Monday, June 27, 2011

A Hint of Why Bernie Sanders is Our Best Living Senator


For those of you who'd missed it on TV today, this is but the mere preamble to Bernie Sanders' second orgasm of outrage of 2011. If you have the time and patience to read his entire speech, you can read it here.

There's not really much that a layman like me can add to this without descending into mere opinionating and commentary but let's break down some of the numbers of Sen. Sanders' proposed 13 part plan for reducing this supposedly runaway deficit.

  • 1) Taking away Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, which would save us $70 billion a year. It makes no fiscal or moral sense to continue to keep these silk-swaddled ticks on the links while there are still 5 unemployed Americans for every job and 45,000 Americans are dying in the US each year through lack of health insurance.

  • 2) A 5.4% surtax on these same golf club-swinging parasites would put $38.3 billion more into the Treasury each year. As Sen. Sanders points out, 81% are all for the idea. Think about what a 5.4% surtax would be on a billion dollar private ocean liner like the ones these leeches are having built for them.

  • 3) $58.2 billion a year would be slashed from the deficit if we but closed the tax loophole on corporations that outsource jobs overseas and move their HQs outside the jurisdiction of the IRS. Obama made a little noise about this on the campaign trail and a little more after he became the President but nothing about this in a long time. Time to put our money where his big mouth is.

  • 4) We could shave a bit more off the deficit by simply ending tax breaks and subsidies for the petroleum racket, $4 billion annually, to be exact. At a time when much of the country is still paying up to $4 for a gallon of unleaded and blaming the skyrocketing oil prices on the Libyan invasion, it doesn't make sense to not bite into the white, pasty flesh of the fat fucks in places like Exxon's "God Pod" by taking away these incomprehensible tax breaks since they're not putting any real money and effort into R&D for alternative energy sources, their one biggest reason for the continuance of these tax breaks and subsidies.

  • 5) Burning down tax shelters overseas would save taxpayers a whopping $100,000,000,000 a year (not ten years, a year). That fact alone shows how rotten and corrupt the current tax code is.

  • 6) Bringing back the speculation fee on Wall Street, which was first enacted in 1914 and doubled under Hoover and helped help pay for the New Deal, would add another $10 billion a year to the national coffers. Sanders is actually proposing a minor tax of less than 1%, which you could probably find at any one time between the cushions in Goldman Sachs' waiting room.

  • 7) Taxing capital gains and dividends the way they ought to be taxed in a nation not ruled by avaricious psychopaths would trim another $73 billion annually from our deficit. In case you don't know, capital gains tax had withered during the Bush years (2003, to be exact) to a mere 15%. Until Congressional Republicans cut capital gains taxes in 1978, the rate was 35%. Ah, the good old days.

  • 8) Raising the estate tax on 0.3% of the richest estates would add another $7 billion to the Treasury each year. But Republicans would have you believe the Deeeeeaaaaattttthhhhhh Tax would affect everyone, if your definition of "everyone" excludes 99.7% of the population.

  • 9) Waste at the Pentagon costs us about $10 billion a year. For instance, we still have a huge discretionary budget for arms programs to combat a USSR that hasn't existed in 20 years. Lord only knows how much more we can save by simply cutting off war profiteers like Blackwater, Halliburton and Bechtel, to name but a few.



  • 10) Allowing Medicaid to negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma would put another $15.7 billion into the budget every year. Plan D was one of the biggest Bag Over the Head con jobs in this nation's history. It's hard to imagine Billy Tauzin's beloved mother actually having to survive on the clusterfuck that is Medicare's Plan D.

  • 11) $6.8 billion more annually could be trimmed from the deficit if we give everyone the option of signing up for the much more streamlined and cost-efficient Medicare, at least Medicare as we now know it and not the joke of a voucher system that cock heads like Paul Ryan want to turn it into.

  • 12) We could make a cool $50 billion a year if we slap a fee on China every time they further imbalance the trade deficit by manipulating their currency. Of course, this will never come to pass since the Reds essentially own half the United States and would take out all their money in this country and call in the note for the trillions we've borrowed to float the deficit largely created by Bush's tax cuts.

  • 13) $20 billion more could be saved if we just get rid of the corruption, waste and outright fraud in all our government agencies. Personally, I think this is a severely low estimate.

    All told, Sen Sanders' modest and fair proposals would save the United States $473,000,000,000 each year, or nearly $5 trillion over the next decade.

    It would be nice to see the Obama administration tout these numbers and force the Republicans to come up with arguments as to why these measures are unreasonable. It's getting kind of obvious to even hardheaded Republicans that liberals and Tea Baggers alike are finally finding common ground and are opposing the Ryan Spanish Inquisition of a budget and that any Republican or Democrat who supports even part of it will put them on the unemployment line along with 9.1% of us.

    But of course, the Obama administration will completely ignore Sen. Sanders' powerful speech, his very real numbers and his commonsensical and very humane 13 Point Plan for deficit reduction because Tom Donohue and Andy Brietbart will say nasty things about him. Then again, it's said that the President, unlike his predecessor, can actually read so please sign Sen. Sanders' petition if you haven't already. 3000 people have already signed the letter since I began this post an hour ago.

  • Saturday, June 25, 2011

    It All Started at Stonewall


    My guess would be even the most idealistic activists who'd taken part in the Stonewall Inn riot of 1969 would never have thought that gay marriage would one day be a reality in New York within 42 year's time. Of course, the primary impetus for Stonewall was not a demand for gay marriage or even civil unions but one for the simple, abstract right to not be singled out and persecuted (and prosecuted) for their sexual orientation.

    When NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the gay marriage bill into law last night, thereby allowing same sex couples in New York to legally marry in 30 days, it was a watershed moment in not only New York but national politics, with the full weight of historical import felt both in Albany and on the streets of the West Village. Passing 33-29 in a deathly quiet chamber, the outcome hanging in the balance and not known until the final votes were tallied, four New York Republicans joined with all but one Democrat to give the New York LGBT community the rights given to their brothers and sisters in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and, briefly, Maine and California.

    It was still a hard line party vote but it bears repeating that four Republicans did vote for it while being threatened by Tea Baggers outside the state house. Said GOP state Senator Grisanti from Buffalo:
    I apologize for those who feel offended. I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.

    That's not political grandstanding. That's a courageous statement coming from the heart that gets immediately to the heart of the matter, a heart that's been beating in the chest of every liberal since time immemorial: That if you're a gainfully employed taxpayer, a voter, an American citizen and a human being, you, too, ought to be accorded the same constitutional protections, civil liberties and human rights granted those in the straight community.

    Anything less is, at best, cowardice and political expediency, at worst, hateful bigotry.

    Last night was indeed a great night to be gay and bisexual in New York state, one of the most momentous acts of legislation in recent New York history.

    But there was a summer night like this in Sacramento, California not too long ago, three years ago, to be exact. Within six months, gay marriage was taken from the state in a dirty, overfunded and extra-legal dirty trick called Proposition 8. And to this day, even though retired Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop 8's constitutionality, his judgment has been stayed and had been until a week and a half ago challenged by die-hard wingnuts who claim that the openly-gay Walker's ruling was a conflict of interest (Oh, the irony!).

    Walker's ruling is expected to be tried before the right wing Supreme Court. So let's not forget California and Maine, which lost legal same sex marriage before it had even become law. As Jefferson famously said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    THE UGLY TRUTH: by Susan Lindauer


    VIDEO OF LIBYAN REBEL BEHEADING GADHAFFI SOLDIER And Other NATO War Crimes by Susan Lindauer, former CIA Asset covering Libya

    NATO has been pumping propaganda out of Libya to justify its "humanitarian war" against the government of Moammar Gadhaffi. Until now, NATO has succeeded in large part because ordinary citizens around the world have no access to direct intelligence on which to base their own opinions. As the former CIA Asset who covered Libya at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003 during negotiations for the Lockerbie Trial, I am compelled to break past that propaganda to examine actual evidence.

    Responding to numerous requests, I am sharing primary evidence that I receive daily from sources inside Tripoli. Video documentation comes from Libyan refugees, collected by a fact finding commission called "Global Civilians for Peace in Libya." The fact-finding team includes Europeans, Africans, Americans and international human rights attorneys, who are preparing allegations of War Crimes against NATO. Judging from these videos, financial damages that NATO will be required to pay Libya should be stupendous, indeed.

    Above all, it's clear NATO has grossly misrepresented its arguments at the United Nations, in order to justify military action against Gadhaffi. Britain and France trusted bad intelligence from unreliable sources, trying to gain power from the conflict. A more careful investigation shows that it is the NATO Rebels who are guilty of serious war crimes—not Gadhaffi's soldiers at all. Sanctions should be thrown out, and NATO should shift its military forces to back Gadhaffi in defending the Libyan people.

    Never play truth or dare with a spy.

    The videos portray horrific atrocities. There are two important reasons why NATO Rebels would commit these acts. First, in committing war crimes, NATO Rebels have deployed a strategy for provoking panic and confusion at the street level, where they must control the people. They have frightened their opposition into silent submission. Ordinary Libyans can see with their own eyes that Libyan Rebels are all powerful, protected by NATO and CIA enforcers. Pro-Gadhaffi loyalists had better shut their mouths or face terrible consequences.

    At the same time, Libyan Rebels have discovered a way to punch NATO's buttons, and fire up the engines for the "Humanitarian War--" For some reason, the world is supposed to believe that Gadhaffi's government—which has no history of attacking its own people in 41 years of rule—is suddenly guilty of the most hideous offenses.

    Those of us who have studied Libya closely have opposite expectations. Historically, Gadhaffi has been so tenacious and protective of his people that he refused to hand over two Libyan men for the Lockerbie trial, despite years of U.N. sanctions. Gadhaffi knew the men were innocent, and would not get a fair shake in Court. To sum up, Lockerbie was a false flag operation to hide rogue CIA involvement in heroin trafficking out of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, during the Terry Anderson hostage crisis. A joint team of CIA, FBI and Defense Intelligence investigators were flying on Pan Am 103 that day, heading for Washington to expose the heroin ring, when the plane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. Libya got tagged as the fall guy, but like 9/11, the truth refused to die. And Gadhaffi refused to back down. He stood by his people, despite punishing international pressures.

    Gadhaffi's guess proved correct, by the way. In one of the most shameful episodes of corruption ever at the International Courts, the U.S. bribed two witnesses at the Lockerbie Trial with $4 million pay offs. After both witnesses recanted and confessed to the payments, the only Libyan convicted in the Pan Am 103 bombing, Abdelbasset Megrahi, won a "compassionate release" from Scottish prison in August, 2009, ostensibly so he could go home to die of cancer.

    Gadhaffi's actions reveal a great deal about his character. As a leader, does he throw his people to the wolves? Or abandon them for convenience? Notoriously not. He claims the Libyan people as his own. He protects them no matter the cost to himself.

    These videos are the reality check. Ironically, by claiming Gadhaffi's forces have been responsible for rape crimes specifically, NATO has made a glaring admission that War Crimes are in fact occurring inside Libya. Headlines that Gadhaffi issued Viagra to fuel rape binges by his soldiers played very well on CNN. However former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has determined that the only major purchaser of Viagra bound for Libya was the U.S. Government itself, which handed out Little Blue Pills to older Rebel soldiers to energize them for battle.

    That strategy has backfired. Ordinary Libyans are fleeing Rebel strongholds, racing to the protection of Gadhaffi's central authority for safety.

    The Bad Guys

    These videos look awfully like Al Qaeda to me. But don’t take my word for it. Look at the evidence and decide for yourself. They're hosted at www.FederalJack.com on a special site, www.obamaslibya.com, because it's got hefty security and rock solid courage to speak truth to power. FederalJack.com will not back down. More videos will be added in coming weeks.

    The first video shows a Libyan rebel beheading a Libyan soldier. If it looks like Iraq, well golly, the highest percentage of foreign fighters in Iraq (and Chechnya and Afghanistan) came from Eastern Libya. Unhappily for NATO, there's no avoiding that this video was shot in Libya: The men are speaking a Libyan Arab dialect with its own distinct accent.

    The second video shows gruesome footage of a Libyan rebel cutting up the rotted flesh of a dead soldier and forcing it into the hands of Libyan Prisoners of War, who are lined up in a row so they must eat it.

    Another video shows a group of Rebels sodomizing a civilian with a pistol. Another shows a crowd of Rebels hanging and beheading a Libyan soldier.

    Another video shows CIA operatives working side by side Rebel forces, and driving around in trucks--- proof that U.S. forces are already in Libya in violation of President Obama's promise to Congress to keep boots off the ground.

    Another video shows several dead Libyan soldiers with their throats cut, lying in the back of a truck. The killings violate the Geneva Conventions of War, which protect enemy soldiers after capture. In the excitement, NATO Rebels encouraged a frightened on-looker to video the butchery and claim that Gadhaffi's forces were responsible. Afterward, the man with the video grabbed his family and fled the Rebel stronghold. That's how the video reached the fact-finding group in Tripoli.


    It's all on www.obamaslibya.com, hosted by Federal Jack, with our greatest thanks for having the guts to show the truth, which corporate media lacks. It's so barbaric that it defies understanding how NATO could have envisioned these Rebels as holding any leadership potential at all.

    Rape As a Weapon of War

    Worst than you thought, right? Most notoriously up to this point, it has become evident that Rebels are using rape as a war-time punishment of pro-Gadhaffi or "neutral" families. In Islamic culture, the whole family suffers stigmas after rape, a sort of communal punishment.

    Right now a team of female human rights attorneys are interviewing rape victims. Two rape testimonials and other eye witness reports are provided here. For the attorney affidavit on the larger problem, go to www.obamaslibya.com.

    However these are not the most graphic stories. The problem is traveling hundreds of miles through checkpoints and bombs. By explanation, as of June 22, non-governmental fact finders are traveling 200 miles to video a boy who got castrated and both eyes gouged out by NATO Rebels as punishment for refusing to join their paramilitary unit.

    Other video getting collected comes from a father, who describes the kidnapping of his virgin daughter from a pro-Gadhaffi family. After dragging her out of the house at gun-point and taking her to a rape party, NATO rebels cut off her breasts with a knife, and she bled to death.

    Human rights investigators are now interviewing a Libyan Woman from Zawia who survived a brutal gang rape that cut off her breasts. Miraculously, horrified on-lookers saved her from bleeding to death, when excited Rebels ran off, firing their guns in the air. She's been hospitalized, but she's too physically and mentally damaged to handle the interview at the moment. International human rights attorney are standing by.

    We urgently seek an American sponsor so this Libyan woman can undergo reconstructive surgery in the United States or Europe.

    On June 19, Gadhaffi soldiers entering Misurata rescued another rape survivor. The young woman had been kidnapped and held hostage for 20 days. Rebel forces gang raped her every single day, round the clock, until Gadhaffi's forces broke through their lines and saved her life.

    So much for NATO's humanitarian mission. Clearly NATO has been grossly deceived, and should cease at once from protecting these Rebels who are monstrously abusive to the Libyan people. U.S. tax dollars are training a New Taliban to intimidate the Libyan people into submission, while the West plunders Libya’s wealth.

    But NATO failed to take into account the spirit of the Libyan people. Libya has a powerful history and traditions of resilience in defending its sovereignty from foreign invaders. Libyan families and Tribal Leaders are determined to seek financial damages from every NATO and Arab country that supports the rebels. So long as NATO provides training, uniforms, military assault rifles, jeeps and transportation, ground advisers and air power----NATO will be forced to take responsibility for these crimes. Financial damages will come out of funding for NATO's own citizens—out of education, health care, government pensions, universities, roads, bridges, you name it.

    Patrick Haseldine, a British expert on Libya's conflict with NATO, has calculated current British financial damages at $2.8 billion.

    All of it begs the question why NATO governments should want to support these Rebels in the first place? Indeed, all of us should ask some important questions.

    Should President Obama spend hard-earned U.S. tax dollars from the Middle Class to finance this War? Should America assume the role of training Al Qaeda forces and function as Al Qaeda enforcers? While our great nation bleeds red ink? While Americans struggle to find jobs and fight off foreclosures? Knowing that our soldiers are exhausted from two other failed Wars—fighting these same Al Qaeda Rebels in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    And why exactly should America prop up NATO, so that the British and French can relive their glory days of Empire? Is it worth risking our Empire and prosperity? Really?

    These videos reveal a whole different truth. The CIA will probably get mad that I have released them. But good Intelligence Assets are supposed to deliver brutal honesty. We're not supposed to hide ugly truths. We're supposed to get information that leaders—and communities— urgently need to make the most informed choices in policymaking. It happens to be very, very ugly intelligence. But it would be wrong for me to spare you.

    In my opinion as a former U.S. Asset, the United States should break ties with the Libyan rebels and cut off financing immediately.

    You can decide for yourself.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Acoustic Tuesday


    Recently, I began reaching out to long-neglected family on Facebook. I've already chatted for three hours on the phone with one of my cousins in Port St. Lucie, Florida and found out some things I could've lived without knowing while coming across some things that make me proud. My cousin Corey is one of them.

    This is a fan-made video of my first cousin Corey Balsamo's "September", a track that was recorded when he was still in high school. Corey's one of the products of my Aunt Janet's marriage to Billy Balsamo, who used to be a Mets prospect in late 70's/early 80's. When I was this kid's age, I only dreamed of being a writing prodigy. This kid became one, proving that sometimes the apple falls farther away from the family tree than we think.

    He also seems to be one of the 11 or 12 people who haven't yet deleted their Myspace pages. You can buy and download his songs on iTunes at his Myspace page. He's also all over Youtube. They say his influences are John Mayer and Dave Matthews and his acoustic stylings seem to bear that out.

    You go, cuz!

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    One of the Worst Feelings in the World...


    ...is realizing how fucked up your life is and that, for whatever reason, you lack the resources or the luck or the will or the time to correct any of it, to come to grips with the utter futility of trying to rectify what had been done to you, to fix whatever is broken.

    People aren't like machines that can be tinkered with or computers that can simply be reprogrammed. Instead, we inexorably fold our psyches around traumas, revelations and other experiences and become those things like multiply kneaded bread dough, to become a product of our upbringing whether we like it or not.

    Officially, my day really started at 4:30 this morning but in reality it's a mere continuation of last night and the day before that, one weary 24 hour period segmented only by a reluctant sunrise on a deceptively rosy day. I blame Father's Day yesterday, one that, for reasons that will perhaps forever be lost to posterity, was tougher on me than most.

    For years, I'd made half-hearted efforts to find my parents and my oldest son, now 31, on the internet. I know exactly where my parents live, know their street address in Marietta, Georgia in Cobb County. Yesterday I finally decided to go full tilt and look for the old bastard and his psycho bitch wife. She doesn't have a Facebook page but he does. So I sent him an invitation along with another invitation to read my little essay yesterday on what Father's Day Means to Me. I really hope he likes it. I thought about him every minute I was writing it.

    You see, guys, all these years you've been reading the words of a man who either doesn't exist or has no reason for existing, a man who for over half a century has been living a life predicated on a pack of lies. The lies began on one Texas day in 1957 when 17 year-old Dad married a woman four years his senior 26 days into his Air Force basic training and did so in his dress blues. I never realized that when I myself was at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio exactly 20 years later that I would every Sunday go into the same chapel where my folks got hastily married (the irony is that, being my recruiter, my own father sent me there).

    Of course, even that was a lie since they told me they got married in New York, This despite my father getting married in his dress blues and there being no other relatives in the reception pictures (I never got to see the wedding pictures, probably because the other men in attendance in their own dress blues would've been difficult to explain).

    During an argument between my folks in the early 70's, my mother admitted when she married my father 13 months before I was born that she was knocked up and had to get married. I told her that was impossible since I was born over a year later but it had never occurred to me she could've been pregnant with someone else. With our family's luck, it would've just like God to make this mismatched couple's only reason for getting married redundant by making my mother miscarry almost immediately.

    And, after being told she couldn't conceive again it would also explain why I was so smothered (yet neglected and abused) until practically the minute I stepped off the bus at Lackland. It would explain my sister's grave and why my father beat the shit out of me in my Uncle Jimmy's basement for no apparent reason just before we laid my grandfather to rest in the same exact cemetery in Queens, why they made me babysit our dog in 1977 while they went to visit Grandpa's grave (and one other).

    It would explain why the son of a bitch pulled the plug on the adoption of a little girl from an orphanage in Lecce, Italy, my last chance at having the sister I'd always wanted, one I'd wanted so badly it was almost as if I'd sensed her absence in my life.

    All these things were kept from me for over half a century while the entire family, Crawfords, Coogans and Carbonas alike, were all in on the conspiracy of silence because poor bizarre and fragile Bobby couldn't handle the truth. How embarrassing is it to realize that your cousins, all of them younger than you, know the secrets surrounding your birth and upbringing and you don't?

    Well, no one lives forever. The old bastard is going to be 71 this coming July 14th and the psycho bitch will be 75 on August 18th. Many is the time I'd drafted or tried to draft a letter to them demanding to know the secrets they've been keeping from me but haven't. Besides blind rage and hatred, I think the biggest reason why I've been giving them one free pass after another is the realization that it's always easier to ignore a letter than it is a long-lost son on your doorstep. Futilely appealing to brain-dead literary agents these past 14 years proved that.

    I'm not saying this is the reason I haven't been blogging much this year, especially this spring. But every once in a while this eats at me like cancer or an ulcer and I can feel it killing me. I don't want to wake up one day and realize both my parents are dead and there being no one to tell me the truth (which is their sole value to me). And these hardly-resolved issues are just the latest ones that have prevented me from giving you the political content you've come to expect of me these past 6 1/2 years.

    I'm not going to ask you guys for any more money because it's obvious there are many people out there who are sick and tired of me making my problems theirs and who the hell can blame them? Because of our Nation and Vanity Fair subscriptions, we've been put on the mailing lists of every Goddamned liberal organization in America from the ACLU to Save the Fucking Tse Tse Fly, all of them begging for money. I get it, I get it.

    Contributions are welcome and always gratefully appreciated but I'm seriously thinking of driving down to Georgia soon and if I have to spend every last penny I have driving down to the old bastard's house in Marietta to demand answers, I will.

    But until I get those answers confirmed, I will not be able to move on with my life nor have any moral authority to get more involved with my kids' lives. I'm not a spring chicken, myself, and I can't bounce back from no sleep and put in a full day like when I was a kid.

    It's time to write the last act of this latter day version of Oedipus minus the incest.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign


    Today it was confirmed that Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY-9) will resign as a US congressman after it was revealed three weeks ago that he'd sent lewd pictures of himself to several women on Twitter. Many Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and even President Barack Obama, had called for Rep. Weiner's resignation. Already, things are changing on Capitol Hill in the wake of WeinerGate. What are some of the biggest changes?

  • 10) Americans can now immediately resume trusting Democratic and Republican politicians again after both parties proved their moral purity and superiority at Weiner's expense.

  • 9) Weiner resignation now allows lawmakers and the POTUS to focus on less important issues such as the imminent immolation of the world's largest economy.

  • 8) Now that Alan Grayson and Weiner are gone, Blue Dog Democrats no longer hamstrung and put on the spot by funny and passionate but embarrassing Jewish liberal congressmen.

  • 7) Faith in pogroms and witch hunts restored by having the will of Weiner's constituency subverted.

  • 6) Andrew Breitbart one step closer to looking like a responsible, crusading journalist and one step removed from looking like a racist, spittle-flecked douchebag.

  • 5) Sen David Vitter reportedly wearing Huggies again because of nonstop paroxysm of laughter.

  • 4) Rep. Weiner's final post on his official congressional page is picture of fully erect penis with the caption, "Suck on this, Democrats."

  • 3) Democrats no longer crippled with paralyzing fear that Letterman, Leno, Conan and Craig Ferguson will take down their party with penis jokes on late night TV.

  • 2) Dozens of Republicans reported buying digital cameras and starting up Twitter, Yahoo Instant Messenger and Facebook accounts.

  • 1) Dozens of Democrats reported selling their digital cameras and deleting Twitter, Yahoo Instant Messenger and Facebook accounts.
  • Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Bruins Win Stanley Cup 4-0


    Boston knows something about long losing streaks. The last time they won the Stanley Cup, we were still fighting in Vietnam, Watergate hadn't reared its ugly head and the current president of the United States, Barack Obama, was a 10 year-old child. And prior to the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone old enough to remember their last world title 86 years prior.

    But never let it be said the stars and the heavenly bodies don't align themselves in Boston's favor on occasion. Tonight is a lunar eclipse. The last one was on October 27th 2004, the night the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium to win their first world title in nearly 90 years. Tonight, the Bruins joined the fraternity of Massachusetts-based world champions by beating a tough Vancouver Canucks 4-0 for their sixth world title.

    With two goals each by rookie Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron and perfect work by goalie Tim Thomas (37 saves in 37 opportunities), the Bruins' Stanley Cup victory, as with the Red Sox' sweep over the Cardinals and Rockies in 2007, was sort of an anticlimax. Down by another 4-0 score in Game 6, the Vancouver Canucks refused to lie down for the Bruins and scored two goals in the 3rd period. Just prior to Game 7, the Bruins were regarded as the underdogs because for the first six games, each team had won on its own home ice and after being down 0-2, the Bruins were in the position of having to win 4 of the next 5 games. Beat the mighty Canucks twice in a row twice in a best of seven series?

    Fugeddaboutit.

    I'm not a hockey fan by any stretch of the imagination. Most of my regular readers will know I'm a baseball guy and a die-hard Red Sox fan (and don't think for a miniute that Josh Beckett's complete game one hit shutout of the Tampa Bay Rays tonight was lost on me) but I congratulate the Boston Bruins on their first world title in nearly 40 years. I'm happy for their fans (all but one, anyway) and I sincerely hope the Bruins repeat next year as Stanley Cup champions. And what are the odds of another Boston sports franchise winning a world title on a full lunar eclipse?

    At the risk of making a bad pun, I'd say, "Astronomical."

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    The Magnificent Seven


    Calvera: If God didn't want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.

    Vin: You elected?
    Chris: Na. I got nominated real good.
    (right after Chris got the end of his cigar shot off.)
    The Magnificent Seven

    Last night's "debate" amongst the first 7 GOP contenders was not actually a debate as seven morons who had only one message to convey: The nigger must go. Another problem: Having these seven lunatics on stage so they could agree with each other about how awful the black guy is is like having a pole position heat before all the drivers have arrived (Palin, Perry, Huntsman, etc).

    True to form, the MSM such as the increasingly right-leaning NY Times and host network CNN, never once to my knowledge asked themselves, "Gee, Election Day is almost 17 months away. We're not even close to caucuses or primaries or anything substantial in the way of conservative voter preferences. Isn't it kind of early to be having a GOP debate in which the participants don't actually debate each other?"

    True to form, the Magnificent 7 couldn't offer anything magnificent at all, not even broad strokes, and Michele Bachmann became the darling of the night when she pathetically blurted out like a Tourette's patient, "Obama's a one-term president!" without demonstrating in either word or deed how the Republican Party is going to somehow manage that feat of right wing political engineering.


    "Thank you for not pointing out how bat shit insane I am, Rick, even though you can't talk."

    Oh sure, they mentioned jobs for the proles and how little Obama has done about that. But in reality the only job that counts is the one these six lily white people and their token want. If the Republican Party actually gave a shit about jobs, they would've addressed the issue after taking control of the House this past January instead of avoiding the subject.

    Summer product launches (remember what Andy Card said about them taking place in August?) are never a good idea. John McCain had his product rollout in late August 2008 and look how well that worked out for him.

    And if Sarah Pailn's cherry-picked emails (cherry-picked by her successor after she cut and ran from Juneau) show her to be an "engaged" and "dedicated" leader, if her freshly white-washed administration, with the help of the media, represents Sarah Palin 2.0, the Ultimate Reboot, then last night's pathetic assemblage of contenders should serve to show how intellectually, politically and charismatically anemic the GOP truly is these days.

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    I'm in the Market for a Hard Drive...


    ...like the one pictured above. I'm in need of a 40-60 gig HD for my Dell Latitude D600 to replace the one that crashed.

    I mailed my laptop to my computer repair guy three weeks ago yesterday. He decided to choose that same exact moment to have a nervous breakdown and disappear for a week, leaving his employees (and me, since they couldn't find my Dell) in a state of subdued panic. Finally, 16 days after I mailed it off, I got a call from him on Saturday guaranteeing me the computer was fixed and that it would cost $80.

    "Did you load Microsoft Office 7 like the last time?" I asked him. I was assured he had.

    48 hours later, I drove to his shop (22 miles one way) and found the doors locked in the middle of the day. The one guy on duty had no idea where my laptop was, no idea where his boss was and no idea when he'd be back. When I had to find my own computer, he looked into the HD and discovered none of the device drivers I needed for the software were installed, and, surprise, surprise, Microsoft Office still hadn't been installed. In the meantime, the doors had been locked in our faces yet again and I had to call this boob to tell him his shop was closed in the middle of the day.

    All told, the downloads took a couple of hours, I had to pay money for unvalidated parking and buy a lunch for Mrs. JP and me while my "all set" computer was being finished. Oh, and my 60 gig hard drive was replaced by a 20 gig (when I bought the laptop two years ago, it came with a standard 40 gig HD).

    This is where is gets good:

    Literally two hours after we get home, I'm downloading the software I needed to get the laptop back to where I had it, the OS began crashing. After the 3rd operating system crash, I texted him asking, "WTF did you put in my Dell? The OS has crashed 3 times. What are you going to do about this?"

    The next day, he texted me back promising to put in a HD "like the last time" and I specified that I wanted another 60 gig like the one he'd removed with all the drivers and software pre-installed so I didn't have to wait like the last time.

    Last night, I got two nasty text messages telling me to get "my machines out of here" (he's doing work on our Compaq, God help us) and that I'm "rude" and "unreasonably demanding" for expecting a 60 gig HD like the one he'd replaced instead of the piece of shit 20 gig HD that didn't work. He offered a full refund of my $80 but that still leaves me without a computer of my own. Bottom line: I waited 2 1/2 weeks so I could use my own laptop for 2 1/2 hours. The current HD is a glorified coaster.

    So, this is the other drama with which Mrs. JP and I have had to contend since Monday and we didn't expect this. So why did we use him since he's a dishonest, incompetent boob and is so far away? The last time I did this, the guy had my laptop ready 24 hours after I'd mailed it off and the job was done right. The first night we met him a year and a half ago, he'd had someone drive him in a blizzard to our house and he was rocking three laptops at once to get our computers online. He used to be Houdini but since he'd put out his shingle he's lost his edge and now he's literally popping Tums like beer nuts.

    We have to drive down there again today to get the Compaq back but I don't fancy having to share a computer with Mrs. JP like we had to for the last three weeks. So if any of you guys have a spare Dell Latitude D600 HD with even just a browser and OS, email me for my street address and we can talk money. I can format it myself with my Dell boot disk.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Balls to the Wall

    Guys, I know you're all sick and tired of me and my constant problems and who the fuck can blame you? Keeping a roof over our heads, our bills paid and food in our stomachs is my job. But since I lost my unemployment last March, even these modest goals are impossible when we have nothing but Barb's $135 in UI benefits to cover even some of our bills.

    But the luck I've had since 2009 is something even Job would envy. I've shelled out $1300 in car repair bills in the last year now I have a $100-150 muffler job to look forward to. I need to renew my auto policy before the end of the month. I need to renew and convert Barb's license a couple of weeks later and AAA will want a renewal the month after that. That's another $250+.

    My Dell shit the bed again last night hours after I got it out of the shop at a cost of $80. The other laptop is in the same shop and will cost us another $100. So we have no computer and we're reduced to spending even more money we don't have to use the local cafe's computer.

    And that's not even the worst of it. My card got declined this morning even though yesterday I had about $100 over what I needed to cover our $650 rent check. So I raced to the nearest computer and discovered that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue grabbed over $728 out of my checking account for money they claim I owe them. Then they helped themselves to another $20 for a "fee" and that's where we stand now: A minus balance of $20.

    The ironic thing is the DOR owes me something like 20 grand for taking money out of my pocket without a valid court order for nearly 8 1/2 years and when I write them to tell them this, they completely ignore me. But that's not going to get resolved until I can somehow hire a lawyer.

    I still don't know if the last rent check cleared but whether or not it did, we're looking at a massive overdraft with no way of covering it. Without a computer and with gas at $4 a gallon, this skein of bad luck puts a severe crimp on our job search.

    All this time I've somehow managed to keep our heads above water but this time we're looking at the very real prospect of eviction sometime this month. My landlord lost his own job and the company folded so he desperately needs all his rent or he'll lose this house along with us. Please, Please, PLEASE help in any way you can. I swear to God, I am not making any of this up. I really am this unlucky.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II


    Harry Camping's very believable and credible threat that the world would begin to end and the Rapture would occur on May 21st didn't materialize, to the surprise and even disappointment of millions of evangelicals. Bewildered and eager to save face, the Family Radio Network's Camping and his $18,400,000 in donations last year disappeared and reemerged days later to say that he'd, once again, made a miscalculation. Now Camping is saying that May 21st was the day God completed his list of who's naughty or nice and the world will indeed end on October 21st. So how are evangelicals preparing for the second Rapture of the year?

  • 10) If second Rapture fails, to nervously laugh to ex-bosses, psychiatrists and creditors that they were in on the hoax all along and were satirizing Camping.

  • 9) Giving Camping perhaps only half of life savings and kids' college funds as an initial down payment next time around.

  • 8) Job creators will no longer tell employees they will be on their own so they can have sex orgies in the break room.

  • 7) To maybe not boast next time to their HMO, "Go fuck yourselves. I got a better health care plan!"

  • 6) To keep tending their gardens and yards because dandelions get so out of control so quickly.

  • 5) Vetting Camping by actually reading the Bible this time and noting there's no mention of a fucking Rapture in the Revelations of St. John the Divine.

  • 4) Change the litter box. Seriously. Just trust us on this one.

  • 3) Getting a second opinion from other senile non-ministers or theological amateurs who've already lived 15 years past the average life expectancy.

  • 2) Investing in anti-gravity boots to help speed things along.

  • 1) As a backup plan, donating campaign contributions with last of savings to the Republican Party to finish the job in case Camping's wrong about Armageddon again.
  • Mother Nature on a Bad Night


    My Youtube heading:
    This was shot from my bedroom window on June 1, 2011. Throughout that day, we got a multi-county tornado watch, upgraded to warnings. Western MA got hit with more than one tornado and at least four people died. But we here in central MA still got battered by lightning storms (earlier it was spider web lightning and by evening it was the sheet variety you see here). This was 8:20-8:25 PM at the worst part. Note: 12 hours later, we're having a perfect day.

    In all my decades of living here, I have never seen a lightning storm this violent or constant. We were more fortunate than many of the poor folks in Hampden Co (western MA, where I'd lived 22 years ago). But just the fact that we'd get tornado warnings in this state is in itself extraordinary considering Massachusetts' famous hills and mountains. And if we here can get tornadoes, what else is possible? Earthquakes in Manhattan? Flash floods in Baja?

    Amazingly, we never once lost power, even though we had flashlights literally in hand.

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