White House Confident that Jay-Z, Solange Crisis Will Resolve Itself

Obama and Jay Z

Obama and Jay Z

Washington DC–White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the media that the White House was anxious over “Elevatorgate” and that the President was preparing to broker a peace settlement between the warring factions. “As with any foreign issue, the President is reluctant to get himself involved, but was willing to offer languid assistance. The crisis in the elevator had shaken the President to his core.” Rumors that the First Lady was preparing a hashtag campaign to raise awareness for the situation have yet to be confirmed. “At this time, our sources tell us that Jay-Z, Solange, and Beyonce have worked things out claiming that it was a ‘private family matter’,” Carney said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and will evaluate our response accordingly.” When asked if another beer summit was involved Carney responded, “We are in contact with Jay-Z’s publicist to find out if he is a Bud, Coors, or Michelob guy.”

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Now that Government is officially working…

… I say it is high time for them to get working.

But, we all know that there is no way these fine elected officials will be able to do any true work related to actual government despite hard-line statements from President Obama regarding partisan politics.

So, I have an idea of baby steps that the government should take in order to learn how to come together and work. I have put together a list of things that annoy us all so these should be easy to pass, and it will lead to confidence within the parties that they can, actually, work together. Get these done. Learn to work together. Then get to the issues that really matter.

Over packaged Children’s Toys

twistsChristmas Morning. Your child eagerly awaits their gifts. Gifts they wrote letters for, pleaded for, and actually behaved around the house in order to get. Paper torn. Joyful yelps! They hold the toy or doll high above their head like a primal trophy. You share in their glee. Then it happens. You try to pry the damned thing free from its bondage while your child grows further impatient.

Why in the world do I need a degree in Applied Knot-Untying to get out my child’s gifts?

There has got to be a better way. Congress do you part!

Children’s Names

name-tagI once met a La-A (pronounced La-Dash-Ah). There’s the internet famous Shithead (obviously pronounced Shuh-teed). In New Zealand, you might bump into Number 16 Bus Shelter. And, speaking of New Zealand, how can any of us forget the commonplace name Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii?

However, at least some of our foreign brethren have the decency to have laws in place to regulate the naming of your child. Want to name your child “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb111163 (clearly, pronounced Albin) don’t try it in Sweden where governing laws prevented it from happening.

Sadly, here in America, this could easily have been a child’s name. I’ve bumped into way too many versions Cameron’s alone. Neither the medicine cabinet, the internet, nor the contents of your handbag should be the inspiration for your child’s name. A child’s name shouldn’t sound like their parents had a mouth full of marbles when explaining it to the nurse. It is high time that the government step in and end the madness!

Lest we be saddled in the future with President Hashtag Smith–oh wait, we just might.

Commercials in Theaters

reserved_lrgThe way I see it, I paid to see the movie, not commercials. It’s the same principle with purchasing HBO or Cinemax or Showtime. Sure, I could watch the same movie on a regular cable channel, but then I’d have to deal with commercials and the inevitable “This Film Has Been Edited for Run Time and Modified to Fit Your Screen”. I chose Pay-Per-View to avoid commercials. Hence, I shouldn’t have to deal with them in the theater also.

If, on the other hand, theater chains continue to insist on commercials for law firms no one has ever heard of despite the fact they are our “neighborhood team” then said law firm should also pay for part of my ticket. I tolerate commercials on my cable channels because without them my bill would resemble the GDP of some small African nation. Okay, let’s be honest, I just DVR the show and fast forward through them. Congress, you could easily step in here and either get rid of the commercials, or you could force the theaters to do what cable companies do: Use the revenue to cut the price. Fair is fair.

Restaurant Bread Not Cut The Entire Way Through

Though we eat in groups, the event itself should be an entirely personal thing. From a young age, we are taught not to touch the food, not to play with the food, not to grab something and then put it back.

k-restaurant-bread-and-herb-butterSomewhere from our childhood to adulthood, this concept has faded. The most obvious place is the devious way in which some restaurants fool us with their faux-slices of the bread. What we are left with, then, is a group manhandling of the bread. We tear at the loaf as though we were cavemen devouring the first meal of the day. Some people get the soft, bready goodness, others are doomed to the crusty flakes and dried outsides. And, unless you are the lead dog, you are going to get the grabbed, slabbed, torn pieces that have touched everyone else’s hands. Not the best way to start a dinner.

As a side note: While Congress works through this one, they are more than welcome to add a rider to this bill outlawing open mouth chewing, especially those who chew gum with their mouth open.

When the Holidays Officially Begin

walmarthalloweenchristmasI love the holidays, all of them, just like the next person. However, I have issues with the over-commercialism of it all. Halloween through New Years is the worst. It is a bit peculiar to be grabbing bags of candy for Halloween while looking at Christmas ornaments. A limit to how early stores can put up their holiday displays is desperately needed. Common decency among neighbors is Christmas decorations on the house over Thanksgiving; Halloween decorations at the beginning of October. Just following societal trends, Congress has precedent to follow regarding dates.

Otherwise, back-to-school shopping will be a bit confusing as we meander the backpack aisle and have to navigate around the Christmas decorations.

Toilet Paper: Over or Under

TheGreatDebate

According to the International Center For Bathroom Etiquette, there is no singular standard for toilet paper. There are those who prefer the over-the-top method–hotels for example. Just for sake of transparency, I prefer the “over” method.

Some people will argue that the over-the-top method is less wasteful, allows for better line of sight for the proper amount to satisfy your cleaning needs, and works with the natural physics of the “tear.”

2011-11-30-1a65085Others say that the under-the-roll method saves messes from overzealous toddlers and bored house pets. Smacking the roll, if in the under-the-roll method, would just wave a flap of loose paper on each spin. Going over will lead, they argue, to a bathroom that looks like a the front yard of a particularly reviled high school kid.

Unfortunately, despite pleas from the under crowd, they are in a distinct minority. According to ToiletPaperWorld.com survey seventy-two percent of Americans prefer the over-the-top method. Here is a clear majority pleading for leadership.

Open Letter To All Political Candidates

Dear Current And Future Candidates,

I applaud you for putting yourself out into the public eye for intense scrutiny, chastisement, and eventual demonization.

As you run your campaign, I’d like to offer you a piece of advice:

Accept your party’s skeletons. Acknowledge your party’s past. Don’t hide the facts; don’t skirt them, or misrepresent them.

To help you with this task, I have compiled a list of facets of your party that you have either forgotten about, or hope that the electorate is too ignorant to remember.

If you are going to pander for votes, at least be reticent of the fact that some of the groups you are pandering to weren’t always at the forefront of your party’s agenda.

Republicans

War–You’ve got quite a bit to learn from your Democrat partners. Instead of grand wars you are the party of proxy wars. Instead of getting your hands dirty, your party opts to manipulate others to do your fighting. Nicaragua: Reagan and the Contra/Sandinista fight. Afghanistan: Reagan and funding a new group called al-Qaeda to fight the Soviets. Invasion of Grenada: Reagan again. Since Reagan, Republicans have tried hard to find a new bad guy in the world. You have settled on terrorists and have invaded two nations on the premise to keep the world safe from terrorism.

Socialism–Though the current party line is that Obama is dragging America into the dark abyss of Socialism, Republicans haven’t done much to stop it either. In fact, many Republicans actually accept many socialist programs. The first chance Republicans had at dismantling socialism, you didn’t. Eisenhower was the first Republican President post-FDR, and instead of ending many of his programs, he grew them. Hey Republicans, if you are so anti-Socialism, stop collecting Medicare/Medicaid, give your Social Security to your neighbor, and end Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Civil Rights–As the Party of Lincoln you can be proud of the work your Party did at the onset of the Civil Rights tussle. However, as the years progressed, legislation passed by Republicans was more just an acknowledgement of the handwriting on the wall. Civil Rights legislation was more a tool to meet an end. That tool–making minorities happy, the end–re-election. The longer Democrats stonewalled on Civil Rights, the more it pushed minorities into the camp of Republicans. Oddly, Republicans lost out on the “popularity vote” in the 1960s when Johnson got his Civil Rights Act passed (with your help). It’s not that Republicans “care” about minorities, it’s that you need their votes. Let’s not forget that though the Party of Lincoln, your namesake was a supporter of the American Colonization Society founded by Henry Clay, and whose mission was to recolonize blacks to Africa.

Big Business–It should be pretty obvious that you are the Party of Big Business. Since the Gilded Age (1865-1900), Republicans have supported corporate America to the detriment of the worker. Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover’s policies during the 1920s benefited tycoons like Henry Ford, and the largest banks, but their deregulated policies also allowed a Great Depression to occur. Speaking of the Gilded Age, Reagan was quick to resurrect Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” when he instituted Reaganomics. Top-down is the mantra of big business. Don’t forget President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman and his squabble with the United Fruit Company (UFC). Eisenhower was willing to allow UFC to operate a CIA program to overthrow Arbenz’s government in Guatemala. Read Biter Fruit.

Corruption–Why don’t American’s trust the Office of President? Richard Nixon. Republicans have long been a manipulative party. Republican political corruption begins with Warren Harding. From 1922-23, the Harding Administration was embroiled in bribery and kickbacks from sales of Naval Oil Reserves at Teapot Dome, Wyoming. Albert Fall, Harding’s Secretary of the Interior, was found guilty of bribery in 1929 becoming the first Presidential Cabinet member to go to prison for his actions during a Presidency. Not sure I need to go into great detail about Watergate, but suffice it to say that Nixon’s corruption knew no bounds. The Reagan years brought us Iran-Contra, the HUD rigging scandal, and  the Savings and Loan debacle. You might say that all these men learned from Ulysses S. Grant. His administration almost single-handedly invented the Republican scandals with Credit Mobilier.

Immigration–Let’s face it, Republicans, you’ve never really liked immigrants. It’s not that you have anything against immigrants, per se, but rather, lots of them coming in at the same time. Just look at the birth of your party. Aside from Free Soilers (people who wanted lands in the West devoid of blacks), the Republicans absorbed many anti-slavery Know-Nothings in 1860. The Know-Nothings, or American Party, was an anti-Catholic/anti-immigrant party. In 1882, fellow Republican Chester A. Arthur signed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act. In 1909, as a reaction to the growing wave of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, three Republicans–Henry Cabot Lodge, Albert Johnson, and David Reed–sought to restrict immigration. Their plan wouldn’t come to fruition until 1924 with the Johnson-Reed Act (otherwise known as the Immigration Act of 1924). After World War II, the need for Mexican-migrant labor ceased and Eisenhower appointed a former general to run the INS. Their plan, called Operation Wetback, went into affect in 1954 and within months 80,000 Mexicans were arrested.

Democrats

War–Admit it. You are the party of War. You can spin it however you’d like, Noble War, Necessity, whatever. A Democrat hasn’t been introduced to a war they didn’t like in some fashion or at one point at time. World War I: Woodrow Wilson; ran on the campaign slogan “He kept us out of war” but months after election had U.S. soldiers on the fields of France. World War II: FDR. There are even documents that suggest that members of FDR’s cabinet, and possibly Roosevelt himself, knew at least eleven months in advance of the attack on Pearl Harbor and did nothing to prevent the loss of life. (Letters from U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew, for example) Korea: Truman; “I will not let Korea go the way China went.” A silly little police action to prevent supposed dominos from falling. Vietnam: Kennedy; Johnson will escalate the numbers in 1965. More dominos. More blood loss. The four largest wars of the 20th Century–Democrats. You’ve got your proxy wars, too. Bay of Pigs anyone? And don’t forget who started the Civil War….

Women’s Rights–I’ll give you Roe v. Wade to remind everyone, but in this category your Party has two-face syndrome. While you support the right for women to achieve and be independent, you also have a litany of cheaters and adulterers. FDR: Lucy Mercer was his mistress for nearly thirty years and was by his side when he died; Missy LeHand served as FDR’s own private secretary. JFK: “used” whatever woman he came into contact with… White House staffers, movie stars, or reporters. He even had a suite on the 8th floor of Washington’s Mayflower Hotel for his “rendezvous”. Some we know of–Mimi Beardsley, Jill Cowen, and possibly Angie Dickinson and Marilyn Monroe. LBJ: well… let’s just call him the “Spanish Porn Star.” According to his former press secretary, LBJ “had the instincts of a Turkish sultan in Instanbul.” It is rumored that LBJ instructed his mistress to have an abortion even though it was illegal in the state of Texas. Clinton: two words–Monica Lewinsky. Both the “Spanish Porn Star” and Clinton had their dalliances prior to office, but we’ll leave those alone. Then there’s the saddest of them all. Rielle Hunter. She worked for John Edwards’ campaign, was his mistress while his wife was ill with cancer, and is the alleged mother of Edwards’ love kid.

Civil Rights–With all the hullabaloo the Democrats are making over voter identification, in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and easing immigration laws, remember it was the Democrat that was doing what they could to keep minorities down. Look at one of the largest pre-Civil War Supreme Court Cases: Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857. Chief Justice? Roger Taney. Party? Democrat. Sorry to remind you, but your are the party of the KKK. During the Great Depression, many New Deal programs ignored minorities, and some even made it illegal for minorities to get aid. In the 1950s, Governors Orval Faubus (Arkansas) and George Wallace (Alabama) did what they could to maintain segregation in their states. While it is true that it was a Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, who signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Democrats have to call a spade a spade. The Senate, Democrat controlled, attempted a filibuster to prevent the passage of the Act… oh, and Sen. Al Gore, Sr. was one of the “segregationists” opposed to the Act. If it weren’t for the Republicans, Johnson’s landmark Act would not have been passed. In fact, the majority of early Civil Rights programs were initiated by Eisenhower and later imitated by the Democrats to curry favor with minority voters.

Big Business–While Democrats often demonize Corporate America, the party depends upon its survival for their very own survival. Since the Great Depression and the legislation that brought FDR and unions into bed together, Democrats and Unions go hand in hand. What is not understood, is that without big business, unions don’t exist. Without the jobs big businesses provide, workers would be unemployed, and there would be no need for massive, cumbersome unions to protect them. Case in point: Obama’s bailout of GM. Without GM’s survival, unions would collapse. There is too much money at stake for this to happen. Like it or not, Democrats, you need big business. If you still don’t accept this fact: Look at the list of corporate sponsors for the 2012 DNC in Charlotte–At&T, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy, Time Warner Cable, US Airways, United Health Group, and The Coca Cola Company.

Wealth–In case you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, there’s been some chatter about Mitt Romney’s wealth and taxes coming from the Democratic Party. There’s a bit of irony in this, isn’t there, Mr./Mrs. Democrat? Some of the wealthiest presidents have come from the Democratic Party. Franklin D. Roosevelt: inherited parts of the Roosevelt fortunes. His net worth was around $60 million. John F. Kennedy: married Jacqueline Onassis of oil riches, and his own family was worth over $1 billion. His father was the first chair of the SEC. JFK’s share? All from trusts. Not a dime “earned,” though his death prevented him from collecting. LBJ owned a television and radio station in Austin Texas, and between that and other investments his net worth soared to near $90 million. More recently, John Kerry and the Democrats went after John McCain for not knowing how many homes he owned. Well Mr. Kerry, you and your wife own five homes with a net assessed value around $29 million. Seven of the top ten wealthiest Congressmen and women are Democrats (evens out in top twenty at ten apiece), with an estimated combined net worth of over $790,770,000. Oh, and the “first” Democrat, Thomas Jefferson, his net worth is estimated at $212 million.

Why Romney Won’t Win…

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The red “GOP” logo used by the party for its website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

… And it has nothing to do with Paul Ryan or President Obama

The American poor aren’t the only one who needed some sort of life support program; the Republican Party needs one too.

For too long, the Republican Party has been stuck with the social tag of “conservative.” What many pundits forget is that Republican doesn’t define conservative, conservative defines itself. No one party has ever owned the moniker “conservative” or “liberal” in our history.

Conservative thinkers throughout American history settled with the status quo. They fought to maintain things the way they were. Rocking the boat is a cardinal sin in conservative scripture.

Liberal thinkers on the other hand have sought change. These people saw issues in society and worked to rectify the crisis. “It’s just always been that way” is a phrase never spoken by the liberal.

By this definition, the Republicans of the 1850s through 1877 were ideal liberals. Slavery, women’s rights, and voting rights were at the top of their agendas. It was the Southern Democrat that wanted America to sit idly by and allow archaic traditions to reign supreme. They resisted the growth of American industry. Their venom towards emancipation bordered on acrid poison. Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most liberal Republicans and during the Great Depression, one could find staunchly liberal Republicans governing New York, Massachusetts, and California.

The modern liberal Democrat wouldn’t come of age until the 1930s with FDR. And, it was FDR’s policies in the late 30s that would alienate a large portion of the conservative Democrats causing them to switch parties. Since then, the parties grew into the current state we have today.

Since the Republican Party won the Presidency in 1968, there hasn’t been a “conservative” anti-government president. Nixon expanded the role of government, Reagan, despite his claims, did the same. GWB grew government twice the size of both Nixon and Reagan. In their own way, these Republicans became liberals. They are all Eisenhowers; when presented with the chance to derail and destroy the liberal policies of FDR and Truman, Ike opted to keep, and in some cases, expand, them. He is the first Modern Republican, a compromising libservative. However, none of these moderate Conservatives would be able to get the vote of their own party in an election today. An ideological status quo is growing via the Tea Party. These nouveau-Republicans expand the notion of status quo to status nil.

Unfortunately for the current Republican Party, the status quo won’t do. The notion of Alexander Hamilton’s fight to protect American industry and allow a free market to run success has shown its flaws. Just look to Reagan’s deregulation of the airline industry (begun by Nixon, established by Carter in 1978, and continued by Reagan). Sure, airline prices have fallen slightly based on inflation adjusted accounting, but how many airlines are there today? We went from six legacy carriers to three. Deregulation was supposed to assist a free market, prevent oligopolies, and provide a better service for the traveler. The exact opposite has happened.

The other banner of the Republican Party, one that I do subscribe to, is that of a smaller role for the Federal Government. However, I am willing to admit that since the inception of public welfare programs established during President Johnson’s Great Society, far too many people have come to depend on the assistance provided. To pull the plug, as the Republicans would have, would be sentencing millions to misery. However, we have yet to really see a Republican conservatively cut Federal bureaucracies. They may trim one, only to expand another. For Republicans, this is a deeply troubling concept. Most Republicans I know claim to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. How can a Republican be socially liberal and want smaller government?

Romney’s Conservative Party needs to be hyper-adaptive, ready for change in order to be successful. He needs to find a way to temper the Tea Party and the Koch Brothers. Ideally, he needs to show today’s Conservative that they need to embrace America’s new ideology, find a new relationship with the middle class, and define a new, manageable means to reign in America’s growing debt while streamlining social programs through bipartisan politics. Unfortunately, the party of Reagan and Bush is still stuck in the status quo, and quickly fading into an ideological status nil.

Truths, Half-truths, and Words Out of Politician’s Mouths

It is pretty much a given fact that cheating in any relationship will hasten its death quicker than forgetting Valentine’s Day. Money and incompatibility are right up there as the grim reapers of marriages. The five most common pieces of advice to maintain a relationship are: communication, understanding, affection, shared values, and respect.

Oddly, there is no mention of honesty.

As politicians court us, trying to build as personal relationship as they can with millions of people at once, I wonder if we want our politicians to be honest, or do we just want to hear soundbites and snippets of sweet-nothings? Probably not. And how do we react when there is a moment of unscripted candor?

I can only imagine Josh Gates and his team over at Destination Truth preparing

Josh Gates-Destination Truth-SyFy

forthcoming episode on the rumor that there was a moment of political candor in Iowa or North Dakota. I can see it now, Josh in his near Kermit the Frog voice saying, “Tonight on Destination Truth, we explore the rare Malaysian goat monster known for eating fish on bamboo pikes, and after that, the Truth team heads to Iowa where, reportedly, a politician owned up to their words and spoke the truth.”

As candidate, Romney has more leeway in his ability to serve up a few gems of candor. In one breath he can tell us about the Malaysian goat monster destroying our economy and then slip in a moment of truth, like he did when he said, “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” Romney also has the ability to place the burden of candor square on the man in office. He could do this in a myriad of ways–I’d advice his campaign to for Obama to be honest about his record in office. Right now, it would appear that Romney’s candor attacks are focused around his off-the-cuff comments to Russian President Medvedev.

And candor can also do more harm than good. The Coalition of Black Ministers has called Obama on the carpet for his new stance on same-sex marriage. It wasn’t Obama’s candor that could cost the President a portion of the Black vote, but rather his Vice-President’s. Obama should have known better than to expect Biden to keep his mouth shut. In 2008, Biden’s candor reached epic proportions when he admitted, “Hillary Clinton is as qualified, or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. … And quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me.” Looking back at the same-sex marriage rankle in the Obama White House, may she would have been a better pick.

Romney isn’t off the hook, either. Despite his calling for candor from the President, Romney got himself in a bind with the voters on his recent trip through Europe. As an “expert” on running an Olympics, Brian Williams asked Romney about his views of the games. Romney’s honest response: “There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.” It is a good thing that the people of London can’t vote.

As the election nears, we can continue to expect truths wrapped in enigmas. We will hear about the hard decision the candidates will have to make if they are elected, but we will have to infer what those will be. Like the Biden same-sex issue has started a small fire in the Obama campaign, I know that no candidate wants to throw themselves under the campaign bus based on a slip of the tongue. Yet, there needs to be more substance, candor, to the words mouthed from these men between now and November.

Until then, I’ll be watching Josh Gates. Maybe he’ll find the truths.