Thursday, December 1, 2011

Last Call

How to pass yourself off as the 99% as a Republican Presidential candidate:  have your son talk about spending Thanksgiving with you.  How to do it the Mitt Romney way and fail: have your son talk about spending Thanksgiving with you in your "small" $12 million home.  Meet Josh Romney:

“They finally gave my dad a couple days off, so we were together with my dad,” he says in the clip. “We got to stay in the house because we were there first. I had a couple other brothers that were out there that had to stay at my brother’s house. But we got to stay at my parent’s place; they have a two-bedroom house, uh, pretty small. 

According to an interview with Mitt Romney and Hugh Hewitt, the family spent Thanksgiving in San Diego, where he owns a two-bedroom house that’s reportedly 3,000 square feet and valued at $12 million. The property made headlines earlier this year when news broke that Romney planned to tear it down and replace it with an even larger compound.

Doesn't everyone have a $12 million place in San Diego and is worth a quarter of a billion?  Mitt Romney, salt of the earth.

Bon Calls Mushrooms On Michele Bachmann

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is the hot seat for allegedly stealing a coveted email list in order to target Iowa voters.

The Iowa Republican reports the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators sent an email to its members saying Bachmann's campaign used their email list without permission.

"I want to apologize on behalf of the NICHE Board and advise you that we discovered that our list of homeschool contacts was uploaded without our knowledge or permission by the Michele Bachmann Campaign and used twice for e-mails from her campaign," Justin E. LaVan, president of NICHE, said in an email to its staff.

LaVan told the Des Moines Register he's unsure how the campaign got hold of the emails addresses, which belong to thousands of homeschool families, advocates, donors, vendors and businesses.

They don't know how it happened. I bet not. How does one steal thousands of email addresses? None of the answers look good. Including the Bachmann response, which says it was "inadvertent" and that is so far their only statement. Which part is that, exactly? The part where they were obtained illegally without permission, or the part where it was used to send messages to gain an unfair advantage? If it's the latter, was it an accident the first or second time?

I've called bullshit on her so many times I can't bear to do it again. I'm calling mushrooms! Mushrooms blossom on big piles of bullshit, so it seems appropriate.

Turn On The Lights, Watch The Roaches Scatter Part 80

Ahh, Foreclosuregate, America's personal hell that keeps on giving.  Via BooMan, we see that yes, despite the bleating of the one-percenters that all the damn poor people caused the crisis, there are banksters who freely admit the system was rigged and that there was no way they could lose, banksters like Jim Theckston, who worked for Chase in Florida.

Theckston says that borrowers made harebrained decisions and exaggerated their resources but that bankers were far more culpable — and that all this was driven by pressure from the top.

“You’ve got somebody making $20,000 buying a $500,000 home, thinking that she’d flip it,” he said. “That was crazy, but the banks put programs together to make those kinds of loans.”

Especially when mortgages were securitized and sold off to investors, he said, senior bankers turned a blind eye to shortcuts.

The bigwigs of the corporations knew this, but they figured we’re going to make billions out of it, so who cares? The government is going to bail us out. And the problem loans will be out of here, maybe even overseas.”

Oh yes, and despite the idiotic drumbeat of "minorities broke the economy!" from the usual suspects, the most awful thing about the system was that it was designed to prey on minorities, designed to be a fatal blow to the already staggering black and Latino middle-class, and it performed that job admirably.

One memory particularly troubles Theckston. He says that some account executives earned a commission seven times higher from subprime loans, rather than prime mortgages. So they looked for less savvy borrowers — those with less education, without previous mortgage experience, or without fluent English — and nudged them toward subprime loans.

These less savvy borrowers were disproportionately blacks and Latinos, he said, and they ended up paying a higher rate so that they were more likely to lose their homes. Senior executives seemed aware of this racial mismatch, he recalled, and frantically tried to cover it up.

So yes, once again in our post-racial world it's blacks and Latinos getting screwed while the banks got trillions in zero-cost loans to cover up their greed.  Yes, poorer, less-educated people of every race got stabbed in the throat by these vampires, but as usual the truly devastating stuff hit blacks and Latinos...and these bank executives are still happily being bank executives and not in jail, because it was all legal.

These assholes murdered the middle-class and got away with it.

Apparently The Number One Cause Of Income Inequality Is Poor People Existing

That's this week's Occupy message from the LA Times, as the "Let's get the Dirty Effing Hippies" counter-movement rolls on in cities like LA and elsewhere across the country.  AEI Junior Randian, Third Class Nick Schulz explains why America's massive income inequality is reality, and it's because of you bloody poor people.

The reason is straightforward. The role that human and social capital plays in helping a person generate income in an advanced economy has increased over the last half a century. And over that same time, the primary institution for inculcating human and social capital has badly weakened.

Social scientists routinely find that individuals raised in intact families are generally better equipped to thrive in the economy. Today's 99% is teeming with tens of millions of Americans who were not raised in a stable home environment, and their earnings potential is compromised as a result.

If you had simply inherited your money from a rich, stable two-parent family (where dad's on his third wife and mom's on her second husband), you wouldn't be poor.  Why can't you peons understand this?  Because single women aren't putting all their babies up for adoption by rich families, you're doomed to a life of servitude and toil.  You might as well get used to it because that's how the system works, and it's run by people who will do anything to perpetuate the system.

Besides, if you hippies are so smart, why haven't you fixed income inequality yet?  Taxation clearly has failed, people have been paying taxes since America started and income inequality still exists, so clearly taxation on the rich cannot be any part of the solution.  Immigration can't work, we've been allowing immigrants since the 1600's and look, income inequality!  Failed policies of a worldview relegated to the dustbin of history!

If only rich people were allowed to have kids, that would fix this problem you know.  Now stop using your sexual organs, you silly 99-percenters!

A Ray Of Common Sense

I've been reading a lot of news lately about kids and a huge variety of circumstances.  What they all have in common is that as I read them, I find myself wondering what the hell the parents are thinking.  I have seen an utter lack of comprehending when it comes to legal obligations, common sense or grasp of the responsibility in bringing another person into this world and releasing them as a fully functional adult.  Of course young adults are inexperienced and have a lot to learn, but a good parent has given them the tools to make it in this world and the strength to get by.

And then I ran across this article, and I realized I'm not the only one who sees it.  Christina Patterson sees it too, and writes this beautiful article about parents, school, and raising children.  Please read the whole thing here.

In honor of December 1 finally arriving, I will make my first bad Christmas pun:  And The Bon's heart grew three sizes that day!

If I were a parent, I think I'd be pleased to be told that I wasn't to blame, and that someone else should take away the "stigma" of anything that anyone thought I'd done wrong. If, for example, like the parents of some of the children at schools near me, I didn't bother to teach my child how to put its shoes on, or how to eat at a table, or how to use a sentence without using the word "fuck," and if I sent it to school without breakfast, or lunch, and didn't give it tea when it got home, I think I'd be quite pleased that the school didn't think that it was up to me to do "everything."

And if my child wasn't reading all that well, I might, like some parents who were quoted in the Evening Standard this week, quite like to stand at the school gates, and talk to the other parents about how the school was letting my child down. I might like to talk, for example, about how the children should be getting more homework, and how the teachers should be doing a better job.

But if I were a teacher, I think I might feel that if you'd gone to all the trouble of pushing something the size of a cat out of something that used to struggle with a speculum, then it wouldn't kill you to give it a couple of pieces of toast, and maybe a couple of fish fingers when it got home. And if I were a teacher at the school mentioned in the Standard this week, and was trying to teach a class where 80 percent of the students didn't speak English at home, I think I might also feel that it wouldn't kill the parents to swap a few minutes of The X Factor for, say, a few pages of The Gruffalo.

And if I saw the children I was teaching wearing T-shirts saying things like, "So many boys, so little time," and maybe even, through the T-shirt, a padded pink bra, I think I might wonder if parents needed a Ph.D. to know that it wasn't a great idea to buy their small daughters clothes that made them look as though they wanted to be paid for sex. I think I might even wonder why the bloody hell these people had bothered to push the cat-sized thing out of the thing that used to struggle with a speculum if they didn't want to feed it, or talk to it, or read to it, or dress it in relatively normal clothes.

So much common sense in such a tiny space will surely attract attention, right? Surely someone will read it and think they've been pretty silly and this is a good way to look at things, right? Someone will realize that parents could do a lot more to reinforce education and make their kids better people. Maybe one person will realize as a society we've dumped our kids on the village and the villagers are too busy to pay much attention.

Not Too Proud Of Kentucky Right Now

It's 2011, almost 2012, and we have nonsense like this going on in the Bluegrass State where I live.

A small church in Pike County, Kentucky has voted to ban interracial couples from most church activities “to promote greater unity among the church body.”

Melvin Thompson, former pastor of Gulnare Freewill Baptist church, proposed the ban after Stella Harville brought her fiance, Ticha Chikuni, to services in June. Harville, who goes by the name Suzie, played the piano while Chikuni sang.

Before stepping down as pastor in August, Thompson told Harville that her fiance could not sing at the church again. Harville is white and Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe, is black.

Last Sunday, church members voted 9-6 in favor of Thompson’s proposed ban. Others attending the church business meeting declined to take a stand on the issue.

Seriously, Pike County is one of those mountain counties here in Kentucky (it's on the Virginia border) that I won't voluntarily enter because I would significantly change the demographics if I did, and people would notice.  And they would do something about it.  In North Carolina I didn't ever say to myself "Hey, I don't want to visit this county.  It wouldn't be safe for me."  Kentucky? Yeah.  And I'm a big six-foot black guy.

This kind of idiocy still happens, folks.  Post-racial America?  Isn't.  Not in this state, anyway.  Not in a state that has never elected an African-American to a major state office or to Congress.  Not in a state that gave McCain a 16-point victory in 2008.

You think they're going to stop at throwing these two out of the church there (which by the way, what a totally Christian thing to do, right?)  Not me.

Harville and Chikuni plan to marry in July, but they won’t be tying the knot in Pike County.

Not surprised at all.  And yes, if you're still surprised by this awesome display of man's inhumanity to man, then no offense, but you're probably A) white or B) not in Kentucky.

A Prince Of A Human Being

It's been a while since we discussed our old friend, former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince and his merry band of military contractors.  Amazingly enough, if you have a ridiculous amount of money and your own private army (literally) then you tend to push people around.  You know, people like Congresswomen who have oversight over your private army.

Jan Schakowsky says that former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince has “attempted intimidation” of her in response to Schakowsky’s campaign to reduce U.S. reliance on private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Schakowsky (D-IL) spoke on the House floor Wednesday about a letter from Prince’s attorneys, dated October 7, 2011, that was delivered by hand to Schakowsky’s office. The letter accuses Schakowsky of making “false and defamatory” statements against Prince.

The letter cites a September 8 article published by the Independent in London about Prince’s Blackwater video game. The article quotes Schakowsky as saying: “If Mr. Prince had not emigrated to the United Arab Emirates, which does not have an extradition agreement with the US, he too would now be facing prosecution.”

“Your statement to [the Independent], which imputes commission of a crime, is per se libelous,” the letter from Prince says, adding: “Your malice cannot be questioned. You have a multi-year history of making derogatory comments about Mr. Prince and his former company, Blackwater. You have abused your Congressional power to request that Mr. Prince be investigated.”

Yeah, let's remember that Prince employs people whose job is to kill other people, and he's got his lawyers accusing the folks who are supposed to keep tabs on military contractors of "malice" that "cannot be questioned".

So why does The Little Prince have such a mad-on for Jan Schakowsky here?  Maybe this:

Schakowsky has introduced the Stop Outsourcing Security Act since 2007, as a way to phase out private contractors like Blackwater. “While the problem applies to other private contractors,” she said Wednesday, “there is one company that has become synonymous with misconduct: Blackwater.”

For her part, Rep. Schakowsky drew a big ol' red line in the dirt and motioned for Prince to man up and cross it.

Well played, madam Representative.


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