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Archive for December, 2008

Blago appoints Bob Hartley to Senate – Chicago therapist called “button-down choice”

December 31, 2008 By: ERITAS News Service Category: Uncategorized 4 Comments →

Defiant in the face of the investigation of whether he attempted to sell his state’s vacant Senate seat, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich yesterday appointed Chicago icon Dr. Bob Hartley to fill the vacancy left by President-elect Barack Obama.

The appointment is being called an attempt to moot the corruption charges brought by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. “Everyone loves Bob Hartley,” Blagojevich declared at a press conference to introduce Hartley to the national media.

“Look at him. He’s a modest man of unimpeachable character. Do ya hear me? Unimpeachable, he’s the button-down choice for the job,” Blagojevich said.

Hartley, a psychologist, is married to Emily Hartley, a public school teacher. The couple has resided in the Edgewater community for over 30 years. In remarks to reporters, Hartley’s trademark understated humor was on display.

“When we first spoke on the phone about the possibility of my being appointed, the governor made that joke about, ‘doctor it hurts when I do this.’ And I said, ‘unless your mother caused it, I can’t help you’,” said Hartley. When this elicited only mild chuckles from the journalists, Hartley said that a Mr. Carlin had assured him that the joke was “a laugh riot.”

Hartley said that he would fill the two years remaining on the Senate term by putting Congress on the couch, talking through issues, and getting to the roots of its problems. “If someone says liberals are the problem, I’d tell them ‘why don’t you go with that’. But I’d help them examine that phobia, and overcome that irrational fear,” Hartley said.

Today Fitzgerald’s office released a transcript of a wiretap of the initial phone call with the governor mentioned by Hartley. However, only Hartley’s side of the conversation was included.

Hartley: Hello? Yes, this is Dr. Hartley. Uh, yes, I’ll hold for Gov. Bla-. [5 minutes later] Hello, governor. I- I’m doing fine, and yourself? Uh-huh. I hadn’t heard that. No, actually I haven’t been reading the papers. Or TV, no. Really. Really? I see. That certainly does sound like a difficult situation. They offered what? Well, appreciation can be nice. I wouldn’t necessarily call it ungrateful. No, it’s not the same as a few million. Or HHS Secretary.

So what happens now? Fitzgerald, uh-huh. Grand jury, uh-huh. Yes, that does sound serious. At least you have Patti to stand by you. Oh, her too? Well, at least it’s bringing you closer together.

So how can I help you today? Uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh. What? You want to appoint me? Beloved pop culture icon. Well, I do resemble that remark. Tell you what, uh, ‘governor,’ why don’t I transfer you to my assistant Carol, and she can schedule you for a session- I mean conference. Say this Thursday afternoon? Fine. Fine. Hold on and I’ll transfer you. What? Of course, totally confidential. Good- good bye, governor.

Fitzgerald also said that Hartley is not a focus of the overall investigation into Blagojevich.

To This We Have Been Reduced – Educational Elitism

December 30, 2008 By: Kvatch Category: Education, Personal, Protest 5 Comments →

My understanding of ‘The American Dream’, to the extent that I have one, is this:  The ability to provide a more prosperous, more secure life for one’s children than one has enjoyed for oneself.  And the keys to the American Dream, in my opinion, are hard work and education.  Now…setting aside the former—one could write volumes on how hard work alone is irrelevant in an economic game already rigged in favor of the wealthy—education was once our society’s great equalizer.  With decent, free education through the age of 18 and a merit-based system of colleges that almost anyone could attend and many could afford, the United States once had a powerful engine of cross-generational prosperity.  Sadly this is no longer the case.

The New York Times notes that in the 25 years since the early eighties, college tuition costs have risen over 400% while family incomes have risen only 147%, in inflation adjusted dollars.  So in order to send their children to a four-year public university, many middle-class families must take on a crushing debt burden.  Combine this with a system of grants and scholarships that provide proportionally more money to the already affluent, and you envision the end of post K-12 education for the majority of Americans.  Not that it matters anyway.  In many industries, especially more lucrative areas such as finance and consulting, students that graduate from any university not in the top 15 in the nation, are ignored, basically unemployable.

I also note with considerable irony that I was able to get both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees (in the early 80s, of course) without incurring any debt.  In the case of the former, I worked throughout my undergraduate career, splitting my college costs about 60/40 with my parents.  In the case of the latter, my employer paid my tuition, and I continued to work while obtaining my degree.  But, had I attempted that today, I would leave the same university I attended with almost $60,000 in debt, covering only the smallest fraction of my costs by working…and that’s only if I could get in.  Today, that university’s admission standards are so high (due to the huge crush of applicants, both foreign and domestic) that my own application would have been rejected.

All these factors lead to an inescapable fact… Today’s older workers are more educated than the workers of the generations that follow them, and this trend is not likely to reverse itself.  A combination of un-affordable education, educational elitism, and post-graduate lack of opportunity, has killed the American Dream.  In fact, we may be many decades past its death.

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Bristol Palin just had a baby boy

December 29, 2008 By: Frogette Category: Entertainment 7 Comments →

Me:  What do you think she’ll name him?

Kvatch:  Bush.

I’m still giggling over that one!

The compleat hedonist or Xmas was a cracker

December 27, 2008 By: Cartledge Category: Uncategorized 5 Comments →

When it comes to Christmas downunder you can forget bout hazy religious notions, of old world traditions. This strange land is evolving its own excuse for a hedonistic holiday. Start with a champagne/BBQ breakfast – well two of us had champagne, the rest opting for various other early morning poisons.

It was a strange lineup as well; a Japanese chef, an Aussie brick layer, an middle eastern electrical engineer (forgoing booze because he was responsible for monitoring the power supply for the north of the state this auspicious day), a bevy of children and other assorted humans.

During the well lubricated discussion the Japanese chef expressed his delight and wonder at the way Australia accepts immigrants from all over. “Yeah,” the bricklayer said, “bloody immigration will kill this country!” Neither seemed to actually hear the other and the goodwill flowed on.

Lunch, down by the beach, was another hedonistic treat – table laden with a united nations of salads, fresh local sea food and a few cold slices of dead animal. This arrangement has evolved as the least intrusive on the free flow of conversation and booze – both during prep and consumption.

So back home, numb from feast and an unlikely cab-shiraz-merlot, the out of town calls began. Despite children ebbing and flowing throughout the day they were now to star. Given the legendary fecund nature of the family news of another grand-nephew was hardly surprising.

It was the second call from my Punjabi friends now living in Adelaide. “It’s a girl,” Singh shouted. “I want to call her Harry, but they insist on a traditional name. No worries,” he added. “We can call her Harry. Now I need another beer…” Like the unlikely cab-shiraz-merlot blend the unlikely cultural blend was wonderfully intoxicating and satisfying. Christmas is evolving.

iNews Friday, xMas edition – 12/26/2008

December 26, 2008 By: ERITAS News Service Category: Humor, Satire, Society 5 Comments →

Other ‘nonconformist’ Mutant Reindeer, who Were Also Ostracized until Santa Discovered they could Serve His Purposes:

Curt the Card-Counting Reindeer
Stella the Martini-Mixing Reindeer
Mitch
the Non-Union Reindeer
Maxwell the Tax Attorney Reindeer
Denise
the Dependent Living with You Reindeer
Eric
the Air-to-Air Missile-Antlered Reindeer
Stew the Tastes Good Reindeer (1995-2002)
Phillipe the Speaks Afghani Reindeer
Lana the Looks Good in a Bikini Reindeer

George W. Bush Wishes Everyone A…

December 25, 2008 By: Kvatch Category: Humor 3 Comments →

…one last time!

To This We Have Been Reduced – Incarceration By Choice

December 24, 2008 By: Kvatch Category: Protest, Society 10 Comments →

DetroitThe Associated Press reports that in Michigan, recently released ex-convicts are immediately committing new crimes that will get them thrown back in jail rather than face homelessness, joblessness, and hunger.  Many seem to have concluded that three hot meals a day, a bed, heat, and health care are more attractive than life on the streets.

No doubt the Prison Industrial Complex will take this as an opportunity to further enrich themselves.  All they need to do is undermine a few key labor-intensive industries, and additional millions may find jail to be their best alternative.

To This We Have Been Reduced  Next >>

Annual goodwill flight canceled – Santa “clinically depressed” by SeattlePI.com reader comments

December 22, 2008 By: ERITAS News Service Category: Uncategorized 5 Comments →

Nicholas Hussein Claus, abu Santa, is less than his jolly old self today, checking into an Icelandic clinic for what his publicist calls “dehydration and overwork.” However, well-placed sources tell Wiseline Institute NW that Claus is seeking treatment for clinical depression.

Angelina Claus — Santa’s wife of 370 years as well as CFO of Northex, the North Pole’s Oslo-based holding company — agreed to speak exclusively with Wiseline.

WINW: Thank you for speaking with us at this difficult time. Please tell our readers who ruined Christmas for everyone.

AC: Nick had been looking forward to his annual international mission, when he made the mistake of checking the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website for regional weather information. He then did what many P-I readers do: he started reading the comments that readers post in response to the news stories.

What he read appalled him, that’s putting it mildly.

I could hear him at the Mac in his study, clicking the mouse and muttering to himself. ‘Click – naughty. Click – naughty. Click – naughty.’ All night long.

WINW: But hasn’t Claus’s centuries of experience inured him to liars, cheaters, politicians and other disreputable types?

AC: For the most part Nick’s exposure to the goodness-challenged has been in the form of field action reports. Seeing it in their own words was overwhelming for him. The government haters, the racists, the sexists, the environmentalist-haters, the single-issue obsessives, the one-world conspiracy tin hatters, the concern trolls. The more he read, the more depressed he became.

I think the breaking point for him were all the anonymous paleoliths who delight in heaping abuse on whatever poor unfortunates happen to have been so unlucky as to be homeless, sick, or hit by a car.

The next morning he said he wasn’t going into the factory, and stayed home and watched the Game Show Network all day.

The following day he leased the reindeer to Lufthansa and sent the elves home with pay, telling them to spend some quality time with their families. I called our doctor.

On word of Claus’ medical status, Congress launched efforts today to save Christmas. The House Oversight of Holiday Observances Committee (HOHO Committee) met in emergency session, with members agreeing 7-6 to a proposal to include Northex in any auto industry assistance, since the North Pole produces Huffys, Big Wheels and Hot Wheels.

A complication is Republicans from southern states. Similar to their position regarding the auto industry, the bloc — led by Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama — is insisting that North Pole elves must agree to contract concessions to bring their pay in line with Chinese toy factory workers.

Wiseline Institute NW wishes everyone joyous holidays and a Happy New Year.

Driving the highway culture

December 21, 2008 By: Cartledge Category: Uncategorized 4 Comments →

Gettin high

Gettin high

Despite starting out my working life in the auto industry I’ve never been a motoring enthusiast. Probably why I can still be surprised by what others seem to understand as ordinary.

Like when I first visited North America and pulled up behind a Dodge Ram. “Is that a brand name or an instruction?” was my oh so whimsical observation. The others gave me that pitying look normally reserved for Australians.

I got that look again the other day, chatting with a pair of long haul truck drivers. The topic was the increase in truck related accidents, “because governments are now enforcing stiffer drug testing on drivers…” Or so they informed me.

“Wouldn’t go out on the highway unless I was sure the other truckies were on speed, far too dangerous…” So the conversation went. It seems a truck driver, not to mention highway patrol according to this pair, can’t operate to schedule without chemical assistance.

So I’m still working this new information through my head, but will happily dodge being rammed on any highways. I’m now wondering if rail operators or pilots require substances to get their job done.

iNews Friday, It’s Gotta Be The Shoes! edition – 12/19/2008

December 19, 2008 By: ERITAS News Service Category: Humor, Politics, Satire 3 Comments →

From the iNews 9000 Turbo wi-fi headline translator–

Headline: A Cloud of Uncertainty at NASA
Translation: Zan-Tor denies accepting free flights

Headline: Shoe-Hurling Iraqi Becomes a Folk Hero
Translation: Al-Zaidi decides to skip prison, enter 2009 baseball draft

Headline: Bush ducks shoes
Translation: “Good thing I didn’t invade Dutch-land”

Headline: Bush Does Victory Lap In Iraq
Translation: “The flowers and chocolates must be inside the shoes”

Headline: Bush gets the boot on his Iraq victory lap
Translation: “I dunno. Maybe the shoes themselves are made out of chocolate?”

Headline: Anger grows in Michigan over Southern opposition to auto loans
Translation: Senators want autoworkers to accept pay in Confederate dollars

Headline: Conservative activist Paul Weyrich dies
Translation: Weyrich, 66, Succumbs to Goo-Goo Syndrome

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