Scams


Let’s be honest – regardless of what label one applies to him, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) manages to make that entire group look bad. In case anyone wanted a list of his potential rules violations, the NYT has cordially provided it. My favorite highlights are included below
These include:

–Approval of the purchase of four first- and business-class commercial airline tickets for a June 2008 trip during which he met with his mistress in Argentina.

— Personal use of state-owned aircraft for trips such as the birthday party of a campaign contributor in Aiken, and flying from Myrtle Beach to Columbia for a ”personal event,” including a haircut.

— Reimbursing himself nearly $3,000 using campaign contributions, including about $900 for expenses to attend a Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami and a hunting trip in Dublin, Ireland, several days later.

As Angry Diesel Engineer astutely noted: “What an idiot! You can’t take the gubernatorial helicopter to Supercuts, because your new do will get all messed up when you get back in the thing!”

The bigger news is that my good friend Angry Overeducated Catholic has begun his descent to madness. Rather than condemning Sanford’s inability to follow the laws of the state he governs, AOC has been reduced to shouting “ZOMG Democrats are teh sux0r!” Witness gems like:

AOC on Sanford’s purchace offirst/business class tickets to meet his mistress:
Note that this would apparently have been legal if he’d flown coach. (Or used his own money, naturally.) Well, or, let’s be honest, if he’d been a Democrat, although possibly only if he’d also chartered a private jet instead.

AOC on Sanford’s personal use of aircraft:
Of course, again, all of this is legal and standard for Democratic Congressmen. Remember the giant Midwestern funeral which was also a giant Dem campaign rally! Sadly, poor Sanford had the bad sense to join the wrong party for those without ethics.

AOC on Sanford going to Miami, and Dublin on campaign funds:
That is odd, since you’d think that attending the Governors Association would generally be covered by good old taxpayer funds, as it is in states where Democrats are governors. But he might also have used monies or goods provided by a “good friend”, another SOP across the aisle. And a decent Democrat would certainly have successfully argued that a trip to Ireland was for “economic development” for his state (hey it works for Daley).

So, as I suspected, Sanford’s real crimes: being a Republican and an asshat. Fool that he was, Sanford forgot to switch parties before defrauding folks and sleeping around. Bad for him, but good for us, since he got exposed, deposed, and now indicted…none of which would have happened to Gov. Sanford (D).*

*Well, he might have resigned. I should be carefl here, as some Democrats actually do resign when their shady deals are exposed. I’m just presuming that since this guy was such an asshat, he wouldn’t have done the right thing even when outed. Instead he would just emulate Kennedy, Jefferson, Clinton, Frank, Reid, etc. and bulled on through.

Though Republicans are chomping at the bit to eviscerate each other for being insufficiently conservative, evidently flagrant ethics violations only get a “But Democrats are worse!” It’s just one of those reasons why the Republicans are headed into permanent minority status. Well, that, and assclowns like Tom Tancredo who make hating mis amigos an article of faith. You know, just like the Anglo Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself; unless, of course, he is a filthy Mexican.”

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Let me be honest for a moment, hombres. There are few people in the world I have less respect for than those folks who want to advocate for “medical marajuana.” Let’s be honest. 99% of these folks just are too damned lazy to smoke a blunt illegally like everyone else who has that disgusting habit. The only 1% have legitimate medical issues and have been misled by a bunch of filthy hippies and their crypto-stoner allies in the fringes of the medical community that burning a doobie is the only way they can deal with their medical problems. This is, of course, total bullshit.

My favorite commentator on all weed-related issues is none other than General Barry McCaffrey, former “Drug Czar” in the Clinton administration. Here’s my favorite highlight from an old 1996 PBS interview

MARGARET WARNER: What are you saying to doctors who say in their medical judgment they have certain patients that other therapies cannot work for and that their own medical judgment, their own ethics tell them I should recommend they find marijuana and use it to help them with this?

GENERAL BARRY McCAFFREY: I would urge them to listen to the judgment of the American Medical Association and to listen to the viewpoint of the National Institute of Health and the FDA and don’t use the Schedule one drugs. They’re dangerous, and they’re alleged by medical authorities to not have a benefit. So that’s really what we’re saying.

But let’s say for a moment, contrary to all evidence, that taking a monster hit off your roomate’s bong has some real medical benefit besides getting you shit-faced and giving you a supreme case of the munchies. Rather than fill your lungs with nasty particulate matter and spread the foul stench of that f’ing reefer across the apartment complex, we can use the power of Science(TM) to make the alleged medical benefit of wacky tobacky available to you in suppository form! Because if you seriously need it for medical reasons, you should have no problem shoving that hippy lettuce straight up your ass.

This is of course, not an original idea as I’m stealing it from General McCaffrey (search the link for “suppository” to find the relevant quotes). But the old coot certainly has a point. To all the stoners out there who claim a bit of Mary Jane is the only thing to kill the pain I say: Fine. But I’ll only believe you’re not just a lazy, filthy joint-smoking douchebag if you’re willing to take it in the end. Then you can have as many suppository parties as you want.

As a New Yorker by birth, I find it impossible to look at today through any lens except that of New York’s Bravest (for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I mean the FDNY). Three hundred and forty three heroes met their ends that day trying to save people in the WTC. If anyone were to dare to badmouth the FDNY for their performance that day, any self-respecting New Yorker would punch the jerk right in the face.

Sadly, however, Manhattan on 9/11 has become a mecca for another type of people who need a good punch in the face: Truthers (a name so filled with distortions and lies that it alone makes me want to punch them in the face). The people who are firmly convinced by alien radio signals that 9/11 was a evil plot by the Bush Junta. Now admittedly, Dick Cheney is obviously evil (something even his admirers admit), but even he isn’t that evil. The raw hatred and perversely twisted logic of the 9/11 “Truth” Movement makes me physically ill. Which is why though I seldom agree with Angry Military Man on issues of politics and such, I’m 100% behind the below proposal:

Angry Military Man

Today is 9/11, which means the tinfoil hat wearing truthers are gonna be out in force, especially in Manhattan. Everyone wish Manhattanites our best, they’re gonna need it. I propose skipping the memorial day recommendation for 9/11 and instead make it a national holiday. “9/11 National-Punch-a-Truther-in-the-Face-Day!!!”

Amazon.com, the world’s most popular on-line retailer has unveiled a new subscription service known as “Amazon Prime”. For just $79 a year Amazon.com is offering free two day shipping on all of your orders (except those which Amazon deems ineligible for the service). Sounds like a pretty good idea right? Especially if you make a lot of Amazon.com purchases. I’m certainly behind businesses trying to find that new competitive edge it takes to stay on top. Ordinarily I would just see something like Amazon Prime as a nice piece of new business strategy. The one problem is now that Prime is out Amazon is blackmailing users into using it.

You see recently my wife and I put in an order to Amazon.com for a guide book we wanted for a trip to Europe. We’re leaving in three weeks, so we wanted to be sure we’d get it on time. The book was in stock and was eligible for Free Shipping, with a listed shipping time of 3-5 days. We purchased it and checked out with no problems, all very routine. Imagine our surprise that evening when we got an e-mail estimating the delivery date at three weeks. We decided to call Amazon to see what the issue was. Maybe the guide was out of stock and their system had been incorrect? No problem there we’d just select another one, so we dialed in prepared to switch our order. The explanation we got blew our minds.

Evidently in the Amazon terms of service they have the right to hold your items for later shipping, and the 3-5 days is just the time it takes from leaving the warehouse. We’d never had this kind of delay before so we were a bit surprised, was there a problem? No. Amazon is just trying to get folks to sign up for Amazon Prime (which we were offered an upgrade to, one month free trial). In fact if we upgraded today our book would ship immediately.

How sneaky and dishonest! All of my respect for Amazon.com has just been flushed down the drain. We bit the bullet and upgraded, not to prime, but two day delivery as we couldn’t chance it with the guide given our travel date, but we will be thinking long and hard before buying from Amazon.com again in their future. Their sneaky little game may have just cost them two customers.

-Angry Midwesterner


In war, truth is the first casualty. –Aeschylus

Not quite a year ago I waxed slightly poetic about the French Navy’s qualities in the Le Ponant mission. If you recall, this was the luxury yacht that was captured in the Gulf of Aden and then ransomed, and subsequently a commando mission of the style of a Charlie Sheen movie (but with less casualties) bagged pirates, who were triumphantly brought back to Paris to stand trial.

It seems that the devil is, in fact, in the details.

If William Langewiesche’s Vanity Fair story is to be believed, the much-applauded Le Ponant rescue mission seems to have been rather long on PR and rather short on actual heroics by les commandos francais. Basically, after some delaying and theatrics reminiscent of a Charlie Chaplin movie, the pirates got paid off—in fact paying them off is cost-effective by a long shot, possibly even profitable, or so the cited article claims—and a small proportion of the money was recovered. Three hapless pirates were purloined back to Paris. An SUV was destroyed with an anti-tank rocket which alone probably cost more than the recovered ransom. I have little doubt the entire military theater cost far more than the ransom. It’s not even clear that they were all even pirates; one may simply be a taxi driver. Of course, after perpetrating the Jessica Lynch fraud, it should be noted that the US military is in no position to talk, but nonetheless, the Le Ponant story has a peculiarly gallic je ne sais quoi? to it.

Money down the Drain

Do your pockets feel a little lighter than they used to? Perhaps about $7,000 lighter? Well don’t worry, that’s just the cost of the economic stimulus for each tax paying American! That emptiness you feel is just feeling of our economy being stimulated by Obama’s package! So now that we’re out $7,000 each the question is, will it work? Will our economy finally get the treatment it needs to get up again? Will we be driven into the cold deadly arms of Socialism? Is Obama’s $825 billion package really as big as everyone seems to think it is?

The Angry Men weigh in on the issue, and hopefully you, dear reader, will as well. We want to know, what do you think of Obama’s package?


Angry Midwesterner

Despite having voted for Obama over McCain, I have to agree with McCain on this issue, the so called “stimulus package” is mostly pork. Even the slightest bit of research shows us that only around 3% of the stimulus money will be spent in the next year, and in two years time only 16% of that money will be spent. A huge chunk of the money isn’t even marked to spent before 2011. So how exactly is this the crucial time sensitive stimulus it was sold as? How does it help America if the money isn’t even being spent? This isn’t about reviving our economy, it’s about never letting a crisis go to waste, as Rahm Emanuel has mentioned, many times.

The worst of it is, the pork isn’t even good pork. It’s mostly wasteful spending probably driven by lobbyists. If Obama really wanted to pork the US so badly, I at least wish he’d had the decency to not lie to us and claim it would stimulate our economy while the special interest groups he is beholden to got theirs too. This stimulus package is a violation of the trust America put in Obama, and is most definitely not the change we voted for.


Angry Diesel Engineer

 
I don’t see how this massive piece of legislation (almost 500 pages in the form Obama signed) is supposed to “spend us out of our recession.”  

While I completely disdain Obama’s socialist utopia (believing that I am better suited to manage my affairs than Uncle Sam), I am interested to see what happens with all this oversight that gets put in place.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, Recovery.gov is an interesting website, with lots of ambiguous statements about how our crazy reckless spending is going to help everyone keep their job.  I am disappointed that millions of dollars are going to create government bureaucratic jobs for said oversight positions though.

I am interested to see where this takes us especially with health care.  I’m not sure how making all medical records electronic will help save jobs (unless you get a job on the H.I.T. board).  All in all, I have great distrust in the government making health care decisions for me.  If they were making decisions for you over  100 years ago, your free health care would have been mandated by the gov. to let your blood.  In a field that is constantly improving in technique and knowledge, free market is the only logical way to go.


Angry Overeducated Catholic

 

I think Angry Midwesterner’s boiling it down to $7000 per taxpayer is a great way to think about this. Another is how much money is being spent per job created (about $300,000 if I recall). And a third is to note the areas most impacted by the current economic woes, the areas where the most money is going, and then notice that they don’t really line up:  

http://money.cnn.com/news/storysupplement/economy/stimulus_jobs/

At first glance, Nevada, for example, should be up in arms. In fact, that map doesn’t look at all like the map of a package intended to help out those hurt by the recession. Actually, though, the per-capita map shows you that it’s not really that bad, but it’s still somewhat disconnected from the unemployment rate.

Because, after all, it’s not really about helping those hurt by economic turmoil…it’s about buliding the Great Society v2.0 (aka New Deal v3.0).

And that $7000 price tag? Only going to go up folks, or should I say, suckers! You tax-paying, hardworking chumps whose money will be systematically confiscated and transferred to the ne’er-do-wells, luckless souls, aging Boomers, shiftless bums, and criminal classes across this great land! The Democratic leadership views you as so many stupid hick sheep to be sheared for the Greater Glory of the People’s Government. It’s just the start!

Remember: Obama is going to cure cancer…with your money, all of it if that’s what it takes.


Angry Political Optimist
 

The size of the stimulus package is not so much of an issue. At the end of World War II, the debt as a fraction of GDP approached 100%. Even if the dire predictions of the Republicans bear out, and Obama’s administration creates a $4T running deficit, a functional United States of America can recover in less than ten years. 

What should be worrying people is the implicit surrender of what makes America great that is embedded in these packages. Since when do Americans look to the government for assistance? Remember when people listed the classical set of great lies and number two on the list was “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you?” Americans need to look inwards to themselves and to each other for support, not to Obama and his minions. If we accept what Obama and the Congress tells us we are — what is implicit in this package — then we will NEVER recover as a nation.

As a practical matter, spending money requires an efficient bureaucracy, even if they only spend on themselves. Bush’s Katrina fiasco was caused not by an unwillingness to assist black residents but by the total unwieldiness of the FEMA distribution system. Wal-Mart, and for that matter, the US Military were on site and assisting within days (only to be rebuffed and hindered by FEMA). Does anyone really think that doubling down on the bureaucracy in Washington will allow them to spend the stimulus money. Do the math. You have to distribute $2.2B a day. (I realize that this is not the way it works, but really, by 2010, I bet that most of the money is still just an allocation on the liability side of the balance sheet. One that can be wiped away with a stroke of a pen in 2010 I might add.)

Obama and the Congress have shown their true colors. They make the Republican porkers look like pikers. Let them have their day in the sun, and then in two years bury the bastards for another 40.

Shoe fashion isn’t something I think about much from a personal standpoint. I have a collapsed arch and can’t wear anything but New Balance sneakers or equivalent dressier shoes that accommodate prescription orthotics. But, not to put too fine a point on it, I’m a guy, so while I don’t care much about shoes, I do examine women, who care about shoes. Some of the fairer sex care very, very deeply about shoes, so much that there’s a store named Shoegasm.

It’s winter again and fashion still dictates that most of the ladies dress in boots. Not just any old boots but only certain kinds. If you peruse that page you will see, among others:

  • There are boots that look like something last worn by Charles I and the Cavaliers (or Errol Flynn).
  • There are rubber Wellingtons (gotta be hot).
  • There are jackboots—styled like 19th Century riding boots—with or without stiletto heels.
  • There are the pseudo-barbarian “chick from a Deathstalker movie” boots.
  • Then there are the 21st Century suede moon boot, Uggs.

As I’ve not been able to get an answer that makes any sense from the women in my life—none of whom wear Uggs—I’m going to throw this open to speculation.

What the hell is it with a suede moon boot?

Black or brown jackboots I get, and they can be downright sexy on the right woman (though stiletto heels not so much IMO). The cavalier boots look silly, whatever. The “chick from Deathstalker” boots bring back, well, memories of the chick from Deathstalker.

But Uggs?

WTF?

Mildly Piqued Bemused Academician

P.S.: I’m fully willing to believe that no answer that would make sense to me exists.

P.P.S.: The “chick from Deathstalker” was the late Lana Clarkson, who was possibly murdered by famous ’60s record producer/prize psycho Phil Spector.

P.P.P.S. As you all know, fascists are fond of jackboots.

Update: Turns out they are really comfortable, or so says a lady of my acquaintance who is a fan of Uggs.

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