Ned Pepper's Outrages

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ned's Hiatus, and the upcoming season

Ned bitterly regrets our recent hiatus, brought about by much travel and the apparently inevitable accompanying sinus infections. We also suffered a bit of an accident, walking down a street in Sonoma CA which has laid us up for a few days. However, we would like to assure our many friends that we are alive, well, and hating the GOP and all other anti-intellectual knuckledraggers as much as ever. We continue to be amused at what passes for GOP presidential candidates, especially that serial philanderer, adulterer and failed House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whom Ned's followers will recall won our coveted Narcissist Of The Year Award for 2011. We await the 'holidays' with much trepidation, and hope to get through the gift and carol season with as much of our mental health intact as is possible.
That said, we wish all our friends a happy holiday season. In addition, we will be celebrating our Victories For Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, and mourning our dear brother Kim Jung Il, or as Rick Perry said, "King Jung the Second."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guns Don't Kill People...

See, this guy gets involved in a custody fight with his ex-wife. So, he gets some guns, puts on a bulletproof vest, goes to a hair salon in Orange County, California, and kills her and seven other people there, innocent bystanders or employees.
He's still alive.
But, the knuckledraggers will tell you over and over again, guns don't kill people, PEOPLE kill people.
Now, imagine this rampage with a baseball bat, or even a knife. Many if not most of these people would be alive today. But in this psychotic country we console ourselves with the fact that we can "protect ourselves against the government" by buying as many guns and as much ammo as we want, even if we are a convicted felon.
It may be a cliche, but more and more Ned is convinced that the inmates really are running this asylum.

UPDATE: One of Ned's readers has admonished him for practicing medicine without a license, in describing American society as psychotic. He says it should be more properly described as sociopathic. Ned regrets the error.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Newt, Inc

One of Ned's loyal moles, burrowed deep into the education-industrial complex of the DC area, has sent Ned an incendiary portrayal, done of all things by the WashPost, of the history of that consummate insider, ultimate narcissist, and "born again" sinner, erstwhile National Blowhard Newt Gingrich. It is simply too flabbergasting a story for Ned to try to summarize it. So Ned will simply advise his many friends and loyal followers to go to, and read the description of how someone who was kicked out of the job of Speaker of the House by his own party could now be mentioned by the political talking heads as a serious (we mean that, by the way) candidate for president.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ned's malaise and the GOP

Ned has posted of little late, due mainly to his growing malaise at the failure of what passes for an intelligentsia in this benighted country to call the GOP knuckledraggers out for their clear intent to subvert the will of the people (such as it can be discerned) and destroy the effectiveness of the federal government. This has been made clear by the vile creatures themselves, who crawled out from under their rocks in 2009 and declared their intent to destroy the presidency of Barack Obama, mainly because a black man had the effrontery to be elected to be president. Obama didn't help his cause when he forced through an incomprehensibly complicated "health care fix." Most maddening of all has been the intolerable tendency of the media and talking heads to constantly decry the inability of "Washington" to work, and to wail and call the political system "broken." The only reason things have reached this sorry state has been the behavior of the GOP. Yet we constantly hear bleatings that politicians just need to work together for the "good of the country", ignoring the fact that the GOP has no desire to work for the good of the country, and wishes to see the people's faith in the federal government subverted and destroyed. To that end, recent polls show their plan to be succeeding as more and more respondents, mainly composed of unthinking rabble apparently, are bewailing the government and claim to be losing faith in it.
One is reminded once again of Shakespeare, who has said it all before. Mirroring the present GOP, Henry V, after planning his invasion of France to push his claims to the French throne, themselves instigated by his bishops fearful of losing their power and wealth, said, "France, being ours, we will bend it to our will; or break it all to pieces."
Such is likewise the clear intent of the present Republican racist, anti-intelectual faction.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Damned Sneering Plutocrat Do-Gooders

Comes word today via the NYT that a Sneering Plutocrat couple, apparently having sleepless nights over the plight of the 'third world,' has decided to 'give' Stanford University $150 million to found some sort of BS think tank to support ideas to make people in poor countries rich. We are not making this up. One would think that such idiotic behavior, in the face of 50 million without health care here, with 16% underemployed and 9% unemployed, they would find some cause of value here in the USA. But no. They want Stanford (itself one of the richest private institutions in the words with a multibillion dollar endowment) to set up a foundation, and one of their first ideas seems to be some kind of plan to give money to Bhutan to fund planting hazelnut trees in the denuded Himalaya foothills, denuded by the Bhutanians themselves, of course, probably to provide the Chinese with cheap tropical hardwoods to make chopsticks out of.
Why is this important? Two things: first, it shows the folly of giving Sneering Plutocrats huge fortunes, flayed from the backs of workers, and then trusting them to give it to whomever they please, without the citizens of the country that allowed them to make the filthy lucre in the first place having a say.
Second, this tree-planting idea is cockamamie. Here's why. Hazelnut trees are not native to Bhutan, so they will be replacing a high-diversity tropical hardwood forest with essentially a monoculture. And the idea is of course that the Bhutanians will pick the nuts and make millions exporting them. To whom? You might well ask. Why, probably to US. And who will be harmed by this idea of subsidizing hazelnut growing in Bhutan? Why the hazelnut growers in Oregon's own Willamette Valley! That's right, friends, it is one of our main cash crops, and we make sure they harvest it doing as little environmental damage as possible.
Which is sure as shit more than we will be able to say about Bhutan. So the next time you go to the unemployment office in Salem, or Eugene, or Corvallis, say hello to those hazelnut growers in line for their unemployment checks.

Print Money And Give It Away

In an earlier series of posts, Ned suggested that the Fed simply create money and send debit cards to every one who filed a tax return last year. The debit card, for, say $500 would go to anyone with an AGI of less than $200K but that's flexible. The money would not be depositable, and would have to be spent in the month it came. Then, next month another card would come, and so on until the economy got 'back on track.' Now, this money would be income so it would be taxed by the state and the feds, swelling the coffers of government so they could hire more people or lower property taxes or something. At the same time, the Fed should announce that these measures would succeed and the country was growing again. That would make the stock market go up, people could then sell some shares and make a little money, taxable, which would help still more. Others would buy shares with their new money. If it caused a little inflation, that would help pay off the mortgages that have left some people underwater and unable to move to take advantage of some new job they may know about.
It seems that others are getting on Ned's bandwagon, but Ned asks his friends to remember that YOU HEARD IT FIRST HERE.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ned's Latest on Disability

Ned's friends know that for some time he has been on the proverbial warpath on the subject of so-called disability payments made by Social Security. Once a favorable determination is made, it is seldom changed, bestowing upon the recipient a lifetime monthly payment. Ned has been pointing out a number of individuals in his personal knowledge who are collecting disability and at the same time going about their business seemingly unaffected by any physical or mental affliction.
Comes word today through the NYT that a number of individuals have been arrested in a massive scheme to defraud the national railroad pension system out of vast sums through fraudulent disability claims. Seems that virtually every employee of the Long Island Rail Road, upon retirement, successfully claims disability, which, with the accompanying pension, amounts to in some cases over $100 k a year. These individuals, representing the veritable tip of the iceberg, have apparently defrauded the pension system out of more than 1 billion dollars. Some of the arrestees have been photographed playing tennis and golf, and even taking 400 mile bike tours, all the while attesting that they can barely move! And of course they have found medicos who were willing to so certify.
Ned hopes, when found guilty, they will all roast in the lowest and hottest circles of hell, but beforehand, will spend decades in prison with large angry black men thrown in jail for life for smoking a gram of crack.
Ned will add this update: according to today's (Friday) NYT, the paper ran an expose of these practices on the LIRR IN 2008, but nobody did anything. Score another for the criminal Bush regime's stratospheric and breathtaking incompetence.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Nation of Sheep

For years now Ned has suspected that America is a nation of sheep. The recent announcement by Bank of America that they were charging $5 a month to account holders to access their money with a debit card was so outrageous that Ned was moved to expect mobs burning buses in the streets, but there has barely been a bleat. Here's why Ned is upset:
Item: This company was bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of tens of billions of dollars during the financial meltdown, which the bank's own policies helped to precipitate.
Item: This company has been in the habit of paying their Sneering Plutocrat CEO's and other corporate parasites tens of millions in "salary" and bonuses.
Item: This company bought Countrywide Financial, which turned out to be one of the worst business deals of the past century, as the company came with billions of dollars in bad mortgages.
Item: This company pays virtually nothing to account holders in interest.
The fact that these people would dare to try to impose this charge on account holders (Ned does not have an account there) to access their OWN money should be sufficient reason to bring unruly crowds into the streets. Now, Ned is not advocating violence, but this sort of stuff happens every day in dozens of countries around the globe, including "civilized" European ones.
The fact that we have heard barely a whimper from government or our piss-ant citizenry further confirms that we are, indeed, a Nation Of Sheep.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Academic Fraud and the Economy

Ned has learned of a growing scandal involving 'on-line education.' Apparently, many persons enrolled in such scams--er, programs, hire others to take their exams for them. So we seem to be 'graduating' some number of persons from such programs who are clearly unqualified and who have cheated to obtain their 'credentials.'
Now, Ned has at the same time noticed a growing tendency over the years for those employed in firms across the spectrum to display less and less familiarity with the English Language with every passing year. One of Ned's friends recently contracted with a local firm to make a number of T-shirts for an event she was orchestrating. When she got the T-shirts back, she found egregious misspellings marring her message. This required her to spend more of her limited, precious time getting the job done right, at great cost to the T-shirt company of course. Another of Ned's acquaintances, having to travel on company business, was required by her company to have the company's personnel office make her reservations and obtain her tickets. On receiving them, she found that her name had been misspelled! Ned can only imagine what the lugs at the TSA would have made of that.
So it appears that American workers are more and more poorly educated each year, more and more cheating and scamming is taking place, and this is finally beginning to seep into our workplaces. Of course, some of these persons are probably 'veterans' given preferential treatment, immigrants, and 'victims' allowed into his country under amnesty provisions, who immediately qualify for all sorts of benefits that the average American doesn't get.
Combine all these factors and one shouldn't wonder why we are becoming a Banana Republic.

More on Disability!

Ned's been reading The Economist again (yes, and let his adversaries and belittlers make the most of it). Comes word that persons losing their jobs due to competition from cheap imports qualify for retraining under some federal act passed to ameliorate the effects of so-called "free trade" agreements. But do these people actually get retraining that qualifies them for a real job? Well, sometimes, but, according to The Economist, ten percent of those end up, you guessed it, on Social Security Disability. For life. And each person so designated costs the system $270 grand over the lifetime of the 'victim.'
Now, Ned's friends know that he knows, and knows of, a number of persons who are gaming the system, and who have fraudulently claimed disability, and its accompanying free health care, but this disability doesn't prevent them from lifting heavy boxes, traveling across the country in their SUVs, or going hunting and lugging deer carcasses through the woods. No, friends, it only seems to keep them from looking for a job,
Mark our words, SSDI is the next Great Government Scandal, because, provide any benefit, and the scammers will crawl out from under their rocks and eat the life out if it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Demographics and Housing: Another Wall of Stupid

Ned has read statistics on geezers and boomers, and he will graciously share them with his many friends. "A full" 54% of boomers 55-64 want to move to a smaller house, while "fully" 84% of geezers 65 and older intend to move to a smaller house from their present large one. But what was the housing industry, guided by Sneering Plutocrats like all the rest, planning or intending to build all along? His friends have guessed it: larger and larger McMansions, except in islands of sanity like Arlington, VA. Even "townhomes" in cities tend to be gargantuan and grotesquely appointed. Ned would ask his friends to consider whether the housing crash would have been as bad if houses were far smaller and concentrated in decent places to live, and not in such Godawful places as Las Vegas, NV? Perhaps those who can afford housing, such as boomers and geezers (as a group) would have been more likely to buy houses when owners needed to sell them if they had fit the criteria clearly expressed by the fastest growing, and one of the wealthiest, age group in the country?
Just askin.'

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Conversation in the Steam Room

At Ned's, er, sports club, he had occasion to be an unwilling party to a curious conversation (more a monologue, actually, but Ned's friends can judge for themselves) between an older, rather shapeless woman in a one-piece swim suit, and an older man. Ned often muses why some persons will insist on carrying on a private conversation in a public place, but let that pass. There was Ned, one other person and the couple, and we were all enveloped in steam in our steam room, such that the couple had their heads very close together.
SHE: 'And, you know, I (pause)---, it's like, I mean, you know, the way I was on the couch--- you know?'
HE: 'Mmmm?'
SHE: 'It was like I (pause), I mean, you know, it was like separate but not wanting to be separated. I was, like, mmm, it--- (pause)'
HE: 'Mmm?'
SHE: "I know there has to be a separation, but I'm sort of looking for symbiosis, I mean, I---, you know, I---, it's like, the other thing I was telling you about.'
HE: 'Mmmm.'
SHE: 'It's more like a separating than being separate, you know. Its.... I was thinking, when you were talking---, that time---, just before---, you remember?'
HE: 'Mmmm. Maybe we should talk more outside?'
Any translation from a resident of the Planet from which this woman comes would be most welcomed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our Disabled Friends and Relatives

Ned's friends may recall that he has occasionally posted on the growing problem of those in this benighted land on "disability", the federal program that awards payments for life to those who claim they are "seriously and permanently" prevented from holding down a job due to anything they can come up with that sounds plausible. After two years, they also qualify for Medicare. For life. As of today, at least eleven million Americans "qualify," and these people are sucking the life blood out of the taxpaying public. Comes word today that one of Ned's associates, on permanent "disability," has driven his plush van to Minnesota and gone deer hunting with family, "bagged" a deer, and took a photo of himself, proudly standing next to his kill.
Disabled? We report, you decide.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Taxing the poor Sneering Plutocracy, etc

To hear their sycophants, rentboys and lickspittles tell it, one would think that the Sneering Plutocracy and the Paris Hilton Crowd, those intestinal parasites on the Body Politic, were disadvantaged by onerous tax rates in the U.S., and if we didn't cut their taxes from such confiscatory levels, that they would all stop working, leave the country, lay off all their illegal immigrant house staff, or take their football and go home, leaving us all in the sh**s. Well, comes that beacon of sense The Economist, with a list of developed country tax rates. Effective tax rates on $100 grand, hardly a wealthy income by the way, including social security, which they all get back anyway, range from 49% for Belgium, down to 24% for the U.S. That's right, folks the U.S. has the lowest effective tax rate of any developed country on the wannabe Plutocracy, and it's even less on the true Plutocracy, those making $1 million or more. Here's who's above us (in order), Australia, China(!), Japan, Czech Rep., Britain, Sweden, Brazil, India, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, and little Belgium.
You can look it up. So the next time some pinhead, room temperature IQ Republican says we need to cut taxes on the rich, tell them to put it where the sun don't shine.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jon Stewart Stumbles!

In a rare display of idiocy, one of Ned's idols Jon Stewart has shown that either he, or his army of writers, has a screw loose. Apparently, on Stewart's show he made fun of those who say it's OK for the Tea Party nitwits to try to bring down the gummint while not OK for Wall Street protesters to try to hold 'shareholder-accountable' corporations to answer for the damage they have done to the economy, not to mention the outrageous obscenities represented by the salaries their Boards of Directors pay to their Sneering Plutocrat CEO parasites, money flayed from the backs of 'outsourced' workers.
Now, either Stewart or Ned is living in an Alternate Universe if he (Stewart) believes that shareholders have any authority over the governing bodies of corporations, staffed as they are by cronies of corporate officials. Moreover, in corporate 'votes' it's not 'one person-one vote' it's ONE SHARE ONE VOTE. So the plutocrat who has been given a million shares by their rentboy lickspittles on the Board has one million votes, while the bunch of nuns in Sister Mary Elephant's School of the Bleeding Heart of Our Blessed Mother have 100 votes for their 100 shares. No shareholder 'revolt' in history has ever succeeded. And, even if it did, what would happen is that the Intestinal Parasite CEO would walk away with a severance package worth tens of millions for having failed.
So Ned calls upon Stewart, to, to coin a phrase GET F***ING REAL.

The latest CBO research report on the economy!

In sensational news that is just now beginning to receive the attention it deserves, the Congressional Budget Office, after careful and thorough analysis, has concluded that, yes, full employment would cut the U.S. budget deficit!
Ned can only imagine the intellectual firepower of that team of giants. Let's see: virtually no unemployment means few people without health care so few bankruptcies. Nobody loses their houses. State budgets are all in the black 'cause nobody is drawing food stamps and unemployment checks, not to mention Medicaid. Governments stop laying off city and state workers. People are working longer so fewer are taking early retirement and sucking on the Social Security teat. People are paying more taxes, in short, and demanding fewer gummint services.
The stock market is high because people have confidence in the future. Everybody's 401k is doing fine. Kids get their orthodontics, so they smile more, and get to go to their soccer camps and cheerleading camps, to prepare them for a life of running for public office (think Kay Bailey Hutchison, George Bush and Rick Perry, for which the country is understandably grateful).
Now, let the CBO sit back and wait for the Nobel Economics Committee to take notice!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beating the HP Dead Horse

In the continuing saga of the contemptible incompetents running HP (into the ground) Ned has used his considerable math skills to add the total money (made public that is) that has been thrown at failed CEO's of that Corporate Poster Child in the past four years or so, by what business insiders call the "worst Board of Directors in the country."
Here is the disgraceful total, at a time when jobs are being outsourced to India and the rank and file employees have taken actual pay cuts.
$30 million or so to Carly Fiorina, plus her vewy own jet plane.
Something like 3 or 4 million to some interim CEO while they were looking for their next hack.
$12 million at least to Mark Hurd, who was forced to resign over expense account irregularities and some reports of vague sexual improprieties. Hurd went on to take the job of "Co President" at one of HP's competitors, Oracle.
$27 million to hapless Leo Apetheker, ousted after eleven months.
So, this is more than $70 million, at a time when qualified people can't find jobs.
And how have all these changes affected the company's stock price? Four years ago it was about 22. Same now.
Ned once again advises his friends to SHORT HP.

Health Care Crisis!

Ned has discovered two of the many reasons why we as a nation spend twice as much per person on "health care" and get less for it. First, a report in the Grey Lady describes a study that analyzed the pills taken by several hundred geezers in assisted living facilities and found that on average the geezers took more than seven different pills daily. After study, the medicos were able to take the geezers off 58% of their pills with no harmful effects; in fact, many of them got better.
Second, comes word from McClatchy News that many parents send their pwecious babies, home from college, to the emergency room on specious pretexts: to wit, "A problem we see in our emergency department is when college students are back home from break and they complain to mom and dad about their heart racing," Strasser said. "We find out they are drinking a lot of Red Bull and coffee, and consuming large amounts of caffeine."
So Ned asks his friends to add up the cost of these two under-the-radar needless activities, and then consider all the other costs of over-treatment, like unnecessary biopsies, invasive surgeries for thyroids, etc.
Add to all that the hundreds of millions paid to Sneering Plutocrat "CEOs" of "health care" companies. Need we say more? Well, we will in a later post, of course.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good Job!

Ned would like to take the opportunity to warn any and all of his many friends NOT to ever use the cretinous phrase 'Good Job!' within his hearing, especially if it originates from an "adoring" parent or a hanger-on of same, to an infant or child who has just performed a task that, at any scale of complexity, ranks around that required to breathe in or out. Ned witnessed such a revolting display this morning while at his gym, er--sports club. He saw a woman apply that idiotic phrase to an infant in a swimming pool, held tightly by the creature's father, who had just completed the arduous task of throwing a rattle about a foot away upon instruction. It seems to be almost universally applied to any child who has performed any task whatsoever without breaking anything or making a mess. Perhaps this is part of the reason why we have a generation of young adults, having been told 'Good Job!' their entire short lives, believe as a result they are the most brilliant creature in Creation, and deserve to start any employment at the level of, at least, executive vice-president.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

HP Heartbreak: Will it never end?

Yet again the HP Board of Directors, voted worst in the country by business poll after business poll, has shown why they merit that lofty achievement. Comes word that deposed jefe Leo Apotheker, on the job (so to speak) for only eleven months, has been awarded "severance" of $7.2 million, besides accelerated access to other goodies like stock options worth millions more. All this at a time when HP is frantically outsourcing jobs overseas, and carrying out a management policy, according to stressed-out employees, that resembles Stalinist terror more than anything else.
And recently they announced they were replacing Leo with Charter Member Sneering Plutocrat Meg Whitman, or, "Carly 2.0" as Ned's moles inside the company are describing her, since she was dumped by eBay, as was Fiorina by a former telecom company, carrying billions in stock options away with her, as did Fiorina from HP, along with her vewy own pwivate airplane. Moreover, Whitman has no experience running a tech company and is fresh from throwing away $160 million of "her own" money on a Quixote-like campaign for the governorship of California, where she was trounced by septegenarian former flower child Jerry Brown.
To top it all off, they had the temerity to announce that Whitman's "Base" pay was going to be $1 a year. Now, Ned can imagine what sort of "incentives" this Board of Nitwits is offering her: probably $50,000 for every day she shows up for work, and so forth.
Ned assures his friends that the HP board's position at the bottom of the heap has only been more cemented by these daring moves. And be sure to SHORT HP.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The HP Board Strikes Again!

Not content with its ranking among the worst corporate boards, according to experts (certainly not Ned), the board of floundering computer former-giant HP is reported ready to axe its CEO of 11 MONTHS, Leo Apotheker, in favor of a Charter Member of the Sneering Plutocracy, former eBay head Meg Whitman! Whitman's latest caper was to spend $160 million of her "own" money (read: money flayed from the backs of eBay employees and shareholders) in a run against wheezing geezer Jerry Brown for governor of California, a race in which she was soundly trounced. Ned can only imagine to what heights she may soar if elevated to the head of HP, but Ned advises his investor friends to continue to short the stock (free advice).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

HP Redux

Ned's friends know that he has been chronicling the rise and (mainly) fall of computer giant HP for more than a year, pointing out the laughable incompetence of a "Board of Directors," and their misadventures in hiring, first of titanic loser (except in reward of course) Carly Fiorina, then of Mark Hurd (forced to resign, and take $12 million with him, arising out of 'improprieties' in his expense accounts), and now of some European character. He would like to amend his earlier posts by pointing out that HP's stock has tanked recently, sinking into the mire of the low 20's--and well-deserved. A bigger bunch of self-aggrandized clowns cannot be imagined, but, have no fear, they will find ways to make silk purses out of sow's ears, and numerous reasons why they should all be rewarded with ever increasing amounts of filthy lucre, all flayed from the backs of hapless employees and shareholders. Let the free market rule!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today's Brief Items

* Ned noticed that the good burghers of Llano, Texas are suffering through yet another spate of drought. It's so bad that some of them are even coloring their lawns. Ned seems to recall, however, that their Governor "Rick" Perry called for a "Day Of Prayer" not long ago to exhort the Almighty, who presumably takes a hands-on attitude to such things, to dump some rain on the Lone Star State, but, apparently the folks in neighboring Louisiana were more devout as they got the rain (and the accompanying flooding). Maybe what Texas needs is fewer days of prayer and more studies into the causes and long-term effects of climate change? Just sayin.'

* Ned has noticed that the number of Americans plugged into their portable musical generators seems to be increasing daily. Could these people be indulging in the oldest form of narcotic, music? It's certainly easier and perhaps more fun than paying attention to one's surroundings--certainly one's political surroundings.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Need For An International Psychiatric Conference

Arising out of his observations this past week, Ned today announces the need for a new International Psychiatric Conference to address the growing tendency for grotesque fat people to aggressively call attention to their condition. The situation that caused this resolution was this: Ned had occasion to have a pedicure (yes, and let his adversaries and belittlers make the most of it), and he was astonished to see the large (!) number of grotesquely fat people of all ages, that came in for pedicures and manicures, almost exclusively female. Many of these persons were repulsively fat, dressed in tight clothing, but were apparently intent on having their toes colored and their fingernails polished and manicured. Ned can only conclude that this activity made them feel attractive, and they were capable of overlooking the repulsive grotesqueness of their obesity and focus on the banal triviality of the color of their fingernails and toenails.
Ned, not being a psychiatrist or even a psychologist, has no explanation for this bizarre behavior, and so he calls upon his brothers and sisters in the medical profession to explain such aberrant behavior to him. All he can tentatively surmise is that it is easier to get a pedicure than to eat sensibly and exercise.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Weaseling "out" on cleaner air

Now that our "weasel in chief" at 1600 PA Ave has caved yet again, this time on cleaner air, perhaps we citizens might take some matters into our own hands. How can we get cleaner air without inconveniencing, even slightly, the Sneering Plutocracy? Ned suggests we curtail the use of gas-powered "leaf blowers," which nowadays are used for virtually everything except blowing leaves. Ned suggests his friends tell their apartment managers, strip mall officials, etc that they really don't mind if they see a leaf on their parking lot. So much mindless activity generates a great deal of our remaining air pollution. Yesterday, Ned saw an overweight individual sitting atop a self-propelled mower, mowing a strip of dead grass, and blowing great clouds of dust into the air as a result. A word to the association management could put a stop to that, for example.
Because Obama has demonstrated that he will do nothing if the GOP knuckledraggers don't eagerly support it, and all they support is Christianist principles, and tax cuts for the Sneering Plutocracy and the Paris Hilton Crowd, the few remaining sensible people in this land may have to do something.
Ned wishes his friends a very good, dust-free day.

Climbing a wall of stupid: solving the "debt crisis"

Ned has secreted himself for the past few weeks, and has been deep in study and calculation. He is now ready to announce his solution to the "debt" crisis in this country: buy it. Buy it all. Here's how. Treasury notes, say 5-year, pay about 1% interest. Let's sell all we can, say ten trillion dollars worth. The Chinese have plenty of money, as do the Japanese. For that 10 trillion, we need to come up with $100 billion a year to pay the interest. Now we use the money to buy all the debt of the Fortune 500 companies, which pay about 5% a year. Then we buy all the muni bonds of AAA rated states like Virginia, which pay about 4%. Then we by all the dividend-paying stocks that pay over 4%, like Verizon, AT and T and Florida Power. We realize about $500 billion a year in interest on these risk-free investments. Pay the $100 billion interest to the Asians and we have 400 BILLION A YEAR PROFIT. We use this to rebuild our infrasturcture, hiring millions of people in the process, all of whom pay taxes, resulting in a flood of revenue to every state in the country, even those stupid enough to have elected knuckledragger GOP politicians. For those purists out there, we can use $100 billion a year to pay down the debt. We pay off the debt with our profits on the interest and dividends.
Now, Ned will sit quietly and humbly and await his call from that Idiot in the White House to be his Treasury Secretary, as well as his call from the Nobel Committee.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stepping around the cockroaches

Normally Ned takes about as much interest in the drivel, banalities, and sanctimonious hypocrisy pouring out of the mouths of the GOP presidential candidates as he would in a dead mosquito, but two items have awakened him from his summer-perfect-weather stupor. The first, is the purported "reading list" announced by his lickspittles to slathering news scribes, of GOP presidential candidate "Rick" Perry: some Christianist twaddle that purports to exhort cultists to pray to Jesus to make Americans "wake up" from a socialist hell. The fact that Jesus was the first socialist apparently does not trouble them in the least. Of course, Perry, this Spiritual Being, is about as spiritual as Richard the Third, posing on his balcony with a couple of priests and a bible, as evidenced by his reported insider real-estate deals that have made him a millionaire while governor of Texas.
The second is the idiotic remarks made by that Paragon of Intellect, Michele Bachmann, who opined that the earthquake and hurricane are "wake-up calls from God", and then announced that she had been (hee-hee!) kidding.
This country was founded on a great experiment as described by Jefferson: educate the people and then trust them with their own governance--it had never been tried before. Unfortunately, what we have at present is a populace that is contemptuous of education and liberal learning, and that apparently believes that one can "believe in" climate change or evolution in much the same way that one can "believe" that there is or is not a place called New York City.
It is becoming harder and harder to step around the cockroaches, isn't it?

Monday, August 15, 2011

More deaths on GWB's Head

Not content with near-bankrupting the country, Bush set in motion events which are still having hellish consequences. The toppling and death of Hussein (Sadaam, not Barack) set in motion tribal and clan warfare that continues to take lives in Iraq. Today, we hear of co-ordinated attacks that killed 70 and wounded hundreds. That dreadful country remains paralyzed by sectarian warfare that any fool with a sense of history could have foretold. But Bush wanted to get Sadaam because he "tried to kill my dad." So he sent hundreds of thousands of mercenaries, killing and maiming, then set p a puppet regime which set about round after round of ethnic killing, fomented no doubt by Iran, Iraq's historic enemy.
But, after all, Iraq is just a creature of European diplomats, drawing lines on a map during the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. It really doesn't exist as a real country at all.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The British Riots and the Sneering Plutocracy

Ned is aware of discord in our Mother Country, and is already hearing the explanations. Ned tends towards too much football and beer, but others, naturally, assert that the areas subject to riots are disadvantaged and underserved, which, if true, hardly serves as a reason to smash property. And there are those who say that, even if these regions are underserved, the country cannot afford more tax and so the impoverished will have to bear their fair share of the austerity measures. Now, Ned understands that the maximum tax rate on income is 50%, seemingly high, but a far cry from the 98% on some income that prevailed until Thatcher.
But Ned would like to offer this observation: he doubts that many people with high incomes pay that much tax, as there are all sorts of giveaways to the Plutocrat business class in the UK. For example, Ned recalls one of his chums from his days in the UK during the 70s showing up at college one day driving a new Porsche 944 or something like that. And this on a university grant of about 100 quid a month. Ned naturally enquired how his mate could afford such luxury and was told that the car was not his, but belonged to his daddy's company. Turns out, his dad owned a large company in the north of England and bought several cars for "company use" which apparently the tax man did not enquire too deeply about. In fact, Ned found out that about 70% of cars sold in the UK during the late 70s were "company cars." So Ned's pal drove this vehicle, and also had a gas card so his petrol was free as well! If such a scene is still in operation, and petrol is about $8 a gallon, imagine the benefits accruing to a Plutocrat and his or her family.
Therefore, Ned advises his many friends not to have an inordinate amount of sympathy for the Sneering Plutocracy, as he suspects they have many creative ways of avoiding tax such that, comme de habitude, the poor and middle clssses are bearing most of the burden.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The First Republican Debate!

In honor of the historic first "debate" between Republican self-described "Presidential candidates", Ned has decided to reprint his famous and much-loved Saga Of The Dwarf Lords.

Once upon a time there was a land of the dwarfs. These were mainly chuckle-headed fellows who scorned learning and thought, but loved riches and power above all else. They kept their dwarf women under a Spell, given to them by White Dwarf Lords of Old. One day, the dwarfs were drinking Lite Ale and talking NASCAR in Council, when a messenger arrived, with a fearful look upon his visage. 'Lo!' He cried. 'Word has come of a Great Lord in a land over the mountain, A Magic Negro, who lives in a Great White House on the banks of a mighty river. He has great riches and power, and wields his great power through his Magic Wand! We fear that if our dwarf princesses hear of this our spell will be broken and they will all flee to The Magic Negro's Magic Wand! What shall we do?'
At this news the Dwarfs were sore afraid. But they loved riches above all else, and power over their princesses. So they decided that they must go to the land of the Magic Negro, seize his Magic Wand and take his riches for themselves. This made them very happy until they thought how best to accomplish this quest, and again, they were sore afraid, for they were cowards at heart. But six of their number, quaking with fear, drank more Lite Ale to bolster their courage, and set out for the Land of the Magic Negro. They were Little Newt, Timmy Pee, Huckie of the Billy Hills, Thune who called himself The Great (tho he was very small in mind), Romni the Great Hunter (tho he had in fact only hunted little since he was a lad in the Land of the Great Cult from whence he came), and Rudy Fuggedaboudit the Bald, from a great teeming city.
As they walked through the Great Wood they came upon another dwarf and hailed him, thus: 'Lo! We are on a great quest! To wrest a Great Wand from the Evil Magic Negro who lives in the White House over the mountain Lest he free our princesses from our spell!'
'Well, fellers', said the new dwarf, who was none other than Haley of the Red Neck, 'Ah know all about these Magic nigras, but we didn't call them that where ah hail from!' And he sniggered. 'Ah think ah can handle him!'
And so the Seven Dwarfs set off for the Kingdom of the Magic Negro, to seize his Great Wand and his treasure for themselves. As the dwarf lords trudged though a dark wood on their way to the land of the Magic Negro, they happened to pass a dank hut, overgrown with the rankest weeds. As they passed, wet and shuddering, a giant troll emerged from the hut. 'STOP!' He cried. "I am the keeper of the Holy Flame. Only the purest in heart can pass! Are you pure? Do you adhere to the one True Faith? Speak!' He commanded. 'Yea!' The dwarfs cried. Romni squeaked, 'I am the true believer! I even accept Brigham Young as my savior in addition to Jesus!' Cried Huck of the Billy Hills. 'Jesus is my own personal savior!' 'Wait' cried Thune the Great, 'I speak to Jesus ever day!'Little Timmy cried, 'I base all my daily actions on the dictates of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!' To this, The Newt and all the others cried 'Amen Lord, Amen!'
But the Giant Troll, Keeper of the Holy Flame cried 'STOP!' I don't give a rats ass about any Jesus. Are you FISCALLY SOUND? Do you believe in the one True Way? Do you adhere to 'less government', 'fewer regulations','more freedom, damn the poor, and no taxes on your betters in the Sneering Plutocracy? Speak!'
'Yea!!' All the dwarfs cried, with apparent relief. But the Newt, also known as Newt the Coiffed, cried 'What about family values? I have had more wives than anyone. I am the Prince of Family Values!' And all the other dwarfs groaned.
'Pass!' Cried the Troll. 'You are all worthy to challenge the Magic Negro and seize his Magic Wand!'
And, with a giant sigh of relief, they opened another Lite Ale and trudged along the path that led to the Great White House.
Tired in body and spirit, the dwarf lords plodded all day on the road through the mountains on their way to the City of The Magic Negro. As evening fell, they chanced to spy an inn, with a welcoming light in the window, and smoke coming up the chimney. They entered and found rooms for the night. After feasting on ground body part and more Lite Ale, they fell into conversation with their host, the innkeeper and his beautiful daughter.
'We have indeed heard tales of the Evil Negro and his Great Wand', said their host, 'but we have ways to protect our daughters from his spell. The Lady of the Moose and her Ice Queen live in a glen at the foot of a mighty mountain not three leagues from here, and they can make an amulet that counters the Magic Negro's power.' And at this, the dwarfs looked at the innkeeper's daughter approvingly, although it must be said that the look given her by Rudy Fuggedaboutit and Haley of the Red Neck was more akin to a leer.
'You should ascend to the Moose Queen's home at break of day', the innkeeper advised them. And so they went to bed, much encouraged, and talked of NASCAR and prayed to Jesus (or so it seemed) before retiring. At break of day, they took a quick repast and set off. After an hour or so, they saw a great stone castle, with moose antlers guarding the great door. 'This must be the place', said Romni with wonder. In the yard of the castle was a Lady, wondrous fair, who was butchering a small moose. Although her hands dripped with carrion, she smiled lustily and greeted them thus: 'You are the Dwarf Lords on a quest. Your fame you see has preceded you. How may I serve you?' And with this, she cut off a moose pizzle and threw it into a growing ple. They shuddered, but Little Timmy cried, 'We seek a charm that will protect us against the Magic Negro!'
'You have come to the right place,' she smiled. And as she did, the Lady Ice Queen approached, apparently praying to Jesus fervently.
The dwarfs marveled at the beauty of the Moose Lady and the Ice Queen, but Timmy Pee was troubled. 'I have lusted after them in my heart,' he cried to Rudy Fuggedaboutit ,'and my soul stands sore charged!' 'Fuggedaboutit!' cried Rudy of the Teeming City. 'Take one of my viagras and we'll stop off in the village on our way out.' Timmy Pee was not solaced, however.
All the while, Newt the Coiffed was admiring the Moose Lady's domain. It consisted of a large castle and a vast enclosure inside which many myriad of moose roamed, of all sizes. Scattered throughout were a number of what appeared to Newt to be watchtowers, The entire enclosure, vast as it was, was surrounded by a high fence. 'Is this a moose sanctuary?' He asked respectfully. 'In a sense', the Moose Lady replied, smiling. 'We keep them inside, and from time to time a sportsman comes, climbs a tower and shoots one. We cut off the head for mounting and give the meat to the dogs, the villagers or the Wild Men of the Forest. The sportsmen go home with a trophy.' 'So you are a small businesswoman! An entrepreneur!' cried Newt the Coiffed. 'Friends! Here is truly one of us! Is there a tax cut we can give you? What about an agricultural subsidy? A waiver of the Death Tax?' And here the dwarfs waxed glad indeed. 'No,' the Lady replied,' I pay no taxes as it is. In fact, I have an easement on the property because of some favors I did a local "businessman" recently, and the local burghers pay me!' And here the eyes of the dwarfs were glad, indeed.
'But, Moose Lady, and Ice Queen '(for by this time the Ice Queen had apparently completed her prayer), said Huck of the Billy Hills, 'we need a charm to ward off the powers of the Magic Negro, and the innkeeper said you could help us. If you can, we will name you Our Ladies of the Quest!' 'Here', said The Ice Queen, 'Here are moose pizzles for you all. Keep them around your neck and you will be immune to the power of the Dark Lord of the Great River.' The gratefulness of the dwarfs was tempered just a bit by the many flies that buzzed about each moose pizzle as they affixed them to a chain about their necks. But off they trudged, singing, accompanied by their large clouds of flies.
As they left the domain of the Moose Lady and The Ice Queen, Newt observed to Rudy, 'I have indeed lusted in my heart too for the body of the Moose Queen.' 'Yeh' said Rudy, 'Youse can join me and Timmy in the village. I'm gonna make the innkeeper's daughter an offer she can't refuse!'


The next morning, the dwarf lords left the village in some disarray. The innkeeper bade them a fond farewell, his pockets bulging with lucre. His daughter, much disheveled, according to the chronicles, was enrolled in a boarding school far away soon after. The village was on the edge of the Land of Men, so it was not long before the dwarfs reached the border. There, they enquired of the guards how best to reach the city of the Magic Negro, but the guards informed them tersely that security concerns forbad them giving out that information, and eyed them suspiciously. 'What business could seven dwarfs wearing moose pizzles have with our Leader? Speak quickly!' one cried. 'We wish to but study his governance, as in our country we have many problems that his counsel might address', said Romni, the moat presentable of the rather bedraggled bunch. 'We mean no disrespect.'
'Well, we are not allowed to permit you to enter the Magic Negro's City unescorted, so you must find a guide.' Romni looked about him, waving away the growing cloud of flies that were drawn to the now stinking moose pizzle amulet around his neck. He noticed a shack nearby that had 'TOURIST INFO MATION' printed by hand on the door. He went in, and motioned to his friends to follow him. Inside, in a low, mean room, he found several vile looking men crouched about a cooking fire. One looked up, and Haley of the Red Neck said with bravado, 'Ah'll handle these fellers. Y'all know how to git to the city of the Magic--ah--Nigra?' The man who looked up shouted to another, 'Hey Cracker you wanna he'p there dwarfs?' The man called Cracker looked up from the pot in which he was apparently trying to stew a large rat, and said, leering horribly at the sleek dwarf, 'Y'all ain't from around here, are ya?' This Cracker was a ragged small man with matted hair, and his grin exposed several blackened teeth. Haley of the Red Neck began to wonder whether he had acted prudently as he looked about him with growing alarm.

Just as Cracker Bodine (for such was his name) was unhitching his trousers, which were richly stained with material of a deep brown color, and began to circle around Haley, prompting his associates to began to smile, anticipating some unexpected sport, a great knocking was heard at the door. 'Open up! City tax inspector!' and in strode a very fat man chewing on a very wet cigar, wearing a badge and a name tag that said simply "BUTTS." Holding an official-looking form containing a small picture, Butts scanned the room briefly then asked 'Are yew Cracker Sparky Bovine?' 'Bodine,' said Cracker, sullenly. 'What the hell do yew want?' 'I have here a warrant to seize this proppity' and he looked about himself with no great reverence for the property he was about to seize,'for nonpayment of city taxes.' Cracker turned to his associate angrily and said 'Goddamit Booger, I gave you the money to pay them taxes last week! 'Wey-yull,' the individual so-named replied sheepishly, 'I was a-meanin' to, but my girl friend Curly Fay had to go over to Eufala and visit a doctor right sudden.' 'Shit, Booger that girl is only eleven!' Naw! Well, twelve next month!'
Butts waved them to be silent with evident disgust, and began,'This proppity must be sealed and unoccupied until payment of a sum to be determined by a magistrate...'. He was about to go on until his attention was drawn to the dwarf lords and their fly-encrusted moose pizzles.'Who in blazes are yew and what the hell are yew wearing?' Before the dwarfs could answer Butts noticed the boiling rat and peremptorily declared 'no cooking may be done in the presence of insect infestations. Yew are also in violation of city health laws. Now you and yer friends git outside and wait by my van!' he ordered the dwarfs, who were only too happy to comply, and out they scurried.
When Butts had secured the premises, he turned his attention to the dwarf lords, thusly. 'I have never seen such a crew in my en-tire pro-fessional career. What the hell are yew fellows up to?' And the dwarfs briefly tried to explain their quest, omitting any mention of seizing the Magic Negro's treasure and Great Wand.
'Why hell, them border guards were just havin' a little fun with yew. Did you offer them any money in the way of an inducement to allow you in? If not, they wuz expectin' it, a sort-of 'irregular gratuity,' if you know what I mean. And if you didn't, why you can give it to me.' and the dwarf lords collected their remaining money and gave Deputy Butts a large part of it. 'Now, take them damn pizzles off yer neck. If you have to keep them, stuff 'em in your pockets, Otherwise yew are guilty of creating a public nuisance under section 332 of the city code', he droned.
They imediately complied, with evident relief, and enquired about securing a guide to the City of the Magic Negro. 'Hell, you don't need no guide. They was just havin' a bit of fun. Just head on down this highway and follow the signs. If you have any trouble, just give 'em this note and say it is from Deputy Wurzel Buddy Butts.'
And so, relishing their narrow escape the dwarf lords began the final phase of their Quest, to meet and vanquish The Magic Negro.
With their available funds, and using Little Newt's credit card, the dwarfs found it easy to book a flight to the City of the Magic Negro. The only snag was that they had to check their moose pizzles, wrapped in plastic bags. Upon arrival, and having secured accommodation, the dwarfs set about to find their way to the Great White House to confront the Magic Negro. Walking along a broad thoroughfare they fell into conversation with a denizen of the city, dressed in sweatshirt and hood, and wearing dark glasses such that they could see little of his countenance. 'One thing we like about your country' Newt cried, 'is the wide availability of firearms. We only wish every able-bodied person were required to own and carry a firearm. We believe the cities would be much safer.' Haley of the Red Neck, taking charge again, said 'Could y'all tell us how to git to the house of this here Magic Nigra?' Now their new acquaintance, due probably to listening to rap music at 110 decibels for a decade or more, coupled with the muffling effects of his hoodie, was a bit hard of hearing. He therefore unfortunately misunderstood the question, and put the worst possible interpretation on it. 'Who you callin' a n-----?' the man asked indignantly. 'Hell, I just met you ass-----. 'Stick 'em up!' He pulled out a large pistol, and proceeded to strip the dwarfs of their valuables, but declined to take their moose pizzles, which they had brought along for safety. 'And if you sorry-ass dwarfs want my advice, you don't ask nobody else questions like that!' With that, he gave Haley an admonitory tap on the head with his pistol, to serve as a memory-enhancer, which drew not an inconsiderable amount of blood, and vanished down a dark alley.
After staunching their friend's wound, they looked about them seeking succor, but were ignored by passers-by. However, it is an ill wind indeed that blows nobody any good, and they noticed they were adjacent to a large building inscribed 'GOP HEADQUARTERS.' 'Surely,' cried Timmy Pee, 'here we will find some answers to our quest!' The other dwarfs agreed, and, without further delay, they went inside.
The dwarfs were overjoyed to be in a place of safety at last. The first person they noticed was a young blonde woman sitting behind a polished desk with nothing on top (of the desk, not the young woman) but a computer and a phone. Her nametag read “Nevaeh Lord”. She was dressed in a very short skirt with a very low-cut top revealing very large breasts, above which dangled a large gold bejeweled cross hanging from a heavy golden chain. She also wore knee-high boots, and had on much makeup. Haley had said while coming in that they should probably not enquire further for The Magic Negro in view of the response he had just experienced, and that they should find out what these people called their leader. Therefore Thune the Great asked, ‘What do you call the leader who lives in The Great White House, for we are strangers just arrived.’
‘Communist. Socialist. Baby-killer. Muslim. America-hater. Marxist. That’s what we call him.’
‘But,’ pursued Huckle of the Billy Hills, ‘Does he not have a name?’
You’re kidding me, right? It’s Osama or Obama. What-ever.’
‘Well,’ Timmy Pee asked, ‘Does he not have great power and riches, and a Great Wand by which he controls his enemies?’
Nevaeh looked alarmed and whispered, “Don’t say anything about that wand! You’ll get us all into trouble! And, no I don’t think he’s really rich. And as for power, he can’t even control his own party, and our pinhead House members have just rolled him on his debt ceiling, so I don’t think he’s that powerful.’
‘Well,’ Little Newt asked, ‘Can you tell us what you believe in, your GOP, that will help us defeat this Obama Whatever?’
‘The sanctity of life and the love of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!’
‘The sanctity of all life? What a noble cause!’ Said Huckle admiringly.
‘No, silly! Only unborn life. The Lord Jesus Christ says that all born of woman deserve death and hell fire and must be saved!’
‘Oh, dear,’ Thought Timmy Pee. And he shifted uneasily on his feet, glancing at his friends. Only Little Newt looked pleased with this response, and smiled smugly.
‘Well,’ pursued Romni gamely, ‘You do believe in equal opportunity I guess. For example, how did you get your job here?’
‘Oh, it was something my daddy heard about and he told me to apply. My daddy is very well-to-do. He’s a CEO of a big company and a big donor to the GOP, and he knows my boyfriend. My boyfriend’s a senator from Nevada.’
‘My!’ said Romni, ‘I had no idea your leaders were so young. Why, you can’t be much over twenty-one can you?’
‘No’, she smiled, “I’m twenty-one, and my boyfriend is 55. His ex-wife is real old.’ At this the dwarfs looked more uneasy still, except for Rudy Fuggedaboutit, whose eyes lighted up. ‘Well, where do your parents live? Here?’
‘No. We have lots of houses. Right now my mom is in Vail with her ski instructor Mr Buff, and Dad’s in London at the flat with his personal assistant Miss Peters. They travel a lot.’
‘Way-yull,’ Haley asked, What else do yew believe in?’
‘Oh, family values!’ And Nevaeh's eyes lighted up even more, while she fingered her large golden cross. Rudy watched her rather as a cat might watch a small injured bird. ‘You must have gone to a good school to get a job like this,‘ He offered.
‘Well, yeah! I just graduated from Liberty University with a Major in Christian Studies. My boyfriend is very interested in that as well. Most of the people who work here have been born again. Praise The Lord! But here’s Marcus and Eddie the Third! They have all sorts of good stuff to tell you!’
The dwarfs, all but Rudy Fuggedaboutit, whose attention was fixed on Neveah’s cross, or at least on that region, looked up as the two new staffers came in. They were introduced as William Wormley III ‘just call me Billy the Third’, and a young African American who took his seat in the desk in the front window. ‘I’m Marcus Flavius Brown, but everybody calls me MF.’ ‘Billy’s dad was ex-military and now is a contractor for the Defense Department, and MF’s dad is the Pastor for a Megachurch in the city,’ chirped Nevaeh.
‘We’ve heard from Nevaeh, but what do you think is the most important message of the GOP?’ Pursued Thune the great. ‘Oh, the sanctity of life’ agreed Billy the Third and MF, ‘and fiscal discipline. We need to live within our means. And gun freedom. Oh, yeah. And diversity. I mean, look at us. A white kid, a white girl and a black guy. Can’t get more diverse than that. But we aren’t politically correct. We think that the most important thing is treating everyone with respect, no matter who they are. Not now, Ignacio!’ This snarl was directed at an elderly Hispanic man who had come in quietly to collect the waste bin, which was overflowing, and the recycling bin, which was empty. ‘Can’t you see we’re in a meeting? Get out!’ ‘Dispensa me,’ said the old man quietly and sidled out without looking up. ‘Sorry about that, ‘said Billy the Third, ‘But you can’t get the staff, you see. It’s a nightmare.’ ‘Yeah’, chimed in MF, ’we tried to hire some people from my dad’s church, but they all wanted more than minimum wage! So we’re stuck with these people.’
‘You said something about living within your means, so I guess that means you need to cut your budget,’ offered Newt the Coiffed, “Where would you cut. Defense?’ ‘God, no!’ Said all three staffers. ‘Too many threats!’ ‘We need to spend lots more on defense, at least that’s what my dad says,’ replied Billy. ‘Well, do you think this health care stuff is important?’ asked Timmy Pee earnestly. ‘Don’t people need health care?’ ‘Sure’ said MF, ‘But we believe it should be offered through employers, not by the government. 'Yeah', agreed Billy the Third. 'My dad says if private employers offer health care, their employees will be too scared to leave, and will do what they were told. They're also a lot easier to control and they are afraid to ask for raises. Anyway, the government just screws everything up.’ ‘But’ asked Romni, who thought of himself as a policy expert, ‘doesn’t the government handle defense?’ ‘Well, yeah, but...’ and the staffers all looked at their shoes suddenly. Just then, a fat security guard came in and asked the dwarfs what they were doing there. As they didn’t have an appointment, they were ushered out rather brusquely after being searched. Much confused, they found themselves again on the street.
The dwarf lords found themselves out on the pavement and out in the cold after they were summarily thrown out of the GOP offices. The irony to all of them was that they all felt that the GOP ideals closely matched their own, or at least they could make these ideals their own if it benefitted them, especially Newt The Coiffed, who felt he could embrace any cockamamie idea as long as it put him in power, which he felt was what society needed anyway. Rudy Fuggedaboutit was enthralled by the GOP women, whom he felt would be swayed by his manly demeanor. The rest of them were saddened with the thought that they had to go back to the Kingdom of the Dwarfs, where they were indeed little fish in a little pond. They walked into a bar, and began to consider their circumstances. After a few Lite Ales and a NASCAR race or two on television, they came to a decision: they would apply for political asylum and disability in the country of the Magic Negro, having discovered that he was neither very rich, nor very powerful, and reports of the power of a Magic Wand were, to put it mildly, grossly exaggerated. But what grounds could they use? They decided to claim that they were gay, and their own land forbad such behavior. So back they went, rather groggily, to the GOP headquarters, and this time made an appointment with a midlevel political flunkie, told him their story, and outlined the benefits they could bring to the GOP. And Ned's young readers will be delighted to discover that the tale ended happily: Newt The Coiffed became director of a group of GOP intellectuals; Thune The Great took a position advising young GOPers on sartorial and tonsorial matters; Rudy F became their spokesperson for urban affairs and terrorism; Little Timmy Pee became the Director of Interns, and Huckle of the Billy Hills became Associate Director for States Rights and Religious Affairs, where he was joined in due course by the Moose Lady and The Ice Queen. The only one who failed to accomplish his objectives was, ironically, Romni the Great Hunter. The most reasonable and qualified of the dwarfs, he was much too reasonable to find any support among the GOP hierarchy, and so had to fall back on his inheritance. Therefore he formed a think tank, appointed himself Executive Director, CEO, President and Chairman of the Board, and set about to try to get as much face time with the more compliant members of the media as he could. He found that free drinks, attractive 'escorts' staffing think tank conferences, and speaking engagements for the more sycophantic toadies of the media got him attention, without any accompanying criticism. So he became an Elder Statesman, and mouthed platitudes to the admiration of all the faithful.
And, once the dwarfs all got their Green Cards and disability, they took up anti-immigration and self-reliance as causes and all lived happily ever after, except for Haley of the Red Neck, who was finally deported because of his accent and discovery of a large trove of mysterious white sheets in his townhouse.


On a cool spring day in River City, formerly known as the City of the Magic Negro, the six remaining dwarfs, and their two lady friends, (now all successful GOP operatives, engaged in a series of misinformaiton campaigns) gathered in a secluded space in a local wood, to consecrate and inter their Moose Pizzles, which were becoming distinct health hazards. The dwarfs were all too glad to be rid of the totems, and so they had asked a local religious celebrity, who was also coincidentally a GOP operative, to preside at the ceremony. This worthy Divine, who went by the professional name of Gethaliel Dayglow Glump, said a prayer over the Moose Pizzles, all wrapped in white muslim, before depositing them with reverence in a shallow grave. Each dwarf then solemnly placed a shovel of earth over the pile, and said 'earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,' most with a straight face, although the countenance of Rudy Fuggedaboutit was obscured. The grave site was unmarked, and the dwarfs scurried away, each to his own assigned task.
The End

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ned's Fix For The Economy

Because none of the so-called experts have come up with a solution to our anemic economic recovery, Ned will leap into the breech, summon up the blood, stiffen the sinews and etc. Here is Ned's plan to rescue the economy.
Each month, the Treasury will send a debit card to every individual who filed a tax return last year with an adjusted gross income of under $250k. The first debit will contain $1000, and it will be augmented every month with an additional $1000. Here's the catch: the money will have to be spent in the month that it is allocated. Note that it is not a check, which could simply be deposited into a checking account. It must be spent. If there are a hundred million filers who each get $1000 a month, that would be $100 billion a month pumped into the U.S. economy, and it would go to anyone who takes debit cards. Now, Ned can hear some of his followers groan and jeer with claims of "impossible!" and "foolhardy!" and worse. But it will work. Here's why.
In a time of slack demand, issuing money to people who have to spend it will not be inflationary, and, even if it was, a little inflation is the cure for many things, as long as it doesn't get out of hand, like the situation that brought Ronald Reagan to power in 1980, and began the US's slide into mediocrity.
And where would the money come from? Ned can hear his skeptical friends ask. It would come from the Federal Reserve, which can print money whenever it likes, especially since it is not tied to anything like gold or silver. And, Ned hears, won't it simply drive people to buy gold? Ned replies that if people are so foolish to buy gold then let them buy gold and go to the Devil.
In short, Ned's plan will not be inflationary, and it will, believe it or not, not add to the deficit or the national debt, because the money is coming from the Fed not the Treasury. And, since the money will be income, it will be taxed by those states that have income taxes, and will be taxed indirectly by those which only have sales taxes, issuing in a Golden Age of balanced budgets for those states wise enough to have income taxes in the first place, at least.
Ned will wait patiently for his Nobel in Economics, which he expects before the end of the year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Distasteful people, v. 22: revised already!

Ned is pleased to relate that he has encountered persons exhibiting the identical obnoxious traits he referred to in the abstract with one of his former posts, and he hastens to share these with his many friends.
* A dog lover offered this justification for owning dogs in Ned's development: "a dog is going to bark, and there is nothing we can do about that, as long as they don't bark consistently all day or all night." Ned relishes the self-indulgence, narcissistic quality and incipient anti-social attitude this individual expresses, and Ned is certain the person feels they are absolutely reasonable in their views. They added another gem: 'If we need to sell our house, and the only person who wants to buy it has dogs, we should be allowed to sell it to them." Ned asks his friends to appreciate the sense of this comment; to wit,'we both have rights, but mine are more important than yours.' A true anti-social sentiment.
* At Ned's gym today, he wanted to use a dryer, only to find that someone had placed himself in between both wall-mounted dryers, and was using both of them!
* At Ned's local Starbucks, two Millennials were using one computer and, so that they could more easily see what was on the one computer, they had moved two tables together, and were occupying both of them! This in a crowded coffee shop with no empty seats. Ned rubbed his hands in glee at this exhibit of self-indulgent, the-public-be-damned attitude on the part of This Flower Of Our Youth.
* Finally, two women were working side by side on two elliptical machines near Ned, and one of them jabbered constantly, in a loud voice, virtually without ceasing, for at least twenty minutes, such that Ned was almost moved to get off his machine and ask the offending women to please STFU for at least 60 seconds.
Other than these, Ned has had his usual placid day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Tyranny of College Loans

Ned was in conversation with friends recently, and he had cause to remark that this year for the first time, college loan debt exceeded credit card debt, and his blood ran cold at the thought. Here is state government, which is responsible for higher education, refusing to either (1) fund the cost of a college degree for its citizens, or (2) to guarantee a job for successful graduates, which would allow them to have some chance of paying off the onerous loans without bankrupting themselves. Instead we have a system that incorporates the worst of both worlds. Students incur tens of thousands in loans and then can't find a job afterwards, wasting many productive years, years which the 'locusts have eaten.'
Ned asks his friends to consider how much better we would be with, say, ten million more persons gainfully employed, at, say, the modest average salary of $35,000 a year, all paying into Medicare at the rate of 2% of salary, and into Social Security at 13%. We would be hearing no more about the crisis in Social Security for one thing. The multiplier effect would mean that local, state and federal governments would rake in much more tax revenue, and our citizenry would all have the satisfaction of leading productive lives. Then we could go after the Sneering Plutocracy and the Paris Hilton Crowd, and take a portion, say 70%, of their ill-gotten wealth they have flayed from the backs of honest persons throughout the Western World.
But of course, Ned awoke to find, as usual, he was living a fairy tale.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Some Distasteful Things and People: Volume 22

Ned thought he would regale his many fiends with a preliminary list of some of the many things he finds distasteful and even repugnant. In no particular order, they are:
* Jackasses who shave/brush their teeth in a public shower
* Dog owners in general, especially those who say such things as 'I need an SUV because I have dogs.'
* Grotesquely obese people who order grande and vente sugary, high-fat drinks at Starbucks. God knows what they get up to at low rent places like 7-11 and McDonald's.
* The same fat people who wear tight-fitting clothing, aggressively putting their grotesqueness on display for all to see.
* People who drive around in parking lots waiting for a parking place near the door of a store.
*People who sit in idling cars talking on their cell phones.
*People (regrettably mainly those of the female persuasion) who can't shut up.
* People who must make a show of their mindless multitasking, such as women, pushing a baby carriage, while walking a dog and talking on a cell phone.
* Anyone who believes that the GOP makes any sense or is relevant to the 21st century any more.
* Cities that continue to raise Ned's property tax year after year.
* People with multiple children in public schools who expect people like Ned to pay their entire cost to educate their brats. Ned would withdraw this objection if the educatees showed any signs of actually absorbing any of the education.
* Men who run the hot water continually while shaving.
* Grotesquely fat people who ride around in motorized carts in grocery stores.
Ned wishes his friends a very good day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Putting $$$ into the Economy the Easy Way

Moody's (whatever that is) reports that with the end of extended jobless benefits and various other giveaways, the jobless will lose about $37 billion this year, and it is feared that this will help kick the US economy back into 'recession' or even that other wonderful phrase "negative growth."
As usual, Ned is here to offer a common-sense solution to this problem: restore interest rates to where they were in 2007. What has happened since then has been the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in income from holders of money market accounts, not to mention checking and savings accounts. Ned's friends may recall that, in 2007, money market funds were paying 4.8% interest, and now they are paying about 0.15%, which is so low as to be insulting. Let's assume that there are a trillion dollars in these MM accounts and checking and savings accounts, because Americans, with good reason, are too frightened to seek higher paying, but more risky, sources of income. If we were only getting the former 0.4% per month interest, that would mean at least 4 billion a month paid out to MM holders, and Ned suspects that much of that would be spent. Moreover, it would be taxed as income and not as capital gains, pouring more than a billion dollars a month into the coffers of governments, to support jobs and transfer payments like Social Security.
But, Ned hears some of his friends say, beginning to snivel and suck their thumbs, won't this hurt the housing market, and won't it hurt business and by inference, the Sneering Plutocrats who are its Captains of Industry?
Ned respectfully but indignantly rejects this claim, because "CEO" pay is already obscenely high, and business is sitting on more than a trillion dollars it isn't investing, and houses are simply too expensive: that is why the housing market is depressed, along with the fact that Americans don't have the wherewithal to buy them because their incomes have been slashed. And so we come back to the beginning: let's raise MM interest, and restore the Golden Age.
Ned wishes his friends a very good day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Deficit BS

While Ned is no fan of huge and sustained federal budget deficits, he is more and more chagrined at the bed-wetting and thumb-sucking that accompanies warnings of catastrophe from self-styled 'experts.' To wit: this mountain of debt will crush us when the 'bond vigilantes' decide to stop buying U.S. government securities. Ned asks these pointy-headed 'pundits' what these persons will buy instead? Money market funds paying 0.15% ANNUALLY? Municipal bonds? Russian government securities? Confederate money? Wampum? Gold at $1500 and ounce?
No friends, Ned sees no imminent catastrophe in the government running a deficit and the debt continuing to mount, because the cost to borrow that money is infinitesimal. Five year bonds are paying 1.5%. This means every $100 billion Uncle Sam borrows carries with it an interest payment of $1.5 billion a year.
Ned is much more concerned with Sneering Plutocrats and the Paris Hilton Crowd living off our backs and lecturing us on austerity and the need to 'cut social security' and such other twaddle. Much better to raise taxes on these parasites back to the 70% that ushered in an era of prosperity at the beginning of the Kennedy Era, and then to invite them to bugger off if they don't like it. Ned hears that the newly created "Republic of South Sudan" is eagerly seeking "entrepreneurs and investors."

Warning: Disgustometer Readings High Today

Ned's disgustometer has reached a high not seen since the halcyon days of the criminal Bush regime, when it broke through its casing and had to be rebuilt. The readings today arise out of reports that the nation's obesity levels have reached all-time highs. The top nine obese states are all members of the Old Confederacy + Kentucky, which should tell us something, mainly that these places are generally unfit for human habitation. But we digress.
Ned was reading this news while sitting at his local Starbucks drinking a short Pike's Place. He has noticed that almost no one orders anything smaller than a "grande" which may help explain both an obesity epidemic and an unreported excess of disposable income. But we digress again.
What got Ned's ire raised to nearly unprecedented heights was the sight of so many disgusting fat people, of all ages, sexes, races and persuasions. And this in a state that was 35th on the list of obesity by states!
Another point: those who were most repulsively obese were the ones who seemed to flaunt their obesity by wearing revealing and tight clothing. A girl in her teens wore a tight green top, and she must have been 50 pounds overweight. A man had a tightly-cinched belt and shorts, the shorts exposing legs of staggering flab content, and the belt was cinched such that his roll of fat literally spilled over the belt and lapped on the abdomen below like so many waves on a beach.
And all this at a time when we hear of crises in health care, when 50 million of our fellows cannot or will not afford health care, and, more and more, health care costs are being driven by this epidemic in obesity, all of it avoidable.
ALL OF IT AVOIDABLE. Ned asks again: where is the guardia civil when you need it?

Monday, July 4, 2011

A July 4th Dedication: the Anti-Tax crowd

Ned would like to dedicate this July 4th to the anti-tax crowd, those brave seekers after truth that never saw a tax they didn't hate, nor a rich person whose ass they were not desperate to kiss. He understand them well, how they come across as defenders of the "freedom" and "liberty" of the Little American, but in reality he knows them for what they are, sniveling, bed-wetting toadies and rent-boys to the rich and powerful. If they had their way, every American not born into wealth would have to make the trek to the back door of their assigned Sneering Plutocrat's gated mansion and beg for crumbs from the dog's bowl, which would be thrown to them with a characteristic sneer, not of course by the Sneering Plutocrat, but by his overseer, a sort of Jewish policeman in the Warsaw Ghetto type who has turned his back on his own kind to taste somewhat better crumbs than his fellows.
Today's NYT has a fine article by Paul Krugman, describing the proposals of the anti-tax crowd to abolish the inheritance tax, and to allow corporations to bring their ill-gotten gains back to this country without paying tax, the excuse being, they would "create jobs" with it. Along with Krugman, Ned understands this to be a callow lie, since the last time this was done, during the criminal regime of George Bush, the Plutocrats simply paid themselves dividends with the money, or enhanced their stock holdings with buy-backs.
The argument often used by the anti-tax bed-wetters is that "self made men and women" built this country and are the key to this economy, and we need to nurture them, as Ayn Rand demanded in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. But look closely at all of those "self made men." Let's take two: Donald Trump's daddy gave him millions to start in business as Ned understands it, and their latest darling Mark Zuckerberg, "creator" of that curse upon anyone with an IQ above room temperature, Facebook, was born to wealthy parents, a dentist and a psychiatrist, both obscenely overpaid professions, and Zuckerberg's father even hired a software developer tutor for his son! Ned is not making this up.
Ned would like to ask his friends to consider how Zuckerberg wold have prospered if his daddy and mummy hadn't been rich and sent him to Harvard. And how Donald Trump would have prospered if his daddy hadn't given him millions.
Ned would like to invite all those cringing, anti-tax bed-wetters to scratch the surface of any of the Plutocrats' asses while they are kissing them and note the favoritism, cronyism and inherited wealth that underpins the vast majority of them. And he would like them to recall why this country was founded in the first place, as a refuge from the Sneering Aristocracy and Slithering Priesthood of old Europe, and then to favor all of the rest of us and slink back into the hole from which they crawled.
UPDATRE: The NYT reports that last year, the average CEO's raise was 23%.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bachmann is in!

Ned has learned that the chief poster child of the Village Idiots, Michelle Bachmann, is determined to "run" for the Presidency. Now if the gods who make men mad can only entice Sarah Palin to enter the "race", Ned will eventually be treated to a political spectacle of mind-boggling potential: a 'debate' between two of the most narcissistic, anti-intellectual, sanctimoniously hypocritical knuckledraggers in modern American political history. Let the countdown begin!
Ned will celebrate the hoped-for event by mangling Shakespeare: 'Now is the winter of our discontent turned to glorious summer by these Daughters of the North."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The New American Economy, Ned's Analysis

With all the blather about the nature of our economy, Ned thought he would set the record straight, because, as poll after poll shows, nobody trusts economists.
Ned describes our economy as a turf-based service economy, since (1) much of the motorized activity seems to consist of trucks towing trailers filled with "lawn-care" devices in open mesh trailers; (2) at least 10 percent of some states are now turf; (3) half of the acreage in the Willamette Valley is devoted to grass seed and sod; (4) much of the country's employment seems to be lowly paid men and women cutting grass, edging lawns and other turf areas, and, best of all, blowing the debris around with gas-powered "leaf blowers," or selling such devices to others at Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other loci of poorly paid workers with few benefits, and (5) universities like Oregon State already offer majors in "turf management." Ned's favorite sight is watching some moron blowing dust and grass along a sidewalk, then into the street, where is is promptly returned to the sidewalk by traffic. And with more and more illegal immigrants working for these lawn mowing--er, 'landscaping' companies, Ned expects it will become even harder for poorly-educated American kids to find jobs. And this should provide some food for those more philosophical of us, since the present generation of kids is, while largely poorly-educated, about as self-centered and arrogant a bunch of narcissists as any Ned has ever seen.
Finally, with the number of geezers growing fast, and most of them in poor health because of bad diet and no exercise, the demand for these services can only increase, as the last thing a geezer will tolerate is an un-manicured lawn. The only fly in Ned's analysis could be that cities come to their senses and start to ban or tax turf.
Ned hopes these semi-coherent musings are of value to his many friends.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

$1.5 trillion and counting

Ned seems to recall that a historian, Paul Kennedy, wrote a tome years ago called "The Rise and Fall of The Great Powers" in which he described the reasons for the decline of once-mighty world powers including Spain, Britain and by inference, the United States. Ned finds Johnson's thesis to be more and more persuasive in view of the money pissed away on wars by the criminal Bush regime and, sadly, the Obama administration, which, like a grouper repeatedly trying to eat a porcupine fish, are very slow learners. Comes word today from Bloomberg News that the total cost of the misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan is at least $1.26 trillion and counting, and this does not count the cost of maimed soldiers returning with severe mental and physical problems. Adding these, and Ned gets about $1.5 trillion. It makes Ned's blood boil to think of the waste of lives and treasure carried out in the name of "defending freedom" and "protection from terrorism", not to mention, "spreading democracy."
As an exercise, Ned asks his friends to think of how this money could have been spent productively; for example, giving every city in the US a rapid transit system and paying for it for fifty years, or retrofitting every house in the country with the latest in energy-saving devices, or giving every kid with a B average a free college education, or even giving free memberships in the Delta Sky Club to anyone who wanted it--no, scratch that, Ned has to rub shoulders with enough riff-raff as it is.
One day, Ned hopes the criminals in the Bush regime will answer for their crimes with their heads, but by then the damage to the country will no doubt already be done.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another BP gem

One of BP's contractors on the ill-fated Transocean-owned Macondo platform has paid BP $75 million in a settlement to claims made by BP. Said a Deutsche Bank analyst, "The decision to settle potentially speaks more loudly that the Macondo disaster reflected failings across the oil and gas industry rather than... gross negligence on the behalf of BP”. Once again Ned reminds his friends, that we have met the enemy and he is us.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Defending Freedom's Frontiers III

Ned has learned that we have defended freedom's frontiers yet again by a "NATO" bombing that has resulted in at least nine dead civilians at a Tripoli Libya apartment building. Now all of you ignorant redneck obese patriots can go back to your Big Gulps and Winstons with no fear of those 4-year-old Arab kids terrorizing you or interfering with your cable hookup.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Obama 'bump'

Comes word that Obama's 'approval' rating has fallen into the high forty's, and Ned is frankly surprised it is that high. Well into his third featureless year, Ned wonders, sadly, what Obama has done to merit the public's trust? He has caved on emissions standards, caved to Republican knuckledraggers on taxes for sneering plutocrats and the Paris Hilton Crowd, caved on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan (last time Ned looked, "NATO" was still killing wedding parties and kids there), cravenly caved on climate change, caved on Mountaintop Removal, cringed, sniveled and wet his pants at GOP knuckledragger threats to destroy the "full faith and credit of the US," and caved on the obscene "defense" budget. In short, he has caved on every single issue that required courage and discipline. Ned hopes he faces a stiff challenge in 2012 from some decent progressive candidate, and would frankly love to see the back of him. And Ned respectfully requests that his friends not start screaming 'The Republicans are worse!' That's not what Obama ran on in 08 and that's not what his supporters deserved.

BP and the GOM 2: The Dead Zone

Comes word today that LSU scientists are forecasting that the anoxic or "dead" zone in the GOM will be the largest in history this year, due to the enormous runoff the Mississippi is experiencing. The cause of this 9,000 square miles of dead ocean? No Ned informs his friends, not BP, but fertilizer from industrial "farming" operations in Iowa and the rest of the farming states of the Mississippi's watershed. And the fertilizer is dumped on row crops, and used mainly to grow corn and soybeans, in turn to be fed to animals, which will be slaughtered by illegal immigrants and be devoured by obese Americans.
So the one single thing that we could do to restore the GOM would be to end the industrial meat culture in this benighted country.
But of course it's easier to demonize BP while we go to Exxon to fill our tank to drive to the all-you-can-eat steak and chicken restaurant.
Ned wishes his friends a very good day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ned's forthcoming one-year anniversary: the BP saga

Ned seess to recall that he began this series of arcana about a year ago, incensed as he was about the media's and government's responses to the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf. He vividly recals the hysteria, preposterous claims, unsubstantiated dire predictions of disaster and sanctimoniously hypocritical posturing by politicians like Plyush Amrit 'Bobby' Jindal, a pompous, immodest man with much to be modest about. After a year during which the value of BP was nearly cut in half, and Obama and his goons extorted $20 billion out of the company's shareholders (full disclosure: Ned is one), as well as pressuring BP to eliminate its dividend, costing Americans and their governments billions in lost revenue, here is what we know.
* No seafood was ever found to have been tainted by hydrocarbons.
* No oil made it out of the GOM current into the Atlantic, which was a frantic prediction by a few irresponsible "scientists."
* The economic damage caused by the spill was almost entirely limited to actions taken by the federal government: needlessly closing fishing grounds, needlessly declaring a 'moratorium' on exploration in the GOM, and needlessly demonizing BP, but allowing the equally responsible Transocean, possibly Haliburton, which oversaw the cement job that failed, and perhaps even Cameron (after all they made the 'blowout preventer' that failed) to escape any censure at all.
Ned will admit that many hundreds of shore birds were killed, and he bitterly regrets that. He also regrets the loss of life incident to oil extraction in the Niger Delta and the rainforest of Ecuador, among other places. He regrets the decimation of reefs in the Persian Gulf, and he bitterly regrets the wars for oil in 1990 and 2004, costing trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives, many of them innocent. And the slaughter continues to this day.
So, yes, Ned is angry and bitter about the Gulf spill, He is angry at the clowns who ran BP, Transocean, Haliburton and Cameron, and who pay themselves obscene salaries to this day.
And hs is angry at his fellow Americans, who, if they used gasoline at Ned's rate for the past 19 years, would have resulted in a gas consumption of around 2.5 million barrels a day. Now, guess what the country's consumption was over that perod: about 18 MILLION BARRELS A DAY. So, as Pogo said, 'we have met the enemy, and he is us.'

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Nouvelle Vague

Ned's many friends may well wonder and fret, even agonize, at Ned's hiatus of twelve days, part of which was spent with Young Ned watching a couple of sports teams compete in an Undisclosed eastern city. But Ned confesses to be in a bit of what the French used to call a kind of a nouvelle vague. He has excoriated the rich and powerful Sneering Plutocracy and he can well imagine that they are grinding their teeth in impotent rage at the power of Ned's barbs. He has pointed out the foibles of puffed up narcissists, from congresspersons, to Republican governors, to dog owners. He has bemoaned the apparent conversion of Barack Obama into a moderate Republican. And now, like Balboa on the shores of the Pacific, he wonders if there are new fields to conquer, new oceans to discover. Of course, with the political silly season about to begin, the Republican presidential "candidates" will no doubt provide virtually unlimited absurdities to lambaste, but to Ned that is akin to shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel.
So perhaps, as Voltaire was said to remark, it is best to ignore the morons for a while and cultivate one's garden.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Romney: "Obama Has Failed The Nation"

Cultist former Governor of Mass. "Mitch" Romney has announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination by attacking Obama, saying he has "failed the nation." Now, Ned's friends know that Ned is no apologist for Obama. But Ned wonders which aspect of Obama's presidency Romney was talking about. Fact: Obama inherited a financial panic caused by the Bush regime's mishandling of the economy. Fact: Obama inherited a budget deficit in the hundreds of billions of dollars, the direct result of the Bush regime's tax cuts for Sneering Plutocrats and the Paris Hilton Crowd, in addition to a "prescription drug plan" that put billions into the pockets of drug companies and "health care insurers," and that was not paid for. Fact: Obama inherited wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, costing hundreds of billions annually, and to his shame has not extricated us nearly fast enough. Of course, this is the only criticism of Obama that Romney apparently does not make.
So, Ned wonders, how has Obama "failed the nation" except not to have rescued the country rapidly enough from the catastrophic and criminal actions of the worst regime in American history, the "presidency" of Republican George Bush and co-war criminal Dick Cheney? Ned is anxious to hear Romeny's explanation, and hopes it does not involve the Angel Moroni.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Fine Soft Day

Ned was bemoaning his fate this morning at waking to find yet another day of rain and gloom in the otherwise idyllic Pacific Northwest. After all, the flowers are blooming -- well, not the roses yet but at least the aphids were active.
And then his thoughts turned to a day long ago, when Ned and Q A Wagstaff, OBE, FRS were on an official fact-finding trip to the Isle of Skye off the western coast of the Scottish Highlands. One day they were walking through a small town, and chanced to wish good morning to an old duffer who was kneeling in his small garden tending some flowers in the drizzling rain. The old geezers reply was "Good morrrning. A fine, soft day."
So, mindful of this encounter, Ned shifted his focus and stopped feeling sorry for himself.

A Dragging Economy? Pay Us Interest!

Today comes word via the WSJ that "some" are describing the "recovery" from the Bush Depression and Economic Panic to be anemic, and Ned agrees. One reason is obviously that house prices have become rational after a decade of insanity. Unfortunately, localities depend on property taxes for most of their revenue, so when prices and values fall, revenues often tank as well, except in Alternative Universe places like Ned's home of Oregon where property taxes seem to go up regardless of house prices. But let that pass.
Another problem is the zero interest rate favored by the morons at the Federal Reserve. This affects tens of millions of middle class Americans, especially geezers, who are afraid to risk all their nest egg on a stock market rigged by the Sneering Plutocracy. Ned reckons that about a trillion dollars is tied up in money market, savings and checking accounts that are paying essentially no interest. In around 2005-6, similar MM accounts were paying around 5%. Assume we have one trillion dollars in accounts suddenly getting 5% interest and you have just pumped 50 billion a year into the economy with NO ONE THE LOSER, since no one is borrowing money anyway. In fact it would result in a sharp increase in spending and an increase in tax revenues.
But, since Ned doesn't have an economics degree from Harvard, why should anyone care what he thinks?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ned's Memorial Day Thoughts

Ned will be brief: he can only marvel at, and acknowledge with humility, the courage shown by the men (mainly) who volunteered, or were sent, to fight, suffer, kill and die in the Civil War, World War One and, most of all, World War Two. The draftees in the Vietnam War Ned also thinks of with profound respect and admiration for what they went through, what they had to do in our name, and what they are still going through.
But now Ned's thoughts turn darker. He thinks of the men (mainly) who sent our youth to Vietnam, and to Iraq, and to Afghanistan, and to Pakistan, killing and maiming, women and children, without so much as a declaration of war or a by-your-leave. He ascribes to the lowest circle of hell those war criminals Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey (otherwise a great American, although Ned points out that Adolf Hitler won the Iron Cross in WWI), and Richard Nixon, who were responsible for millions of needless deaths and maimings, and for the defoliation of millions of acres of Indochinese rain forest resulting in environmental damage too great to fathom, and the deaths of simply countless animals. But he realizes they were poisoned with a Cold War mentality and so is inclined to lower the fire's temperature for them occasionally.
But what is he to say about George Bush? Fully aware of all the infamous and calamitous mistakes of the previous imperialist aggressions, he sent hundreds of thousands of American volunteers, or mercenaries as one's point of view dictates (Ned's thoughts tend towards the latter) on a killing spree that is still going on in Afghanistan. Moreover, the terror unleashed by Bush in Iraq, where after all Saddam had kept the lid on decades of sectarian hatred, is continuing today. Ned ascribes George Bush to the absolute lowest circle of hell, and hopes he pays for his crimes somehow, someday.
And so we come to Barack Obama. Ned notes with the profoundest sadness that Obama seems to have learned little from history, and has to share the responsibility for the continuing death and destruction in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Every child dead by "NATO" cowardly night air strikes, every dead civilian murdered by 'suicide bombers' is another curse upon his head.
So ends Ned's Memorial Day musing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Women's Liberation?

Ned has often felt, with the greatest respect, that some of his friends and associates among the female persuasion always wanted to have their cake and eat it, too: they wanted all the trappings of equality, whatever that means, without really wanting to deal with all the responsibility that goes along with it. And to illustrate this, Ned will tell a tale.
It was many years ago, when Ned was a young and foolish unmarried college professor, and if he does say so himself, in some demand from his female friends. One day, an associate at the College, not someone Ned knew well at all, made a startling request: would Ned take out his sister-in-law, who was visiting town for a few days, and who was down in the dumps because she was going through an unpleasant divorce? More out of curiosity and the inability to think of an excuse to refuse, Ned accepted. He drove to the person's house, and picked up the female--an average person but pleasant enough. Ned took her to one of his hangouts, the local Sheraton, where they had a decent happy hour, and ordered drinks: she having a vodka and something, Ned having a beer. They talked about unimportant things, and Ned knew he was really not interested in following up this chance encounter, but certainly wished the woman well. They had another drink and a bit of food. After another hour or so, Ned asked if she was ready to leave, and ordered the bill. 'Shall we split this?'
'Oh' was her reply, 'I didn't bring my purse.'
Now, Ned would like to ask his friends to imagine Ned's ire rising: this woman, who had never met Ned before in her life, and for whom he was essentially doing a favor for an acquaintance, had simply assumed that, whatever the cost of the evening, it was Ned's responsibility.
Ned drove her in silence back to her brother-in-law's house, opened the car door for her, she got out and that was that. But ever since then, Ned has been suspicious of all those who profess to believe in the 'absolute equality' of the sexes, because he doesn't believe that some women really accept all that goes with it.
Now the more cynical of Ned's associates might well ask: what would Ned's response have been if the woman had, shall we say, evinced an interest in an urgent physical intimacy? Ned shuns the implication, and replies that there are words for persons who are willing to trade sex for food and drink.

Defending Freedom's Frontiers II

The Pentagon has come out with a new 'estimate' for the cost of the so-called Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35: $400 billion for 2,400 planes. Now this is 1300 smackers for every man, woman, child, and illegal immigrant in the U.S. But this is just the beginning: the Pentagon also estimates it will cost ONE TRILLION DOLLARS to maintain the planes over their operational lifetime of about 50 years. So 1.4 trillion for a plane for which there is NO ENEMY. Of course, the Pentagon envisions that all our "friends and allies" will want to buy them, too, so perhaps they imagine that the planes could be used for all of us to fight each other.
And this while the Obama people are cringing and wetting their pants at the Republicans' threats to slash Medicare and Social Security, the only programs that stand between dignity and privation for 50 million geezers, while seriously considering keeping the Bush tax cuts for the Paris Hilton Crowd and the Sneering Plutocracy.
You just can't make this stuff up, can you?

Defending Freedom's Frontiers

The House of Representatives has passed a "defense" spending bill of $690 billion, which ironically includes almost nothing for real defensive measures. This of course does not include hidden costs for the CIA nor the hundreds of billions in legacy medical costs for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan down the road. It does include at least $120 billion to continue the drone attacks resulting in murder of kids and wedding parties, oops, "suspected insurgents."
Protecting freedom's frontiers while millions go without jobs here and fifty million lack health care. But at least there remain Bread and Circuses for the Mob.