Monday, October 29, 2012

Scariest Day: Halloween or Election Day

It was kinda fun Sunday morning, watching GOP pundits explaining Mitt Romney's latest shell game. Watching Carly Fiorina defending her political idol was like watching a spinning class: the wheels are going around furiously but nobody is getting anywhere. One of the outstanding moments came when Ms. Fiorina said:

But-- but I think if-- if you-- if you want to talk about being factually accurate, it is factually inaccurate to say that Governor Romney was against the rescue of the auto industry. If you read his entire op-ed, you guys are journalists I assume you believe that words are important. ….. And what he says in that op-ed is that he believed that the government should have provided financial guarantees. The difference between Governor Romney’s approach and President Obama’s approach is who gets to stand first in line to get paid off.
Rachel Maddow’s response was spot on:
What-- what government-- what government-- what government?”

That happens to be an excellent question. Not a single bank or financial institution was in a position to "bail out" anyone, much less the behemoth auto industry. And had the auto industry had gone under, would anyone like to venture guess as to what the unemployment figures would look like today? 

Scary stuff, no?

Maybe it’s not so accidental that election day follows closely on the heels of Halloween. Last year, I wrote what I thought was a mildly funny blog entry  on who the candidates should be for Halloween and the thing took off like  rocket. I got a ton of mail on it.  I just went back and looked at it again for reference. 

Okay. Romney could as the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. However, the constant changing of positions has taken on a new   aura during this last hurrah hurricane. Makes him seem more Gene know what I mean. A little fancy footwork ... Swinging in the Rain?

Since no one seems to remember Rudy Kazootie, Ryan should go as Alfred E. Newman. "What? Me worry?" is perfect for Mr. Ryan. He doesn't worry about anything; not the country, not the tax revenue stream, and  certainly not the health of this nation's natural resources.

As much as I really do like Joe Biden, he  just has the smile of The Mask. It's so big and so wide across his face that no matter how infectious his laugh, all he needs is a little green pancake and he could out do Jim Carrey. But he would be a nice Mask:. "Non-smokin'!"

Last, but certainly not least, President Obama needs  little levity. We got a glimpse of it with the horse and bayonet remark, but he need to do something....while still preserving parity. Going as Martin Luther King or Malcolm X just doesn't set the right tone. No. POTUS needs to go as Fred Armisen. Yeah. Go as a white guy who plays a black guy. That would be perfect.

As for the rest of us, the campaign regalia says it all. Wear a ROMNEY RYAN hat or t-shirt and go as an outsourced job. After all, his stuff is made where the labor is cheap and the profits are plentiful: China.

At the the Obama campaign had the great good sense to make sure their product not only says MADE IN USA, but carries a Worker's United label as well.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you happened to have been married on 
November 3rd, 1943,
this Shabbos could be your 69th wedding anniversary

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tagg, You're It.

Misha Siegfried Band at Wild Tymes
Well, this was a big weekend. The Misha Siegfried Band rolled in Saturday in time for another gig at Wild Tymes in downtown Saint Paul. All the best people were there….family, friends, total strangers…and half a wedding party in tuxedos and boutonnieres. It was a great gig, they sounded so on top of the music, and what may have been  bit rough over the summer was smooooooth. They bunked over at the Junior Son and Spouse house, but band breakfast was here. They wanted bagels and lox, so they got bagels and lox. And a huge spinach and Gruyere frittata. And a giant apple crisp. Oh, and doughnuts. You can't have band breakfast without doughnuts. I was too busy to take pictures…but let’s just say there isn’t even the tiniest scrap of lox or smoked trout for the lone remaining bagel. But Keyboard Dan tickled our piano for bit and having live music in the house was totally cool. But I digress.

I waltzed in from the gig at about 1:30 a.m. and I still had a fair amount of prep work to do. I was so wired it didn’t much matter. However, my 3 a.m. Zen floor washing experience was rudely disturbed when I happened to catch  a news flash on my computer: Tagg Romney bought a voting machine company????

Now, I was immediately dubious. I mean, how stupid do these people have to be? Haven’t they ever heard of morit ayin….the reality of doing something that is technically okay but just looks totally wrong. Like a Romney owning a voting machine company. It’s gonna raise a lot of questions.

Tagg Romney
Being the naturally suspicious sort, I stopped washing the floor and started looking for supporting material on this one. Lots of left wing websites and news sources bring it up, but other than a teeny tiny article in The Cleveland Leader, a paper that bills itself as “Greater Cleveland’s Premier Independent News Source,” I could find nothing in the major news organs. It was, however, interesting to read what the Cleveland Leader had to say on the subject, which was very little. Instead, the referenced left leaning

As Lee Fang points out in his detailed analysis of the Romney investments

“Many of these private equity–owned companies rely on federal and state contracts, from HIG Capital’s Hart Intercivic, a voting machine company, to EnviroFoam Technologies, a biological and chemical decontamination firm that does business with the US military and is owned by Peterson Partners, a private equity firm listed in the Solamere prospectus.”

Solarmere’s tangled web of investments now includes Hart Intercivic voting machines which will be used in Cincinnati Ohio says Truth Out which could guarantee Mitt Romney the White House.

The State of Ohio is Ground Zero for the White House, in particular Hamilton County a repeat of the George Bush election in 2004.

So I figured the next place to look was at Solarmere’s website. After all, this was Tagg’s company. Follow the link above. It’s a nice looking homepage. There are tabs: HOME/ABOUT US/TEAM/STRATEGY/CONTACT US/PARTNER LOGIN.  

Click on the ABOUT US tab.

What? It didn’t go to the next page? Did you check the other tabs? I tried it in 3 different browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Explorer. Didn’t work in any of them.  

So, I wondered if the same thing would happen at Bain Capital. Now there’s an interesting website.  There are 165 pictures on  their “team” page, and not a single African American face in the lot. So I counted…and here’s how it turned out:

Does anyone else see this as exceptionally weird?

Yeah, yeah, Romney’s no longer involved with  Bain, but he remains its founder and these numbers reflect a certain mind set. Yeah, yeah, they do have offices in Mumbai, Tokyo, and Hong Kong as well as Boston and London. Still, out of 165 principals in that firm, not a single black person? And just to make sure this is not some kind of aberration, let me mention there is not a single Hispanic surname, either.

Somehow, I don’t think this is okay. I’m not talking about affirmative action here, I’m saying that it’s just too high a number of team members not to have at least a couple of  members from American’s two largest minorities in that mix.

Reflecting on the binder debacle of the last debate, I have to wonder if there is a pattern here. It's not exactly one of inclusion. If Bain Capital doesn’t want to be diverse, that’s their business, but if Mitt Romney wants to be president of this country, his history on the subject is our business since he tells us it's his business acumen that makes him qualified for the post. We have no history with which to measure his ability to work and play well with others different from himself...even unto personal plumbing. The whole binder story sets up a failure of inclusion which would not be a positive attribute for this nation.

But getting back to the Tagg and the voting machines. Like his father’s problem with minorities, it doesn’t matter whether or not he really owns a company that supplies voting machines to Ohio. Regardless, it just looks wrong.

And y’know…there’s just too much wrong history for We, The People, to just ignore it. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'The Week
Got friend stuck in a hospital?
Go visit. 
It's  good thing. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's A Rudy Kazootie Kinda Day!

I got an email from my dear friend Chuck who moaned: "Why would Biden, probably the smartest guy out of the lot pull what he did last night? Good grief, he's better than that."

My response was to ask if he was venting... or if he wanted a serious answer. "A little of both," he answered, and I told him I thought Biden did just fine. He gave Ryan about 4 minutes to establish his methodology and it was pretty clear pretty fast that Ryan was attempting to Gish Gallop him as Romney did to President Obama. And the best way to fend off a Gish the SOB. Every laugh, every eye roll, every interruption underscored Joe Biden's belief that Ryan is a liar and he was going to call him out on it any way he could.

Rudy's twin brother?
Rudy Kazootie
Yeah, sure, they  both get their facts wrong. Yeah, sure they both needed some serious fact checking, but it was pretty obvious that Ryan is a piker when up against Mr Biden. And his attempts to paint Mr. Biden as old and decrepit did nothing to enhance his own image. I rather enjoyed the debate. It was fast, refreshing, and means absolutely nothing in terms of this race. Still, I was glad to see Joe Biden wipe the floor with Rudy Kazootie.

So, I'm guessing you, gentle reader, have figured out I don't like the R&R Toon Town Trolley. I could list any number of seriously strange things the candidates have said, but I would just like to focus on one in particular. Mitt Romney had some sort of episode while talking to an Ohio newspaper:

“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’  ” he said as he offered more hints as to what he would put in place of “Obamacare,” which he has pledged to repeal.

“No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”

He pointed out that federal law requires hospitals to treat those without health insurance — although hospital officials frequently say that drives up health-care costs.
The Columbus Dispatch
Thursday October 11, 2012 3:55 PM

I wonder how the air is on Mittens' planet. We don’t have people dying from lack of health insurance? Is this man on crack? And when someone goes to the emergency room  and can’t pay…who does he think pays the bills? Can he possible be that dense and ill informed about the reality of the lives of We, The People? I think it's past the time when the Toon Town Trolley Clowns spent a night, incognito, sitting in an inner city ER. These two need a good does of reality before they start talking again.

Meanwhile, there's another Presidential debacle...I mean debate... this week. And you can pretty much count on Romney taking another gallop at the President. This time, however, I think the President is going to be prepared for an avalanche of malarkey. And in that preparation, someone will clue the President in on the tell. 

Every bluffer, poker player, and liar has a tell. It's a simple little thing that, if you know what to look for, tells the not-so-casual observer that the other guy is bluffing...or in the case of politics, lying. Some people lick or chew their lower lip every so briefly. Others glance away. There are a million versions. But I'll tell you Mitt's. 

Mittens gets shrill. When he feels desperate, his throat visibly constricts, his voice goes up a notch, and he raises his chin ever so slightly. Don't believe me? Go watch the Big Bird section of the last debate and you will see it right there. The minute he heads into dangerous waters that he knows are dangerous, he does the throat/chin thing. 

Now that you have something to look forward to, go get ready for the debate. It's gonna be a hoot.  Meaningless, but a hoot.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
When confronted by the wisdom of someone you think is too stupid to live,
smile......and thank them for sharing.
Steven O. Siegfried                     

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sukkot ~ A Little Heat Goes A Long Way

Note to readers coming from Bill Keller's "How To Die" column  in the NY Times ~ 
the post you are looking for is PINING FOR THE FJORDS


With all the ruckus over the Big Bird assassination attempt, some very real news seems to have fallen below the radar. For a change, the news out of the Middle East isn’t very good, but for once, it doesn’t include Israel in the news flash.

Syria, as everyone already knows, is in deep and serious trouble. They are in the middle of a civil war (no matter what they want to call it) and they are killing their own kith and kin. People are dying from shelling in every major city, and now, that shelling is killing civilians across the border in Turkey. And Turkey is firing back.

To date, there has been no outcry from the Arab world about Syria’s self-immolation. Nor have there been outcries against Turkey for returning fire. No one is standing up to tell Turkey to sit down and calm down. No one is telling the Turkish PM not to defend his own borders. And no one is making much of a fuss about the shelling…except the Turks.

Am I the only one thinking there’s something totally wrong with this scenario?

On a lighter note…or rather my bank account is significantly lighter….my furnace of 24 relatively stable years decided to give up the ghost this week. Upon inspection, it was discovered the heat exchange thingee had a small crack. Realizing we are on the cusp of winter and the temps are already dropping, I went into high gear to find a new furnace…and, of course, an air conditioner since that was also 24 years old and well, if you’re gonna do one, you should do them both. I set up three on-site bids from companies that came highly recommended.

Thursday, when the last bidder came, there was talk of red-tagging the little darling right in the middle of Sukkot…much the same way the gas man had red-tagged my stove the week before Pesach. I was told that despite the frosty temps to sleep with windows cracked throughout the house to mitigate any carbon monoxide. I figured I had 24 hours to make the decision and, after much tossing, turning and worrying, I decided to stick with Lennox and called the company that had installed the furnace in the first place. Ryan the Apollo guy said, “How’s tomorrow?” and it was a done deal. I didn’t want to wait until late next week because I was concerned about two things: 1) not having heat with a 91 year old in the house, and 2) not waking up at all.

 Lennox Elite 296 Furnace
The removal and install went pretty smoothly. The only gross part was the dead mouse where the filter goes…which was the reason I’ve had so much trouble getting the filter to drop all the way down. They showed me the corpse and there was really not much there, just skin and bones…which confirmed my suspicion this was what happened to the mouse that disappeared down the family room duct some years ago…the one we never found.

And so, after writing a cheque for a whole lotta buckos, I have a new 96% high efficiency-sealed system Lennox replacing the Lennox that had served me so well, and a new high efficiency air conditioner. While the furnace is somewhat shorter, the air conditioner is much taller. Go figure. But at least I can stop worrying about the damn things.

KC with shrunken etrogim

And speaking of cold weather…is my new car cool or what? When I got in it this morning to go the Great Twin Cities Marathon and Sukkah Party over at the Murphy/Carlsons, a warning light blinked on the dashboard, and then the outside temp light started blinking. The message? “LOW TEMPERATURE OUTSIDE.” How many cars actually tell you to go back in the house and get a sweater????? 

The Wifely Person Tip o'The Week
If you have not done so already:
get your annual well furnace check-up.