“Don’t Worry Little Lady, I Won’t Let the Democrats Kill Your Cat!”

A couple years ago, I mentioned the Sea Stone wait I mean Hotel Baja California Restaurant. Guess what? It closed.

The rather expensive building sat vacant for a while before displaying a new banner: “Coming Soon! Boca Park Animal Hospital.” Another expensive build ensued. I found this rather curious. Repurposing serially failed restaurant space with a veterinary clinic? Who had deep enough pockets for this to be a good idea? The other day we found out.

His name is John Ensign.

Remember Nevada Senator John Ensign? He’s the one that was having an affair with his administrative aide’s wife and then had to cover it up by seeing to his future employment? The one whose replies to emails told me not to worry because he wouldn’t vote with the Democrats (scroll down)? Well, before he went to the Senate, he was a veterinarian who owned the West Flamingo Animal Hospital. It’s the kind of place that will try to talk you into hundreds of dollars of tests to determine that the reason your elderly cat has lost a quarter of her body weight in the last 2 months is that she’s elderly (in the interest of disclosure, they did send me a card upon that cat’s passing). He was forced to sell, but I understand from multiple sources that they were happy to have him back after he was forced to resign his Senate seat.

Now, Sen. Dr. Ensign is not a man without money. His step/adoptive father is a gaming executive, and Dr. Ensign has done well with his own ventures — to say nothing of his Congressional pension. So it’s no problem for him to put lots of money into a swank new animal hospital “with luxury suites for pets and treadmills for hefty canines,” and a “four or five star resort” feel.

He sounds very happy about this new business, and I do wish him well. Nevertheless, I think I’ll stick with the nice vet lady on the corner who squealed with joy when she saw my kittens.

In Closing: Your latest dose of NSA, government spying, Ed Snowden, and encryption links (make no mistake, this means anything sent over the internet for any reason must be assumed to be insecure); a nice healthy set of links about the Syria situation; unemployment is only going down because the labor participation rate is going down (that is, fewer people working) and by the way most of the new jobs are low wage; I love this minifigure; how exactly is it cost effective to ship chicken to China for processing and then ship it back again??; it pays to shop around; the gluten free fad; unpaid internship; and one man’s forest.

Uh, That’s for Boys Then?

Surely the nice folks at Old Navy just choose a bad place for the maternity mannequins. Or maybe this is a commentary on childhood obesity!

In Closing: I know I packed it; food by state; claiming profit on money never paid; Dog Fort; WTF; Con, duh; safety net; science; wolves; the truth about buying a smart phone; lost daughter; Peach and Zelda; love story; begging; nachos; how to read a legal opinion; consensus; on birth control.

Prepare for Battle


Yes Sir!

Assemble the troops for inspection.

ATTENTION POINSETTIA ARMY! This is Commander Potted Palm. The time has come to rise up! You’ve trained long and hard for this mission, and I see all of you are in your dress uniforms. Let’s get out there and make people believe that yes, we do indeed celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in Las Vegas!

In closing: stopping terrorism with pork; Computer Engineer Barbie got a phone upgrade (and she’s reasonably priced); body image fail; a few items on employment, unemployment, jobs, and our clueless government; it’s hard to hate a benevolent dictator; stop trying to kill Social Security!; now we might be getting somewhere, a couple of Harvard Law Students suing the TSA; Fed lent trillions of dollars rather than admit that our biggest banks should have been taken over by the government as insolvent; even a Fed Governor says some institutions are “too big to succeed“; it’s been a good week for Senator John Ensign; please, some freaking sanity about the Bush tax cuts!; close the Washington Monument; a strategy so simple even a Democrat can do it; I’m wondering why I canvassed for that man; and finally, Kim Jong-Il looking at things. Enjoy.

Shorties in the Sky

Impressive: America needs roughly $2,200,000,000,000 in repairs to things like roads, tunnels, bridges and the like. You don’t suppose doing something like that might result in some kind of fiscal stimulus?

Stick to feeding the poor and preaching peace: young people increasingly turned off by the hateful political crap spewed by many churches.

Do Not Grope the Pilot: He would also like you to not take naked pictures of him, and moreover he would like you to assume he is not a terrorist.

Is it time to resign yet?: Senator John Ensign (the guy who isn’t Harry Reid) raised a whopping $18,000 last quarter. Unfortunately he had to shell out over a half million dollars in legal fees.

Color By Numbers: There are more black men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850. You don’t really believe that’s because the overwhelming majority of crimes are committed by black people, do you? You don’t suppose that there could be just a wee tiny bit of racism going on?

I Dare you?: D.A.R.E., encouraging children to put their parents in prison and themselves in foster care, all for the unworthy goal of the long since lost “War On Drugs.” Heck, we couldn’t even win the “War On Drugs” by re-destroying the #1 opium producing nation in the world!

Go Ahead, Make the Case for Medicare For All: Some insurance companies are threatening to stop writing policies if they are forced to follow the law in 2011 instead of a largely theoretical future date of their choosing. Yeah, you just go on and do that, suckers. In the meantime, the Feds are taking on Michigan Blue Cross for stifling competition in a way that raises prices. Nice to see them the Feds actually giving a darn about normal people over corporations for a change.

Obligatory Items on the Economy: Reich’s Perfect Storm; donations down 11% at the top 400 American charities; the problem with the economy so that absolutely anybody can understand it.

No Woman Should Have to Put Up with This Crap:Some students and the Yale Women’s Center board complained after pledges were videotaped last week, chanting about necrophilia and a specific sexual act.” Pledge activities have been suspended, but as far as I am concerned, some wealthy young [insert offensive plural noun] needs to get suspended or expelled. Let them explain to their daddies and mommies what they did on videotape and why. “Boys will be boys” my ass!

Password protection for your internet connection is a good idea: “Deputies arrested Candice Miller only after they raided the wrong house. Investigators busted into the neighbors’ house suspecting they were sending child porn. Turns out Miller’s neighbors didn’t secure their wireless Internet connection.”

The Difference Between Theft and Piracy: boils down to what you’ve got afterward.

If Only: Myth Busted! Can we move on to where you were born?

Smart people drink more: Alcohol consumption correlates with intelligence.

I guess I know what I’m wearing tomorrow: purple. Relevant.

It’s less annoying than air travel: record number of riders on Amtrak.

No I don’t really need this: but a pizza cutter shaped like the Enterprise is still pretty cool.

I promise it’s the only thing I’ll say about it here: (But expect a post over at BridgetMagnus.com about foreclosures later) Ladies and gentlemen I present the dumbest thing anybody has said about a moratorium on foreclosures! “For instance, in Cleveland, where there are over 18,000 vacant homes, lives Millie Davis who recently earned her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Cleveland State University and just bought her first home – one that had fallen into foreclosure and sat abandoned for years. Had a blanket moratorium been in place, that sale would have fallen through — not only deferring her dream of homeownership but leaving neighbors on the block to stand by and watch as their property values continue to plummet.” Now then first of all her Master’s degree couldn’t possibly have less to do with the situation. I’ve got one of those myself and a fat lot of good it’s done me. Second, I don’t think anybody is talking about going back and examining the paperwork on homes that “sat abandoned for years.” That is all water under the bridge. The priority right now is to make sure that the banks or other entities that are foreclosing on homes a) have the legal right to do so and b) follow all the applicable laws when they do it (and they probably don’t). Failing to find this out now could result in millions of homes that can’t be sold at all because nobody can prove who really owns them. Oh, and c) “vacant” and “foreclosed” are two different things, which is something I would have expected the Secretary of HOUSING and Urban Development to know.

And one last thing: great descriptions of things on TV.

Do Not Panic

Yesterday, two elementary students were injured when a nutcase wearing black and spewing nonsense about the President opened fire with a gun.

Mark my words, by Monday some parent will be insisting that outdoor recess be abolished as “too dangerous.” The argument will be nothing more than “What if something like this happens again?? Better safe than sorry!”

But before we start herding all the children into the gymnasium, let’s look at some facts. According to these guys, there are over 38,000,000 elementary school students in the United States. The nice folks at the Census (plus my pocket calculator) say it’s only 37,811,132. For simplicity’s sake, let’s just say 38 million. This doesn’t include high school students.

Now then, how many students have been injured by guns at an elementary school? This is sufficiently rare that a Google search for “elementary school gun” turns up a collection of stories of kids expelled for having guns, toy guns, water guns, BB guns, stories of gun scares, etc.. Add the word “injured” and yesterday’s item fills most of the first page. If we go to Wikipedia’s page on “school shootings”, we find that in the last three years exactly 34 people have been killed in school shootings, including incidents on college campuses and high schools, including faculty and other adult victims. In fact, there have only been 27 school shooting incidents on elementary, middle, junior high, and grade school campuses in the United States ever, including yesterday.

So, we have a literal less than one in a million chance of being shot at school. You have more chance of dying today in a car wreck than being involved in a school shooting ever.

By way of contrast, an American child has a one in 3 chance of being overweight or obese, putting them at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a host of other life shortening problems.

You want to play the “won’t somebody think of the children” card? Send them outside for recess. Let them go play.

In Closing: Could you pass the citizenship test?; People other than me are calling the foreclosure mess fraud (perhaps the BAMTOR Principle will crumble and people will go to prison?); if everybody eats there then how come I never see them?; disconnected; demented; decline of business casual (it’s all your fault!); and smell like a monster.

The Girl who Played with Shorties

And They Wonder Why the Peasants are Revolting: Even the market news pundits at Marketwatch get it: “In one America, one in 10 of those able to work are unemployed. In the other, Wall Street’s America, bonuses are set to increase.”

Social Security Round Up: I thought about doing a Social Security post, but so many people have already said what needs saying. To whit, most of us have small enough “savings,” “home equity,” and/or “market gains” that we expect to depend at least partly on Social Security (some people depended on it before they even fully appreciated what it was). Social Security needs to be the issue in November, because “saving,” “privatizing,” and all those other words mean nothing more than “destroy.” All those people talking about how “broke” Social Security don’t understand how it works and have an ulterior motive for “reforming” (again, synonym for “destroying”) it. Don’t look at Chile without seeing the whole picture.

Speaking of the Reid vs. Angle race: If this weren’t a race with truly nationwide implications, I wouldn’t spend so much time on elections in an entire state with a population lower than the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. But Senator Reid is the Majority Leader, and Sharron Angle is one of the highest profile teabaggers running. The press is rightfully all over it. Anyway, it’s a tight race.

The Party of Personal Responsibility: Oh! And our other Senator is blaming a “liberal organization” for his woes: namely that he had an adulterous affair and then tried to cover it up by making sure his mistress’s husband was, ahem, taken care of monetarily. Right. ‘Cause his “can’t keep it in his pants” problem? That’s totally the fault of liberals.

Everybody has seen this by now, right?: How dare unemployed people not accept low paying jobs or opportunities that require them to move halfway around the world, ungrateful wretches. Meanwhile, first time unemployment insurance claims are up.

China Knows Better: They know they can’t make do with a Latte Economy. There’s more to a vibrant economy than egg rolls and laundromats. They build stuff, and when they don’t know how to build it they make the West teach them how.

Chuck is Right: Seriously, he’s just a tweak more conservative than I, but this is spot on: “If the number of illegal aliens in this country is something like 20M, you can be real sure that drugs and other criminal activities isn’t what needs addressed. The job picture is what needs [to be] addressed. Enforcement of the pissant employment laws is virtually non-existent, employers know that the chance of getting caught out is tiny and the fines small enough to cover with their illegal hire profits.” Fewer fences, more crackdowns on employers who like workers that don’t stand up for any rights.

They like to call it an “Emergency Department” now: At least there are fewer uninsured people showing up in the ER.

Oh just come out and call Abe Lincoln a damn Liberal: “The genius of Lincoln — and it’s really the greatest historical legacy of the Republican Party — is that all individuals were to be treated based who they are, not who their parents were.” The 14th Amendment is brilliant in its simplicity. It does not need to be repealed, revised, or “interpreted“. Speaking of which, screaming over Anderson Cooper on national television is not a way to be taken seriously.

Priorities: when you think Jimmy Carter outranks Tim McVeigh, the Rosenbergs, John Wilkes Booth, and Benedict Freaking Arnold as worst person in American History, you have some truly messed up ways of thinking. Where’s Lee Harvey Oswald? Oh right, he killed a liberal so that makes him a hero I guess. I’m guessing the criteria included that they be American, which is why Osama and Emperor Hirohito are left out.

This one’s for you, JP: Hal Turner is guilty.

Popularity Counts: Over 25 most popular things. Take it for what it’s worth. I’m glad my car isn’t a “popular” color. I had a devil of a time finding that silver Civic on a parking lot!

I don’t intend to discuss Ground Zero again: Barbara lays it out.

What were they thinking?: No, you can’t legally prevent people from talking to one another at the mall.

Listen up, Ladies: a new “morning after” contraceptive is now approved by the FDA, and is good up to 5 days later.

Things are tough all over: Kroger is expanding their selection of store brand beauty products.

Blame the GOP: So says a Reagan Insider!

Are… Are World Leaders Supposed to Look Like That?: The caption makes the image even stranger.

Oh Sharron.

I hate to waste a lot of space on a Senate race, but this is Harry Reid we are talking about. Since he is the Majority Leader of the Senate, and it is polite to say that our other Senator is “embattled,” this is a big deal.

Senator Reid’s opponent, Sharron Angle, has really been saying some interesting things.

I think the most mind-boggling thing she has said is that the “Reid agenda” violates the First Commandment (that’s Commandment, not Amendment):

And these programs that you mentioned — that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward — are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government. And you’ve just identified the real crux of the problem.

Now, for context, she did say this on a Christian radio show. Her comments were intended to reach a very particular audience: one that takes the Bible very literally. Ok, literally except for the keeping Kosher part that is outlined later in the book of Exodus. It would be interesting to know when she last fed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty, clothed the naked, invited in strangers, looked after the sick, or visited those in prison.

But somehow she seems to think — and since this was all said during the primaries, I am inclined to think it’s pretty close to what she does believe — that Social Security Insurance payments, Unemployment Insurance payments, and the like are causing the “half” of all Americans who “aren’t paying taxes” treat the Federal government as a god. Right. Because taxes don’t buy things like roads, which are enjoyed by the rich and the poor alike. And nobody ever pays [attention to the fact that they pay] for Social Security and Unemployment Insurance right out of their paychecks.

Nor is Sharron alone in this strange train of thought. Her communications director just the other day released a statement saying “Only the supreme arrogance of Senator Reid would believe that he has a divine right to rule over mere mortals by ramming through Obamacare, billions in reckless spending, and yes, buying cocaine for monkeys.”

Cocaine for monkeys?? What?? Can we please have a reference on that so we know what the heck he’s talking about?

Sharron also thinks that the Federal government should have no say in what any schools teach, private or public. Does that mean she wants to see an ending for abstinence only sex ed? Well, no. Then what does she mean? The the Feds can’t insist that schools teach reading, writing, and math, or any other set of critical must-know things that employers and communities expect high school graduates to know. Oh, and she thinks your preacher should be able to tell you who to vote for (despite the church’s tax exempt status and the First Amendment). Oh and one more thing, she thinks gays are icky. No, she didn’t really say icky, only that they don’t deserve the protections of law.

But let’s not forget her most recent embarrassing moment, a moment so bad a Fox News reporter laughed:

We needed to have the press be our friend…. We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported.

Sorry Sharron, Senate candidates don’t get to spin the news whatever way they want it. Ones who want to get elected answer the questions that voters want answered. Maybe Steve Wynn could convince reporters to only ask what he wants to answer, but you can’t.

No wonder Harry’s looking a lot better in the polls than he was mere weeks ago. I sure do hope my neighbors don’t actually elect her!

In closing: On Social Security and Medicare; Is the Fed using phony numbers (why would they switch to the real ones now?); Goldman says “Ok, we’ll follow the law” (how nice of them); Kagan‘s in; new efficiency standards will save you money while helping the environment (and hey, somebody’s gotta build this stuff); on wage cuts (really, only feasible if we have mortgage cuts, but hey); Uh, Mr. President? Employers are doing just fine shipping jobs overseas without your help! (whose side are you on??); a true comic; and a funny baseball card.

The *New* New Economy is Not Improved

Let me start by pointing out that today alone, the FDIC had takeover teams at 6yes, 6 — different banks in 3 different states. I think that Count Von Count would not be happy to keep track of this. Another number that would fail to please the Count but might make Dr. Evil happy, an anticipated one million foreclosures this year. That situation will get uglier before a healthy market can possibly emerge.

But as Expert Ezra points out, the reason people are so unhappy with the economy right now has a lot to do with the fact that corporate profits are up over 5%, the actual number of available jobs is down over 5% just since 2007. And frankly, I am of the opinion that without the economic shell game the government has been playing with the data, you would probably find that the 2001 recession never ended.

So then, with unemployment what it is, nobody should be particularly shocked that retail sales are down, again, and specifically sales of big ticket items are down. Nobody being able to afford goods leads quite understandably to the possibility of deflation — particularly if you can’t find a way to mask housing prices that are down by half in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, the rich get richer and the poor can, well, do whatever it is they do.

Add to this toxic stew two items: a political party that still thinks you can raise revenues by cutting taxes, but that making sure that “the least of these” can afford groceries is a bad thing; and a financial reform bill that the nicest thing anybody can say about it is that it’s better than nothing, probably. The safety net is being cut just as we need it most despite our protests, and our largest banks may still have the power to ruin us all.

Next time, assuming I am not distracted by something shiny or butterflies or kittens, The Latte Economy.

In Closing: Gee, greater blogosphere, thanks for noticing what I thought I was too late to say yesterday!; this could be bad; Senator Ensign should really give up now; I wonder how much; and two dinosaurs for the price of one.

Reid and Reid

Among states having a Primary election today is Nevada. Nevada voters were faced with two big decisions today in addition to a couple dozen local level races. The electronic ballot in some precincts was 9 pages long. While the nation has one eye on our race, it turns out that the majority of Nevadans won’t even bother showing up at the polls.

The headline star of the show here and across the country is of course the race for United States Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid has been a fixture of Nevada politics for decades, having even been portrayed in the movies. Today he had 3 Democratic challengers in addition to a full dozen Republican candidates vying for his seat. It would appear that in terms of campaign finance, Reid has the ability to outspend all of them in the general election combined. A new front runner has emerged in that race, Sharron Angle, following Sue Lowden’s infamous chickens-for-doctors gaffe. The race itself is still close to call. Angle has a Tea Party endorsement, so it will be interesting to see how that plays in her campaign should she win today’s race.

Meanwhile, Senator Reid has laid out an ambitious summer agenda for the Senate. His “business as usual” approach is welcome considering the problems facing the nation, and the number one most important issue to most Americans is unemployment and the lack of health insurance that goes with it. It would appear that his campaign revolves around getting things done.

Of course the elephant in the room for the Senate race is Yucca Mountain. Reid has been using his influence to thwart the nuclear waste dump just 90 miles from Las Vegas for decades. If Reid loses the fall election, his successor will most likely not have the political clout to keep the site closed. While Nevada’s other Senator, Republican John Ensign, also opposes Yucca Mountain, he has bigger things to worry about.

Of course Harry isn’t the only Reid on the ballot today. His son Rory hopes to be the Democratic nominee for the upcoming Gubernatorial race. Rory Reid only faces one other Democratic challenger, and in addition to name recognition, he’s a County Commissioner in Clark County. Las Vegas is in Clark County, which is home to roughly 80% of Nevadans and in fact has a bigger budget than the State of Nevada. Embattled Governor Jim Gibbons faces 4 primary challengers and the aftermath of a viscous divorce; despite his confidence, he is unlikely to win the primary. In addition to trailing the front runner by 14 points, his campaign is low on money. Most likely, Rory Reid will face Brian Sandoval in the Fall.

Rory is only 47. From the Governor’s Mansion, he can name a replacement for a resigning or deceased Senator and more. He can build towards a Senate run or even a Presidential run. And that makes Rory Reid a man to watch.

Cross-posted at The Moderate Voice, one of Associated Content’s Top 3 Centrist Websites!