Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Seven things I’m crankily grateful for this Thanksgiving (and no, that dried out bird is not one of them)

1. I’m grateful that starting Inauguration Day the turkeys will be where they belong. That’s on the farm, or on the dinner table, but at long last not in the White House.
No, I don’t think Obama’s perfect. But at least he’s evidently smart, studious and careful — and apparently awake, alert and intellectually curious. Look at America's economy, military situation, diplomatic situation and reputation in the world. Then imagine how it would be if we had four more years of Bush, or McCain, or Sarah Palin.

2. I’m grateful that moose chili tastes probably as bad as five-day-old turkey chili.
I never tasted moose chili. So how do I know it's awful? Did you ever have an urge to take a really fine sirloin or T-bone steak and make chili out of it? I didn’t think so. The fact that Sarah Palin can’t think of anything better to make out of a dead moose than chili — even when the TV news cameras are there to watch her do it — probably means that if you’re in your right mind you probably don’t want to eat moose. And that bodes well for the moose population of Alaska. Except, of course, for the occasional moose who crosses Palin's path.

3. I’m grateful that cloying and thinly-disguised Palin for President in 2012 ads are already running on TV.
I mean, we all know this doofus thinks she knows enough about diplomacy, economics and law to be President tomorrow morning. By repeatedly shoving herself and her fawning supporters down our throats, she’s inadvertently assuring us she’ll be old news (and very boring or laughable old news) in 2012.

4. I’m grateful that the Big Three automakers are run by morons.
By showing up in Washington via their private corporate jets to beg for money, and then by offering Congress no plan beyond “gimme lotsa dough,” the Dingbat Three have given the next President grounds to seize temporary control of the companies via their stock when he bails them out. Then he can force them to produce the kind of low-or-no-carbon, fuel-efficient cars America (and the world) really needs. If that happens, who knows? There might even be a world market for Made In America automobiles again. Will Obama do it? I dunno. But Americans can hope, can’t we?

5. Ditto the banks.
I hope, I pray, that the Obama administration will forcefully remind America’s bankers what bankers are supposed to do. It's what they used to do before the free market imbeciles took over and broke America’s economy worse than Al Qaeda ever dreamed possible.

6. I’m grateful that our next president is not about to shove religion down our throats.
Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion — the right to decide how, when and even whether you pray, and what you believe about whomever or whatever you are praying to. Contrary to what the religious right would have you believe, this nation was not founded as a Christian nation. Nothing against Christianity, you understand, but consider:

• Tom Paine, who wrote the pamphlets “Common Sense” and “The Age of Reason” that helped precipitate the revolution was not a Christian, but a Deist. Ditto Thomas Jefferson, and probably Ben Franklin. Ditto George Washington (who was also a Mason and who refused communion), John Adams, and probably James Madison.

• Haym Salomon, a Jew, was largely responsible for raising the money that armed and fed George Washington’s soldiers. Isaac Franks, another Jew, was Washington’s aide de camp.

•Most Philadelphians at the time of the American Revolution were Quakers, whose belief in “divine guidance” was as likely to come directly from an inner conscience as from the Bible.

7. I am equally grateful that our soon-to-be President realizes that patriotism can be summed up not by what we wear on our lapels, but what we do for our nation. Just for openers, if you are unwilling to pay your fair share of taxes, you are not a patriot. You are a pretender.

Happy Thanksgiving. And may you enjoy many more in a nation that was founded on freedom and truth, not on hypocrisy, bullying, flag pins or any particular religion.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Citibank thanks America for filling its begging bowl with a royal one finger salute. And Congress snores when it should regulate interest rates.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

Last week, while Congress was engineering a bailout package of the taxpayers’ money to rescue Citibank and save the economy, Citibank was sending out notices to its cardholders of a new and usurious policy — a policy that could drown consumers and help sink the economy.

Louie the leg-breaker
is now a Citibanker

Usury is nothing new to bankers who issue credit cards. For example?

While banks, on average, were paying their customers 1.25% on interest checking and 2.40% on money market accounts, they were charging credit card holders an average of 11.27% overall to borrow the same money. That's according to this morning’s And that’s just the average.

Those are the kinds of rates that used to get loan sharks from the Bonano family put away for 10 to 20 years in Sing Sing. But it’s worse than that.

According to a “Notice of Change in Terms and Right to Opt Out,” set in hard-to-read, tightly spaced mouse type that Citibank mailed out last week:

All of your APRs may increase if you default under the Card Agreeement that you have with us because you fail to make a payment to us when due (even though we may have waived the late fee), you exceed your credit line, or you make a payment to us that is not honored.
Increase to how much, pray tell? Why, to a rate that would make a mafia collector like Louie The Leg Breaker blush.
In these circumstances, we may automatically increase your APRs (including any promotional APRs) on all balances to the Default APR, which equals the Prime Rate plus up to 23.99% or up to 29.00%, whichever is greater.
The math of Citibank

Twenty-nine percent? Twenty-nine percent!! Do the math (which you can do with the interest rate calculators at At that rate, if you were $5,000 in the hole and gave the vig collectors at Citibank or any credit card company $128 a month to pay down the loan, it would take you ten years and cost you over $15,000 clear your debt.

Remember, this isn't a trap Citibank has set for the rich. This is entrapment of the poor and desperate.

Round up the usual victims
of banking greed

Who’s likely to run into a default problem and get socked with Citibank Mafia rates? Why, people in financial trouble. People who lost their jobs thanks to the meltdown caused by the banking industry's own irresponsible practices. People who are sick and have no medical insurance. Or people who went a few bucks over their credit limit, by accident or due to unavoidable emergency.

Nevermind knowledgeable financial commentators pointing out that Citibank’s terms (the bank will have to pay between 5% and 8% for its “screwup money” compared to the 29% Citibank wants you to pay for screwing up) are “too lenient.”

Citibank flips the bird
to American taxpayers

Even the timing of Citibank’s announcement — that it will charge extra vig to the weak and desperate — matches the Big Three auto makers’ stupid insensitivity. (Just last week, the Detroit CEO’s extended their own begging bowls for the taxpayers' money to Congress — after flying to Washington, each one on his his own private jet.)

Citigroup's CEO deserves to get hauled before the banking committees of both houses of Congress, have his pants yanked down and get paddled stiffly across his hind end. He deserves it for the matching insensitivity of demanding cheap money for his own bank’s screwups while charging Mafia usury rates to his wounded customers.

Incidentally, strapping consumers reduces their ability to help shop this nation out of the current depression we're in. And make no mistake. It's not a recession. It's a depression.

Federal regulation
of credit card rates is

what we really need

All the bank rate gouging is possible because Congress allows credit card interest rates to be set by individual states.

This may have made sense several decades ago when all banking was local. If the bank of East Muleshoe charged the kind of rates Citibank is charging, East Muleshoe farmers would converge on the state house with raised pitchforks, and local bank credit card rates would quickly settle back to reality.

But under years of Republican deregulation, banks doing credit card business can go shopping for a friendly state that will let them charge big city Mafia rates. In exchange states get some local employment and a generous annual gift to the state treasury. Two states, South Dakota and Maryland are now profiting off the misery in the other 48.

This has got to stop. Credit card business is interstate commerce. Interest rates need to be regulated by Congress, and kept at manageable levels. Either that, or states should have the right to regulate the rates charged to any of their inhabitants.

Otherwise, the bailout is just another gift from your wallet to the banks, and grants them permission to continue ripping you off.

Tell Congress to
stop the ripoffs.

Here’s how:

You can find the mailing and e-mail addresses of your senators and Congressional representative here. Write to them. Today. Demand Congressional regulation of credit card interest rates.

You can learn who represents you and how to contact them by going here.

Write a letter. Or simply copy and paste into an e-mail this post from The New York Crank under the heading, “I agree with this.”

Let Congress know you want something done about the greedy bastards. And that something is either Federal credit card rate regulation, or allowing states to regulate all rates charged to their residents.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanks (I suppose) Emily Rueb of The New York Times, for calling attention to The New York Crank. And therein lies a tale.

A few years short of five decades ago, when the New York Post was still a liberal-left newspaper, the editor there believed in the infallibility of his far more distinguished rival, The New York Times.

So when a respected Times reporter ran an article “revealing” a city-owned “slum” in lower Manhattan, a very young reporter was dispatched by the Post’s editors to write a feature story about life and misery on city property. I was the reporter.

Charles Dickens
where were you
I needed you?

My bosses were confident I’d come back to the city room with a tale of Dickensian horrors — aged pensioners huddled in freezing apartments, wind whistling through broken windows, rats biting babies, cockroaches feeding on everything else, Social Security checks pilfered from broken mailboxes, tearful widows, crippled orphans…you get the idea.

Instead, I found some tenement buildings that most certainly contained a few violations. They ranged from a missing doorknob on the outside of one building’s front door to a kitchen ceiling that needed painting after an already-repaired leak had been plastered over. All the same, the apartments were a long way from horrid slum hovels. In fact, they were a considerable improvement over some of the dumps that I and a few of my young reporter friends were living in at the time for roughly twice the rent charged to the city’s tenants.

“As you sure of this?” one of the guys on the Post city desk asked nervously when I told him there was no story. And then, referring to the editor, he said, “Jimmy Wechsler will never believe the Times got it wrong.”

Semi-fallible bloggery

Having believed in the fallibility of Times reporters since late 1960 when I visited the little slum that wasn’t there, I’m not surprised by the semi-fallibility of a notably brief piece about The New York Crank that popped up yesterday in the New York Times City Room blog.

To quote the relevant text in full:

Apparently there’s some hate going around about New York City’s taxi industry. [The New York Crank]
I am pleased and grateful, of course, that the Times, or at least Times reporter-blogger Emily S. Rueb, chose to notice, mention and link to my own cranky cranny of the Internet.

In fact, I would have e-mailed a private thank you note to her, if only the Times blog contained a mechanism to do this, or an indication of a Times e-mail address at which she can be reached. Who knows? One of these days someone might even stumble across a news tip that might interest her. Some of the best news stories occasionally fly in over the transom.

All the fits we print are news

Flattered although I am to have caught the attention of the Times, I’m a trifle miffed that Ms. Rueb demonsrated how the Times is still fallible. In this case the fallibility has to do with detecting the point of what you're reporting on.

Yes, I was having a hissy fit. But the fit is not the message. If anything, the admittedly cranky headline was simply a loud linguistic horn to call the attention to the content of the post. I submit:
A) From the headline on, The New York Crank taxi piece was clearly at least as critical of Mayor Michael Bloomberg as it was of the taxi industry. Scroll down and see for yourself.

B) One point of the post was that the Bloomberg administration is doing a horrendous job of properly regulating the taxi industry, with quotations concerning that point from a legal brief filed by the industry's own lawyers.

C) Another (possibly useful) point was a list of cranky suggestions concerning how some changed regulations might improve not only taxi transportation, but also fuel conservation efforts, pollution and the city’s clogged streets.
Having said that, I do believe Ms. Rueb may have a great career ahead of her. Getting it wrong — or at least getting it not quite right — would appear to be a path to institutional sainthood at The New York Times. The celebrated reporter whose 1960 slum story proved a bit...shall we say overblown?...was none other than the late Edith Evans Asbury.

P.S. (November 20th): Turns out that if you hunt around hard enough (which I evidently did not when I wrote and posted this piece yesterday) somewhere way, way down on the bottom of the City Room blog there is a section called "Boilerplate" which indeed does provide a way to communicate with the staff there. So I sincerely apologize to the Times and my own readers for having stated otherwise. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mayor Michael Bloomberg vs. New York City’s taxi industry: Here’s wishing a plague of boils and oil leaks on both their vile, law-flouting houses

Let me start with my cranky prejudices. I hate New York City taxis.

Generally speaking, New York’s cabs are filthy, uncomfortable rattletraps. The “clear” Plexiglas partitions between the front and back seats (actually, most of them are opaquely grimy), designed to keep the driver from getting shot by a stickup man, can also get a passenger’s face flattened if the vehicle stops suddenly.

The seats in most of New York’s taxis (they’re rejiggered Ford Crown Victorias) are low on the floor. The seats supposedly offer lots of “leg room” but don’t you believe it. The front seats get pushed so far back (I assume for the comfort of the driver) that sometimes passengers can’t even find “foot room.”

Still more reasons to hate New York taxis: The driver’s identification card, only sometimes posted where it’s supposed to be, is generally unreadable behind the filthy Plexiglas shield. At night, lighted by the rough equivalent of a dim flashlight bulb, it’s just as unreadable.

Cell phone madness

Its also rare — extremely rare — to get in a cab in which the driver isn’t chattering away on his cell phone. I’ve had drivers take me to the wrong destination because they were too engrossed in their conversations to listen to where I said I wanted to go or to notice that we had passed my destination.

Much as I hate the taxi industry I also have an equally intense loathing for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the who's ultimately in charge of regulating taxis.

"The voters be damned!"

Bloomberg campaigned for term limits, got them, and subsequently decided that contrary to the term limits law and he will of the voters, he wanted a third mayoral term. So now he has used his considerable political clout to overrule term limits (which the New York's citizens voted for twice) with the complicity of the City Council. The Council was in effect bribed by having their own term limits lifted, too.

That's only a small part of it. Another item: In his misguided efforts to achieve something that would make his record look good, the mayor unsuccessfully fought for a lunatic congestion pricing plan which would have done little to relieve congestion, but would have driven up the cost of doing business in New York. You’ll find a number of informative rants on the subject here:

Turning yellow cabs “green”

The latest bee in the mayor’s slightly cockeyed bonnet has to do with “green taxicabs” — you know, the kind that spew out less pollution and carbon dioxide and drink up less fossil fuel.

Never mind that Mayor Bloomberg could save New York from tons of hydrocarbons, not to mention a good part of the traffic that’s clogging the streets simply by outlawing cruising. That’s the practice the cabs have of trawling the streets for passengers—a practice that puts just about all 13,000-plus cabs on the city on the street. They're out there 24 hours a day, seven days a week according to a taxi industry legal brief for which I’ll produce a URL shortly.

If we simply had a law like the one in Paris that prevents flagging down taxis in streets, the vehicles could line up at designated taxi stands, engines off, until a passenger came along. And during rush hours, you wouldn’t have potential passengers desperate for a ride wading into oncoming traffic to snare an empty cab.

Less traffic? Less pollution? A safer city? Nope, that would be too easy. Instead, the Bloomberg-controlled Taxi and Limousine Commission suddenly decreed that all new taxis have to be of a new and fuel efficient design that gets 25 miles to the gallon. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Sad to say, wrong.

Cute, clean, green and dangerous —
maybe the mayor’s people can’t read.

There are already some of these cute 25 mpg-or-better vehicles out on the street. I like to ride in  them. They’re of a completely different design than the traditional, modified Ford Crown Victoria that gets only 12 mpg. They’re higher off the ground, therefore more comfortable than the Crown Victoria. They're easier to get into and out of. They seem to offer about the same amount of legroom, but offer passengers the added advantage of being able to sit up straight. And maybe just because they’re new, they’re not as filthy as the Crown Victorias.

A small problem:
they’re also not as safe.

The taxi fleets that successfully sued the Mayor to lift his regulations pleaded that the little cars weren’t as safe as the big Fords. I assumed for many weeks this was just an industry red herring. I was wrong, as I learned when I examined court papers filed by the taxi industry. Some examples of safety problems:
…just weeks ago, the TLC [Taxi and Limousine Commission] was forced to issue a warning and directive stating that one of its mandated after-manufacturer vehicle alterations - the addition of vinyl seat overings – hinder the deployment of side curtain and front seat air bags in the hybrids. Had the TLC taken time to read the owners manuals of the approved vehicles, it would have seen that they explicitly warn against the installation of vinyl seat coverings. The TLC, however, ignored this safety warning and many others in its rush to mandate hybrid taxis.
Oh, and even one of the manufacturers agrees these fuel efficient babies aren’t safe as taxis:
…Toyota, who created and licenses hybrid technology – refuses to support the use of its cars as taxis due to its engineers’ concerns. A Toyota spokesman said: “Our engineers are nervous about it because they were not designed for commercial use. (NY Times, April 27, 2008) Another Toyota representative explained that the hybrids “have not been designed to withstand the rigors of 24/7 commercial use.”
And in the “You’re doing a
heckuva job, Bloomie” department
In October 2004 the TLC [Taxi and Limousine Commission] conducted a sealed bid auction fort the CNG or hybrid (collectively “alternative fuel”) licenses. The City set the minimum bid price at an amount significantly below the then-prevailing market price for unrestricted licenses because the TLC recognized that alternative fuel vehicles are more costly to own and operate than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles…
…At the time of the auction, the TLC knew that there were no commercially available alternative fuel vehicles that meet TLC specifications for use as a NYC Taxi….Despite the lack of available alternative fuel vehicles, the TLC went forward with the auction …Eighteen of the licenses were successfully bid on…The bidders proposed the use of hybrid Ford Escapes, but the TLC refused to allow them to use these vehicles because they did not meet the TLC specifications for interior room. The TLC rejected all other vehicles the bidders proposed, and did not offer any other vehicles that could be used with the alternative fuel licenses…
Congatulations, license bidder —
you’ve successfully bid on…nothing.

Because the TLC refused to issue the bidders licenses and refused to approve any vehicles for use with the alternative-fuel licenses, on April 21 2005 the bidders sued the TLC demanding that the TLC close on their licenses.
We were for the Hondas before
we were against them —but
now we’re
In July 2008…the Honda Civic Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid were removed from the list. Plaintiffs were told that the Honda Civic Hybrid was removed due to particularly poor performance. Later in July, however, the Honda Civic was inexplicably added back to the approval list. In August 2008…the Honda Civic was also removed again.
Here are my own cranky solutions
to New York congestion and taxi problems

1. Outlaw taxi cruising. Require all taxis to wait for passengers at taxi stands, or to be summoned to specific addresses by telephone. It works in Paris, where the streets are even crazier. It'll work here, too.

2. Detroit’s on the rocks. Require them — require them I said — to manufacture hybrid cars safe enough to be used as taxis. Just tell them, “no taxis, no bailout.”

3. With city taxis lined up at taxi stands, it’ll be easy enough to subject them to a daily filth inspection. If they’re filthy inside, cut off their medallions (which the City auctions off like permanent real estate for a minimum upset price of $700,000. In fact, in the aftermarket those medallions sell for well over a million bucks. Is it any wonder a taxi ride costs so damn much in New York, while taxi drivers barely eke out a living working 12 hour days?

4. Stop the city’s cabbies from talking on the phone, with or without hands-free devices. If they’re caught talking on any telephonic devices in their taxis, don’t cut off their medallions. Cut off their ears.

5. Put a moratorium on those million dollar taxi medallions. (An exception can be made for individuals who own just one medallion and are trying to make a living.) After two years, all other medallions should become invalid and the taxi owner (usually a multi-car fleet) will be forced to rent taxi medallions from the city for an annual and more reasonable price. The city will collect a steady income stream — instead of an occasional taxi medallion windfall that the city then has to pay for by spewing more taxis onto the street. And because taxi overhead will be so much lower, drivers who lease their cars should be able to earn more, while passengers pay less.

But it all has to start with dumping Mayor Bloomberg. Despite a considerable amount of image doctoring, he’s not a successful mayor. He’s just as incompetent as George Bush. Send him back to Wall Street, with the rest of the investment world failures.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The best, clearest, funniest and most colorful explanation of why Wall Street is collapsing that you’ll ever read…

…was written by Michael Lewis in Portfolio magazine. You’ll find it by clicking here.

This will take you at least 20 minutes to read (unless you’re a highly accomplished speed reader.) Trust me, it’s worth every minute.

Thanks to my friend Buce at the Underbelly blog for alerting me to this one.

Monday, November 10, 2008

“I’m calling to offer you a green way to pay your bills. And also, this is a stickup."

Here's another collection of tales about why business “self regulation” is the rough equivalent of no regulation at all.

This one has to do with your own privacy, the dangers of identity theft, phony appeals by banks to reduce your carbon footprint, and an ominous blackmail attempt now under FBI investigation.

"We can regulate ourselves —
without no stinkin' government"

Let’s start with the “self-regulation” bit. Most companies, trade associations, and true believers in unfettered enterprise will tell you that government regulation is bad and that industry can better control abuses of your privacy by itself.

Such was the case championed by the Direct Marketing Association — a group that supports those wonderful folks who bring you junk mail, SPAM, and intrusive phone calls at dinnertime.

At issue was all the people who prefer not to be disturbed by telephone marketers peddling subprime mortgages and other wonders of modern civilization.

The law says that once you move and your telephone number changes, your old number can be taken off the “Do Not Call” list. Or at least it can be taken off until a new victim has his dinner ruined once too often by telemarketers trying to reach through the telephone and grab his wallet.

The Direct Marketing Association
complains—and gets it all wrong

According to a story put out by DIRECT Magazine, one of the leading publications of the direct marketing business

…the DMA [Direct Marketing Association] had argued that disconnected names should be removed more quickly from the Registry.

At the FTC’s behest, the DMA submitted a sample list of 20,000 Registry numbers that had been disconnected or reassigned based on whether their names had changed and found that “16% would have been scrubbed in error.”

Based on these results, the DMA’s contractor refined its scrubbing process and reanalyzed the 20,000 numbers. It determined that 8,374 should be treated as active registrations, the FTC continued.
For the arithmetically challenged, that means that more than 40% of those do-not-calls were still valid, not 16% as the DMA claimed.

But wait! There’s more!

And it isn’t good news.

The don’t-regulate-me crowd at the DMA also had urged that “only the line subscriber or person who is billed for the telephone line be allowed to register that number in the National Registry.” In other words, they didn't want you to be able to phone in and put your aged and disabled mother on the registry list. Screw her! Let her opt out on her own. If she needs help, tough luck. And furthermore...
“Critics [representing telephone marketers] were also worried that consumers could be registered without their consent. In response, the FTC now requires that consumers “call from the number they want to register or provide a verification e-mail address if registering online.”

“In addition, the FTC limited the number of registrations that can be made from a single e-mail address.”
See, what the annoying phone call folks are doing is protecting you against having your name "unfairly removed" from the Do Not Call list. Why? I guess they assume that if you haven’t gone out of your way to opt out, or haven't heard that you can, you really, really want those phone calls at dinnertime. So they've been "protecting" you so you'll keep getting called.

Go green and make
your banker richer

Then there’s the so called “PayItGreen Alliance,” a group of financial institutions that not only has trouble putting spaces between words but also, according to The Big Fat Marketing Blog “trumpet the money saving benefits of paperless transactions for bill paying and other purposes.”

The blog, which is written by Larry Riggs, a Direct Magazine staffer, comments:
Wait a second. Are we being treated to another massive con job from the financial industry? 

In fact, banks and others have been blowing this trumpet for at least 20 years.

 While it‘s fashionable able now to say you care for the environment, we must remember that it costs banks and credit card companies a hell of a lot less to send and receive bills electronically.

 So who’s really saving the big bucks?

 Of course, not using paper leaves consumers susceptible to privacy invasion and data breaches. Hardly a day goes by now without reports of data theft from banks, hospitals or retailers.
Company gets blackmailed
—with your information

As if to drive the point home, on the same day that Direct Magazine revealed a slight, umm, error in DMA thinking about Do Not Call Lists, the very same day it published Riggs’ comments above, the magazine also broke news of an investigation into a terrifying blackmail scheme involving identity theft.
A large manager of prescription benefits has charged that extortionists have threatened to disclose medical information on its customers if the company fails to meet payment demands, the Washington Post reported.

Express Scripts said it had received a letter in October that listed the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers on 75 of its customers. In some cases, prescription data was included, the Post continued.

The letter stated that millions of such records would be released if the company failed to pay, the article said.

Express Scripts processes prescription claims… handling 500 million prescriptions year for roughly 50 million Americans, the Post stated.
One of the problems with giving personal data such as your Security Number, health information and other personal data to private corporations is that the info seems somehow to "walk" out of the office more often than is comfortable. And sometimes it falls into the hands of very bad guys. Blackmailers, for example.

“We can handle it with self-regulation,” private industry and doctrinaire Ayn Randist free marketers insist.

Except, of course, when they can’t. Which occurs more and more often, putting you, your privacy and your identity at risk.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The nuts of the Right Wingnut Society have an hysterical meltdown. Does Barack Obama really hope to work with these guys?

During his victory speech, Barack Obama held out a fig leaf to the folks on the right. “I hear you,” he said, adding that he needs them and hopes to work with them.

Well, maybe a handful of the saner ones among them. But if the right wing blogosphere is any indication, getting cooperation on national priorities will be about as easy as shoveling balls of mercury into a truck with a pitchfork.

Here’s a sampling of what I ran across today. Admittedly, I’ve been cherrypicking. But I gotta tell you, those right wingnut cherries are low-hanging fruits.

All you right-wingers
are hereafter pariahs
— to the right wing

...Congratulations are also due to President George W. Bush for being one of the most incompetent, overspending, uncommunicative, clueless politicians. He has single-handedly reduced the Republican Party to “also ran” status by pissing-off almost everybody. Granted, a lot of Republican senators and congressmen aided and abetted him.

We’d be remiss in not offering kudos to McCain for the selection of Gov. Palin whom, while I’m sure she has some sort of future ahead of her, was not reassuring as a choice to be one-tragedy-away from the Oval Office.

And lastly, our thanks to all the corrupt, greedy, and incompetent of Wall Street and the banking industry for galvanizing the electorate mere months before the election and reminding all of us that “it’s the economy, stupid!”

Now we can all look forward to the three horsemen of the apocalypse — Obama, Pelosi, & Reid — trashing what little remains of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, of the American way, of capitalism, of free will, of the American Dream.
Well, we've been saying all along that George Bush and his crew, and John McCain and his divisive attack politics were destructive. Glad to see the right finally taking our cranky point of view. To see more of what this wing nut spun on the topic, go here.

From The Anti-Idolitarian Rottweiler:
Bush was a “left lurching” moderate.
(Yeah, like anybody believes that)
Bush, followed by McCain, were the very epitome of “moderate” with their ever more left-lurching policies.

So how did that work out for us again?

We’re here today because of “compassionate conservatism.”….

The proof is in the pudding. If we don’t purge the GOP of “moderates” and start running conservatives, then this is just the beginning.
Actually, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and maybe a bit of starchy pudding would get this Rottweiler to slow down and think about what he's really saying. Does he really want to see a party that was rejected for leaning too far right go over the right hand edge? For the original of this screed against the leftwardly-lurching right wing, check here.

From Atlas Shrugs: Bloodletting to come
(but it’s all in-house bloodletting)
Have you heard or seen the latest attacks on Sarah Palin coming from the McCain camp (and who knows what other GOP 2012 contenders are behind it)? Our party destroying our people? They are smearing Palin but wouldn't smear the Mansourian candidate?

Furthermore, the McCain aides told Cameron that Mrs Palin threw tantrums over bad press reviews and was a shopaholic. He also reported that chief McCain foreign policy advisor Randy Sheunemann was fired late in the campaign for allegedly leaking details of the splits.

I don't see the report up on the Fox website tonight but there may be something there in the morning. Nonetheless, with Palin allies pushing her for a 2012 run, this is clearly explosive stuff and doubtless the harbinger of some serious bloodletting after the Barack Obama landslide.
You can look over the shoulder of this member of the right wing circular firing squad here.

Would you like a squirt of 
outright racism on your slime?’
Socialist Negro wins 3 Southern states

Isn't that what this group should be discussing?

Now Barack Hussein Obama is no peanut-farming, triangulating, "big government is dead" Clinton/Carter type bubba Southern favorite son. Yet he won Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina. And Georgia was a close call, and the demographic trends in Texas will make future Socialist Negroes competitive there. Yikes.

And the incisive commentaries of a pair of guys
not likely to find jobs in a rocket science lab or
investment bank

I think that Barack Obama's tax proposal...Is retarded. You know, my family (mom and sister) is poor as shit, but that's why I'm in school now as an accountant because I want to make a lot of money. While the tax cut will help my family and me right now, I don't feel it's right that I will be penalized for my success. I might as well be someone who's been detoxed for a week and that's voting for the first time just because Obama's a black man with a "plan". I mean that's what Oprah said and she also said "We'll take all the druggies votes if we can." His acceptance speech was moving until I remembered... Hitler gave great speeches too.
Listen kid, I hate to tell you this, but if you want to be a success you'd better be prepared for some serious mental improvement. Forget the expletive and the misuse of the word retarded for now. Or your greed. When you say, "I don't feel it's right that I will be penalized for my success," you're counting your chickens before you have so much as a single egg to hatch. And without taxes and then government financial aid to your college, who's gonna keep the doors open while you learn how to read a balance sheet? Or what a balance sheet it? "Hitler gave great speeches too." Kid, you won't know Hitler if he grabbed you by the neck and threw you in a gas chamber. On the other hand, Hitler misled a lot of imbeciles. Get your IQ tested.

That was the first. Here's a
bright idea from the second

so how is obama helping the little people? he is going to screw little people. get an education and learn simple economics and you will be ashamed of yourself for saying that and for voting for someone who is going to ruin our economy more than it is. if you don't believe me, you are not educated enough to figure it out. it is elementary.
Gotcha, pal. You're a Harvard Ph.D in economics and you're writing this in mufti from a Halloween party. The previous two educated thoughts came from the commentary section here.

Barack, I consider you an authentic America hero. But when you start trying to communicate with a crew that's steering the aircraft from the outer edge of the starboard wing, you'll need all the luck you can get.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The real fraud during this election is Republican election fraud

The horror stories keep coming. You can read some of them here.

Just a few of the most disgusting tricks that this article, taken from AOL, says that Republicans are playing to confuse or terrify voters:

• In Colorado and Virginia, people reported receiving calls that told them their registrations had expired and they would be arrested if they showed up to vote.

• Over the weekend in Virginia, bogus fliers with an authentic-looking commonwealth seal said fears of high voter turnout had prompted election officials to hold two elections — one on Tuesday for Republicans and another on Wednesday for Democrats.

• In New Mexico, two Hispanic women filed a lawsuit last week claiming they were harassed by a private investigator working for a Republican lawyer who came to their homes and threatened to call immigration authorities, even though they are U.S. citizens.
It's a criminal matter and
Republican behavior
is downright felonious

All this is an election fraud, pure and simple. Where are state and national attorneys-general and the FBI when we need them — to find the people who are perpetrating this true election fraud, prosecute them, and throw their crooked butts in prison. That includes not only the low-level callers and leaflet pushers, but also those who thought up these “pranks.”

Subversion of elections is an overt act of subversion against the United States of America. Election fraudsters and their puppet masters belong in jail — not giggling up their sleeves in Republican Party headquarters.