Friday, February 26, 2010

In Which Yr. Devolutionist Packs a Bindle

Rep. Dean Heller is worried about hobos on the march (H/T to Wonkette):
Heller said the current economic downturn and policies may bring back the hobos of the Great Depression, people who wandered the country taking odd jobs. He said a study found that people who are out of work longer than two years have only a 50 percent chance of getting back into the workforce. “I believe there should be a federal safety net,” Heller said, but he questioned the wisdom of extending unemployment benefits yet again to a total of 24 months, which Congress is doing. “Is the government now creating hobos?” he asked.
The Devolutionist has been pondering this statement while playing the blues on his harmonica and waiting for his campfire to heat up a can of beans: Heller thinks there should be a federal safety net but questions whether the government should be extending unemployment insurance? Um, if the government extends UI, doesn’t that at least delay the creation of hobos? 

Or perhaps this safety net is an actual net to sweep up all newly created hobos and take them to the nearest Soylent Green processing facility, where they will be ground into a protein-rich paste that can be fed to poor people who at least still have homes?

Oh who am I kidding, the paste will be used by our moneyed class to re-grout the solid-gold tiles in their bathrooms.

Ha ha, hobos are funny, with their adorable little beards and their feet wrapped in newspaper.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Which the Devolutionist Stifles the Urge to Hate-Fuck the Rotting Corpse of Time Magazine

Anytime a right-winger whines about the mainstream media and its propagandistic pushing of evil liberalism on the unsuspecting mass of idiot sheeple that populates America (said right-winger is not one of these sheeple, having awakened just in time to the "truth" of the world as spouted by Limbaugh, Beck, et al.), you can always point this person to Time.

Yr. Hungry Devolutionist was in line at the grocery store buying the ingredients for a large pot of chicken chili on this cloudy and cool Southern California Wednesday when he saw that the cover of the current issue of Time touts an essay by Newt Gingrich entitled "A Blueprint for Bipartisanship."  Newt Gingrich.  The guy who shut down the federal government in 1995 in a snit because his seat on an Air Force One flight was too far back and that was apparently The Last Straw.  Newt Gingrich rides in the front of the plane, dammit!  And he gets all the little bags of peanuts he wants!  

Newt Gingrich.  A Blueprint for Bipartisanship.  

Yr. Devolutionist should know better, but he was having trouble focusing on a badly needed rewrite of his novel today and sometimes anger provides the fuel he needs to work, so he took a peek at the article.  The first sentence of the second paragraph jumped right out: "Obama should not be afraid to drop the 4500 pages of Democratic health legislation."  That Newt!  What a card.  Of course Obama should be afraid.  The Congress has spent an entire year putting those pages together and getting them through votes in both chambers.  If they dropped the whole thing now and started over, there would be about two Dems left on the Hill after November.

But let's assume that Newt was not higher than Charlie Sheen when he wrote that sentence.  After all, if anyone in the history of American politics has been prone to intellectual honesty, it's the Newtster.

Ahem: "The summit is an opportunity for Obama to reunite with the American people by dropping the Big Government bill and opening up to a genuine bipartisan solution."

Newt must have been in a tequila coma for the last nine months or so.  Otherwise he would know that the liberals in the Democratic Party have been tearing their hair out that a) Congress has never considered any type of single-payer system and b) the Senate dropped the "public option" in about two seconds when it became obvious that conservatives, particularly sock monkey lookalike Joe Lieberman, would welcome Osama bin Laden into the Republican caucus before they would vote for a provision that might give the insurance companies a hint of competition.  He would also know that the Dems have already compromised and put quite a few Republican ideas into the current Senate bill

Yr. Nonplussed Devolutionist is not even going to get into the competing polls on this matter, both the ones Gingrich mentions in his piece and the ones that completely repudiate him.

This is all just mental masturbation, of course.  Newt either knows these things but he is being disingenuous, or he does not know these things and is blind to any evidence that contradicts his personal ideology.  Believe it or not, the Devolutionist is betting on the former.

In any case, never let it be said that the mainstream media does not give conservatives a forum to air their opinions.  On health care, as on more than a few issues over at least the last ten years, the right has been given more than enough chances.  The fact that they have so often turned out to be wrong does not seem to be slowing them down.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Which The Devolutionist Ponders President Obama, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Amoral Selfishness of Certain Wealthy Angelenos

President Obama speaking to BusinessWeek in early February regarding enormous bonuses paid to Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein:

“They’re very savvy businessmen.  And I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth.  That’s part of the free market system.”

Teddy Roosevelt in a 1910 speech (via Jonah “My Mommy Says I’m The Smartest Kid in School!” Goldberg):

“We grudge no man a fortune which represents his own power and sagacity, when exercised with entire regard to the welfare of his fellows…We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community.

It goes without saying T.R.’s was the more inspirational quote and the old Rough Rider obviously went farther in making a connection between the gathering of wealth and the communal good.  The Devolutionist chalks that up to a) the difference between giving a major policy speech and an interview in BusinessWeek and b) T.R. was naturally more of a fighter then the pragmatic Obama.  Still, interesting similarities.

And then there is this article from today’s Los Angeles Times following the trials and tribulations of Frank and Jamie McCourt as their divorce plays out (emphasis mine):

“The McCourts…jointly pocketed income totaling $108 million from 2004 through 2009…(o)n that sum, they paid zero federal and state income tax… the McCourts deliberately structured their business at least partially to allow them to live tax-free.” 

Frank and Jamie McCourt own the Los Angeles Dodgers, the fourth-most valuable franchise ($722 million) in Major League Baseball as of 2009, according to Forbes.

Like presidents past and current, Your Curmudgeonly Devolutionist does not begrudge business people their success, even those who inherited family real estate empires and used that fortune to buy a baseball team.  He also does not like writing a check to the federal government every year any more than the next taxpayer, though he’s not going to fly a plane into an I.R.S. office over it.

No, the objection here is that, in case the McCourts have been too busy redecorating one of their eight houses to notice, the economies of California and America recently crashed down around our fucking ears.  The city of Los Angeles alone faces a budget deficit of $300 million or so and rumor has it the cops and parking enforcement have been given a green light to go stone cold nuts writing tickets to try and squeeze out a little more revenue from the people.  

This is your community we’re talking about.  The citizens are your customers.  They come to your stadium 81 times a year to overpay for Dodger Dogs and cheesy souvenirs and cups of warm Bud Light and even just to enter the friggin’ parking lot.  Yet your refusal to pay taxes means even more of the burden of paying for city and state and federal services falls on us.  Which actually hurts you, because the more we get squeezed on taxes, the less we have to spend on Manny Ramirez wigs. 

I’ll give Frank McCourt credit for starting the ThinkCure charity, which funds research on cancer cures.  Personally, I think a guy who is worth several hundred million dollars could be even more involved in philanthropy, but I’ll let that pass for the moment.  I’ll be satisfied if he and his soon-to-be-ex-wife just start paying their fair share of taxes.  Think of it as an investment in your customers so you can continue to rip them off at the stadium.  Because we’re all in this together.

You fucking dolts.

Friday, February 19, 2010

In Which Yr. Devolutionist Wonders What Has Happened To Ann Coulter

A few short years ago, Ann Coulter was the gold standard for sarcastic, nutty, nasty, incoherent, ill-informed, and all-around batshit crazy right wing female.  In fact, she was the only one that the Devolutionist knew of who regularly made the news for saying something outrageous.  She blazed the trail for the nutty right wing females who now overshadow her: Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Liz Cheney, Michelle "Crazy Eyes" Malkin, even Peggy "Bartender!  Another-Percocet-and-Gin Martini!" Noonan.  Cheney and Noonan are regulars on the Sunday morning political talk shows, and even Malkin made it all the way to the roundtable on Good Morning America, where she proved she was not ready to sit at the big kids' table.  Which is probably why she apparently shows up on Fox News regularly (yr. Devolutionist no longer owns a TV and relies on the intertube to bring him news of Malkin's latest high comedy act on some media forum or other.)

So it was almost nostalgic to catch a CNN clip of her (via Talking Points Memo) waxing philosophic to Rick Sanchez about the similarities between World War II and the Iraq war.  Since I can't seem to figure out how to embed the clip here, I'll let you go watch it before I continue.



Check email...

Check NBA scores, curse Celtics for beating Lakers by one last night...

The Devolutionist is forever amazed by the stupidity and incoherence of the comments made by America's pundit class, which is perhaps why he is also addicted to watching it.  It's as if the entire collective IQ of America has become one of those car wrecks that you can't stop gawking at as you inch by in a traffic jam caused by the pile-up.  Yes Ann, WW2 and Iraq are both wars.  In other news, the sky is blue except at night, when it's black.

I would have also loved for Rick Sanchez to have followed up (and perhaps he did) by asking ol' Ann of La Mancha to expound on the benefits of the Iraq War we are now enjoying.  Did oil drop to ten dollars a barrel since the Devolutionist last drove past a gas station this afternoon?  Is the massive debt brought on in part by Bush and Congress starting a war while passing huge tax cuts now considered a benefit?  A stronger and more aggressive Iran that no longer has a strong Iraq as a regional counterweight is a good thing?  That explains all those neocons demanding Obama bomb the shit out of it yesterday!

Maybe she's particularly ecstatic that we no longer have to patrol the no-fly zone.  Okay Ann, you can have that one.

While I'm on the subject of Ann Coulter, this seems like the right place to throw in this old clip of Al Franken smacking her down in a debate and Ann not getting his point that there's a difference between paraphrasing and taking a quote completely out of context and investing it with meaning that the original writer CLEARLY did not intend.

Yr. Devolutionist hopes for socialized medicine soon, as he is sure some blood pressure medication would come in handy. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In Which The Devolutionist Ponders The Politically Punk'd

Frank Rich gives Sarah Palin way too much credit. I don't think she punk'd anyone:

I do agree with Albert Brooks though. Back in the early 80s this would have been an Alan Funt reference, today we get Ashton Kutcher:

Who would have thought that Punk'd would become a political meme years after the show went off the air? On the other hand, the thought that we're all being punk'd by one political stunt or another makes perfect sense.

If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, of course, the Birthers will tell you Obama has punk'd us on his birth certificate. The Truthers would say the government punk'd us on 9/11. The rational would say that Bush punk'd us to invade Iraq.

Apologies to all rational people for lumping you in with Birthers and Truthers.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In Which The Devolutionist Makes Recommendations For Your Reading/Listening Pleasure

The Great Deluge, Douglas Brinkley - Simply horrifying. I had forgotten so many of these Katrina details. If Satan is reading this (and I have no reason to doubt it) please make sure that when Michael Chertoff gets down there he has to spend eternity wading through chest-deep, fetid sewage towards a Superdome that never gets any closer. And make sure he's surrounded by pissed-off black people.

Haunted, Chuck Palahniuk - Took me half an hour to get through one early ten-page section because it was so disturbing I kept stopping to look up and yell "Arrrrrrrgh" into the void of my studio apartment.  A waiter at Doughboys who saw the book on my table told me if I could get through that the rest of the book is worth it.

The Golden Archipelago, Shearwater - Streaming on NPR until it's released on February 23. One of my favorite bands. Jonathan Meiburg has a high voice and the lyrics are tough to decipher (so pretty much like every other Shearwater album) but the songs have a delicacy and an almost academic formality to their structure. Haunting in a good way.

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (but not really), some artsy girl named Madeline Ava - The original Neutral Milk Hotel album is one of the classic indie rock albums of all time and has inspired thousands of Jeff Mangum groupies (including Yr. Humble Devolutionist) who salivate if Stereogum reports the reclusive singer was so much as spotted taking a leak in the men's room of a Denny's in Amarillo. Madeline Ava has recorded an all-ukelele-and-kazoo cover of the entire album. Weird and weirdly compelling.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In Which The Devolutionist Understands That There Would Be No Math

Good news! According to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, 70% of Americans now consider Sarah Palin unqualified to hold the presidency. The other 30% are either coma victims or lab apes.

When that number hits 100% I'll be genuinely happy.

Seventy percent. Even Orrin Hatch would have to admit that's a majority. Poor Orrin. Maths is hard.