Archive for the General Category

Moochers!

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

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So Far So Summer

Posted by Matt on Saturday, June 30th, 2012

I haven’t written much lately.  We adopted a feral rabbit and it’s occupying a lot of our time.  But how about the dozen of us catch up together.  Here we go.

I got married. Married life is enjoyable.  Most of our conversations end in projecting how much sex we will be having 10 years from now. Answer? Zero. (Mayans)

And then…

….the New York Times published a report on President Obama’s ‘Kill List,’ the mechanism the White House uses to attack suspected terrorists from a converted Galaga machine somewhere in Nevada.  It also discusses the intricate National Security apparatus that allows the military and/or CIA to carry out these strikes and the coinciding decision-making process.  It’s a lot like the gradeschool game MASH, except it tends to end up, “Mohammed / in a village / with 6 kids / and a robotic missile.”

And then…

François Hollande is elected French President. The Economist loses its shit. Putin is “elected” (haha) on the same day – but it’s cool because it’s hard to criticize a man who unironically rides horses while shirtless.

And then…

North Carolina, home of legal incest, bans gay marriage because of hate Jesus.  This finally allows the wife and I to enjoy our hetero nuptials.  Thanks bigots!!!

And then…

The next day Obama comes out of the awesome-timing-closet to support gay marriage. Santorum shits a rainbow.

And then…

I picked up the new Shins album.  It’s good.

And then…

Dozens of Syrian children are massacred. Can’t lighten that up.

And then…

The Census bureau reports the Browns Blacks And Yellows are now the majority in America.  America no longer exceptional.

And then…

JP Morgan loses a bunch of money.  Congress calls Jamie Dimon in to fellate him for being the ideal American and doing so well at taking exorbitant fees for shuffling money around.

And then…

And then…

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker outraises his opponent 10:1 and heroically overcomes the odds to win his recall election.

And then…

After not watching the entire season, we watched the season finale of The Killing, just to see who killed Rosie.  And unfortunately not all the characters died.

And then…

Bath salts.

And then…

Dicks in the Michigan House ban Rep. Lisa Brown from the House floor for saying ‘vagina’ in a debate about government control of vaginas.

And then…

VAGINA!

And then…

Egypt.

And then…

The Heat won the championship because Lebron is the best player on the planet.  Millions of people can’t handle it.  They hate him so much. It’s really funny.  He had a remarkable Finals.  Chris Bosh behaves weirdly. GW nailed it’s predictions – calls its own number.  Really stepped out there.

And then…

Darrell Issa (R-Hackville) continues the GOP’s laser-like focus on job creation by leading one of the most disingenuous investigations in memory.  Holder is the first AG to be held in contempt in our history.  That must mean this Fast+Furious program, started in the Bush era (but evidentally masterminded by Holder), is the first botched operation in our history and has nothing to do with lax NRA-endorsed gun laws in states like Arizona.

And then…

Chief Justice Roberts commits treason by upholding a clearly constitutional law that was never really discussed as being unconstitutional during legislative “debates.” Millions will have access to health insurance and can delay dying for a few more months. So clearly SCOTUS doesn’t like you. Scalia hate-masterbates with peanut butter.

And of course…

Jerry Sandusky convicted on 45 of 48 counts.  The people of PSU are disgusting. Some finally start to realize Joe Pa might have had something to do with the institutional enabling of a child rapist.  Of course, much of this information was available in November. But, you know, football victories are most important.

That’s all. Hope to see you soon.

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Worst People of 2011

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Adult "Bat Boy," a/k/a Rick Scott

20.  Rick Scott:  You have a friend on Facebook who updated his status with something like this:  ”post this as your status if you think all welfare/UEI recipients should be drug tested.  They’re all just puffing up ratings for the Price Is Right, so let’s make them jump through as many hoops as possible in this awesome job market. It’s a great use of state resources. USA! Also…fuck ‘em.”

Now imagine you are the governor of an awful state and implemented said policy because it’s the ultimate in pandering. (Also, it’s always cool uniting behind facebook campaigns….Matt and 211,932 others like “orange highlighters.”) 

Then imagine that before you were governor you were CEO of a company found guilty of  the largest Medicaid fraud in the country’s history. 

Let he who has not overbilled Medicare cast the first reimbursement.

Of course, the drug testing ended up costing the state more than it’s worth to deny benefits to the 2% of recipients who failed the drug tests. (If the state tested elected officials, I would bet $1.7 billion that more than 2% would drop “positive.” )

Oh, and it might be unconstitutional as a clear violation of the 4th Amendment. However, BO/W have made sure the 4th is the Tito or Jermaine of Amendments.

Stay true to form, Rick. See you next year.

19. Fmr. Sheriff Patrick J. Sullivan:  Can be located in cell block 3 of Patrick J. Sullivan Detention Facility.

18. Mike Allen: If you boiled down the smugly nonsensical petri dish of cable news to print form, you would have Politico. Mike Allen is its chief political reporter.  He’s also a talking point wrapped in a talking point pretending to do real journalism in talking point form, with the apparent lack of any discerning value system.

He clocked in at #9 on Alex Parenee’s 2011 Hack 30 List, and god willing he’ll one day reach the top of that City on a Hill.

17. Bank of America:  Since corporations are now people, they can now be included . (Thanks John Roberts, Chief Justice of the US Chamber of Commerce Supreme Court!)

In June, Bof A settled claims against its adopted lovechild Countrywide for a very light $8.5B.  While simultaneously putting their hand out to the TARP gatekeepers, BofA continued attempts to foreclose on Americans who weren’t even behind in their payments.  Beyond the hidden fees and all the other Big  Bank bullshit, they’re also really good at foreclosing on military families.

Purple Mountains Majesty!

16. Jon Corzine:  Even among elected Democrats, Corzine’s duplicity stands out in technicolor.  The former NJ Governor drove MFGF into the ground while practicing the same behavior he long condemned. In other words, the Goldman Sachs Way.  From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

When I read MF Global Finance’s second-quarter results, though, what popped out at me was its compensation expenses: 64 percent of revenues went to compensation. In any industry but Wall Street, that would be obscene. Indeed, in a talk he gave at Princeton last year, Corzine said that he’d been “arguing about compensation sins of Wall Street” for decades. Not enough to actually do anything about it, though, once he was back in charge of a firm.

Then there’s Corzine’s own compensation. When he walked in the door, he negotiated a salary of $1.5 million. (Incredibly, MF Global Holdings paid a $400,000 fee to Corzine’s lawyers.) He also received a signing bonus of $1.5 million, and $11 million in stock options.

But here’s the kicker. Like many executives — on Wall Street and off — Corzine’s agreement also covered his eventual departure. If he left MF Global because, say, it was sold, his $11 million in stock options would immediately vest, and he would get a $12.1 million golden parachute. Of course, the MF Global proxy statement doesn’t call it a golden parachute. It calls the payment “severance.”

There’s more to the story. When Joe Nocera wrote this killer column earlier this week, it hadn’t even come out yet that….THE MONEY’S GONE!!!

Federal regulators have discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money has gone missing from MF Global in recent days, prompting an investigation into the brokerage firm, which is run by Jon S. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor, several people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

15.  Charlie Sheen: next.

14.  Joe Walsh:  The Illinois rep. is a self-proclaimed “family values” tea partier who differs with his family’s value by the $100,000 he owes in child support. However, he loves to take personal responsibility and blame any of his kids’ debt on Obama.  He yells at constituents and doesn’t think a single bank has done a single thing wrong. He’s also a 2nd Amendment revolution troll. All around great guy. Well done, IL-8.

BTW, The Family Research Council Action gave Walsh an award for his “unwavering support of the family,” because of course they did.

13.  Evan Bayh:  A Man Of Honor.

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Gratuitous World: Best & Worst Of 2010

Posted by Matt on Thursday, January 20th, 2011

What can you say about 2010 (except that it’s over)? In fact, while this might not be the greatest ‘Best of’ list, it’s certainly the latest. Here is how GW spent its year when it wasn’t throwing rocks at day laborers.

Book You Should Read: War, Sebastian Junger. Left, Right, Center, Whatever. Everyone should read about the daily toll of our nearly decade-long military action. A story of both courage and futility. The corresponding documentary (Restrepo) is also worth watching.

Best Television Show: Breaking Bad (again). Season 3 and still getting better. (How ’bout that finale?) The margin between this and other shows continues to grow.

Honorable Mention: Community. I’ve never liked Joel McHale. Never been interested in The Soup and my usual response to his stand-up is ‘oh, that was the laugh line?’  Watched a couple uninspired episodes last season because the tv was turned on. However, whatever the writing staff shook up this season produced gold. The ‘Armageddon/Apollo 13′ Spoof was one of the funniest episodes of tv this year. Same goes for the zombie-genre episode and heart-warming stop-motion Christmas episode. Well-done.

  • Thurs NBC: Parks and Recreations was also pretty great last year and definitely won the spring. 30 Rock is rebounding this season while someone needs to put The Office out of its highly-rated misery.

Favorite New Show: Via recommendation, just caught the 2nd Season of Party Down on Netflix. Went back and watched the first as soon as possible. Steve Guttenberg episode was awesome.

Worst Franchise Demise: Law & Order: SVU. People watch Law & Order because of the tidy, plot-driven, twist-at-the-3/4-mark episodes. Back in the day, they took this fool-proof premise and added sex crimes. Winner! Now the show is a shell of itself. Why does every episode have to include some melodramatic personal involvement of one of the characters? How many episodes ending with a Mexican Standoff are too many?C’mon! Just give me a serial rapist or abusive stepfather, a little legal battle, and be done with it. I’m starting to root for IAD. Benson & Stabler are TERRIBLE cops. They would be working Macy’s security if this was real life. But it’s not. It’s just a stupid television show. So maybe I should relax.

well that didn't take long.

Favorite Movie: Black Swan. In fairness, didn’t see much this year, but Aronofsky certainly got it done with this effort. I mean, a movie about Swan Lake that can keep me riveted for 2 hours? Well done. I also liked the much acclaimed indie flick Winters’ Bone.

  • Grab-The-Dirty-T-Shirt-Award: Mila Kunis. Not sure if you want to win this one, but you did. Well done. And I don’t care what ethnicity George Lopez wants you to be. We can all get behind sexy. so to speak.

Worst Last Words: In October, the State of Arizona executed convicted murderer Jeffrey Landrigan. When asked for his last words, Landrigan said, “Well, I’d like to say thank you to my family for being here and all my friends, and…Boomer Sooner.”

A classy way to go out for an obviously classy guy. Boomer Sooner is, of course, the official fight song and rallying cry for the University of Oklahoma Sooners, and I’m sure Landrigan’s final homage to the Sooners was duly appreciated by all associated with the University.

But just one thing – and I’m sure you’ll all be shocked – Landrigan never attended the University of Oklahoma, yet chose to use his final words to associate himself with the school.

To me Landrigan is a despicable but probably not far-off representation of all the townie college football fans – from Columbus to Norman to Tuscaloosa, who try to associate themselves with institutions they never attended, I’d like to say, Jeffrey Landrigan – while you’re neither Sooner Born nor Sooner Bred, you certainly are ‘sooner dead.’ good riddance, douchebag.

Best Inappropriate Tweet: 50 Cent - Speaking of MILF. I wanna do something that impact kids in a positive way, thats why im opening an abortion clinic. Ima call it 50/50 chance.

I laugh, but today’s offensive family planning idea is tomorrow’s Vitamin Water.

Hate-Monger of the Year: Pamela Geller - Wow, what stiff competition! Sorry Mr. Beck, Pastor ZigZag Chops, and virtually every Arizona conservative, but no one hated-it-up quite like Geller. I’m talking Barabara Bush type hate (as Richard Nixon would’ve said). Before the manufactured not-at-Ground-Zero-not-mosque controversy, Geller was probably best known as the Holocaust Revisionist who runs the Atlas Shrugs hate blog.  In 2010, she ascended to America’s prestigious ’Queen of Islamophobia’ position.  Here’s just a taste:

Amazon(.com) is pimping for jihad. The Arafat war scarf is on sale. The keffiyeh is the icon of the global jihad. It is as iconic of jihad as the swastika is for Nazis. Notice the advertising of the bloodiest murderer in modern Middle East history (the competition is stiff, after all), Yaser Arafat.

And kudos to virtually every media outlet for allowing her to mainstream her venomous bigotry. She couldn’t take home this award without you.

Best Product Innovation: Rascal Scooter’s Magnetic Stabilizer. Americans are getting fatter. We’re watching 35 hrs of tv a week, and increasingly bathing in corn syrup. Anyone looking for an investment opportunity should check it out…

Just one of the many innovations on display during the expo is Magnetic Stabilizer technology (patent pending) designed to prevent sideways tipping.  Stabilizer wheels utilize this technology to deploy only during contact with the riding surface, instantly giving 3-wheel scooters the superior stability of 4-wheel models.  This technology affords riders excellent 3-wheel maneuverability without sacrificing safety.

Worst Pope Of The Year: In a landslide, it’s Pope Benedict XVI! Among other gems, the disco pope blames the 70s for the kid rapers he protected for decades.

Unproven Fear Of The Year: Keeping my phone in my pants pocket will result in testicular cancer somewhere down the line, thus forcing me to sympathize with douchebag Lance Armstrong

Most Asinine Supreme Court Decision:  It doesn’t take much to keep tabs on the Roberts’ Court. Just look for a corporate agenda and follow the musk. To simplify, Citizens United v. FEC basically says corporations, like soylent green, are people. Enjoy that, America.

Worst Relationship Development: Groupon. Don’t get me wrong – this simple, yet genius business model is well crafted. But Jesus, ‘we have to go to restaurant __ because my groupon is going to expire’  seemed about as contrived as saving sex only during ovulation.

‘It’s -10 wind chill and a Tuesday!’ Doesn’t matter. Groupon, moutherfucker.

Do we really need a water pick? We already have 2. ‘It was a Groupon.’ And that’s where the conversation ends, as if  getting 30% off makes whatever unnecessary bullshit product immediately necessary.

Best Sports Story: Three years ago, the once proud Chicago Blackhawks franchise was in disarray. One timely death and a few successful personnel moves later, and the Hawks were back as the darlings of Chicago.  As one belonging to neither demographic, the rapidity of the bandwagon jumpers combined with the resentful push-back from the die-hard Blackhawks faithful made for a hilarious few months. In June, the Hawks triumphantly hoisted the Stanley Cup. And now that the Bears and Bulls are back, people might care again when if they make the playoffs.

Worst Sports Story – Event: World Cup. Once every four years I am susceptible to mouth-breathing rants in support of ‘American Exceptionalism.’ Well done, soccer.

Worst Sports Story – Individual:  Oh my God, I can’t believe it was possible to overshadow the ridiculous charade that was LeBron James’ free agency ‘Decision’, but CONGRATULATIONS Brett Favre! You did it again! And this time with more cock!

Best Campaign Ad: Alabama. Alabama. Alabama. Roll Tide, War Eagle, and whatever other stupid shit they do down there. I’m pretty sure it’s just football and campaign ads. They just churned them out one after the other. This one was my favorite.

Worst ‘Person Of The Year’ Award: Mark Zuckerberg? Really, Time? Welcome to 2007. amirite?

  • By the way, Least Substantive Publication – Time

Best ‘List’Salon’s Hack 30: Our Complete List Of America’s Worst PunditsA wonderful compilation of the media establishment hacks who drive our substance-free political discourse. E.g., big time hack and intellectually dishonest “historian” Jonah Goldberg (@ #7)…

Repeat offenses: Juvenile (but unamusing) sense of humor, adolescent writing style unbecoming a 41-year-old, laziness, “Simpsons”-quoting, inability/unwillingness to defend arguments when challenged.
Representative quote:

In today’s syndicated column I trot out the cliche that “hindsight’s always crystal clear.” Several readers have already reminded me that I wrote a column arguing exactly the opposite in June of 2002. This is the danger of cliches. I was trying to make a general point which everyone understands but also ended up communicating an even more general falsehood. Like saying violence never solves anything, people understand what I mean even when in reality what I’m saying isn’t true.

Wha?

GW Person Of The Year:  Any reader who can make a convincing argument for anyone will be  ’my person of the year.’ Giddyup.

Most Over-Saturated Celebrity (out-of-nowhere category): Jane Lynch. As an integral part of Best In Show (and Party Down Season 1), I’ll give her a pass for that Glee-whatnot. But isn’t it time for a vacation? I think I see her right now. Sitting over there.

GW Worst Person Of The Year: While BP’s Tony Hayward received well-deserved attention for the catastrophic Gulf Oil Spill, Massey Coal’s Don Blankenship could’ve been criminally liable for the West Virginia mine explosion resulting in the death of 29 miners. An epic gasbag, Blankenship is also one variation of the corporatists controlling this country.

(maynard + blankenship) But buying judges is hard work too! cheese!

I first read about this guy when he was caught vacationing in the French Riviera with a judge on the WV Supreme Court, while Massey had an important case pending in front of the WVSC. Lucrative and Romantic.

He loves to rail against the kind of regulation and enforcement that could’ve prohibited the tragedy. Believe it or not, he’s also climate change denier.  In a letter to the editor of the Charleston (WV) Gazette dated Oct. 30, 2009 Blankenship denied that climate change, or “global warming,” existed, and stated: “Why should we trust a report by the United Nations? The United Nations includes countries like Venezuela, North Korea and Iran.”

Great point. Really does a good job of scientifically refuting the years of research incorporated in the report. Instead we should trust Don Blankenship – he has nothing to gain. Did I mention he’s on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce and a bigtime Tea Party supporter? Probably didn’t need to.

So some lobbyist dollars and 29 deaths later, and Massey is one of the country’s most profitable coal companies! Congrats! ‘Free market,’ K-Street, deregulation, sell your soul, kick a puppy.

By the way, given the chance, he’ll fuck over your kids.  Congratulations, Don Blankenship! You’re GW’s Worst Person of 2010! Huzzah!

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The Whitecoats Are Coming!

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

The Right gets considerable mileage out of criticizing Massachusetts’ state-run health plan that covers over 97% of its citizens.  Case in point, listen to Glenn Beck lose his shit (aneurysm around 3:40 mark):

The Boston Globe had a different take today:

The facts – according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation – are quite different. Its report this spring put the cost to the state taxpayer at about $88 million a year, less than four-tenths of 1 percent of the state budget of $27 billion. Yes, the state recently had to cut benefits for legal immigrants, and safety-net hospital Boston Medical Center has sued for higher state aid. But that is because the recession has cut state revenues, not because universal healthcare is a boondoggle. The main reason costs to the state have been well within expectations? More than half of all the previously uninsured got coverage by buying into their employers’ plans, not by opting for one of the state-subsidized plans…

…Trying to scare off the nation from helping the uninsured get coverage, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said recently, “You don’t have to look any further than the universal healthcare mess in Massachusetts to see disaster ahead.’’ New York Times columnist Ross Douthat on Monday accused President Obama of “pushing a health plan that looks a lot like the system currently hemorrhaging money in Massachusetts.’’

In Massachusetts, cost estimates for the reform plan before its passage in 2006 were so low that Romney and the reform law’s Democratic supporters in the Legislature were able to get away without creating a new tax to fund it. After the costly Wall Street bailout and the $787 billion stimulus package, that option is not open to President Obama and Congress. But Congress should not allow itself to be buffaloed by false claims about Massachusetts into fearing a tsunami of red ink.

There is one other statistic about the Massachusetts plan that politicians, in particular, should appreciate. According to Robert Blendon of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kennedy School of Government, the law’s approval rating in June 2008 was 69 percent. That is a figure officeholders can only dream about.

I am neither equating Democrats’ national plan to Massachusetts’ plan, nor endorsing its adoption. I refrain from writing about the intricacies of health care policy because I’m no expert.  As one of the “underinsured,” I do know the following:

  • My health care sucks. I’ve been denied coverage twice for medical procedures because of “pre-existing conditions.”  One of these occassions is the only time a doctor recommend I go “under the knife.”
  • I had to change primary care doctors because mine was “out-of-network.” (I am covered through one of the nation’s largest insurance companies.)
  • I’ve dealt with the IRS through work.  Receiving money from them is a cakewalk compared to getting reimbursements from my insurance co.
  • My Dad has more health issues than Dick Cheney.  He’s no liberal, but he thanks the heavens for the insurance he gets through the Veterans’ Administration.  Like Medicare, that’s a government-run program with high customer-satisfaction rates.

I highlight the above editorial because it’s a rare mainstream media counter-point to the anti-reform movement that has done an amazing job getting out their message. This is not surprising considering the mainstream media’s long-running need to regurgitate right wing talking points. 

The Right can literally make shit up about Obama wanting to kill grandma and the talking heads will give it credence.  Soon, Boehner will be telling you that no American will have coverage until he/she bends over while  Barney Frank puts on a latex glove.  Get on that hot story, Stephanopoulos.

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Gratuitous World

Posted by Matt on Thursday, September 25th, 2008

 

Welcome.  While I can’t get into specifics, please trust that many excellent ideas were discussed at the launch party you weren’t invited to.  I can assure the reader that this site will regurgitate, recycle and bastardize all the best original ideas developed by others. Enjoy.

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Gratuitous World Blog

    • College Football Players, Awaken…
      January 29, 2014

      [Former NCAA President Myles Brand:] They can’t be paid. [Q:] Why? [Brand:] Because they’re amateurs. [Q:] What makes them amateurs? [Brand:] Well, they can’t be paid. [Q:] Why not? [Brand:] Because they’re amateurs. [Q:] Who decided they are amateurs? [Brand:] We did. [Q:] Why? [Brand:] Because we don’t pay them. – Michael Rosenberg’s 2010 Sports Illustrated interview of former NCAA president Myles Brand Yesterday, quarterback Kain Colter led a group […]

    • GW: Favorite Albums Of 2013
      January 11, 2014

      On time as always! Happy New Year. 20.  Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City:  Ok kids, we get it. Good work. 19.  Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Any Port In A Storm 18.  Charlie Parr – Barnswallow 17. My Bloody Valentine – MBV:  Per usual, I can’t understand a fucking word, but still pretty […]

    • REPOST!…SNOW MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE…
      January 7, 2014

      (originally posted 2/10/10) then again (7/9/10) now one more time before retirement. for love. UPDATE: So it’s as hot as fuck out east because, you know, it’s July. Anyway, I’m just checking in because although You Know and I Know daily mid-Atlantic microtrends in weather do not offer any proof or disproof with regard to […]