The Chimes at Midnight
Friday, January 30, 2009
 
A class act on the Imus radio program today...
That is to say, commentator Glenn Beck.
H.L. Mencken once opined to the effect that, nothing was so injurious to certain ideologies than to fervently believe in them. That describes Beck to a "T" as he was howling for "small government" and libertarian virtue for a good ten minutes this morning.
HE complained at length about being "a successful business owner" (he owns a magazine no one has ever heard of) who couldn't plan for the future out of fear that the gummint was about to double his taxes or parachute social workers into the suburbs.
The fact that neither he nor I nor FORD MOTORS are considered good credit risks has nothing to do with his anxiety.
The is no policy to resolve Glenn Beck's fears, I recommend a liberal does of old fashioned miltown...something old timey for an affronted conservative.
Apparently, the eight years we've just escaped of libertarian utopianism wasn't enough for Glenn....in his mind there is a better purer form of economic catastrophe we could embrace if only we had a courage to do so.
Hence his disappointment, hence the need for downers.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009
 
So let me get this straight...
the GOP caucus in the US House turned down 275 billion in tax cuts in the current stimulus package?
Because...somone crooned over a giant mummified hairball and announced in a voice oracular that if they say NO to their dearest wish then Obama will undoubtedly better the offer?
Honest to Ghod are these yokels HIGH???
To Humble Elias the ideological gap is clear and unambiguous, the GOP's House caucus is emotionally invested in presidential failure no matter what the cost to the nation or their own tax-cutting theology.
Nevertheless with consummate grace, Obama is still playing nice with these dingbats...why I cannot imagine. Perhaps the soft line is calculated to pick up some votes in the Senate (the likeliest scenario) or the President wants to gently introduce the House Republicans to political isolation.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
 
Stimulatin' Stimulus
Some good things are in this upcoming bill, more money for education which is good news for the Commonwealth as diplomas are one of our biggest exports.
Apparently, health care subsidies will be offered to the unemployed as well so some of the sting will come out of the recession.
All this lifts burdens off the Commonwealth...but I'm wondering though, in the light of another billion dollars in cuts...maybe just maybe it's time we rethought the state's balanced budget rule, either as a temporary measure or a full repeal...d'ye think we are getting full value for those even-steven balance sheets in a recession?
Just sayin'....
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
 
More good news
Casino gambling might might...might be back on the table hyar in the Commonwealth.
Just what we need to get thru the crisis, a chance driven method of confiscatory taxation for the working class.
Monday, January 26, 2009
 
DeLeo rising?
Robert DeLeo, the House Ways and Means Chairman has released a list of 87 supporters of his candidacy for the Speakership. One notes that rising liberals like Will Brownsberger as well as established progressive machers like Jay Kaufman can be found on that list.
However...Arlington's own Sean Garballey is nowhere to be seen on said list...which of course could mean nothing since Boston.com doesn't give any corroboration as to the list's accuracy.
On the other hand one's vote in the House has a very finite value to any incoming leadership cadres, the trick is make the best deal, back the right people and hope and pray to ghod you've done right by the district and the Commonwealth.

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DiMasi outski
The trickle of bad news for the House Speaker has reached a nice gush and so he has handed in his resignation and is leaving Beacon Hill.
Does this story sound familiar?
It ought to, it is roughly the same end meted out to the last two Speakers of the Great and General Court.
Seems to me, that the Speakership has become an "attractive nuisance" in state politics, a little too much power and far too much in the way of easy pickin's for friends, family and sundry sycophants.
I'm glad the Governor is putting up a new public ethics bill, sharpening those teeth is long overdue...but the House of Representatives is in desperate need of a structural overhaul that puts temptation out of reach and decentralizes power.
Until that happens we will be back here again and again and again...and don't think for a minute that a switch in the majority party on Beacon Hill will change things one whit. Weld-Cellucci-Swift-Romney had sixteen years to do something about public ethics from their end of the deal and they did patently nothing.
None of those governors cared at all about Flaherty or Finneran's excesses until they got caught.
Then some shocked and pious noises were emitted, nothing more.
Meanwhile with no real pressure from without, the autocracy of the Speakership grew by leaps and bounds. The problem is one of power, too much of it is concentrated into one pair of hands that has to change.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009
 
Last week
The Globe's own resident alpha, Joanie Vennochi was whining that Judge Kimba Wood got a raw deal in 1993 compared to the free ride that someone got somewhere down the line...honestly I forget her exact argument.
This week however, Joanie snarks at the rapid rise and just as rapid fall of Caroline Kennedy's senatorial prospects with all the usual darts flung at such straw men as elitism and entitlement etc.
Honestly, I think I'd almost pay good money to have some learned elder of the tribe explain to me just what it is Joanie Vennochi in fact believes in?
She is FOR women unless you are Caroline Kennedy and against entitlement which is akin to being opposed to tornadoes and sharks at this point.
Lord knows I can't figure out her belief system and somewhere in my private papers is a dusty yet bona fide graduate degree in political science.
Mostly what Joanie does have is a fervent and somewhat humorless collection of dislikes and resentments, it isn't an ideology by any means since it's all so driven by personalities and celebrity.
Oh well, I suppose it is comforting to know that her head hasn't been turned by the Obama-palooze vibe out there, nope she'll just keep her place at the head of the Queen Bee's table in Middle School USA thank you very much.

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Friday, January 23, 2009
 
Caroline we hardly knew ye....
That is how it goes in American politics, yesterday a person of destiny today an anonymous upper West Side aristocrat.
Short of a sobbing tell-all press conference Ms. Kennedy's downfall can be attributed to a too-cloistered lifestyle that left democrats wondering if she had any down-ticket pull with respect to fundraising. In terms of experience, Caroline Kennedy ran about even with then-First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton, moreover Ms. Kennedy was very much a New Yorker in all but birth - advantage Kennedy. Conversely, Hillary Clinton was every inch a carpet-bagger back in 2000, but she had genuine political bona-fides, a fistful of IOU's (even if a few came out of her husband's in-box) and she had demonstrated strength as a fundraiser.
For someone running for Congress, State Rep or Count Sanitation Commissioner it's the money that resonates, and in that area I suspect, Caroline fell short.
Moreover, all Kennedy's commence the election cycle with certain cruel handicaps, they are Kennedys the modern inheritors of white liberal angst, they are wealthy and suspiciously urbane.
As such, they need to prove themselves by getting elected, not appointed. An appointment to the US Senate only amplifies their electoral drawbacks, that air of entitlement that is fatal for most politicians.
I suspect that if New York staged a special election to fill Senator Clinton's seat, that Caroline Kennedy, baggage and all would be storming up and down the Hudson River Parkway in her war-chariot tossing money to the wind and bellowing for an all out showdown in the nearest plaza.
But it was not to be and yet another homage to Camelot cometh and goeth on a wintery breeze.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009
 
Joanie Vennochi's column in the Globe today...
contain's this gem-like howler:
In the meantime, it isn't wrong to ask for details, acknowledge obstacles, and raise tough but fair questions about the means of carrying out an agenda and the players who will do so.
In fact, Americans should be questioning their leader more, not less, and the media should be leading the charge, not shrinking from the task.


Translation?
Joanie intends to be the same old rootless misanthrope, what she threw at John Kerry she will try to toss at Obama.
Nothing else will change about her column, indeed nothing can.
When you have no clear ideology, no discernable convictions, no real interest in policy, a pronounced tendency to whining and Middle School Queen Bee-ism...then you are Joanie Vennochi as eternal a local fixture as the Boston Braves.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
 
Do you mean to tell me that...
the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court didn't show up for the inaugural rehearsal or even practice his damn lines?
C'mon...gimme a break here....some of John Roberts' predecessors were functionally senile and they managed to read the cue-cards successfully!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
 
Give Obama credit
he is a master of rhetoric, his speech today was somber, modest, rife with classic American imagery and disinclined towards sky-grifting or empty bombast.
Therein were tsaty echoes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and the national savior himself, Abraham Lincoln, nothing grated, no clumsy artifice showed itself nor did Obama veil his intentions....if indeed he did write this one himself then it's a hellacious shame he won't have time to write more of his own speeches....clearly the man knows his own voice.
Hell even a hoary old cliche' like the terrible winter at Valley Forges gains new persuasive power when Obama shines it up a bit.
Harry Truman once opined that the great power of the presidency was in the area of persuasion, President Obama's unique gifts in this area give him a strong advantage from the git-go.
Lord know he is gonna need it.
Well?
What more needs be said?
The meritocracy groaned and howled, and bent over far from the weight of the current crisis and then at the very gong tossed Obama into office with a last howl of pain. let us hope he is equal to the taste.

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I lived to see it...
the end of the Bush Presidency...I never thought I'd see the day, but as of a minute ago to the strains of a string quartet his power to bedevil and mislead a free people endeth.

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Monday, January 19, 2009
 
Every year...
Humble Elias pipes the hell down for one solitary post and allows the Late Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King blogging privileges here at the Chimes at Midnight...so take it away Doc!

"I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren't fit to live. You may be thirty-eight years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You're afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you're afraid that somebody will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house. So you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at thirty-eight as you would be at ninety. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice ...."

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Sunday, January 18, 2009
 
It is twilight in America and
all Joanie Vennochi can think to do is heap disgust on Barack Obama because he has done nothing about the sexual double standard that queered Judge Kimba Wood's nomination to the Justice Department in 1993.
Honestly, that is the crux of today's column, I shit you not.
On the other hand thank ghod she found some slender spurious personality driven reason to bail on the Barack bandwagon, I was mortally afraid that she might have to start writing about the issues from a factual perspective.
The Repubic is dying....and unless we start catching some breaks and start making hard decisions real soon we can kiss our super power status, our standard or living, the very living example of democracy goodbye.
That doesn't bother Joanie one damn bit, not when there are fifteen year old political skeletons to rake over....

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One thing I'll say about Barack Obama
He assumes in most public instances that he talking to adults. Even when the President Elect is indulging the usual political blather his whole manner exudes maturity and the ineffable expectation that he is, in the end speaking to grown ups on terms of equality.
This is a HUGE contrast to the outgoing President, who being dumb and malevolent assumed that his audience, indeed his very core base was fundamentally infantile in outlook and therefore tailored his remarks and rhetoric accordingly.
We need look no further than Bush's "farewell address" last week which was little more than a laundry list of lies and failure which the President with a schooyard bully's smirk all but dared his audience to contradict.

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Friday, January 16, 2009
 
Bush's "farewell address"
A laundry list of wingnut catastrophes presented as glittering triumphs by a chief executive whose smirk suggested a trust fund lout who was handing you a pink slip.
"No hard feelings now" he'd giggle...such was his mien last night.
Ah yes, such is George W. Bush Jr, insolent and insufferable to the last...did he succeed at anything save stealing two US presidential elections in a row?
No he did not.
He leaves behind him a nation in economic ruins who claims to leadership are contested all over world, whose prestige is much mocked...in short he leaves behind him challenges unseen since winter of 1933.
Give the boy credit though, he ardently believes in his cherished delusions...normally someone that disassociated is quietly drugged and carried off to a nice quiet setting, not George though the whole of the nation is his own little padded cell.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009
 
Apparently...
radio talk show hostess Laura Ingraham sobered up long enough to call into the Imus in the Morning program and pose the rhetorical question "What is Plan B"?
Assuming of course the current round stimulus spending fails...
Well Laura, as we used to say on the playground back in 1970 "Ah hate ta clue ya" but there has NEVER been a "Plan B" in the whole of American history.
Washington had no back up options if the seige of Yorktown went south...Lincoln had no recourse if Gettysburg was a cropper, FDR conceived no back up scheme should the New Deal fail and Kennedy and Johnson were shit outa luck if Jim Crow made a comeback.
You see my point, from the first hour of the republic it has always been "conquer or die, all or nothing at all"...real Americans clearly don't make contingency plans. They put everything on 13-black and wait for the house to run for cover.
Ghod help us this seems to work 90% of the time for some damn reason history and logic flop over on their backs and cry "uncle" before the US of A's enduring heedlessness.
As for Laura though, she is whining the poor dear, her electoral and authentic hangover hasn't departed yet leaving her impotently dreaming of some bigger badder national catastrophe that'll sweep her vile rabble back into power.
Don't hold yer breath on that Laura....

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
 
Limbaugh must be Livid...
to watch as former radio talk show host Al Franken bootstraps himself into the U.S. Senate. But for a few less wives and that oxycontin thing, it might be himself being sworn in as Senator.
Instead he sprawls on his couch, eating cheetos by the ten pound family sized sack and huffing paint thinner as his audience ages and ages and ages.

Okay I kid...but with Jeb Bush out of the senate race in Florida and Martinez still scheduled to retire in 2010 the race is wide open and last time I checked...Rush is a resident of Florida.

Thing of it is, most of these wingnut talkers are terrible physical cowards, good at bullying people from behing a microphone, but if they had to run a real race they'd hide under the bed.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009
 
I do not know if
George Bush Jr. will be remembered as a great or even tolerable President, but I do know he will enjoy a place of honor in the annals of American Asshole-ism.
To the last, his press final conference resembles nothing more that a tacky barbarian chieftain trying to impress the College of Cardinals by displaying the outraged corpses of his victims, all suitably stabbed in the back.
Ah but that is the essence of Bush, a bland self confidence...which is otherwise a negligible quality if it is not armored with good judgement or some form of brains. No instead of intellect or judgement, Bush had the vegetable serenity of
ideology, and like all ideologues he loved power because power is the only thing that'll bend people into the pretzels that can fit into his ideals.
And what was his ideology?
Sinple AVENGE the outrages suffered by conservatives in the 1960's down to the last "Peace Now" placard...and in pursuit of that utopian notion he has driven and entire global super power right off a cliff...ideologue indeed.
I'll give him this though, like all ass-holes he is consistent, when he stole the election in 2000 I said "Win Ugly, Govern Ugly" and that has been GWB's true-north setting ever since. He made few decisions that weren't designed to punish the American people in general and liberals in particular and he hardly cared how badly all this reflected on him...punishment when you are the punisher is it's own reward.
And now he is at last poised to leave office, it feels like a century...it may take a century to move past all his bad decisions.
Unlike some other writers in this game I for one, will not miss him...to paraphrase the late Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector of England "He hath tarried too long for the good he hath done and in the bowels of Jesis Christ our Savior he must go...God will decide the issue between him and us!"

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Monday, January 12, 2009
 
"Beware of your friends"
Sound advice that ought to be forcibly administered to ALL Massachusetts State Treasurers long before they take the oath of office.
Case in point, Tim Cahill.

This is sorta ironic given that there is some backnoise in the cities and towns ginnin' up Cahill as a primary challengers to Governor Patrick in 2010 on the grounds that Cahill will diivy up the local aid pie more fairly.
Everyone can see ruinous cuts and shortfalls on the horizon and wants to get a bigger slice now.
Options though are limited, budgets must be balanced no matter who is governor and revenues are falling. That being the case, the best we can hope for over the short term is some revenue sharing buckolas from Uncle Sam; the spender of last resort in hard times. Patrick would seem to be better suited to that role than Cahill.

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Friday, January 09, 2009
 
NO Pardon for Finneran...
The Globe reports today that disgraced House Speaker Tom Finneran is brown-nosing the Bush admin for a pardon in respect of his 2007 conviction for obstruction of justice.
Tom once sat with his feet up on his desk and chuckled patronizingly as I and thousands more worked our asses off to prevent Mitt Romney, Paul Cellucci and Jane "Jingle Money" Swift from selling out the Commonwealth for chump change.
Party unity was never a big priority for Tom when it came time to elect a governor...after all with the GOP controlling the governsorship he was one of the state's two top democrats...who wants to give up a sweet deal like that?
To that end didn't he once call Scott Harshbarger a "loony leftist"?
Class all the way fuh real.
Tom has lost his pension and law license and a good job at a good wage on the state biotech council...IF he has to scrape by and clip coupons as a drive time radio personality on WRKO, well...dems da break Tom.
No Pardon for Finneran...if he can't hack the private sector that ain't my problem!

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Thursday, January 08, 2009
 
Burris edges closer to that US senate seat...
which Humble Elias more or less predicted last week as you may recall. Truthfully, once Patrick Fitzgerald indicted Blagojevich then the worst possible outcome was effectively scotched. Either the Illinois Governor was gonna put the seat up for auction or else he was gonna appoint himself to the seat...after the process servers found him, Blago's only option was a last bid to embarrass the US senate and the President Elect.
Well he has accomplished both goals and now can be quietly disgraced, dragged from office and speedily forgotten.
No taint seems to cling to Burris, whose worst sin is a sort of preposterous egomania common among Massachusetts state representatives, there are incomparably worse men contaminating the upper house even as I write this. So the cost of keeping him away from the sinecure seems prohibitively high. I say seat him, unless compelling evidence of corruption is presented.
No...the only postscript to the affair is the poor shopwing made by the normally astute Harry Reid and the senate democrats, they got caught in a beautiful bind jointly set up by Blagojevich and the Illinois state legistlature. The lege declined to remove Blago's power of appointment and thus the problem was exported to DC for final disposal. Reid should've kept his mouth shut under those circumstances...oh well, live and learn.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009
 
Jeb sez no...
to running for the US Senate.

He didn't say anything about running for president in 2012 did he?

Yeah watch for that, bowing out of the race to succeed Martinez just gives him more time to revamp and rehab La Famiglia Arbusto's brand. Oh he'll make a great show of reclining in his hammock on the porch, meanwhile the usual bullies and ass-holes will be frantic behind the scenes to whip up "grass roots" support for former Governor of Florida's nascent presidential "non-campaign".
Soon enough the National Review will have a big color cover that sez "Why NOT Jeb??"
and we'll be off to the races.
Not for nothing though, but ginnin' up Jeb has to be a frank and open admission of political bankruptcy on the part of the GOP, regardless of his malevolent pedigree....given that and the history to date, it is a lock and slam dunk.
Besides a three way between the Rombot, Sarah Palin and Jeb the Pie Faced Messiah has Pulitzer written all over it for this embittered blogger.
That is, if theygave embittered bloggers Pulitzers....

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Helluva shame about Bill Richardson...
I hope he is exonerated, I've always liked the guy. Besides it just isn't governance if Bill Richardson isn't in on the dealio.
Meanwhile let the record show that Former US Senator Max Cleland is tanned, rested and ready and his post senate experience on the Board of the Import-Export Bank of the United States seems like a good start on the sinecure.
Juuuu-st sayin' thass all.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009
 
Citizen's Energy is losing it's oil subsidy from Venezuela....
and thus will have to cut back it's free heating oil for the poor program 20% this winter.
State GOP spokesman Barney Keller (the son of whiny libertarian Jon Keller) fairly gloats over the prospect of proverty driven hypothermia in Massachusetts with this quote:
"Maybe now, instead of acting as propaganda tool of socialist dictator Hugo Chávez, Joe Kennedy can focus on simply helping those who couldn't afford to question the real cost behind his heating oil,"

As opposed to those oil-rich dictator's the Massachusetts' GOP approves of like the House of Saud and the Emir Kuwait (Do women have the right to ride bicycles yet in Kuwait?)....why couldn't Joe Kennedy got to those nice market oriented despots for charitable donations???

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Too early for
congrats to Al Franken but the democratic senatorial candidate has taken a giant leap towards assuming office...someday soon.
And if Norm Coleman is at long last out of a job, well it couldn't happen to a nicer guy short of seeing Saxby Chambliss finally getting the political punch in the nose he richly deserves.
Both these jerks are charter members of the infamous GOP class of 2002 a veritable schoolyard bully senatorial caucus devoted to the cause of their patron, President Bush. They said no to very little when at all and we have suffered daily because of it.
Coleman of course, had the "good fortune" to have his then opponent Paul Wellstone die in a plane crash late in the campaign, he managed to beat replacement candidate Fritz Mondale but only after using every Rovean trick in the book up to and including politicizing Wellstone's damn memorial service.
Class all the way.

Lackey's can be grimly amusing to watch in politics (think Scary Kerry Healey and her gubernatorial run in '06) unless they claw their way into any sort of power in which case they become insufferable and haughty. Well, as I always say, win ugly, govern ugly...and now it looks like Coleman is about to lose ugly.

Anyway, good luck to Franken, I hope he can hang tough.

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Monday, January 05, 2009
 
Oooh thass gotta hurt...
AFTER you've stolen your way into the White House
AFTER you started a superfluous war to efface your own manhood issues
AFTER you staffed the government with horse-pimps and greedy sky grifters....
AFTER you let New Orleans DROWN
AFTER your corruption and ineptitude touched off a global depression...
Then it just has to hurt GWB in a very tender and bruised spot that his own father still thinks his older brother Jeb would make a fine US President.Why it's enough to make Bush wanna lock himself in the White House situation room with a fifth of Jack Daniels and the nuclear "football".
Lets hope it doesn't come to that eh?

AS for Jeb, don't turn your back on him is all I can say, like all Bush's he has a nasty sense of entitlement when it comes to high office and a stupid malevolent sense of grievance against the whole nation. Moreover let us not forget his miserable and greedy wife or his half hearted attempts to scream up some mob rule when Terry Schiavo lay dying in the hospice...yes Jeb really is that best La Famiglia Arbusto has to offer and that may frenz ought to send chills down yer spine.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009
 
Mitchell McConnell recovers his will-to-obstruct
Suddenly he and the rest of the White House lackey's caucus wanna make sure every penny of the pending stimulus bill is carefully vetted and well spent.
these would be the same skinflints who gave George Bush an epic eight year financial bender...one that pushed the country right off the economic cliff.
After November's beat down it seems the bruises have healed and the lumps gone down and soon enough this tattered and discredited remnant will be Claghorning it up for a capital gains tax cut and privatizing the oxygen supply.
Watch for it....no ideas not a one, these guys have served a thoughtless President for so long it has robbed them all of the ability to think creatively.

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Friday, January 02, 2009
 
The GOP clears out of DC
just as President Elect Obama arrives for the inaugural.
What better way to duck responsibility for their foreign and domestic catastrophes than to fly off to Las Vegas or Mustique to wallow in whiskey and football?
These dingbats never change do they?
The rest of the country wonders if they'll still have a job in sixth months and the GOP can think of nothing except ordering up another plate of jumbo shrimp.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009
 
Blago Slago....
Once he was exposed as putting a vacancy in the US Senate up for auction, the value of the appointment to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich drropped almost hourly. Faced with a looming impeachment or more likely a resignation, Blagojevich had to make an appointment soonest or else lose all over the intermediate term. Therefore a sort of "bully economics" comes into play, what is the maximum damage he can inflict on his hated rival Barack Obama before vanishing into obscurity?
Short of appointing himself or the remains of Lavrenty Beria to the job, Blagojevich went with Roland Burris Illinois elderly former Attorney General a weathered democrat to whom no scandal yet clings.
The fact that Burris is African American is the icing on the cake for Blagojevich as well as a last futile kick at the national party. The sad part is, Burris might've been a good appointment if an honest democrat was Governor in Illinois, but tainted by Blagojevich's lust of vengeance the man faces long odds as a US Senator.
I strongly suspect the appointment is legal and will withstand any challenges in the Senate and the Courts. no precedent exists for deposing a US Senator on grounds that the whole of the senate finds the governor who appointed him odious.
Well that is where we stand, just goes to show ya how much depends on finding honest people to serve in public life.

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