Illustrating Absurdity

10 11 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/Public Domain

Sometimes headlines, like sound bites, can be particularly illustrative of the absurd.  Here a few from my morning reading:

From the Wall Street Journal:

The GOP’s Racial Challenge
Republicans can’t win in the future without more nonwhite votes.–Zoltan Hajnal.

So the elections of Marco Rubio, Allen West, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Brian Sandoval, and Susana Martinez were a reflection of a whites-only voting bloc?  Can someone place some coffee under Zoltan’s nose to wake him up?!  Manny Lopez of the Detroit News paints a more accurate portrait. New faces of hope for GOP.

From the New Jersey Star Ledger: “Pelosi’s plummeting popularity is a burden to Democrats“.  When was she ever popular?  The Botox Hammer has always been egregious.  Except now, she doesn’t have a majority running interference for her–they all got booted–thanks, in no small part to her leadership.  Bye, bye, Nancy.  Don’t let the doorknob hit you on the way out.

In My Orbit…

19 10 2010

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Yeah, I know… Politics, again?!  But it’s less than three weeks before the elections, and silly season has kicked into full swing.  Perhaps I should have named this one Illustrating Absurdity instead….

Who does fit that bill?  Ms. Meghan McCain.  The very blonde daughter of Senator John McCain graduated college a few years back, produced a much-touted blog of her father on the campaign trail, and is now a “heavyweight” political commentator as evidenced by her column space in The Daily Beast and appearances on political shows like “This Week.”   Apparently the Paris Hilton of politics is also an authority on experience and success,  if her comments about Christine O’Donnell on the aforementioned Sunday show are any indication:

“I speak as a 26-year-old woman, and my problem is that, no matter what, Christine O’Donnell is making a mockery of running for public office,” McCain told host Christiane Amanpour. “She has no real history, no real success in any kind of business.”

Politico supplies the video here.

At least Chelsea Clinton and Barbara and Jenna Bush actually worked and did community service after college.  They could have easily rode on the coattails of their name recognition, but they chose differently.  Hmmm… that choice alone says much about Ms. McCain.

Being corpulent myself, I won’t get into the only thing that I consider weighty about this young girl.  One of my favorite (and weighty in the correct sense) political commentators, Doug Powers, summarily and appropriately dismisses her: McCain: Christine O’Donnell seen as a Nutjob.

President Obama thinks you’re fearful and stupid.  Clutch the pearls!  According to an AP Poll, and despite the focus-grouped MTV crowd, nobody really giving a rat’s heinie what the President thinks anymore.

Michael Gerson deconstructs our President’s latest elitist remarks in Obama the Snob,

“The neocortical presidency destroys the possibility of political dialogue. What could Obama possibly learn from voters who are embittered, confused and dominated by subconscious evolutionary fears? They have nothing to teach, nothing to offer to the superior mind. Instead of engaging in debate, Obama resorts to reductionism, explaining his opponents away.”

Jennifer Rubin of Commentary Magazine further deconstructs in A Snob, but not really an Intellectual, making a firm case that someone who is an intellectual would have a better capacity for policy, economics, and especially people.  A pull quote:

“His understanding of free markets, international affairs, war strategy, and domestic policy evidences no originality. To the contrary, his vision is supported by myths and inaccuracies. (Recall the serial misstatements about history during the campaign.) It is not, then, the public that lacks reasoning skills; it is the president, whose rigid ideology prevents him from taking in new data, analyzing it dispassionately, and rendering decisions based on the facts before him.”

Interesting, if Ms. McCain truly were a “heavyweight” political commentator, she could have drawn some distinct parallels between O’Donnell and Obama, and what inexperience really costs us.


Illustrating Absurdity

13 10 2010


Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin


All Obama, all the time.  Not really, but with a national election three weeks away looking like D-Day for the Dems, there has been lots of ridiculousness associated with our Commander in Chief.

Take 1:  A man throws a book at the President during a stump speech in Philadelphia. Of course, the man was immediately detained to surmise motives (as opposed to the Panty Bomber, who was given Miranda rights, but I digress).  Apparently, the man had written this tome, and wanted the President to read it.  Neither bright nor effective, but in line with what you would expect from an O-bot.   Officials released man who tossed book at Obama.

Take 2:  I had no problem seeing this, having grown up with the adage, “All that glitters, is not gold.”  Whether the President gets re-elected in 2012 or no, “Hope and Change” is officially tarnished.  Let’s hope it ultimately ends up on the trash heap so we can get on with real life.  Nearly half of Obama’s supporters have now given up on him.

Take 3:  A supposedly revelatory interview done by The New York Times, ironically titled, “The Education of President Obama.”   The article offers self-reflective statements like,  “He realized too late that ‘there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects’ when it comes to public works,” while waxing eloquent about the re-decoration done in the Oval Office.  The President has pissed off left and right-wing alike, so he’s basically using his favorite media organ to do more smoke and mirrors.  “Hope and Change” morphs into “Reflection and Introspection.”  The same old calculated moves to push the same old liberal policies.  Move along folks, nothing to see here…

Illustrating Absurdity

24 08 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin

From The Smoking Gun.  The Justice Department is looking for a number of Ebonics linguistics experts:

“In contract documents, which are excerpted here, Ebonics is listed among 114 languages for which prospective contractors must be able to provide linguists. The 114 languages are divided between “common languages” and “exotic languages.” Ebonics is listed as a “common language” spoken solely in the United States.”

Had I spent more time on the street, and less time in a book, I would be golden.  My college and graduate degrees are now being used as toilet paper.

On the other hand, this will do wonders to improve the Black unemployment numbers…

Your 15 Minutes

5 06 2010

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

This is both sad and tragic on many levels.  Helen Thomas beclowns herself.

Then she issues this half-baked, canned apology.

“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians.They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

Sorry Helen, but the bell cannot be unrung.

Would someone tell Helen Thomas that her 15 minutes are up?

H/t: Solomonia.

Illustrating Absurdity: Or, lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part…

27 05 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin

Looks like the O-Administration is taking lessons from the L.A. Clown Posse, otherwise known as the City Council.  The BP oil spill gets increasingly worse by the day, Obama and his administration try to place blame, yet they are the ones with oil on their faces.   James Carville, famed Clintonista and Louisianan, is going all over talk shows screaming for the administration to do something.  Kirsten Powers of the New York Post (and a Democrat supporter) mentions Carville’s comments in her article: “He urged it [the administration] to rapidly ‘move to Plan B.'” But she goes further, hitting the nail on the head to ask: Where was Obama’s Plan A on the Oil Spill? A pull quote:

“It also shouldn’t be a secret that no matter how many inspections and safety requirements you have, you can’t ever completely prevent disasters like this one. If you’re going to permit offshore drilling, be prepared to respond to a spill.”

Now pundits are starting to call this “Obama’s Katrina“, but I think it’s far worse.  The supposed sins of George W. Bush’s inaction on Katrina occurred in his second term.  Obama is still out of the box of his first term, and save for a rosy few months, he and his administration have been stumbling and bumbling on every national and international issue and crisis.  We have a nationalized health care package very few people want to see enacted, Iran is still building nuclear weapons and thumbing their nose at us, Korea is on meltdown, and let’s not even talk about the Panty-Bomber, the Times Square Bomber, Jihad Jane and the Arizona-Mexico border.

So, I think a more apt term would be “Obama’s Iran Hostage Crisis”–but anyone born after 1970 who is not a political junkie wouldn’t get the reference.  “Katrina” is more immediate, sound-bitey and invokes a certain imagery; much of it manufactured by our own news media, but imagery nonetheless.  Haven’t seen as much non-stop imagery of oil-caked wildlife, have we?  Now with Louisiana’s fragile coast being destroyed, methinks that’s about to change.  And he’s not helping matters by headlining fundraising dinners for Barbara Boxer in San Francisco.  From the Mercury News:

“Obama attended a series of fundraisers for Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is facing a fierce battle in the fall to win a fourth term. It was his second trip to California in as many months to assist the liberal Democrat.  ‘We’ve got a lot on our plate right now, so I don’t travel for just anybody,’ Obama told Democratic donors Tuesday night at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel.  ‘But when it comes to Barbara Boxer, I’m a lot like you: When she calls and says she needs help, we’re gonna give her some help.'” (emphasis mine)

Ouch!  That soundbite is going to boomerang on him big time–if it hasn’t already.  Should have used the teleprompter.

And the New York Post is on fire this morning.  Writer John Crudele already interviewed Naomi Cohn, unemployed lawyer and 2010 Census worker, who blew the whistle on how the Census is cooking statistics to make the job numbers look good.  Well, Crudele brings us more good news on just how wasteful, disorgananized and corrupt this Census go-round is turning out to be.  Two more Census workers blow the whistle…  The anonymous Census worker writes:

“‘John: I am on my fourth rehire with the 2010 Census.

“‘I have been hired, trained for a week, given a few hours of work, then laid off. So my unemployed self now counts for four new jobs.

‘I have been paid more to train all four times than I have been paid to actually produce results. These are my tax dollars and your tax dollars at work.'”

Yours, maybe.  Like Naomi, the legal profession decided to cut me from their fat rolls two years ago, and I have not found a replacement full-time gig.  And just for your information, because I choose to work even part-time, they cut my unemployment benefits last year.

So like any hard-working American, I applied to work for the 2010 Census, as did a number of my friends, but we were never called–now I know why…

And what’s that phrase, “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up?”  Well, in the case of Joe Sestak, it may be a bit of both.  Now that Sestak has won the Democrat party nomination for the Senate in Pennsylvania, he is trying to play footsie with allegations he repeatedly made that the Obama Administration offered him a job if he would drop his primary challenge against Republica–Democrat Arlen Specter.  “Benedict Arlen,” as he is affectionately known by right-wing pundits.  The L.A. Times, no less, has an opinion on this: Joe Sestak and the phantom–or was it?

Even his own party claims to be interested in hearing what was said, and the GOP is calling for an independent counsel investigation.  Both parties want answers about Sestak.

I was six-years old during the Watergate hearings, so it wasn’t even a blip on my radar.  However, almost every presidency since then has been plagued by its own version of an embarrassing scandal: From Iran-Contra to Monica-gate.   Will this be Obama-gate?  From all indications, it appears that obfuscating, manufactured rhetoric, and finger-pointing are not making this go away.

Illustrating Absurdity: Boycott Edition

13 05 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin

L.A. has got a feevah–not to correct its massive budget deficit, or to reign in the utterly corrupt Department of Water and Power.  No, L.A. has decided to boycott the State of Arizona for its anti-illegal stance.  L.A. City Council votes to ban travel and future contracts with Arizona….

This action was approved by the City Council 13-1, with Councilman Greig Smith casting the only dissenting vote.  Of course, they haven’t all-out canceled the City of L.A.’s $58 million worth of contracts with Arizona companies, but are asking port and city authorities to “review” contracts that have ties to Arizona.  A pull quote:

“LAX receives $22 million in revenue from two Arizona-based airlines — US Airways and Mesa Air. The port relies on three Arizona firms for new, low-emission big rigs, part of the city’s “clean truck’’ program that is expected to reduce truck-related pollution at the port by 80% by 2012.”

So, the Port of Los Angeles and LAX all but depend on Arizona to be able to do its business and to garner certain revenue.   Since we’re the ones that are broke and busted, you would think the City Council would consider this before taking such an action.  But that would be asking for reason and accountability–two traits sorely lacking in the City’s current leadership.  Smilin’ Tony was unavailable for comment.

In other news, the L.A. City Council approved an initiative to crackdown on abandoned shopping cartsHugh Hewitt said it best: “They’re the clown posse.”  Love him.

Leesa Bellesi, pastor’s wife, has called for a boycott of the Miss USA Pageant over an overtly sexual photo shoot of the contestants called, “Waking Up in Vegas”, posted on the pageant’s official website.  Pastor’s wife calling for Miss USA boycott.

The pageant president went on the Today show to defend the campaign, “telling Matt Lauer that most of the contestants want to be Victoria’s Secret models anyway, so this is just giving them practice.”  With Barbie-Doll sluts like Kendra Wilkinson Baskett and Kim Kardashian being thrown in the face of young women as “role models,” why would anyone be surprised at this?

Bellesi runs an organization called Kingdom Assignment, and from my brief perusal of her bio and work, seems to be a woman of substance.  Here’s where she lost me.  A pull quote from the Orange County Register article with emphasis added by me:

“After seeing Shugart on the Today Show, Bellesi, who has made a tradition of watching the pageant, sent out an e-mail to hundreds calling on people to boycott the show, which airs live from Vegas Sunday night on NBC.

“‘Christians and young women in general in these pageants are being asked to compromise themselves regarding modesty of any kind,’ she wrote.”

Hello?  That entire circuit is built around the exploitation of beauty and sex as a ticket.  Anyone remember JonBenet Ramsey?  I stopped watching these contests oh, about age 12 or 13, because I realized I certainly wasn’t going to get anywhere on my looks.  So these girls, as bright, vivacious and earnest as they were, would not be good role models.  No disrespect to these women, if that is the path you choose, then so be it–but not all of us have (or want) that option.

Mrs. Bellesi made a tradition of watching this show, and now is suddenly concerned about modesty and exploitation?

Kind of sinks her cause in my eyes.

Glee creator Ryan Murphy is calling for a boycott of Newsweek magazine for what Murphy says, is a “needlessly cruel and mind-blowingly bigoted piece” by Ramin Setoodeh. Setoodeh, who also happens to be gay, posits that gay actors cannot play straight roles.  Tell that to Tom Cruise, Ramin.

Newsflash: Nobody read the article, because nobody reads Newsweek.  Then again, a boycott might push the already failing newsweekly over a cliff.  Hmmm….

Methinks Mr. Murphy should take a chill pill, enjoy his successful show, and focus his energy on writing those great musical numbers.  Had Murphy not mentioned the article, I would have never heard of Ramin Setoodeh.  But Ryan Murphy and Glee are already household words.  Glee creator Ryan Murphy urges magazine snub.

Illustrating Absurdity

13 04 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin

The health care law is back in the forefront, and illustrated in shades of gray. It is beyond absurd that a bill that was supposed to solve so-called problems with our nation’s health care seems to be creating a multitude of new ones with each turn of the 2,400 pages!

The first illustration is actually quite funny.  The New York Times posits: Baffled by Health Plan? So are some Lawmakers.  Apparently Congress and staffers could be removed from their “Cadillac” plans and dumped into the gubmint option with the rest of the unwashed masses.  The killer quote:

“The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?”

Apparently not.

David A. Nichols, a leading expert on the Eisenhower presidency, writes in the Los Angeles Times that Obama is channeling his inner “Ike” by pushing through a flawed health care bill, the same way Eisenhower pushed through a Civil Rights bill.  A pull quote:

“Covering the millions without health insurance is the civil rights issue of our time. And Obama walked a path analogous to the one Ike walked on civil rights in 1957.”

Let me just say, that there is nothing that chaps my hide more than blithe comparisons of any major piece of legislation to the Civil Rights era and the laws enacted as a result of it. The Civil Rights era was unique and nothing can be compared to it. We can learn from its tactics and tenets, but this supposed health care crisis is microcosmic when set against the systemic disenfranchisement of a segment of the American population based on the color of their skin.  That era, and all that was rightfully fought and won during the struggle is frozen in amber and crystallized in time.  And using these ridiculous comparisons only serve to diminish its transformative power and weight.

And finally, we have a young Hollywood, Florida mother who was dropped from Medicaid before she could receive a life-saving bone-marrow transplant.  According to her, she was solicited by the Social Security Administration to receive disability benefits for her three-year old  son, and like any good mother would, chose to take it.   Medicare determined that she now made too much money, and dropped her from the rolls.

The story first aired last Friday, on Fort Lauderdale’s local CBS channel, and of course, it went viral.  The update as of today:

“Since the CBS4 News report first aired last Friday, several lawmakers jumped in. Late Monday afternoon Jackson Memorial Hospital confirmed Smith will have her surgery later this week after all.”

Mom with Cancer gets Insurance help for transplant.

In the comments section, one person wrote, “Welcome to Obamacare”.

So, this raises a question:

If there are no “death panels” in this new law, how do you explain this occurrence?  Being sentenced to die because thanks to the government dole, you now earn too much, and therefore are not eligible for coverage.  And this is income from the same government that afforded you the Medicare in the first place.  Not to mention, this isn’t grandma–this is a young woman–how arbitrary is that?

No, no disconnected panel here making decisions on life or death.

Stepping off the soapbox now.

Illustrating Absurdity…

26 03 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin

In the imitable words of Ogden Nash, “Golly, how the truth will out!”  City and federal leadership, along with their ilk, are showing their true colors.  Not that this wasn’t apparent to those who choose to see…

Good ‘ole May-V is at it again.  Smilin’ Tony is miffed that the City Council is thwarting his efforts to be known as the greenest Mayor on the planet.  So he has threatened–clutch the pearls–bankruptcy, if the City Council does not approve the Department of Water and Power rate hike.  Villaraigosa warns of bankruptcy if City Council blocks electricity rate hike.

The City Council, in a rare show of restraint, is not convinced, along with LAist.  Council President Eric Garcetti, who purportedly supports green energy, called the memo “a gun to our head. [snip] Don’t tell us that the quickest that we’re going to go bankrupt is to turn this away.”  Will L.A. go Bankrupt if your DWP bills don’t go up?

Al Gore, always keen on noble-sounding schemes that line the pocketbook, wholeheartedly endorses Villaraigosa’s rate hike plan.  However, after Climategate, does he even have any credibility?  Al Gore joins Villaraigosa in Supporting Carbon Surcharge….

On the heels of the historic signing of Obamacare into law, Democratic representatives  see no need to lie to the people any more about its true intentions.  Representative John Dingell (D-MI) went on the Paul W. Smith radio show to explain why we are not going to see some of the “benefits” of Obamacare right way.

Here’s the killer quote:

“It takes a long time to do necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put legislation together to control the people.”

What part of “control” don’t you understand?

And today, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), who also happens to be chairman of the Senate Finance Committee (hold your applause), was waxing eloquent on the Senate floor today, apparently drunk on power… or something.  A pull quote:

“[t]oo often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind.  Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America.  This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”

So… this bill law really wasn’t meant to uphold my Constitutional right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness?  Apparently not.

H/t: Hugh Hewitt, Naked Emperor News, The Foundry Blog.

Illustrating Absurdity

18 03 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin

In the ongoing battle for the fiscal survival of the city of Los Angeles and the State of California, we have both Mayor and Governor trying to salvage their “legacy”, while simultaneously saving the local and regional economy.  “Rock,” meet “Hard Place.”

Schwarzenegger has issued another veto which effectively stalled the process to close the $20-billion state budget deficit.  A pull quote:

“[H]e planned to veto $1.1 billion in projected savings realized largely through cuts to public transit.  Democratic lawmakers had approved the measure as part of a package they said would have addressed $4 billion of California’s estimated $20-billion deficit.

“Combined with Schwarzenegger’s veto last week of a larger component of the plan, the announcement puts Capitol politicians back at square one on the deficit.”

Schwarzenegger to veto Dems public transit cuts.

Meanwhile, Smilin’ Tony is in Washington, D.C. (does the man EVER stay in Los Angeles for any length of time?) groveling for federal money to fund city public transportation projects, while irking his constituents by continuing his quest to be the Greenest Mayor on the planet.   May-V plans to push forward with his DWP Renewable Energy Plan, which will raise residential power rates again.  May-V claims it will only be an increase of $2.50 a month, but LAist, the Los Angeles Times and the Daily News beg to differ. From LAist:  L.A. to be powered by 20% renewable energy by end of the year? and L.A. Times: DWP rates may rise 8% and 28% to pay for Mayor’s green initiative.

A DWP Board, whose membership is composed solely of mayoral stooges, will vote on moving this forward before it hits the City Council.  I bet if we cut the salaries of that board and Smilin’ Tony, we’d fund his legacy projects and solve our fiscal issues in one fell swoop.

And my good laugh for the week, Faith and Reason blog touts Rediscovering the Sabbath on ‘National Day of Unplugging’.  On March 20, a non-profit group called Reboot invites you to join them in turning off your Smart phone, computer or other electronic appendages, and get back to basics.  The group has dedicated an entire website to a Sabbath Manifesto–10 Principles to help you carve your “timeout.”

At the bottom of the 10 Principles list, the site has links to follow them on Twitter and Facebook!  The comments on the Faith and Reason article are the most interesting.  A sample: “Good. Now I know when I’ll have the best service and fastest download times. Thanks.”


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