The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘sarah palin

Or in the world of Donald Trump, Part Second.Marriage Boot Camp

In our little corner of the internet, we were a full forty-eight hours ahead of the news curve talking about the covalent bonding of politics and reality teevee.  From the article:  “It’s so easy these days to go out there and become an Internet conservative celebrity by saying some things, and who cares if it’s true or makes any sense. And there’s no incentive to ever really bother with reality or to compromise.  There’s no money, ratings or clicks in everyone going along to get along.”

So in the spirit of Jeannie living in a magic bottle on Capt. Nelson’s coffee table, Laura Petrie contorting her face and crying, “Oh, Rob,” or even Samantha finding the right Dick to play her husband Darrin, (York not Sargent) yesterday we saw the merger of two reality brands in a real life Marriage Boot Camp:  Reality Stars.  If only “Malaria” and former Alaskan first Dude weren’t in the way of the inevitable synergy.

I'm with stupidHad Sarah and Donald met on or eHarmony there would have been undeniable compatibility in the:

(1) Ability to free associate without the use of commas, periods, or pauses;

(2) Hate for a certain darker-skinned occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue;

(3) Deep and abiding love of self;

(4) Traffic stopping self-gratification requiring only a mirror; and

(5) Absolute, total, world-class cluelessness.


It is indeed a rare event in which the post just writes itself and today is one of those extraordinary times.  Already Sarah has missed the stage call for a Trump rally and inquiring minds are wondering if Sarah picked up her check and called it a day.  I thought it might be entertaining if we try our collective hand at writing a Marriage Boot Camp blurb like those the program uses to fluff and flog itself.

Here are the barebones and if you are so inclined, please fill-in the blanks.  You can cut and paste the paragraph into your comments if you want.


This season, a celebrity couple, Sarah and Donald fight for their political relevance under the weight of a vicious tabloid scandal, _______________________. Before their honeymoon is over an unimaginable background truth emerges that ____________________, sending their world spiraling into chaos.

The drama unfolds on the campaign trail as the fighting begins.  Marriage Boot Camp is their last resort, but _____________________.  Once thought to be America’s picture perfect political sweethearts, the murky truth is that ___________________.


If your interest lies beyond our little Sarah and Donald workshop, please don’t hesitate to take the conversation in any direction you might deem worthy.

Have a great Wednesday and let your creative genius shine.


If only we could still use the “N-word” when talking about black or brown people. PC

If only we could still use the “F-word” when talking about males who lisp.

If only we could still use the “W-word” when talking about people whose last name ends in a vowel.

If only we could use the “K-word” when talking about Jews.

If only we could hate without limits.

And if only we weren’t so politically correct, all that ails us would be cured.  At least that was what was being peddled during Tuesday evening’s debate when “political correctness” was mentioned dozens of times as causing everything from constipation to El Nino.

If only things were like they were back in the 1950s – a truly enlightened time when people of color used their own entrances and women’s liberation meant untying an apron so that wifely bedroom duties could begin.  Those were the days!

Freely offend someonePolitical correctness has become the dustbin for all those things that contribute to the “Othering” of ahMurica.  As the dustbin it is an essential part of everyday existence – never the focus of a room, but always present, just off in the corner, ready to collect the detritus of working one’s way through everyday life.

It appears Donald Trump’s popularity is primarily centered on those who are sick and tired of the “Otherness” of ahMurica.  Just look at those endorsing him – there’s  the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi website and there’s David Duke and his triple K percale-clad cross-burners.  Der Trumpster will lead us in the “Unothering” of the House that was painted White for good reason.

It’s not correct to call these Trumpinistas Republicans because they’re not necessarily Republicans.  They are a new amalgamation of primarily white men, hailing from the lower middle class, having an education of high school or less, and who have been flat run over by free trade and the global economy.  Der Trumpster speaks to their victimization by the Others.  They need a villain and that villain has a language – it’s political correctness.

Abandoning political correctness is the new permission to hate.  It isn’t anything new, it’s just more overt.  Since about 2000, the conservative infotainment apparatus has cleverly used code words and dog whistles.  Unnecessary politeness has now been cast aside and it’s okay to hate.  What’s more, it’s now celebrated to own that hate.  Since certified Trump fan girl Sarah Palin made “real ahMuricans” her catchphrase in 2008, this turn of events has been inevitable.Mark Twain

Tuesday night’s theme was that political correctness was keeping us from defeating ISIS because the “O” in Obama stands for Other.  Unfortunately, it looks as if ISIS has already won.  You see, political correctness is just a fancy term for culturally acceptable language within a population — whether it be a country or a like-minded community.  Railing against PC’ness is just a tacit, defensive admission that one’s underlying viewpoint and opinions aren’t acceptable in the world-at-large.

For instance, Tuesday night there was no talk about gun violence or violence against health care providers at Planned Parenthood offices.  You heard not a peep about environmental issues or international trade agreements.  You heard nothing about foreign aid as a long-game disincentive to war.  Each is an example of political correctness within the core conservative crowd of the Republican Party.

What you heard Tuesday night was eerily like a checklist of major recruiting points from the ISIS handbook.  Inability to realize our dreams – CHECK.  More bombing and greater intervention in the Middle East – CHECK.  Our best days were in the past and the future is only glorious if we employ xenophobic rhetoric – CHECK.  Unequal treatment of people and their religions is encouraged – CHECK.  And most frightening of all, knowledge, in all its possible iterations, must be feared – CHECK!  These didn’t come from ISIS, they came from those aspiring to be Commander-in-Chief.

Bad luck while thinkingOf course, my opinion on such matters is obviously politically correct in that I’m optimistic, have a positive outlook, appreciate and celebrate others, have no grandiose notions about my insignificance in the world-at-large, and I love to learn stuff.  Heretical isn’t it?  Truly, these are characteristics that should be feared.

But here’s a fun fact – the very people who are so cocksure that political correctness has killed our future, are some of the most likely candidates to join that future by becoming dead.  The group comprising der Trumpster’s support is dying at a much higher rate than similarly situated populations worldwide.  White, middle-aged ahMuricans are dying from opioid abuse, depression, and alcoholism at an alarmingly increasing rate.  I love it when sociological research dovetails so nicely with plain old common sense.

If only these “real ahMuricans” could be worried about that.

Have a much better than average day and the conversation awaits your direction.


Carson Eyes Closed

I tried to find a photo with his eyes open, but…

For those of you tuning-in for MB’s weekly affirmational activism, she is pulled seven ways from Sunday with work and travel.  She will be back next week, but not to worry, she will be popping in with comments and keeping an archangel’s watchful eye upon us.

Before I begin, I have to check-off some mandatory disclaimers.  First, Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon and from all reports a fine one.  Second, he was a pediatric neurosurgeon, so extra points there.  Third, by all reports he seems to be a devout Seventh-day Adventist.  Fourth, he seems to be a sweet, soft-spoken, thoughtful human.  Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, he’s a platinum-certified, tra-lah-lah-lah cuckoo crackpot.

Just for the record, numbers one through four do not make number five impossible.  I’ve known plenty of brilliant people who enjoy howling at the moon.  In all fairness, number five seems to be somewhat conclusory so I suppose I should offer some supporting rationale.

Here are some of the things, in summary form, the good doctor has professed:

  • Obamacare is worse than slavery, America is a Gestapo state;
  • He’s never seen a bullet-hole uglier than a gun law;
  • Gayness is a choice because prisoners are raped and come out of prison all “gayed up”;
  • The Big Bang theory is a fairy tale and evolution is the work of Satan;
  • There’s no racism in America;
  • There’s no war on women, but there might be a war on women’s insides (I don’t even know what that means);
  • Planned Parenthood is an orchestrated plot to kill black babies; and
  • A devotion to Cleon Skousen, an activist author described by the conservative National Review, as an all-around nut job.

Obama careThe choice of Skousen as a philosophical beacon for your world view is bizarre to say the least.  Skousen believed “agents of communism” had “penetrated every echelon of American society—including some of the highest offices of the United States Government.”

In addition, Skousen maintained that the Founding Fathers were direct descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel and contended that a global cabal of bankers controlled the world.  Among other things he also hated abstract art and thought of it as a nefarious plot.  I could go on with quotes from Skousen about “naked pickaninnies running about,” but why – you get the picture.

At this point, you probably think this is just a post about trashing Ben Carson.  Admittedly it does do that, but there’s more to consider.  Carson consistently polls second in national polling behind Forrest Trump and in the IBD/TIPP poll that many consider to be the most accurate, Carson is first with a seven point advantage over Trump.Carson Liberty Counsel

And the kicker, the 20% of the Republicans who support Carson ponied up Twenty Million Dollars last quarter – that’s $20,000,000 – the largest fundraising haul of any Republican.  Here’s what he did with it – spent over $11,000,000 on direct mail, online fundraising, and various other money-raising gimmicks.  In other words, his burn rate for fundraising is around 60% — so for every dollar some unsuspecting, but believing, rube sent him, sixty cents went to bilk that same person or some other unsuspecting rube out of another dollar.  This shakedown rate puts him in spitting distance of the Michele Bachmann/Sarah Palin Hall of Shame for Shakedowns.

One Nation BookSo after a $20 million haul, what does the good Doctor do?  He temporarily suspends his campaign.  To do what you ask?  To go on a book tour and sit in some latte scented corner of Barnes & Noble and read to converts.  With this decision he joins the pantheon of Ron Paul’s “buy gold” newsletter, Huckabuck’s cinnamon diabetes cure, and the grande dame herself, Sarah Palin’s single-handed defense of Christmas.  Why does it surprise so many Republicans when their Foxy time is punctuated by so many of the very same people to whom they contributed during the campaign?  It is unsurprising that the campaign was little more than an audition.

Ben Carson is a grifter, perhaps not a grifter by design, but in practice.  By analogy, white collar criminals don’t commit muggings, but they are common thieves nonetheless.  Carson’s con is book sales begetting higher speaking fees begetting enhanced pundit value begetting greater celebrity begetting additional influence begetting more book sales – the life-cycle of a professional grifter’s con.Carson 2013

Carson is not unique in his con, but I have chosen to focus on him because of the rather crass manner of how he appeared on the national political stage.  In 2013, Carson chose to get up in President Obama’s grill at the National Prayer Breakfast – a non-political event that has been around since Ike’s first term.  Never before had anyone had the temerity to violate its nonpartisan heritage until Carson used it as his successful Fox audition.  That my friends is not a good and pure heart – that is the heart of a grifter.

When you combine the poll numbers of Trump, Carson, and Fiorina (her con is promotion through ever-increasing failure) you have over 50% of the Republican Party supporting these grifting cons.  Not a day of government service among them.  Not a whit of mission beyond feeding an unquenchable ego.  And most importantly, because of the Foxification of the media, no one to call their con what it is – one long scam.


Take this conversation in any direction you might like.  Enjoy your Monday!


If loss of innocence is the price you pay for life lessons, the shipping and handling cost for such discovery is the disappointment one feels from unrealized expectations.  Trouble is, unrealistic expectations are always moving targets scampering about like over-caffeinated bunnies.

Personally, I was well into my fourth decade before learning that silently projecting even minimal expectations on others, be it family, friends, or business associates, was nothing more than rolling out the welcome mat for world-class disappointment.  That’s a hard lesson and one I’m not sure I‘ve yet mastered.

What I have learned is that constantly reminding oneself of unmet expectations is the surest way to keep things in perspective, thereby making sure every tomorrow surprises you with new discoveries.  For example:Hillary Fiorina

When I’m reminded thinking it was impossible for someone to set back women’s rights more than a vice presidential nominee who couldn’t name a newspaper or magazine she read while passing the time surreptitiously surveilling Russia, Carly Fiorina then comes along as a presidential candidate.

It begins with Fiorina living some kind of Sixth Sense type existence where she’s the only person who sees videotape that isn’t there.  Next, her major selling point is a lie about a hardscrabble upbringing rather than the real one of privilege, further built around a half-truth of working as a secretarial intern, and wrapping it up in a fiction of her being something other than an abject failure as C.E.O. at H.P.

But, Fiorina’s greatest talent so far is tearing down another woman with lies, innuendos, and half-baked conspiracy theories.  That might be politics as usual, but to me there’s plenty of disappointment there.

When I’m reminded that it can’t get worse than someone killing 20 first graders and six of their teachers, then there’s another mass killing.  Last week on the 274th day of the year, the Oregon killings were the 294th mass shooting of the year.  Yet, the country hardly works up a collective whimper.

US-CRIME-SHOOTING-OREGONWe add to the toll of senseless death not just with “event murders,” but we pile up bodies with over thirty deaths every single day.  Succumbing to the inevitability of the NRA’s omnipresence, we blithely accept there is now loose in society the equivalent of a gun for each man, woman, and child in the country.

We know that reducing the numbers of guns through commonsense regulation reduces the number of suicides, but the NRA is made rich by being a pro-suicide organization.  Our government, with what little background checking there is, accedes to gun lobby demands that if the check isn’t completed in 72 hours, the applicant gets the gun by default no matter what the results are.  Think about that for a moment – first, the default position is giving a gun to someone whose background hasn’t been checked, and second, and by far the most anger-making, the inconvenience of a mass shooter outweighs the lives of anonymous victims yet to be selected.

If that’s not disappointment enough, sober up on the fact that one of two major political parties finds it expedient to prostitute itself to the NRA and other trade groups whose sole job is to make it politically palatable to accept increasing numbers of mass killings.  That’s beyond disappointment, that’s just pure evil.

There’s the reminder that trickle down, supply-side economics has never worked – not once, not ever.  Armed with that undisputable fact, you find the Republican candidates like Jeb! Bush and Forrest Trump trotting out tax plans recycling the same failed plans to enrich the rich and add Trillions with a “T” to the deficit.

The actual napkin upon which the Laffer Curve was hatched. It is signed by Laffer and given to Donald Rumsfeld and dated in 1974. A day of economic infamy.

The actual napkin upon which the Laffer Curve was hatched. It is signed by Laffer and given to Donald Rumsfeld and dated September 13, 1974. A day of economic infamy.

This economic/political sloganeering, like every other identical plan to lower taxes since 1981, is the divine inspiration of an actor and a football player who became star-struck with the buffoonery of an economist who believed tax rates alter the brain function of the world’s wealthy.  The economist believing in magical, mystical brain remodeling is ironically named Laffer.  Honestly, does any more need be said?

Disappointment grows almost as fast as does the self-indulgent quackery.

You don’t need a reminder to remember congressional inquires sprout like toadstools after a spring rain when Republicans are in charge of Congress.  After seven (7) independent inquiries, the Special Super-Dooper, immaculately conceived, spiky-haired chaired, Benghazi Committee has lasted longer than the Watergate Committee, the Iran/Contra Inquiry, the Warren Commission on the Kennedy assassination, the Church Commission revamping the nation’s intelligence agencies, and the investigation into the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Benghazi Dead HorseBenghazi is a tragedy looking for a scandal that isn’t there, but of course, never being satisfied with the mere waste of money or the futile waste of energy, the fact checkers want to focus on the “gotcha aspects” of four obscure congressional inquiries having lasted longer than Benghazi.  Disappointment always follows when you try to plumb the depths of the contagion known as HDS (Hillary Derangement Syndrome).

This list of disappointments is long and virtually inexhaustible.  Here’s what takes the sting out of it for me: I remind myself of what it must be like to be a traitor to feminism like Carly Fiorina, an NRA executive paid to write press releases excusing mass killings, or a politician making political points on the deaths of Americans.  When I do that, being disappointed isn’t such a bad thing at all.  In fact, I’m reminded of how gratifying disappointment can be.

I’ll be out-of-pocket some this week so if I don’t quickly respond to comments, please don’t let that slow you down.  I’ll catch up.

This is an open thread itching for your thoughts and insights.

Have a most glorious week!

Good afternoon Widdershins. Fall, the bestest of seasons, is upon us. This past weekend my hometown had its forty-third annual arts and crafts festival built around the making of sorghum molasses. It was all the fun you can imagine when you throw out the welcome mat for 40,000 humans and the town’s tornado ravaged infrastructure was built for fifteen hundred. I hope your weekend was a good one as well.

Today I thought we would play a short game of Wudja — would you rather have the life of person X over the life of person Y? For purposes of today’s little thought experiment, person X is President Obama and person Y is China’s President Xi Jinping.

So would you like to be Barack where he is “relicking the calf” on Iraq and Syria? A president elected by touting a Obama Coffee Salutefortuitous, opportunistic anti-Iraq War speech on a Chicago sidewalk where he was the last-minute substitute is faced with again spilling blood and treasure on the sands of the Middle East. He’s making decisions as would a make-up artist playing the part of a dermatologist — any decision is merely covering up a long-festering pustule that could erupt at any juncture.

You could be the Obama who is faced with finishing his presidency with the bookends of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell actively leading a Congress in rabid inactivity. Given that this Congress has been the least productive in the history of the Republic, the obvious next step is going for the world record in placing 535 people in simultaneous cryogenic stasis.

Or you could be the U.S. President who is protected by an agency that seems to recruit from the Barney Fife school of protective services. In any event the Secret Service has given Hollywood the premise for the next incarnation of the Home Alone franchise. Allowing a fence jumper to breach the North Portico into the White House, get through the East Room, almost to the Green Room and then issuing a misleading statement about the matter is a better film treatment than 95% of what the studios have turned out this year.

And just for good measure, there remains Sarah Palin and her ilk lumbering about the country like Brontosauruses  proving that 140 million years just isn’t enough evolution for some walnut-sized brains.

Xi JinpingOr would you like to be China’s Xi Jinping? The leader of a country of 1.3 Billion where between 150-170,000,000 still live in poverty. While a startling number, China has reduced its poverty by a staggering 71% in just three decades.

Xi has the privilege of running a government where corruption is almost as plentiful as the smog choking the skies. He also enjoys the burden of leading an economy that is slowing down where every decision is a Gordian knot of increasing wages for a growing middle class or making it less advantageous for Chinese manufacturing thus slowing the economy further.

Perhaps the newest Damoclesian issue began unfolding last Friday and escalated over the weekend. Succinctly put the issue is: Whether or not the central Beijing government will make good on the right of Hong Kong to democratically elect its leader — a confrontation building for almost 20 years.

The riots and demonstrations of the weekend were met with a violent response obviously sanctioned by Beijing authorities. What is most disconcerting to Beijing and Xi has to be, this is Hong Kong! The very same Hong Kong that is an affluent and orderly Eden bordering on obsessive compulsive adherence to civility and graciousness. Hong Kongers have somewhat of a superiority complex — seeing themselves well above and beyond the authoritarianism and disorder of mainland China.

Hong Kong Riot 2

Hong Kong two days ago…

When the British turned over Hong Kong in 1997, one of the central tent poles of the deal was allowing Hong Kong’s citizens to democratically elect their top leader for the first time ever in 2017. Chinese leaders reaffirmed the promise in 2007, but last July the government began to “crawfish” on the deal. The “newly reformed” deal is that Beijing must “approve” all the candidates from which the voters may choose. That doesn’t sit well with the wealthy, independent, and socially entitled Hong Kongers, especially the youth.

This whole episode is reminiscent of Tiananmen Square. For those living in Hong Kong, they believe they have a special obligation to maintain the memory of 2,600 peaceful protesters being mowed down. The obligation is a solemn one since all semblance of Tiananmen has been erased from the history of mainland China and the current generation knows nothing of the massacre.

Xi’s choice is literally an existential one for China. Can he allow democracy to gain a foothold? How can he differentiate between a two-system dichotomy ruling over a billion citizens? The greatest question is whether China has opened the door too wide and for too long to ever hope to close it to the infection of free enterprise capitalism? The inevitable loss of control terrifies Beijing. The eyes of the world would be well-advised to keenly watch China’s reaction to that fear since it will be a defining milestone for the next decade.

So wudja be Barack or Xi? There are no neithers in Wudja.

Unlike the Chinese intertubz, this is an open thread.

Good afternoon Widdershins. I hope your Tuesday is a good one.

So much news! Everywhere you look there is another headline screaming or better said, everywhere you look there is a pundit screaming in order to hear his head rattling. As is my chronic condition of being unable to focus on any one subject, I’m exercising a fielder’s choice and offering up a grab-bag of topics.

Picture from a few hours ago...

Picture from a few hours ago…

Turning first to the Middle East, we so often forget that Israeli politics can be even more divisive than our own. True to form, where there is canyonesque political division there is opportunity. Such is the case with young Mr. Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. I’m sure you have seen Mr. Dermer on any number of talk shows extolling the regrettable virtues of raining bombs down on a captive population of civilian Palestinians while asking the unanswerable question of, “Would any country suffer rocket sieges without protecting itself?“

If you noticed a pronounced lack of accent in the 43-year-old’s rapid fire debate delivery, it is because he was born in Miami where his father was a conservative Democratic mayor. He went to the University of Pennsylvania for its Wharton business school and happened into a political class taught by Frank Luntz. After graduating, he briefly worked for Mr. Luntz and became completely immersed in GOP politics. Through networking at a speed that would put the Hadron Large Collider to shame, he is now known as “Bibi’s Brain” for his close relationship with Netanyahu. The article is well worth the read to remind us “all politics is local” — it’s just that the definition of local has been enlarged.

Children approaching borderBack home with the refugee situation everyone has dubbed a “border crisis,” there is an enlightening opinion piece by El Paso county judge, Ms. Veronica Escobar. Judge Escobar’s opinion, backed up by a Rio Grande River of facts, is that:

…There’s no crisis. Local communities like El Paso have done an amazing job of assisting these migrants. Rather, the myth of a “crisis” is being used by politicians to justify ever-tighter restrictions on immigration, play to anti-immigrant voters in the fall elections and ignore the reasons so many children are coming here in the first place.

Her essay is persuasively written and is well worth the read.

For three weeks now, I have been focused on this child refugee opportunity facing the country. I deem it an opportunity since great leadership can’t select its circumstance. Will we meet the challenge?

Comprehensive immigration reform could be had in the time it would take for John Boehner to hold a roll call vote in the House since the bipartisan Senate bill sits there languishing. But instead, the Tea Party’s tribalism is producing an immigration policy of total undifferentiated deportation. It is deportation without a whiff of due process protection for these children who have trudged through the desert to reach our border.

Along with deportation, the only other facet of immigration policy these nativists will countenance is further One childmilitarization of the border with troops and walls and armed aggression. All the while forgetting, these are children — children who are endangered by drug lords, war lords, or sex traffickers.

I’ve yet to hear the first explanation of the unavoidable circumstance where children, already spent from their desert trek, are stopped at the border by armed American soldiers and turned away with nowhere to go. There will be maybe ten at first, then twenty, then perhaps hundreds. How do we caption that picture for the world stage? We, as a country and as a people, are better than that — or at least most of us are.

Turning north to yet another instance of reining in the “others” there were two differing decisions regarding the Affordable Care Act by two different federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. The issue was whether or not the subsidies are available to those who have enrolled in healthcare plans through the federal exchange versus state exchanges. The case is Halbig v. Burwell and the divergent opinions were from the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit.

This one is easy — the opinion by the D.C. Circuit, a 2-1 decision attempting to cripple the ACA with a cockeyed reading of the statute, is wrong or as one of my professors used to say, “It couldn’t be wronger.” It will be summarily denied effect by a full en banc panel of judges when it is reargued.

ACA Legal ChallengesThe D.C. opinion was a political opinion. It ignored a basic legal concept taught in first year law school from the case of Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. Simply put, a court should defer to a federal agency when there is a discrepancy in statutory language rather than declaring the legislation a nullity. I guess the two D.C. appellate judges missed that day in law school.

Crossing the street from the D.C. Court of Appeals to Capitol Hill, our old friend Paul Ryan is at it again. He just can’t help himself. In an unending quest to breathe life into the vacuous heartless fictional philosophy of the atheist Russian émigré Ayn Rand, he unveiled yet another anti-poverty plan. To be fair, a portion of the plan is laudatory — increasing and extending the Earned Income Tax Credit to the working poor, but that nugget comes at the price of basically “eliminating dozens of programs and block granting a capped amount to the states.”

This state block granting of aid to the poor is where most observers have a massive anal bleed — me included. Block granting aid to the states, the very same states forbidding what is essentially free healthcare to the poor through Medicaid expansion will then be charged with using unfettered block grants as they see fit to help the poor. What could possibly go wrong!?!

After we give the poor people life coaches, P90X is next...

After we give the poor people life coaches, P90X is next…

A piece of Ryan’s plan has gotten little play: A mandatory precursor to receiving any aid is that a poor person would have to craft a “life plan.” In conjunction with a government worker or a deputized non-profit organization, a poor person would have to agree to benchmarks, timelines, sanctions, and cutoff dates for receiving “opportunity grants”.

You read that right — the darling of the small government crowd, the doyen of the government is too big and can’t do anything right crowd, Paul Ryan is proposing the poor must now have “life coaches.” Even conservatives love-struck with Ryan are saying he’s gone a chapter or two too far in his Ayn Randian quest.

Quite surprisingly, since corporations are now people, there’s no mention in Ryan’s proposal for “corporate life coaches” to set timelines for the sun-setting of corporate welfare. I’m sure the oversight was inadvertent.

Sarah and KimSpeaking of failed vice presidential nominees, the long wait is over my friends. For those of you jonesing for more Sarah Palin, your prayers have been answered. For only $99.95 a year, you can subscribe to Sarah teevee — all Sarah, all the time with her wit and wisdom irradiating like an aurora borealis backlit test pattern.

For those of you who think it might be a coincidence that Kim Kardashian also announced a new “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood App” costing $99.95, could it be Sarah and Kim are the new power couple — the Palashian? Don’t forget Kim’s baby is named “North” for no apparent reason until now. Or might it just be Sarah and Kim are the same person? They certainly have the same outlook when it comes to celebrity — it’s great to be paid to be famous.

I could go on and on with other tidbits in the news, but I’ll turn over the discussion to you — this is an open thread.


Good Tuesday afternoon Widdershins. For some reason my thematic gene is not firing today so my offering for your perusal is best described as a little of this and that.

Do you remember the Johnny Carson skit, “The Great Carnac?” It was where Mr. Carson would don a turban the size Carnacof a wash basket, give the answers to questions, then open an envelope and miraculously share the questions to which he had already shared the answers. I have a couple to start — a feeble attempt at a comedic amuse bouche.

Answers: Smallpox and Sarah Palin

Question: Name two toxins best kept in lockdown isolation.


Answers: The Costa Concordia and Rick Perry

Question: Name two things being refloated that are ultimately headed for the scrap yard.

While you are still groaning at my feeble attempt at humor, let me add a little something about the Senate race in Kentucky. Mitch McConnell, in an attempt to appeal to women beyond his fierce turtle magnetism, recently sent a mailer to women voters describing his successes over the years. He was able to provide two, yes, two whole examples.

After 30 years in the Senate, THIRTY YEARS, his two examples of leadership on women’s issues were: Voting to allow women into combat and changing the prosecutorial procedure for sexual assault in the military. So after thirty years, Senator McConnell can proudly say to women, “I’m for your right to die in battle, but if you don’t, I’m also against rape.“ McConnell’s opponent is Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Turning to Speaker John Boehner’s suit against President Obama for his Executive Order lawlessness, there is little mention in most stories that Obama has issued the fewest Executive Orders since FDR.

Another piece of relatively delicious irony is that the issue over which Boehner is suing Obama, the delay of the ACA employer mandate, is an issue the House voted 261 to 164 in favor of delaying. Said a better way, the supposedly spendthrift House of Representatives is spending millions of dollars to sue the President for something they were in favor of in the first place.

While I know few, if any, of you are of the Republican persuasion, but if you were, wouldn’t you be embarrassed if the future of your party’s foreign relations philosophy was being debated by two luminaries like Rick Perry and Rand Paul? One best known for saying, “Oops,“ and the other for a haircut resembling some wayward varmint. The fungible factor is high between the two, not just in their initials, not just being two native Texans, but in their egos writing checks their meager intellects can’t endorse.

One last topic: The crisis of caring for children at our southern border. Notice the way the whole complexion of the problem changes when the emphasis is rightly on the children and not the sterile, now pejorative, word — immigration.

Immigration BusesThe recent demonstrations of angry mobs screaming at buses filled with helpless children and women is a disgusting moment in our history. Where is the compassion? Where is the empathy? These people who have walked, hopped trains, or begged, borrowed, and stolen to get to our border deserve better.

If Glenn Beck can bring food, water, teddy bears, and soccer balls to these children, those who are angry and screaming should take a long hard look at themselves and the Tea Party ideals they claim to espouse.

It is a wondrously confusing thing to me when politicians are so eager to listen to religious leaders talk about contraception, but offer so little quarter to religious leaders who talk about hungry, starving, needy children.

This crisis is certainly one spawned by the unintended consequences of the Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Passed by voice votes with little or no opposition and signed by Dubya, it is a tacit encouragement to tens of thousands of children to risk their lives. There is nothing humanitarian about that. It needs to be fixed, but until it is, we need to be able to answer the questions, “When they were thirsty and when they were hungry,” with a clear conscience and an even clearer determination to fix the broken immigration system.

One last program reminder: Hillary is going to be a guest on The Daily Show tonight. Jon Stewart, in an attempt to assuage his liberal guilt, will undoubtedly offer up some pointed questions. It should be “must see teevee”.

Take this discussion to whatever subject you may wish since this is an open thread.


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