Saturday, December 29, 2012

"You Get What You Pay, and Vote, For...."

This whole "fiscal cliff" business seems to want to seem complicated.

It's really not.

What follows is a garden variety, "update" (as of the time this piece is being written) on where they are in terms of getting this seemingly complicated business resolved.

Feel free to read away.

If, though, you're pressed for time and want the simple, quick read bottom line, simply skip down to the very last paragraph of the news article.


Washington (CNN) -- The Senate's top Democrat and Republican are working this weekend to forge a compromise to prevent the country from going over the fiscal cliff, the combination of sweeping spending cuts and widespread tax increases that will otherwise take effect in days.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, on late Friday afternoon called the next 24 hours "very important" in the grueling effort to avert a crisis that has been two years in the making. House Speaker John Boehner has called on the Senate to go first, and then his chamber -- which reconvenes Sunday -- will act.
 
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Minority Leader, expressed hope that he and Reid will agree on a plan to present to their respective caucuses "as early as Sunday."
 
Early Friday evening after a meeting involving him, congressional leaders and top administration officials, President Barack Obama said he was "modestly optimistic" the Senate leaders would reach an agreement. At the same time, he conceded, "Nobody's going to get 100% of what they want."
 
The two senators' chiefs of staff -- David Krone for Reid, and Sharron Soderstrom for McConnell -- will lead the talks, much of which will be carried on over the phone and by e-mail, aides said. Neither of their bosses is expected to be in the Capitol on Saturday, though that could change.
 
Staffers for Boehner, the top man in Republican-led House of Representatives, won't directly take part in the negotiations, but they'll be kept informed by McConnell's staff, a GOP aide said. The White House will learn what's going on through Reid's staff.
 
Democrats believe Republicans should make the "first move" -- basically by saying what changes should be made to the president's proposal, which calls for tax rates to stay the same for all annual family income below $250,000. The expectation is that Republicans will try to raise that income threshold to $400,000 and push to keep estate taxes low; Democrats said they might be open to one such scenario, but not both.
 
If the offer is "laughable," a Democratic aide said it will probably be leaked to the media. If it is reasonable, it should remain private -- which would mean, for Saturday at least, that no news may be good news.
 
And if the two sides don't agree on a bill over the weekend, Obama said he wants his latest proposal to be put up for a vote in both the Senate and House. He predicted his plan -- which, in addition to his tax rate proposal, would extend unemployment benefits and "lay the groundwork" for deficit reduction -- would pass in both chambers with bipartisan support.
 
As members of Congress and their staffs talk, Obama will make his case to the public by appearing Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," his first appearance on a Sunday political talk show in three years.
 
Reid said, at the very least, that he'd prepare legislation that includes elements favored by for a vote by Monday. Still, he insisted he'd first work with his GOP colleagues.
 
"I look forward to hearing any good-faith proposals Sen. McConnell has for altering this bill," the Nevada Democrat said.
 
If no legislation passes both chambers and therefore remains unsigned by the president by year's end, the fiscal cliff will go into effect -- something economists warn could trigger a recession.
 
The lack of political movement thus far, and lack of confidence Washington politicians can get anything done with so little time left, has spurred consumer confidence to sag and stock market values to sink.
 
Some like Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York expressed cautious optimism Friday that the looming deadline, and the key players renewed engagement, would spur a deal. But others, like Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, derided the process so far as "a total dereliction of duty on every level."
 
"I've been very surprised that the president has not laid out a very specific plan to deal with this," he said on CBS "This Morning."
 
"But candidly, Congress should have done the same. And I think the American people should be disgusted."
 
The principal dispute continues to be over taxes, specifically Democrats' demand to extend most tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush while allowing higher rates of the 1990s to return on top income brackets. During his re-election campaign, Obama said this would protect 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses from tax hikes.
 
Republicans have opposed any kind of increase in tax rates, and Boehner suffered the political indignity last week of offering a compromise -- a $1 million threshold for the higher rates to kick in -- that his GOP colleagues refused to support because it raised taxes and had no chance of passing the Senate.
 
Obama and Democrats have leverage, based on the president's reelection last month and Democrats' gains in the House and Senate in the new Congress. In addition, polls consistently show majority support for Obama's position on taxes, and Democrats insist the House would pass the president's plan with Democrats joined by some Republicans if Boehner allowed a vote on it.
 
However, influential anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist has vowed to back primary challenges against Republicans who violate his widely signed pledge not to raise taxes. Even if a deal is reached, Norquist has predicted yet more budget showdowns every time the government needs additional money to operate.
 
The two sides seemingly had made progress early last week on forging a $2 trillion deficit reduction deal that included new revenue sought by Obama and spending cuts and entitlement changes desired by Boehner.
 
Boehner appeared to move on increased tax revenue, including higher rates on top income brackets and eliminating deductions and loopholes. But his inability to rally all House Republicans behind his plan raised questions about his role and what comes next.
 
All this has fueled disdain for politicians by many Americans. Such contempt is deserved, said Rep. Steven LaTourette, an Ohio Republican, who is retiring from Congress.
 
"I think America should be embarrassed by its leadership in D.C.," he told CNN on Friday. "The fact that we have been unable to do things, and instead worried about our next elections. ... I think it's sinful."
 
 
We are, by nature, a population of disagreeable sorts.
 
The kind of people who can always be counted on to oppose each other on every subject from gun control to birth control, from who should win "The Voice" to what we should all have for lunch.
 
Even whether or not we should make it possible for teachers to have weapons to protect themselves, and their students, from nut bags with Bushmasters.
 
But, every now and then, a tiny trace of togetherness rears its too seldom seen head and we find ourselves, to a person, saying "right on", "damn skippy", "amen" or "effin A".
 
Being unable, of course, to be inclined to agree on just one way to say that we all agree.
 
Said tiny trace has reared here.
 
"I think America should be embarrassed by its leadership in D.C.," he told CNN on Friday. "The fact that we have been unable to do things, and instead worried about our next elections. ... I think it's sinful."
 
Three things occur to this mind.
 
We are sure to all agree with what Mr. LaTourette has to say.
 
The fact that he is leaving, and not entering, the Congress should scream volumes about the continuing decline of that supposedly "governing" body.
 
And, here's one that is sure to get us back to disagreeing mode in a nano second....
 
We have no one to blame for all of this but ourselves.
 
Because we keep re-electing these clowns.
 
Can I get an amen?
 
Or maybe an "effin A"?

Monday, December 24, 2012

"...I Do Solemnly Swear, That I Will Faithfully Execute, If You Really, Really Think You Need Me To Do This...."

It's often said that the first step to correcting a problem is to admit that there is one.

As my New Orleans brethren would suggest, true dat.


(Yahoo News) Mitt Romney didn't want to be president, anyway.

That's what Tagg Romney, Mitt's oldest son, told the Boston Globe for its big post-mortem on his father's failed presidential bid published on Sunday.

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life," Tagg Romney told the paper. "He had no desire to ... run. If he could have found someone else to take his place ... he would have been ecstatic to step aside.

"He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them," Tagg continued. "He has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”

Romney's reluctance to become commander in chief has been hinted at by his sons before. Before their father sought the 2012 GOP nomination, several said they tried to convince him not to run.

"I tried to convince him not to," Matt Romney told Conan O'Brien in June. "I think there were a few of us that tried that. I just felt for us as a family, this isn't the best thing. But ... for the country, we think it's the right thing."


A Republican Party seemingly obsessed with getting rid of Barack Obama and they nominate, as their standard bearer, a guy who "wanted to be president less than anyone I've ever met in my life?".

Not to mention the millions and millions of dollars spent to promote a guy who apparently didnt really want the promotion in the first place?

If the Republican Party wants to be a force in 2013 America, common sense would indicate the way to do so is to realize they need to tap their pool of talented, passionate and committed young and visionary office seekers.

And avoid dragging their old, tired war horses into a limelight they don't even want.

Uh, hey, G.O.P.....there's your problem.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"...And The Republicans Insist On Calling It The Grand Old Canyon..."

Politics, as oft observed, is about perception.

Because perception is reality.

The perception of that reality, though, can be easily altered with spin.

Spin, in the political sense, is like a universal remote control.

It can be configured to be usable, and useful, in any and all occasions.

The end of the logic trail and evidence of assorted assertions to follow momentarily.


(YahooNews) While camping in the Grand Canyon with her boyfriend earlier this month, Samantha Busch, 22, decided to pull a prank on her overprotective mom, Rebecca.

Busch texted a photo of herself looking like she was falling off a cliff, when in reality, she was perfectly safe standing on a ledge below.


"For five days up to when we left, my mom had warned me about falling off the cliff or being blown off," Busch told ABCNews.com. "So when we were hiking around the corner, I found a good spot where I could stand on the ledge. He angled the camera just right and he took a great picture."

Her mom and all her co-workers, however, were not amused.

"I messaged it to her first and she works for a medical auditing company and there are women who have known me since day one, and they freaked out over it also. I emailed it to them, too, and they were all freaking out over it saying I gave them a heart attack," Busch said.

To take the prank one step further, Busch, of Westmont, Ill., turned off the GPS locator on her phone so her mom could not track her.

"I work for her, so constantly every single day we communicate over work stuff," Busch explained. "So for the whole week I decided not to let her know where I'm at. I had to give her some practice to not know where I am every day."

She posted the photo to Reddit with the caption, "Mom was worried about my trip to the Grand Canyon, I sent her this picture," and it instantly went viral.

Luckily, Busch's mom has forgiven her.

"She's fine. She wasn't even angry. She was just relieved upset," Busch said.

When asked if she had more pranks on the way, she replied, "There's no end to my pranking."


As to the earlier supposition about the the simplicity of spin application?

Allow me.

Upon release of this photograph...

ABC interviewed the mother and daughter and spun the story into a humorous segment illustrating the mischievous, if slightly twisted, relationship between parent and offspring.

PETA announced that this unfortunate incident could have been avoided if only Grand Canyon officials would install the pet guardrails they insist will save doggie lives.

Ann Coulter released a statement accusing the girl of being a retard for actually hanging on to the rocks instead of simply Photoshopping it while waiting for her Amazon order of Coulter's new book to be confirmed.

Rachel Maddow told her nightly MSNBC audience that this episode marked a new advance in the lesbian movement, given that this is apparently the first time a woman has pulled the kind of doofus stunt you most often expect will be pulled by a drunken male.

Wolf Blitzer interrupted the regular broadcast of The Situation Room with a breaking news segment of The Situation Room and brought "the best political team on television" on live to discuss what effect this prank would have on Hillary's chances in 2016.

Mitt Romney announced that forty seven percent of people seeing the picture assumed it was real because they were too lazy to read the story accompanying it.

Donald Trump issued a statement saying he had documented proof that the Grand Canyon was, in fact, not in Arizona, but in Kenya.

And Fox News pre-empted Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the whole Fox News gang to devote an entire evening to, in their words, proof positive of the impending collapse of the American economy in the form of irrefutable photographic evidence of the first victim hanging on, for dear life, to the edge of the fiscal cliff.

Wow.

Makes you just a little dizzy reading all that, doesn't it?

That's why they call it spin.





Saturday, November 17, 2012

"...Well, What Ya Got Here Is A Cassette Deck That Yer Tryin' To Play Yer BlueRay In...."

The outcome of the 2012 presidential election is good news.

But not for, depending on the color of your particular political stripe, the conclusion to which you might be immediately tempted to jump.

More in a moment.



(YahooNews)(NOTE: BOLD lettering added by original author of the news piece)

Losing is never a great way to increase your popularity. But to an unusually vocal degree, Republicans are going out of their way to show Romney the door.

A week and a half ago, Mitt Romney was the king of the Republican Party, drawing big, genuinely enthusiastic crowds to his presidential rallies and basking in glowing press from the conservative media. Now, after a landslide loss and post-election comments blaming his crushing defeat on "gifts" President Obama had doled out to young and minority voters, "Republicans are essentially coming together in a collective 'go away, Mitt,'" say Benjy Sarlin and Evan McMorris-Santoro at Talking Points Memo. "For conservatives and Republicans trying to make the GOP friendlier to those groups, Romney's comments have not been well-received. To say the least."
 
Romney is still in shock over his loss, and wants to keep on "rehashing why he didn't win" — blaming the voters, not his campaign — while Republicans are clearly trying to "move on as quickly as possible from an election that badly exposed their weaknesses," says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post. And since Romney embodies just about everything his party is trying to ditch — namely, "the stereotype that it is of, by, and for white, affluent men " — you can't blame the GOP for telling its failed nominee: "Thanks for playing. Now go away." The problem for Republicans is that "Romney has no motivation to toe the party line now," and no incentive to shut up.

But it doesn't really matter what Romney says now, says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast. His losing campaign already irreparably — and unforgivably — damaged one of the GOP's sacred cows: Trickle-down economics.

Yes, Romney "killed Reaganomics." Voters had a stark choice between Obama's pledge to raise taxes on the rich while keeping middle-class taxes the same and Romney's central promise to cut everyone's taxes by a fat 20 percent.

There was a time when a promise of a 20-percent tax cut would have ended the whole conversation in Romney's favor. But all it accomplished this time was to raise questions — legitimate and never answered — about how he was going to pay for it. Romney had nothing to say to the middle class beyond cutting taxes and watching the magic happen. But voters have stopped believing in that magic. Some conservatives understand this. But it's literally three or four people right now.... The rest of the Republican Party is still in fantasy land.
 
Hey, let's give Romney some credit here, says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. He's already managed to do something that's eluded Obama for four years: "Uniting the country across party lines." Of course, what's uniting everyone's is the belief that "he's someone who should leave as soon as possible and not say anything publicly again." But even there, Romney's hardly the first losing candidate to be thrown down the memory hole by his own party. Michael Dukakis? Bob Dole, anyone? The part of this that's amusingly unique to Romney is that a candidate who "was never more than a tolerated transplant among professional conservatives" is being drummed off the national stage by the GOP "precisely because he's continuing to make the kind of makers-and-takers type statements you might hear on a particularly feral and untethered right-wing blog."


First, I'm not entirely sure that the outcome constitutes the "landslide" that the author labels it in the second graph, so, I'm swallowing the whole of what he/she has to say with the obligatory grain of salt.

That said, though, I think there are a couple of key observations made that relate to my own opening assertion that the results of the election constitute good news.

Primarily that "......Republicans are clearly trying to "move on as quickly as possible from an election that badly exposed their weaknesses," says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post. And since Romney embodies just about everything his party is trying to ditch — namely, "the stereotype that it is of, by, and for white, affluent men..... "

When it comes to a preferred position, I would, if pressed, freely admit that, as a rule, I tend to find my feet on the liberal side of the line betwen liberal and conservative.

Although, I would always feel compelled to add to any admittance the assertion that I've never really been much for the whole "one side or the other" way of doing business, believing that life's issues are far too complex for them to boil down to a strictly "either/or" choice.

Unless, of course, a particular issue clearly belongs in the common sense folder in which case common sense would prevail.

Notwithstanding the amusing human paradox that common sense often seems neither common nor sensical.

But, I digress. And meander a bit.

The good news that comes from this election is that while the change that many were wanting will, obviously, not occur, change, in another form, will, in fact.

Occur.

That being that the old, traditional, once tried and true, but now no longer viable, practical or, more fundamentally, relevant way the Republican Party did business will evolve into a more viable, practical and relevant alternative recipe to whatever the Democrats are cooking up at any given time.

Spirited, passionate, even emotional, but, at its core, loyal opposition is a bedrock upon which this country was founded and has continued to survive/flourish through two plus centuries of its existence.

And all of the rambling rhetoric in the world (present dissertation included) can't alter the fact that our progress as a country and civilization always hinge on a couple of very simple premises.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

If it is broke, fix it.

And...

Out with the old. In with the new.

A lot of people would have preferred seeing that last one defined as a change in the hands opening the "OCCUPANT" mail at 1600 Pennsylvania come January.

And they are, for the moment, feeling like they were robbed of the change they expected.

Not yet realizing that what they got, instead, was the change that they needed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"...I Won't Be Greedy By Asking For The Ann Coulter Muzzle..."

Whatever our differences might be, we all, as Americans, share one particular challenge each and every holiday season.
 
Finding the perfect gift for that special someone, or someones, in our life.
 
At this point, this year, I think I have the what to give to who pretty much laid out, if not already done and did.
 
Of course, I've been around enough years now to realize when it's time to start thinking about Christmas and planning accordingly.
 
I just keep eyes and ears peeled as to when my friendly, neighborhood retail stores start decking the halls, and aisles, and know that its time to start fa la la la looking.
 
Usually sometime in late July.
 
This year, though, I was stumped as what I might offer up in glad tidings to my favorite little Fox News gnome.
 
Then, as our friends and/or loved ones so often do, he, himself, provided me all the inspiration I needed. 
 
 
Conservative political strategist Karl Rove has used a provocative phrase to explain how Mitt Romney lost the presidential election Tuesday, saying President Obama won reelection “by suppressing the vote.”
 
Really? Few others make that assertion about the Obama victory.

And normally, the words voter suppression refer to efforts by the politically powerful to make it harder for people – especially people who might oppose the politically powerful at the polls – to cast ballots. The online reference Wikipedia defines it as tactics that "can range from minor ‘dirty tricks’ that make voting inconvenient, up to blatantly illegal activities that physically intimidate prospective voters to prevent them from casting ballots.”
 
Mr. Rove, a force behind big-money ad campaigns aligned with Republican candidates, appeared to redefine the term.

Appearing on Fox News Thursday, Rove implied that Obama’s suppression strategy was to make Romney unlikeable, so that the Republican’s potential supporters wouldn’t show up to vote for him.

“He succeeded by suppressing the vote, by saying to people, 'you may not like who I am, and I know you can’t bring yourself to vote for me, but I’m going to paint this other guy as simply a rich guy who only cares about himself,' ” Rove said.

By his definition of suppression, it sounds just like traditional “opposition research” and negative advertising. Does Rove (himself a purveyor of negative ads in his work for George W. Bush and now at the Crossroads GPS group) have some different point to make, or is this just sour grapes over the election outcome?

Fox News host Megyn Kelly responded to Rove. “But I mean [Obama] won, Karl, he won.”

Before she interjected, Rove had also said this: Obama has become “the first president in history to win a second term with a smaller percentage of the vote” than four years before.

 
Twas the month before Christmas / and bless all my stars /
I know just what gift / I should get Karl R.

A one of a kind, personally printed and published dictionary.

With the clear and concise definitions of only a few, very special words and/or terms.

Cry baby.

Sore loser.

Candy ass.

Whiny puss. (Although that one's similarity to cry baby might result in its being edited out of the final version).

And, last, but not least, the one word I'm pretty sure would suffice if the cost of this very special custom made volume should necessitate cutting back.

Hypocrite.

Excited as you can imagine I am about this idea, I've already fired off my letter to the North Pole.

Dear Santa,

Please bring my favorite Fox News gnome, Karl Rove, a one of a kind, personally printed and published dictionary with the clear and concise defintions of only a few, very special words and or terms, which I have included here.

Oh, and Santa, if you think I've been a good enough little boy this year to add a little sweetening to the nog, I'd be delighted if you could have Karl take the place of Grandma this year when it comes to that getting run over by a reindeer thing.

Thank you...fly safe and say hello to Rudolph and the posse...

P.S.      Cookies by the tree will be double stuff this year if you can pull all of this off.

Two feelings like no other each and every year about this time.

The joy of knowing the joy of the season.

And the joy of knowing all my shopping is done.









Saturday, November 10, 2012

"....Might As Well Starting Calling The G.O.P The VHS If This Is What They're Going To Bring To The Marketplace..."

Every pundit from Memphis to St. Joe, not to mention Boulder to Birmingham, is ready, as always, to offer up their post game observations as to why Mitt Romney isn't out having his business card changed to "President-Elect Of The Unted States."

The observations, and the complex details of same, will likely be with us, at least, until well after we've all said a prayer thanking God that Santa has come and gone lest we have to endure one more retelling of the tragic story of the day Grandma and that reindeer crossed paths.

I love a complicated, verbose discussion and/or debate as much, or more, than the next guy.

But, much like Johnny Nash, when it comes to 2012, I can see clearly.

It really all comes down to eight track tape players.

While the Democratic Party gets stereotyped as the party of change, the party that likes to zig when zag is in fashion, and vice versa, the party that likes to bring the party, I think the Republican Party capable of bringing some game to the game.

From the history books, one need only look up 1964 and that zany madcap Barry Goldwater, hell bent on not only straightening out the country, but straightening out anybody else who needed straightening out.

Think Chris Christie, less a hundred pounds or so, and add Buddy Holly glasses.

And, with no intention to help promote Steven Speilberg's box office receipts, let's not forget that other fairly well known Grand Old Partier.

Abraham Lincoln.

Make no mistake.

There has, historically, been a lot more to the G.O.P. then just fat cats making other fat cats fatter while riding around on the backs of the middle class.

There is some genuine 21st Century talent in the Republican Party.

And one of these days, as all things that are meant to happen one of these days happen, the party of Barry G. and Honest A is going to come out of its desert wanderings and find itself in the 21st Century.

Not this time, though.

Because this time, in their mission to make it necessary for Barack Obama to give United Van Lines a call, instead of offering up a shake, rattle and roll shake rattle and roller like, say, a Chris Christie...or a Bobby Jindal....or, hell, even spunky little Paul Ryan, the Republican Party reached into the file drawer labeled "serious, but, hip, contemporary and relevant alternatives to Obama" and pulled out....

...a wealthy, late middle aged, white guy who would have probably been a dead lock shoe in to take possession of 1600 Pennsylvania...

...in, say, 1956.

Until the Republican Party realizes that it's almost 2013...and not 1953, they are going, from here on out, to be as "shellshocked" as Mitt Romney has been reported to be about the outcome of any election where they figure they have the American voting public figured out.

Here's politics in plain English..

We live in an Mp3 world.

And, judging from the outcome this past Tuesday,  we're no longer interested in buying eight track tape players.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"...No One Cares That You're The Finest Steak In Town....If The Majority Is In The Mood For Sushi..."

Predictions of victory have now, as is traditional, been replaced with Monday morning quarterbacking.
 
And anyone who thinks they have a specific lock on why Obama was the winner of this election, or Romney the loser depending on your glass half whatever preference, is simply showing off.
 
A presidential election is monumentally too complex to boil down to one ingredient.
 
Upon reading the following piece online today, though, a piece written by Republican journalists and supporters, one key section struck a chord.
 
And afforded me not necessarily a key reason for Romney's loss, but, at the very least, a tactical error on the part of his campaign that certainly damaged it.
 
 
Romney lost embarrassingly among young people, African-Americans and Hispanics, a brutal reminder for Republicans that their party is ideologically out of tune with fast-growing segments of the population.
 
Obama crushed Romney among Hispanic voters by a whopping 44 points, a margin of victory that likely propelled the president to victories in Nevada, Colorado and possibly Florida.
 
The stunning defeat alarmed Republicans who fear extinction unless the party can figure out how to temper the kind of hardline immigration rhetoric that Romney delivered during his Republican primary bid.
 
"Latinos were disillusioned with Barack Obama, but they are absolutely terrified by the idea of Mitt Romney," said GOP fundraiser Ana Navarro, a confidante to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio.
 
 
In 1999, after a fairly lengthy hiatus during which I worked in songwriting, publishing and producing in Nashville, I returned to broadcast radio.
 
Since 1999, I have worked as a broadcast personality/producer in five different states, have produced and hosted radio programs in four different musical formats, have hosted radio programs in three different parts of the broadcast day (they're called "dayparts" in the biz, but, basically, it's "morning show", "mid-days" and "afternoon drive time") and in each state, each format and each day part, my radio program has been rated the number one show in its time slot in its market.
 
I'm not offering that information as an attempt to self congratulate.
 
Rather, it is to prove a point I think the Romney campaign might, in that distasteful, but inevitable, hindsight, have been well served to consider.
 
Although my personality, sense of humor, sense of theatrics, personal style, etc, etc remain, obviously, pretty much a constant, the one thing that I believe allows me to take my work to the head of the pack is an understanding that while I gotta be me, there is something equally, if not more, important that I must achieve in order to "win out" over my competitors, to get people to "choose" me, as opposed to others.
 
A "rule of thumb", as it were, when it comes to capturing the ears, and hopefully, hearts of others.
 
You gotta know your audience.
 
Because I work in radio, you can't "see" the research, preparation, production, analyzing, tweaking, re-tweaking, et al that goes on behind the scenes of my shows, but, please take my word for it, it is an ongoing work in progress. I try very hard to "listen" to what works for people, what resonates with people, what attracts people.
 
And then I fashion my show, the best way I know how, so as to attract the largest numbers of listeners.
 
Cynics who see where this metaphor is going might argue that politicians don't have the luxury of "tailoring" their show to the voters. Doing that, in the extreme, is nothing more than pandering.
 
Fair point.
 
But beside it.
 
I don't pander to my audience. I don't, for example, use very off color humor with one format's audience while refraining from using it with another.
 
I don't use it. Period.
 
Primarily because I personally think that approach is the lazy way out.
 
If you can't be witty, then just talk about the titty.
 
Not my style.
 
But I do make every effort to try and "listen" to the audience, hear what they like, hear what they enjoy, hear what they might find entertaining and informative.
 
It's been a lot of work and a lot of trial and error.
 
But I must have locked on to the formula.
 
Because my audiences tend to be appreciative, loyal and constant.
 
Mitt Romney made, if no other, at least one serious tactical error in his bid to become President.
 
He presented himself to the American public, all of it, as a specific and certain kind of performer.
 
And, in so many words, sent the message "this is who I am....love me and listen to me....or don't."
 
In fairness, a lot of people did love him.
 
And listened.
 
Just not quite as many as loved and listened to the other guy.
 
I really do understand, and relate to, Mitt Romney's need to be Mitt Romney.
 
Cause Mitt gotta be Mitt.
 
I totally get it.
 
I gotta be me.
 
But you gotta know your audience.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"....Sadly, Much Like Herpes, It Ends Only To, Unavoidably, Begin Again..."

Despite all evidence to the contrary, there really is good news this election year.

It's almost over.

And come the closing of the final polling place in the country, regardless of outcome, the re-capping and re-re-capping of the whole experience will burst forth in a flood that will make perfect storm Sandy look like a spring shower and shine.

Personally, I think the inevitable will be unneccessary.

Because I think that for many, if not most, of us, the entire political process that history will call the presidential campaign of 2012 can be summed up in ten seconds or less.






Us, too, Forrest.

Us, too.

"...And In The Director's Cut, They Take Mourdock and Sununu Along..."

I don't know about Donald Trump, but I know how I'm going to make my next million.
 
Or first million, as the case may be.
 
Details coming up.
 
First, though, a little combo news/back story.
 
 
 
 
(Access Hollywood/Yahoo) Where others might cut and run, Donald Trump doubles down.
 
Fresh off his offer to donate $5 million to charity if President Barack Obama releases his college and passport records, The Donald sat down with Access Hollywood's Billy Bush to explain his motives.

After a feisty appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman" Thursday night, the business mogul entered our interview carrying ratings ammunition -- claiming the media tide is turning his way from the backlash caused by his challenge.

"Are you at all bummed out that it's become fodder?" Billy asked.

"It hasn't become fodder at all," Donald replied. "Last night on David Letterman, the audience stood up and gave me a crazy applause... I'll tell you, the big ratings last night on Letterman helped swing the tide."

The President reacted to Trump's challenge during a late-night appearance of his own, telling Jay Leno that his feud with Donald "dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya."
Donald told Billy he's not impressed by Obama's dodging of the question at hand.

"[That was] just a conman answer," he told Billy, adding that he is "absolutely" willing to provide proof that he himself is not Kenyan.

Trump may think the media tide is turning -- but he's still battling his friends over the political challenge, including Barbara Walters and Donny Deutsch, who said Trump's announcement would "not be good for him." 

"I couldn't care less about my friendship with Donny Deutsch," Donald retorted. "You know they all go on 'The Apprentice,' they kiss my a**, and then they come out negatively."

Adding, "Whatever he wants to say... Donny wants to be a star, it's not working!"

As for Matt Lauer's comments on Access Hollywood Live on Friday (he said Trump is a "provocateur"), The Donald said his record states otherwise.

"You know what? I built a great, great business, I'm worth more than 8 billion dollars, starting with very little," he said. "Let me tell you something, Billy, that's not a provocateur, that's a serious business person."

And what does Donald's wife Melania think of his challenge?

"She thought it was great," he said. "Millions of people think it is great. What does [Obama] have to lose? Unless he's hiding something."

As for whether Donald ran his challenge by Presidential nominee Mitt Romney? "The Apprentice" guru kept his lips sealed.

"I don't want to say. Why should I say?" Donald said. "What difference does it make?"

"Because if Mitt Romney told you it was a good idea... did you tell him you were going to do this?" Billy countered.

"I did not discuss it with him, no," Trump answered.




Re' that million bucks I mentioned earlier...

I think I have a movie idea that Hollywood will jump on like Honey Boo Boo's mama goes after pork rinds.

A hard hitting, true to the facts, as we know them, re-creation of the ill fated flight of Amelia Earheart.

With the legendary avatrix portrayed by Ann Coulter.

Her trusty, and equally ill fated, co-pilot, Fred Noonan, played by, of course, The Donald.

And what makes this version of this oft done story unique?

In this version, the actors actually fly off into the sunset.

And we never hear from either one of them again.

Is......that.....the sound....of......OSCAR?..........

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"...I Keep Waiting For Coulter To Rip Off The Mask, Mission Impossible Style, To Reveal A Box Of Rocks..."

Ann Coulter is dead wrong.
 
But, so is John Franklin Stephens.
 
Pudding free proof in a moment.
 
 
(CNN) - Conservative commentator Ann Coulter stood by her decision to call President Barack Obama the "r word" in a tweet, and questioned whether the word is indeed offensive. 
 
"Maybe [Vice President Joe] Biden should be upset with me calling the president a retard but not an actually disabled person," she said Friday in an interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."
Coulter was addressing a tweet she sent following the third presidential debate between Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney. 
 
"I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard," she posted to the social networking site. 
 
She said in the interview she chose the word "because it's a synonym for 'loser.' " She professed to have used the word since. 
 
Among the reaction to her post was a slew of critical tweets, as well as a blog post addressed to her by Special Olympic athlete John Franklin Stephens that went viral.

"Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren't dumb and you aren't shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?" he wrote in the letter. "I'm a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public's perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night." 
 
Stephens appeared separately on "Piers Morgan Tonight" Friday. 
 
"The word retard is offensive, and that I should not be a symbol for someone who is dumb and shallow," he said. "If they wanted to use me as a symbol, use me as a symbol for someone who fights adversity." 
 
Coulter said "language police" were dictating what words should and should not be used, and denied the term was offensive at all. 
 
"It's offensive according to whom? Moron, idiot, cretin, imbecile, these were exactly like retard, once technical terms to describe people with mental disabilities," she said. "Changing the word doesn't change the definition. I was not referring to someone with down syndrome. I was referring to the president of the United States."

In addition, those who are offended by the word have little ground, she suggested. 
 
"No disabled people are saying it, the spokesmen for the disabled," she said. 
 
Pressed on whether the word bore a stigma similar to another offensive word - the n word - she said, "I wouldn't use the n word because it's a curse word."


Ann Coulter is, to any one with anything resembling a micro shard of common sense, dead wrong.

For the obvious reason(s).

That said, though, it must, in fairness, be pointed out that John Franklin Stephens is dead wrong, as well.

Ann Coulter is, in fact, both dumb and shallow.

And while the use of the word "retard" is not only inappropriate but, if nothing else, simply discourteous, were it, for any reason, ever to be welcomed back into the daily vocabulary, it could easily be explained to those unclear on the definition.

One need only provide them with anything written, or spoken, by Ann Coulter.

Friday, October 26, 2012

"...The Scary Part Is The Size Of The Fan Club..."

By statistical standards, I have lived a long time.

I have seen and heard a lot.

And being, by nature, a cynic, I've reached a point in life where I've long believed, given the absurd things that human beings are capable of doing, saying, et al, that I cannot be stunned.

Ann Coulter stuns me.

Or, more to the point, that anyone could, for a second, consider giving Ann Coulter credit for being anything other than a sad, needy, neurotic caricature of an "advocate" stuns me.

Listen.





Stunning.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"...Come Novmber 7, We Should Be Singing 'God Bless America'...Not, 'Thank God, It's Over'..."

Little over a week to go until Election Day.

And there's a chance this might be the last piece this blog will offer before that.

A miniscule chance, to be sure, but a chance.

That said...

Good luck and best wishes to both of the major party candidates for President Of The United States and I sincerely hope that regardless of who is given the chance to serve, they will serve with purpose and vision, integrity and dignity, energy and passion and bring honor to the office they hold and the nation they lead.

That said...

From the flimsy excuses for positions and platforms, to the distractions of superfluous flotsam and jetsom in place of committed and visionary agendas for the future, to the bitter bickering, cheap shot name calling, lack of substantive discussion on the issues that matter to every single voter, to the establishment of a vitriolic tone that resulted in vicious, acidic, damaging conflict between friend and friend, neighbor and neighbor, families and familes, to the absurd circus of clowns including, but not limited to, Bachmann, Coulter, Trump, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Maddow, Morgan, Biden, Ryan and, yes, even Obama and Romney, I'm confident, and disappointed, that this particular election can rightly, and fairly, be described as an embarrassment to almost every single principle of the election process the Founders worked long, hard and diligently to provide us.

To voters of every belief, philosophy and/or party stripe, God bless you...and good luck to you.

To all the pundits, political participants and politicans, God bless you...and shame on you.

The arrival of Election Day in America should come as joyful noise.

Not a whimper of exhausted relief.

No matter, who we get...

...we deserved better.





Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"...Hey, Ann...Next Time Try This...."Obama Is Habitually Late...So, He's Not Only Tardy, He's Re-Tardy"...."

Ann Coulter might look like every Navy guy's idea of a shore leave jackpot.

She's not much of a sailor herself, though, cause she really missed the boat on this one.


(CNN) -- Parents of children with special needs are demanding an apology from conservative political pundit Ann Coulter for tweeting after Tuesday's foreign policy debate that she approved of "Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard."

It appeared to be a response to critiques of Mitt Romney's debate performance, but it wasn't the first time Coulter used the "the r-word" during this election season. And, it's not the first time blogger Ellen Seidman has called her out on it.
 
"At this point, I'm thinking the woman must surely be aware that the word is offensive, and she chooses not to care. That's pretty vile and heartless," said Seidman, the mother of a special needs child who shares her world on the blog "Love that Max."
 
"You want to slam the president, go ahead. But you can't think of any other word to use? Come on."
 
The word "retard" demeans Max and millions more with intellectual disabilities, Seidman tweeted at Coulter. Still, the comment was favorited 1,215 times and earned 2,993 retweets as of this writing, presumably by a number of people who didn't find it offensive. But sentiments from those who chose to respond to Coulter on Twitter ranged from disappointment to outrage.
 
"You disgust me. That man is the president of this country. (& I'm sure all of the disabled children in America appreciate you.)," actor Sophia Bush tweeted.
 
"Politics aside, this tweet from @anncoulter was offensive & disgusting. ANY use of the "R" word is unacceptable," @amurphy217 said.
 
The Special Olympics also condemned her use of the word, saying that it was "sad to see @AnnCoulter continue her use of hateful language by using the #Rword in her discourse."
 
In an open letter directed at Coulter posted Tuesday on the Special Olympics blog, John Franklin Stephens, a 30-year-old Special Olympian with Down syndrome, described what the word meant to him: "I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.
 
"Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next. ... Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much."
 
Even people known for their sense of humor came out against it. Comedian and Twitter personality @UncleDynamite resurfaced a 2-year-old post from his tumblr in which he explained why he would no longer follow anyone he saw using "the r-word."
 
He re-posted it after seeing people retweeting and favoriting the tweet, which he found disturbing coming from a a "well-educated, self-described Christian with such a huge public presence."
He hopes she'll read it and maybe have a change of heart, but he's not necessarily counting on it.
 
"Based upon Ann's tweets today, I'd say she's dug in and unrepentant," he said Tuesday in an e-mail.
 
"She must not know, love or respect anyone with an intellectual disability, then, and more's the pity.
 
I'd like to see her after a great day of volunteering at a Special Olympics or Best Buddies event. I'd lay odds she'd never think or say the r-word word ever again, and she'd probably be quick to anger if someone she heard did so."
 
Others observing the controversy surmised that Coulter used the word solely to draw attention.
 
"Guys. Ann Coulter is trolling you. Always. Outrage gives her strength. The only thing that will kill her? Complete & utter indifference," @PaprbakPrincess tweeted.
 
Congress banned the use of the words "retard" and "retardation" in 2010 in federal health, education and labor laws in favor of using the words "intellectual disability." The American Psychiatric Association also plans to replace the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual development disorder" in the fifth version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to be published by in 2013.
 
Then why do people cling to the word, Seidman and people like her wonder. She has posed the question before in her blog, which is probably why she woke this morning to find a slew of tweets and e-mails asking her to call out Coulter again for repeatedly using "the r-word" to describe President Obama.
 
The last time was just a few weeks ago in a blog post called "Let's talk about people who cling to the word 'retard.' " In the post, she recounted a series of recent examples of the word being used: in a New York Times article, in the comments of a YouTube video she made for the Special Olympics' annual campaign to end the use of the word, in the comments section of a CNN.com article.
 
She also included Coulter's last tweet about a video the president made for the National Forum on Disability Issues: "Been busy, but is Obama STILL talking about that video? I had no idea how crucial the retarded vote is in this election."
 
"Many people think that using the word 'retard' to slam someone is fine—as long as it's not actually directed at a person with disability. I've had plenty of people argue with me over that distinction.
 
What people don't understand is that every time someone uses the word 'retard,' they perpetuate the idea that people with intellectual disability, like my son, Max, are stupid or losers," Seidman said in an e-mail Tuesday.
 
"As I've said before, my son shouldn't be defined by ghosts of stereotypes past. He has enough to contend with in this world. Use. Another. Word."
 
 
Avenging Annie is notorious for her set in stone, take no prisoners approach to politics.
 
And not known to waste any of life's precious moments bothering to hear anyone else's point of view.
 
So, I don't fool myself for a second thinking that there's anything I could say that would enlighten her as to where she's gone wrong here.
 
But, then, my giving it a shot is unnecessary.
 
Kirk Lazarus already paved that road and much more articulately that I could have ever attempted.
 
 




Annie, Annie, Annie....

If your pathology insists that you keep name calling in your bag, then, at least, have the good sense to
keep it simple....Jack.

Or even stupid.

But not retarded.

Cause even the white guy playing an Australian guy playing a black guy knows....

You never go full retard.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"...It's Like A Riddle, Wrapped In An Enigma, Inside A Luxury RV Dressing Room...."

Everybody likes solving puzzles.

Present company included.

I figured one out this morning and am pretty impressed with myself.

If I do say so myself.

First, our story.....

I came across the following article online regarding "undecided voters" as of this date in the 2012 campaign.

Polling in the presidential race is neck and neck, with just 19 days to go until the election.

Each side has consolidated a strong base but neither has enough support to push them over into a majority yet.

The election, then, will come down to an enigmatic group of undecided voters that are alternatively pandered to and mocked in political circles.

So who are these people?

The composite for a prototypical undecided voter is:
  • Female
  • Single
  • White
  • Employed
  • 18-to-29 years old
  • Didn't graduate from college
  • Low income
  • Union household
  • Identifies as Protestant but doesn't go to church
  • Skipped the debate.
Here's how we know: Typically it's difficult to get the detailed internal data for the poll, but the Tarrance/LRP poll, released by Politico and George Washington University, is right out there for everyone to see, with a stunning 450 pages worth of raw demographic data. With a sample size of over 1,000 national likely voters, it's statistically significant.

The most recent poll, taken Oct. 7-11 found that 8% of people are unsure about who they would support on election day. Approached demographically, groups that have rates of uncertainty greater than 8% are more likely to be undecided than the average voter. Check this example out:

Since we know that the percent of the whole sample that was undecided was 8%, here's the conclusion we can draw from this data:
  • Protestants are more likely to be undecided than the average voter.
  • Baptists, "Others", and voters who are not religiously affiliated are as likely to be undecided as the average voter.
  • Catholics and Pentecostal Christians are less likely to be undecided than the average voter.
So that's why our prototypical composite undecided voter is a Protestant. Doing that for each of the demographics paints this picture:

The prototypical undecided voter is a white 18 to 29 year old woman who didn't graduate from college. She's employed, single, and identifies as an independent.

In elections, she typically splits tickets and considers herself a soft Democrat. She is unsure if she identifies with the Tea Party movement.

She lives in a union household, and is considered low-income. She's a Protestant, but goes to church infrequently or never.

She's not sure about who would take the country in the right direction and doesn't know who she plans to elect to congress. She did not watch the debate or any coverage of the debate.

Granted, this person is a composite and there are probably not a whole lot of people out there who are each and every one of these things.


Being every bit the fan of the N.C.I.S/C.S.I., et al, school of deduction, I was delighted, as you might imagine, when I realized, pretty much from the get go who, in fact, the undecided voter is.

And, just as the article says, they meet not all, but pretty much most, of the criteria.

Age, race, gender, education, marital status, employment status.

Check, check, check, check, check...and check.

Low income?

No, not so much.

Much to our chagrin, I imagine.

But, as for the rest of it?

Non church going, unsure who or what they stand for, unsure as to who will or will not be able to lead the country in the right direction, independant, but oblivious to any debate or coverage of any of the debates.

In short, pretty fuzzy on anything living outside their circle of life.

Son of a gun.

I nailed it from the get go.

And was able to easily answer the question posed by the writer of the piece.

"....so, who are these people?...."

Ooh. Pick me, pick me.

I know, I know.

I know who the undecided voter is.

Lindsay Lohan.

"...Ain't Gonna Be Much Of A Crop This Year...."

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Banana.

Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Banana.

Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Banana.

Banana who?

Back in a minute with the answer.

When it comes to a healthier future, there are, in this election, a couple of nutritional choices.

Put simply, apples and oranges.

Whether you see Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as the apple and the orange, respectively, or vice versa is, obviously, irrelevant.

It's pretty obvious that once you get past the snarky, backbiting, zinger filled, virtriolic name calling, head bashing and bitch slapping they like to think is a positive and productive campaign for the presidency of the United States, that these two guys share very similar views on pretty much nothing.

So, for the sake of discussion, let's say that Obama is the apple and Romney is the orange.

The differences between the two are many and varied and your preference for one or the other will, obviously, be based on a number of factors not the least of which being your personal taste, your belief in which one will make things better and/or whatever passionate media supporter of which you choose to follow.

As far as issues themselves go, there a couple hundred places online you can go to take a look.

Here's a link to just one.

My treat.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markfidelman/2012/08/14/romney-versus-obama-10-striking-visual-business-comparisons/

Meanwhile, back at the fruit bowl.

From the tone and texture of the campaign to this date, I can't help but think that both those who are convinced to a moral certainty that the country is going to go to hell unless we go apple and those who are convinced to a moral certainty that the country is going to go to hell unless we go orange are overlooking a pretty obvious, and admittedly sad, fact.

While both have their good qualites, neither one seems ready, or able, to meet all of our nutritional needs.

And they've spent almost all of the precious time available sniping back and forth at each other on why we should pick them.

Personally, when it comes to making the all important decision as to which one will provide our ailing society with the nourishment it so clearly needs, I can't help but think.....

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Apple and orange.

Apple and orange who?

Apple all is said and done, orange you sad there's no banana?



Thursday, October 18, 2012

"...Saying This Campaign Has Wandered Off The Point Is Like Saying Lady Gaga Is A Little Out Of The Ordinary..."

First, an acknowledgement.

Presuming to speak for any one individual, let alone a group of individuals, is, by its nature, risky business.

Despite the poignancy of the poetry, walking a mile in another's shoes requires having another's feet.

Metaphorically powerful, physically impossible.

All of that said, here's some politics in plain English.

People don't care how long it took for Barack Obama to use the term "act of terror" when describing the killings in Libya.

For that matter, they don't care if he ever said it at all.

People don't care if or why Mitt Romney misspoke when he referred to his binders full of women.

Okay, some people say they care. But some people are always looking for something/anything to bitch about at any given time.

Most people understand, by now, that it was a poorly chosen expression describing what appears to be a pretty pro-active approach to the inclusion of women in government.

People don't care whether or not Candy Crowley interrupted either Obama or Romney inappropriately.

People care about the price of gasoline.

People care about the safety of their children.,

People care about being able to find and keep a good job.

People care about the education of their children.

People care about finding affordable and easy to understand health care.

The reason Bill Clinton's popularity is at an all time high is that he understands what people care about.

The reason Obama and Romney are in a statistical dead heat, at this moment, is that neither one has found a way to prove that they understand what people care about.

The reason this campaign seems rudderless is that it is being steered by media.

And instead of stirring our emotions as they work to impress and inspire us, the two candidates and the media can only manage to stir the shit.

I'm sure if that could be conveyed to either or both candidates, they would have ready made, staff approved sound byte length, zinger ready responses.

People don't care.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"...If You Would Be So Kind To Allow Me, May I Please Point Out The Blemish On Your Considerably Well Thought Out Suggestion..."

Okay.

Since the VP debate, I've read the analysis (plural), watched the video(s), listened to the pundits and tried to absorb as much of the audio as possible.

And I wasn't really ready to offer some plain English about the "tone" of the debate.

Or put in two cents on the question "Was Joe Biden's aggressive behavior inappropriate?"

I'm ready now.

Many of those who take pride in being hard core, red state, right wing, conservative Americans also, in large measure, take pride in enjoying, supporting and endorsing professional wrestling, professional football, professional basketball, professional baseball and, of course, let's not forget the offical sport of red state America...

NASCAR.

I find it terribly amusing, and not just a little silly, that the very same people whose noses are out of joint because Biden did some bitchslappin' don't expect anything less than full throttle ass kicking from their various sports heroes and/or heroines.

And here's a little politics in plain English....

Politics, especially politics at the presidential level, is not backgammon played with finesse, genteelness, gracious etiquette and tea drinking pinky appropriately and respectfully extended.

It is a full contact sport played with the intention of beating the other guy or guys.

This ain't the Lawn Tennis Association, Nancy.

It's the NFL.

And all that "curtsy and reply respectfully" malarkey (yes, he used the word malarkey) is just crusty residue from our years as subjects of the Queen.

We don't curtsy around these parts, pal.

Frankly, I think Joe has the right idea.

Let's get past all the "my esteemed collegue" crap and have a real elbow throwing, pass interference, forced error grudge match.

We would, of course, draw the line at mud wrestling, jello wrestling or wet t shirt contests, of course.

This is, after all, the sacred and hallowed process of electing a President, for heaven's sake.

Other than that, let slip the dogs of war, baby.

We might get our doilies a little crumpled, but at least we'll find out exactly where the players stand.

And how much they can stand.

And just so there's no misunderstanding, this isn't an apology for Joe Biden.

This is a double dog dare ya for Mitt and Paul and, yes, Barack.

Gentlemen, start your damn engines.

Friday, October 12, 2012

"...Politics and Poppycock...."

John Lennon once sang "Power To The People".

Today, it might be more appropriate to sing "Increase The Word Power Of The People".


(by Vera HC Chan-The Ticket)

What's with the malarkey?

Say what you will about the American electorate, when they hear a folksy word they don't understand, they'll look it up. Searches on Yahoo! for "marlarkey," "malarkey definition" and "what is malarkey" scored off the charts during and after the vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan.

"Marlarkey," as Merriam-Webster defines it, is "insincere or foolish talk." It's a dismissive word to use, with avuncular overtones, and you'd use it to deem something as silliness, bunkum, hogwash—verging on nonsense, you (and a thesaurus) might even say. The New York Daily News dug up a Grammarphobia 2007 entry, which traces the etymology of "malarkey" perhaps to the word for strong boy or ruffian ("mullachan"), a *Malarkey family name, or the Greek word for worthlessness ("malakia").

But it's been generally perceived as an Irish word, points out Sharyn O'Halloran, a political science professor at Columbia University. "I'm Irish," O'Halloran tells Yahoo News. "When you ask the Irish for directions, they say it's 'down the road apiece.'" That "apiece" could involve 12 right turns and a roundabout. With that loaded "malarkey" comes a warning, and served as Biden's coded message to an older generation about trusting Ryan.

"It's not an outright lie, but [Ryan's] telling you a tale. He's painting a picture for you, and it may not be accurate," O'Halloran explains. "That's why [Biden] did the overexaggerated laugh and the overexaggerated hands. ... What he's saying is: 'It's not true, it's not right, and the people who know, know that what [Ryan's] saying, it's not right. You cannot let him keep going on.'"

The message may have been aimed for seniors, but some younger folk (ages 13-54) were intrigued by the code. (Indeed, 7 percent of "malarkey" lookups hails from kids under 18.) Among the areas most curious about "malarkey"—Los Angeles led the top five regions in lookups on Yahoo! Search, followed by D.C., Houston, Boston and Philadelphia. Among the states, Californians were scratching their heads and tapping the keyboards the most, followed by residents of Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia and Massachusetts.


Truth be told, the whole episode confused me a little, too.

But not because I didn't know what Biden meant when he said "malarkey".

Because so many people seemed to not know what Biden meant when he said "malarkey".

Personally, I've known that word for years.

But, then, I read a lot, so go figure.

Even if I wasn't voracious (ladies and gentlemen, start your Google), I'm still a little skeptical about the "mystery".

This was a poltical debate, after all.

And given the context of what was being said, I'd think you'd have to be pretty obtuse (see "The Shawshank Redemption") not to be pretty crystal about the smoke signal Biden puffed out there.

I mean, seriously, saying you didn't know exactly what he meant, regardless of how he expressed it, is bullshit.

Ooops.

Sorry.

I meant malarkey.

"...Everybody's Talkin At Me...I Don't Hear A Word They're Sayin...Must Be The Op/Ed Page..."

Just finished perusing a pretty big chunk of the tidal wave of post game commentary about last night's Biden-Ryan matchup.

Somewhere, ever so slightly visible in the sandstorm of say so, is the pretty obvious consensus that, at least in terms of a winner and/or loser, the match was a draw.

Not that it matters.

Because it really doesn't.

We don't vote for VP.

We vote for P.

And unless it turns out that either Biden or Ryan spent some time helping Jerry Sandusky out in the showers, the election is not going to be swayed one way or the other by one running mate or the other.

That said, it occured to me as I ploughed through the op/eds from both sides of the spectrum, that there is actually a pretty easy way to keep from wasting time reading opinions, editorials and/or manifestos that are, well, a waste of your time.

Here's what you do.

Rather than read the whole piece, simply give it a quick scan. Even just doing that, you should be able to get a reasonable idea as to whether the writer is, for example, pro Obama or pro Romney or whatever.

Now, glance either up or down (depending on where you need to glance) at the "writer info", that is, the little bio information about the writer of the piece you just scanned.

Okay.

If the quick glance tells you, for example, that the writer is pro Obama and you see from a glance that the writer is a Democrat, then reading the whole article is a waste of your time.

For the obvious reason.

Same thing, just as obviously, goes for an article that is pro Romney written by a Republican.

For the same obvious reason.

If, however, you should stumble across the occasional, and startling, shiny nugget in the stream, an article by a writer of either loyalty that seems to be attempting, even if not achieving, a reasonable and balanced look at one or both of the candidates positions, then read that thing from cover to cover and share it with as many friends as humanly possible.

In fact, take it to Kinko's, print up copies and hand them out to everybody you meet between now and election day.

Because that article will be a one in a million, once in a lifetime shining example of journalistic integrity, fair and balanced reporting and a testament to the bright red, white and blue principles of open mind and heart.

Oh...afraid that many copies will bankrupt you?

Not to worry.

Two chances Kinko's will be greeting you anytime soon.

Slim and none.

"...Deep Down, We Want It To Be Complex....But It's Really Not..."

Seems like everybody has had their "morning after" say.

I had to work this morning, though, so here's my "afternoon after" say.

The "experts" are pretty much predictably divided on who "won" the VP debate.

Those who think Romney is the anti-Christ are sure that Biden took it.

Those who think Obama is the anti-Christ are sure that Ryan took it.

At this point, I don't think either Obama or Romney are the anti-Christ and here's what I'm sure of.

Those who think Romney is the anti-Christ still think Romney is the anti-Christ.

Those who think Obama is the anti-Christ still think Obama is the anti-Christ.

And none of the above give a shit  what the "experts" think.

Present company included.

And present company included.