October 02, 2013
Our National Nightmare Day 2
A CNN headline this morning addresses the gridlock in Washington over the budget thusly:
Damn that Congress!
If you are like most Planet Moron readers, you’re probably thinking, “Didn’t Cheez Whiz used to come in a spray can?”
Also, “Wait a second, isn’t there another person involved here who is also getting paid despite the shutdown? Someone in an executive capacity if you will, who sits alone among the branches of government in that he or she is elected by all the people and so is expected to take charge and act in a manner that would bring disparate interests together in compromise?”
It sounds like you are describing the office of the presidency. In fact, the phrase used by CNN, “The buck stops here” was popularized by President Harry S. Truman who wanted to make it clear that regardless of circumstance or excuses, he alone bore ultimate responsibility for whatever happens on his watch saying,
“The President--whoever he is--has to decide. He can't pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That's his job.”
Why then, does the buck now stop with a legislative body naturally prone to divisiveness and parochial interests?
Sure, some might argue that because he is the President, ultimate accountability must rest on his shoulders. But you have to remember that President Obama takes a more post-modernist approach to the presidency believing that phrases such as "the buck stops here" are anachronistic in this day and age.
Also, it's somebody's elses fault.
Besides, it’s not like he’s sitting around doing nothing. Just the other day he said he was unwilling to compromise saying,
“I Shouldn't Have To Offer Anything.”
Damn that Congress!
In other news the government is so very shut down that only the very barest of necessities are being provided for. For example, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not have any money to pay for its web site.
Damn that Congress!
October 01, 2013
And so Our National Nightmare Begins…
A foreboding gray sky greeted us here at Planet Moron headquarters early this morning, deep in the heart of the Washington DC metropolitan area. It was as if nature herself shared the anguish of the fate that was soon to befall us.
“Was this really happening?” we asked ourselves in a voice that was full of anguish and possibly a cinnamon Danish.
Were we really going to live through an entire day with only 80% of the federal government operating?
And yet, the unthinkable happened.
Clearly, there is serious business to be done. The nation’s finances are on an unsustainable course, we’re weeks away from breaching our debt ceiling, and the Affordable Care Act, already fiscally problematic, is off to a rocky start,
That is why our local representatives moved quickly in a fully bipartisan manner to introduce emergency legislation that would attend to the most critical policy goal at the moment.
Making sure federal workers get paid for not working.
Such is the goal of the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.”
As Congressman Frank Wolf noted of the furloughed employees:
“They should be properly compensated for the hard work they do.”
And, the hard work they don’t do.
Both would be great.
Besides, as Representative Wolf further notes:
“Let’s also not forget that several federal workers paid the ultimate price just last week in the Navy Yard tragedy.”
His logic is unassailable:
- A maniac murdered federal employees.
- The government is furloughing federal employees.
- Furloughed federal employees should get paid for not working.
Also, you’re a hater.
No one would argue that not working often leads to not getting paid. The issue here is that these are federal government workers, not just random private employees doing Lord-knows-what in flyover country somewhere.
There is a larger issue at stake here as well: The damage that might be done to the local Washington DC metro economy were workers not paid for not working.
Why on earth should those of us living in Washington DC have to experience the same recession and stagnation the rest of you have been living with for years? It's like we're commoners all of a sudden.
And so we here at Planet Moron fully endorse the notion of paying people for not working.
Where’s our check?
September 30, 2013
Aaaaawwww!Given the Obama White House’s new-found enthusiasm for using cute animals to drum up support for the Affordable Care Act, we thought we’d take a look at how such an approach might work to deflect criticism from some of the President’s other controversial policies.
September 27, 2013
ACA: The Awfully Cute ActWith a third of the public still largely unfamiliar with the President’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) and with more people still opposing it than supporting it, the President knew that it was time to get serious about the subject and treat the American public like adults.
Sure, retweeting adorable pictures of cuddly baby animals may be intellectually persuasive and wholly in keeping with the dignity and gravitas of the office, but what if you are among that fringe group of 53% of Americans who insist on being sad pandas? Well, President Obama has good news and bad news for you. The good news is you’re a billionaire. The bad news is you're crazy, a blackmailer, and you want to deny health care to sick people.
What, you insist on still being a sad panda despite your newly discovered wealth and the obvious glee you derive from seeing others suffer? Still think the ACA destroys jobs, limits choice, increases costs, reduces working hours, is an intrusion into personal privacy, and despite promises to the contrary will likely not allow you to keep your plan if you like it?
Also, you’re a terrorist.
September 25, 2013
CONSENSUS WATCH – 09/25/2013An ongoing series dedicated to vigorously monitoring emerging threats to The Consensus that global warming is real, caused by humans, and must be addressed at all costs. Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data.
For years now, The Consensus has been subject to attacks that have been clearly scientific in nature. Opponents have stopped at nothing to derail the momentum we have worked so hard to achieve, using every dirty science trick in the book, from dispassionately assessing observational data to testing hypotheses against actual results.
Naturally, this has achieved nothing other than to sow doubt in the validity of The Consensus. This is patently ridiculous.
It’s a consensus.
Well, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has had enough of its global warming theories being kicked around like some kind of scientific football, and so has begun to take the whole process back into the sphere of politics (it’s a science, look it up) where it can properly be subjected to the rigors of influence peddling, rent seeking, and special interest horse trading that are the hallmarks of the discipline.
For example, it has been unmistakenly demonstrated that despite projections to the contrary, the earth has not materially warmed for the past 15 years. Examined only through the rather confining lens of science, this could be a problem for The Consensus. But when reexamined under strict political conditions, other factors can be taken into account, such as what effect might this have on the careers of members of the IPCC or whether it might embarrass certain politicians
When looked at in this way, whole new avenues of political exploration open up. For example, German officials had a novel idea on how to deal with the evidence that the earth was not, in fact, warming.
If there’s one thing you can say about the Germans, they’re not subtle.
Fortunately, United States officials had a better idea: Rather than ignore data for which there is ample supportive evidence, create a new theory to explain it away, for which there is none.
Hey, without data, you can’t exactly disprove it, now can you?
Where does this purely political approach leave us? Well, after years of mounting data that the current global warming hypotheses are fatally flawed, the UN’s IPCC is reported to have decided that it is no longer 90% confident in The Consensus.
It’s now 95% confident!
You need more than a slide rule to come up with that conclusion, my friend. A lot more.
Now you have a chance to show your support for The Consensus with the Shut up, that’s why T-shirt, the perfect answer to anyone who dares to question the science behind global warming.
In addition to the T-shirt we also have a fashionable beach tote and a set of stackable mugs, so you’ll have the opportunity to show the world that you’re smart enough to know when not to ask too many questions.
And while you're at it, make sure the world knows you won't allow yourself to be bullied by facts with our extensive line of CONSENSUS WATCH MERCHANDISE!
We also have the classic Consensus Watch coffee mug, bag, and beer stein (along with assorted T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other garments): "Consensus Watch Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data" plus a complete line of "Stop raping the planet! You may, however, touch it inappropriately," items (shirts, coasters, stickers, buttons)
All proceeds raised from the sale of Consensus Watch merchandise go towards ensuring that we never run out of gin.
September 23, 2013
Gun Control is Hitting Your (Political) Target
People often ask why it is so important that we ban the AR-15 and other “assault” style rifles. The reasons are actually quite obvious:
1) Rifles, many of which may be AR-15s, are used in fully 2.5% of all murders. Only handguns, knives, blunt objects, shotguns, and bare human hands rank higher. Not impressed? Consider this statistic:
You are over 160 times more likely to be killed by a rifle, than you are being pushed out of a window.
Something to think about the next time you start waving the Constitution around.
2) Early reports indicated that an AR-15 was used in the most recent mass murder at the Navy Yard in Washington DC. Sure, those early reports were all wrong, but when you are trying to exploit a tragedy to attack the firearms you would prefer to ban, does it really matter which firearms were used in that tragedy? Really? Think of the children! There weren’t any children at the Navy Yard either, but think of them anyway.
3) If we are going to get serious about gun violence we have to put in place a gun-control regimen that bans the possession of firearms like the AR-15, requires vigorous background checks, the institution of security checkpoints, and other measures not unlike those practiced at military installations like the Navy Yard. Don’t think with your head.
Think with your heart.
4) By disarming law-abiding citizens of any practical means of defending themselves we ensure that we won’t get some cowboy saving people’s lives but instead will have everyone practicing the far more civilized and generally preferred self-defense method of “sheltering in place” in which you wait patiently to die.
5) For years, we’ve permitted guns to flood into the hands of law-abiding citizens at unprecedented rates. The consequences have been entirely predictable: Crime rates have plummeted. If you want to call that a success, good luck washing the lack of blood off your hands. Real success is getting guns out of the hands of citizens and into the hands of government personnel and criminals.
Where they belong.
September 20, 2013
First, You Have to Admit You Have a Problem
Look, I know I said I would taper, and I totally meant that. Really, I did. But I just need a little bit more time is all. No reason to get all excited, okay? It’s not like I'm hurting anybody but myself.
The economy just needs a bit of relief from all the talk about tapering. That I started. You know, just a little something something to get through this.
And believe me, if you had this economy’s problem, you’d still be stimulating too.
Besides, I need this monetary stimulus. It helps me relax and be a better conversationalist. All that talk about tapering I did just made things awkward in the mortgage markets.
Regardless, I can’t do my job without this stimulus. I just can’t. You ever try following a dual mandate without a little monetary stimulus to keep you going? Yeah, I thought so.
Don’t look at me like that. I can stop stimulating anytime I want to. I just don’t want to. Not right now. Maybe later. Yeah, I’ll do it later.
Hey, at least I’m not stimulating like Haruhiko Kuroda. Have you seen that guy? He’s a maniac! Makes me look like Paul Volker.
Anyway, everyone’s stimulating today. It’s not like I’m the only one. Just look around. I’m the normal one.
It’s pointless anyway. I’m out of here no matter what, so I might as well go out on my terms!
These thing usually end well.
September 17, 2013
Unemployed Art History Majors, Unite!
Largely made up of disaffected 20-something college graduates from elite universities, the OWS movement was a textbook example of Marxist class struggle in which the top 10% of society rises up against the top 1% in righteous fury and demands in the name of common human decency that which is the most fundamental of all human rights:
The right to not have to pay off your college loans.
So, what happened to OWS and why does it appear to be a shell of its former self? Personally we think it was the same peril that awaits many popular uprisings in their vulnerable early stages:
Irreconcilable conflict among the drum groups.
The Bay of Pigs? A disaster primarily because the counter-revolutionary forces that were supposed to come to the aid of the commandos landing on the beach were still trying to settle on broadly acceptable nighttime drumming curfews.
However, according to reporter Rosie Gray who covered OWS for the Village Voice at the time, the number one problem was obvious:
The Radiohead hoax.
Look, if you’re going to protest for fundamental societal changes resulting in a reordering of the relationship between the individual and the state, you can’t make people believe that if they work hard enough, and commit to the cause, that maybe just this one time, they'll be able to see their favorite art rock band live, only to have it turn out to be an elaborate prank. It’s just way too much of a bummer.
And so happy 2nd Birthday, Occupy Wall Street! You may not have had any noticeable lasting impact, but you do have a twitter account.
Now shave off that scruff, put on a decent shirt, and go get a job.
September 15, 2013
Take Me Out To The Bargame, er, Ballgame. Ballgame is What I Meant…
Long-time readers may recall that yours truly is a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. To that point, two actual conversations from this past week with my toddler son:
Son: I want to
grow up to be a mommy.
Me: Well, that will require surgery.
Son: I like the
Me: What? No! You do not. You like the Red Sox! Understand, the Boston Red Sox is our team! Boston! Red! Sox!
A father has to know where to draw lines.
I come from a long line of Red Sox fans, and so to celebrate my father’s birthday (if memory serves, his 1000th or something), my brothers and I decided to take him to a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park.
We looked into getting some rooms at the Fenway Howard Johnson but given this was a very special occasion, we first had to carefully consider each and every pro and con.
Across the street from Fenway.
The decision kind of made itself.
(As an aside, if you come across a review of the Fenway HoJo that starts with, “Was in Boston for a business conference,…” you can stop reading right there. It’s like reading a review of a Greyhound bus station that starts with, “Stopped by for dinner with my wife on our anniversary…”)
Having squared away our hotel room (months earlier, of course) and securing some very nice seats, the only open issue was our meals. When we all finally arrived in Boston the day before the game, my father offered to buy us all lunch at the Eastern Standard.
I offered to buy dinner.
My father purchased the rest of the meals.
Of course, no visit to Boston with your half-Irish brothers would be complete without spending a lot of time in bars and we stumbled (literally at times) across a couple of interesting ones.
The Bleacher Bar is a little bar tucked into Fenway (accessible from the street) where I understand the old batting cages used to be and offers a view, through a metal grate, of the outfield. We thought this just might be one of the finest bar concepts ever conceived by humankind. We are also morons.
Another one was Jerry Remy’s roof deck bar, next to the Howard Johnson’s. It was a great place with a view of Fenway but it did pour rain for part of the time while we were there. Do you know what the first thing an Irishman does when he gets caught in a the pouring rain while drinking his beer?
He gets wet.
While Fenway is over a century old, it has been updated with the very latest in technology including advanced digital displays that are extremely helpful in letting casual fans who may not understand all of baseball’s many arcane traditions and intricacies, know who won.
Overall, a truly fine and successful trip.
In the meantime, the Russians brokered a peace deal with the United Nations.
Really, I can’t turn my back on you guys for a moment.
September 11, 2013
Syria Speech Roundup
Great Moments in Rhetorical Leadership
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
“There sure are a lot of ways this thing could go aren’t there? Hoo boy. Tell you what, once I figure it out, I’ll let you guys know.”
Shut up, he explained:
“…children lying in rows, killed by poison gas, others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath, a father clutching his dead children,
…because what happened to those people, to those children
…images of children writhing in pain
…we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer”
“However, over the last few days we've seen some encouraging signs in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action.”
“I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force.”
“The Obama administration has not laid out proof Assad was behind the attack.”
“In his remarks, Obama more generally accused Assad's forces of gassing to death ‘over 1,000 people, including hundreds of children’ a figure far higher than estimates by nongovernmental agencies such as the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has counted only victims identified by name, with a current total of 502.”
“Obama's statement that he has the authority to launch military action is par for the course for presidents, and historically disputed by Congress. The issue never gets settled.”
“It was halfhearted, pro forma and strange. It added nothing, did not deepen or advance the story, was not equal to the atmosphere surrounding it, and gave no arguments John Kerry hasn’t made, often more forcefully, in the past 10 days.”
It was great!
P.S. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what Russia can do for your country."