Sunday, July 8, 2012

Last Call

Our liberal media in action, with the hard-hitting stories that America deserves.

A source points out that President Barack Obama's new typeface is Revolution Gothic, a style inspired by retro Cuban propaganda posters. Who vets the fonts?

Ahh, but there's hope.  Team Obama has figured out that Buzzfeed is nothing more than Drudge Lite, and treats them like it.

(Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt emails: “Your GOP operative should have had the courtesy to stay sober before noon, and BuzzFeed should go back to labeling cat slideshows.”)  

Well played, Ben LaBolt.  Well played.  Appropriate response to complete nonsense.  Don't give BuzzFeed the time of day.  It's not like they're news.

America's Most Precious Resource Speaks Out

America's billionaires are terrified, folks.  You can't appreciate what it's like to have everyone in the country despise you because you're worth 10 figures.  It hurts your feelings, because you non-billionaire people are subhuman monsters, frankly.  Meet Kentucky Point Oh One Percenter B. Wayne Hughes in this Jon Ronson GQ piece.

"I live my life paying my taxes and taking care of my responsibilities, and I'm a little surprised to find out that I'm an enemy of the state at this time in my life," he says.

He has a big, booming voice like an old-school billionaire, not one of those nerdy new billionaires.

"Has anyone said that to your face?" I ask him.

"Nobody has to," says Wayne. "Just watch what they're doing."

"You mean the Occupy Wall Street crowd?"

"Those guys are a bunch of jerks," Wayne mutters, giving a dismissive wave that says, They're just a sideshow. "Politically I'm on the enemy list. I've lived my whole life doing what I thought was right, and now I'm an enemy of the state." 

He's on the enemy list, he thinks.  He believes his children and grandchildren are under threat from you and me.  He pays his taxes, which are of course too high.  Above all, he can't comprehend why anyone would ever dislike anyone who spends millions of dollars on Karl Rove's Crossroads outfit.  They're the good guys.  It's the other 99% who are the problem.

Wayne says he never once stopped to contemplate the amount of money he was making. "I was just looking at getting the best locations I could and getting the buildings opened and getting the tenants and getting the cash flow and on and on," he says.

"You never once thought, 'This money is cascading in. I am worth 4 BILLION DOLLARS'?" I ask.

He shakes his head. "I don't spend any time at all thinking about my personal wealth. I suppose if I had nothing, I might think, 'I have nothing.' But when we decided to go public and I saw how much money there was, I was very surprised." 

Just an ordinary guy.  He's shocked he's worth billions.  Not enough to give it up of course.  But he's shocked that anyone would make a big deal about it.  The problem in America isn't guys like me, he says.  It's the rest of you lazy, worthless slobs.

Wayne's avuncular manner deserted him when he talked about what to do about the have-nots. "I remember an advertisement with an Indian in a canoe in a river," he said, "and tears are running down his face because he sees all the trash in the water, and he sees what's happening. That's how I feel about America. It's an emotional thing for me." He paused, and that's when he said, "I'm a little surprised to find out that I'm an enemy of the state at this time in my life. They talk about your 'fair share.' 'Are you paying your fair share?' Fair is in the eyes of the beholder." He paused. "I hope I don't come off like some big conservative.... I believe in spreading it around, but I believe in doing it myself."

"So the trash in the river is higher taxes?" I asked.

"It's the idea of entitlement," he snapped. "That idea wasn't there in the history of this country. When the politicians said, 'Everybody is entitled to a house,' you saw what happened. And now you have 'Everybody is entitled to go to college.' Which is stupid! When I went to college, I had to drive a truck to pay. I had a partial scholarship, but I took care of myself."

"So you're saying everybody is entitled to college but should have to pay his or her own way?" I asked.

"Some people don't belong in college!" he said. "That should occur to you." 

Some people don't belong in college.  Wayne figures since he's the one paying the taxes, it should be up to him to decide.  Going to have to pull up that ladder at some point, folks.  And who does Wayne mean by "some people?"


Wayne talked to me about "derelicts on welfare" who check themselves into the hospital because they're "bored" and "want feeding," and "we're paying for all that activity." He said too much tax money is spent on "guys going to chiropractors, guys getting massages! On us! Give me a break. Guys getting Viagra!" He talked about "Los Angeles bus drivers who are on permanent stress leave because someone spat on them when they got on the bus, and now they're emotionally upside down. More than half the bus drivers are out on stress leave! Systems like that cannot work!" It seemed as if, for Wayne's philosophy to work, he needed to believe that those who don't make it deserve their ill fortune. 

Later, I hunt for data that back up Wayne's feckless-bus-driver nightmare scenario. I can't find any. I do find something else, though—plenty of statistics showing that a guy with Wayne's level of wealth has never had it so good in America. And yet of all the people I interview, Wayne is the only one who seems angry about the politics of his situation...

It's really quite simple.   The human mind has to rationalize that what that person is doing is good.  Wayne does reveal that he does donate to charities, but he wants to perform those works of philanthropy in absolute secrecy.  If people knew he donated, why everyone would want his money.  That's all the unwashed care about.  Wayne honestly believes he's doing good, that his money means he gets to make macro level decisions about American society, and that he above all should.

So he donates.  He believes the worst about American society and its people, and anyone besides himself.  The difference is he has the resources to do something about it.  He believes taxes are wrong, because he's rich enough to decide where he wants his money to go to and wants to decide who is worthy, not the government.  Everyone else?  Well, he watches enough FOX News to be scared of the rabble.  Above all, they're parasites on his family and his way of life.

And he's going to do something about them, dammit.

Someone Else Sees It, Too!

I have been a critic of the Springfield News-Leader for some time.  I haven't minced words when I called them out for failing to report news and act as a glorified AP repeated instead.  They have had chances to improve this community and done well, but they have dropped the ball a time or two as well.

I'm not the only one who sees it, either.

Recently, the local police came under scrutiny for breaking up a homeless camp.  From what we could tell, it was done with the least amount of compassion and thought possible.  One policeman said the majority of the homeless would have warrants out for their arrest, which brings in the article Kathleen Faddis mentions in her letter to the editor.  The police officer didn't say he misspoke, the reporter offered this excuse on his behalf, editorializing what should have been a factual breakdown of the events.

Lord knows I get what it's like to be judged for a poor word choice.  I don't believe that's what happened here.  For years, I have been annoyed with the newspaper sugar coating and using kid gloves when it comes to police and city council behavior.

Politicians are good at ducking responsibility. Note how often they use the phrase “mistakes were made” in their confessions of misdeeds, rather than accepting blame. I understand beat reporters have to maintain a relationship with their sources, but reporters are expected to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable to do so. Leave the language that sidesteps the truth to the politicians and public relations people. Reporters should be holding them accountable, not holding their hand.
Well said.  Here's hoping the News-Leader ups their game a notch and goes for honest descriptions over neutral safety.

And A Bible Thumping Good Time Was Had By All

A woman was arrested for throwing her bible and striking Reverend Leon Taylor in the head.  He said she had been voted out of the church.  Either way, when the police have to come to the church, them Duke boys better be findin' some cover, or something like that.

During the church confrontation, “Ms. Garrett took her Bible and threw it at Mr. Taylor hitting him in the face.” Taylor then took a swing at Garrett, but did not make contact.
After a brief detour to a local hospital, Garrett was transported by a sheriff’s deputy to the county jail, where she was charged with “assault on the preacher Mr. Taylor.” In a TV interview, Garrett copped to striking Taylor in the head. “He’s got the demon in him,” she explained. 
Well, now that he's been diagnosed  we can all just put this behind us.  Seriously, people like this do more harm to religious tolerance than a whole string of abortion ads.  He took a swing at her, which both surprised me and made me wonder what role he played in pushing Garrett to the point of exaggeration.

Let's be good kids and not hit at church, shall we?  It's the least we can ask, since it's impossible for someone to disagree without being evil and deserving violence, at least in the eyes of the devout (and slightly insane).

Squad Level Reductions In Manpower

I don't see how Best Buy stays in business much longer, frankly.  The Geek Squad?  Man down, man down...

About 600 Geek Squad tech support jobs will be eliminated along with 1,800 store positions by Aug. 1, said the person, who declined to be identified because the plans are private. Those eliminated will qualify for job-placement assistance and severance packages, said the person.

The job cuts come as Best Buy struggles to compete with the likes of Inc., Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) In March, Best Buy reported a $1.7 billion fourth-quarter loss and said it would close 50 big-box stores.

Best Buy is trying to thwart the so-called showrooming phenomenon -- when customers try out gadgets in a store and then buy them online -- by adopting Apple-style minimalism rather than its traditional big-box approach.

Best Buy also is remaking the Geek Squad. Technicians will staff in-store booths to fix simple problems -- think Genius Bar -- instead of providing service in customers’ homes.

The Geek Squad job cuts will affect only technicians who provide in-home service, said the person. 

Yeah, I could have told you those mobile Geek Squad techs were toast.  I'm honestly surprised that Best Buy employed so many of them.  Here's a hint, guys.  Pretty soon there won't be a Geek Squad, and pretty soon there won't be a Best Buy.  It's just how the business model goes, guys.  Gotta make those profits for shareholders by selling goods manufactured for a dollar an hour, we can't pay people $9.50 an hour to sell them. 

After all, the new boss did promise change!  We can afford to pay him several million, but that of course means 2,400 have to go.  So sorry.

Hope you didn't have a career path or anything guys.  Maybe you should be the CEO next time.
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