NYC mayor’s vendetta against bladder busters may spread

A cartoonist for the Conservative Daily News caught the mood just right here.

New Yorkers may soon need to grab a refill if they want to consume mass quantities of soda. That is, if Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way.

It’s just another day at the office for Hizzoner. Since taking office, Bloomberg has opened fire on smokers, trans fats, salty snacks and soft drinks. This latest has Bloomberg calling for a ban of sugared drinks in anything larger than 16 ounces, no matter what the majority of voters say.

So much for the famous Bladder Buster, or whatever it is your favorite convenience store calls its 40-plus-ounce Mt. Dew. Even the 20-ounce bottle, which is the new standard size for soda, has to go.

Keep your nose inside the vehicle at all times.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey — which is really New York South though no one will readily admit it — is considering another out-of-left-field law that will prohibit the family dog from riding in the passenger seat with his head sticking out the window. Pets must be restrained when in the vehicle, maybe even with a harness.


I don’t live in New York. I’ve never been there, and I have no desire to ever go there as long as I live. I could say I don’t understand the Bloomberg way of governance, but that would be a lie. I grew up in California, which is about like New York except the sun occasionally shines.

It’s my California experience that keeps me from laughing as I read about the latest Bloomberg Follies and about New Jersey’s proposal. I’ve seen too much, and California wrote the manual on how to be a proper Nanny State. Even New Yorkers laugh at Californians.

(A fast disclaimer: “New Yorkers” means those who live in That Big City Up North. If you call an upstater a New Yorker, he’ll hurt you and I won’t blame him. But I digress.)

But New York and California are the incubators for many of our national problems. Folks talk of street gangs now as if they’re the newest threat to our way of life; they’ve been around New York even before I was born. Illegal immigration used to be a California problem; now it’s even in the Carolinas and yes, the Midwest.

Same thing with some of the laws you used to laugh at. Now you’ll have a problem finding someplace to smoke indoors or make a phone call while driving, and many of those laws started because someone in New York or California complained.

A state with a lot of immmigration — like South Carolina — tends to adopt these laws faster than someplace like South Dakota, which isn’t exactly a hot immigration magnet. Part of it is a natural thing. We California-bred types like our Mexican food, and New Yorkers like the idea that they can call someplace and have a slice of pizza and a bagel delivered at 4 a.m. Except I still can’t find any Mexican food that is even close to the real thing out here, and the 4 a.m.  pizza/bagel runs haven’t materialized yet.

But we’ve got their laws. And we’ve got politicians who think they know what’s good for me better than I do. Something obviously got lost in the translation.

If you want to know the future here in these United States, cast your eyes on New York and California. It’s better than a crystal ball. Just hide your Bladder Buster when you see a cop, and make sure Fido’s paws and tongue stay inside the vehicle at all times.


Who pays attention to endorsements anyway?

A good friend of mine mentioned recently that a couple of legislators we both admire — Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Tim Scott — so far are laying off on endorsing anybody in the Presidential primaries. My friend says it’s a good thing; we don’t need to form yet another bandwagon in this campaign. There are enough of those already, thank you.

My initial choice in the Republican primaries, Herman Cain, threw a major screwball in giving his endorsement. Hey, he’s having too much fun right right now, making the politico-comedic scene with Steve Colbert, to be messing with the campaign lunacy.

A candidate with half a brain (I understand that is a requirement to run for office in some states) would covet the nod from a DeMint, a Cain, or even the freshman Scott.

Politicians are funny about endorsements. When I edited a weekly paper in Arizona, a City Councilman kept bugging me about it during the election season. Somehow or other he got the idea I set the policy there — that privilege usually goes to the guy who buys all that paper and ink, and it sure wasn’t me. But the owner and I were on the same page there, so I got to make the endorsements.

In truth, though, I can’t tell you who really pays attention to those endorsements.

OK, I lied. Maybe I can:

  • The candidates themselves.
  • The ones making the endorsements.
  • The drones.

Of course the candidates are interested in endorsements. They’re in a volatile business, and their fortunes are dictated by public opinion. They’re always checking the wind. A good endorsement from a fellow politician (why did I say wind?) shows the candidate he may be on the right track and wowing the right crowd. And a media endorsement is good, too. As laughably ineffectual as the mainstream media is these days, they still have enough muscle to set policy.

The endorser also has an interest here. To a politician making an endorsement, it can be genuine respect, the making of an alliance somewhere along the line, or a favor to be called later. Like it or not, horse trading is still a big part of politics. And a news outlet has thousands of advertising dollars riding on an endorsement — not just in the political season, but after the votes are counted and the signs torn down.

But that’s small stuff. Why did I mention the drones?

The drone factor is important here. Off the election results over the past couple of decades, they may be in the majority by now. More likely they already are; they only recently discovered voting.

I’d have no problem if these drones (y’all know who you are) merely retired in front of the television, watched the newest hottest reality show, kept up with the celeb du jour, got their news from the National Enquirer or TMZ, and left the voting to those who actually care.

The drones pay attention to such stuff as endorsements, and are more likely to base their vote from an endorsement than a person who actually engages his brain every once in a while.

Here’s the straight stuff: If I vote a certain way because my favorite movie actor or athlete says so, I’m a drone.

If I vote for someone because my union/teacher/boss/spouse/authority-figure-of-choice votes a certain way, I’m another drone.  Taking advice from someone you respect is one thing, but giving that authority figure the pink slip to your vote is something else entirely.

If I vote with an eye toward what I would get out of it and screw the rest of the country, I’m the worst kind of drone.


Stay home.

Go away.

Better to handle sharp objects than a ballot.

Oh, yes. That newspaper owner I actually saw eye to eye with on endorsements: We both agreed that to make an endorsement was to insult the voter’s intelligence. I did have the privilige of writing the editorial containing our endorsements, too. After listening to all the candidates bugging me for months and stringing them along a little bit, I wrote something like this:

“Here are our recommendations on how you should vote: Make sure the paper ballot is right side up before you punch out your choices.”

Fun days. But my boss wouldn’t let me write anything urging the drones to stay home.

Oh, well. There’s always this election.



How will the Feds cut health care costs?

I just had to share this. And no, it’s not funny. Not when you consider I’ve been eligible for AARP for four years and am a year away from various senior citizens’ discounts everywhere.

My mom, who is older than I am (obviously!) sent this along via one of those Fw: emails, which I usually don’t mess with. But here it is.

Thanks, Mom. I think.

* * *

Just saying goodbye…

To help save the economy, the Government will announce
month that the Immigration Department will start
deporting seniors (instead of illegal’s) in order to lower
Social Security and Medicare costs.
Older people are easier to catch and will not
remember how to get back home.
I started to cry when I thought of you.
Then it dawned on me … oh, crap …
I’ll see you on the bus!

Citizen journalism to rule in ’12: A good thing?

The 2012 election may be the first one to be covered primarily by citizen-journalists, though whether that is a good thing is a tough call.

This development is expected, really. By the last presidential election, the mainstream media had deprecated to the point where any real journalism coming out was purely accidental, and the 2008 winner, Barack Obama, escaped the scrutiny that candidates usually get. Thanks in part to the dying press and the babbling electronic media, Americans elected someone with no discernible background. Might as well have chosen The Unknown Candidate, complete with the paper sack over his head.

This news dynamic changed even more — devolved, perhaps — since then, with velocity being the order of the day. Well, that’s always been an issue in news gathering as the media outlet that breaks the story gets the bragging rights. But in 21st Century America that lead time is cut to seconds instead of hours. We now have news as it happens, or more frequently news as it doesn’t happen. Could this be the dynamic that shapes coverage in the 2012 election?

It’s not 2012 yet. It’s not the primary season yet, not even the pre-primaries. But in the pre-pre-primaries we’ve already had enough drama to stock a whole campaign. Try a dozen debates already between Republican candidates, and at least a dozen more to come. It seems every special interest group has a debate or forum of its own, and already some very promising candidates rode the roller coaster:

  • Mitt Romney starts with frontrunner status. Herman Cain shows strength in some debates, becomes the one who can beat Obama. Rick Perry sneaks in from the south entrance with strong conservative ties. Sarah Palin bows out early, before she even gets in.
  • Cain and Perry propose specific tax plans.
  • Perry shows poorly in a debate.
  • Cain is the new frontrunner.
  • Cain is accused of sexual harassment, which could be anything from grabbing a touchie/feelie to holding a door open for a female coworker. Cain accuses the Perry camp for this, and takes a tumble in the polls.
  • Perry has the mother of all brain farts in another debate, something like 40 seconds of dead air time. By rights it should kill his campaign except that the others are trying to kill their own faster, more thoroughly.
  • Now Newt Gingrich, who hadn’t been relevant all century, is looking like he could be a front runner, if you can believe that.

Got all that?

Mind you, it’s not even 2012 yet. It’s still the pre-pre-primary.

Between the usual online news suspects and the bloggers, tweeters, user-generated news outlets, and social media dispatches, there shouldn’t be any great mystery about any of the candidates. Not this time.

By the time voters start casting ballots for real in the primaries, we should know everything about everyone running. We’ll know who was born here, we’ll know how each one did in school, and we might even know where each candidate is coming from politically. All will be throughly vetted. The trick, then, is for the thinking voter to separate the news from the nonsense, not likely to be an easy task when citizen-journalists rule public discourse.

Anytime the media is user-driven — or to put it more inelegantly, run by the rabble — there’s always a danger of being overcome by a flood of nonsensical information. It will reflect our society, which is more interested in Dancing With The Stars than real-live flesh-and-blood issues.

It’ll be interesting to see if anyone still cares, or is even awake for the presidential campaign during the primaries and general election, when it counts.




Greene’s Air Force records should carry no real surprises

H’mmm … According to his service records:
” … an overall inability to clearly express his thoughts and perform basic tasks …”
Y’all probably noticed this first deficiency in his occasional interviews; I don’t think I need to say more here. He demonstrates this every time he opens his mouth.
This is according to the Post & Courier:

Greene’s Air Force records damaging + documents:

Requires Flash enabled device. For other devices, obtain the PDF version of the records here.

Surprise U.S. Senate nominee Alvin Greene frequently mentions his 13 years of military service, but records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press show the veteran who has called himself an ‘American hero’ was considered a lackluster service member at best.

The records, which document his superiors’ decisions to pass over Greene for promotion, cite mistakes as severe as improperly uploading sensitive intelligence information to a military server, and as basic as an overall inability to clearly express his thoughts and perform basic tasks.

Greene, 32, won a surprise victory in the June 8 Democratic primary. Greene handily defeated Vic Rawl, a former lawmaker and judge who had been expected to easily win by the party establishment.”

Gonna be a fun campaign, yes?

Wis. candidate can’t use controversial description on ballot

… and you thought South Carolina had strange politics:

Wis. candidate can’t use controversial description

Ieshuh Griffin, an independent candidate for the Wisconsin state Assembly, holds up her nomination papers Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., after an election oversight board said the Milwaukee woman can not describe herself on the ballot as 'NOT the 'whiteman's b----.''  State law allows independent candidates to have five words describing them placed after their name on the ballot. Griffin argued that the phrase was protected free speech but the state Government Accountability Board said that the statement was pejorative and not allowed. (AP Photo/Todd Richmond) EDS NOTE LANGUAGE WRITTEN ON BALLOT PAPERAP – A legislative candidate from Wisconsin can’t use a profane, racially charged phrase to describe herself on the ballot, an election oversight board decided Wednesday.

An Alvin Greene action figure?

It just gets stranger and stranger around here, folks. Deeper and deeper.

Alvin Greene isn’t just a South Carolina joke, but a national one.

Hang that, he’s gone worldwide.

He told The Guardian (out of London) that making action figures of himself might help South Carolina’s economy. No kidding!

As the Guardian so glibly pointed out, if the idea actually worked, it still wouldn’t help the American economy. But it might help China’s.

Just read the story for yourself:

Alvin Greene wants a Toy Story | Richard Adams: “

Guardian interview with Senate candidate Alvin Greene reveals his economic policy: making Alvin Greene action dolls

My colleague Ed Pilkington makes the trip to South Carolina to interview the now famous Alvin Greene about his bizarre US Senate candidacy and Democratic primary election victory. Ed does unearth this gem from Greene’s fertile brain:

It is clear, too, in the course of the two hours I spend with Greene that he has some pretty wacky ideas that, were he to win in November, would put him among the more unpredictable members of the Senate. At one point, he lurches off on his big idea for how to create jobs in South Carolina.

Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, air force uniform, and me in my suit. They can make toys of me and my vehicle, especially for the holidays and Christmas for the kids. That’s something that would create jobs. So you see I think out of the box like that. It’s not something a typical person would bring up. That’s something that could happen, that makes sense. It’s not a joke.’

Except that those sorts of things – plastic childrens’ toys – are all made in China these days.

The whole piece is worth reading, with a serious point, made when Ed gets a response from Greene’s father:

And the suggestion that he is mentally ill? ‘That’s an insult!’ The answer is barked out, with distinct anger. But it doesn’t come from Alvin. It comes from James Sr, who is shuffling past in his slippers just as we reach this point.

I turn to him and ask why he thinks such insults, as he sees them, are being levelled at his son. ‘Back in my day black people who registered to vote were turned away. They called the doctor and treated them as crazy.’

The net result of Greene’s eyebrow-raising election, though, is to hand the Republicans a very easy win in South Carolina. Jim DeMint, the sitting senator, was always going to win but Greene’s candidacy means DeMint’s free to raise money for, and campaign in, more competitive races elsewhere – the South Carolina gubernatorial contest for starters, the Kentucky Senate race, the Florida Senate race… take your pick.

Uhh, does he have himself confused with the Governator of California, or what?

At least Arnold Schwarzennegger has this action-toy business figured out.

Greene, not so much. Not unless you figure out a way to market a completely misplaced, unqualified moonbat first.

Oh, I forgot, that’s worked in a recent presidential election, too. 



Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, RINO): ‘I ain’t gay’

This has been the, uhh, scuttlebutt around here for at least a couple of years. But this little snippet about South Carolina’s Graham comes from Outside The Beltway:

Lindsey Graham: I Ain’t Gay: “

Senator Lindsey Graham has long been rumored to be light in his tennis shoes.   But, in an interview with New York Times Magazine, he dismisses this rather humorously:

I know it’s really gonna upset a lot of gay men — I’m sure hundreds of ‘em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge — but I ain’t available. I ain’t gay. Sorry.

(via Taegan Goddard)

There are a lot of reasons why I’m not a big Lindsey Graham fan, and rumors of holecornery (y’all can figure that out for yourselves!) have little or nothing to do with it. But y’all have to admit he does have a way of making the standard denial.

Another Graham development, brought to my attention this morning by local columnist/blogger/radio personality Jack Hunter, aka The Southern Avenger: Anyone notice ol’ Lindsey hasn’t been hanging around John McCain lately? Shoot, the two were practically inseparable during the 2008 Presidential campaign. But now, Graham is likely thinking of his political future, and McCain isn’t exactly cutting edge these days.


Alvin … AL-vin … ALVIN!

So formerly-unknown Senatorial candidate Alvin Greene wants to debate incumbent Jim DeMint?

This ought to be good. Or maybe not.

The Big Picture, whoever they are, spent a little time talking to Greene recently. To his credit, he sounds a little more together in this interview, but it still doesn’t bode well for his debate chances:

This campaign isn’t even going to be funny …