Hola muchachos! It’s your hombre-in-chief, Angry New Mexican here. I stumbled upon this article the other day, which explains why requests for Obama’s birth certificate is starting to have a non-trivial cost on the government of Hawaii. I shared it with my fellow angry men and they had some better ideas than just making it illegal — charging the birthers to for their requests. Angry Overeducated Catholic, explains it all using his usual wit.

Angry Overeducated Catholic

I agree with the proposal to turn birthers into a profit center; this seems to be a no-brainer. It’s not even an ideological or political issue—agencies regularly charge reasonable recovery fees for FOIA requests, and rightly so.

Processing documents is expensive…even if, as I’m sure is the case, the birth certificate is in a special file near the main desk since it’s requested constantly…

The thing that gets me is, why the heck do people keep requesting the documents? If you weren’t satisfied with Hawaii’s documentary standards the first 100 times, what do you expect to learn from the 101st? If Hawaii was snowed by a crafty foreign devil and his bewitched American sugar momma and gave a birth certificate to a shift foreign-born baby, what can you possibly learn from the birth certificate that will substantiate that? There’s clearly no smoking gun, or the first 1000 folks would have found it.

(It would be like constantly pestering the USAF to re-release the Project Blue Book documents. Not the real, super-secret ones proving alien life, you understand, but the same ones they’ve already released that you didn’t like. Again, and again, and again.)

Hey, birthers, move along! There really is nothing to see here! The princess is in a different castle!

But, as others have pointed out, they have every right to request it, and Hawaii has every right to charge them each a $25 processing fee. Heck, waive the fee for Hawaiian residents who have made less than 10 requests in a year. And waive the first 10 fees for any given document, if you are really generous. But by all means if thousands of dumbasses keep requesting the document they’ve already viewed on the Internet a million times, make those idiots pay!

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Hola muchachos! It’s your hombre-in-chief Angry New Mexican again. My fellow Angry Men have been really angry with each other as of late, so we’ve been pretty bad about sharing our uncontrollable rage in blog form. Sadness.

Anyway, by now, most of you have probably seen the kerfuffle about Obama’s address to students and how the right-wing nutjobs thinks this is an evil conspiracy by Obama and his socialist minions. Witness Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer, who said, “As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.” As a non-Republican, I feel no particular pain watching the party self-destruct. It’s kind of like watching a train wreck in my own living room, where I can bring my own popcorn… pretty exciting, actually. But this has pained dear AOC tremendously. Here are his thoughts on what the GOP should have done…

Angry Overeducated Catholic
What saddens me the most about the whole stupid business is that those stupid Republican morons in the party’s leadership did not use this opportunity to loudly attack the right-wing morons quaking over the “indoctrination”. Or even just support the President. What a missed opportunity to score huge plus points with the population!

“Hi, I’m GOP House Minority Leader Boehner! And I’m Senator John McCain! We’ve had lots of disagreements with the President over health care, cap and trade, …Heck, I can’t think of too many times we’ve all been on the same page. But there’s one message we do agree 100% with President Obama on: study hard, stay in school, and you can achieve anything! So we support 100% the President’s plan to speak directly to kids. As the father of small children himself, we’re sure he’ll make great points and we hope he’ll inspire some young child listening to follow in his footsteps.

This is America, kids! As President Obama shows, dreaming big, staying in school, and working hard can get you anywhere!

And for those who have attacked President Obama over this: why the rage! If a sports star, a CEO, or a military hero can inspire our kids, why nor our President? Especially one who is watching his own children make their way through the joy of learning? We may not be the President’s biggest fans, but we’ve got to stand with him on this one!

Thank you for listening, America, and God bless!”

But, of course, noooo…

There was a recent hijacking attempt in New Zealand. The attempt seems to have prompted a reporter to find out just how bad airport security is:

The reporter arrived at the domestic terminal yesterday for the 10.30am Air New Zealand flight to Napier, carrying the kitchen knife, with a 20cm blade and a toy firearm in hand luggage.

He said there were no checks and “I was free to walk on with anything I pleased”.

After checking in and simply presenting my boarding pass at the gate, I stepped on to NZ5751 for the 50-minute journey to Hawke’s Bay.

The CAA’s communications manager Bill Sommer today dismissed the stunt as “irresponsible and illegal”. He said the reporter’s action could have compromised the safety of other passengers and could have led to aircraft delays.

In other words, the Emperor doesn’t have any clothes. Let’s think a bit about Bill Sommer’s claims. The first claim, that it could have compromised the safety of other passengers is simply silly. Toy guns on planes don’t compromise safety. The 20 cm knife might, conceivably, hurt a few people. But reporters generally don’t go on attack sprees, so the only way it would have hurt someone is if a nutcase noticed the reporter had the knife, took it, and then went on the attack. That sounds pretty unlikely to me.

The second claim, that the knife and toy gun could have lead to aircraft delays is more believable. But only because Bill Sommer’s demonstration of the New Zealand’s Civial Air Administrations overall intelligence.

Would it have been too hard to say something rational like the following:

Yesterday a flaw in our airport security was demonstrated. We are embarrassed by the failure and will attempt to fix it.

That’s all the situation requires.

A bit of background: I work in the midst of a slough of professional artists who, like most artists, cover their work areas in artwork of varying quality and propriety. The walls of the office are saturated with artwork ranging from pencil sketches to internationally renown masterpieces. Like anyone around a wide variety of anything, a few of the pieces I find extremely irritating and patently inappropriate. However, being a reasonable person, I go about my day and get my work done. Little things like that don’t ruin my equilibrium, because, being an adult, I’ve learned that not everything goes my way and I save my effort for the important fights.

That being said there is one place in the building where there is a creative ongoing comic strip that is written and drawn entirely by software developers, not artists. Obviously, the quality of artwork pales in comparison with the best stuff made by the pros in the building, but it’s hardly the worst thing decorating a wall (that honor typically belongs to newspaper comics). I’m a big believer that good artwork doesn’t have to be complicated, especially not good comics.

After being up in its location for several years, and the latest episode being posted for over a year now (it’s not the world’s most prolific comic team — they’re busy writing software to support the artists, after all), someone complained about the handgun in the picture, and now it’s all been taken down. The one exposure in the building that the artistic ability of the software staff have next to the hundreds of thousands of elements from the art group, and this one is ruining one of those pitiful whiner’s day enough to get it canceled.

Now if someone has some serious gun trauma in their background, I can understand that they might not like reminders of the violence, but the current primary project of the company involves elements including a helicopter gunship and missile-firing motorcycles. Missle. Firing. Motorcycles. Good thing the pencil sketch with a handgun in it got removed. Someone was almost in danger there… might give someone ideas…

Today it trickled down to me that the official reason given for removing it was that the quality of the artwork was too low. That “you can’t make good art if you look at bad art”. Seriously. That’s the reason they gave. Now, being a logical sort of guy, I’m puzzled how people who believe that can expect to ever create the world’s most amazing artwork in their field — which is their stated goal. A motto like that means that you can’t ever be the best — what artwork on the wall would inspire you to create something that the world has never seen? Wouldn’t any existing artwork only serve to “bring you down”?

Continuing along that illogical train of thought, the new insistence is that the space should be filled with artwork of previous company projects. Now, that’s even worse if you’re so dependent on that magical space for inspiration to new world-beating heights. You’ll only be looking at stuff you’ve seen before, not anything that makes you think of anything new. And at the end of the day, all you’ve served to do is to squash a whimsical bit of entertainment from folks who are typically constricted in their tasks.

And another bit of fun dies in the name of political correctness.

It’s the sense of entitlement with which it was done that really get to me, though. If I were the vindictive type, and since some amount of control over what now appears in that space falls to me, I might be tempted to take advantage of that situation, given that it evidently affects the artists’ performance so critically…

The Soviets loved their “five year plans,” much imitated by other Communist nations back in the day, though often with slight variations like the “seven year plan”. (ObFascism: Five years was too long for Germany: The Nazis had four year plans.) It seems that some Democratic primary voters are touting the “sixteen year plan.” This is a plan dreamed up by people who say things like:

Imagine the possibilities…

  • A generation of progressive leadership in the White House
  • A new era of global cooperation to combat poverty, hunger, and AIDS
  • A lasting commitment to protecting the environment and combating global climate change
  • A new progressive balance of power on the Supreme Court
  • Enough time to begin undoing the damage caused by 8 years of George Bush

In other words, people who are blowing as much sugary sunshine the back door way as a delusional modern progressive can stand without going into insulin shock, in a nice way that makes Barack Obama look Rush Limbaugh-mean.

In a nutshell—which is about all there is here, and it’s one of those disappointing empty peanuts—the Sixteen Year Plan is:

  1. In 2008, HRC runs for President, BHO runs for Vice-President.
  2. In 2012, HRC runs for Vice-President, BHO runs for President.
  3. In 2016, HRC runs for President, BHO runs for Vice-President.
  4. In 2020, HRC runs for Vice-President, BHO runs for President.

This plan, therefore, neatly side-steps that 22nd Amendment, which states that a person is eligible for two terms as President, c’est tout, you’re done. I admit that it sounds “hinky” to me (thanks Abby) and probably violates some constitutional thing or another, but it’s on the edge of plausible, legally. I recall seeing this touted on the Washington Post forum by a poster (not one of the columnists) and thought it was ridiculous then but, it has taken on a life of its own on the intarweb much like other dumbass ideas. It’s the sort of plan that a smart high school civics student might dream up, with no notion of just how amazingly damaging to the all-too-fragile system and the norms that hold the entire electoral edifice up it would be. Such an idea was bandied about on the Republican side in 1976 when they were facing a split convention… Ronald Reagan wisely rejected such a deal, and waited four years to win a legitimate victory. We don’t need plans like this, not after the 2000 election, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, invented notes about George W. Bush’s service record (thin as the real one was), Karl Rove’s shenanigans such as accusing John McCain of fathering a black child out of wedlock in the 2000 South Carolina primary, and whatever other sleazy shit from the pile of digested Alpo from the last several years you want to pick up. No, right now what we need is a nice, clean “by the book” election, not this is freakin’ stupid and profoundly anti-“little d” democratic idea.

It’s wrong but not close to wrong enough to be “so wrong, it’s so right.” No, it’s just plain wrong.

W-R-O-N-G.

W-R-O-N-G.

Never mind the fact that this would be a clear case of “too many chiefs, not enough Indians” (two too many, given the unelected presence of Bill Clinton throughout the whole process).

Never mind the fact that it’s ludicrous to believe it would be a “credible commitment” for whomever went first—Hillary, obviously, given that this is a cheesedick way for wavering HRC supporters to get Obama to back down. Sure, I believe that you’re going to step down after being president, sure. It’s with that property in Florida and the Brooklyn Bridge….

It makes a total mockery of the electoral system and is, in essence, a throwback to the smoke filled room in the worst sort way. And I’m somewhat a fan of the old days of the smoke filled room, but this is pathetic.

It’s the kind of scheme that elected dictators of the likes of Vladimir Putin dream up when political pressure gets high enough that they need to step out of the office. Wait… Vladimir Putin IS ENACTING it!

It’s the kind of thing that shows up in Latin America, cf. Puntofijismo. It might have been OK for a while but lead to the inevitable stagnation down the road that gave the world my buddy Hugo Chavez.

I’m sure Karl Rove got semi-hard when he was hanging in Dick’s secure, undisclosed location thinking about this sort of thing, but then laughed when he realized that one’s never going to the altar with him….

This is America. We can, and should, do better than this pathetic scheme.

As the Glorious Heartland is once again covered with snow to a depth sufficient to fill Southerners with eternal horror for the first time in the season, your gentle (but angry) author feels a burning need to once again rail against the greatest peril of the season: other drivers. So we proudly present this classic rant for your enjoyment and edification. If it forces even one horrible driver off the road, well, then, it’s all worth it, isn’t it. I mean, think of the children!

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These past weeks, we had our first major snowstorm of the year in the Land of Lincoln. Oh, not that there hadn’t been snow before, but this was the first snowstorm that truly deserved the “storm” part. Blizzard Warnings, Blowing Snow Advisories, and all that. Which meant, of course, it was time for Morons on Ice (well, snow).

There is really only one rule to driving on snow: Change is bad. Speeding up, slowing down, turning, changing lanes—these things cause trouble. Remember that, and you’re fine. Forget that, and, well, you’re a moron. This means of course that you can drive 50 mph perfectly safely, if the road is straight, and you’re not surrounded by morons who don’t know about things like braking distance on snow and ice. It also means that you can drive 15 mph and be a complete hazard on the road…apparently a very popular option.

There is a certain type of driving moron who thinks that by driving 10-20 mph slower, they have somehow “paid their dues” to the Snow Gods and are thereafter absolved of any need to modify their other stupid driving habits. So they’ll slam on the brakes, jam on the accelerator, weave through traffic, take turns abruptly, fail to signal and do all the other things that actually cause accidents on snow, ice, or for that matter perfectly clear pavements under a sunny sky.

And, on snow, this has the added benefit of jamming up traffic behind these fools, since often it’s not possible to pass at all, much less safely, due to snow and ice blocking parts of the road or requiring a much greater amount of time and distance to pass cars safely. As I was reminded of why I hate driving to work in the snow (hint: it’s not the snow, the road, or the wind), I compiled this handy catalog of Morons on Ice:

The Scatterbrained/Ungoverned Venturers (S/UVs) These drivers have chosen the “safest” vehicle for snow: a 4WD SUV of monstrous proportions. They then either drive that SUV in the exact same way they would on dry city pavements in Chicago—brake or gas pedal jammed to the floor at all times (these are the ungoverned venturers) or they creep along at 10 mph, despite having the vehicle best able to travel straight lines safely in snow (these are the scatterbrained). Since you can’t see around them, unless you too have decided to express your hatred of the Earth in your vehicle choice, you’re stuck wondering why they bothered to buy a huge SUV instead of the tiny rice burner they clearly think they’re driving.

The Oblivious These drive any sort of vehicle, though they seem to favor larger sedans. They drive fast or slow but either way have apparently decided that driving in snow removes any requirement to observe what other vehicles happen to be doing. I was nearly rear-ended by one of these while stopped, in the only open lane of a road, waiting for someone to turn left, at the end of a line of six cars! The moron never even stopped, but he was able to swerve left at the last moment, into oncoming traffic, and barrel past the line (including the left turning car, who had the presence of mind not to get in front of the charging idiot). You’d think that the driving conditions would indicate that you should pay more attention, not less, but you’d be wrong where these fools are concerned.

NASCAR Rejects Real NASCAR drivers are skilled professionals who are amazingly good at not crashing into other cars in the worst of conditions. But the rejects here drive like NASCAR drivers without the skill, training, or special tires. Every stop light is a starting line, and every intersection is a finishing line. Each start or stop requires full, pedal-to-the-metal acceleration or braking. Strangely this behavior doesn’t mix well with snow, slush, and ice. It does, however, lead to amusing results like fishtailing out of control and spiralling through an intersection into a ditch. Sadly, sometimes they wind up slamming into a car which is actually proceeding through the intersection in an orderly fashion.

The Post-Hoc Expert These are the morons who find themselves in an accident of any sort, clearly entirely their fault, and then make increasingly absurd arguments about why they weren’t really to blame and why they deserve a break from the usual consequences of being either stupid or unlucky on snow. Why everyone else should have to foot the bill for their driving habits is, of course, never addressed. They are the “whiny little bitches” of snow driving, and deserve the contempt reserved for such.

So there we have it, a brief catalog of the worst offenders, who turn a Winter Wonderland into the Demolition Derby, and bring to every snowy intersection the level of stress of a trip “outside the wire” in Iraq. Come to think of it, that’s probably a good solution: ship these people to Iraq and force them to serve convoy duty. After all, there’s not a lot of snow there, and in sandstorms nobody can see anything anyway. And most of their bad habits could be an asset in driving supply convoys, where mad dashes through crowded streets are a survival habit, not a muderous rampage.

But whatever you do, get these people off the streets of the Heartland during Winter!

One thing you notice about the English is that they have a strange desire for discomfort. From their clunky phones to their clunky faucets, they seem to revel in being slightly “behind the times.” But, to their credit, they don’t generally carry this viewpoint over into actual legislation. You may be expected to be miserable, but you aren’t really required to be.

If only the French would learn to do the same.

Their latest assault on the finer things in life comes in the form of repeated assaults on Internet businesses for, among other things, free shipping for books. Yes, it turns out that offering free shipping is considered a discount on the “publisher’s recommended price” of the books involved. And, in France, the publisher’s price is considered more sacred than, well, sacred writ itself. You can disregard the Holy Bible if you like, but never the Holy BIEF.

Of course the obvious, and intended, effect of this nonsense is to give local booksellers a clear advantage over remote ones. After all, the local bookseller certainly doesn’t pay the “publisher’s recommended price” for the book, so the shipping he has to pay for is carefully hidden from the customer within his profit margin. Amazon used to do the same with the final costs to cover shipment to the buyer, but, as the French High Court has ruled that shipping is a discount and not to be allowed.

Lest you think this is some odd byproduct of a particular French love of books and booksellers, such price controls and draconian regulation is commonplace throughout the French economy. Consider the mess eBay stepped in when it expanded to France. As a site offering goods for sale, matching buyers with sellers, and providing extensive support for, well, auctions, eBay would seem to be guilty of the French charge of being an auctioneer. And, therefore, of offering an online auction without a permit. There is no news yet whether the French will also try to close down physical auctions in the United States. After all, what’s to stop some unscrupulous American auctioneer from allowing proxy phone votes from France?

Ah, the French. All the hubris of an actual world power, if none of the actual power.

And before someone responds that these are clearly just holdovers from an older, more genteel age, and need to adapt to the Wired Century, consider that the auction authority which is attacking eBay was formed in 2000. Far from adapting to the modern age, the French are deliberately and systematically targeting it for destruction. Their hatred of competition and free trade is so great that they’re actively expanding government power to put a stop to it.

So, let’s give them the win. Since they want to be insulated from the vile freedom of the Internet, let’s acknowledge their right to do so and simply prevent any and all traffic in or out of France to any e-commerce site located in the United States (or in any nation that wishes to join our virtual embargo). If the French fear having to compete on a global stage so greatly, let’s remove not only their need to do so, but their ability.

In short, it’s time to wall France off…at least virtually.