Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Keep laughing

Sometimes, you should just leave it to the professionals.

"In a new interview, Rick Perry said it was a mistake for him to participate in the presidential debates. Perry said 'I'm not one of these 'word talkers.''' –Conan O'Brien

"Michele Bachmann said she wants her three daughters to learn to shoot a gun. Mostly so they can put her campaign out of its misery." –Conan O'Brien

"Rick Perry is now behind in the polls and he's not taking it well. Today he executed his pollster." –David Letterman

"Hillary Clinton turns 64 years old today. Happy birthday. Today, Donald Trump demanded to see her birth certificate." –David Letterman

"In an interview last night, Rick Perry criticized Mitt Romney for flip-flopping on the issues. Romney said that Perry has no idea what he's talking about. Then he added, 'But he does know what he's talking about.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"Michele Bachmann told reporters that she will lead the nation in prayer if she is elected president. You know if she is elected president, we all better be praying. She doesn’t have to lead us." –Jay Leno

"We had President Obama on the show last night. I think the president enjoys visiting NBC because we're the only place that has lower numbers than he does." –Jay Leno

"According to polls, Rick Perry has now fallen to fifth place. You know who is in fourth place? Carrot Top." –Jay Leno

"The McRib is back. You know, I wondered what they were going to do with Gadhafi's body." –Jay Leno

David Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard At Moammar Gadhafi's Funeral"

10. 'Honestly, how the heck did he spell his name?'
9. 'It's a shame he didn't live long enough to promote himself above colonel'

8. 'Is it too soon to hit on the Ukrainian nurse?'

7. 'After the services, come back to the house for cake'

6. 'Where's his hot daughter Kim?'

5. 'And now, a few words from Moammar's closest friend, Loni Anderson'

4. 'At least he died doing what he loved best — begging for mercy in a storm drain'

3. 'Incoming!'

2. 'Nice of Leno to send flowers'

1. 'Let's bury this guy'

"Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich said that next month they're going to take part in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. The only similarity to the actual Lincoln-Douglas debates is that no one will watch them on television." –Conan O'Brien

"Michele Bachmann's campaign is in a lot of trouble. Five staffers quit her campaign, claiming it was because she treated them like second-class citizens. However, Bachmann said, 'That's not true. At no time did I treat them like gays or Latinos.'" –Conan O'Brien

"They have buried Moammar Gadhafi at a secret undisclosed location. In other words, it's going to be the best season of 'The Amazing Race' yet." –Conan O'Brien

"Rick Perry, started out like a ball of fire from Texas and then he started to drop and now he's retooling. He's adding advisers to his campaign team. This guy had advisers? Really?" –David Letterman

"Rick Perry has now accused Mitt Romney of hiring illegal aliens to work on his hair." –David Letterman

"Moammar Gadhafi was found hiding in a storm sewer with a gold-plated gun. That's me in retirement, ladies and gentlemen." –David Letterman

"So the guy who shot Gadhafi was wearing a Yankees cap. Did you see that? If he'd had a Boston Red Sox hat on he probably would have missed." –David Letterman

"A Libyan rebel has admitted to killing Moammar Gadhafi. He said he shot Gadhafi twice in the temple, to which Michele Bachmann said, 'I didn't even know the guy was Jewish.'" –Jay Leno

"Rick Perry unveiled his new tax plan. He says he wants a flat tax. He believes that tax should be flat, just like the earth." –Jay Leno

"A group called the Texas Tea Party Patriots is hosting a debate next month where Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain will go head to head, while people watching that will go head to pillow." –Jimmy Fallon

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is going to Israel. He's going to be pretty disappointed when he finds out the Gaza Strip isn't a steak." –Jimmy Fallon

"I don't know what they are protesting at Occupy Wall Street but I'm on their side. But 10,000 protestors and one Porta Potty?" –David Letterman

"I love the protests. And if you think about it, what better way to send a message to Wall Street than by sitting in a pup tent banging on a drum." –David Letterman

"There's so many protestors now they are going to move them out of the park and put them in a pothole. You know, that one over on 8th Avenue." –David Letterman

"Rick Perry is now saying he thinks that Barack Obama's birth certificate is fake. I think Perry may have faked his driver's license." –David Letterman

"So they caught Gadhafi in a storm sewer and shot him. Or as they call it in the Middle East, an orderly transfer of power." –David Letterman

"The New York Times reports that Moammar Gadhafi spent his last days hovering between defiance and delusion, surviving on rice and pasta. In other words, Gadhafi spent his last days as a sophomore in college. That's what I did." –Conan O'Brien

"A bank in Washington was robbed by two men in George W. Bush masks. Luckily, right afterwards two guys in President Obama masks came and bailed the bank out, so everything is fine." –Conan O'Brien

"It seemed that after he was killed, Gadhafi's body was stored at a commercial freezer at a shopping mall. It's one thing to hunt a guy down and shoot him twice in the head, but then to drag him to the mall? Come on, guys hate that." –Jay Leno

"Yesterday on CNN, Joe Biden said he hasn't made up his mind about whether he'll run for president in 2016. Which raises the question: 'Who was raising that question?'" –Jimmy Fallon

"President Obama is in Vegas for a fundraiser. He spent the visit working on his new economic recovery plan, ‘Come on, seven!" –Jimmy Fallon

"The world was supposed to end Friday. I don't think it did, though. Harold Camping also predicted the apocalypse was going to happen back in May and I don't think that one happened either. Well, you know what they say, the third apocalypse is the charm." –Jimmy Kimmel

"This is reported to be the 12th time Camping has predicted the end of the world, the first time being in 1978. Not only is he bad at predicting things but he's kind of a bummer to hang out with." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Out badass ninja black president did it again. Don't f**k with this guy. So far this year he's killed Somali pirates, he killed bin Laden, he killed al-Awlaki,, now he's killed Gaddafi. The only threat to our way now is from Bank of America." –Bill Maher

"Today Obama was seen leaving the White House in a nurse's uniform on a flight to Cuba to smother Castro with a pillow." –Bill Maher

"And you know what, if he did smother Castro with a pillow in a nurse's uniform, Rush Limbaugh would say, 'See, socialized medicine.'" –Bill Maher

"They found Gaddafi in a hole with a gun and luggage, or as it's known here, the middle class." –Bill Maher

"They say now that Gaddafi is dead and Michael Jackson is gone, we have enough over-the-top military uniforms to outfit an entire gay army." –Bill Maher

"The end of the war in Libya is good news for Obama and good news for Michele Bachmann. Now she doesn't have to find out where it is." –Bill Maher

"These Republicans, they will not give credit. They gave credit to the rebels, to the British, and to the French. But they would not mention the president. It was like they were on a game show and the password was 'Obama.' They're like the banks; they will not give a black man credit." –Bill Maher

“In their world, Gaddafi died of natural causes, Bin Laden was shot in the face by the free market. You should've heard them, we went in too strong, everything they could’ve said that he did wrong. It's like there’s some kind of hidden Republican clitoris, that they won’t let Obama find, and whenever he tries, they're like 'that’s not it!'" –Bill Maher

"I'm guessing our soldiers are happy to be leaving Iraq. It is no fun being in a country where there's crumbling infrastructure and an ignorant population, but they said they're happy to come home anyway." –Bill Maher

"Earlier this week, a protester at Occupy Wall Street proposed to his girlfriend. His exact words were, 'Will you occupy my parents' basement with me until I get a job?'" –Conan O'Brien

"Michelle Obama said her daughters watch 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' but that President Obama doesn't approve. Obama said, 'If I want to see a giant butt who doesn't do anything, I'll have lunch with Joe Biden.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Yesterday, President Obama's teleprompter was stolen. Police are on the lookout for a thief that's eloquent and spreading a message of hope." –Conan O'Brien

"Herman Cain is out there, he says a lot of provocative things. He said America should build its own Great Wall of China. Cain says it's a great idea because if there's one thing you don't see in China, it's Mexicans." –Conan O'Brien

‎"Almost all of Rick Perry's support appears to have gone to Herman Cain because, again, and I cannot stress this enough, nobody likes Mitt Romney." –Jon Stewart

"Herman Cain is ahead with 27%, as opposed to Newt Gingrich, who is 27% head." –Stephen Colbert

"It was on this day in 1867 that the United States bought Alaska from the Russians. And about six months from now, we’ll probably be selling it to China." –Craig Ferguson

"You got to feel bad for poor Mitt Romney. He's in their plugging every week, and every week somebody gets ahead of him. The people who have led Mitt so far: Donald Trump, then Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry, now Herman Cain. He's been led by a reality show star, a crazy lady, a stuttering cowboy, and the guy who brings the pizza. That's gotta hurt a little." –Bill Maher

"Herman Cain's plan to save the economy is '9-9-9.' He keeps saying it every day like the Count on Sesame Street. Well, this week we finally found out where he got it from. Not from an economist. He got it up from the guy who works at his local Wells Fargo branch. Literally, it's like he went down to deposit checks, and the teller said, 'Can I help with anything else?' And he said, 'Yeah, can you re-write the tax code?'" –Bill Maher

"Rick Perry has dropped 20 points in the polls in one week. They say he is so depressed about this, he hardly has the energy to execute anybody." –Bill Maher

"Rick Perry got the date of the American revolution wrong by two centuries. What is it with the right wing? Michele Bachmann doesn't know where the 'Shot Heard 'Round the World' took place, Sarah Palin doesn't know why Paul Revere went on his ride, Rick Perry doesn't know that 1776 happened in the 1700's. These aren't gotcha questions. I know this sounds mean about Rick Perry, but if was a child, you'd leave him behind." –Bill Maher

"This Occupy Wall Street movement is now in 1,500 places all around the world. I was at the Occupy Beverly Hills today. It's two Jews at Starbucks complaining that the scones aren't fresh, but still it's a start." –Bill Maher

"Now there's a pushback movement (against Occupy Wall Street). There's a group called the 53%. These are the people who say 47% don't pay any federal taxes (yeah, because they're f**king broke). The 53% say they barely get by, but they don't blame the banks. Their slogan is, 'Let's bend over and take it, America!'" –Bill Maher

"Bill O'Reilly calls them drug traffickers and crackheads, he says they're out here having sex outside at night. Bill O'Reilly – the only man in America who's make Andy Rooney seem hip. He also said they're practicing free love, as opposed to the kind Bill tried to practice and cost him a fortune in legal fees." –Bill Maher

"Bronco Rick Perry is the first candidate I've ever heard say he's not doing well because he's sleepy. You know, we criticized George W. Bush a lot, but there was one thing he was very disciplined about, and that was getting his full eight years of sleep." –David Letterman

"Herman Cain said, starting today, if you buy into his 9-9-9 plan, he'll throw in a free 32-ounce soda." –David Letterman

"Critics of the Wall Street protesters claim that they have old ideas, nothing new, and they're never going to work. Wait a minute., that sounds like this show." –David Letterman

"The Republican candidates are still looking for ways to stop Romney. See, it's hard to disagree with his positions — because as you know, he's taken every position." –Jay Leno

"Joe Biden once again denied stories that he will be replaced on the ticket in 2012. He says he will continue to embarrass President Obama for another four years." –Jay Leno

"Warren Buffett's company reportedly owes the IRS a billion dollars in back taxes. When he said he wasn't paying enough taxes, he wasn't kidding." –Jay Leno

"The Occupy Wall Street protests continue to grow. They've started to attract a very unsavory element – celebrities." –Craig Ferguson

"Yesterday the CEO of Citigroup said that he can understand why all these Occupy Wall Street protesters are so frustrated. In fact, he felt so bad for them, he gave himself a $10 million sympathy bonus." –Jimmy Fallon

"The White House is apparently pushing to create more Latino-themed landmarks. Now that's in addition to our current Latino-themed landmark, California." –Jimmy Fallon

"The Republicans had yet another debate the other night. This is their seventh one. They're apparently going to keep having these debates until Rick Perry can get one right." –Jay Leno

"Herman Cain is surging in the polls. Many polls have him ahead of Mitt Romney. He hasn't said who he would choose as his running mate yet, but according to a report, he's had several meetings with Papa John." –Jay Leno

"The Saudi government is upset about this plot to assassinate their ambassador. As you know, Saudi Arabia condemns all acts of terrorism unless, of course, they're sponsoring them." –Jay Leno

"Herman Cain has moved ahead of Mitt Romney. Can you believe that? Political analysts say this is because Americans don't understand Mormonism but they do understand pizza." –Conan O'Brien

"This morning on the 'Today' show, Jenna Bush interviewed Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy was so confused and inarticulate that Jenna accidentally called him 'dad.'" –Conan O'Brien

David Letterman's "Top Ten Things Michele O'Bachmann Said During Her Trip To New York City"

10. 'A pigeon just nested in my hair'

9. 'Will the Holland Tunnel take me to Holland?'

8. 'Where does Batman live?'

7. 'Hold on, I'm getting a text from Anthony Weiner'

6. 'Where are the Jews?'

5. 'He has to be the tiniest mayor ever'

4. 'It's such an honor to be here in The Windy City'

3. 'If you won't endorse me, Mr. Trump, would you consider me for 'Celebrity Apprentice'?'

2. 'They've got more hookers here than a congressional Christmas party'

1. 'There goes Letterman . . . Get him!'

"You know who's also joining the Wall Street protesters? Kanye West. That's a real good idea -- a guy with diamonds in his teeth protesting greed." –David Letterman

"They're saying President Obama doesn't have any friends. The problem is that he can't get Congress to approve one." –David Letterman

"Rick Perry said America's revolutionary war was fought in the 16th century. When told it was actually the 18th century, Perry apologized and said, 'I never said I was a geology major.'" –Conan O'Brien

"One of the guys accused of organizing the Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador is a used car salesman from Texas. Just when you thought terrorists couldn't get any lower." –Jay Leno

"Chris Christie has officially endorsed Mitt Romney for president. Christie said President Obama is 'shrinking the American pie.' And believe me, if there's one thing Christie hates, it's a small pie." –Jay Leno

"The Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered outside Rupert Murdoch's house chanting, 'What do we want?' Murdoch interrupted saying, 'I already know, I hacked your phones.'" –Craig Ferguson

"Don't protest outside of a rich man's house in the daytime, you'll just scare the maid, and that's Arnold Schwarzenegger's job." –Craig Ferguson

"Herman Cain said he wants people to know that there's more between his ears than pepperoni and pizza sauce. He says there's also a few napkins and crazy bread." –Conan O'Brien

"Sarah Palin gave a speech in South Korea. Just what the Koreans needed: Two crazy dictators in fashionable lady's glasses." –Conan O'Brien

"Today New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced that he's endorsing Mitt Romney for president. It's good news for Romney. I mean, you always want Chris Christie on your side. Unless you're in a canoe." –Jimmy Fallon

"The Occupy Wall Street protesters traveled around New York to stand outside the mansions of the most wealthy people in New York. Is that protesting or tourism?" –Jimmy Kimmel

Friday, October 28, 2011

CBO Report

The results are in. In case anyone was not clear, the wealthiest in this nation have indeed been taking the lion's share of the wealth generated over the last 30 years. No real surprise, but the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has confirmed it.

About 30 years ago, when the shill otherwise known as Ronald Reagan became President, we embarked on the "supply-side" mis-adventure. If you look at the experiment only from the perspective of the fabulously wealthy, supply-side economics has been a tremendous success. But if you look at it from the perspective of the other 99%, it's been a disaster, relatively speaking.

Take a look at the chart. Income inequality is reaching obscene levels. How much is "enough"?

Looking at today's Republican party, they are pure and simple shills for the wealthy. That's all they care about. Almost every proposal benefits the rich at the expense of everyone else. And they are resolute about it, while trying to couch their proposals with populist rhetoric, which only fools the rubes. Unfortunately, the rubes are plentiful in this country. If you keep cutting back on education, you'll have a steady supply of rubes.

We see the Occupy Wall Street protestors decrying the greed rampant in our culture. Look no further than today's Republican Party, the veritable epitome of greed. It's even in their name. They love greed. They think greed is good. And they are doing everything they can to further and advance their greed. It's totally shameful, if they were capable of feeling any shame.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If only ...

I don't know how some people do it.

I just don't know how you can daily assess what's going on in politics and Washington D.C. like Steve Benen does and not get horribly depressed, despondent and blow your brains out. I don't have the fortitude.

Thank goodness that Steve does, however. His blog at The Washington Monthly is consistently insightful, not to mention infuriating.

It's just a damn shame that Republicans - most specifically elected Republicans - don't care about reality or anyone but the wealthy.

If only GOP lawmakers were more like GOP voters

I imagine everyone has seen the bumper sticker that says, “Lord, protect us from your followers.” I have an idea for a related sticker that reads, “Republicans, protect us from your elected officials.”

In the existing political landscape, the real problem is not with GOP voters; it’s with GOP policymakers. This isn’t to let the party’s supporters off the hook entirely — they’re the ones who supported and elected the officeholders — but it’s hard to overstate how much more constructive the political process would be if Republican lawmakers in any way reflected the priorities of their own supporters.

Last week, a national poll found that Republican voters broadly support the Democratic jobs agenda — a payroll tax cut, jobs for teachers/first responders, infrastructure investments, and increased taxes on millionaires and billionaires — in some cases by wide margins. This week, Tim Noah noticed this observation can be applied even further.

I’m liking rank-and-file Republicans better and better. Earlier this month
we learned that they favor Obama’s plan to tax the rich. Now we learn that a 55
percent majority of them think Wall Street bankers and brokers are “dishonest,”
69 percent think they’re “overpaid,” and 72 percent think they’re “greedy.”
Fewer than half (47 percent) have an unfavorable view of the Occupy Wall Street
protests. Thirty-three percent either favor them or have no opinion, and 20
percent haven’t heard of them. Also, a majority favor getting rid of the
Electoral College and replacing it with a popular vote. After the 2000 election
only 41 percent did. Now 53 percent do. How cool is that?

Every one of these positions puts the GOP rank-and-file at odds with
their congressional leadership and field of presidential candidates.

I don’t want to exaggerate this too much. The fact remains that the Republican Party is dominated by conservative voters, especially those who participate in primaries and caucuses. I’m not suggesting for a moment that the party’s rank-and-file members are moving to the left.

But the recent poll results are also hard to miss — many if not most GOP voters are perfectly comfortable with plenty of progressive ideas, including tax increases on millionaires and billionaires. It’s starting to look like the party’s rank and file is made up of mainstream conservatives who want their party to help move the country forward.

And yet, when we look to Republican officials in Washington, how many GOP members of Congress are willing to endorse any of these popular measures? Zero. Literally, not even one Republican lawmaker has offered even tacit support for ideas that most GOP voters actually like. In the Senate, a united Republican caucus won’t even allow a vote — won’t even allow a debate — on popular job-creation ideas during a jobs crisis.

If the actions of GOP lawmakers in any way resembled the wishes of GOP voters, our political system wouldn’t be nearly as dysfunctional as it is now.

Congratulations, congressional Republicans. You’re far more extreme than your own supporters.

Shit, even Pat "Gay People Cause Hurricanes" Robertson thinks the Republicans are going too far.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Safer in prison?

And here I thought prison was considered "punishment." Maybe Madoff is just lying. He's pretty good at that.

Madoff says feels safer in prison than in N.Y.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Imprisoned financial scam artist Bernard Madoff boasted in a jailhouse letter that he is "quite the celebrity" and treated "like a Mafia don," ABC News said on Thursday.

ABC, which will feature an interview with Madoff's daughter-in-law on news program "20/20" on Friday, released portions of a letter provided by Stephanie Madoff Mack, whose husband committed suicide in the wake of his father's conviction in a massive Wall Street fraud.

Mack told ABC she had written Madoff a letter detailing family events he was missing due to his life sentence of 150 years behind bars...

The smug-sounding reply from Madoff, whom Mack said she holds responsible for her husband's death, enraged her.

"As you can imagine, I am quite the celebrity, and am treated like a Mafia don," Madoff wrote from the North Carolina prison where he is incarcerated.

"They call me either Uncle Bernie or Mr. Madoff. I can't walk anywhere without someone shouting their greetings and encouragement, to keep my spirit up.

"It's really quite sweet, how concerned everyone is about my well being, including the staff ... It's much safer here than walking the streets of New York."

Read the rest here.

loyal opposition

I can understand the concept of "loyal opposition." Several Democrats broke with their party during Bush's two (stolen) terms when they felt that Bush was doing something right.

However, there is nothing "loyal" about the Republicans with Obama as President. Only "opposition," and I hope most Americans are getting fed up with it. Surely there have to be some Republicans out there who care more about the country than they do about their party. Some? Any?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Andy Borowitz

I don't know how many of you are on Twitter, but if you are, I would suggest "following" Andy Borowitz of The Borowitz Report. The guy has been consistently funny for as long as I've been following him: maybe two years now?

Yeah, I know that Twitter is a monumental waste of time and technology, but we need all the laughs we can find. Such is life.

Here are just a few snips of Andy's "tweets" from the last couple of days...

Andy Borowitz
If we're going to investigate possible crimes against Gaddafi, let's round up the guy who did his hair.
7 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
Hugo Chavez says Gaddafi's death is an outrage. The only other people in the world who agree with him are Republicans.
8 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
Twitter has been super useful in helping me have smaller thoughts.
10 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
The Sunday morning talk shows offer a rare glimpse into the minds of middle aged white men.
11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
I think the main lesson of the Iraq War is to let recounts in Florida take place.
22 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
One upside of the US being broke is that we might actually have to stop invading countries for no reason.
22 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
Cheney says he supports leaving Iraq "as long as we go through Iran."
22 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
Bush's statement on withdrawal from Iraq: "Does that mean we found the WMD?"
22 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
Boehner: "it is outrageous that we are leaving Iraq before figuring out why we went."
21 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
Iraq is like LOST: it's ending, but no one knows what the fuck it was all about.
21 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
Former Gov. Mark Sanford has joined Fox News. He'll report a story, then 2 weeks later admit what really happened.
21 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
So it turns out the Republicans oppose Obama spending billions UNLESS it's on a pointless military quagmire.
21 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
BREAKING: Obama Says US Not Abandoning Iraq: 'We Will Still Follow You on Twitter'
21 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
With Gaddafi gone, Libya's right to determine its future is now safely in the hands of multinational oil companies.
21 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
I hope that Libya gets a functioning democracy and someday the US does too.
21 Oct Favorite Retweet Reply

Andy Borowitz
On the whole, it was easier to get Gaddafi out of power than to get a single Republican to quit the presidential race.

Friday, October 21, 2011

No jobs bill

It's quite obvious to me that the Republicans would rather destroy the economy than to see Obama and the Democrats succeed in anything. If the shoes were on the other feet, we'd be hearing screams of "TREASON"!! But not a peep from the Democrats.

From Washington Monthly...

Republicans 1, Teachers and First Responders 0

The proposal on the table seemed like a no-brainer. The public sector has been hemorrhaging jobs, dragging down the economy, and undermining the quality of public services. The White House and congressional Democrats came up with a pretty straightforward solution: direct $35 billion to states in order to protect/create 400,000 jobs for school teachers, police officers, and firefighters.

Sensitive to budget constraints, Dems agreed the bill shouldn’t increase the deficit at all, so they agreed to finance the plan with a 0.5% surtax that would only affect millionaires and billionaires — and even that wouldn’t kick in until 2013.

The public is demanding Washington act on the jobs crisis, and this proposal enjoyed very strong support from the American mainstream. A CNN poll released this week found that 75% of the public — and 63% of self-identified Republican voters — endorsed this jobs proposal, and 76% agreed with the financing plan.

In these divisive times, 75% of Americans don’t agree on much, but they all wanted Congress to pass this bill. It’s tempting to think elected officials would be committing political suicide by fighting to kill a popular jobs plan during a jobs crisis. And yet, here we are.

For the second time in 10 days, the Senate on Thursday rejected Democratic efforts to take up a jobs bill championed by President Obama.

The vote to advance the bill was 50 to 50. Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster.

Keep in mind, the GOP’s filibuster last night was on the motion to proceed — they blocked the Senate’s ability to even discuss the jobs bill.

How many Republicans broke ranks and agreed that the proposal deserved an up-or-down vote? Zero. Not even one alleged “moderate” mustered the courage to give a wildly popular jobs bill a chance to get a vote.

Three conservative members of the Democratic caucus — Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, and Mark Pryor — sided with Republicans.

The outcome didn’t come as a surprise, which is probably why it isn’t a bigger story in the media, but that shouldn’t make the developments any less scandalous. Do conservative senators not realize there’s a jobs crisis in America? Or is it more likely they’re aware of the problem and simply prefer not to act?

I keep thinking about something Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said this week, while she was lecturing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner about the importance of improving the economy. “Something’s gone terribly wrong, and what I hear over and over again is that there is no tempo, a tempo of urgency,” she said. “I don’t know who you’re talking to … but you need to talk to the average person. Rome is burning.”

That was on Tuesday. Just 48 hours later, Snowe joined the right in blocking a popular jobs bill.

Something has gone terribly wrong. There is no “tempo of urgency.” I don’t know who Republicans are talking to, but they need to talk to the average person and explain why they care more about preventing a tiny tax increase on the wealthiest of the wealthy — an extra half a penny on the dollar for millionaires and billionaires — than hundreds of thousands of jobs for teachers and first responders.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

chocolate history

...and now for something completely different, and quite delicious...

Americans manage to consume over 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate per year (about 11 pounds per person).

Chocolate, way back

600 A.D. The Maya Indians move from their home in Guatemala to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, and bring with them cacao from the rain forest. In Guatemala the Maya established large plantations to grow cacao.

1000 The people in Central America began using the cacao beans as money. Drawings have been found showing pictures where 10 beans could buy a rabbit or 100 beans could buy a slave. In one Mexican drawing a basket of 8000 beans was used to show the number 8000. The beans were also used to make a bitter drink used to treat coughs and fever.

1200 The Aztec's began to rule Mexico. The Aztecs demanded payment in the form of taxes from the Aztecs with cacao beans. The Aztecs used the cocao bean for a drink. They added flowers, vanilla, and honey to their drink.

Chocolate circa 1500's

1502 Christopher Columbus was given his first drink of xocoatl (chocolate) on his fourth voyage to America. Although he did not like the drink he took some of the cacao beans back to his homeland as an unusual item to show the people at home.

1519 Hernán Cortéz was a young Spaniard who went to Cuba to find his fortune. He heard stories of gold in Mexico and South America. In 1519 Cortéz left Cuba to find this gold. On November 8, 1519 Cortéz reached Mexico City and was received by Montezuma, the Aztec emperor. Cortéz captured Montezuma and began to rule the empire through him. The Spaniards made the Aztecs work in the mines looking for gold and silver. This gold and silver was shipped back to Spain. Cortéz also recognized the value of the cacao bean to the Aztecs. He established a cacao plantation in the name of Spain.

1528 Hernán Cortéz returned to Spain with some cacao beans. They were hidden in Spanish monasteries. The formula for making the chocolate drink was kept a secret. Only the very rich could afford to buy the drink.

1585 The first commercially grown shipment of cacao beans grown in South and Central America was taken to Spain.

1600's Rich & Royal Chocolate

1615 Anne of Austria, a Spanish princess, marries Louis XIII of France and takes the Spanish custom of chocolate drinking to France.

1647 The first chocolate house is opened in England by a Frenchman. At this time chocolate cost 6 to 8 shillings per pound. Only the rich could afford to buy chocolate at the chocolate house.

1660 Maria Theresa of Austria marries Louis XIV of France. She shares her love of chocolate with the people of France. For the first time people outside the royal court enjoy chocolate drinking.

1663 Pralines are created by a cook in Genensburg, Germany.

1674 A London coffeehouse sells the first solid chocolate in a stick form.

1700's Chocolate

1711 Charles VI moves from Madrid, Spain to Vienna. He takes chocolate with him.

1720 The Italians begin serving chocolate in Florence and Venice.

1732 Monsieur Dubuisson, a French inventor, creates a table for grinding chocolate. This lets the workers stand up while grinding the cacao bean. The table is heated from underneath by charcoal. This makes the production much easier.

1764 The Baker Chocolate Company is established in Dorchester, Massachusetts by James Baker and John Hannon. This was the first time chocolate was made in the United States.

1780 The first chocolate made by machine is produced in Barcelona, Spain.

1780 Dr. James Baker calls his products "Baker's Chocolate."

1795 J. S. Fry & Sons uses steam power to grind the cacao beans for the first time in England.

1800's Chocolate goes big-time

1819 Francois-Louis Cailler returns from Italy where he studied chocolate-making. He established the first Swiss chocolate factory in Corsier.

1822 John Cadbury, a Quaker who tried to convince people that drinking chocolate was much healthier than alcohol, opens a tea and coffee shop in Birmingham, England.

1828 Coenraad Van Houten, a Dutch chocolate maker, invents a hydraulic press that is used to make cacao powder.

1832 Francois-Louis Cailler opens a large plant in Corsier, Switzerland.

1840 Cailler opens a second chocolate factory in Vevey, Switzerland. Twenty years later this factory is sold to Julien and Daniel Peter who invent milk chocolate.

1847 The first manufacturer of chocolate in England creates the first chocolate bars. Their shop is called J. S. Fry & Sons. Not many people liked this because of its bitter taste.

1860 John Cadbury joins with his brother Benjamin to form the Cadbury Brothers of Birmingham. A year later the business goes to John's sons, Richard and George.

1861 Richard Cadbury creates the heart-shaped candy box for Valentine's Day.

1862 The Baker's Chocolate Company obtains the rights to use the painting La Belle Chocolatiere, by the Swiss artist Jean-étienne Liotard. The painting shows the wife of Prince Dietrichstein as a maid serving chocolate. This was how she was dressed when the prince first met her. Baker's Chocolate Company will use this same painting as their company trademark. This is one of the oldest product trademarks in the United States.

1864 Jean Tobler begins production of handmade confections in Bern, Switzerland.

1872 Baker's Chocolate Company begins to use the chocolate girl painting as the company trademark.

1875 Daniel Peter figures out how to combine milk and cocoa power to create milk chocolate.

1879 Rodolphe Lindt invents the conch. This is a machine that stirs liquid chocolate to break down any remaining clumps. This machines makes the chocolate smooth for the first time. Lindt calls this chocolate fondant and labels his candy bars Lindt Surfin.

1890 Henri Nestlé dies in Montreux, Switzerland. He was the founder of the Nestlé Company.

1893 Milton Hershey goes to the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago. He watches a demonstration of German-made chocolate equipment. He likes this so much that he buys it immediately. He ships the equipment to his Carmel factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

1894 Milton Hershey creates his first candy bar. He also makes baking chocolate, cocoa, and chocolate coatings for caramels.

1894 Otto J. Scholenleber starts the Ambrosia Chocolate Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Later he switches to making bulk chocolate for large companies such as Hostess, Pillsbury, and Nabisco.

1896 Leo Hirschfield makes the first Tootsie Roll. He names it after his daughter.

1897 People in England ate a record 36 million pounds of chocolate. Europeans ate 100 millions pounds and the people from the United States ate 26 million pounds of chocolate.

1899 Rodolphe Lindt sold his secret formula for making fondant chocolate to David Sprüngli for 1.5 million Swiss francs. He forms a new partnership and the company becomes Lindt & Sprüngli.

1899 Jean Tobler begins a chocolate company in Bern.

Chocolate in the 1900's

1900 Milton S. Hershey introduces the Milk Chocolate Bar. He also begins the production of Sweethearts. These are vanilla sweet chocolate candy with a heart imprinted on the base. They will be discontinued in 1931.

1903 Milton Hershey builds a chocolate factory and a town for his workers near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

1904 The Cadbury Company develops a dairy milk chocolate.

1906 The town of Derry Church, Pennsylvania changes its name to Hershey to honor Milton S. Hershey.

1907 On July 1, 1907 the first Hershey Kisses are made.

1908 Theodore Tobler develops the unique triangular nougat filled chocolate candy bar called Toblerone.

1908 The Hershey Chocolate Company makes the first milk chocolate bar with almonds.

1909 The Hershey Chocolate Company starts making Silvertops. This is a version of the Hershey's Kisses that are sold individually. They are discontinued in 1931.

1911 Frank and Ethel Mars build a candy company in Tacoma, Washington. Later it become Mars, Inc.

1912 Jean Neuhaus, Jr. invents the first chocolate covered praline. He fills the empty chocolate shell with pralines invented by his father.

1912 The Whitman Company produces the boxed assortments called Whitman's Samplers. This is the first company to include a drawing showing the locations of the different chocolates in the box.

1914 L. S. Heath & Sons, Inc. makes the first Heath Bar in Robinson, Illinois.

1919 The Fry family merges with the Cadbury Brothers.

1921 The Hershey Food Corporation begins to wrap the Kisses by machine and add the flag to the wrapping.

1921 The Mounds candy bar is invented by Peter Paul Halijian. He sells it under the name Peter Paul Mounds.

1922 H. B. Reese makes the first Reese's peanut butter cup using Hershey's milk chocolate.

1923 Frank Mars creates the first Milky Way candy bar. This candy has a nougat center.

1923 Hershey Foods Corporation registers the name Hershey's Kisses as a trademark.

1925 The Hershey Chocolate Company makes the first Mr. Goodbar.

1927 Baker's Chocolate Company is bought by General Foods Corporation. They move the company to Delaware.

1927 The Hershey Chocolate Company is renamed Hershey Chocolate Corporation.

1928 L. S. Heath & Sons, Inc. develops the toffee candy bar called the Heath Bar. This candy bar can be bought on the home-delivered dairy order form.

1929 Frank Mars opens the Chicago candy plant.

1929 Peter, Cailler, and Kohler merge with Nestlé ending 30 years of rivalry between the two companies.

1930 Frank Mars makes the first Snickers candy bar.

1938 The Hershey Chocolate Corporation makes the Krackel bar.

1939 Blommer Chocolate Company begins manufacturing in Chicago, Illinois. It will become the largest commercial chocolate manufacturer in the United States.

1939 Hershey makes the Hershey's Miniatures chocolate bars.

1941 Forrest Mars returns to the United States from England. He goes into business with Bruce Murrie, who is the one of the president of the Hershey Chocolate Company. They call their new company M & M Ltd. Together they make the first M & M's.

1947 Peter Paul makes the first Almond Joy.

1950 Sam Altshuler starts the Annabelle Candy Company, Inc. He names his company for his daughter and makes the first Rocky Road candy bar.

1962 Hershey's Kisses are wrapped in colors other than silver for the first time.

1963 Hershey Chocolate Company buy H. B. Reese Candy Company, Inc. for $23.5 million.

1966 The Campbell Soup Company buys the Godiva Chocolatier, Inc. of Belgium.

1969 The Cadbury chocolate business merges with the Schweppes soft drinks to form Cadbury Schweppes.

1970 The Tobler company merges with the Suchard to become the largest chocolate company.

1970 Because the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are so popular the company has to double its size.

1973 The Cadbury Company opens Chocolate World theme park in Bournville, England.

1973 The Hershey Foods Corporation opens its theme park, Hershey's Chocolate World.

1973 Hershey Foods begins putting nutritional information on their labels.

1976 Hershey Chocolate Company adds chopped peanuts to the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to make Reese's Crunchy.

1977 Hershey Foods makes the first Golden Almond chocolate bar.

1980 An employee of the Schare-Tobler tries to sell secret chocolate recipes to Saudi Arabia, China, and Russia. Luckily he was unsuccessful.

1988 Nestlé buys the British chocolate and candy manufactures Rowntree. This makes Nestlé the world's largest chocolate manufacturer.

1988 Hershey Chocolate Company is renamed Hershey Chocolate U.S.A. The company buys Peter Paul.

1989 Hershey Chocolate U.S.A. makes the Symphony milk chocolate bar with almonds and toffee chips.

1990 Hershey sends 144,000 of their heat-resistant candy bars to soldiers in the Gulf War, Desert Storm.

1991 The recipe for Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is changed to add three times the amount of peanuts.

1993 The first Hershey's Hugs and mini Hershey's Kisses wrapped in white chocolate are sold.

9-9-9 BS

It's classic that a plan such as 9-9-9 comes from the Republicans. The Republican voting base cannot seem to handle complex issues, so something simple, like "9-9-9" is easy to grasp. The fact that it would increase taxes on the less-fortunate and lower them on the wealthy is not surprising at all, and probably beyond the comprehension of your typical Republican voter. Classic Republican tactics. That's what they do. Wipe the rich's asses with the poor's faces, and trick the poor into thinking it's chocolate ice cream.

The fact that Herman Cain is running around denying these facts is also classic Republican BS. Such a bold, in-your-face fuck you, and yet it gets presented as a good thing. How brazen!

Of course, if Cain is truly unaware of the effect that his 9-9-9 plan would have, then, what can you say? He shouldn't be anywhere near the Presidency. And, BTW, Godfather's Pizza was and is crap.

from Paul Krugman's blog...

TPC Does Herman Cain

The Tax Policy Center has the distributional analysis of 9-9-9. It’s awesome: (click the link in the prior sentence to see the larger chart)

Howard Gleckman summarizes:

A middle income household making between about $64,000 and $110,000 would
get hit with an average tax increase of about $4,300, lowering its after-tax
income by more than 6 percent and increasing its average federal tax rate(including income, payroll, estate and its share of the corporate income tax)
from 18.8 percent to 23.7 percent. By contrast, a taxpayer in the top 0.1% (who makes more than $2.7 million) would enjoy an average tax cut of nearly $1.4
million, increasing his after-tax income by nearly 27 percent. His average effective tax rate would be cut almost in half to 17.9 percent. In Cain’s world, a typical household making more than $2.7 million would pay a smaller share of its income in federal taxes than one making less than $18,000. This would give Warren Buffet severe heartburn.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crop of fools

Oh, le Français

Nissan ad?!


Hmm ... pay for parking downtown by using your smartphone??

From InnerLooped

Well it has only been a couple of days, but InnerLooped’s recent dinner Downtown (and subsequent post about the Terms and Conditions of ParkMobile’s ability to send you advertisements for using a city service) turned out to be one of those ground-breaking “oops” moments for the City that helped them avoid a bigger “oops” down the road.

After our post last week about section 5.3 of the ParkMobile Terms and Conditions… our post was picked up on Eventually, the CEO of ParkMobile posted in their comments section about the mix up, that ParkMobile does not send advertisements to users, and that they are changing their Terms and Conditions. Then yesterday, Swamplot got in touch with the City:

“The City’s agreement with ParkMobile does not allow for promotional emails
or texts to be sent to registered users,” Admin & Regulatory Affairs
spokesperson Christopher Newport tells Swamplot”.…

“Good catch,” Newport says: “This is something that should have been
excluded from ParkMobile’s Houston users terms and conditions. ParkMobile is
updating their terms/conditions today to remove any reference to promotion or
marketing materials that pay by cell customers may receive either by text or
email. Pay by phone users will not be spammed, and neither ParkMobile nor the
City will sell information to marketers.”

While we are glad to see this issue being cleared up… the more troubling thing is that it took me only five minutes to determine the contract could have left a loophole for taxpayers to be spammed (it might never have happened… but the loophole was there)… but the City overlooked it. While this seems like an honest misunderstanding and small oversight, you would think that the City would be a little more careful when approving contracts that could later upset taxpayers ([cough cough] the red-light camera fiasco).

InnerLooped will eventually be reviewing the ParkMobile service. It seems like a great idea, but we need to try it out first to see if it really is more convenient than slipping a couple bills into the machine. The Mayor will be announcing the new program Thursday at Discovery Green.