Monday, March 31, 2014

Sex & Hobby Lobby

Progressive Underpants turns 2!

Thus, I am entitled to have a terrible-two tantrum. 

Last week SCOTUS heard the “Hobby Lobby” case.  There’s a lot more “lobby” than “hobby” in the fury.  This is not about religious freedom this is about sex and conservative paternalistic Christian values being imposed on HL’s employees, and if the owners of HL and their frightening cabal have their way – potentially on every woman.  

This case, and I would assert ALL the cases about birth control and women’s health care, are thinly veiled attempts to force (i.e. legislate or decree and then codify) old repressed white guys’ moral views into the American fabric and change our behavior (our being "us girls") to their liking.  We are after all, a Christian Nation. (oh, wait…strike that)

While SCOTUS did not (to my knowledge) press HL on some “facts,” it should have.  As I repeatedly assert to my students, Plan B does not cause abortions.  Plan B works to prevent the ovary from releasing an egg.  If you took high school biology you recall that both ovum (egg) and sperm are needed for conception. No egg, no fetus. Voila! To allow an attorney to argue in front of SCOTUS with such an egregious error in fact is ludicrous, but I digress…

Since Rush’s slut shaming of Sandra Fluke, it’s been apparent that old horny guys who are popping Viagra like tic-tacs are obsessed with what women do behind closed doors, and if said horny ED dude is not between those sheets as an active participant himself, in a paraphrase of the Seinfeld soup guy, “No sex for you.”  Never mind that Viagra is primarily taken by men past “child bearing years,” but that’s not under review.  Never mind that all many of these same men having “stress-releasing” or “extramarital” sex hope to hell she’s on the pill or “doing something” so he doesn’t get “that call.”  Boys will be boys after all. 

The message I am hearing is this: If you have sex, especially if you’re an unmarried WOMAN, you should “suffer the consequences of your actions.”  If you are sexually active, you better not expect anyone to pick up the tab for your birth control because we, your employer, your government, or even your partner cannot be expected to do such things and in all but the latter – we cannot condone such sinful actions. Our money does not support “sin.”  If you're too poor for birth control (because we pay you minimum wage for part-time work) you're too poor for sex! Deal with it.

In contrast, if you are married and having sex (which is your duty) you should be happy when you get knocked up, as there should be no purely recreational sex for you either.  (New marketing Idea! “Don’t want to get preggers? Get in on with Hobby Lobby and find a new hobby.”)  For your information, you ungrateful tart, children are a gift from the heavens.  Who are you to put Ortho-Novum between you and the angel-stork! What? Angel-Storks aren't real? Yes they are! Noah brought 2 on to the ark! I saw it in the movie! You are playing God! With this same logic, if you take antibiotics to prevent death from strep throat you’re playing God; but strep throat isn’t sinful per se, sex is!

The argument (and for being “against” marriage equality) is that somehow it is implicitly understood that couples get married (I now pronounce you egg and sperm) to have a family.  This means children born “in-wedlock” to a heterosexual Christian couple who will bring these children up to not only fear God but also to develop Martha Stewart-like crafting abilities and shop often at Hobby Lobby.  Those who choose not to breed (or not to craft?) then are then an incomplete (or incorrect?) family. Those who chose to marry a person of the same sex are incomplete or incorrect - even if they are avid crafters - because everyone knows "those people" shop at Michael's and not Hobby Lobby.  

As a child-free by choice family (Yes, I said FAMILY) of 21+ years, we’re quite happy as a duo, thank you.  Perhaps we should have continued “living in sin” if we weren’t procreating.  The logic train gets bumpy here.  Silly me, I thought people got married because they LOVED each other – not to solely make him or her your baby daddy or baby mama.

When HL, which is NOT a “small family business,” stepped into the marketplace and engaged in commerce – interstate commerce to boot - the courts have long decreed that they must play by the rules (i.e. laws) of society.  They and others cannot choose to ignore laws they as individuals believe are somehow against their personal moral code – especially laws that are in place to protect individuals from tyranny and exploitation. (wage laws for example) That is what we call the social contract. 

Thanks to Citizens United, corporations may be “people” but they do not have the right to assert moral high ground, point at “sinners” and refuse to cover birth control – or any health care procedure - for those “sinners” or others whose personal, private HIPAA-like choices are none of their damn business.  HL is asserting its rights but what of the responsibilities to employees and the empployees' rights

To be clear: No one is demanding HL sell sex toys or put pharmacies in their stores. What is being required is for HL to follow the law. Yes, that provision in ACA/Obamacare (like other Western Nations) that ensures women have access to - gasp! FREE! birth control as part of their health plan.  (Never mind that HL's "old health plan" covered a lot of contraception) 

We the People are also then requiring HL to keep their uptight Victorian-inspired sexually repressive morals out of the marketplace and keep their noses out of their employees’ bedrooms.

If Family Hobby Lobby does not personally believe in sex outside of marriage or marital sex that is not for procreation, the ACA is not mandating they change their views.  No one is being forced into using birth control!  That, however, is not good enough for HL who knows it cannot mandate a "sexual abstinence" or "sex for babies only" policy for employees, it's going to try another route to try to achieve the same result which they believe their "faith" requires them to do.  I understand that in 2015 they will be adding a "self-righteous" aisle to their stores.  Last time I checked, scripture was void of a decree telling followers to, "Coerce, Litigate, and slut-shame all Nations."

It may be true that the founders of Hobby Lobby have hobbies that are unlikely to result in pregnancy; but this doesn’t mean the rest of us must have those kind of hobbies.  Hell, if I’m playing with glitter, and it is NOT Mardi Gras season, the glitter better be scented and edible.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

“Must Have” RNC Souvenirs

RNC 2012 - Romneys, Trump & Cheese

Guide to the “Must Have” RNC Souvenirs

Huzzah! The countdown to the elephant-sized quadrennial event has begun!  As a new Tampa Bay area resident I offer, as a public service, the first in a series of "must" buy and do suggestions for RNC attendees.  You are so welcome.  My pleasure.  Really.  Have a nice day.  

#1 T-shirts

Red, White or Blue! $19.95* (*100% Tax deductible with Mitt & Mitt Lite’s new post-election tax loop-holes)


My RWNJ Uncle 
went to the RNC 
& all I got was this 

Made in U.S.A.*

(*Northern Mariana Islands) 

#2 Rafalca Poo
Rather like “Zoo Poo” but made by himself and shaped by “staff” into bloated little GOP elephants.  (Think "Rush with tusks") 


( to commemorate his Olympic ranking)

#3 Scotts' Tissues

Why think of our beloved Guv Rick Scott and Wisconsin's very own Scott Walker only when they are making news and making royal asses of themselves (or shilling for the Brothers Grimm Koch)  Now you can think of them every time you think of your own ass. 

You are so welcome.  My pleasure.  Really.  Have a nice day.   Front to back people - let's keep in clean in Scotts'Land! 

Scotts'land Uber Alles! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

People or Profits at the Pharmacy

Please join me over on my site for this week's "Underpants" - indeed, the big girl underpants are ON - and as for the for-profit be retail chain pharmacies...Game On!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Can the millennials save us?

Perhaps the salvation of Progressives, and our Nation, will be found in the next generation of leaders.  The Millennials are coming and they have had just about enough of the gridlock in DC, leaders who send their friends to fight wars, and Washington's post-menopausal white male obsession with "the gays" and draconian assaults on women.  
 Meet Jonathan Snow.  He's 25.  He's a Progressive.  He's running for Congress.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Parker & Stone & the Wall Street Journal?

South Park on Wall Street?

For a brief moment, I thought the dynamic comedy duo of Parker and Stone had taken up writing for the Wall Street Journal.  Reminiscent of the famous South Park episode where flannel-clad gun-toting South Park locals moon about aliens who had “takin arr jaaabs” (i.e. “Taken our Jobs") today’s WSJ inflames its radical right readership with the breathtaking headline “USDA Is a Tough Collector When Mortgages Go Bad.”  In short, the Obama Administration is “taking yer land”! 

Playing to its anti-government, anti-Obama, anti-regulation readership, the WSJ’s front page story vilifies the USDA for “aggressively” foreclosing on farm lands and rural homes without – gasp – enough oversight and “rules.”  Stop laughing. I’m serious. Of course, this plays to the deepest fear ingrained in all the right wing rhetoric – you can’t trust the government –it’s going to take what’s yours.  Grab a gun and defend your land.  Oh the irony. The Pandering.  The Election Year.

Either that or the story is the opening setting for “Doomsday Preppers – Broadway.”  Perhaps it will be the follow up smash success to "The Book of Mormon."  With Matt and Trey, it's entirely possible. 

In comparison, I believe, Banks and Wall Street traders swapping risky-mortgage backed securities are the ones primarily responsible for taking your land and your houses, dear ones, not the government.  I don’t recall any of the lenders jumping at the opportunity to work with borrowers before POTUS and the Dems and Bernie twisted their arms.  I don’t recall any articles vilifying Wells Fargo, Citi, Chase et al on the front page when the number of foreclosures on their books reached record levels.  But this is different.  This is the government.  This is Obama.  This is why you need to (contribute to) and vote for Mitt.

If I were a betting woman (and I am…7 come 11 dollar yo!) This is Act 1 Scene 1 of the dark comedy farce “The March to Privatize Rural Lending – The Mitt Movie!”   This is a stump speech talking point for Mittens who will seize upon this and guarantee that in a Romney Administration the government will never foreclose on farmer.  Never mind that this is so because under a Romney Administration the USDA’s lending will cease and all lending (like his Student Loans platform plank) will be returned to the private sector.  Once again, the Socialist Wealth-Distributor Obama cannot be trusted.  Obama is taking farmer’s land! Look at the pretty charts and graphs that prove it!  

In response, We the People should be sending a flood of emails to the WSJ editorial board demanding that each for-profit housing lender be subject to the same data collection, scrutiny, and sympathetic character portrayals in this article.  Who’s really foreclosed on more homes?  Whose unethical, illegal, and immoral robo-signing, no-income verification, and other bait-and-switch policies required stepped up oversight? Who created the housing bubble and then due to its greed and opaque transactions and instruments popped it? Let me think… 

If said publication used the same scale in the graphs to reflect the for-profit foreclosures, it would need several columns and several more zeros, not a nice little box.  Funny thing about numbers, charts, and data, you have to engage in critical thinking.  Funny thing, too, how the people featured in the article were from swing states like Ohio and Minnesota or deeply red, deeply government-averse states like Oklahoma and Alabama.  

The article, if not written by Parker and Stone, was the brain-child of a PR Executive from Chase. Chase it  is portrayed as the “good guy” who has to follow regulations when it serves as middleman (i.e. endorsed lender) in these transactions.  The USDA is the "bad guy" because the government doesn't have to follow any rules - at least not the rules the bankers have to follow.... except the ones that have been on the books for decades, are transparent, and usually work. Oh those rules? Never mind.  

To be clear, it’s the heartless government pursuing down and out folks and garnishing their tax refunds.  The government has many insidious avenues to squeeze money out of people private lenders do not have. (But sure as hell would use if they could!)  The banks were just “doing their jobs” and foreclosing. The government is going to get you! 

The only thing missing from the article, which will of course be taken up in the coming days on right wing lunatic radio, and likely Fox and Friends, is a dog-whistle comment or musing that perhaps taking land away from (mostly white) farmers and rural dwellers is some sort of government....restitution. Yeah, I said it.  As much as we had hoped, dear ones, that we are a post-racial society, we are not. The radical, rabid, racist right will not miss any opportunity to plant the seed, to appeal to the latent reconstruction-era fears of its base, especially in the deep South where any "land-grab" away from "planters" will unleash generations-old fury.  

In summary, concerned citizen, if you do not want your government seizing lands and homes from people  (cue music and scenery from Chevy Truck Ad) vote Romney 2012.

Told you Matt and Trey had to write this - the WSJ could never do comic satire this well. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Decoding the Wall Street Journal

Corporate Speak, Progressive Speak, Evangelical Speak, Couple Speak.  We have all developed second "languages" understood in context.  After 20 years of marriage, The Underpants' typical conversation is something like this:  

Him: "Fat girl still itchy?"
Her: "Nah, put a pretty on her, she's bad again."

Translation:  Is Penny recovering after her run in with chiggers?  Yes! She had a bath, has a new collar and is "talking."  

(See below for illustration)

And now for something completely different...

As a (gag gift) subscriber to the WSJ, it appears the journalists at "Camp Rupert" have taken GOP finance and investing language aka "Journal Speak" to a whole new level.  This near code is approaching dog whistle in print.  Please play along as I attempt to translate.

WSJ: "Banks: Confusion Still Reigns on Volcker Rule"
Translation: We haven't figured a way around it yet.

WSJ:  "How to Play the Bond Market Now"   
Translation:  Ha Ha Sucker! BigBanks already invested AND hedged their bets, but they need to make a lot of money on YOUR money - put money into this market. Now. Right now. 

WSJ:  "Judge Puts Firms on Notice"
Translation:  DOJ and SEC are actively investigating; Shred = ClubFed;  see also

WJS:  "Unions Confront Rising Tide"
Translation:  Caterpillar CEO called WSJ to request Pro-Cat/anti-union article

WSJ:  "The New Greek Extremism"
Translation:  Shit! People are pissed about austerity and holding the EU accountable for Draconian tactics; EU Countries might impose progressive tax rates! Runaway! Angela where are you??

WSJ:  "Socialist France"
Translation:  See Above

WSJ:  "Buffett Looking Out of Step"
Translation: F you, Warren and your little Bershire dog too. Traitor. (Tomorrow's Headline:  "Flying Monkey Observed over Omaha")

WSJ:  "A Meaningful Measure of Pay Gap for Men and Women"
Translation:  Nothing to see here. No War on Women. Keep Calm and Carry On. Romeny 2012

WSJ:  "Obama..."
Translation:  Romney 2012

WSJ:  "Market..."
Translation:  Romney 2012

WSJ:  "What's Holding Women Back?"
Translation:  Romney 2012

Translation:  Romney 2012

(See below for illustration

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sandlot Theology

One advantage of living in a warmer climate is the luxury of year-round use of a front porch.  Front porches allow neighbors to call greetings, tune in to the regular comings and going of fellow dwellers, watch out for one another, and receive early warnings of approaching salespeople.  As Martha might say, “They’re a good thing.”

One of the neighbors receives a daily visit from “The Son.”  He seems nice enough, but it’s apparent his visits, while welcome in general, wear on his aged, Greek Orthodox parents.  I know the latter as I see the Missus walk to church every morning.  She’s a sweet lady who still dresses to the 9’s and does her own shopping.  I see her walking with her little wheeled cart, too.  Mister, with walker, ambles down to the coffee shop at the end of the block a few times a day to enjoy a smoke.  He tinkers in his garage and waves to passers by.  I like these people; they remind me of what I remember of my own great-grandparents. 
The Son, the visitor, is a different story. It seems he is a committed Evangelical.  Jesus is praised often within earshot.  Friends and family via cell phone are scolded a lot, too.  Jesus apparently would not approve of some of these people.  Though I am not positive, I swear I’ve seen the Missus roll her eyes and Mister take a stroll more quickly that usual when he visits.

I’ve taken to calling him “The Gawd Squad.”  Judging by his glances at my license plate, bumper stickers, and cauldron out front, (okay, not the last part) he’s not so sure of me, either.  He seems to enjoy spreading the gospel and how it applies to women within ear shot and “glancing over” distance from me.  He did not find the Tim Tebow/Peyton Manning joke I shared with another Colts-jersey clad neighbor funny.  At all.  (You know the one, Tim Tebow loves Jesus, but it looks like Jesus loves Peyton Manning…) Apparently NOT funny.

Today, The Gawd Squad and other family members were visiting.  Two tween boys with baseball gloves, ball and bat and 5 other cars were visiting Mr. and Mrs.  We have a big yard, so I offered the side yard space (it’s 2 city lots)  The Tweens grumbled among themselves he didn’t “talk to” them he just “lectured about G-d”  he didn’t want to toss around a ball, he just wanted to “lecture.”  Bummer little dudes, I bet Jesus would have hit grounders to you and maybe even some pop flies.

It got me thinking about this breed of Evangelicals.  They seem not to see the gifts in front of them.  They are too busy worrying about what everyone else is doing and trying to control that, rather than being present in the moment.   This type of Evangelical is so wrapped up in working toward the “next life” they seem not to appreciate this one.  This type of Evangelical is busy casting aspersions on others and playing referee for what is “Christian and G-dly” and what is not.

This is the type of Evangelical asserting its will and its version of holiness and morality on the Republican Party and in turn on the Nation.

I have some advice for you folks – go play baseball with your nephews, go have a belly laugh, stop worrying about what other people are doing, live your lives, and allow others to live theirs.

Maybe if there were more sandlot baseball games on Sundays and less proselytizing we could end some of the gridlock in Washington and play nice together.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

We Believe (Follow up to Republicans Believe...)

We Believe

  • The Earth is Round

  •  Children should be taught science in science classrooms

  • Dogs should ride on the inside, regardless how much they shed

  • It is possible to attack a policy on its merits without attacking the policy maker’s character, intelligence or patriotism

  • Collective bargaining is necessary, and not just the “Groupon” variety

  • There is nothing immoral about homosexuality; it is immoral to serve a spouse divorce papers while she is undergoing cancer treatments

  • Human beings are people, corporations are not

  • Legislators should write their own legislation to benefit constituents and the greater good, not the members of ALEC

  • Tanning beds might not be a good thing

  • Fundamental fairness in the workplace and in the tax code is necessary

  • The auto industry deserved to be “saved;” the “Real Housewives of…” should be cancelled

  • We are stewards of this planet; we do not care to relocate to the moon, regardless of how “hip” Sir Richard could make it

  • US Corporations should hire US workers at a fair wage

  • Global climate change is real, Flipper the talking dolphin is not

  • Citizens, without burden, have the right and the responsibility to vote – even in Wisconsin

  • Women have the right to privacy and must make their own healthcare decisions

  • The words “Christian Nation” do not appear in our founding documents, despite what the GOP tells you

  • Corporations should not spend more on lobbyists than they do on taxes

  • We believe this was all Mitt’s Idea…

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Uterus, Inc.

I wonder.  What would happen if 10,000 women joined together and fought the GOP with the language they understand best, otherwise known as Corporate-Speak.

What if 10,000 women each contributed $5, incorporated our uteri, joined ALEC, and worked to develop model legislation requesting Uterus, Inc. be treated with the same hands-off, don't regulate us framework enjoyed by Big Banks, Big Food and Big Energy?

We could ride the wave of rabid anti-regulation, anti-oversight, and free-market mania being enjoyed in Corporate America.  We could hire lobbyists.  We could fund Planned Parenthood in the same way the Koch Brothers fund their right wing think tanks and astro-turf groups.  We could be a force for good.

We could turn the clocks back to the 1970's when we thought this "battle" was won.  If ALEC wants to turn it back to the era of the robber barons, I think the 70's is attainable. 

Of course it's a ridiculous idea.  

What is even more ridiculous is the war on women, the anti-privacy legislation, the Draconian state-level laws which seeks to impose a radical vision of  what "being an American who can pro-create" means and what rights and privacy she has lost in recent years.  Yes, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Arizona and the rest...we are looking right at you.

Clearly, the GOP's cognitive dissonance regarding the role of government has reached its apex.  The GOP lauds Citizens United's outcome of "corporations are people" and reminds We the People that we must NOT interfere with "businesses."  We must sacrifice the social contract at the altar of free markets.  Women? Health? Privacy? Oh, no, that's something completely different.  (I wish this were a Monty Python sketch, actually...) Women, while being actual people, must NOT be not be allowed to run their lives - at least the s-e-x, reproductive and health parts of it.  

Women must be interfered with. Women's decisions must be regulated.  Women's doctors cannot be trusted to do what is in the best interest of their patients. Women must understand their post-menopausal male congressmen, and not their doctors have the final say on their health and best practices.   

Women must understand, apparently, that in some horrific circumstances, the Almighty has a "plan" and if that plan traumatized you, allowed you to be assaulted, allowed you to be degraded, demeaned, victimized, or have your childhood stolen, well, who are you to question the almighty and how dare you seek to change the outcome. 

I don't know whose "Almighty" that it, but it is not the g-d of any true belief or practice I am aware of.  There is something sick, sinister, and sad about inferring that any manifestation of the divine would "plan" suffering of that magnitude.  

As a former volunteer medical advocate for a sexual assault crisis center, Ms. Underpants knows of what she speaks.  Sexual Violence is a "plan" of a sociopath, not a divine being.  Shame on anyone who says otherwise. 

Perhaps the only way to "win" is to fight the GOP on its own turf, with their own tactics, with their own arguments.  While Coke, Pepsi, et al defect from ALEC, perhaps it is a unique opportunity to file articles of incorporation and for Uterus, Inc. to pony up the cash, and affect "the agenda" from the inside out.

Of course, it is ridiculous, but so is asserting that rape and incest are part of a divine plan. 

Buying in to Uterus, Inc. costs $5.   The "divine plan side" is more costly - I'm thinking the participation ante is one's immortal soul. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Republicans Believe...

Republicans believe your privately held uterus must be highly regulated; but...your privately held corporation  must not be

Republicans believe pills related to s-e-x for girls are bad, but… little blue pills for boys are very, very good!

Republicans believe Corporations are citizens; but…actual people must first show photo ID

Republicans believe the individual health care mandate infringes on individual freedom; but …it was their idea

Republicans believe privatizing parts of NASA is akin to high treason; but… it was the first thing in history the GOP didn’t want to privatize

Republicans believe the Bush Doctrine is valid; but… cannot articulate what it actually is

Republicans believe President Obama is a Socialist; but…cannot use the term correctly in a sentence

Republicans believe in a literal interpretation of the Constitution; but…most obtain their actual knowledge of the Constitution from “School House Rock”

Republicans believe in school choice; but… not a curriculum choice for science teachers who insist on teaching only actual science

Republicans believe in Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness; but…only if you are white, male, Christian, born here, Republican, without debt, and working on Wall Street

Republicans believe in fundamental fairness; but...only in theory

Republicans believe the Almighty “called” Rick Perry & Michelle Bachmann to run for President, and told Glenn Beck to leave Fox; but…at this point they are wondering if it was the same guy or if Keith Olbermann punk’d them

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Privatization Nation

Once upon a time, We the People understood a noble purpose of government was to “do” projects and programs we could not undertake individually or at the local level.  Building roads and bridges, providing emergency management, carrying out national defense, caring for our veterans, providing for seniors, educating the next generation of leaders, delivering our mail, supporting the arts, housing our prisoners – these were all things deemed necessary by the social contract and an appropriate use of our resources.

It has been so for many generations.  It could be argued that it has been so throughout human history.  Kings, Caesars and Pharaohs built great things, created institutions of higher learning, developed transportation networks, commissioned great works of art, improved sanitation, and the like.

ALEC, and the elected whores of Big Business have been chiseling away at what We the People “should” believe about the role of government.  They have been whispering lies in the ears of the electorate – inciting riot in the name of lower taxes in order to privatize government programs and service.  Instead, they offer a vision of a Privatization Nation, which serves to line the pockets of capitalist cronies who worship at the altar of the bottom line.   They don a cloak of faux-patriotism, swearing allegiance to a literal interpretation of the Constitution to justify this sinister plot worthy of a Ludlum Novel and the Illuminati.

The GOP uses the Constitution as holy writ, picking and choosing pieces, often out of context, to follow and obey in a literal interpretation.  Just because your “Holy Bible” is taken as sacred, immutable fact requiring dogmatic obedience, our Founders never envisioned their living document to be akin to scripture.  So stop all the “literal interpretation” of the Constitution nonsense.  

So, ALEC, what about oversight?  YOU people have proven repeatedly that you do not excel at self-policing, oversight, transparency, accountability, and reinvestment.  

YOU people come crying to Uncle Sam when you can’t cover your bets on the Corporate Craps Table that is Wall Street.  

YOU people come crying to Uncle Sam when you’ve had an “oopsie” that requires immediate assistance – even though you understood the risk but chose to proceed in order to chase the almighty dollar.  

YOU people are responsible for the necessity of a SuperFund because you poisoned the land around the plant you made billions of dollars on.  

YOU people cry poor and appeal for assistance from Uncle Sam when you could not manage you money, and now hold the financial security of your retirees in your soiled hand.

Ms. Underpants will not bore you with stats. You are smart people and can use the Google machine.  Suffice it to say, the privatization thing really isn’t working.  Costs are higher, oversight is lower, and government contracts with private providers are over budget.  They only people this arrangement is “good” for are the Executives providing the service to the government and the whores what brung them.

ALEC, you do know that Rome fell.  Privatizing an army and dysfunctional governing weren’t the only reasons, of course, but it might be worth a look-see.

I smell smoke and I hear Grover’s fiddle.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dear KO,

Dammit.  Just Dammit.  That's self pity - no reflection on you. 

Once again you have personified the Thurber truth, "Discussion in America means dissent."  Continue to dissent.  Be high-maintenance and "ranty" or whatever they want to call you to avoid casting blame upon themselves - but dammit don't stop talking with America.  Truth telling is a serious and messy endeavor.  

Reading between the lines, methinks you took the Chief News Officer title seriously. When office politics, playing nice with others, and staying quiet about production glitches unworthy of Wayne and Garth's basement trumped good journalism and a top quality show, you drew the line.  Good for you.   In all honesty, KO, some show were, shall we say, difficult to watch.  Content was never the issue, but the production quality made me wince.  Did Current use a lot of interns to keep costs down? 

But take heart, baseball fan, Current TV's statement displays its farm team level of professionalism.  I take that back, most farm teams have more class.  From the "open letter" it seems you may have had a "problem" with interns also writing press releases.  (Was that letter 140 characters?) 

While your departure saddens me, I understand.  Current is not the right vehicle for your voice.  You did what many of us have done.  You accepted a new position only to find out it was at best a bad fit, and at worst smoke, mirrors, and false promises.  How about teaming up with Michael Moore and doing some (more) real good for We the People.

Until next time...stay "ranty" my friend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

AT&T's Management Failure Disguised as a Union Problem

Since when is it "demeaning" or a "waste of time" to engage in actual work? Apparently when one is part of "management" at AT&T that time is NOW - when they are being "cross-trained" in "Strike-Preparation Armageddon."

Good luck with that.

Apparently engineers with PhD's are "too smart" to climb poles and PR folks just don't have the "people skills" to speak with actual people. 

To the AT&T CWA Union:  Strike long and hard, baby.  These "managers" of yours seem so dysfunctional and disorganized they couldn't organize an orgy in a whorehouse...or David Vitter's office.

Further, dearest CFO of AT&T, you might want to look long and hard about this "managers, retirees, and laid-off workers" strategy you are deploying. Wouldn't bargaining in good faith be cheaper?  If you need to "make cuts" how about starting with the top executives?  What about their health insurance plans, their retirement plans, and their golden parachutes? Wouldn't it be easier to adjust top down than bottom up?  They seem to be doing pretty well - looks like 219 had enough extra cash lying around to contribute to political campaigns and SuperPACs.  Both sides of the aisle. Some great causes (Emily's List) and some pond scum (Rick, Mitt, Newt & John of Orange)  

It's seems from your SEC filings, "T" (AT&T is listed as just "T" - but I'll leave that alone for right now...) has been quite generous to its officers and directors.  Seems they made some cash this week; how about you start with reducing THEIR compensation. After all, it is this august group of individuals who have been steering your antiquated ship, and costing you "big picture market-share" money, not your Union Employees.

How about looking at that little budgetary line of lobbying?

Surely $20M could be better spent, could it not?

Silly me.  Of COURSE $20M in lobbying money is "necessary" as are all those lovely executive and former executive perks "T" shells out for.   Unions cost money. Lobbying and perks are "good business." What WAS I thinking?

The idea of managers being brought in as de facto rats does bring up another question; one that has nagged me for years.  Why isn't there a statute spelled out from the NLRB that protects managers from being dismissed for refusing to cross picket lines?  In Ms. Underpants' World - this would be a nice little addition to the workplace for people, who despite being the vilified members "of management," still have a conscience. 

Clearly not all these managers are anti-union.  Many likely came up through the ranks and were members of the union. Why, now, must they choose between their jobs and their conscience.  I'm not inferring  "T" (Can I call you "T"?) will fire members of management who refuse to do the work of striking employees, but I'm enough of a realist to know this is not uncommon.

Been there.

So, AT&T, you can choose to do like all the other Fortune 500 Companies have done and blame union workers for poor strategic management, poor investments, poor leadership, poor product design, bad marketing, and losing market share OR you can put on your big boy pants and fess up.

It's your leaders - their antiquated ideas and boys club perks who need go -  not your Union Employees. 

J.P. Morgan Chase's 23 Million Dollar Man

Jamie Dimon's DINO Underpants

You, Sir, are a Guilded Elephant in Donkey-wannabe Drawers

...and in Ms. Underpants' World - that makes you nothing more than a common jackass.

Do tell why any human being - let alone a Robber Barron 2.0, otherwise known as a Wall Street banker is worth $63,000 and pocket change a day. According to the WSJ, JPM's CEO James Dimon, is now "King of Wall Street." Top Paid of the already Over Paid. Did this lovely $23M include last month's "Options Exercise" of roughly $14M?

Jamie, you and your kind are again changing the world.  People have stopped telling lawyer jokes and are now telling banker jokes! 

Fisherman:  "Captain, is there an actual nautical term for a boat capsizing?"
Captain:  "What do you do in life?"
Fisherman:  "I'm in banking"
Captain:  "I'd call it a public service."

What did 23M in capitalist cash compensation "get" We the People?  A cure for cancer? Development of a real "Warp Drive" for NASA? A return of Glass-Steagall? The end of World Hunger? The end of Poverty?  National Healthcare's #1 Supporter? No, none of the above.

$23M was the price tag for:

  • Authorizing $7,600,000 lobbying dollars in 2011(
  • Ensuring JPM was classified as a "Heavy Hitter" in nearly every category
  • Swearing a Vendetta against Senator Dick Durbin for imposing regulations on debit card fees banks like his may charge merchants (WSJ) (oh the horror!)
  • Naming JPM as a defendant in more than 10,000 lawsuits (
  • Naming JPM in numerous whistle-blowing cases and of course, that little robo-signing kerfuffle.
  • Handing out lots of pink slips
  • Learning "business ethics" from Sandy Weill's knee (yes, the Citigroup Sandy) and applying them...
  • Receiving $25B in TARP funds (You DID pay that back before ordering your new fleet of Corporate Jets for about $130M, didn't you?)
  • Access to Little Timmy at Treasury
  • A shout out from POTUS (We all make mistakes, sir, it's OK...remember "Hell of a job, Brownie"? - Well, Jamie's not quite that bad...)
Mr. Dimon's most redeeming or damning quality may be that he is allegedly a Democrat; in a paraphrase of  Molly Ivins, You Jamie Dimon, are not my kind of Democrat. 

No one is worth 23M. No one. 

Jamie apparently has already hinted at what he wants to do when he's tired of banking or has made enough F-You money; he wants to write. Without the benefit of a good editor.  This year's "letter to shareholders" was 39 pages; and of course, SCOTUS won't read that either. 

Here's an idea. Mr. D.  "reallocate" that 23M and all your "options" and do something for We the People like a real Democrat would:
  • Bring your call centers back to the US - without condition and without "Union Awareness Training"
  • Pay your damn corporate taxes
  • Fairly compensate US soldiers and others you "mistakenly" foreclosed on
  • Offer Free Checking - like Credit Unions IS a workable business model
  • Lower your fees
  • Open your purse strings to small business and consumers
While many of these "options" may exceed $23M over time, it's a nice place to start.  Until then, the questions are these:  Where exactly did the $23M come from, Jamie, and when and to whom are you going to return the blood money? You see, Jamie, you're not really a Democrat.  You simply did what Wall Street does best - you "hedged" your bets. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Foolish & Fabulous

The Week's Top 10 Lists of Foolish & Fabulous


10.   Mechanics who 'assume' girls "Don't know nothin' 'bout cars"'s surface rust, Slappy...I don't need a new muffler

9.  Broccoli. Enough said.

8.  Car Elevators - the install price of which would support a homeless shelter for a month

7.  Newt

6.  The nutter who wrote to the Wall Street Journal heralding the Koch Boys as "Patriots"

5. SCOTUS pretending to be the Warren Court in Opposite Land

4. Arizona (Are too many octogenarians experiencing late life pregnancies?)  Why is the "oldest" state oh so concerned about reproduction?  "Get off my lawn!" "Get out of my uterus!"

3. It's a Great Day in South Carolina! - Dear Guv. Nikki Haley, Saying it does not make it so; especially when Club Fed "might could" be in your future.  (Will The Beatles "Taxman" be her new theme song?)

2. Those with the temerity to accuse a sitting President of "race baiting."

1.  Flying the Confederate Flag on yer pickemuptruck in the State of


10.  Good Mechanics

9.  Vice President Joe Biden - after the next term can HE be the JOE on "Morning Joe?" Please?

8. Current TV's morning line up

7. Pubs that welcome dogs, but not children

6. Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me 

5. Journalists who dispute and refuse to print partisan "facts" and do their own research (Though, I'm still waiting for a printed Teabagger quote,"O-bah-mahs  uh So-shall-ist and uh Fash-ist" to be followed up with, "For the record, President Obama is neither a Socialist nor a Fascist, and Mr. Bagger could not coherently define either when queried.")

4. Creative, non-violent opposition to women's health clinic protesters; apparently calling the protesters at home...a lot... is quite effective. 

3.  Frozen Planet  

2. FLOTUS speaking out publicly about Trayvon Martin.

1. Tiny little ancient Greek ladies who flip off guys driving pickemuptrucks with Confederate flags in the State of