Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

First, an earthquake, then, a hurricane, then, a Deluge …

The author after the Deluge.

Damn, that iBook works underwater (don't try this at home)

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am sharing my studio/office with three industrial blowers and a matching dehumidifier. My wife is trying to say something to me from the stairway … WAYYYYYYY over there … I can barely hear a word. HUH? I yell. She takes a few steps closer. Now I can actually hear a stream of unintelligible wife sounds. HUH? Finally, she gets next to me and I can finally hear her question. I just can’t understand it because there’s too much @#$%^&*( noise to THINK!

Ahhhh, the last few weeks. An earthquake, a hurricane–and then a deluge. The earthquake was relatively fun for me. I’d never been in one before and I was taking a nap for a headache on a bed with one of those memory foam mattress pads. Suddenly, I awoke to find myself on a huge square of Jell-O. As consciousness seeped into my brain, I wondered if it was an explosion–nope, lasting too long, OMG is THIS what an earthquake feels like? Should I get up and stand under a doorwa…whoops, it’s over. I understand it was scary if you were in one of the highrises in the area or one of the areas with a nuclear plant, but from my vantage, it was a very brief theme park ride. Whheeeeee!

The hurricane was more serious for more people, but again, we had it easy this far inland. Over-prepared. Took more time to undo the storm preparations than the storm actually lasted. But last Sunday, the start of the Deluge from the storm in the Gulf. FOUR DAYS of torrential rain and on Wednesday night, the drain in the back stairs silted up and the water started coming into my basement–where my office is. It’s Nowell’s flood. Whose?? You’ve heard of Noe’s flood–well, this one’s Nowell’s.

Now, some people will tell you that I am all wet anyway. And I don’t wish to dampen any opinions of my work, but this week I will throw a sop to my critics and admit that my wit is not very dry at the moment. The plumber came quickly and re-opened the drain, but my new roommates have been going full blast all weekend. It sounds like an airplane hangar.

Obama gave a speech about doing something to create jobs. I’m afraid I didn’t listen because I was in the middle of flood recovery at the time. Not to worry, Eric Cantor said they would only pass the parts that our corporate overlords liked. That should really help things. That is, if you really want an unemployment rate above 10%–which the Republican party wants because they think it will all be blamed on the Democrats–and especially Obama–and more people will be willing to take jobs at ridiculously low wages–which they won’t get because those have all been sent to India. This is because the Republican Party loves America.

Speaking of loving America, we’ve just had the 10th anniversary of the horrible event that caused ten years of national insanity. For a week, everyone wrote about 9/11. We’re still fighting two wars, neither of which were particularly useful in solving the cause of 9/11. And both of which actually made our reputation worse. We’ll probably be throwing money away on both of them for the next decade. We’re still taking our shoes off to get on an airplane. Which means we’re still #$%^&*( insane.

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Boehner and the Boehnheads

John Boehner turns blue in the face trying to corral the tea party caucus.

Knock, knock. Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn't say: Argo ... yourself?

Once again, we have one situation that we can’t do a cartoon about, or at least one that we can’t get a funny take on. I’m referring, of course, to those idiots down in Florida who “tried and convicted” a Qu’ran and then burned it at the stake. Ahhh, we’ve come a long way since the Middle Ages. Since this didn’t get enough press and outrage from the Muslims around the world, our pal Hamid Karzai made sure everyone knew about it by rending his garments, pouring ashes on his head and demanding justice for the desecrators. Knowing full well that there is no law they can be charged with and that the US of A was certainly not going to extradite anyone to face “justice” someplace else for something that happened within our own sovereign borders. And of course, another bunch of idiots from the peaceful religion of Islam, having heard what happened via our good pal in Afghanistan, in order to put the lie to Terry Jones’ and company’s “indictment” of the book, have run around rioting and murdering people. There’s nothing I could draw that could outdo the collective idiocy occasioned by this idiotic asshole down in Florida, so I’m not even going to try.

I’m going to turn to our other good friend, John Boehner. The Republican party, as you know, has nominal control of the House of Representatives, making our national Boehner Speaker of the House. This means that John has the unenviable task of trying to make sure that bills actually get passed by said august body. The problem for John is that the Republican caucus is actually two caucuses: the official Republican one and the Tea Partiers. This means he has almost as big a problem as the Democrats had getting anything done with the Blue Dog caucus in their party voting against anything that wasn’t conservative enough. And boy. are you going to have a problem making something conservative enough for the Tea Party group.

Seems that most of them are new to this new occupation of politicking and have no idea that it means the art of negotiation and compromise. Now, you could say that about the Republican Party in general–and you’d be right–but most of the real politicians under the tail of the elephant realize that as long as you grandstand about the “big issues”, you can actually get everything else done without a whisper. Not our teabaggers! At least one of them has said that he isn’t gonna vote for any damn budget that doesn’t “defund Obamacare.” And the rest of them have similar demands. And like El-Orans in the desert, they are crying “NO PRISONERS!” as they charge into the august chambers of the august body. And it ain’t even August!

Now John knows that sooner or later, they need a budget. The WORST thing he could possibly do with the economy in its weak condition, excuse me, robust recovery (at least in the financial sector), is shut down the government. There is no consumer, no single employer more important, and to shut it down for even a few days could create such a downturn that even the wealthy could see a dent in their portfolios. He could pass a budget with enough compromises for some Democrats to come on board–but that would be a sin in the Tea Party’s eyes. He could try to explain to the Tea Party that THEY need to make some compromises…but then he’d be seen as a traitor also. As the saying goes (attributed to Mark Twain), “Never try to teach a pig to dance. It just wastes time and annoys the pig.” So somehow, he’s got to figure out how to pass a budget without Democrats and possibly without a whole buncha nominal Republicans. But a lot of Tea Partiers actually think shutting down the government would be a good thing so John might feel that he’s going to be talking himself blue in the face in the next few days.

Or maybe just green.

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ARE Self-congratulations in order?

Three homeless people discuss the jobless recovery

Hey, Goldman Sachs is doing fine...

The other week, President Obama decided he deserved a pat on the back so he gave himself one. The unemployment figures for July showed an amazing drop of ONE-TENTH of ONE PERCENT!. Ahhh, the stumble-us–errrr–stimulus has worked and we have avoided a major financial catastrophe. Kudos to my administration!
Well, Mr. President, I think you might be being a bit premature here. Granted we NEED some good news, what with the economy bouncing along the bottom like it has, but a tenth of a percent is really nothing to write home about. Hey Mom, I got a 65.1 instead of a 65 on that test–I didn’t flunk AS BADLY. I’m sure my mom would’ve just hugged the daylights out of me–or got the daylights out of me some other way. Robert Kuttner points out that the job market still hemmorhaged nearly a quarter of a million more jobs and that the drop in the unemployment rate was due to the fact that more people have stopped looking for work. You see, after you’ve given up looking for work after months and months of fruitless job interviews, the people who figure the unemployment rate decide that either you’ve retired or you’re a skid row bum living on mashed potatoes and Heaven Hill. One of the so-called “hardcore unemployed”. In other words, not worth counting anymore. But, if you manage to find a part-time job cleaning the parking lot at the local MickeyD’s–hey, you’re employed again! According to Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute if you add in all the “marginally attached” and “involuntarily part-time” workers, a staggering 25.6 million people–or over 16 percent of the population (nearly 1 in 6) is either unemployed or underemployed.
The good news is that at least one policy is showing success–the Cash for Clunkers–so much so that it had to be given more money. That at least helps people who HAVE jobs. And gets some of the gas hogs off the road. But mostly, the stimulus has only helped people with large offices…with windows…in banks. And one thing you know about bankers–they don’t give away money without giving themselves a bonus first! Yacht sales were booming last February. You can see some of the best of them here: 10 CEO Mega-Yachts (PHOTOS, POLL). Trickle down in action! Ronald Reagan would be proud.

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