Thursday, May 31, 2012

Elizabeth Warren Fesses to Affirmative Action Fraud

The latest statement from Elizabeth Warren gives away the game:
“I let people know about my Native American heritage in a national directory of law school personnel. At some point after I was hired by them, I also provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard”
That an element of affirmative action fraud was committed, there can be no doubt. Both Penn and Harvard touted their Native American professor in their minority hiring statistics. To what extent Warren was complicit or received personal benefit strikes me as too fine a point to make in defense.

Here's the damning part as reported by the Boston Globe:
"Warren had previously said only that she indicated minority status in an Association of American Law Schools directory used to make diversity-friendly hires beginning in the 1986-87 school year, the year before she was hired at Penn. She stopped listing herself in the directory in 1995, the year she became a tenured professor at Harvard.
Before Warren’s time in the Ivy League - in the early 1980s - she indicated on an official University of Texas form that she was white. She also had the option to indicate Native American heritage at that point, but did not check that box."
When the story keep changing as additional documents are found undercutting the previous story, it's fair to assume the worst.

First Circuit Goes Down on DOMA

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, has been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit sitting in Boston.

I neither support nor oppose gay marriage, believing that civil unions would adequately address the demands of equality. It's my view that same-sex unions are very similar to opposite-sex marriage but also different in important ways that make some legal distinctions desirable even with a framework of extending full civil rights.

Section 3 of DOMA provides:

"In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

This was a little bit lazy, in my judgment and in the court's. There are, I would imagine, quite a number of places in the federal regulations and rules of far flung federal bureaucracies where the word spouse is used in and offhand and trivial ways that would give no great concern if it were extended to gay couples.

The court seemed to find one of these in a obscure provision regarding federal funding for veteran's cemeteries. In other words, should such a veteran's cemetery be excluded from receiving federal funding merely because some soldiers are buried there with their gay partners rather than the cemetery being limited to soldiers and their spouses as narrowly construed by DOMA. In a word, that's silly.

There are, on the other hand, instances where it strikes me as fair for Congress to decide who gets the benefits of the "married filing jointly" tax status, particularly if some states allow gay marriage and others don't. Which is more important withing our federal constitution, taxing gay couples the same as straight couples in Massachusetts or taxing gay couples in Massachusetts the same as gay couples in North Carolina?

The difficult cases are the ones that come down to benefits. Congressman Gerry Studds represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973 to 1997. Midway through that tenure, in 1983, he was censured for having an affair with a 17-year-old page. Gerry Studds and Dean Hara were married in May 2004 (they reportedly had been couple since 1991). Studds passed away at age 69 in October 2006.

The legal question under DOMA is whether Hara should get the pension and health benefits that Congress extends to spouses. And here the case has an interesting wrinkle. Former Congressman Studds seems to have failed to check the "self and family" box when applying for benefits.

Dean Hara may be just as well qualified in the minds of some egalitarians to receive federal pension and health benefits as Nancy Moore, the second wife of U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, who married Strom when he was 66 years old (on the way to 100) and she was 22. They separated in 1991 but never divorced. Nancy did have 4 children with Strom, so perhaps her case is different than Dean on that account.

Then there is the case of Carrie Butler, a Thurmond family maid who had his first child when she was 16 and he was 22. Should the federal taxpayer have paid her a pension too? She died in 1948, making that question moot. Their daughter Essie Mae is still living.

It does not really matter the the general public, outside of a person's family, who was the right to visit them in the hospital or inherit their partner leaves to them when they die.

It does, however, matter who must be paid a public pension, who gets their health care bills paid, who was to pay what level of taxes, and other questions of that sort. Most of the laws regarding spousal benefits are premised on the traditional notion that one spouse, traditionally the male breadwinner, is responsible for the financial support of the other spouse, both in life and to some extent in death.

In the short term, it's convenient for the First Circuit to say marriage is marriage, but that's bound to lead to results just as silly as the veteran's cemetery. Over the longer term, we're going to have to better define what marriage means, both for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. That's not a place everyone is ready to go, and not just for reasons of bigotry.

Here's where we are today. Retiring U.S. Congressman Barney Frank (age 72) will marry his partner Jim Ready (age 42) in June. That, by the way, just fails the half your age plus rule (72 / 2 = 36, 36 + 7 = 43). Former U.S. Senator John Edwards was acquitted today on one charge with a mistrial declared on others related the secret payoffs to Rielle Hunter, with whom he had an affair and a child. On the way out the door of the courthouse, a reporter asked Edwards if we would now be marrying Hunter.

I don't see how it is fair that I, as a single person and taxpayer, should have to pay a pension to either Jim Ready or Rielle Hunter. Explain the equality of that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sex in the City with BHO and SJP or WJC

Well the Democrats have done it now, invited me to two competing fundraising dinners in New York City.

Behind Door Number 1: A grassroots supporter and their guest will be joining President Obama and the First Lady at Sarah Jessica Parker's home in New York City, with airfare and accommodations provided by the campaign.

Behind Door Number 2: President Obama and former President Bill Clinton are inviting a Democrat like you, and a guest of your choice, to join them in New York. Airfare and hotel are covered.

Dinner with George Clooney was just the beginning, we're going to be raffling off President Obama all summer.


Texas Gives Romney the Ring, Ron Paul Eyes Newt

Mitt Romney went over the top, securing the last of the 1144 delegates he needs to clinch the Republican nomination with a win in the Texas primary yesterday.

# of delegates secured so far NYT WSJ CNN CBS MSNBC RCP
Mitt Romney 1191 1191 1172 1198 1191 1169
Rick Santorum 265 265 266 231 265 267
Newt Gingrich 138 138 144 125 138 145
Ron Paul 137 137 140 121 137 118
Jon Huntsman 2 2 1 2 0 0
Michele Bachmann 1 1 1 0 0 0
Total 1734 1734 1724 1677 1731 1699
% of delegates secured so far        
Mitt Romney 69% 69% 68% 71% 69% 69%
Rick Santorum 15% 15% 15% 14% 15% 16%
Newt Gingrich 8% 8% 8% 7% 8% 9%
Ron Paul 8% 8% 8% 7% 8% 7%
% of remaining needed to clinch:        
Mitt Romney -9% -9% -5% -9% -8% -4%
Rick Santorum 159% 159% 156% 150% 158% 149%
Newt Gingrich 182% 182% 178% 167% 181% 170%
Ron Paul 182% 182% 179% 168% 181% 175%

Ron Paul has pulled within 4 to 9 delegates of surpassing Newt Gingrich. With six states left to vote and a number of delegates to be selected at state conventions where Ron Paul is always well organized, he's on track to do that. That would put Ron Paul in third and push Newt Gingrich down to fourth going into the convention.

Well, everything after first place is for bragging rights, but that may go to the lone Huntsman delegate from New Hampshire, if there is even one. Lone Huntsman, that sounds like a superhero. Dr. Paul is the evil villain with the heart of gold. Newt Gingrich is the hapless henchman.

Update 5/31/2012:  The Lone Huntsman rides alone no more. After the Texas votes settled, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann were each awarded 1 Texas delegate. In Eye of Newt news, Ron Paul has now pulled within 1 to 4 delegates on mots scorecards of creeping up to third place.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

Pete Seeger will seem an odd choice to some for Memorial Day, but it is perhaps the best tribute to the old military saying: "Every soldier is entitled to a competent command."

This goes out to:
  • My high school friend Traci's son Lucas who will be commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis tomorrow. Semper Fi and God be with you.
  • My cousin Justin who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in spring 2011, and served on active duty for 10 years with more deployments than I could keep track of. This will be his first Memorial Day as a veteran.
  • My cousin Bud, an Army Air Corps pilot who died when he was shot down over Belgium on December 24, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. His name is carved in an arch at Virginia Military Institute where he took his officer's training.
  • My severals-great uncle Isaac Lee, a private in the Iowa Volunteers who was mortally wounded and taken prisoner at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas on April 30, 1864, died in hospital a week later, and is buried beneath the southern pines.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Poor Joe Biden Still Dreams of Being President

A lot of people are talking about Joe Biden's rant in Ohio. What they are not talking about is the gaffe within the gaffe. Queue to the 45 second mark:
"I resent the fact that they think we are talking about, we're angry, it's job envy, it's wealth envy, that we don't dream."
Pay attention to the switch in what he says next:
"My mother believed and my father believed that if I wanted to be President of the United States I could be, I could be Vice President."
Joe Biden always wanted to be President. He wanted it so bad that he ran for President to no effect in 1988 and 2008 He got the VP slot on the ticket in 2008 after John Edwards self-destructed and Hillary Clinton decided she'd rather be Secretary of State.
"My mother and father believed that if my brother or sister wanted to be a millionaire, they could a millionaire."
Joe Biden's net worth is notoriously low, a mere $500,000 by some reports, despite making pretty good money as a U.S. Senator for 36 years and currently making $230,700 a year as Vice President. I don't know if Joe's siblings achieved the parental dreams but Joe apparently has come up a little short of his mother and father's dreams.
"My mother and father dreamed as much as any rich guy dreams. They don't get us. They don't get who we are."
Oh, I think I get it. It must hurt Joe Biden to the core to be serving alongside President Barack Obama. Not only does he have Barack Obama's $400,000 a year salary to envy, he also has the many millions Barack Obama has made from his book, Dreams from My Father.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Elizabeth Warren, Woman of Color and Mystery

The Elizabeth Warren affirmative action fraud scandal continues to unravel. It's clear Elizabeth Warren self-identified as a minority in professional directories to further her professional career. It's also clear that some of the law schools where she worked took that information and touted her minority status as evidence of their commitment to affirmative action.

The latest revelation is this paragraph from a 1997 Fordham Law Review article:
There are few women of color who hold important positions in the academy, Fortune 500 companies, or other prominent fields or industries. This is not inconsequential. Diversifying these arenas, in part by adding qualified women of color to their ranks, remains important for many reasons. For one, there are scant women of color as role models. In my three years at Stanford Law School, there were no professors who were women of color. Harvard Law School hired its first woman of color, Elizabeth Warren, in 1995.
Portions of the Fordham article are archived at the website, which includes this tantalizing tidbit:
I have spoken with many women of color about their law school experiences of attending class, hearing a professor say something demeaning about women of color, noticing no reaction among their classmates, and ultimately wondering, "Is it just me?" To illustrate, at a conference at Harvard Law School organized by the Women of Color Collective, when one panelist described the "is it just me" phenomenon, women throughout the audience nodded their heads in understanding.
Just who was the panelist who asked "is it just me"? That sounds like a certain blue-eyed blonde white woman who wants to be the junior U.S. Senator for Massachusetts. Well, maybe not. But just what was Elizabeth Warren's connection with the Women of Color Collective at Harvard? We have ourselves a mystery.

The thing that you can regard as absolutely certain is that organization's such as the Collective kept close track of minority hiring at colleges and universities around the country, and kept especially close track at Harvard. It's inconceivable that such a conference would have been held at Harvard at a time when the law school was publicly touting Elizabeth Warren in its minority hiring stats without her being invited.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mitt Romney Bullies Nebraska and Oregon

The Washington Post story with allegations of bullying as a high schooler didn't hurt Mitt Romney much in the Nebraska and Oregon primaries today, as he won both with more than 70% of the vote. Better to be the boy that bullied than the boy that was bullied if you are running for President of the United States.

I personally think the reported incident was one of hazing not bullying, and while some equate the two they are not the same. If I am right, Mitt Romney probably got hazed himself a year or two earlier in his high school career. Now if the Post had that story they might do some damage.

Here is the scoreboard:

# of delegates secured so far NYT WSJ CNN CBS MSNBC RCP
Mitt Romney 989 989 961 980 989 989
Rick Santorum 265 265 274 244 265 264
Newt Gingrich 130 130 145 124 130 141
Ron Paul 106 106 114 98 106 104
Jon Huntsman 1 1 0 2 0 0
Total 1491 1491 1494 1448 1490 1498
% of delegates secured so far        
Mitt Romney 66% 66% 64% 68% 66% 66%
Rick Santorum 18% 18% 18% 17% 18% 18%
Newt Gingrich 9% 9% 10% 9% 9% 9%
Ron Paul 7% 7% 8% 7% 7% 7%
% of remaining needed to clinch:        
Mitt Romney 19% 19% 23% 20% 19% 20%
Rick Santorum 111% 111% 110% 107% 110% 112%
Newt Gingrich 128% 128% 126% 122% 127% 127%
Ron Paul 131% 131% 130% 125% 130% 132%

Ron Paul is still in the race, and could overtake Newt Gingrich for third place, in the delegate count at least. Oh, the days of March and April, with their talk of a brokered convention, they seem so long ago.

Proof New Dodd-Frank Is Same Old Dodd-Frank

Everyone understands a $2 billion loss (or is it $3 to $4 billion?). No one really understands JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's explanation of how his bank got caught short making ill-conceived hedging trades and whether those trades would violate the Volcker rule that will take effect under Dodd-Frank in July.

It seems that the new Dodd-Frank legislation passed by the Obama administration that was supposed to prevent such scenarios just served to create a false security, in much the same was that the financial industry oversight work of Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank provided only a false security before the September 2008 financial crisis.

In 2011, JPMorgan Chase had $19 billion in net income on $2.265 trillion in total assets. But 92 cents on every dollar of assets is borrowed money. The equity to absorb losses is only 8 cents on the dollar. At that scale, you don't have to lose very much on each dollar before you've lost a lot of money. Too big to fail but not to big to flail.

The loss of market confidence in JPMorgan Chase is more measured. It's stock price has fallen 8% for an $18 billion loss in market capitalization. Yet the $36 per share it's trading at today is still higher than the $28 it was trading at last October. The market giveth and the market taketh away.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner was quick to pounce: "I think this failure of risk management is just a very powerful case for financial reform. The test of reform is not whether you can prevent banks from making mistakes, the test of reform should be: 'Do those mistakes put at risk the broader economy, the financial system or the taxpayer?'" The FBI has also been dispatched to investigate but if they actually find anything I will be very much surprised.

Here's the Charles rule: If you think you can outlaw banks from losing money in the financial markets, whether by hedging or by regulation, you're a fool.

Update: Today on May 15, 2012 JPM closed at $36.240 per share. On December 31, 2011 it closed at $33.250. That means the shareholders lost the opportunity to make even more money than the $3 per share they have made in the last 4 and 1/2 months. Oh, the horror and deprivation of those poor shareholders having to settle for a 9% return with the year not even half over.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't Worry Be Happy as the First Gay President Repeals His Personal Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy

Three years ago this poster would have gotten Andrew Sullivan branded a racist tea party bigot, although in his defense the Obama halo is an old 2008 campaign theme.

What you won't read in Newsweek about President Obama's decision to announce his support for gay marriage:

Q: Why do you announce your support for gay marriage the day after a ballot referendum in North Carolina makes gay marriage unconstitutional in that state?

A: Because I made the assessment that announcing my support before the public voted was not going to carry the day.
The political calculus is that it's better to sign on to a lost cause after it is lost than to be seen losing it. That was apparent in the email that was sent on the day of the announcement from the Obama campaign:

"I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry."
That word "affirm" neatly ties up the previous position to the current position:
"I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution."
But just what is that current position:
"I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them."
That's right, Barack Obama still says he respects the beliefs of those who are opposed to legally recognizing gay marriage and respects churches that want nothing to do with gay marriage. That's a halo of many colors.

The email from Barack Obama was the third of the day on gay marriage. The first was from Nancy Pelosi who offered a roadmap of where this goes next:
"We must continue to fight – in the courts, in state legislatures, and in Congress – until all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans are guaranteed fair treatment in our country."
Let's consider that. The fight in North Carolina was not in the courts, state legislature, or Congress but at the ballot box. And at the ballot box voters in 31 states have banned gay marriage, and in doing so many states have approved language that has banned civil unions too. When that gets to 34 states, they can propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage and possibly civil unions in all states. At 38 states, they have enough to ratify that amendment.

The handful of courts which have declared that their states must recognize gay marriage rather than providing equality through civil unions have unleashed a hornet's nest of opposition that might not otherwise exist. The Iowa Supreme Court understood that:

"While unexpressed, religious sentiment most likely motivates many, if not most, opponents of same-sex civil marriage and perhaps even shapes the views of those people who may accept gay and lesbian unions but find the notion of same-sex marriage unsettling."
That religious sentiment hardly remained unexpressed when Iowa voters ousted the three members of the Iowa Supreme Court up for retention in the next election. Would they have kept their jobs if they had said civil union rather than marriage? All they needed was another 5% of the vote. Would North Carolina opponents have gotten 61% of the vote if civil unions and not marriage had been on the line? It would seem that gay rights advocates have lost more than they have gained. We'll never know if Barack Obama was right the first time to support civil unions as the best route to equality.

The second email of the day came from Massachusetts Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. Her ideas of where to go next include championing:

"the Respect for Marriage Act which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)"
That would short circuit the careful consideration of the various federal laws and benefits intended for traditional marriage and how they should most fairly be applied for gay marriage. And before you start saying that denial of any of the benefits of marriage makes one a second-class citizen, I just want to observe that I am single and I don't get any of those benefits. Not one. Citizen, third-class.
"the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow permanent partners the same immigration rights as spouses"
Those sham marriages that some people use to abuse our immigration laws? Forget that hassle, "permanently" shacking up will do.
"the Every Child Deserves a Family Act which would end discrimination by federally-assisted child adoption agencies"
No Child's Adoption Should Be Assisted by Catholic Charities is what that really means. Doesn't that violate President Obama's expression of respect for religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines?

"the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in all credit transactions including student loans, small business loans, mortgages and credit cards."
That means you are going to have to check the box for your sexual orientation if you want to borrow money, just like now you have to check the box for your race, which is the only way that banks can discriminate in these days of electronic applications and approvals.

Still, gay marriage has worked out without too many hitches here in Massachusetts. And by that I don't just mean that my mailbox is not exactly flooded with gay marriage invitations. The original named plaintiffs Julie and Hillary Goodridge married in May 2004, separated amicably in July 2006, and divorced in July 2009.

The fourth email of the day came from Rufus Gifford, National Finance Director of Obama for America. It had a short subject line:

I am just so happy.
He wanted money. What you are supposed to know without having to ask is that Rufus is gay. His life partner, Jeremy Bernard, is White House Social Secretary.

Jeremy and Rufus do not look particularly oppressed in this picture with their dog Lucas. No word on whether they plan to make it legal.

And that's what makes gay marriage different from traditional marriage. For opposite-sex couples, marriage is what society traditionally expects. Is that to become the norm for same-sex couples too? Is the GBLT community down with, in the words of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, a "union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others"? Lesbian women probably, gay men maybe not, bisexuals almost certainly not, transgenger who knows.

Update: 31 states have banned gay marriage at the ballot box but 7 additional states have legislative bans, so that's 38 states with bans in place, enough to ratify a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage nationwide.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Nancy Pelosi Trains to Always Start with White

Nancy, Nancy, Nancy, what will you think of next?

The Washington Examiner reports that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is training Democrats in the U.S. House to use a very specific racial hierarchy. She hired Maya Wiley, the founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion, to train Democratic members and staff how to address the issue of race to defend government programs:
Wiley proposed the use of "race explicit" anecdotes to illustrate problems like the economic crisis. "Explain how each racial group is affected (recognize the unique pain of each group), but start with people who are White," she wrote in her distributed remarks. "Then raise racial disparities." For example, she offered the line: "Homeownership is the American Dream. It hurts the same to lose your home if you're White, Asian, Latino or Black."
I suppose it doesn't make sense to say things like:
"Homeownership is the American Dream. It hurts the same to lose your home if you're American or American."
But how about using more inclusive language:
"Homeownership is the American Dream. It hurts to lose your home as has happened to too many of our fellow Americans."
Maya Wiley was ranked #16 of 20 on The Root's list of America's Leading Black Women Advocating Change. She comes up with unvirtuous circles, such as this one from her organization's website.
  • Policies create the middle class and suburbs, but they discriminate by race
  • Cities lose white population and jobs so the tax base shrinks
  • Transit does not follow the jobs to the suburbs so too many people of color can't either
  • Cities subsidize development to entice wealth back, but policies don't support enough affordable housing
  • People of color are displaced as investment comes back to the cities
White people are the problem, coming or going. Where to site a bank branch, how much to spend on public transit, whether to address a budget deficit all become questions of structural racism.

But now she has come back around to training Democrats to "start with people who are White." It's "White, Asian, Latino or Black" forward, or backwards Blaw, blaw, blaw...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ron Paul up as Michele Bachmann Defects to Switzerland and Mitt Romney Rolls Along

In the twilight of the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination race, Mitt Romney has not quite officially clinched the deal but has mathematically eliminated all his opponents. With Santorum and Gingrich bowing to the inevitable, Ron Paul has moved up, winning second place in North Carolina and Indiana. He could crowd out Newt Gingrich to finish third overall, at least in terms of delegate count.

# of delegates secured so far NYT WSJ CNN CBS MSNBC RCP
Mitt Romney 966 966 925 934 966 865
Rick Santorum 264 264 281 247 264 270
Newt Gingrich 130 130 145 130 130 144
Ron Paul 104 104 82 92 104 93
Jon Huntsman 1 1 0 2 0 0
Total 1465 1465 1433 1405 1464 1372
% of delegates secured so far        
Mitt Romney 66% 66% 65% 66% 66% 63%
Rick Santorum 18% 18% 20% 18% 18% 20%
Newt Gingrich 9% 9% 10% 9% 9% 10%
Ron Paul 7% 7% 6% 7% 7% 7%
% of remaining needed to clinch:        
Mitt Romney 22% 22% 26% 24% 22% 31%
Rick Santorum 107% 107% 101% 102% 107% 96%
Newt Gingrich 124% 124% 117% 115% 123% 109%
Ron Paul 127% 127% 125% 119% 127% 115%

It now appears that Mitt Romney won't reach the magic 1144 delegates to clinch until the Texas primary on May 29.

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann's spokesperson has announced that she has applied for and received dual citizenship in Switzerland:
"Congresswoman Bachmann's husband is of Swiss descent so she has been eligible for dual-citizenship since they got married in 1978. However, recently some of their children wanted to exercise their eligibility for dual-citizenship so they went through the process as a family."
To go from running for President of the United States in January to becoming a citizen of a foreign country in May is strange. It also means Bachmann must have decided against running for President again in the future. Mitt Romney's Swiss bank account will be problem for him enough, America would never stand for a President with divided loyalties to a foreign country. We'll see if Bachmann keeps her Minnesota U.S. House seat.

Update: Michele Bachmann apparently reads this blog as she has withdrawn her application for Swiss citizenship.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 Focuses on Women's Breasts

I'm looking forward to the wet t-shirt contest in Charlotte showing up on YouTube, if these faceless julias at the merch table in Barack Obama's War on Women are a fair preview:

I'll bet you that breaks these links as fast as you can say National Offend a Feminist Week, unless they have way too much invested in inventory and badly need to make their money back.

Joe Biden Looks Over His Shoulder at Hillary Clinton

Here's how it is going to go down. Hillary Clinton will step down as Secretary of State around the end of June. In August she will be picked to replace Joe Biden in the VP slot on the Democratic ticket.

How do I know this? Barack Obama is clearly going to face a tough reelection fight. Does he do better with Joe or Hillary on the ticket? Hillary obviously gives him a boost, and he will need that boost. Clearly the War on Women theme works best if the Democrats have a woman on the ticket to fight that fight. Joe has got to go.

Just go the campaign store on Yes, you can buy a $40 Obama-Biden iPhone case in Navy blue or red, white, and blue, a $30 limited-edition Obama-Biden T-shirt. a $22.50 Cup of Joe coffee mug, a $15 Obama-Biden water bottle, or a $10 Cheers Champ beer cozy. Cheers Champ, that's a nice way to say goodbye.

There are bulk Obama-Biden campaign buttons and bulk Obama-Biden bumper stickers at $1.50 or less for 25 or more and Obama-Biden 100 sticker packs for $15. Buy in bulk, they need to clear the inventory. Curiously, none of these display the year 2012.

Then there are number of items labeled "Classic" such as the "Classic" Obama-Biden yard sign for $15, the "Classic" Obama-Biden placard at 2 for $12, the "Classic" Obama-Biden photo button at 2 for $5, and the "Classic" Obama-Biden bumper sticker also at 2 for $5. Classic is what you call something that is past its time.

Out 291 items on 19 pages I couldn't find anything with both Joe Biden's name and the year 2012 on it. Clearly they are keeping their VP options open over at

It doesn't get more obvious than items like the 2012 Obama-Biden calendar which has been discounted from $15 to $10 so that you're not paying for the months after Biden will be off the ticket. The perfect tell is the Obama-Biden Grey T with Barack Obama's name in a bold blue and Joe Biden's name in a dull grey that will fade out after several washings. It's been discounted from $30 to $15 so you are only paying for Barack Obama's name.

This shirt is also available for the full $30 in an organic white cotton that will biodegrade into an Obama-Clinton T before the end of August.

That brings us to the play Joe Biden made on Sunday to keep his job. He came out unequivocally in favor of gay marriage, even though that is not official Obama administration policy. That's raised a lot of eyebrows with some Democrats even describing it as a gaffe. But Joe is just trying to appeal to the one big Democratic constituency that may not be completely down with Hillary Clinton. Hillary's husband Bill, of course, signed the Defense of Marriage Act back in 1996 that prevents recognition of gay marriage by the federal government.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Warren Buffet Outdraws Barack Obama, What Was That Rule Again?

This past weekend Warren Buffett filled an 18,320 seat arena in Omaha, Nebraska to the rafters. With over 35,000 tickets handed out to his annual meeting, many watched on large screens in overflow crowd areas.

By contrast, Barack Obama held his campaign kickoff in a similar 18,300 seat arena in Columbus, Ohio. Attendance was only 14,000 with his campaign unable to find anyone willing to occupy 4,000 empty seats.

Columbus has a metro area population of 1.8 million people, so the Obama campaign would have needed just 1% to fill the arena. Columbus proper is home to 57,000 college students at Ohio State University and 220,000 African-Americans, a mere 6.5% of these two key constituencies for Democrats would have filled the arena. The Ohio jobless rate is 7.5%, so the unemployed would also have easily overfilled the arena 7 time over just from the Columbus metro area if they had enough hope left to come.

The problem, I think, is the Iron Law of Stardom, which says no one can be a star for longer than three years. Barack Obama built his 2008 campaign on star power. The 3 years 2008 - 2010 will prove to be his glory years in terms of star power. Yes, he will always be famous, and he may even win reelection, but facts are facts and the Tea Party victory in 2010 succeeded in putting an unhappy ending on his 3 years of stardom. No one gets excited about a team running a prevent defense.

And what about the famous Buffett Rule, that CEOs should pay the same tax rate as their secretaries, which Barack Obama has made a centerpiece in his reelection campaign? Warren Buffett said the Buffett Rule has been "butchered a bit" (by whom you may feel free to speculate). Warren Buffett's right-hand man Charlie Munger says he supports the Buffett Rule but added, "We need more sacrifice and we need more sensible ways of spending money."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Meryl Streep to Star in Life of Julia

Meryl Streep will reunite with Amy Adams to star in Life of Julia where they both, along with a child actress still to be cast, will play the Obama administration's composite girlfriend.

I think we've seen this movie before, and it doesn't turn out the way you hope:

Julie & Julia (2009) (PG-13) - Amy Adams stars as Julie Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child, as Julie decides to spice up her uneventful life by cooking all 524 recipes outlined in Julia Child's culinary classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Julia (2008) (R) - At an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Julia Harris (Tilda Swinton) agrees to help her friend Elena (Kate del Castillo) kidnap her son (Aidan Gould) from his industrialist grandfather. But when Julia takes the scheme into her own hands, she quickly descends into a dangerous world of Mexican con men.

Dreaming of Julia (2005) (NR) - In Cuba in 1958, the last year of Fulgencio Batista regime, a boy (Andhy Mendez) is torn between his friendship with a blonde American named Julia (Iben Hjejle) and the strife facing his family headed by his grandfather Che (Harvey Keitel) as a result of the revolution and turmoil in their nation.

Being Julia (2004) (R) - Estranged from her son, willfully ignorant of her husband's philandering and aware that her youth and beauty are fading, aging actress Julia Lambert (Annette Bening, who earned an Oscar nomination for her spirited performance) is in search of a way to regain the spark of passion. And that passion may lie in the smoldering attentions of a much-younger admirer (Shaun Evans) who might not be able to stay faithful to her.

Julia (1977) (PG) - A case of writer's block and a chance to reconnect with lifelong friend Julia (Vanessa Redgrave) prompt American dramatist Lillian Hellman (Jane Fonda) to journey to 1930s Europe. Julia, once a young woman of privilege, has become an antifascism activist and recruits Lillian for a risky undertaking that tests their friendship.

Julia (1974) (R) - Featuring the star of the original Emmanuelle, this erotic comedy from Germany follows the adventures of a young woman determined to lose her virginity while on vacation in Switzerland. Beautiful Julia (Sylvia Kristel) goes to the Alps with one goal on her mind, engaging in a series of romantic adventures as she tries to become a woman.

Movie descriptions cribbed from Netflix.

Update: Uh oh, Iowahawk hits a little too close to the mark. I knew this movie would not have a happy ending.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Cinco de Mayo Toast to the Unsung Informant

Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5 in the U.S. while the rest of the world celebrates May Day on May 1? The official story involves the 1862 Battle of Puebla between the Second Federal Republic of Mexico and the Second French Empire but no one really knows the truth, and I probably shouldn't tell you now.

May Day celebrates the "martyrs" of the 1886 Haymarket Riots in Chicago and has become the great holiday of international socialism. Labor demonstrations starting on May 1 culminated in a faceoff between protesters and police on May 4, where anarchists tossed a bomb into the police line killing seven policemen. The United States of America has never been able to bring itself to joining the rest of the world in celebrating the killing of those policemen.

May 5 was the day the police acting on information raided the offices of the anarchist August Spies, who was convicted and executed of conspiracy in the deaths along with Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, and Louis Lingg (who committed suicide on the day before the execution). That's why America celebrates May 5.

An attempt was made a year ago by President Barack Obama to rehabilitate May 1 in the eyes of Americans when he gave the order to get Osama Bin Laden in time to announce it to the country on the evening of May 1, 2011. The horrified international socialists were quick to observe that Bin Laden died an hour after midnight on May 2 local time in Pakistan. That's OK, we can justas easily celebrate Kill Bin Laden Eve.

Time Magazine editor Whittaker Chambers who turned in communist spy Alger Hiss, Oscar winning film director Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront) who named names for the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952, and unabomber Ted Kaczynski's brother David are a few famous American police informants. Mostly, it's an anonymous trade.

Now you might think no one sings the praises of police informants, but there you would be wrong. "Say a prayer for Lefty too" as you drink a toast on Cinco de Mayo. This song was made famous by Willie Nelson but written by the lesser known Townes Van Zandt. We'll give the honors to Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch, because every unsung hero needs to be serenaded by a pretty lady or two.

Here's to you out there tonight. Perhaps you're hanging with the Taliban in a Pakistani border town, huddling with Al Qaeda remnants in Yemen, or just singing the blues not quite as well as you used to at an Occupy encampment on a cold night under a Cleveland bridge. The safety of the free world depends on your information.

And Osama Bin Laden? No one heard his dying words either. And while the experts and pundits debate whether the information that led us to him came from waterboarding someone a decade ago, the true source was likely much more recent. We should give credit to the brave men of Seal Team 6 to be sure. But I suspect that a few days after Bin Laden was killed, on May 5, 2011 let's say, a lone informant got his due, a stack of unmarked cash, the thanks of a grateful nation, delivered in a brown paper bag in a dark corner of a nondescript Abbottabad parking garage. Drain your glass for the great informer whose name we may never know!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Elizabeth Warren Touted Her High Cheekbones on eHarmony Too

U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has offered a strange explanation on why she had listed herself as a minority in legal directories during the 1980s and 1990s.
"I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am. Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off."
That's right, Elizabeth didn't exaggerate her Native American heritage to get plumb law school teaching jobs but to get lunch dates. I will refrain from speculating on what sort of "group something" she was looking for.

Even stranger is her cheeky "my Aunt Bea must have walked by that picture a thousand times" defense:

"High cheekbones like all the Indians do," can you say that these days? It's all right to be proud of a family heritage of high cheekbones but one great great great grandmother does not a minority deserving of affirmative action make.

In fairness, Elizabeth has lined up various luminaries at the law schools where she was hired during the time she listed herself as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools desk book to attest that she got the jobs strictly on merit and not on her false resume as she climbed the career ladder from Rutgers to the University of Houston to the University of Texas to the University of Pennsylvania to Harvard. Of course, if they did let a white woman pass herself off as a minority, they would be in trouble too.

The biggest political problem for Elizabeth Warren, she's now marked as the phony she has always appeared to be. There's no answer to that except to run away: