Monday, August 18, 2014

Having The Balls

This is one of those items where I have to decide whether it’s worth noting because it will draw undue attention to the clown that is doing it, or ignoring it and thereby letting the perpetrator think that they are oh so clever (or ballsy) and that they can get away with it.

Personally I think it’s juvenile, classless, and proves that while we may cherish the right of freedom of expression, it only takes a few people like this to make us wish more people realized that part of responsibility of free expression is using it wisely.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fading Fast

Unlike Ted Cruz (see below), the bloom is already off Marco Rubio, the rose that was once the rising star of the GOP.  (How’s that for a poetry-slam of mixed metaphors?)  At least according to Josh Marshall:

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I believe immigration reform is quite likely dead, unless its biggest supporters accept that fact and take the fight into the political and campaign arena rather than letting it die a slow death of opacity on Capitol Hill.

But it’s not too soon to note the main political fatality: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Rubio’s vulnerability is so great in part because he staked so much on immigration reform as a way to loft himself to the top tier of 2016 GOP candidates. But the other part is because there was so little to the man in the first place absent his fortuitous would-be positioning as the young new Hispanic face of a Republican party reeling from a reputation for having little to no traction with America’s burgeoning non-white population.

[...]

So now Rubio seems trapped, on the wrong side of his party’s base on a key issue – and one that looks unlikely even to deliver legislation that might have bipartisanship traction with middle-ground voters. It’s one thing to say ‘I bucked my party to bring change the country needs’, another to say ‘I bucked my party on change my country needs but it actually didn’t pan out. Sorry.’ And now he’s forced to become some sort of hyperactive conservative wild man – what he wasn’t supposed to be – in order to recoup ground on the right that likely can’t be salvaged.

The wind blowing through the ears of the GOP base is not in the direction of immigration reform, and that was going to be Mr. Rubio’s big pitch.  Once he loses that and the Tea Party figures out that he was just another opportunistic politician with charm and smooth talk, he’ll have a tough time trying to get back into their good graces.

Some of Josh’s readers responded with “not so fast; other GOP hopefuls survived setbacks,” including John McCain and Mitt Romney.  Both bucked their party and backed unpopular — at least to the base of the party — ideas such as immigration reform and healthcare.  But neither won their presidential election, either.

And there’s another factor that Josh brings up that a lot of us who live in Florida already know: Marco Rubio’s career here before he became a senator would become an open book on the national stage, and, depending on your point of view, it could be either a disaster or a Jiffy-Pop extravaganza.

By the way, as I’ve noted before and as upyernoz reiterates, sending a Cuban to sell immigration reform to Republicans is an interesting proposal since, by law, there are no illegal immigrants from Cuba in America.  But to most Republicans, a Latino is a Latino.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Unwanted

According to C&L, Edward Snowden can’t find any country that wants him.  (Well, there’s at least one that would love to have him, but apparently he’s not interested in their offer of room and board in the Rebar Hotel.)

Snowden is seeking asylum from 21 nations after being rejected by Ecuador, according to a statement by WikiLeaks. On his list: China, France, Ireland, and Venezuela, and Russia and Norway confirm that they have received applications from Snowden. The president of Ecuador, Snowden’s original choice for asylum, said on Tuesday that helping the leaker was a “mistake” and Snowden is Russia’s problem. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and they are reportedly slated to discuss Snowden while at a conference in Brunei. If you’re in the military overseas, don’t plan on reading The Guardian: its website has reportedly been banned on computers used by troops abroad.

Even Russia — always happy to titty-twist the U.S. — doesn’t want him, according to the BBC:

Russian President Vladimir Putin had said that while Moscow “never hands over anybody anywhere”, Mr Snowden could only stay on condition that he stopped damaging Russia’s “American partners” with his leaks.

His fifteen minutes are up.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ready For His Closeup?

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will deliver the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union address next week.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., selected Rubio — an influential Latino conservative who was first elected in 2010 — to speak for Republicans in their official response to the president’s speech.

The State of the Union response slot is often seen as a potential launching platform for politicians who harbor national ambitions; fittingly, Rubio is one of the most-hyped figures in the GOP, and is thought to have designs on the party’s presidential nomination in 2016. The honor carries a degree of risk, however: many past figures to deliver their party’s response have been panned for their performance.

The senator will be living up to the notable performances of Michele Bachman (R-MN) in 2011 who gave the Tea Party response and upstaged another up-and-comer, Paul Ryan (R-WI), who was the official GOP designee.  Her message was hampered by the fact that she was looking into the wrong camera when she delivered her rant.  The other audition that fell flat was that of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in February 2009 after President Obama delivered a speech to Congress.  He pretty much ended his national political career that evening with a performance that was hooted out of the hall with his earnestly goofy Kenneth-the-Page delivery.

But no pressure, Senator.  I’m sure you’ll do fine.  It’s not like Boehner and McConnell see you as the token fresh face of the party or anything.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back/Looking Forward

As I do every year on New Year’s Eve, I make predictions about the upcoming year.  Let’s see how I did for 2012:

Barack Obama will narrowly win re-election against Mitt Romney. It will be a campaign of fear, loathing, excess, and outrage… and that’s just on the GOP side until the inevitable coronation of Mr. Romney. The amount of money to be spent on both sides will be enough to run several mid-sized countries. Re-election campaigns are, of course, a vote on the performance of the incumbent, and Mr. Obama will have to defend his record, but the Republicans have, by their own actions, inactions, and lurch to the right in response to their hatred of all things Obama, made the choice in the election pretty clear. The stated GOP agenda has been to deny Barack Obama a second term, but other than that, they have offered nothing of substance if they win the election. That’s not surprising; they never do. They live on bumper sticker slogans and ten-word answers — Repeal Obamacare; Ban Abortion; Deport the Brown People; No More Taxes; Kill the Queers — but they offer no solutions, unless you want to go back to revive the bold and new ideas from the administration of William McKinley. The campaign will resemble that of the one in 1948 where Harry Truman, coming back from dismal approval ratings, beat the patrician and automatonic Thomas E. Dewey. Mr. Truman ran against an intransigent and right-wing-whacky Republican Congress, and Mr. Obama has pretty much the same situation. It won’t be a landslide, but unless there’s a complete meltdown of the Obama campaign juggernaut, he’ll win and might even win back Congress for the Democrats. It will not be the end of the right-wingers by any means; if anything, the re-election of Barack Obama will drive them even further over the cliff, and we will find out that the level of lunacy is infinite.

As I noted shortly after the election in November, I nailed it.  The only thing I missed on was the possibility of winning back the House, but the Democrats did gain seats.

The Supreme Court, by a vote of 5 to 4, will uphold the new healthcare law, and the California Prop 8 case will get on their docket for 2013.

Right on both counts.

Despite the best efforts of the Republicans, the economy will continue to improve, but at about the same pace as it currently is, meaning that by Election Day the unemployment rate will be around 8%. Consumer confidence will continue to grow, and while the housing market will still be soft, bigger ticket items like cars and appliances will start to sell; those old cars can’t run forever.

Right again, although I underestimated the strength of the auto market.  They are having their best year in a long, long time.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be recalled, which will send a shiver through right-wing governors from Ohio and Michigan to Florida. As the thousands of people in the streets from Madison to Wall Street proved, you mess with the middle class at your peril, and that sleeping giant has been awakened.

Okay, I blew that one, and Rick Snyder in Michigan is making Scott Walker look like a liberal.  But I think the backlash will continue, and he has to run for re-election in 2014.

Here in Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (D) will win another term in a tight race against Rep. Connie Mack (R), and Rep. Allen West (R) will be tossed out on his ass by the good people of Broward County. Alan Grayson (D), who lost in 2010, will win back a seat in Congress, and this will send a strong message to the Florida Democrats that if they can find some good people to run for office, they can beat Rick Scott in 2014.

Nailed that one, too, but the strongest contender in the race against Mr. Scott is the newly-minted Democrat Charlie Crist.  Hold your nose, Democrats; to quote E.J. Hornbeck in the film of Inherit the Wind, he may be rancid butter, but he’s on your side of the bread.

The Tigers will go all the way this year. They got very close this year, and there’s always next year.

They did make it all the way to the World Series, only to blow it in a four-game shut out.  Argh.

We will lose the requisite number of celebrities and friends as life goes on. As I always say, it’s important to cherish them while they are with us.

This year seemed especially harsh, both with friends at work and at home, and names that have been part of our lives.  Peace.

Personally, some things never change. I’ll go to the William Inge Festival in April — my 21st time — where we’ll honor David Henry Hwang. I’ll go to Stratford in July with my parents, and I’ll go back to work on Tuesday. I’ve done some tinkering with the Pontiac as it verges on becoming a certified antique, which happens when the 2013 models go on sale. I have no plans to move or change jobs, and the only momentous thing that will happen is that I turn 60 in September. Big whoop.

All true, and to celebrate the Big Six-Oh I threw a little party.

Okay, let’s move on to the predictions for 2013:

- President Obama moves into his second term with pretty much the same situation in Washington and Congress as he has had for the last two years, so nothing will really get done.  The budget matters, including the fake drama of the Fiscal Cliff, will still be around in some form because it’s a lot easier to kick it down the road than actually do something, especially when you have a Republican Party that absolutely refuses to work with the president on anything at all.  It has nothing to do with policy, deficits or debt, taxes or revenue.  The reason is pretty simple: they don’t like him, and so like a kid in grade school who refuses to do his math homework because he hates the teacher, they refuse to budge.  You can pick your excuses, ranging from his Spock-like demeanor to his refusal to suck up to the Villagers, but most of it comes down to the unspoken reason that dare not speak its name: he’s black.  No one dares say that out loud, but get three beers in any Republican, and I’ll bet they’ll admit it by saying “He’s not one of us.”  How many dog whistles do you need?  A big tell was that in the last-minute budget negotiations, Mitch McConnell went to Vice President Joe Biden as the go-between the Congress and the president.  Why?  Because Mr. Biden was in the Senate and knows how to talk to them, and also because he’s the white guy.  So we will have another year of gridlock, and the new Congress will make the one just concluded look good.

- The Supreme Court will rule the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8 are unconstitutional.  It will be a very close vote, probably 5-4 on both cases, and they will narrowly rule on both cases, doing their best not to fling open the doors to marriage equality with a blanket ruling and leave the rest of it up to the states.  But they will both go down.  On the other hand, they will rule against Affirmative Action.  I also think there will be some changes to the make-up of the Court with at least one retirement, either voluntary or by the hand of fate.

- Even if we went over the fiscal cliff or curb or speed-bump, the economy will continue to improve, with the unemployment rate going below 7% by Labor Day.  I know this only because I know that our economy, like the water level in the Great Lakes, goes in cycles no matter what the hand of Wall Street or Washington does… unless they completely screw it up like the last time and make it even worse.

- After the extreme weather we saw in 2012, at long last we will move to do something about climate change or global warming or whatever it is fashionably called.  It won’t be done by Congress, however; it will be because the people who make a living off the climate, such as agriculture and coastal enterprises such as fishing and tourism, will make it happen through their own efforts.  (Yeah, I’m being extremely optimistic on this one.  A year from now I will happily concede I blew it.)

- The extremism from the right that entertained us in 2012 will continue, albeit muted because 2013 isn’t an election year except in New Jersey, where Chris Christie will be re-elected and start his Howard Dean-like campaign for the presidency in 2016.  The GOP will refuse to acknowledge they have a problem, but as 2014 looms and the wingers that were elected in 2010 face re-election, they will find themselves scrambling hard for candidates that can survive primary battles where the nutsery reigns and then win the general election.  The only reason Governors Rick Scott of Florida, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and John Kasich of Ohio will be re-elected in 2014 is if the Democrats don’t move in for the kill.

- I’ve given up predicting the Tigers’ future this year.  Surprise me, boys.

- We will lose the requisite number of celebrities and friends as life goes on. As I always say, it’s important to cherish them while they are with us.

- Personally, this year looks good on a couple of fronts.  The Pontiac is due back from the body shop this week, and I have formally entered it in its first national Antique Automobile of America car show to take place in Lakeland, Florida, in February.  Things are looking better at work with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools getting a number of important grants, including a $32 million program from Race To The Top for math preparation, and the District won the coveted Broad Prize for Urban Education this past fall.  One of my short plays has been selected for production in May 2013 at the Lake Worth Playhouse’s Short Cuts series, and hope springs eternal for a full-scale production again of Can’t Live Without You here in Florida.  This time I have a good director who would love to do it if we can get a theatre.  I’ll be off to the William Inge Festival in May to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Inge’s birth, and plans are in the works for our annual trip to Stratford, Ontario, next summer.  My family continues to enjoy good health and good spirits.  The blessings continue.  (PS: No, I still don’t have a Twitter account.)

- And of course, the usual prediction: One year from now I’ll write a post just like this one, look back at this one, and think, “Gee, that was dumb.” Or not.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shut Your Pie Hole

John Metz, the Denny’s franchise owner here in Florida who encouraged customers to stiff his staff for the cost of Obamacare, got a sharp lesson in corporate imagery.

Denny’s chief executive John Miller privately reached out to Metz to express his “disappointment” with the Florida franchisee’s controversial statements about Obamacare, which sparked a wave of backlash for the national restaurant chain over the past few days. Metz released a statement Monday night expressing “regret” over his statements.

“We recognize his right to speak on issues, but registered our disappointment that his comments have been interpreted as the company’s position,” Miller said in an email to The Huffington Post.

Miller is rushing to put out the fire sparked by Metz’s controversial proposal to charge restaurant customers a 5 percent Obamacare fee. “Customers have two choices: They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server,” Metz told HuffPost in an interview last week.

Some Denny’s franchisees have since dealt with angry customers, calls for a boycott and declining sales. A spokeswoman for Metz said he will not conduct more interviews.

Why is it that people are always so surprised that the public pays attention to things they say in public?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Wrong Reasons

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), also the losing vice presidential candidate with Mitt Romney, gave an interview to a local station in Wisconsin and summed up why they lost:

“I think the surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race,” said Ryan to local station WISC-TV in his first post-election interview…. Ryan, though, said that the election was not a referendum on his budget proposals and ideas on reforming entitlement programs.

“I don’t think we lost it on those budget issues, especially on Medicare — we clearly didn’t lose it on those issues,” he said.

Nice dog-whistle there with the “urban areas” comment; we’d have won if all those minorities — y’know, the folks whose votes we were trying to suppress — hadn’t turned up.

And yes, Romney/Ryan did lose on the budget issues, because a combined 60% of those polled at the exits said they wanted to see tax rates increased on the rich or for everyone.

Mr. Ryan hedged his bets in the election and also ran for his seat in Wisconsin and won, so he’ll be around for a while.  I suspect the next time we’ll hear from him is when he takes a little trip to Iowa about a year from now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chris Christie’s Moment

Charles S. Pierce bear-hugs Chris Christie:

In case you missed it, no matter who wins next Tuesday, Chris Christie almost guaranteed his inauguration on January 20, 2017. From his tough-guy outburst at that dough-brained mayor of Atlantic City, to his outburst of genuine grace regarding the president and the federal response to the deluge that swamped his state, to his fundamental acceptance of the reality that we need a national government to solve national problems, to the way he slapped around the denizens of the Fox News Couch of Stupid, you have to give it to the man. He’s been a genuine star over the last 48 hours.

I have a great deal of respect for Charlie Pierce, but I don’t think this moment is going to cement anything for Gov. Christie.  First, people tend to forget how their politicians reacted to a natural disaster unless they completely screw it up, and trying to capitalize on one event, even one this size, doesn’t have a long shelf life.  As Steve M notes, “President Guiliani.”  Or, for that matter, Romney running mate Bobby Jindal.

No matter how much the gruff lug from Joisey makes Maureen Dowd’s heart go pitty-pat, Mr. Christie would be a hard sell to the true believers in the GOP base.  He obviously did not get the memo that no Republican can ever say anything nice about Barack Obama.  Ever.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Poor Joe

Remember Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher from the last rodeo?  He’s the guy from Toledo that got his fifteen minutes as a campaign prop for John McCain in 2008.  Well, he’s running for Congress from Ohio against Marcy Kaptur (D), the longest-serving woman in Congress.  But the enthusiasm he generated from the Tea Party and the Palinistas four years ago has faded, and his campaign is running on fumes.

Reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission show Mr. Wurzelbacher (R., Springfield Township) raised $39,678 in the third quarter this year and $365,784 for the race so far. Miss Kaptur (D.,Toledo) raised $208,139 in the same quarter and a total of $968,159 in the 2012 election contest so far. As of Sept. 30, she had $245,269 in cash left in her campaign account.

[...]Mr. Wurzelbacher has reported total expenditures of $357,810 for the campaign, including three $5,000 monthly salary payments to himself, on July 2, July 31, and Sept. 4. His report also shows a debt of $7,013 to the Detroit law firm Clark Hill for “legal services.”

Maybe he can be a guest star on Sarah Palin’s next reality show: Tales from the Dork Side.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Short Takes

Egypt’s new president spells out terms for U.S.-Arab ties.

Pakistani official offers a bounty for the killing of the anti-Islam film.

On the other hand, a lot of Muslims decry the violence over the stupid movie.

President Obama keeps up the 47% attack in Wisconsin.

Paul Ryan panders to Little Havana.

Hello, Sailor — The fleets are in Key West.

A man who mauled in a tiger’s cage in the Bronx zoo wanted to be “one with the tiger.”  (He almost was one with its stomach.)

The Tigers beat the Twins, tighten the division race.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Short Takes

Bombings kill dozens in Baghdad.

The Republicans duked it out last night in yet another debate, this time in Arizona.

Virginia’s governor shifts his position on state-sanctioned rape via probe.

Housing sales picked up, but prices haven’t.

We’re Number One: Miami-Dade County leads the nation in cuts to social services by the feds.

Not so fast: Glitch found in faster-than-light experiment.

R.I.P. Marie Colvin, American reporter for London’s Sunday Times, killed in an attack in Syria.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back/Looking Forward

It’s time for my annual crystal ball gazing and retrospective. A year ago I made some predictions, so let’s see how I did.

On December 31, 2010, I wrote:

- If you thought 2010 was the year of gridlock, Hell No You Can’t, and strange pronouncements from political characters and punditry, that was only the curtain raiser. With the House in the hands of the far-right and the Tea Party unmoved and unimpressed with reality, we’re going to be constantly entertained, horrified, disgusted, and gob-smacked. Speaker of the House John Boehner will be dealing with a group of people who resemble a classroom full of sugared-up eight-year-olds. All the attempts to repeal every bill passed by a Democratic president since 1960 will energize the base only to have them ground to a fine powder and blown away by the Senate or a veto pen. There will be heroic, if not Pyrrhic, attempts to cut spending and bring down the deficit, but the crazies are driving the bus and as long as they do, it’s going to look more like a pie fight than civil discourse. The DREAM Act will not pass; Republicans need someone to beat up on, and immigrants, like Muslims, are easy pickings since they know that they’ll never vote for the GOP. Meanwhile, they’ll keep up the kinderspiel of doing things like reading the Constitution while constantly trying to subvert it and re-write it, especially when they get to the part about “equal rights under the law.” Of course they believe in that… as long as you’re white, straight, and Christian. There will be hundreds of subpoenas issued by House committees to investigate everything in the Obama White House, up to and including the bidding process for the swing set built for the Obama children. If you want to make a fortune in this economy, graduate law school in January, pass the bar exam, and move to Washington.

Nailed it. That was kind of an easy one, because if there’s one thing that’s easy to predict, it’s the behavior of the Republicans. They dug in their heels on simple things like passing bills to support the responders to September 11, 2001 and autism research just because the president supported them, while out at the state level, newly-elected governors took their elections as mandates to enact new bills that overreached and angered even their own supporters. It was a year of hostage-taking and childish tantrums, hypocrisy and schadenfreude, race-baiting, women-hating, and gay-bashing, and we haven’t even gotten past the candidates who are running for the GOP nomination.

More below the fold.


- The economy will continue to improve, albeit slowly. That’s how they do it; they go in cycles, and especially after this last Great Recession, there will be a lot of changes, just as there was after every economic downturn. A year from now the unemployment number will be around 8%, which is still high, but on the track to be lower by the time the 2012 election comes around.

I give myself a B on that one. The unemployment rate is allegedly at 8.6% nationally, but it’s still in the teens for black men, and it’s still higher than that in some states. Here in Florida it’s getting a little better in spite of Gov. Rick Scott’s gutting of many programs and throwing a lot of state workers out of jobs.

- Of course Sarah Palin will announce she’s running for president. We’ve known that since the day after the 2008 election. Her competition will include Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and just for the fun of it, John Bolton. A year from now, we’ll be weeks away from the Iowa caucuses. President Obama will not have a serious primary challenger. The “professional left” is a pale shadow of a threat compared to the hard-core on the right; when they form a circular firing squad, they usually end up winging it.

Half right on that in that Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich would be in the running, but I should have known that Sarah Palin had neither the attention span or the maturity to make a valid attempt to run for office. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that her replacements — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain — would be just as entertaining.

- We’re going to see more progress on gay equality, but at about the same pace as this year. Court cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act will make it to the federal level, and Perry vs. Schwarzenegger will be appealed to the Supreme Court no matter the outcome of the current appeal, and it should land on the steps in Washington in time for the 2012 term. By then, perhaps, Antonin Scalia will be retired and living in Sicily. Based on the make-up of the House and Senate, you can forget about passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

I give myself an A- on that; the Prop 8 case hasn’t made it to the U.S. Supreme Court yet, but a lot more progress is being made, including the Senate voting out a bill to repeal DOMA. The end of DADT in September was a huge achievement.

- Florida politics will be fun to watch. Gov. Rick Scott will get a lot of stuff through the legislature since they’re all Republicans, but it will be interesting to see what he does with the economy since it’s the only thing bigger than his personal wealth. At some point even he and the legislature will figure out that cutting taxes and services will hit the wall, and even Republicans send their kids to public schools and take prescription medicines. I give it until June before some kind of scandal about cronyism and questionable dealings hits the state; it’s in their DNA. And in Miami-Dade politics, it would be an event if there wasn’t a scandal, threats of recalls, and some people doing the Miranda macarena.

That Rick Scott isn’t under indictment isn’t a surprise, but neither is his approval level, which is about the same as that of the ebola virus. His regime of voter registration laws and drug testing for welfare benefits are facing lawsuits, and his slashing of education funding in favor of corporate tax relief and charter schools has decimated public education to the point that he’s rapidly trying to recover. Locally, Miami went through a recall and run-off election for the county mayor, and the cronyism at the high levels got so rampant that even the Miami Herald wrote about it. In other words, just another year in South Florida.

- Another perennial favorite: This will be the year that Cuba will see some big changes, through the passing of one or more of the Castro brothers and the de facto relaxation of the U.S. embargo to the point that by next year, Cuba will be like Vietnam; nominally Communist but practically capitalist. (I’ve been saying that privately since 1989, though.)

Right prediction, wrong region: what I wanted for Cuba landed in the Middle East, so we got rid of dictators in Tunis, Libya, Egypt, and we’re working on Syria and Yemen. Next year in Havana….

- Personal predictions… the same, I hope, as last year: I will keep writing, I will continue to go to Inge and to Stratford, I’ll still be driving the Mustang, the Pontiac will still be in the garage. If I upgrade my technology, it will be to get a Samsung 42″ flat screen HDTV, assuming I can come up with the money for it.

I am nothing if not predictable. All came true, with the exception that the HDTV is 32″.

Okay, now I’ll boldly go into 2012.

- Barack Obama will narrowly win re-election against Mitt Romney. It will be a campaign of fear, loathing, excess, and outrage… and that’s just on the GOP side until the inevitable coronation of Mr. Romney. The amount of money to be spent on both sides will be enough to run several mid-sized countries. Re-election campaigns are, of course, a vote on the performance of the incumbent, and Mr. Obama will have to defend his record, but the Republicans have, by their own actions, inactions, and lurch to the right in response to their hatred of all things Obama, made the choice in the election pretty clear. The stated GOP agenda has been to deny Barack Obama a second term, but other than that, they have offered nothing of substance if they win the election. That’s not surprising; they never do. They live on bumper sticker slogans and ten-word answers — Repeal Obamacare; Ban Abortion; Deport the Brown People; No More Taxes; Kill the Queers — but they offer no solutions, unless you want to go back to revive the bold and new ideas from the administration of William McKinley. The campaign will resemble that of the one in 1948 where Harry Truman, coming back from dismal approval ratings, beat the patrician and automatonic Thomas E. Dewey. Mr. Truman ran against an intransigent and right-wing-whacky Republican Congress, and Mr. Obama has pretty much the same situation. It won’t be a landslide, but unless there’s a complete meltdown of the Obama campaign juggernaut, he’ll win and might even win back Congress for the Democrats. It will not be the end of the right-wingers by any means; if anything, the re-election of Barack Obama will drive them even further over the cliff, and we will find out that the level of lunacy is infinite.

- The Supreme Court, by a vote of 5 to 4, will uphold the new healthcare law, and the California Prop 8 case will get on their docket for 2013.

- Despite the best efforts of the Republicans, the economy will continue to improve, but at about the same pace as it currently is, meaning that by Election Day the unemployment rate will be around 8%. Consumer confidence will continue to grow, and while the housing market will still be soft, bigger ticket items like cars and appliances will start to sell; those old cars can’t run forever.

- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be recalled, which will send a shiver through right-wing governors from Ohio and Michigan to Florida. As the thousands of people in the streets from Madison to Wall Street proved, you mess with the middle class at your peril, and that sleeping giant has been awakened.

- Here in Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (D) will win another term in a tight race against Rep. Connie Mack (R), and Rep. Allen West (R) will be tossed out on his ass by the good people of Broward County. Alan Grayson (D), who lost in 2010, will win back a seat in Congress, and this will send a strong message to the Florida Democrats that if they can find some good people to run for office, they can beat Rick Scott in 2014.

- The Tigers will go all the way this year. They got very close this year, and there’s always next year.

- We will lose the requisite number of celebrities and friends as life goes on. As I always say, it’s important to cherish them while they are with us.

- Personally, some things never change. I’ll go to the William Inge Festival in April — my 21st time — where we’ll honor David Henry Hwang. I’ll go to Stratford in July with my parents, and I’ll go back to work on Tuesday. I’ve done some tinkering with the Pontiac as it verges on becoming a certified antique, which happens when the 2013 models go on sale. I have no plans to move or change jobs, and the only momentous thing that will happen is that I turn 60 in September. Big whoop.

- And of course, the usual prediction: One year from now I’ll write a post just like this one, look back at this one, and think, “Gee, that was dumb.” Or not.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

“Joe” Tries for Another Fifteen Minutes

Fish, meet barrel

Just after America learned Sarah Palin won’t make a run for the White House, her old hunting buddy Joe the Plumber is closer to becoming Joe the Candidate for Congress.

Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher, who became an overnight sensation during the 2008 presidential campaign, said in a telephone interview Monday that he would decide by Oct. 25 if he will run for Ohio’s 9th U.S. House district.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, however, has filed a “statement of candidacy” with the Federal Elections Commission to run as a Republican for that congressional seat. The filing, made last week, means a campaign committee can raise and spend funds on his behalf.

Mr. Wurzelbacher does not even live in the 9th District; if he were to run in his own, the 5th, he’d be up against the lumpen Bob Latta, also known as Mr. Excitement. (Not really; he’s as boring as whaleshit.) Even so, he’d still lose.

I suspect that “Joe” chose to run (or was conned into it by his handlers) in the 9th because the Ohio legislature redistricted it into a sliver of land running along Lake Erie from Toledo to the suburbs of Cleveland; literally trying to marginalize Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) and the Democrats. But this could be the best consolation prize the nutsery could come up with for her; it’s been a while since Ms. Kaptur, who is the longest-serving woman in the House, has had a chance to have fun beating a completely hapless opponent.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

That’s A Wrap

As expected, Sarah Palin says she’s not running for president.

“Not being a candidate, you are unshackled and able to be even more active,” she said on “The Mark Levin Show“. “I look forward to using all the tools at my disposal to get the right people in there who have a servant’s heart.”

Translation: “I can make a lot more money by hawking ghost-written books, and I’m not actually held accountable for anything I say. Win-win.”

Fine. And now the rest of us who actually care about the future of our country can ignore her entirely with a clear conscience.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Short Takes

Not at home — Rebels overtook the Qaddafi compound in Tripoli, but Qaddafi himself and his sons were not there.

A rare 5.9 earthquake jolted the East Coast.

Loosening up — The Obama administration announced plans to eliminate or change hundreds of federal regulations.

Yesterday was a good day on Wall Street.

Not just us — Japan’s credit rating was cut by Moody’s.

Remember the “Liberty City Seven”? Their case is now up to a federal appeals court.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.

The Tigers won their fifth straight by beating the Rays.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hair Toady, Gone To Mar-A-Lago

Donald Trump is taking his toys and going home:

Donald J. Trump announced on Monday that he would not seek the presidency, a development less important for the Republican field or his national political future — if he ever had one — than for what it said about a media culture that increasingly seems to give the spotlight to the loudest, most outrageous voices.

Mr. Trump spent months earnestly portraying himself as a potential nominee for a party whose coalition includes family values activists, antigambling religious leaders and deficit hawks, some of whom might just have blanched at his two divorces, casino holdings, penchant for debt financing and formerly liberal positions on some issues.

To some degree he succeeded, using a combination of attributes that made him uniquely qualified to capitalize on the times: Near-universal name recognition (enhanced by his prime-time berth on NBC as the host of “Celebrity Apprentice”), gobs of cash and two decades of experience putting his outsize personality to use in the service of headline creation, starting in the pre-Internet era with the New York City tabloids.

The news came at the same time that NBC announced its fall line-up, including Mr. Trump’s program. Coincidence?

Photo credit: Pam’s House Blend.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Short Takes

Never Mind — Sweden indicts — then clears — Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, on rape charges.

Australia’s election didn’t lead to a clear winner.

The egg company in Iowa where the salmonella outbreak occurred has a record of infractions.

Four Miami police shootings in six weeks have a lot of people angry.

Betty White can thank Facebook for her Emmy for hosting SNL.

Best Headline of the Day from MSNBC: “Swastika-Touting UFO Cult Plans Topless Protest.”

Tropical Update: TD Six has formed in the North Atlantic.

The Tigers beat the Indians again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Used Carp

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber from Toledo, is pissed to find out that he got played by John McCain.

“I don’t owe him shit,” Wurzelbacher said. “He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it.”

“McCain was trying to use me,” he said. “I happened to be the face of middle Americans. It was a ploy.”

Oh really? Is he figuring out this just now, or was it after his book deal, his TV show, and his country album deal went sour?