Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The fierce urgency of not updating my blog...

Why have I stopped updating this blog?

1. I've lost interest in it.
2. I got tired of participating in the useless buzz.
3. Nobody is listening to anybody anymore.
4. Politics is a waste of time with the current crop of party animals in power.
5. It's hard to type and persistently yawn at the same time.
6. I've rediscovered my joy of reading science fiction.
7. Life is fun again.

I'll be back when our government is dominated by people of principles and convictions instead of people of party.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The fierce urgency of, "Gee, I never thought of it that way."

ponzi scheme.jpg

A while ago, I heard a layman's explanation of a ponzi scheme. It went basically like this...

Well, you start out with a few people who get a bunch of people to invest money. You get that money and part of what new investors pay in. The investors you cheated get the rest of the new investor's money. As long as there are enough new investors paying to keep the old investors happy, the system works. It stops working when you don't have enough new investors.

My response, since I'm not above butting into to a conversation uninvited, was, "You've just described Social Security; just replace investor with taxpayer."

According to the Wikipedia article I cited, the Social Security Administration says that social security isn't like a ponzi scheme. Personally, I find that hilarious. You think that even a questionable source as Wikipedia could come up with a citation besides the controlling body of the entity in question.

The Social Security Administration says social security isn't like a ponzi scheme. You don't say?!?!?!?!? You could knock me over with a sledge hammer.

Bernie Madoff probably said the same thing about his ponzi scheme. At least that time, we had the good sense to get someone else's thoughts on the subject.

I've talked about this before. When somebody tells you something, consider the source. That source might have a reason to tell you something other than the unvariegated truth.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The fierce urgency of stopping to think...


Hating religion is popular these days. For those of you for whom time flies, it has been in quite a while. If you want a really good example of this, watch the movie Elizabeth (1998). This movie decided to portray Philip II of Spain as not only very devout (he was) but as a result of that devotion, he was also mad as a hatter (he wasn't).

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI stated his belief that, "You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the plane heading to Yaounde. "On the contrary, it increases the problem." This statement is both correct and mistaken. Condom use doesn't cure AIDS. In that, the Pope is correct in saying they don't resolve the problem of AIDS. They do not, in and of themselves exacerbate the problem. In that, the Pope is incorrect.

Let me break this down for you a little more. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), condoms, "when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS." There are many sources you can find yourself that say that condoms are less effective when used incorrectly or not at all. Unlike in the case of pregnancy, I could find no percentage effectiveness. I saw several places where they are more effective at preventing AIDS than pregnancy. I'll accept that as true for this discussion.

Most places I saw said that condoms are 98% to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Let us, just for discussion purposes, peg condoms at 99.99% effective. Let's put that in terms I can explain well, Russian roulette. I am currently the reigning Russian roulette world champion; last year's Rookie of the Year.

In our game of condom and AIDS Russian roulette, we are going to put away my six shooter I have named, "Lucky," and get out my 10,000 shooter. If you chamber one round in a 10,000 shooter, spin the cylinder, put it to your head, and pull the trigger, the chances you will not decorate the far wall are 99.99%. That figure should be familiar to you. Assuming you remember to respin the cylinder each time you pull the trigger, it is possible you could go your entire life and not have a really, really bad day.

Here's the point that the Pope failed to make but the people who thought instead of just reacted realized. Sexual intercourse with someone infected with HIV is exactly like hanging out with your buddies and playing Russian roulette with my handy 10,000 shooter. At some point in the game, someone is going to "beat" the odds. The last thing to go through their mind, other than the bullet, should be, "I should have been more careful who I had sex with."

The pope also said a responsible and moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease. Even the CDC says not having sex with an affected individual is the best way to prevent the disease.

Sex isn't a right........No, it really isn't. Condoms aren't perfect. People sure as hell aren't. The HIV infected person who resolves that they will not engaged in behavior that may transmit the disease is doing more than those who are passing out condoms. It isn't easy. It certainly isn't fun. But it is responsible, and it is moral.

P. S. You may have noticed that I did not address the notion of not knowing if your partner has HIV or not. I'll dispense with it quickly for you.

If you have engaged in risky behavior and think it's possible that you might have contracted HIV but haven't bothered to find out, then please don't have sex. Not because I am afraid you might pass on HIV, but because I just don't want you to breed. Do the gene pool a favor. Let it end with you. If you have HIV or think you might but decide to lie about it, please read the above advice.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

The fierce urgency of teleprompters...

TOTUS.jpgIf you would like a good laugh while your government goes on its merry way making sure that truth, justice, and the American way disappears from the face of the earth forever, you could enjoy Barack Obama's Teleprompter's Blog. His site is a Google Blogger site like mine because my comrade in blogging believes that he/she is too good to pay for the right to blog. I kid because I love. There needs to be more blogs like this one. A blog that takes something that should be treated with derision and humor and treats it with derision and humor. I'm not sure what I am more angry about...That TOTUS stole my idea or that TOTUS is so much better at it than I am.

Another site worthy of a visit is Do not skip the embedded YouTube videos.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The fierce urgency of Goya's The Third of May

goya tres de mayo.jpg

El tres de mayo de 1808, Francisco de Goya, 1814

Using the awesome power of super science (that makes a lot of Flash Gordon type noises), I bring you a Washington Post article from the future. I could have looked up some lottery numbers, but I'm here to serve you.

Geithner Asks Congress for Broad Power to Seize YOU

Tuesday, March 24, 2011; 3:50 PM

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner asked Congress today for new regulatory authority for non-business entities such as YOU in order to "eliminate gaps in supervision" and avoid potentially catastrophic threats to the nation's financial system.

Geithner told the House Financial Services Committee that such authority would have allowed the government to bail out a bunch of people last year at a far lower cost to taxpayers, a position backed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. The government currently has the authority to seize only [my temporal visualizer is a little fuzzy here].

President Obama said he hopes "it doesn't take too long to convince Congress" of the need for new regulatory powers, and Democratic congressional leaders expressed support. But Republicans voiced reservations, with the GOP leader in the House calling the idea a power grab.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting at the White House with the visiting Moonbase Alpha*** prime minister, Obama said his administration is working on a detailed proposal to give the government resolution authority so that troubled non-business entities like YOU can be shut down in orderly fashion, contracts can be renegotiated and bad assets can be sold off "in a way that doesn't endanger the entire system." He said this should be "just one phase of a broader regulatory framework that we're going to have to put in place to prevent these kinds of crises from happening again."

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, seemed inclined to support Geithner's request, saying the government should have the same power over YOU that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has over banks.

"Banks also failed in 2008," Frank said. "But the fact is that we have in place mechanisms . . . that contained the damage. . . . We need to give somebody, somewhere, in the federal government. . . the authority to do what the FDIC can do with banks."

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said of the proposal, "Obviously, not having the capacity with non-banks is a real gap. So I welcome this." He told reporters, "You just can't keep putting capital into YOU. We've got to figure out a way to deal with YOU."

[Insert ominous 1950's science fiction movie music here]

This is the first few paragraphs of an article in the Washington Post. The parts I changed are in boldface and italics. It will either make you giggle or cry. Those of you who are giggling, great. I hope you're still giggling when you realize that your ever-loving government has their hand rammed up your butt to the elbow. Those of you who are crying, if you vote for one incumbent in 2010, you might as well start giggling.

***Yes, yes, I know. Moonbase Alpha was supposed to be blasted out of Earth's orbit on September 13, 1999. That was our old future.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

The fierce urgency of being a Medici pope...

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"Let us enjoy the papacy since God has given it to us." Like many pithy quotes attributed to historical figures, Leo X didn't actually say this. Don't let the fact that he didn't say it suggest he didn't enjoy being the Pope. He blew an impressively large papal treasury in only two years, largely on entertainment.

Young Giovanni de Medici, better known to history as Pope Leo X, was one of those failures that did some commendable things during his reign as Pope. He was a great patron of the arts. He gave lavishly to charity and the money was put to effective use. He reformed Roman institutions such as the Roman University that had been neglected by his predecessor.

While doing these commendable things, he completely ignored the issues that faced the Catholic church at that time, namely, how the church would exist in a post-Protestant Reformation world. The abuses and failures of the Catholic church at that time were left to fester until future Popes would come to address them.

I find the parallel striking. The money is being spent lavishly (whether its effective or not remains to be seen). There's much fun being had filling out brackets. And let's face it, getting to sit in that chair next to Leno is highly coveted. Being the sitting President makes getting the seat a lot easier.

If anybody read this blog, they might ask, "What's wrong the President having a little fun? And by the way, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a cameo appearance on your beloved Corner Gas."

I'll respond although I think anybody who needs to ask that question isn't intelligent enough to understand the answer.

President Obama is a young man, especially by presidential standards. He hasn't had the job 100 days yet and he needs time off? We have an economy that will get much worse before it begins to get better. He has more important things to which to pay attention. Stephen Harper, when he did the Corner Gas cameo, was in charge of a Canada whose economy was NOT doing an imitation of the Hindenburg.

I confess that I am concerned that we have a President that giggles as freely as President Obama does.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The fierce urgency of rounding errors...

Charles Krauthammer is great. He is the columnist that wrote the editorial that made me decide to revision my blog. I wanted to write a blog about Congress's reaction to AIG but couldn't think of a title. I can't write a blog entry until I've come up with a title. It's part of my very linear thinking. It's related to a mild psychological decision I have. I can't remember the name, but it has 'retentive' in it. Fortunately, Krauthammer wrote a column that finally gave me my title.

So that I can make my point without a lot of static, let me set aside a couple of simple arguments...

1. AIG was stupid to pay bonuses, contractual or not, legal or not. Bonuses should be paid for excellent performace. AIG doesn't qualify.
2. The people who received the bonuses should have politely declined them.

Now, to my point...

I think AIG and the bonus receivers should hire lawyers to fight Congress's clever idea to tax the bonuses at a rate of 90%. Now we have gone far past the foolishness of AIG and its executives. We are entering dangerous territory. Here's why it's dangerous.

This tax is punitive. It is designed to punish the recipients. It is dangerously close to a bill of attainder except that Congress is not declaring that the bonus recipients have committed a crime. Surely Congress will get around to it soon. Making a person criminally liable to a law prior to the law's passage is called an ex post facto law. Both of these are forbidden by the Constitution [Article I, section 9, clause 3]. Congress doesn't give a flying crap about the Constitution. I've already proven that.

I want AIG to fight this legislation. I want them to win. I do not want this to become common practice. What if Congress decides they don't like people who don't like politicians and decide to tax the hell out of them? What if Congress decides it doesn't like bloggers? What if Congress decides it doesn't like something you do? Are you ready to be taxed at a 90% rate because you like butterscotch cookies, or walks in the park, or building scale model airplanes, or shopping on QVC, or whatever the hell it is that you're into?

If you're nervous, good. You should be.

If you're not nervous about this, you are an unthinking, somnambulant, danger to democracy. Your good and perfect, can never do any wrong, really loves and cares about us like a caring deity, is sodomizing you. I'm going to keep banging your thick skull against the hardest wall I can find until you figure out that politicians are not working in your best interest. Need I be more clear?

One last thing...Let us not forget that our government is bandying about numbers in the trillions (that's a number followed by 12 zeroes) and they have focused our attention on $165 million. That a 165 followed by 1/2 as many zeroes. If you really think this is the most important thing going on, then the government wins and you've been duped. For many of you, I'm not surprised.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The fierce urgency of being Assbag Man...

It's fun when someone is laughably stupid. This almost makes up for my last post about him being stupidly stupid.

Assbag Man's Premise:

Short selling a stock is inherently evil. His spot tonight focused on a company that sold footwear or something (I was laughing too hard). The guy who ran the company blamed short sellers on the downfall of his company. This makes perfect sense because people make buying decisions based on the stock price.

Assbag Man's Flawless Logic:

Right now, almost everybody who is anybody who is buying a computer is buying a Mac from Apple because the stock price (at time of this writing) is just under $100. Nobody would even consider a system running Microsoft Windows because Microsoft is under $20 and you certainly wouldn't want a Dell because they're under $10. That's why Apple's OSX has less than 10% of the market and Windows has most of the rest ................... ummmmm ............ wait a minute. That doesn't make sense.

Assbag Man's Quandry:

Let's see, Starbucks ended up today. But it's way off its 52 week high. Do I want a latte or not?

The Cure for Assbag Man:

Stephen Colbert, "Neil Gaiman wrote a book about a child being raised by ghosts. I believe it's the tragic sequel to Hop on Pop." I busted a gut.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

The fierce urgency of cleansing one's palette...

assbag man.jpeg

I don't suffer fools well. That's a big part of why I don't like politicians. I have on many occasions praised Jon Stewart for presenting the news the way I like it...funny. TV news is not to be taken seriously. About 900 years ago, when the 2008 campaign began, Stewart became an Obama supporter. That's his right and I support his right to support a presidential candidate. I think he was wasting his time just like all the other Obama supporters, not to mention the McCain supporters. A bad thing happened when he started down this road. His show started getting less funny. Then Obama won the presidency, which Stewart equates to falling in a vat of radioactive waste. He now believes he has superpowers. And the humor value of his show has dwindled steadily since. I guess funny isn't his superpower.

Last night, Jon Stewart's publicity-generating feud with CNBC in general and Jim Cramer in particular came to a head when Jim Cramer appeared on The Daily Show. This is when Stewart came out as dramatically as Robert Downey, Jr. announced he was indeed Iron Man (No. Not really. In the movie.) Jon Stewart is Assbag Man. I watched it Friday evening in repeat. I have better things to do at 11pm when The Daily Show first runs (I was playing Desktop Tower Defense and watching Firefly on Hulu).

Don't look for a link to the interview. I decided not to include it. Google it. I was afraid that if I found it, it would start playing. I only wish to suffer it once. Let me give you a simple synopsis and then you can check it out for yourself.

Stewart asked Cramer about a number of problems in the financial sector that contributed to and exacerbated our current economic problems. These problems have been more than adequately covered before. Stewart is not the great economic analyst of our time. Jim Cramer agreed with him. It was painful to watch because agreeing with Assbag Man feeds his powers of insufferability. There were a couple of points where I think Cramer was going to take issue with what Assbag Man said but Cramer was thwarted by Assbag Man's powers of interrupting when someone else starts a sentence.

Based upon the press and the blogs, there are a number of people who think Jon Stewart (Assbag Man) was really great. That includes USA Today, whose article I linked earlier. Doesn't make them right. A lot of people used to think the sun went around the Earth, not the other way around. They were not right no matter how many of them there were. Therefore, I will spell this out slowly for the many, many terminally stupid out there in a simple Q&A format that will not only provide answers you probably lack the brain power to grasp, but will ask the questions that your few surviving brain cells are too busy celebrating Stewart's non-accomplishment to ask.

Did the financial sector do some really stupid things? Yes. "Some" is a very conservative estimate.

Did CNBC fiddle while Rome burned. Yes. So did the rest of the media, most of whom didn't even talk about this.

Did Jim Cramer share guilt in this? Yes. He said so himself. He said so enough times that anybody who listened heard it. That is, except for Assbag Man.

Did Jon Stewart (Assbag Man) have a good point when he quoted the Carly Simon song about this not being about you (referring to Cramer)? No, he didn't. Guess what, Jon Boy? If you keep showing video clips of your guest, you are making it about him. One of the powers you don't have is the ability to make people realize that although you are showing a person something, you don't really want to talk about it. You're confusing yourself with Captain Non sequitur.

Did Jon Stewart (Assbag Man) contribute anything to this debate. No. You could, and probably have, heard it all before. Read this article. Gee, Johnny, you've only been scooped by about a year.

Did Jon Stewart (Assbag Man) have any good, original ideas? Yes. He suggested he could go back to making fart noises and funny faces. Start now, Johnny.

Was Stewart's point about one of them being honest about what they were all about well made? Not hardly, children. Stewart is the fake news on Comedy Central for crying out loud, and he's trying to play Edward R. Murrow. Both Jim Cramer's website and television show come with a disclaimer. No folks, Assbag Man can't read. You're thinking of The Silver Literate.

For the our government is all good and all wonderful and incapable of doing wrong (believing this is one of Assbag Man's greatest powers) crowd...

Would government regulation have saved us from this? No. Government regulation cures nothing. At best, it plugs holes in the system. At worst, it stifles any given system. Sarbanes-Oxley is an excellent example of our good and perfect (pfft) government's efforts. Sure they reformed the IPO process. They made the regulations in such a way that IPOs have all but disappeared. John Dvorak hit it on the head when he called it, "The public accountant and auditor's protection act of 2002."

Even if government regulation could only stop what actually happened, couldn't it have stopped this? No. The market wasn't going to go up forever. It never does.

But wouldn't have government regulation have made things not so bad? Get over it. Quit expecting the government to solve all your problems. For one thing, they are not completely innocent in all of this. I've briefly touched on this in a previous post. Oh, and this article will (well, should) scare the hell out of you. Make sure you look at the date. If it doesn't scare you, please don't breed.

After this farce was over, I watched the Colbert Report. It cleansed my palette. I laughed my ass off rather like I used to do with The Daily Show before Jon Stewart decided to be a costumed superhero.

Hang up your Assbag Man costume, park the Assbagmoblie, and go back to what you are (or were) really good at...being funny. You are losing your ability to tell jokes as you come closer and closer to being one.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The fierce urgency of handwringing...

OK, children, attend carefully.

1. The current argument between whether Obama promised to end earmarks or just reform earmarks is irrelevant. Let's face it, promising to end earmarks and lying about it would be preferable to saying you're going to reform the process. It's rather like saying you're going to reform spousal abuse. Why bother ending something bad when you can make it more streamlined.

2. The Senate just passed a 410 billion dollar bill. "President Obama has indicated that he will sign the legislation despite having misgivings about the earmarks."

3. Let's go with he said he was going to reform earmarks. Kids, if you're going to yell, "But that's what he said," you're not paying attention. It doesn't matter. He's not even doing that unless you count feeling really bad about something as reform.

Hence, feeling bad about something makes it OK. If you are planning on doing anything illegal, immoral, or fattening, go right ahead. Just make sure you feel really bad about it.

Our current political system is broken beyond repair. QED. There's a midterm election in less than two years. There's no excuse for incumbency.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

The fierce urgency of mimicking political-speak in the business world [UPDATED]...

palm pre.jpg An article on is a wonderful example of political-speak being employed in the business world. Roger McNamee has been singing the praises of the new Palm Pre which will is expected to be released this June. McNamee states, "You know the beautiful thing: June 29, 2009, is the two-year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone. Not one of those people will still be using an iPhone a month later."

Now, keep your eye on the ball here. What is the best reason for McNamee's rosy outlook for the new Palm device? Is it...

(a) McNamee has been using a pre-release device and is enamored with it.

(b) McNamee is an ardent Windows user who, in his spare time, runs a Mac Sucks blog.

(c) McNamee is the cofounder of the investment firm that owns 39% of Palm and really hopes that the new device will reverse six straight quarters of loss totaling more than half a billion dollars.

(d) It could be a combination of all three.

(e) Who are you frickin' kidding, it's (c).

Fair disclosure statements before I continue:

1. I own and love my iPhone.

2. I love Macs and have owned them since the late 1980's.
3. I used Palm devices for years until the lousy synchronization drove me to become a member of the back to analog movement in the early 2000's. I loved my Palms until I didn't any more.

Maybe the Palm Pre is going to be the greatest thing since the guy who said, "Hey, what if we sliced the bread before we sold it?" Maybe it will be the second coming of the Jesus phone. All of this and more could be wonderful about the Palm Pre. However, I will tell you this. If I owned 39% of a company that over the last year and a half had watched $650 million dollars go up in smoke, I wouldn't care if the phone had a hand crank and required you to yell the phone number into it expressing the phone number using the old telephone exchange names. I wouldn't care if the touch screen only worked with a stylus made of plutonium and fairy dust. I wouldn't care if you charged the phone by immersing it in liquified baby seal skulls. Please buy 10 as soon as they go on sale.

This is Palm's Hail Mary pass. It could work. It's really cool stuff. And I favor competition in a market space. It drives innovation and that's good for the consumer. It could also fail. Anything is possible. If it does fail, Palm, Inc. goes the way of the dinosaur and the dodo.

Read the tech news. You'll find good information about the Palm Pre. If you would like to comment on McNamee's blathering but hopeful comments about the new Palm Pre, he can be reached at JAckass 5-1234.


On March 9, Palm has filed a form with the SEC formally withdrawing several of Roger McNamee's statements quoted in the Bloomberg article. It's a fun skim.

Important note: Due to the constant ringing, Mr. McNamee has changed his telephone number and sent a couple of Klingons to my house to induce me to not publish his new number. After sharing a nice plate of gagh, they decided that McNamee wasn't worth wasting the charge in their painstiks on me. Therefore, McNamee can now be reached at EAtingcrow 1-4321.

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The fierce urgency of Jolly Good Show, Old Chap...

OK, I'm tired. Apparently so is the American press. The British Prime Minister came to visit the United States this week. Apparently it was something of a fiasco. Since I'm sleepy and it's like six or seven hours later in Britain and they've had a good night's sleep, I'll let them handle this one.

Now that you've read it..........Oh, you didn't? It's short. Go back and hit the link and quit being a slug. It's much more fun if you read it with a British accent.

Now that you've read it..........OK, if I have to do this one more time I'm sending you to the back yard to cut me a switch, a big politically incorrect switch.

Now that you've read it (FINALLY!), all I can say is that if anybody but a politician had done this, I'd be shocked and horrified. Since it was a politician, I'm not even mildly surprised.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The fierce urgency of political-speak as usual...

Today's Washington Post gave me more taste of political-speak than I can handle in one day. The only reason I have grabbed my rosary, crucifix, string of garlic, holy water, and a drum of Pepto Bismol to write about it is that in one article, I can try one more time to demonstrate to you that both parties suck. They both suck. They really do. Watch carefully. First Robert Gibbs with the press yesterday.

MR. GIBBS: Well, I think the question is a good one. I think that -- I think maybe the best question, though, is for you to ask individual Republicans whether they agree with what Rush Limbaugh said this weekend. Do they want to see the President's economic agenda fail? You know, I bet there are a number of guests on television throughout the day and maybe into tomorrow who could let America know whether they agree with what Rush Limbaugh said this weekend.

Here's Limbaugh's whole statement.

No! I want him to fail." If his agenda is a far-left collectivism -- some people say socialism -- as a conservative heartfelt, deeply, why would I want socialism to succeed?

While the entire thought won't change a Limbaugh detractor's opinion, it is a very different statement. My intent is not to defend Limbaugh's statement. I can understand it on an intellectual level. If Obama really wanted Soviet-style socialism for this country, I would hope he fails at that.

On one side we have the, "Let's not let the fact that this little snippet of what he said is different than what he really said or meant stop us."

Democrats down. I'm half way there.

This last weekend, Michael Steele, RNC Chairman goes on CNN and distances himself from Limbaugh and his opinions.

On Monday, the very same Michael Steele, tries to call Limbaugh to express his, "enormous respect," and tells Politico that, "I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. . . . There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."

On the other side, we have, "This is the press and Americans have short attention spans. I'm sure my massive, titanic flip flop won't cause any motion sickness."

Republicans down. The finish line (unless you really think I need to cover the Whigs).

On one side, we have a politician who says someone said something they didn't. On the other side, we have a politician saying everything no matter how mutually exclusive they may be. I'm sure if I keep my eyes open, I will be able to find an article where the roles flip.

There you are, children. Another example provided free of charge. If you haven't figured it out yet, they're all politicians and they all, GET IT, sucks!

P.S. At least I got to read about the updated products from Apple, otherwise I would have had to do myself in.

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