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Friday, November 16, 2012

Nice Try, Mr. McCain

John McCain has been one of the more vocal critics attacking the President's handling of the Benghazi attacks.  Provided the opportunity to attend a closed-door Congressional hearing on the subject, McCain skipped it!

So some free advice for anyone tempted to listen to McCain on the subject:  He literally doesn't know what he's talking about. 

Ignore him.

Nice Try, Mr. Jindal

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, wrote an op-ed for CNN the other day. Much of it is a breath of fresh air, but some of it is the same old claptrap.

For instance, the good stuff:
2. Compete for every single vote. The 47% and the 53%. And any other combination of numbers that adds up to 100 percent.
Good idea. Should have stopped there, and not said this:
President Barack Obama and the Democrats can continue trying to divide America into groups of warring communities with competing interests, but we will have none of it. We are going after every vote as we try to unite all Americans.
Sorry, Bobby, but it's your guys who have been playing the "divide America" game.

From Sarah Palin's "real Americans" bullshit to Mitt Romney's "47%" myth. Obama has been consistently repeating for years the old canard "We're not blue states and red states, we're the United States."

 If you want to "unite all Americans" drop the finger pointing. Other than that, good start.

Make It Stop

Why am I not surprised? Alyssa Rosenberg writes about Kerry Washington's show Scandal and discovers....
Alyssa Rosenberg explores how ABC’s “Scandal” mishandles women in Washington and female political power.
Of course it does...

 I can't comment on the substance of the post because, well, I didn't bother reading all of it and to make matters worse, I'm not familiar with the show. I just think if you spend all your time looking for all the myriad ways TV shows "fail women," you're going to find them.

That's not to say that TV shows routinely fail women, just that maybe you shouldn't be looking for that shit.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Asshole

This guy:
While some business owners threaten to cut workers' hours to avoid paying for their health care, a West Palm Beach, Fla., restaurant owner is going even further. John Metz said he will add a 5 percent surcharge to customers' bills to offset what he said are the increased costs of Obamacare, along with reducing his employees' hours.
His justification:
"If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices. They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare," Metz told The Huffington Post. "Although it may sound terrible that I'm doing this, it's the only alternative. I've got to pass the cost on to the consumer."
No, dude...it's not your "only alternative." You can be one of those "jobs creators" that doesn't fuck over his employees.

But no, like the Pizza Hut lady, this guy sees only two options: Screwing the customer...or his employees.

I mean, it's cute and everything, but seriously this shit needs to stop. Have some respect for the people who make you your living. Is that too much to ask?

This, I think, is more revealing than the guy intended:
Despite the one-two hit his employees might take with possibly fewer hours and lower tips, Metz said he is not anti-insurance. His current coverage for full-time employees costs him $5,000 to $6,000 annually, he said. "Obviously, I'd love to cover all our employees under that insurance," he said, "But to pay $5,000 per employee would cost us $175,000 per restaurant, and unfortunately, most of our restaurants don't make $175,000 a year. I can't afford it."
You can't afford it? It's really going to suck when your employees cannot afford to continue working for you.

Then what? Take the Mexicans out of the kitchen and put them out front?

I swear, man, the older I get, the less tolerant I am of the lazy, greedy fuckers who run fast food empires, for many reasons. They refuse to serve quality food, refuse to fairly compensate their workers, and these places are everywhere.

To me, this commitment to crap from our fast food industry is a serious national problem on so many levels. We have unclean, poorly managed restaurants staffed by low-wage employees serving non-nutritious and bad-tasting food that comes from inhumane and environmentally suspect factory farms. It's a problem.

We Dodged a Bullet, America

After losing the election, Romney is still talking to wealthy donors, still lying:
"What the president, president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote," Romney said in the afternoon call, according to audio aired on ABC News.

Romney, who lost to Obama by 126 electoral votes, said the president courted voters by offering policies - some of them this election year - that appealed to key constituencies.

"With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift," Romney said, according to The New York Times.

"Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women," he continued. "And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."
So let's review...forgiveness of college loan interest, "free" contraceptives, and Obamacare.

One policy is forward-looking. One should not spend one's working life paying off their education debt. It's not indentured servitude, but it's close.

The contraception thing is a lie. Including contraception in someone's insurance plan doesn't make it free any more than including flu shots in their insurance plan makes that free. I think, by definition, if I'm paying for something, then that shit ain't free.

And the young people on their parents' insurance plans? Oh, what a gift!

The funny thing is that rather than eschew the gift-promising, Romney was doing it too. And in a more generous, less helpful way, too.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you're promising to give rich people a tax cut, then you can't complain about someone else promising to forgive the interest on a student loan.

The Rosenberg Project

I've kind of made a hobby of slamming on Alyssa Rosenberg here on my blog, and I feel kind of bad about it.  Sometimes.

Other times, it's wholly deserved.  Take this item on Mindy Kaling's new show, headlined: 

Why ‘The Mindy Project’ Is As Big A Mess As Its Heroine’s Love Life

As soon as I saw that, I knew exactly what complaints she would make.  The male characters are too...male.  The female characters are bad representatives for their gender.  Women's issues are neglected.  Blah blah blah.  You know, the whole "socialist realism" bullshit wherein all art and entertainment must advance the goals and aspirations of "the Movement."

I mean, I knew --knew-- that Rosenberg wouldn't react well to the character of Danny Castellano.  He's too much of a cad, too obnoxious, too recognizably male.  That insecurity masking itself as confidence?  That "I say hurtful things to dull my inner pain?"  It's so familiar to me as "things guys do" that it's easy to forget the character was written by a woman, a woman -- I submit-- more familiar with and understanding of the male psyche than Rosenberg is on her best day.

Take this:
In the pilot, for example, Danny told Mindy, in a line laced with some real ugliness, that if she really wanted to look nice for a date that she should lose 15 pounds.
And yes, in the aforementioned scene, it was part of some back and forth argumentative banter, but "real ugliness?" C'mon, man.

The joke was that Danny was trying to be helpful, but that he just sucks at it.  And are we supposed to believe that fictional Mindy did not wake up that morning, step on the fictional scale, looked into the fictional mirror, and thought to herself that she needed to lose fifteen fictional pounds?  Deep down, she agrees with Danny, and for the very same reasons. Me, I think it's a pretty bold choice --writing-wise-- to give Danny the opportunity to say what Mindy is thinking. 

Not only does it establish Danny's character as an insensitive male, it creates conflict within the scene, and it leaves open the intriguing possibility that they're both wrong, that they both need to stop being so damn shallow.

Much easier to dismiss all that stuff and just focus on the man calling the woman fat.

Missed completely in Rosenberg's criticism is a scene from this week's episode.  The morning after a romantic encounter with her love interest, Mindy wears his shirt in the morning.   It's so cute and charming, the post-coital woman wearing the post-coital man's shirt.

But when he comes in wearing her pants, too short at the ankles, too wide at the hips, it's most definitely NOT cute and NOT charming.  Indeed, she's somewhat offended by it.  That not only struck me as a realistic reaction, it also seemed like an interesting commentary on the equality of the sexes, or lack thereof. 

Rather than appreciate that kind of subtlety, Rosenberg is too busy checking off boxes on her politically correct worksheet.  I don't think I would feel comfortable writing this sentence, and not only because I have a penis:
But that total disinterest in actual women’s health pervades the show.
Why would any rational person expect it to grapple with actual women's health?   It's a comedy set in a doctor's office.  I can't tell if Rosenberg wants to see a "very special episode," superficially dealing with weighty subjects like the sitcoms of the 80s, or if she would prefer the show be a self-serious ripped-from-the-headlines drama.

And does it really matter?  Rosenberg has demonstrated time and again that she prefers to view fictional characters as representatives of a particular class, race, or gender rather than representatives of a particular personality type.  That's a critic's luxury.

People who have actually created a character knows that's a recipe for two-dimensional cardboard characters that interest no one. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Some Nights and One Foot

I've really been digging that new record from fun, the short-pants wearing band that doesn't capitalize their name.  Their style of music is not normally my thing, but I like it.  The layered, anthemic vocals are awesome and it sounds good.  I can even appreciate the singer's sometimes oversharing lyrics.  He doesn't just get personal, he gets specific.

The fashion thing...yeah, okay.  I mean, I'm not one to talk.  I only started wearing cowboy boots six months ago.

But the short pants?  The "I will wear my sleeves rolled?"  (Do I dare eat a peach?)  Um, no....

But these songs...man, they're good.

There's this one called One Foot.  I had this one echoing in my ears all night.  And I don't mean this to sound pejorative, but I got a very gay vibe off this one.   It's in the second verse, which includes the awesome line:

I will die for my own sins, thanks a lot.



And then there's this one.  Endure the indulgent first few minutes and ponder the Civil War motif.  I did at first.  But then listen to the music.  It's worth it.


Good Work, David Frum

Criticizing the"Conservative Bubble," David Frum writes:
It will be a great first step when conservatives insist upon accurate political information. But the job cannot be considered finished until conservatives reject media that feed them false information about public policy as well.

Good Work, Matt Yglesias

Republicans are in a contemplative mood since basically losing the 2012 election cycle. This idea that they need to reform their party platform seems to be (finally) sinking in. Here's Matt Yglesias commenting on some of Bobby Jindal's ideas about how the GOP will change:
Republicans would like to win more elections but don't want to change their policies, so they're eager for a candidate who has "new ideas" but no new ideas.
I highlight both this quote and the Weigel one below because I think it hints that the GOP is going to have a hard time conning the country in the foreseeable future.

There was a big 30 year stretch when it was easy. Sell weapons to the Iranians? Blame Ollie North. Monica Lewinsky's dress, Saddam's WMD, the birth certificate. It's been one con after another.

But we're onto them.

Good Work, Dave Weigel

Read this Dave Weigel story for some further info on the Petraeus affair story, but more than that, read it for this glorious paragraph:
Why did the agent take this story to Republicans? According to the New York Times, the agent had an unspecified “worldview” that led him to suspect “a politically motivated cover-up to protect President Obama.” As of today, he’s totally alone in that. Republicans don’t want to speculate about the Petraeus scandal. They resent that it’s coming up. They want to focus on the Sept. 11 killings in Benghazi—which they fear has been covered up in a politically motivated plot to protect President Obama.
Did you catch that? Read it again.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Carry On

I saw these guys on Saturday Night Live and I dunno...I don't like their pants, their shirts, or their haircuts, but I do like their music.

Oh wait...he's wearing an old school Nuggets jersey in one shot.  I do like that shirt.