This is just Effing Ridiculous!

I was alerted to this little bit of a travesty by a friend through Facebook:

http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/dap_10151_10101_DAP_Christmas+Lane?adCell=W4

WTF!  I mean really!

I know the “shopping season” keeps getting pushed earlier and earlier, but this is bleeding ridiculous!  It’s July for Pete’s sake!

It’s bad enough that the season has become entirely commercialized, with all being about the shopping and stuff rather than family and faith.  But this just goes too far!  I boycotted Target a few years back (I’m over it now), when they ran Christmas ads around Halloween.  Now K-Mart is on my shit list, probably permanently for this atrocity.

I won’t even entertain thoughts of Christmas until after Thanksgiving here in the USA (end of November for those that don’t know).  One holiday at a time please.  I can start to get in the “holiday spirit” at Thanksgiving.  There isn’t any major holidays (for us) between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I can get ramped up for it.  But not in July.  The Fourth has only just passed, there’s still Labor day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day (Remembrance Day in Europe), and Thanksgiving to get through.  Why on Earth should I be thinking about Christmas now?

Of course, K-Mart is not alone here, as they’ve dragged Sears into it.  As they’re one company now, it was unlikely that one would go down this road but not the other.  So I guess that both K-Mart and Sears on my shit list.  No more shopping there for the fore seeable future.  If more people do this, we can try and take back the holidays from the crass commercialism that has usurped them.

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And the fun continues…

Shock and awe.  That has to be what the reeling ex-Mjaority Leader Malcolm Smith is feeling right now.  And it just keeps piling on..

From the latest news reports, Smith has lost it all, even if the Democrats somehow regain control of NY’s Senate chamber.  The latest indictaes that even if the Democrats retake control, Smith will be ousted from any and all leadership positions.  Even the efforts of The One’s political team are sacraficing Smith in a counter-coup bid.  The problem with this is that if the Dems do regain control, then who will be elevated to the vaunted leadership positions?

That’s the question for the Democrats.  If not Smith, then who?  Carl Kruger and Tom Stachowski are two options, but the rumor mill, from many sources, seems to point to them flipping sides to join Espada and Monserratte.  But I would venture that if Smith is sacraficed, then these two would “remain in the fold,”   especially if they are offered the top two slots as President of the Senate and Majority Leader.  However, given their generally more conservative leanings, I doubt they will be acceptable to the City-crats.  Reuben Diaz sr could be the wild card in all this.  He’s stated that he won’t switch sides, but will he support a counter-coup  if Smith is involved?  Diaz was one of the “gang of four” who threatened Smith to back the GOP back in January.

Then there’s our accidnetal governor, David Patterson.  He’s losing ground at every turn.  The latest polls show him to be the least popular governor in the nation.  That’s pretty impressive given his predecessor’s antics, and the ancilliary hubub concerning former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.  Patterson is being put to the test here, and is failing each and every time.  Is it any wonder that AG Andrew Cuomo has not weighed in on this business?  Not really, as the weaker Patterson is, the easier his time to get the gubenatorial nomination will be.  Provided Patterson decides to run that is.

But it gets worse for the “reform agenda” Democrats.  NYPIRG, the NY Public Interest Group, a noted left leaning organization, has come out in favor of the GOP’s coup. “We believe, on first cut (the new rules) are another step in the right direction,” said NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner.  Ouch.  That one goes straight to the Democratic agenda.

Oh for sure some have come out vocally against this move, beyond the politicians that is.  A few hundred gathered at the Capital to voice their displeasure.  A survey of those involved, from watching the news coverage, shows the usual lunatic leftist, and a fine selection of various special interest groups who stand to have thier own agendas side lined by the loss of their political allies.

I fully expect this to end by Friday.  I doubt any serious legal action will happen, more so as AG Cuomo seems to be trying very hard to stay out of teh fray.  Going so far as to ignore Smith’s “extortion and influence peddling” charges against Espada and Monserratte.  No matter what the DNC robocalls are encouraging those involved to report to Cuomo.

Ah, NY politics.  Gotta love it.

Some reading links:

Fred Dicker (NY Post)

NY Post Coverage

Capital News 9

Joe Bruno on the events

More fun and games in Albany

Poor, poor, Malcolm Smith.  He’s had the power in the Senate for less than six months, and now it appears he has already lost it.

Local news reports are indicating that two “rebel” Democrats have opted to side with the GOP to take the leadership positions away from Smith and his control.  Pedro Espada and Hirum Monserratte have apparently, and publicly, decided to caucus with the GOP to form a new power bloc.  While both Espada and Monserratte have declared that they are not switching parties, you can bet your last dollar that Smith, and the NY Democratic party will visit a world of political hurt on those two come election time.

So now we have Malcolm Smith (D) and Dean Skelos (R) both claiming to be Senate Majority Leader.  We also have the supposed election of Espada to be President of the Senate.  Now the wrangling begins, not only in the eyes of the public, through the media, but through the courts.  Guranteed it will happen.  Smith is claiming to anyone who will listen, that this “palace coup” was illegal, and took place while the Senate was out of session.  However, there appears to be questions as to if the session was actually gaveled closed, or if Smith just thought so when he left the chambers, or was merely informed that was the case.  Details I’m sure will continue to emerge as this bit of political theater goes on.

David Patterson, our esteemed governor, has also weighed in on the matter.  However, he failed to really make any sort of impact.  We all know he’s close friends and allies with Malcolm Smith, and thus has a vested interest in seeing Smith remain on top in the Senate.  If anything, he has only added to the rudderless confusion surrounding the state of affairs in the NYS Legislature.  Can’t wait to see what Prince Silver has to say when he chimes in, probably today.

I’d like to thank all those NY’ers who voted these prats into office.  You get what you pay for folks, enjoy it!

Bungling Banks get Billion$, Vets get the shaft

(Stupid WordPress didn’t put a link in for the Day by Day site.  So here it is: Day by Day)

So, the policy of the Obama administration seems to be, the bigger you fail, the more tax payer dollars you get.  AIG gets a hundreds of millions of bail out dollars, GM is about to get the same, and to help pay for all this, Obama wants to bill US veterans, particularly those wounded in combat for their medical bills.

Does this make any sense except to the nut cases in Berkley?  If there is one group of people that this country as a whole owes a nearly unpayable debt to, it is our veterans.  We, as a nation, should be paying for, with out question, whatever medical treatment these men and women need.  How can anyone think that having these people, who we have asked to risk the ultimate sacrifice for us, pay up front for their service related medical costs is “fair” or “just” or even sensible?

How’s this for a thought.  Instead of spending billions on chowder heads like AIG and GM, we instead use that money to fund the VA?  Let the big corporations fall apart into hundreds of little companies.  That’s how it supposed to happen.  And then let us pay off the real debts we owe to people who deserve to be repaid.

Several veterans organizations have sent a letter of protest to Obama over this.  They even had a meeting with Obama, Rahm Emmauel, Gen. Shinseki, and a couple of nigh useless bean counters.  From the news reports, the meeting was not very constructive, as American Legion National Commander David Rehbein came out of it “disappointed.”  You can read the actual letter HERE, and it is signed by the presidents of: The American Legion, AMVETS (American Veterans), Blinded Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. inc, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Vietnam Veterans of America inc.

I still can’t wrap my head around this one.  It makes no sense what so ever.  More so in the whole “we support the troops” mantra that gets espoused.  This is not how you support the troops folks.  This is how you disuade them from stepping up when the time comes.  This is how you weaken the very people who defend this nation.  This is a morale killer people.  The worst thing is, it comes from our own government, not from enemy action.

Some links for those interested:

American Legion

VFW

AMVETS

Blinded Veterans Asscoiation

Disabled American Veterans

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Jewish War Veterans of the USA

Military Officers Asscoiation of America

Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. INC

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Vietnam Veterans of America INC

NY Politics, more of the same old same old

Well, it’s been an interesting 2009 so far here in the Empire State.  From the usual budget shenanigans, to the appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to Joe Bruno’s “indictment” to David Patterson struggling for his political life.  And it’s only February!  So, where to start?

Oh, might as well go in order, so it’s the “budget” fiasco du jour.  Again, I’m somewhat wondering where to start.  Do I begin with Patterson’s “austerity plan,” or the back room dealings that have gone on between the all Democratic “leadership,”  or the ever worsening revenue shortfall predictions?  Feh.  Ok, let’s look at the budget revenue short falls.  What was once a $4billion short fall has grown to about $10billion.  Sure, it’s no where near California, but it’s still a huge change.  The whys of this all depend on who you talk or listen to.  It’s everything from the unstable stock market, to the lack of CEO bonuses (yes, that is an important revenue stream for NYS), to the middle and “upper” classes fleeing the state (due to property, income, business taxes, utility costs), to businesses fleeing the state, and everything in between.  So what does our Legislative “leaders” want to do?  Why exacerbate the problem of course by increasing taxes across the board, plus new fees and taxes.  What has been causing a steady decline in the state’s population over the past 30 years is the “remedy” Sheldon Silver and Malcolm Smith want to use to raise revenues.  The problem with this is that it’s a short term solution.  Yes, they can “close the gap” somewhat for a year, maybe two.  But beyond that, it will only serve to force more people, more businesses to relocate out of the State of NY, which then will worsen the already weakened revenue streams.  Even using the supposed cash forthcoming from the “stimulus bill,” it won’t actually solve anything.

David Patterson I think sees this, but is somewhat handcuffed by his party and politics.  He’s been quite vocal about wanting to avoid any “tax increases,” but that applies solely for income taxes.  He’s quite happy to raise taxes on products that are non-politically correct, or maybe nebulous to try and collect (Internet sales).  Patterson has even gone so far as to actually suggest budget cuts, and in very politicized programs.  But he’ll never get it past his “colleagues” in the Legislature and Senate.  Still, it’s better than I could have expected.

However, despite some very public “forward steps,” there has been a bit of a backslide.  To whit, the return to the smoke filled back room deals that characterized many a budget process of the past.  This was supposed to be the “new era” of “open and accountable government” in New York.  Well, that went out the door when Silver, Smith, and Patterson all met behind closed doors, with not even the minority leadership present.  This is a departure from the recent past, where at least the minority party leadership was present.  I’d lay odds that they won’t ever disclose any “member items” either when the time comes, but I doubt anyone would bet against it.

So this is what passes for leadership here in NY.  Lovely isn’t it?  We have David Patterson, the well intentioned, but still accidental governor, Sheldon Silver, the Manhattan Citycrat, beholden to several special interest groups as our Assembly “Leader,” and Malcolm Smith, another Citycrat, with the charisma of a wet paper towel.  The Republican side isn’t much better, at least state wide.  Dean Skelos?  A capable administrator, but that’s as far as it goes, and as far as he ever should have gotten.  Jim Tedisco could be something, but he’s too much of a fighting bull dog to really take the reigns (more on Tedisco below).  This doesn’t even cover the nitwits and whackjobs that comprise the majority of our Congressional delegation.

Speaking of the morass that is Congress, Patterson shocked many a pundit with his appointment of Rep.Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat.  With names like Andrew Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy being bandied around, “Gilly” was a long shot to most pundits and commentators.  More so, as other names mentioned had greater “party appeal,” and “fit the national agenda” of the Democrats.  But Patterson, to his credit, went against the grain, and nominated a moderate upstate Democrat to the seat.  How moderate is Gillibrand exactly?  Well, her appointment ticked off several Citycrats who sit in Congress, to the point of where they boycotted her nomination press conference.  Even Chucklehead Schumer looked a bit queasy, but he’s a power player, so he showed and spoke.  A quick note from Gillibrand’s nomination press conference.  Tom DiNapoli (State Comptroller) needs to shut his yap.  He nearly killed the whole event with his prattling.  He just doesn’t know when he’s gone over the edge, and someone needs to gag him before he does.

So, with Gillibrand leaving Congress for the Senate, there will be a special election to fill her seat on March 31st.  The parties have had their individual shake down sessions to determine the candidates.  On the Democratic side, we have Scott Murphy, a “venture capitalist” (with a mediocre at best track record) from Glens Falls.  On the Republican side, Assembly minority leader Jim Tedisco grabbed the nomination.  I haven’t read how Murphy got his nomination, the Democrat’s process was rather arcane, though some sort of weighted format was used.  Tedisco got the GOP nod by securing the support of the Saratoga and Rennselear County GOP parties, the two largest in the district.  By doing so, with the weighted romat used by the GOP, he out gained former minority leader, and gubernatorial candidate John Faso.  FWIW, I was hoping for Faso to get the nod, and take the seat.  It’s not that I don’t like Tedisco, I just thought the State was better served by having him remain Assembly minority leader, and having Faso go to Washington where his personal strengths would be best used.

This all has put Patterson in a difficult political position.  He’s getting plenty of flak from his own party as well as the GOP.  He’s getting beat in Quinnipiac polls in a theoretical primary against Andrew Cuomo, and is neck and neck in a theoretical match up against Rudy Guilliani.  Patterson is getting gruff from Silver and Smith, as well as loud mouth nimrods like Carolyn Maloney (over Gillibrand’s appointment).  Jim Tedisco has been hot on his heels over being excluded from the budget process, and even Dean Skelos has been seen on TV deriding the secretive nature of the triumvirate.  But he’s put the Democrat’s in the position of possibly losing a Congressional seat (the 20th), and perhaps even one of NY’s Senate seats to the GOP.  Tedisco can (and should) win the 20th, which had been held by Gillibrand.  As much appeal as Gillibrand has held in the 20th, I don;t think she can win State wide, between the growling of the NYC contingent, and the persistent rumor that Rep.Peter King (R-LI) will run for the seat.  If King does run, he should beat Gillibrand by a solid, but not spectacular margin in 2010.  He’s well liked in the City, and will have enough Upstate appeal to win.

Meanwhile, the allegations surrounding former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno have taken another twist.  The US Attorney has gotten an indictment on several charges against Bruno.  It is the “culmination”  of all the Spitzer inspired “investigations” when Bruno and Spitzer were at loggerheads.  At best these charges are tenuous.  At worst the spurious.  Even money says that 2/3 of the charges will be dropped, and Bruno gets acquitted of the rest.  If he doesn’t, then I hope the US Attorney turns his attention to all the other members of the NYS Senate and Assembly, as they are all equally guilty of exactly the same “charges.”  But I doubt this will happen, as the charges themselves are so nebulous as to be night impossible to get a conviction on.

OK, So I’ve been lazy of late

And I haven’t done much of anything with this blog in quite some time.  Sue me.  I’m not one of those whose entire existence, whose sole self worth is determined by the number of hits I get here.  This is a place where I get to sound off when  I so feel like it.  I am not compelled to post daily, nor do I have any sort of need to do so.  I post when I like, about what I want.

That said, I have had thinsg to post of late, from PS3 game reviews, to Bluray movie comments, even to some political ramblings.  I just never quite got around to it.  I think I’ll get to it this week, or maybe weekend.  But as a teaser, for those that care (all 5 of you I’d guess), these will include:

PS3 games: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe; Call of Duty: World at War

Bluray Movies: The Dark Knight; Resident Evil-Degeneration; Hellboy II; Event Horizon

On the political front: Kirsten Gillibrand’s appointment to the US Senate; Who will replace her in the 20th Congressional district; the “bail out”; the farce that the Minnesota Senate race has become; Joe Bruno’s “indictment”.

That should keep enough posts coming for a few days…

Obama now President elect

Barrack Obama is now the President elect of the United States.  Congratululations to him on his victory.  He got the votes, and he will be sworn in as our next Presient in January.

While I am not pleased with the outcome of the election, it is done and over.  Barring an unforeseen situation, he will become the next President.  It is now up to us, the voters, of all persuassions, to keep Obama and his cohorts in the Congress on track, and yes, in check. 

Obama and the Democrats have now been handed the keys to the Kingdom.  Now we shall see what they do over the next two years.  You see, two years is all they can count on, as the next Congressional elections will be in 2010.  Obama and the Democrats will have to work a lot of miracles over those two years, or face the wrath of an electorate that will turn their cyicism on them like the did the GOP in 2006. 

A person on a message board I regularly post on was worried that expectations may be too high for Obama and the Democrats, and she is an ardent Democrat.  Of course the Obama campaign was already laying the ground work for “reduced expectations” several weeks ago.  But a great mahy of Obama’s supporters have extremely high, and unreasonable, and unrealistic expectations of what will happen. 

Two years.  Everything will have to go perfectly for Obama and the Democrats over those two years if they hope to carry on beyond that.  The economy will not only have to rebound, but accelerate.  There can be no international crisis, especially not one of a violent nature.  Al-Qaeda will have to remain silent (web videos don’t count).  They will have to meet every voters wants and desires.  If they don’t, the electorate will turn on them.  They’ve done it before, they’ll do it again.  Americans are fickle, self indulgent people, who only care about “what have you done for me lately.”  With control of Congress, and the White House, the Democrats will have no one to blame if things don’t go as well as expectations.  It’s put up or shut up for them.

The word mandate is being bandied about in some quarters.  Sorry, but no, this is not the case.  The numbers don’t support that concept.  For that matter, very few Presidents have ever had a mandate, the last being Reagan in 1984 (and maybe Johnson in 64).  I have not yet poured over all the numbers as yet, mainly because they’re not all available as yet, but a mandate is not indictaed.  Too many close races, too many states were close (vote wise, not percentage wise) that a mandate cannot be concluded.

“Always in motion is the future.”  Yoda said that.  Even though it came form a muppet in a movie, it still is true.  We cannot control the future.  We can’t even predict it much (all you Edgar Cayce fans just go away now please).  Even so, I will get a smug smirk on my face when things don’t suddenly become all wine and roses (or is that Rojas?) next January.  The excuses as to why should be entertaining as well.