neither will be of great help digging the state out of the hole it’s in, but the election will likely be decided on whether the voters feel the crisis or not late in 2010.

The republicans are sending a team that might actually have some competence to it. Maybe. If they don’t stab each other in the back and destroy the state party like some other states I could mention.

Well, for Senate they seem to be trying their hardest.

The two intriguing candidates to me are the businesswomen. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have both had stints running major companies, and the GOP here seem to be trying to 1) bring a business-heavy slate and 2) break their old white man image. Fiorina seems to be off to a bumbling start. But, given that the only other time I’ve heard of here was when she was run out of HP for corruption or incompetence, that may actually be representative for her.

It’s possible that they’re letting Fiorina stumble forward to tie up Boxer’s attention, and then they’ll slot Schwarzenegger in as a Senate candidate just before the primary. But I think he’s ready to be done with politics, and get back to just being a normal rich guy again.

It seems like if the GOP can run on a platform of business competence and fiscal conservatism (and de-emphasize nearly everything else for this cycle), they should make massive gains. But California is in the hole it’s in for a reason — the GOP keeps picking idiot organizers and candidates, and the voters keep picking idiot Dems.

The White House today rebuffed pleas from California for cash. California, as anyone not living under a rock knows by now, carries an estimated $24 billion deficit and is in dire economic peril. Now they expect the rest of us to bear the penalty of their excess for them, and pay for the irresponsible behavior for which they reaped all of the rewards. Something must have hit Obama in the head this morning because for once he made the right choice.

He told those lazy, good for nothing, deadbeat, pot smoking, California Hippie Losers to bug off. Three cheers for Obama!

California has the largest GDP in the US, at over $1.8 trillion, one of the highest levels of taxation in the country, an annual tax revenue of over $114 billion, and one of the highest levels of tax revenue per capita. They have all the resources necessary to solve their own problems. The reason they cannot pay their bill is that, much like a bunch of trailer trash Wal-mart shoppers, they’ve lived beyond their means and run up a debt funding ridiculous programs, propositions, and other such folly to a point that no one in the damnable state even knows where or how the money is being spent. A full 50% of their yearly tax revenue is earmarked for propositions even before the budget is set, that’s more revenue than the total taxes brought in by 48 of the 50 states. And yet visit California and you’ll find a third world nightmare of poorly paved roads, one of the worst school systems in the nation (ranked 48th of 50), no public transportation worthy of the name, scant police coverage, and a wash of crime and poverty that stretches 800 miles from north to south.

California isn’t too big to fail. It’s too irresponsible, stupid, and mismanaged to succeed. Its practices, culture, and above all the arrogance of its people make it one of the largest threats to the American way of life in the world. So now California, we’re cutting you off and it’s time for you to reap what you have sown. Obama should strip your state of its sovereignty and readmit it as a federal territory.

-Angry Midwesterner


Champions of Gay Marriage

Champions of Gay Marriage

Friday October 10th a good friend of many Americans, especially those who count themselves in the religious right, was laid to rest. The tombstone bears the dates “1778 – 2008″, our friend “Marriage and Family in Connecticut” passed away at the ripe old age of 230 years. It was preceded in death by “Marriage and Family in California” which died earlier this year at the age of 158, and “Marriage and Family in Massachusetts” in 2004, which died at the age of 216. All of these deaths occurred under the watch of George W. Bush, who promised both in 2000 and 2004 to defend marriage and family.

In truth we would have laid to rest “Marriage and Family in the USA” back in 2004 had it not been for the efforts of one William Jefferson Clinton, a Democrat. Under the guidance of the Clinton Administration the Defense of Marriage Act was passed which exempted gay marriage from the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution. Without this act by a brave Democrat concerned about the integrity of marriage in this country, and our families, gay marriage would now be defacto legal in all 50 states.

It’s hard to admit, but it’s time for the religious right to admit they’ve been taken for a ride. Under the watch of Republcians, Gay marriage has destroyed traditional families in three states so far. Under Bush and Cheney Chruches have lost their tax exempt status, and their property all for practicing their religion. The blame for what has happened lies solely at the feet of Conservatives who failed to stand up for the interests of the religious right.

This November we all have a choice to make, so which will it be? A vote for Republicans, who have destroyed marriage and family values over their 8 year reign? Or a vote for Democrats, the ONLY party with a track record for upholding family values and protecting marriage?

-Angry Midwesterner


The taste of succulent albacore with a hint of wasabi and soy sauce… Eel perfectly laid out over rice… A tasty roll of crab, expertly wrapped in fresh seaweed. For many, sushi is a tasty way to break free from the tyranny of bland, generic American cuisine. But wait just a minute Ms. Sashimi! Before you have another bite, realize this: When you dine on sushi, you dine with the Reverend Moon!

That’s right, that tasty bit of fish puts you in league with the Unification Church, and it’s leader the enigmatic Rev. Sun Myung Moon. But what do you mean, Angry New Mexican? I don’t believe in mass weddings, the insufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice courtesy of John the Baptist’s failings or a literal kingdom of God on earth. I mean, I don’t even read the Washington Times, a redoubt of the Moonies since its founding. How can I possibly be in league with the Moonies?

My dear sushi-eating readers, you are in league with Rev. Moon, and I’m about to explain why. To start off with, none of this is “new.” The Chicago Tribune and the East Bay Express pointed this out several years ago. But time and time again, I’ve found the American people woefully unaware of their role in the New World Order [Moonie Edition]. You see, Rev. Moon’s route to your California roll was revealed to the world in 1980 with his speech the Way of Tuna. In it Rev. Moon outlines his plan to build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth starting first with the oceans, hence the Way of Tuna. The means is simple — build a Korean chaebol, of the likes of Samsung or Hyundai (whose yes-men seem to alternate control of South Korea’s government), but build this chaebol in fish. The building of ships, fishing and distribution network in the US and Korea will all exist in one big happy (Moonie) family, under the guise True World Foods.

Rev. Moon started assembling his empire in the late 70′s, buying key companies and slowly taking over the town of Gloucester, MA. The Moonie fisherman have since also moved into Bayou La Batre, AL and Kodiak, AK. Gloucester does much of the processing and their 22 distribution centers are located in places like Elizabeth, NJ and Elk Grove Village, IL. According to The Trib, TWF brings in $250 million dollars a year in revenues. While not a monopoly, TWF does have a substantial market share, and taking direction from Rev. Moon, has played a key role in the sushi explosion in the US in the last 30 years. On the TWF site, I found a choice quote, I felt our readers would enjoy:

“What we believe makes True World Foods LLC unique in the marketplace is our corporate culture. Its underlying principles are that we look to live our lives for the sake of others, believe in the philosophy of oneness and instill the idea of teamwork to all our employees.”

Oneness indeed… how wonderfully Moonie. So before you have that next yummy California roll, just remember: The Reverend Moon thanks you for your investment.

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Aside: You may notice the “Hates America” tag. I have decided, following the Mildly Piqued Academician (in homage to Angry Midwesterner), to tag all my rants with “Hates America” from here on out. I give it a fig leaf of justification by noting that readers of the Washington Times are part of the Grand Neoconservative Conspiracy (TM), and therefore must hate America.

In a massive clash of cultures and climates, the gloriously orange Fighting Illini — fresh off their invention of the transistor, the LED, youTube, and all web browsing known to man — faced off against USC, who are fresh off their recent re-invention of … football.

Good – Illinois in the Rose Bowl
Bad - against USC
Good - enough friends in town with extra tickets that Mrs. Angry Immigrant and I get to go!
Bad - …to a game against USC.
Good - ~25,000 orange shirts, and lots of college nostalgia
Bad - ~60,000 red shirts on local thugs who pretend they went to USC.
Awesome - seeing one of these idiots pick a fight with an Illinois guy, call his friends to join him in the argument, then watching the LAPD haul all three USC guys off in handcuffs. (Mrs. A.I. would want me to point out that the big “tough” guy of the group was arrested by a girl — a tiny female officer who could easily have whooped him.)
Ugly - no Chief Illiniwek
Halfway Decent – The USC head coach being a nice enough guy to not use his time outs to push in one more touchdown at the end of the game, and set a record for points scored…
Really Reaching for a Silver Lining – Slightly improving on our 1984 score (UCLA 45 – Illinois 9).
Los Angeles - More ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ from USC than from O.J. Simpson.
Los Angeles - 90K fans, probably about 50K cars… 2 hour wait to leave the parking lot.

Happy New Year to y’all!

-AI

PS – the USC band is called the “Spirit of Troy”. It occurs to me that the actual “Spirit of Troy” involved picking a fight, only to be fooled by literally the oldest trick in the book, having your citizenry slaughtered to a man, and having your city burned to the ground so thoroughly that no one seriously believed it really existed until 20 centuries later.

USC – Celebrating a tradition of credulity and historical ignorance since 1906! Fight on!

As we approach Christmas (or as the quaint locals here call it: “Parking Lot Season”), I thought it would be helpful to present to the world a list of things that don’t make me angry. Many many things fail to deliver on their promises, and so few live up to them that I feel it’s valuable to offer to you, fair reader, a few gems that in my own personal experience, don’t suck.

Item 1
Situations High-Back Microsuede Manager’s Chair, Black

Having done heavy computer use for years being only supported by my friends, family, and a folding chair, my lumbar was in need of some lumber. Bringing about much relief was this chair. It’s cheap (by chair standards), easy to assemble, and — most importantly — it doesn’t suck. There’s a headrest if you feel like using it, and enough controls to get you comfortable( up/down, tilt/no tilt, and tilt-tension ) without the ridiculous Aeron problems of 1) needing a chair technician and 2) always having that sneaking suspiscion that your chair adjustment could be more optimal.

Unfortuntely for you, fair reader, this chair seems to be discontinued. If you can find it anywhere (ebay?), it doesn’t suck.

Cost: $70.
Savings: back spasms.
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck.

Item 2
Best Wheel Products Folding Hand Truck

Mrs. Angry Immigrant and I are moving to a new apartment, so I popped out to the atrocity that is the local mega-strip mall and picked up one of these folding hand carts. While compared to a real hand truck this is a glorified luggage cart, you don’t need anything more for moving boxes of books.

It holds ~200 lbs of boxes without breaking (it wobbles, but doesn’t fall down). It has big wheels for a small unit, it folds up very flat, and it’s light enough that it’s easier to carry it than roll it when it’s empty.

Cost: $40.
Savings: taking 3 boxes to the car per trip instead of one (and the aforementioned back spasms)
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck.

Item 3
Forearm Forklift

These (admittedly hideously colored) straps help transfer the weight of bulky objects so that you can maintain good lifting posture and use larger muscles when trading your valuable weekend time for pizza & beer while helping people move.

Especially helpful for mattresses where there are no good handholds, these let you concentrate on steering through doorways rather than just maintaining your grip. When my parents moved a few years ago, Dad stumbled on these, and it really made the whole thing a lot smoother. Yes they’re “as seen on TV”, but that doesn’t mean it’s a 100% cheap plastic kitchen gadget.

Cost: $25
Savings: Helps get a grip on bulky objects, saves back strain (notice a theme?)
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck.

Item 4
Firefox keywords

Hopefully everyone visiting this site already uses Firefox. If not, please stop reading and go install it. Unless you’re reading from work. Then send an email to your sysadmin (copy your PHB) insisting that he install this on all company workstations. Then continue reading.

They’re quick, they’re easy, and they help you quickly navigate to common places you have to get to. To set it up, right-click over any search input box, and select “Add a Keyword for this Search”. Next time you want to ask the Internet a question, just use the keyword.

The company I work for uses web-based source code navigation tools, so I use these to quickly move through the code and the versioning system databases rather than starting at the search page each time.

Cost: One right-click
Savings: Repetitive Typing Time
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck

Item 5
Heat-reflective Window film

Given that the local pagan populace here is so amazingly adept at appeasing their sun god with burnt offerings of Malibu canyon homes and other low-lying shrubbery, it’s important for those of us with south-facing patio windows to take steps to repel the major effects of the day star.

Although this is a little annoying to install, (and looks terrible if you do it wrong) the effect is immediate and significant. After applying the film to one patio door, you could feel the difference between the heat still coming through that one relative to the heat coming through the empty door. It’s basically like sunglasses for your house.

It made my living room much more bearable as the outside temperatures got over 110F in the summer. Plus the shininess adds to the privacy for a window that’s a bit too close to a sidewalk for my taste.

Cost: $50
Savings: gallons of sweat, and $$ on A/C bill.
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. Your mileage may vary.

Merry Parking Lot Season!

I’d like to kick off a new semi-regular feature here at the Angry Men, a celebration of Americans of all different stripes and backgrounds who have all, in their way, made America and the world a better place. They will be politicians, generals, entrepreneurs, scientists, and inventors; famous, and obscure; figures of history and thoroughly modern folks. But together they will remind us of the diversity and unity of the United States, of our greatest principles and of the great promise of America: you are free to pursue your dreams as best you can.

Without further ado, let’s raise a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to our inaugural Great American: Walter Elias Disney:

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The first few decades of Walt Disney’s life reads like an almost stereotypical American success story: born the son of an immigrant, growing up across the Midwest in big cities and small towns, sneaking off to World War I as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross, hustling to get started in his chosen career, getting breaks from his brother and returning the favor, and making and losing businesses and fortunes. All by the age of 33.

But in 1934, Disney did something destined to change American entertainment forever, and catapult him to new heights: he produced a full-length animated film featuring both realistic human characters and fantastic cartoon characters. This doesn’t sound like much these days, but back then it was “Disney’s Folly” because it had never been done, and conventional wisdom said it couldn’t be done. Disney bet the farm that conventional wisdom was wrong, and his competitors bet that he’d lose that farm.

Of course, as we know, Disney was right, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was wildly successful, playing to standing ovations and winning an Oscar (well, actually one large and seven small Oscars, in fact). More than a personal triumph, it ushered in the golden age of American animation, and set the stage for the staggering industry of animated features around the world. It also launched Walt Disney Studios in Burbank and bankrolled a skilled studio of master animators. Disney would go on to produce a whole cavalcade of classic animated films: Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (which brought the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Wind in the Willows to many for the first time), Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Cinderella, and many, many more. Many did not make much money, some were quite successful, but all have endured the test of time surprisingly well and stand as a tribute to Walt Disney’s vision that rich, complex stories could be told through animation.

After the Second World War, Disney brought his vision for a child’s fantasy amusement park to life in Disneyland, setting it on a huge lot and surrounding it by one of his favorite things in the world: a train. Throughout the 1950s Disney Studios worked on Disneyland and released major live-action and animated features. Disney also turned his eyes towards the stars and worked with NASA (and Werner von Braun) to promote space travel through films.

The 1960s saw Disney at the peak of his success, with Mary Poppins sweeping box offices and Disney debuting his vision of the future at the 1964 Worlds Fair. Not content with a one-time display of that vision, he laid the plans for an expanded and enhanced Disneyland known in development as “Disney World” and sited on 27,000 acres in Florida. Although plans included an expanded amusement park (to be known as the “Magic Kingdom”), resorts, and hotels, the centerpiece was to be Disney’s vision of the perfect future community, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). In Disney’s expansive vision, EPCOT was to be a working future city, whose residents would focus on innovative science and advanced technology.

Sadly, Walt Disney would never live to see the fulfillment of this vision, as he died from lung cancer in 1966, just two years after beginning the new project. His brother Roy came out of retirement to manage the project (and company) and open the first stage of the new park, now formally called “Walt Disney World Resort” in October 1971. By December of that year, Roy too was dead.

EPCOT as envisioned by Disney never came to be, though the modern Epcot park does provide a showcase for future technologies, and embodies the spirit of international cooperation in its World Showcase. And Disney’s Celebration community, built by Disney Imagineering as a model planned community, comes closer to the original goal of EPCOT (though in a suburban rather than urban mode).

Of course, as we remember the man and his legacy we should not overlook the darker side. Walt Disney never trusted organized labor, and his prejudice led him to make unsubstantiated allegations during the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. He spied on union activity for the FBI for years and may well have illegally intimidated union activists. He was, as many visionaries are, a notoriously difficult man to work with. In short, he was a man, with a full share of faults and limitations.

But he was also a visionary in the best American mode, with an optimistic and enthusiastic take on society, technology, science, and the future. He built places devoted to bringing joy to children and inspiring them to dream deeply. He gave the world the vast legacy of his dreams in film and concrete and has inspired millions around the world with a vision of pluralism, tolerance, kindness, optimism and joy. For all of these reasons, whatever his human faults and foibles, Walter Elias Disney is, indeed, one of the Best of Us.

UPDATE: Welcome Fark.com! After you read this, feel free to have a look around. You’ve probably already seen this and this, but check out this fine piece about the One Laptop per Child program, this one about that nutcase Chavez, and, of course, this classic challenge.

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