Saturday, January 9, 2010

Kyl Has Priorities

My dumber senator (truly) has his priorities. For instance, along with every other thing on the internet, he doesn’t like online gambling very much. Which is OK; I like online gambling, but I don't have a bunch of casinos lobbying me; simple corruption I can understand. But Jon "I Hate Government" Kyl is using this as an excuse to put a "hold" on a bunch of Treasury nominees. Per Matt Yglesias:
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) evidently doesn’t like online gambling very much, and in 2006, he helped craft a law banning the processing of online wagers. The law and its corresponding regulations were supposed to go into effect last month, but the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve pushed back the start-date until June.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is your modern United States Senate. If there’s some random crap that nobody cares about, it just takes one Senator with a bee in his bonnet to ruin everything for everyone who would like to live in a country with
a properly administered government. There are six Treasury nominees still awaiting action being held up by Kyl.

You might think it would be a good idea to have an Under Secretary for International Affairs. Kyl disagrees. You might think it would be a good idea to have an Under Secretary for Domestic Finance. Kyl disagrees. You might think it would be a good idea to have an Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development. Kyl disagrees. You might think it would be a good idea to have an Assistant Secretary for International Economics and Development. Kyl disagrees. You might think it would be a good idea to have an Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets. Kyl disagrees. You might think it would be a good idea to have an Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy. Kyl disagrees.

This kind of thing really has to stop, it’s a ludicrous way to run a country. Amidst a global economic meltdown, we can’t get confirmation for the international economics officials. Not because the senate has a problem with them, but because one guy isn’t happy with the delay of some internet gambling regulations.

I'm of a simple mind: we're in an economic crises, I have no idea how to fix it, but I want more people working to solve the problem. Not saying Treasury should be trusted too far, but they should be allowed to have a full toolbox for the attempt.
And that is the crux of the debate: the dems govern poorly, while the rethugs are against governing at all. It's a lousy choice, but those are the only options at this time.
I don't particularly like Timmy G., but I'd rather he had a full team while tackling our current mess. I'd even give up my online football bets (which have done me well) to have a barely functional government.

Why Is The Bird Grumpy?

For reasons that are entirely unclear to me, Grizelda (my bird) woke up in a bad mood today. Most days, when I let her out of her cage in the morning she perches by the heater and chatters at the sunrise. Not today. Today she started by attacking the computer mouse (a behavior I thought I had broken her of) and then attempting to shred and toss a pile of paperwork that I should be working on. Then it was the speaker wires that became her target. She's been loudly complaining about my putting a stop to her path of destruction, like a small child throwing a tantrum. I finally had to put her back into her cage for a "time out".

She's normally a very sweet, well behaved bird. I have no idea why she's in such a bad mood today, as everything in her world (food, water, treats) is the same as every other day. No signs of anything wrong with her health; I checked her out to see if there was anything physically wrong and found her to be extremely healthy. So why is she so grumpy today?

Added: Let back out about an hour later, she's her normal sweet self.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Absurdity of St. Sleazy

Clearly St. Sleazy McCain is feeling threatened by the potential primary from J.D. "the eggplant" Hayworth (yes, that's my new pet nickname for him). St. Sleazy has decided to channel his 'inner warrior' in two new radio ads:

"President Obama is leading an extreme, left wing crusade to bankrupt America. I stand in his way every day. If I get a bruise or two knocking some sense into heads in Washington, so be it. I'll keep fighting for jobs and economic growth for Arizona as long as I'm in the Senate," McCain says in one of them.

"My lot in life has been to wage war against wrong, like today's massive spending at the worst possible time," he says in the other. A narrator calls McCain "Arizona's last line of defense" against Obama's agenda and says McCain leads the charge against "ridiculously unaffordable ideas like government-run health care." Conveniently for the McCain campaign, it appears that the only place to listen to the ads, other than Arizona radio stations, is here, on the campaign's contribution-form web page.

Damn, but that's some absurdest theater! Somehow, Obama is an extremist liberal (which is news to most of us on the left) who can only be stopped by the bruised tough-guy geriatric hero, St. Sleazy himself. While I'm sure these ads will appeal to the base, to me sounds even more delusional and senile than he did during his presidential run, and that's saying something. Watch for J.D. "the eggplant" to put out even more extreme 'tough-guy' ads in response, which could be entertaining if it weren't for the sad absurdity that one of these wackos will probably end up being senator.

Boobies I Should Have Noticed

Don't know why it took me so long to find and post this one, but it's here now. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Retirement

(Baseball post; non-fans can skip)

Randy Johnson has announced his retirement, ending a career of the pitcher who, in my opinion, was the most entertaining to watch over the past 22 years. I lived up in Washington state when the Mariners first acquired the young Johnson (from the Expos), and the first time I saw him pitch, my reaction was "Oh, my...if this guy learns to throw strikes, he'll be one of the greatest. If he doesn't, he's gonna kill somebody." He learned (although he did kill a bird with a pitch).
For those unfamiliar with "RJ" or "the big unit" as he was nicknamed, he was simply intimidating as a pitcher. A 6'11" lefthander with a 100mph fastball and a menacing stare, he overpowered batters. Baseball statistics are a matter of near religious reverence amongst fans, and Johnson's numbers put him in the all-time greats: 303 wins (24th), 4,875 strikeouts (2nd all-time, 1,700 ahead of #3), 5 Cy Young awards, 10 all-star appearances, 2 no-hitters (1 a perfect game) and a world series co-MVP. Automatic 'Hall-of-Fame" in 5 years.
In 2001, Johnson lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a World Series championship, blowing away the hated Yankees. He ended his career by pitching last season for my beloved San Francisco Giants.
I've been a Baseball fan my whole life, and I've seen some of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game. Johnson was among them, and the game will miss him.

Oh, yeah...a couple of Senators are also retiring. But neither Dodd nor Dorgan ever won a Cy Young or a World Series. I suppose they both threw a few curve balls in their careers, though.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Like A Steele Trap

Republican party chairman Michael Steele follows up on his success with African-Americans and Hispanics by reaching out to Native Americans:

Our platform is one of the best political documents that’s been written in the last 25 years. Honest Injun on that.

One of the Democrats best assets is having Steele speaking for republicans.

TSA Almost Succeeds

in protecting America from Joan Rivers:

The New York Daily News reports that comedian Joan Rivers was among the many travelers to get snared in the heightened-security frenzy that overtook airports after the December 25th failed terrorist attack. Rivers wasn’t allowed on her Newark-bound flight in Costa Rica this past weekend by a “jittery Continental Airlines gate agent” who thought the two names on her passport, which reads “Joan Rosenberg AKA Joan Rivers,” seemed “fishy.”

Now, I don't think Ms. Rivers is a terrorist. But she's not funny, and she's the kind of celebrity that we have way too many of. As a country, we really don't need Joan Rivers back. I can only assume that the powerful cosmetic surgery industry successfully lobbied for her return.

The Entertainment Value of a Train Wreck

I've been in the 'political doldrums' lately, watching with intense disinterest as the dysfunctional process loudly fails to serve the public. I frequently find myself wondering how much worse it will get.
Here in Arizona, we get the honor of being represented by two of the worst examples of rethuglican obstructionism in the senate, Jon "I hate government" Kyl and St. Sleazy "Keating Five who?" McCain, which is bad enough. But the 'even further right' rethugs are serious about electing an even worse senator:

Fourteen months ago, John McCain was his party's nominee for president. But, now, as the 2010 midterms loom, the senior Senator from Arizona may find himself locked in a primary battle to hold on to his seat -- and he could be vulnerable.

Last week, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) signaled on his radio show that he's getting closer and closer to a run at McCain's seat. "We may have moved past due diligence into something that is more than a legal term of art ... something called 'testing the waters.' So stay tuned on that," Hayworth said.

Hayworth is popular with the conservative base because he was a leading right-wing voice in Congress on immigration, until he lost his seat in 2006. (Since then, Hayworth has hosted a talk radio show in Arizona.) McCain has traditionally struggled with this voting bloc, largely because of his past moderate positions on illegal immigration.

As much as I dislike St. Sleazy, I cannot imagine a worse senator than J.D. Hayworth. J.D. is a blow-dried sportscaster with the intellectual capacity of an eggplant. He'll spout the right talking points on "god, guns, and gays", but his pet issue is 'immigration'; he really hates brown people. He's upset that there are "mexicans" in Arizona (J.D. don't know much history).
And he could win:

If McCain faces a primary challenge from Hayworth, McCain could be at a distinct disadvantage because of his state's election laws -- namely the closed primary, which allows only registered Republicans to choose the GOP's nominee.

Voting registration figures in Arizona through last spring show that Republicans, Democrats, and independents and minor parties all take about a third of registered voters. McCain has traditionally had a strong appeal with the state's independents -- but they can't vote in the GOP primary, leaving a heavily conservative, anti-illegal immigration base to choose the nominee.

So far, there is no credible democrat running. So if J.D. wins the primary, he could win in the general.