The Widdershins

Archive for November 2011

My goodness, Widdershins, it’s practically 2012. Thanksgiving has passed in a fog of deep-fried turkey, miserable traffic and unseasonably steamy temperatures. Chrismukkah and New Year’s are right around the corner, and it will be Super Tuesday before we know it.

Unfortunately, most of us will have no one to vote for. Obama has become a lame duck President earlier than any in recent memory, presiding over a Congress which is more dysfunctional than a Kardashian marriage. I am one of those who was rooting for the Super Committee’s failure – after all, it was merely a Catfood Commission on steroids, and it would have set a rather dangerous precedent – and yet, it seems that even in failure, it has succeeded in defunding Medicare (which has been Obama’s goal from Day 1, as I outlined in this post).

As always, Obama’s rules have exceptions to the exceptions (witness the Health Whatever Bill’s many, many, MANY waivers for states and businesses), and if we keep looking, we’ll see that those who are getting the exceptions…well, they’re not the 99% we’ve been hearing more and more about. While the “automatic” cuts are triggered in 2013 (note that this is AFTER the 2012 elections), it seems that the cuts in defense are, er, not so automatic.

The super committee’s failure automatically triggers $1,200 billion in mandatory  cuts in government spending, beginning in 2013, with about $600 billion cut from  military spending and the remainder from entitlement programs [emphasis mine. Jeebus, that’s 600 million from Medicare, Medicaid and/or Social Security]. Even after the  automatic spending cuts for 2013 are made, total U.S. government spending for  that year would be above the level projected in 2007 by 32%.

Congress  and military officials are justifiably worried about the impact on national  security of a $600 billion cut in Pentagon spending. On this issue, the  President has the option of introducing a resolution to reconsider the defense  cuts, which is likely. Terms of this option prohibit a filibuster as an effort  to squelch the move.

Legislators of both the House and Senate were also  looking for ways to side-step the automatic cuts in defense spending. The Senate  has moved some $10 billion from the general budget to the Pentagon budget, to  make up the anticipated reduction in spending. Before the cuts are implemented,  however, Congress has at least a year to repeal or reduce the mandated defense  spending cuts, and some lawmakers have already begun working toward that end,  arguing their case and gathering support. President Obama promised to veto any  bill that reduced the spending cuts.

Well of course, we wouldn’t want to jeopardize the MIC, now would we? The poor and ill and elderly, however, are fair game for those “automatic” cuts.

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The Manchester Union Leader has endorsed Newt Gingrich for president!  If ever a time called for the questioning of our own moral integrity, this could be it.

According to the Union Leader, their assessment of Newt is based on the following:
We are in critical need of the innovative, forward looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing,¬” The New Hampshire Union Leader said..”   Huh?

I fully recognize that the GOP field of presidential hopefuls is a miserable flop.  But come on!  Newt is one of the most corrupt politicians to have emerged from the depths of corruption that is known as the U.S. congress for pete’s sake!  His treatment of women is abominable.  His defense of “family values” is laughable.   His “self love” is enormous.

A full time lobbyist who has taken millions from the same industry that he unabashedly calls out for “bad practices”.  A battered former Speaker of the House who was censured by that body before he left in disgrace.  A man who promised, and succeeded, to close down the government.  A two faced hypocrite who led the charge to impeach a sitting president over a minor indiscretion for which he too was enjoying!

It doesn’t take a genius to discover that this GOP field of candidates are not exactly the “brightest lights” in the firmament.  Several of them are downright ignorant.   Yet to single out Newt Gingrich as the “standard bearer” is beyond comprehension.  Both his personal and professional baggage is staggering.  The man has few principles, speaks out of both sides of his mouth, and changes positions as often as Mitt.  My favorite of Newt’s taunts, delivered with a straight face, is “quote me and I will deny it”.


Here’s Mitt discussing the war on terror:

“This is one of the great tragedies of the Bush administration. The more successful they’ve been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we’re in danger…. It’s almost like they should every once in a while have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us.”
~Newt Gingrich, at a book talk in Huntington, NY, April 2008, saying that Republicans should allow terrorist attacks on American soil to remind us of the dangers in the world.

Here’s Newt defending congressional lobbyists:

“The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.”
~Newt Gingrich, arguing that it’s okay for politicians to be bought and paid for.

Here’s Newt discussing Medicare:

“Now, we don’t get rid of it in round one because we don’t think that that’s politically smart, and we don’t think that’s the right way to go through a transition. But we believe it’s going to wither on the vine because we think people are voluntarily going to leave it — voluntarily.”
~Newt Gingrich, admitting that while they won’t kill Medicare outright, Republicans will try to make it wither on the vine and die.

Here’s Newt on Newt:

“I have enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I’m doing it. I am now a famous person. I represent real power.”
~Newt Gingrich, blowing his own horn.

It’s that “power” he speaks of that is so disconcerting.  As much of a “shape shifter” as Mitt Romney, Newt is devoid of the moral compass that would invite the inspiration to lead based on past performance.  Yet this is man has been endorsed by an editorial board of a conservative newspaper that still carries some clout.

Newt is nothing if not an “authoritarian” in his outlook. His recent embrace of the Catholic Church speaks as much.  That recent “conversion” smacks of outright opportunism: a way for Newt to “redeem” himself among voters who buy into that crap.   Yet he is the same old Newt: arrogant, belligerent, so full of himself that it is a wonder that he can still walk.

That endorsement will allow others across the nation to take another look at Newt.   I don’t need to.  It’s the same old Newt just operating from a different stand.  What you see of Newt is what you get.   A man without principle, values, or conscience.  An empty shell in search of the power he once enjoyed.  Power he abuses whenever it is within his grasp.

The nation cannot afford a “Gingrich presidency” no matter how careless the present one appears to be.  Disturbing is that there will be those who think otherwise.

Inconceivable.

I hope that everyone had a nice holiday.

Plenty of food, family, football, travel, shopping or whatever  – this may just serve to keep us a bit saner as we look down the barrel of yet another week of our lives.

I opened an e-newsletter from my city commissioner, who advises that he has filed for re-election.  This amazes me,  as our incumbent commission discovered that they were roughly in an $8 million dollar hole due to no fault of the commission but rather because of “poor accounting methods”.  Some of the less than stellar uses of these bucks include sinking more than three-quarters of a million dollars into refurbishing our city water tower.  It is painted with a rather nice marine life mural, and has a digital clock and temperature feature, which is usually inoperative.  Apparently, and I promise that I am not making this up, our water tower is considered to be so lovely (by water tower aficionados) that it will be featured in a calendar devoted to gorgeous water towers of America.  Keep that in mind for those people on your holiday shopping list who have everything……………..

I suppose the knowledge that our water tower kicks butt will just have to comfort us.  We’ve lost city services as employees have been let go in bunches in order to cover the massive deficit.  In order to make all this up to us, our city commission has decided to eliminate the parking meters in our downtown area – this should only cost us another $1.5 million or so a year.  They are also hiring some outfit which provides a happy combination of street cleaning, “ambassador services” to answer questions, and (of course) encouragement to the homeless to keep moving out of our newly refurbished,  free parking downtown area.  I don’t think that I want to know what the annual cost of this service might be.  Yeah – go ahead and refile, all of you.  The 2012 election should be simply fascinating.

I guess that I am trying to convey my dismay at what municipalities – large, medium, and small – consider to be a priority.  For example, I heard on one of the news programs that large cities are frantic about what the Occupy costs have been, with some such as New York whizzing right past the two million dollar mark.  I certainly hope that they are not attempting to elicit sympathy for their expenditures, especially as so many appear to have sent forth a sufficient number of officers with militarized equipment to deal with passive resistors.  This can get really expensive, especially when said officers fail to real the label on their military-grade pepper spray and send large numbers of non-violent protestors to the hospital on their employer’s dime.  (I can’t get the image of the UC Davis cop spraying pepper spray from a distance of less tha two feet back and forth as though he were watering a shrub.  That strength is meant to be delivered from 10-20 feet as a single quick blast.  He is fortunate that overnight visits were all that occurred.)  At any rate, when your response level appears to be keyed in at Defcon 4, things can get expensive in a hurry.

For anything else, there is no money.  Nope, not a dime.  Homeless?  Too bad.  Schools falling down?  No  money for that, either.  Teacher’s pay?  Frozen like a glacier.  Infrastructure?  Pray that it holds.  We’re broke.  I suppose that if you don’t mind living in a police state, or you can afford private education and health care then it’s all good.  Otherwise, it’s just not so hot these days.  I agree that government at all levels needs to spend its money carefully.  Back in the day, I could afford to spend money on things other than necessities.  These days, like most people, I rank my necessities in the order of importance and move carefully down the list.  I used to assume that my government was doing the same thing,   but I’m now paying a lot more attention to what my government considers to be a priority and I’m not thrilled by what I see.

2012 is coming soon, and I’m not at all certain whether it brings us fair winds or foul.  However, if my local government is any example, there will be little responsibility assumed by any of The Deciders who engineered the downfall of America.

This is an open thread.

Good morning, Widdershins.  Thanksgiving is a time to visit and enjoy time with family and friends, so it seems only reasonable to recognize the tunes that celebrate the people that we count as our closest.  Today’s topic will apply to both song titles and artist/group names.  While searching youtube and the intertubz, I actually found a few instances when both the title and the group contained a family/friend name.

Here are my five songs, in no particular order:

(1) We Are Family – Sister Sledge – We Are Family, 1979

(2) In My Daughter’s Eyes –  Martina McBride  – Single, 2003

(3) Sister Golden Hair –  America – Hearts, 1975

(4) My Best Friend’s Girl –  The Cars –  My Best Friend’s Girl, 1978

(5) Mother and Child Reunion – Paul Simon – Paul Simon, 1972

Have a great day, and please consider this to be an open thread.  Relax, take naps, and enjoy the music – another week of frenzy lies ahead.

A friend of mine landed in the Emergency Room early Friday morning.   Her car was hauled in for major repairs following an accident that took place with a deer.

Though she suffered minor injuries, and the repair to the car is somewhere around$1,500, she is going to be fine.  Because she was broad sided by a deer at 3am Friday morning you might ask why she was out so late in the first place.

It seems as though she was on her way to take advantage of the sales on offer for “Black Friday”!  Yup, she hauled herself out of bed at 3am for the opportunity to head to the mall to take advantage of the discounts on offer by getting in line to stand for hours just to save a few bucks on an item that she just was unable to pass up!  She is lucky to have escaped with her life.

Our local news covered a couple who were parked outside a local mall as early as 4am Thursday morning.  Their intent was to be “first in line” when the mall re-opened at 9pm Thanksgiving night!

Seated on folding chairs and covered in thermal blankets, this happy couple was filmed alongside their cooler of soft drinks and sandwiches for the purpose of being among the first to gain entry when the stores re-opened Thanksgiving Day itself.  These two “yahoos” were only too happy to forgo Thanksgiving Day to advance their Christmas shopping by forfeiting time spent with family and friends and munching on tunafish sandwiches in return!   This is how insane we have become as a society at large when it comes to “discounts” on items that serve little purpose beyond “owning” them.

My friend joins a list of those who feel compelled to own a place in the insanity.  Hearing her tell it, she is more distressed at the “missed opportunity” derived from the accident than the seriousness of how she arrived at the ED in the wee small hours of the morning, cut and bruised. Angry that she now will be “forced” to pay full price for an electronic item, her injuries are the furthest from her mind.

I’d like to think that my friend is still suffering from a little aftershock and a delayed reaction to her plight.  Traveling alone on a country road at 3am where deer crossing is a given might raise some sense of speculation.  Was saving a few dollars worth this?

Apparently so since the “hype” surrounding Black Friday has overcome the idea of Thanksgiving Day itself.  What better way to express “love” for the recipient than to stand in line for hours in the cold, braving the elements, for a gift that will have been set aside or long forgotten after the fact.  Or how about the couple who gave up the entire day to sit in a parking lot for the opportunity of being “first in line”?  Was it really worth all that?

We are a nation of consumers.  First and foremost we look for bargains and will travel miles out of our way to complete that sense of satisfaction.  In a time when the number of people relying on Food Banks has doubled and shelters are bursting at the seams, the airwaves are inundated with ads supporting Black Friday, urging consumers to leave home in the middle of the night in search of “irresistible bargains”.

Is this the Christmas season?  Shoving, mauling, pushing one another out of the way?  Grabbing things out of someone’s grasp like roaming squads of looters?  Fighting one another over precious parking spaces?  Ramming carriages into one other without heed to safety?  Swearing at and challenging the next guy over a marked down purchase?  Is this really “us”?  I don’t get it which is probably my problem to begin with.

“Black Friday” seems to underscore “greed” in times when greed alone has brought us to our economic knees.  We are consumed with the idea of “having to have”.   Nothing is ever enough.  We are willing to harm one another for the chance to drive ourselves further into debt.  We have an overwhelming desire to “possess”.  And we are more than willing to take it to the limit to achieve just that.  This is our legacy.

Iwould hope that Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of what we are grateful to have: family, friends, health, peace of mind, the “need” for personal sanctuaries that cannot be measured in value.

Black Friday stands as nothing more than a reminder of the “want” that lurks within us, measured by nonexistent “values” that add nothing in the end.   A collaboration between corporation and consumer that leaves a bad taste.

Insane!

People would stop making me write about Michele Bachmann.

I really don’t like Representative Bachmann at all. She knows nothing about history, and holds to an ideology that is repugnant to my feminist sensibilities as well as my liberal ones. To top it all off, Michele is against gay marriage, yet is married to a gay man who preaches against homosexuality. Thus, she is not usually a topic for my posts. I semi-secretly have the childish idea that if I ignore her, she will just go away. (Hey, it’s worked for Sarah Palin!)

And yet, Obama supporters just can’t help themselves, can they? Last Monday night, Jimmy Fallon invited Bachmann to be a guest on his show, and his band greeted her with a touching little rendition of “Lyin’ *ss B*tch.” In case anyone thinks this was unintentional, the drummer’s pre-show tweet argues otherwise.

The band’s drummer, Questlove, signaled the band’s naughtiness in a tweet:

aight late night walkon song devotees: you love it when we snark: this next one takes the cake. ask around cause i aint tweeting title.

Questlove, real name Ahmir Thompson, issued a statement apologizing for the incident. “The performance was a tongue-in-cheek and spur-of-the-moment decision. The show was not aware of it and I feel bad if her feelings were hurt. That was not my intention,” he said, according to ABC News.

Oh, so you didn’t think being called a “Lyin’ *ss B*tch” would hurt her feelings? Did you think she’d be applauding your clever choice of music, “Questlove?” I know she is a horrible person, but she does not deserve to be greeted with this kind of disrespect. (Questlove is an Obama fan, of course.)

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 “Mess” is one of those great words with several very different meanings.

The military feeds their personnel at the mess.  Another type of mess is something that is untidy.  To a Southerner, a mess of something is a large quantity thereof.  My kitchen currently meets two of the three criteria nicely.

Dinner will be at my daughters home this afternoon, and some twenty family and friends will dine there.  She cooks, I bake.  My kitchen is currently festooned with flour, confectioner’s sugar, and splotches of pumpkin, but it smells just wonderful.  I’ll wipe it down fast and spend Friday scraping, if I have recovered from a day of tryptophan and football.  If not, there’s always Saturday after the ballgame…… or Sunday after the ballgame…..or even Monday, for that matter.

Whatever everyone is doing today, I hope it includes a good meal and enjoyable company, strange and wonderful relatives included.  We’ll take this one little day to enjoy what we have, and get right back to examining the real and actual problems tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.  This is an open thread.


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Blog Archive

November 2011
M T W T F S S
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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.2 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

Ironic

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