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Let’s not play that stupid Class Warfare game either, please

You’re probably seeing this graph and many others like it these days (don’t know who to credit for this one; there are a bunch of them out there). It’s an illustration of just how much of their “fair share” the rich are paying already. The top 5% are responsible for more than half the income taxes collected. The top 50% for nearly all of it.

The millionaires and billionaires Obama has been wagging his finger at are precious natural resources. They invest money in companies, they build businesses. They’re general all-around rich bastards who travel and buy things and own things and employ people to do stuff for them (as a friend of mine once said, Mercedes mechanics have to eat, too). All of those things are fan-fucking-tastic for the economy.

Also, they’re rich. If you piss them off, they can afford to go away and take all their lovely job-creating money with them.

Okay? Okay.

But here’s the problem: these graphs are usually accompanied by text stating that, whatever it is, 40% of the people don’t pay taxes.

Bullshit! EVERYbody pays taxes (the graph is only about income taxes). Sales taxes, gas taxes, extra taxes on booze and cigarettes. Car tax and road tax.

And, really, most of us think of “taxes” as any money the government takes away. Social Security withholding for benefits you’ll probably never see. Quarters fed into parking meters. Licenses and fines and tickets and penalties (the poor are more likely to drive an old beater with a taillight out and live in a house that needs painting).

I spent some years bumping along at the bottom, doing that starving artist thing. I made shit money and lived in bad neighborhoods. Let me tell you, the working poor — the people trying to claw out a living without taking government benefits — they pay, and they miss every dollar of that money vividly. Let’s not alienate natural allies in the fight against huge and oppressive government.

Love the rich, but don’t be hating the poor.

Just how shit do I still feel? I didn’t Talk Like A Pirate even once today.

September 19, 2011 — 7:23 pm
Comments: 28

Riddle me this…

*recycled graphic on account of sudden, unexpected loss of will to live.

I totally don’t get it. Barack Obama rode into office posing as a nice guy. A non-partisan, light-working, no-red-state-no-blue-state kindofa all-around nice guy. However much we’ve learned since, that was the thing he had going for him.

What on god’s green earth makes the left think he should turn into an angry, hectoring, feisty guy to get re-elected?

Oh, I understand why they would like to see that. There sure were times I dreamed of watching Bush invite a hostile press corps to take a flying fuck at a rolling donut, however bad it would have looked in the Junior High civics curriculum afterwards. But at least for Bush it would’ve been somewhat in character.

For Obama, feisty is the exact opposite of what independents liked about him.

This is a strategy?

Good weekend, y’all! I’monna go drink now.

September 16, 2011 — 8:47 pm
Comments: 47

Satan’s early warning chicken

Still feel like crap. The way my colds go, I feel awful at the beginning but don’t sound bad, and when I start to sound hacky and snotty, I’m actually feeling a lot better. So never with the sympathy when I need it.

Anyhow, I forgot to tell you…yesterday, mid-morning, Mapp started to alarm call. This is the sound they make when there’s a fox or a cat or a tractor or other threat they’re pretty sure they can take on. You know, the bok-bok-bok-be-GAAAAK bok-bok.

She doesn’t usually do that. She’s the quietest of the four. But she kept at it, and suddenly…there was a knock at the door.

Muffled voice: is this house really four hundred years old?
Uncle B: Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Muffled voice: muffled response.

Yeah, British JW’s! Who knew? There are quite a lot out here, and they’ll come right into your back garden (that’s a really severe British no-no) and everything. I couldn’t think of a less British idea than sending religious missionaries out to challenge a Limey’s private space, but they do.

From what I’m told, the Church of England is a little snooty and high church for some, so out in the country there are flourishing colonies of JW’s and Strict and Particular Baptists and whatnot.

Anyhow, we got us an Early Warning Chicken!

September 15, 2011 — 8:14 pm
Comments: 36

Funny old internet

It’s a funny life. When I woke up, I was sure I’d spend the day making fun of the Climate Reality Project, but I wound up spending the day making fun of Attack Watch instead.

To recap: the Climate Reality Project is Al Gore’s latest attempt to this-time-for-real, SRSLY, I’m not kidding, don’t make me turn this car around, shut DOWN the deniers. Starting at midnight GMT (in Mexico City in Spanish, for some reason) they’re going to go around the globe every hour on the hour saying words.

About the only place I’ve heard of it is Watt’s Up With That (where they will be making fun of the CRP in synch, which should be gobs and oodles of harmless denialist fun). So maybe the guys pretending to be real scientists are finally too embarrassed by Fat Al to get on the bandwagon.

Attack Watch, in contrast, is a bad idea from a loser.

Ho ho ho.

Somebody on Obama’s team set up a website so his followers can report misinformation about the awesome job he’s doing. Actually, to make a report, you have to make a donation, so it’s really just a cheap fundraising gimmick. But hilarity ensued when they set up a Twitter hashtag for #attackwatch.

A hashtag, dear non-Twits, is sort of like the comment thread on a blog, except anybody can post there and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Yep. You can see where that would inevitably go. Why couldn’t they?

Shoo! Go play with the links! I’ve finally come down with Uncle Badger’s cold, so I’m feeling a bit — how you say? — really shitty.

September 14, 2011 — 7:19 pm
Comments: 23

Th-th-th-the-th-the-THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!

There it is — ain’t it a beaut? — the stamp in my passport that means I don’t have fuck around with the UK Border Agency any more. This thing cost more than my last car.

In theory, that’s it. That’s all. No more. Done being a immigrant.

In practice, I’m going for citizenship as soon as I’m eligible, which is late November. It doesn’t mess with my American citizenship and it makes life easier here. I mean, I can’t just let these limeys choose between a giant douche and a turd sandwich without my input, can I?

I have to do it quick, though. I’m happy to pledge loyalty to Her Maj, but I’m damned if I swear fealty to that jug-eared Algore-wannabe useless son of hers.

September 13, 2011 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 45

The fat lady, singing

Saturday night was the last night of the Proms AKA Mr Robert Newman’s Promenade Concerts AKA The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC AKA The BBC Proms.

In 1895, Robert Newman, manager of the Queen’s Hall in London, decided he would sucker the general public into liking highbrow music by offering a series of cheap but excellent concerts, starting with popular music and getting snootier by the day. One of those worthy Victorian deals.

Together with a conductor named Henry Wood, he put together a whole season’s worth of music (a shilling – 5p – for a single concert or £1.05 for the lot). There were Wagner nights and Beethoven nights and new music and young performers. People were allowed to eat and drink and smoke and mill around. It was an altogether superb idea, and it stuck.

Today’s Proms are eight weeks long (70 concerts this year!) and are held in the Royal Albert Hall (and on television, of course). They still feature new works and young performers (Wagner, not so much) and it’s still pretty informal.

At least, the last night was. That’s the bit everyone watches. The lefties have been trying to stick a sock in the last night of the Proms since forever, but they haven’t kilt it yet. They end the whole thing by dressing stupid and waving flags and blowing horns and singing patriotic songs and letting off fireworks. I mean, the audience, too.

This lady (here she is swinging an axe for some reason) led the crowd in Rule Brittania. And there was God Save the Queen and Land of Hope and Glory (we know that one as Pomp and Circumstance) and Jerusalem (Blake’s schitzy vision of Jesus walking around England).

Not just in the packed Albert Hall, but there was a crowd of something like 300,000 crammed into Hyde Park listening in, too. It did me a world of good to see all those happy, pasty faces waving flags and singing their little Limey hearts out.

September 12, 2011 — 9:30 pm
Comments: 34

Ain’t you boys built that dang road yet?

Obama’s stimulus plan involves an infusion of cash for middle-class tax cuts, rebuilding roads, bridges and schools, building broadband Internet access and investing in clean energy. November 23, 2008

Spending tens of billions of dollars on new infrastructure such as schools, bridges and water systems could also be effective, both as a short-term economic boost and as a means of raising the country’s long-term productive capacity. January 7, 2009

In what amounts to the second stimulus plan since he took office – this one estimated at $75 billion to $200 billion – Obama asked Congress to fund jobs to rebuild roads, bridges, railways and waterways. December 08, 2009

Ten months into President Barack Obama’s first economic stimulus plan, a surge in spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, an AP analysis has found. Jan 11, 2010

…the stimulus has cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, bailed out every state, hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families and funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more. Aug. 26, 2010

The $450 billion package would raise income, boost hiring, and improve roads and bridges. Sep 9, 2011

Shall I go on? I could, you know. On and on and on. Or you could do it yourself: go to Google and search +Obama +stimulus +roads. Those quotes cover three years and three separate demands for huge wads of money.

The whole rest of the package was more of the same, too. I mean, he ran his first campaign on this shit.

But I was struck by the roads and schools. Because construction projects can only go at a finite pace, and it sounds like he’s jammed so much money down that funnel already that some of it is bound to be sitting there now, stimulating nothing.

How many crappy roads have we got?

Picture nicked from the excellent Shorpy.com.

September 9, 2011 — 8:32 pm
Comments: 32

A little flat

So, no, I didn’t watch the Republican debate, but I think I’ll watch the famous Jobs Speech.

Have you ever seen something so purely, perfectly, blazingly stupid that it’s like a precious jewel of stupid?

I was listening to the radio once when the newsreader informed me, “our antibiotics don’t work any more because we’ve evolved too much.” Beautiful. A gem without price.

Well, I think the Big Jobs Speech is going to be stupid on that level. Fun stupid. To start with, He’s Giving Another Damn Speech. It’s like he cannot fucking beLIEVE he’s lost his mojo. (C’mon baby, one more speech. One more speech will do it! It has to!)

Plus…wait, he’s making a speech? So, like, his jobs plan is to make a speech? So the first Congress gets to hear what Obama’s thinking, it’s at the same time as we all do?

I’m sure his team thinks that’ll hold Republican toes to the fire (because we’re bound to love love LOVE his proposals), but I think it’s a major fuck-up. Because most people in the real world understand that’s not how you negotiate a compromise with a difficult opponent, by selling the deal to a third party.

It’s like trying to force your husband to do something he doesn’t want by going to his mom behind his back and getting HER to nag him.

And if that’s the plan, it assumes a) Obama is going to say something substantial enough to like or dislike and b) we will, in fact, like it. From the talking points, it sounds like the grand job plan is, “alright, y’all need to cut the crap now and do what I want.” Oh, and it’s post-partisan because he’s blaming everybody whose middle name isn’t Hussein.

I think I’m going to enjoy this. If anybody walks out in the middle, I might just swoon.

September 8, 2011 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 39

Ugh. There they go again.

Are you watching the Republican debate tonight?

I’m not. I hate the damn things. I’m not at all sure this is a great way to pick a leader.

Oh, I realize public debate has been a central part of politics since, like, Rome or Babylon or Og the Mammoth Slayer versus Gru Hamfist or whatever. If you’ve ever watched Prime Minister’s Question Time, you have to admire the sharp elbows and quick thinking of Limey politicians. They make our legislators look like the mongtards they truly are.

But, you know, those are debates. Go back to, say, Lincoln/Douglas…those guys were arguing about a defined set of topics (mostly slavery). They were having a conversation about topics.

What we do is make our candidates stand like lemons under bright lights while self-important lefty journos sling gotcha questions at them (Who’s the vice president of Durkadurkastan?) and meelions and meelions of people watch them on TV to see who flinches. This is doubly stupid in the Republican debates, where the dang moderators NEVER ask about things important to Republicans (why do we allow this? WHY?).

I’m just not sure the qualities that would make somebody good at this are the same qualities that make somebody good at presidenting. Also, I have grievous stage fright and thinking about standing up there before all those invisible eyeballs…I need a little lie-down.

By the way, if you’ve got it in your head (I did) that televised debates have been a part of our political landscape since Kennedy/Nixon, not so. It was sixteen years before Ford revived the format, trying to pushback against Ol’ Peanuts.

September 7, 2011 — 8:39 pm
Comments: 24

The president is really, really cheesed off at you

Also, his pants are around his ankles.

I have no idea why this image popped into my head as illustrative of Obama’s current dilemma. It just seems the more he tries to play hardball, the sillier he looks.

You know, lefties have a point. Obama has done so many things to disappoint them — from keeping Guantanamo open to backing off on EPA regs to, well, lots of things — in many ways, he’s governed like George Bush’s third term. So why are us wingnuts so hard on him?

Well, thing is, I *am* pleased when he does something out of character, like stepping up drone strikes or getting Osama. Of course I am. But it’s all so terribly random. We know his heart is with the left, but his actions are all over the board.

Clearly, much of what he’s doing at the moment is with an eye to the 2012 elections. But he’s not very good at pandering, so it comes off as merely erratic and incoherent.

Much power and completely unpredictable? Bad combo.

September 6, 2011 — 9:02 pm
Comments: 27