Archive for the ‘Oh No They Didn’t!’ Category

Takin’ Care of Business

Monday, March 30th, 2009

John Murtha (D-Bag, Pennsylvania) made more news this past weekend. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Critics claim John Murtha is capitalizing on a corrupt system, but he’s not apologizing tells

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — This city once had a steel-based economy and critics now say it has a John Murtha-based economy but, in what used to be the 11-inch rolling mill of Bethlehem Steel, nobody’s apologizing.

And later

Johnstown made Mr. Murtha the king of earmarks. Prone to floods and wracked by unemployment when steel collapsed, the city turned to its congressman to save its economy and Mr. Murtha, for his part, turned to the federal budget.

And

On a suburban hillside, in a development called the John P. Murtha Technology Center, just a stone’s throw from the John P. Murtha Airport, a group of locals set up Concurrent Technologies Corp., a nonprofit research and technology combine that found its footing with Murtha-directed earmarks.

Today CTC employs 1,400 people with 21 offices around the country and has a payroll of $66 million — $40 million of it for the 800 employees stationed in Johnstown. A few miles from CTC’s headquarters sits Kuchera Industries, another garage startup that struggled through the 1980s and then found itself flush with defense contracts under Mr. Murtha’s tutelage.

Multinational firms, from Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to DRS Technologies and the Norwegian firm Kongsberg Gruppen, have set up outposts here, capturing defense contracts and partnering with local companies such as CTC and JWF.

No one has tallied the amount Mr. Murtha has steered into his district, which sprawls well beyond the Conemaugh Valley and reaches the West Virginia border. Conservative estimates are in the billions of dollars, most of it lobbied from federal agencies or won through open bidding or, more controversially, steered home directly during his 35-year career.

And, unbelievably, Murtha had this to say

“If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district.”

Well there you have it. Murtha has just committed a cardinal sin: blurting out the truth.

In all of the outrage over AIG bonuses and executive pay, we have lost site of the bothersome patronage and ethical scandals that abound in Congress.

Besides Murtha, we have Countrywide Financial and the “friends of Angelo” program that provided sweetheart loans to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.).

And then there is Barney Frank. This article from the New York Times in September of 2003 tells of the Bush administration’s proposal to establish a new oversight office for Fannie and Freddie.

The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt — is broken.

This is at odds with the conventional assumptions, namely that somehow the Bush administration stripped away all manner of protection. Sorry. Fantasy. But the article does indicate Barney Frank’s feelings about additional oversight

“These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

So, you see, it really is about affordable housing.

The likes of Murtha, Frank, and Dodd pose much greater threats to our long-term economic viability than $160 million in bonus payments.

Pwnage By USAID

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

In KansasCity.com, U.S. move to cheaper Chinese condoms threatens American jobs tells the story of the decision to stretch our tax dollars when purchasing condoms.

Call it a condom conundrum.

At a time when the federal government is spending billions of stimulus dollars to stem the tide of U.S. layoffs, should that same government put even more Americans out of work by buying cheaper foreign products.

In this case, Chinese condoms.

Ah, excuse me. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t China have a population problem? Do we really want to distribute Chinese-made birth control?

The switch comes despite implied assurances over the years that the agency would continue to buy American whenever possible.

“Of course, we considered how many U.S. jobs would be affected by this move,” said a USAID official who spoke on the condition that he would not be named. But he said the reasons for the change included lower prices (2 cents versus more than 5 cents for U.S.-made condoms) and the fact that Congress dropped “buy American language” in a recent appropriations bill.

For the money savings, we can buy 2 and a half times more love socks. What happened? Did refractory periods magically drop by 60%?

France. Where Else?

France. Where Else?

Off His Game

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

It is becoming clear that Barack Obama, off the teleprompter, is a genuine danger to himself and to others, notably Democrats. During the campaign, Senator Obama was mostly spot-on with his stump speeches and was adequate in the debates. Now President Obama is still in a campaign mode. But his choice of communication channels – for example Jay Leno, town hall meetings – has led to recent embarrassing gaffes.

The Los Angeles Times Not bowled over by Obama’s Special Olympics joke tells of one Obama supporter that takes umbrage with his Leno appearance

When she met Barack Obama two years ago, Caitlin Cox proudly wore the two bronze medals she had won at the Special Olympics. The then-Illinois senator grinned as she showed him pictures of her signature bubble-gum-pink bowling ball and posed for photographs with her.

Cox, who has Down syndrome, excitedly recalls that meeting each time she sees Obama’s photo on a magazine cover or hears him mentioned on TV. Her ears perked up again Friday morning as her parents discussed the president at breakfast.

Her mother, Suzanne Thompson, told her that Obama had made a joke about the Special Olympics on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Thursday and that it might have hurt a lot of people. Cox, 21, dropped her head on the table and, after a brief silence, said the news made her sad.

Makes me sad, too. I had hoped for more. And later

Obama’s comment also hit close to home for David Axelrod, the president’s top political guru and a senior White House advisor.

Axelrod’s daughter, Lauren, is a longtime Special Olympian who has competed in swimming and track and field events.

Oh snap! Good one there, Barack.

Then, recently at a town hall meeting in California, speaking of AIG

“We had to step in, it was the right thing to do, even though it is infuriating,” Obama said, explaining why the government needed to bail out the troubled banks.

“The same is true with AIG,” he said. “It was the right thing to do to step in. Here’s the problem. It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.”

This comes on the heels of Charles Grassley’s (R-Iowa) ill-advised suggestion that AIG executives commit suicide. Let’s not forget that people in the same tax bracket as AIG executives pay, by far, the lion’s share of all individual income taxes. So I’d hate for all these executives to commit suicide. It would almost certainly increase the taxes I would have to pay.

Let’s leave the “rhetorical flourishes” to Joe Biden. He has had a lifetime to perfect his standup routine. Sure Joe sticks his foot in his mouth on a routine basis; but he remains an affable figure. One or two more comments such as the Special Olympics “joke” and Obama will have to spend considerable time and energy to shake the notion that he is a complete asshat.

Roughed McGruff

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

In the Washington Post today, there is Bus Driver Collared After Crime Dog Socked on Corner. Sadly, it tells the story of a Metrobus driver who, while adjusting the mirrors on his bus, socked the Crime Dog, McGruff.

A Metrobus supervisor who went to the scene was told by [the driver] that he punched the big, droopy-eared crime dog “to be funny”.

Apparently the 5-0 thought it was funny too, because

[The driver] then got back on the bus and drove for a few blocks until police stopped him

Interestingly, on McGruff’s own site, there is a poll about how to stop bullies. The available responses are

  • Speak up
  • Be a friend
  • Get an adult

Apparently, McGruff is holding out on a fourth option, which is

  • Call the po-po.

The incident reportedly occurred in front of a group of kids. You have to hand it to McGruff. Even while being assaulted, he is still on the job, building crime awareness among children.

[Fading Out]

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

A friend of mine who is, shall we say, more progressive than I am, posted a link in Facebook to a post from FireDogLake titled The Three Stooges of the Apocalypse. FireDogLake.com is a blog started by Jane Hamsher. Hamsher has connections with Hollywood, the Huffington Post, and Markos Moulitsas.

The post, preserved with original links to various stories, follows.

Cut to: interior.  A poorly lit, dingy office with framed 8 x 10 photos of second-rate comedians, burlesque performers, and the occasional evangelist line the walls. The windows are smudged and dirty.  A desk is piled high with photos, audition videos, and demo tapes.  We see

the soles of a pair of shoes on one corner of the desk. A plume of cigar smoke snakes its way to the stained ceiling. A man, barely visible behind a mound of paper, barks into the telephone.

Ralphie:

Sid! It’s me. . . . Right. It’s your crazy aunt Sheila. No, you schmuck, it’s Ralphie from Bush League Talent. . . No, no you don’t owe me any money . . . Look, just shut up and listen, okay?  I have a comedy act that is guaranteed to fill the seats of movie houses every night for the next four years. . . . Yes, right, until 2012.  Good to see you can still do math. It’s a wonder your company’s in the toilet.  Listen, it’s a trio, two guys and a gal . . . no, it’s a comedy act, no nudity . . . Yeah, well let me explain the premise, okay?  There’s these three idiots — the leader, Bobby, thinks he’s smart, but he’s just got a bigger vocabulary than the other two.  The real doofus is the other guy, Mikey, whose portrayal of a black guy circa 1983 is so frickin’ on the money that you find yourself wondering why you sold your “Thriller” album on eBay. And the babe, Sarah, plays the straight man, but she’s the real brains of the group. Anyway, the fate of the country rests with these three maroons, but they’re so incompetent that they’re always getting into some sort of trouble that ends up with them poking themselves in the eye and falling on banana peels.  Real slapstick kind of stuff.  I know that sounds like it’s been done before, but never with a babelicious woman and two brown-skinned mooks.  Trust me on this, Sid. This is going to be the biggest draw out there since Katie Harris went full frontal. . . . Sid?  Sid, you still there? . . . . Ah, shit.

[Fade out.]

I like how the left are continuing to attack Republicans, nearly 4 months after Obama’s election. It makes me think there is not much good news for them to latch on to. Certainly the stock market has taken a great big Number 2 all over Obama’s stimulus package and subsequent budget proposal. Just today, there was news of another tax cheat nominated by Obama administration (trade envoy designate Ron Kirk). Maybe it would be better if the Washington Post reported as news those instances when someone joins the Obama administration who is not a tax cheat. We have Obama basically carrying out the Bush administrations Iraq policy. We have Hilary Clinton sounding pessimism over outreach to Iran. John McCain is returning to his old cranky self, blasting Obama about breaking his vow to end earmarks. I bet McCain is sorry he ever said that we had nothing to fear from Obama. Obama is taking his sweet time in shuttering GTMO for many reasons. We’re starting to learn that we had a lot of help with interrogations, much of it from the European bed-wetters that Obama wowed in July.

I could go on and on. But here is what really caught my eye in the post above.

…a babelicious woman and two brown-skinned mooks.

Do you know what a mook is? I had to look it up. I knew it wouldn’t be good. Mook: a contemptible, incompetent person. And brown-skinned? I am so proud of this past election, and proud of John McCain and the Republican party that race was not a real issue. Good for us and good for America. Well, race was not much of an issue. For whom was race an issue?

Race is obviously on the mind of Attorney General Eric Holder, who has called out America as cowards when it comes to discussions on race. I bet that liberals heard Holder say this and immediately thought “good, he’s calling out conservatives”. Sorry folks, but the people that are most hung up on race are liberals, who need race to be an issue to boost their success at the polls. I won’t hold my breath waiting for liberals to denounce “brown-skinned mooks”. What better evidence is there that the Obama shooting star is already starting to [Fade out].

Let Me Get This Straight

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Blue dog Democrat, and former Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints quarterback, Heath Shuler (D-NC) observes that, while Obama has made the effort to hear his concerns on the stimulus package, the same was not true of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. According to Shuler

I truly feel that’s where maybe House leadership and Senate leadership have really failed.

Politoco blogger Glenn Thrush reports this email response from Jim Manley, spokesman for Harry Reid.

Let me get this straight – this is coming from a guy who threw more than twice as many interceptions than touchdowns?

Maybe someone should tell congressman Shuler that under the leadership of President Obama we have put together a bipartisan bill that will create or save 3 to 4 million jobs, and that we have been more than willing to work with our republican friends. We have accepted some of their ideas and will continue to do so. But not at the expense of creating jobs, investing in our future of helping the middle class. He can stand on a stage if he wants, but senate democrats are busy trying to pass legislation that will provide essential investments designed to create and save jobs.

Shuler was one of the eleven Democrats that joined all House Republicans in a bipartisan vote against the House’s stimulus plan. Good going, Heath. But this FireDogLake blog story provides a different spin on the whole thing by suggesting

[Shuler] was “encouraged” by the White House (whch Robert Gibbs would not deny).  It looks like Rahm Emanuel, who is in charge of managing the White House’s relationship with the press, is himself pursuing a strategy to make Reid and Pelosi look as weak as possible and once again has his hand up Shuler’s dress.

So, if this is to be believed, and I’m not sure that it is, we are to conclude that Shuler, and maybe other House Democrats that voted against the stimulus, served as proxy for the White House in a struggle against Pelosi and Reid? And that Manley’s cheap shot against Shuler is, really, Reid’s way of pushing back against Obama and the White House?

If there is anything to this, this is going to be good. Time for a trip to the snack bar.

Kidney Punch

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

In today’s Washington Post, there was a brief news service article about a man, a woman, and the kidney that has come between them

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – When his wife needed a kidney transplant, physician Richard Batista gave her one of his… Now that Dawnell Batista has filed for divorce, Richard Batista wants his kidney back as part of his settlement demand. Or …  the value of that kidney: an estimated $1.5 million.

As might be expected, there is much more to the story. According to the New York Daily News

The Long Island doctor wants the one-time love of his life to pay $1.5 million for the organ he bestowed on her eight years ago in a gift meant to save her life and their foundering marriage….

Batista charged his wife, Dawnell, repaid his gesture by first sleeping with her physical therapist – and then denying him access to their three kids in an increasingly bitter divorce.

Adding to his anguish, Batista insists his decision to donate his kidney in 2001 was in part a failed effort to rescue their troubled relationship….

Their marriage lasted just another four years, with the wife filing for divorce in July 2005.

The once-happy pair met two decades ago when he was a resident and she a training nurse at North Shore Hospital.

They were married in August 1990 … [and] … shared the joy of three daughters, but Dawnell was battling kidney failure and the couple’s relationship turned shaky….

Dawnell’s health continued to deteriorate. After two transplants failed, her husband volunteered to donate one of his kidneys – and discovered he was a match, a 1-in-700,000 shot.

“I was the first and only one to step to the plate,” the doctor recalled. Without his donation, Dawnell faced a long wait: There are 6,748 people awaiting kidneys in New York State, the New York Organ Donor Network says.

Successful surgery followed … on June 28, 2001. Batista said he was looking forward to happier times with his now-healthy bride – but his hopes proved futile.

“Nothing changed,” he said.

Dawnell Batista viewed the kidney as a new lease on life, too. She returned to school to earn a master’s degree in nursing, and took up karate, her husband said boutique.

After an injury suffered while trying to earn her black belt, she began physical therapy – which evolved into an affair with her therapist, Batista said….

Batista said the ongoing ugliness began on day one of their divorce.

“She slapped me with divorce papers when I was in surgery trying to save another person’s life,” he fumed.

You gotta love it. Doctor, nurse, daughters, crumbling marriage, failing kidneys, odds of 1-in-700,000, transplant, karate, injury, physical therapist, infidelity, divorce papers served during surgery, $1.5 million. This story has everything, almost. What is missing? Why, a tractor, of course, if this story in the Daily Times of Pakistan is to be believed

The wife of a farmer from Bahawalpur has registered a case against her husband, accusing him of selling her kidney without her consent to purchase a tractor, police said on Monday.

District Police Officer (DPO) Bahawlapur Arif Nawaz said that police had registered a case against farmer Shakeel Ahmed following the written complaint of his wife, Safia, “in the light of a medical report indicating that (her) husband had unlawfully sold one of her kidneys”.

Safia moved an application to the Noshera Jadeed station house officer (SHO), stating that her husband, whom she married in 2004, had beaten her when she was three-months’ pregnant, causing her to miscarry.

She said that her husband then took her to Bahawal Victoria Hospital, on the pretext of seeking medical treatment. She accused doctors of removing one of her kidneys during a surgical procedure, claiming that they had acted in collusion with her husband and had failed to secure her consent before removing the organ.

Safia said that she only came to know about her ordeal when she later contracted a urinary tract infection and sought medical treatment. She also pointed out that that her husband then confessed what had happened, admitting that he had sold her kidney and used the money from the transaction to buy a tractor.

Noshera Jadeed police said that they had registered a case against Ahmed, adding that investigations into the alleged crime were still continuing.

The stories above are no laughing matter. So this post would not be complete without a kidney joke.

A man is walking on the beach when he trips over a lamp. A few seconds later, a genie pops out and says, “I’m required to grant three wishes, but since you did not treat my lamp with respect, I will give twice what you get to the person you hate most—your boss.”

The man agrees and makes his first wish: “I want lots of money.” Instantly $20 million appears in bags on the beach, and $40 million appears in his boss’ bank account.

Next the man asks for an incredible sports car. Instantly a Lamborghini appears, and at the same moment, two show up outside his boss’ house.

Finally the genie says, “You have but one wish left; you should choose carefully.”

The man says, “Well, I’ve always wanted to donate a kidney.”