Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This is Class Warfare

So the conventional wisdom regarding the House of Representatives' failure to pass the, cough, $700 billion bailout of Wall Street goes something like this: Representatives from rural, largely Republican districts killed the bill because they were inundated with calls and emails from uninformed hicks constituents demanding they vote no.

But maybe the constituents are just differently informed.

Regular people in American who used to be middle class have, in the last year or so, seen their ability to pay for gas, food, heat, medical expenses, taxes and in many cases their mortgages, erode or disappear. They have pretty much lost everything already. So when W. and prominent lawmakers warn them that massive amounts of tax dollars are needed to avoid a catastrophe, they rightly wonder whose catastrophe? Whose Great Depression?

Essentially lawmakers are asking suffering people to suffer more so that everybody else doesn't have to suffer too much. This thing is not going to fly, I'm afraid.

Rural people know they can always shoot their lunch and turn the hides into blankets. What will we turn our credit default swaps and higher educations and blogs into?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Looks like we can blame the Republicans

So, the bailout failed, the markets are absolutely tanking, and it is the Republicans' fault. I wasn't necessarily in favor of handing over, ahem, $700 billion to the Fed and big business, but if it had passed and it had worked, people would have just grumbled about a wasteful Democrat-led Congress.

Now, we've taken what seems like a bad road for the world economy, but (upshot!) a terrible road for Republicans. This will be pinned on them. And John McCain, who delivered 40% less votes than he promised.

Get a jump on Christmas shopping!

Okay, the global economy is heading straight down the golden shitter, John McCain is an unrepentant gambling addict and everybody's angry at everybody else, but hey, it's not too early to buy a little Christmas cheer!

Rite aid has got all kinds of Christmas crap for sale a full month before Halloween:


Friday, September 26, 2008

Hey, I got a Gawker Commie

How much of a nerdy time waster am I? So much so that I snagged a commenter award on Gawker!

The prize: the opportunity to take a hard, long look at your life and wonder where it went off course.

The growing movement to make the rich pay for this mess

I know, I know, this is urgent! Something has to be done now to save the economy! Happily, nothing ever happens now in Washington, which is giving the brewing class war time to boil.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I know, at times irritating and ineffectual) actually has a brilliant grass-roots campaign to raise taxes on rich people to pay for the banking crisis.

He has posted this in the form of an online petition addressed to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, which is silly because only Congress can raise taxes, but I think you will be seeing something like this happening sooner or later.

Traditional Main Street Republicans are the maddest people of all over this. Finally, they are realizing that the true elitists in this country are Wall Street insiders and their political flacks, not people with liberal arts degrees. And they are mad as hell that they are being asked to pay for the super rich to keep their pools heated, while they can't afford gas, prescription drugs or mortgage payments.

Even if Congress pushes through some massive bill too quickly that ends up costing more money than it should (a likely scenario), the call for the top 1% who have had such a wonderful financial run for the last eight years to take the hit will not recede. This chorus will only grow louder and louder as people demand their money back and hopefully their country back too.

The Miss South Carolina/Sarah Palin mashup

Love it:

Times are changing

Walking up Avenue A the other day I did a mental tally of all of the places that have closed down recently. It's like watching the 90s in reverse.

Here's a partial list of Avenue A (and adjacent) restaurants that have closed recently:
  • Two Boots Restaurant
  • Esashi (the so-so sushi place)
  • Mo Pitkins (that bar/performance space formerly co-owned by Jimmy Fallon)
  • Via Delle Zoccolette (which was actually quite good and pleasant)
  • Hopscotch (that irritating child-friendly but still hip and happenin' cafe)
  • Oriental Grill (home of an excellent pu pu platter)
Mo Pitkins has been for sale for like a year now with no takers.

When I first moved to New York in 1988 you could count the number of non-bar businesses on Avenue A on one hand. In fact, I think that the only semi-upscale restaurant was Avenue A Sushi. Now even they are struggling and experimenting with various 1/2-off deals at different times.

Actually I see this as a good thing. There were very few legitimate businesses in Alphabet City in the old days, but we had a lot of fun. The night didn't really get going until the after hours places opened at 4. Maybe we'll get a little of that action back.

Ultimately, we aren't suffering some great downturn, though. We are just getting back to reality. I remember several years ago wondering at what point did every yahoo with a 2 bedroom split level in Bayonne become a millionaire? Well it turns out that everybody was just worth a million in prizes and now we return to a world of fewer fancy restaurants, cheaper happy hours and, hopefully, less hubris.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sarah Palin explaining (at length) why everyone who lives in Alaska is a foreign policy expert

I would like to point out two things to Sarah Palin:
  • Putin is no longer the president of Russia.
  • New York is closer to Moscow than Anchorage is.

Something funny happened on the way to the global financial meltdown

So we are now in the throes of the final fuck you by Bush and Co. to the American people and the world. After destroying just about everything we used to associate with the United States, everyone thought they would go out with a literal bang in Iran or Russia or somewhere. But they had a smarter, more demonic plan: why not just blow up the economy?

You see, this way they can cry "crisis!" (like they did with Iraq) and the American people will hand over all their money to the Executive Branch and their rich friends.

Or will they?

People in this country support some really stupid ideas (laws against abortion, the drinking age, Sarah Palin), but when it hits their wallets they draw the line. As someone famous once said, "it's the economy, stupid."

So finally we have people on main street actually thinking and coming to the conclusion that it may not be a good idea for every American to donate money to the New York Rich Guys' Mansion Fund.

Bush and Co. have been remarkably successful correctly estimating the level of stupidity in this country so far. This time, it looks like they misfired. Because if there is one thing people in this country care about more than gays, guns and God, it's money.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NYFA whoring itself on Broadway

I have an ongoing hate/hate relationship with the New York Film Academy because this school/scam is located on the 2nd floor of the office building in which I currently work. Forget the fact that the school has no admission requirements (other than a high school diploma and an ability to speak English), allows students to drop in and drop out as they see fit, and advertises on the sides of payphones and buses. They have now lowered the bar even further.

Today I saw a woman in a tight NYFA tank top and short shorts rollerblading down the sidewalk on Broadway, handing out NYFA flyers. Really? Flyers? How can any of the students there even pretend they are going to a real school?

Just buy a friggin' video camera and a laptop, for chrissake!

Or just go to that reality TV school instead.

Enough with the threatening to leave the country!

So Barack Obama is doing better in the national polls today. Of course this doesn't really matter because in this country all that counts is what a handful of indecisive yahoos in flyover states think. But that's another matter.

I would like to put a moratorium on people telling me that if McCain wins they are leaving the country. Of course we heard a lot of this in 2000 and 2004, most notably from Alec Baldwin (although he denies it), but nobody actually left.

In the last month or so, I have heard no less than 6 liberal friends say something along the lines of "If McCain wins, I'm out of here." Way to fight for your rights, liberals! You never, ever hear conservatives say this (of course most of them don't have passports anyway, but still). Making false threats to pick up and leave all your friends for some mythic European country with no problems just reinforces stereotypes about liberals that we are unpatriotic elitists.

When things get bad in the USA, the job of fighting for our freedom becomes even more important. We live in the most powerful country in the world (for now, at least) and what happens here has a major impact on the world. Goddamit it's worth fighting for. Enough with the "I'm leaving"!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Because of Internet

Hilarious informational video from 1993 about Internet. I'm just glad that Internet still maintains its civil, courteous tone after all these years.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The McCain-Palin Gossip Challenge

Okay, so we are learning (again) that "facts" and "issues" don't really resonate with a great number of American voters. If you look at the last two presidential elections, they resemble this one in that the facts and issues were clearly on the Democrats' side, but the Republicans successfully diverted voters' attention to mischaracterizations of the candidates' personalities.

In 2000, it devolved into which candidate we would most like to have a beer with (or in Bush's case a Shirley Temple, I suppose). In 2004 it was framing Kerry as a French, flip-flopping windsurfer.

These tactics are highly effective in swaying American voters because in general the electorate is woefully uninformed and is trained to consume media based on an Us Weekly type personality profile format. This format has two modes: poignant, regular-person fawning and gossipy freak mongering.

So far the Republicans have been very effective at propping Sarah Palin up as a "just like us" angry small town mom and deriding Barack and Michelle Obama as sly, deceptive political insiders.

Our challenge as liberals is to forget about the issues and go for the gossip. The people who vote on issues and facts made up their minds months ago and are voting Democrat. The hardcore Republicans were never going to vote rationally anyway. It's the uninformed/undecided/independent voters that are up for grabs. These people really don't hear issues or facts. That stuff is, like, really boring. Independents liked the People Magazine profile of the Palin family with its whiskey-tango-friendly, messy baby drama. This helped Sarah Palin gain a 90% name recognition within like a week.

We can't win this election relying on Americans' sober analysis of the issues, obviously. So the challenge is, liberal bloggers, go out and find the freaky dirt about McCain and Palin and repeat it over and over.

The following have been tried and not worked:
  • Cindy McCain was a drug addict
  • The McCains are really rich (only Democrats aren't allowed to be rich because that makes them - gasp - hypocrits)
  • Sarah Palin is a scary Jesus freak (that's a plus in the United States)

New and new-ish stories the outcome of which is unclear:

But we need something really, really freaky. Did Sarah Palin have sex with her teenage daughter's baby daddy? Did John McCain, Larry Craig, and Ted Haggard have a meth and Viagra-fueled threesome? Did Cindy McCain let her dog die due to neglect?

Come on liberals, you do gossip better than anyone. Take your sights off of Britney and Mylie for a minute and set them squarely on McCain-Palin.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Palin/Miss South Carolina: The Cringe Factor


Fear Not, Democrats, We Always Win in the End

There is a lot of anxiety floating around Democratic circles lately and everyone seems to be freaking out except for Barack Obama (he's an old pro, folks, he's already thought through your angles). But I have come to bring you the good news: liberals/progressives/Democrats/whatever always win in the end.

Take Sarah Palin. Is this not just a shameless aping of the Hillary Clinton campaign? Without the historic Clinton candicacy within the Democratic party, do you think Karl Rove would give Palin the time of day? I'm kind of surprised they didn't just shoot the moon and go with Condeleeza Rice.

On pretty much every issue, Democrats get it right, Republicans get it wrong, and everyone comes around to the Democratic position in the end. Examples: civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, environmentalism, the Iraq war...

The vast majority of people agree wholeheartedly with the Democrats, so the Republicans create noise and sideshows to distract people. Eventually, though, even the Republicans are forced to change and come around to our side.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said so prophetically, ""the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just What Is This "Community Organizer" You Speak Of?

So all day I've been hearing Republicans, including Laura Bush, say they just don't know what a community organizer is. One guy on NPR actually said, "No one's told me what a community organizer is."

You see Barack Obama was a community organizer before he was an Illinois State Senator and United States Senator, and Republicans say he's really unqualified to be President because they are baffled by the term "community organizer".

What could this community organizer possibly be? Is that even English? I think I've heard of "community": it's like this thing where people live among one another, not separated by vast amounts of land or gates and they somehow manage to coexist, generally without killing each other. Okay, check.

Now, "organizer": let's see, we used to have these books that we would put calendar and address entries into called organizers. So if a person is an organizer, maybe he or she would sort of set up dates and places for people (or the "community") to meet and put their concerns into some sort of order.

Come on Republicans, stop playing dumb. Or are you not playing?

Cheney Waits Until Last Minute Again To Buy Sept. 11 Gifts

Hilarious article from last week's The Onion:

Cheney Waits Until Last Minute Again To Buy Sept. 11 Gifts

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Donate to Barack Obama

Okay rather than just get pissy, here's the link to donate to the Obama campaign:


Poor little Republicans

A running theme through this presidential campaign is the defensiveness of Republicans. We democrats are elitist. We think they are stupid. We don't respect their family values. Christianity is under attack.

So the minute they get someone "like them" like Sarah Palin (although I doubt many of her supporters charge their state $60 a night to sleep at home), they are energized! She's a mother! She shoots animals! She speaks their language! She talks to God!

You know what red staters? Go ahead and vote for these dipshits. Vote with your God and your family and your guns. My economic outlook in my blue state looks pretty good actually. I can still afford to shop at the Whole Foods cheese cave. You don't even know what that is, do you? I walk to work so I don't really give much of a shit about gas prices. I'm actually looking to remodel my kitchen. I'll be fine. You red state folks on the other hand will be even more fucked than you are now if we get 4 more years of this nonsense.

Ooh, you can't afford to drive your Chevy Tahoe to work anymore? Vote McCain-Palin! Your prefab 2 bedroom just got foreclosed? Vote McCain-Palin! You don't have any health insurance or savings or beer money? Go ahead and vote Republican.

What do I care? Hit yourselves over the head with a hammer some more. A lot of us blue state elitists will come out smelling like fucking Chardonnay.

What will you smell like?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You lie, Hockey Mom, you lie!

I am starting the think that this Sarah Palin lady is kinda crazy. Granted, crazy is the Republicans' stock and trade, but seriously what kind of nutjob accepts the veep nomination and a couple of days later goes, "Btw, my 15 year old is pregnant. Totes not a problem, right? See you at the convention!"

Now we get the outrageous lying about her position on the bridge to nowhere and her charging the state of Alaska $50 a day to live at home while governor, both of which decimate the entire theme of the McCain campaign, and what have you got left? The poignant, People-Mag-ready, hockey-mom-raises-a-Down-syndrome-baby weepfest. Is this enough to sway an election? For the Republicans, sure. For the general electorate...doubtful.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"Hi, I Am Here to Bug You"

So if you have worked in any crowded part of Manhattan in the last five years (I seem to only work in crowded parts of Manhattan), you are probably familiar with Children's International. This is the organization that sends bright-eyed twentysomethings out in the street to sequester and shake down office drones on their way to Starbucks, ostensibly for the benefit of starving children.

Being generally misanthropic and unsympathetic to children (or at least not more sympathetic to children than other people), I've always been annoyed by these people. I usually don't have much time or interest in giving cash (or as they would prefer my credit card number) to a strange young person with a clipboard and a jacket.

Now the Voice has done a little reporting on the subject and it turns out these branded street beggars are neither entirely altruistic nor particularly shady. Yeah, they get paid by the hour and get fairly substantial bonuses if they get a lot of contributions, but what a pain in the ass it must be to harass people all day for a living, so they're definitely not in it just for the money. (I've always wondered this about summer punks as well: isn't it more work to bother and piss people off all day than to, you know, just get a shit job somewhere?)

All in all, the fresh faces of Children's International generally irritate me. I wish there were a little pin you could wear saying, in effect, "don't bother, I'm going to hell anyway".

'Got a minute?' The young bleeding-heart carnivores who hunt you down on your lunch hour