As in a tasty mix of talk

Friday, February 27, 2009

WAH! Wall Street Whiner Wants 15 Years of Fame

It should come as no surprise that Wall Street Whiner Rick Santelli wants more than his 15 minutes of fame. Greed has been the mantra on Wall Street for so long that it appears to have rubbed off on the CNBC Correspondent… Not only does Santelli feel entitled to throw stones at the houses of the less fortunate, he also wants to garner sympathy for his own mortgage foreclosure rant, claiming that the attention it drew was a personal attack on his name.

Rick should get a grip … other than the one he was using when he pretended to think Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ reference to his luxury home was a public threat. To harm him how, exactly? Ring his doorbell and then break his kneecaps with a Louisville Slugger while security cameras recorded everything? Send Child Protective Services to remove his children from an atmosphere of hysterical overreaction? Throw red paint on his wife’s favorite, full-length fur coat? (Assuming that Santelli’s high adrenaline levels haven’t ruled out the possibilities of marriage and procreation)

By going ballistic over the use of taxpayer money to help strapped homeowners avoid foreclosure, when the very industry on which he reports and which he appears to champion has accepted billions in bail-out money, Santelli perfectly illustrates the attitude of self-centered entitlement that has made Wall Street so notorious. “Reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water,” he said. Uh, Rick? How many more rewards do you want? It is easy to imagine him home alone with his remote, replaying that scene from the 1987 movie Wall Street, in which Gordon Gekko crows, “Greed is good.”

By seizing upon Press Secretary Gibb’s allusion to the obvious… that in Santelli’s own pricey neighborhood it is unlikely that anyone needed an ill-advised home loan to add a second bathroom… or pay for childcare or groceries or a parent’s medical bills… he also illustrates the reluctance of Wall Street to acknowledge that privilege is not inherently a virtue, and that empathy, when missing, can skew perception.

Santelli was happy to be in the center of a media spotlight when he ranted that he didn’t want to pay for his “loser” neighbor’s imaginary mortgage. But he was outraged by the response that maybe that foam of spittle in the corners of his mouth was the result of drinking too much coffee instead of actually reading the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.

Since 15 minutes of fame isn’t enough for Rick Santelli, and since everyone from Kato Kaelin to Joe the Plumber can tell him that flash fame is not a big slice of cake one can have and eat too, here is some advice: Pull up your big-boy skivvies, Mr. Santelli, and help America deal with the mess that Wall Street helped create.

And for God’s sake… stop whining.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take Me Out to the Obama Game

I don’t know much about baseball, except that I love washing down Dodger dogs with a good beer and get chills when I hear that “krak” that means a batter has knocked a ball out of the park.

Anyone who doesn’t realize that Obama was at the top of his game during last night’s address must not have noticed that, in addition to hitting homers, he also stole some bases. Not once, not twice, but several times he brought the Republican side of the room to its feet to cheer his remarks. Dodger dog, anyone?

In the game of leadership, Obama appears to be even more of a Natural than Robert Redford in the baseball-themed nineties movie of that name. Or, is it just that the Bad News Team on the Right is so inept that they inadvertently have sent Obama soaring over the opinion polls scoreboard?

When John McCain took Obama to task over the cost of his helicopters in a news briefing earlier yesterday, Obama turned him into a straight man, using his remarks as a setup for getting supportive laughs. Republicans cannot, repeat cannot, fluster the President with an unexpected question. He is most adept when responding on his feet, much better at playing “backatcha” than Republicans are at “gotcha.”

A better illustration of Republicans clutching-up at bat is their choice of Bobby Jindal to make the followup address. Ok, he’s brown. We get it, Republicans are inclusive too. But they are playing T-ball in the big leagues here. Jindal’s deer-in-the-headlights demeanor, his stilted delivery, and his repetition of the same tired Republican push-back made Obama’s message appear stronger and more sincere than it already did.

And Jindal fooled no one with his disingenuous comparison of his own immigrant heritage to Obama’s. Leave it to the GOP to mix racism and terrorist fears in one steaming dish, and slyly serve it up to a nation that now hungers for hope and optimism.

If Bobby Jindal is the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012, someone should send him back to the batting cage. His comparison of Obama’s new programs to the pathetic Republican response to Hurricane Katrina was stunningly inept, a reminder of all the reasons we elected a Democrat in the last election.

But Obama’s leadership skills have not been highlighted by Republican errors alone. In last night’s speech he made it clear that he is not the Centrist that many decry, but is somewhere Left of that label. He will not, as many predicted, delay the fight to provide affordable health care insurance for every American. He will not apologize for allowing tax cuts for the rich to expire. And even though his timeline for ending the war in Iraq may have lengthened from 16 months to 19, it remains a priority that was applauded even by former hawk John McCain.

Did you hear that “krak?”

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cartoonist in the Mist

I wonder how Sean Delonas would feel if someone published a cartoon of him sitting at his desk masturbating, with someone behind him poised to stab him in the back, and a caption that read: “They’ll have to find someone else to draw the next racist cartoon.”

Sean Delonas and the New York Post are exercising the American right to freedom of speech… much as the slain pet chimpanzee that inspired Delonas’ “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill” cartoon was exercising its right to rampage.

Too bad Delonas wasn’t around in Los Angeles during the 1992 race riots sparked by the “not guilty” verdict of white cops who beat black motorist Rodney King to a bloody pulp. Delonas could have tapped the rich vein of humor in King’s nine skull fractures, shattered eye socket and cheekbone, broken leg, concussion, injuries to both knees and nerve damage that left his face partially paralyzed. And Delonas also would have enjoyed the LAPD radio transmissions regarding the beating incident, in which cops crowed “it was Gorillas in the Mist out there.”

By plunging his head into the mist of racism, Sean Delonas is not, however, merely exercising a right. He is illustrating that he is blind to the history of oppression and pain suffered by blacks in America, and that he is cavalier about their feelings. Delonas may as well be a chimpanzee himself, one that is playing with matches at a gas station, too much of a narcissistic publicity seeker to realize that racism can have inflammatory results. The Six days of riots that followed the infamous King-beating verdict of 1992 resulted in 42 murders, 700 buildings destroyed by fire, and almost $1 billion in property damage.

Delonas also is blind to the significance of evolving race relations in America. Electing a black President is a good thing, Sean… it means American racists no longer may justify their bigotry by comparing a dark-skinned human being to a monkey… or confusing a mean-spirited lapse of judgment with humor.

In spite of his protestations that he did not intend to make a racist statement, Delonas will suffer irreparable damage to his reputation. His ugly cartoon, and the New York Post’s absurd rejection of Al Sharpton’s objection to it, will forever brand him a cartoonist in the mist.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Do Republicans Want? Dear God, What Do they Want?

Medical science finally has answered Sigmund Freud’s plaintive inquiry about what women want, and it turns out it isn’t a penis. The same cannot be said for obstructionist Republican Congressmen, who barely can walk without tripping over their Vote-No erections.

Republicans don’t want bipartisanship… unless it is redefined as ceding them the power that voters withheld.

Republicans don’t want the economy to rebound… unless it restores the same economic imbalance that caused this crash in the first place.

Republicans don’t want empowered Democrats to socialize America… but think it’s OK to socialize banks, especially those they patronize.

And Republicans absolutely do not want President Obama to succeed, in spite of lockstep lies to the contrary… their noses are the only things growing more wood than the parties in their pants.

What DO Republicans want? They aren’t saying, leaving us to infer from their stodgy behavior that they are engaging in political wet dreams. Let’s take a peek inside their Rip Van Winkle heads, shall we?

Republicans want Barrack and Michelle to fall out of love and behave like normal Presidential couples… smile all the time with the aid of pharmaceuticals, or smile inappropriately without it.

Republicans want the President to, just once, (that smug upstart), try to exit a podium through a door that some prankster on the other side has locked.

Republicans want the electorate to return to the grindingly hopeless mindset that only government lies, secrecy and hypocrisy can sustain. (Why would they wish something so awful on us? Because secrecy makes self-aggrandizement easier, the lazy bastards.)

Republicans want to replace the last Wall Street Pyramid Scheme that left millions empty-handed with a newer, ground zero Pyramid Scheme that they can milk for another 10 years until it collapses… again. (Next time they’ll open their Swiss bank accounts well in advance of the final sucker-call.)

But the one wet dream Republicans most want fulfilled, the one that boosts them even more than their No-Vote Viagra… is a coup d’ etat.

If you don’t like my inferences, make your own. Republicans, like Freud’s women, are maintaining an aura of mystery.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Can Lead a Republican to Water but Can't Make it Text-Message

Do Republicans “not get it” that voters rejected their platform by electing a Democratic President with majorities in both houses of Congress? Or do they just not give a damn?

Inured by eight years of the Bush administration’s arrogant and potentially illegal assumption of absolute power, Republicans are obstructing the President’s mandate for change with an impunity that borders on sabotage. If this claim seems exaggerated to some, it certainly doesn’t to Republican Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, who suggested that his party “follow the model of the Taliban” in its legislative battles. "Insurgency,” Sessions continued, “we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban… and that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes.” When asked for much-needed clarification, Sessions said, "I simply said one can see that there's a model out there for insurgency."

One might think that Mr. Sessions and his minority Republican counterparts don’t follow the news… President Obama enjoys a record high approval rating for this early stage of his administration. As of today’s polling, even 30 to 40 percent of Republican identifiers rate him favorably. It doesn’t take Karl Rove’s Bushy brain to deduce from these polling statistics that “insurgency” in today’s political climate is self-defeating.

Why, then, would astute Republican politicians reject the President’s offer to work on a bipartisan basis when, by accepting it, they could turn public opinion in their favor? And why are their attacks on Obama’s stimulus plan so riddled with bitterness and acrimony when their own constituents would benefit from it?

Their reasons are not that they fear the plan won’t work… rather, they fear that the plan will succeed, the economy will rebound, and Democrats will further increase their majorities in the upcoming mid-term elections. Many Republicans, including Rush Limbaugh, already are on record with fears that Democrats will acquire an unbeatable “working poor majority” that will enable them to “socialize America.”

Clearly, that’s a nightmare scenario for privileged and entitled Republicans, who have traditionally maintained their power by disenfranchising the working poor, a socioeconomic class that tripled (and is still growing) under eight years of Republican tax cuts for the rich. The same principles of the Republican platform that resulted in its defeat in the last election now threaten its political future… the GOP lacks experience in championing the interests of the poor, having ignored them for so long.

But like the bank CEOs who testified before Congress yesterday, Republicans need to do a better job of dealing with the new political paradigm. Instead of fomenting an “insurgency” against one of the most popular Presidents in history, they need to stick their old, arthritic toes into warmer political waters… loosen up… take the side of the majority for a change… share some of the wealth they accumulated through unfair taxation… learn to differentiate “progressive” from “socialist,” and pronounce either of those two words without undue spikes in their blood pressure levels.

In short, Republicans should learn to text-message.