Hawking Up Hairballs

Friday, November 28, 2008

An American Martyr

According to the New York Daily News, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in Long Island when some 200 people rushed the doors as they were being opened for the post-Thanksgiving sale. I guess they don't call it Black Friday for nothing.

The mind boggles at the very notion. What is there for sale at Wal-Mart that is worth stampeding for? As another employee told the Daily News, they literally tore the door off of its hinges. God, what a way to go. Bad enough that this poor sap, who was only 34 years old, had to work as a temporary maintenance worker at Wal-Mart. In plain speech, that's a janitor. But then to die like road kill, there on the floor of the store after being run over by 200 people who were doing their best imitation of a herd of wildebeests. Sheesh! I remember this ad from TV several years back. Some retail chain, they're all so interchangeable that the names jumble in the mind, was holding a sale. In the commercial, the employees were arguing over who was going to open the door because they all knew that the one who did would get trampled under foot by the crazed shoppers waiting outside. So, what we had at that Wal-Mart was yet another case of life imitating art, though art of a base and banal sort.

Come to think of it though, what more appropriate way to go? Every faith must have its martyrs. Christianity certainly has more than a few. So, here's one for American consumerism. The name of this poor person has yet to be released, so he will have to remain nameless for now. Let's just hope there's a Wal-Mart heaven where he can dwell forever in a superstore that is so chockful of the products of Chinese industry that no one has to stampede because there's more than enough for all.

Chomsky On The Election

I love Noam Chomsky. He's such an incisive social critic, and I find myself agreeing with almost everything he says. And believe me, that's unusual. A lot of times, what he says isn't new, but he gets right to the heart of the matter and explains it in simple and understandable terms. For example, we all know how the advertising industry works. We know that it manipulates us using images and emotion in the effort to make us buy the advertisers' products. Well, in the speech to which I link below, Chomsky puts it in such a nice, succinct way. "The goal of advertising is to create uninformed consumers who will make irrational decisions." Could it be said any better?

I am linking to the text of Chomsky's first public comments since the election. The piece is long, in blogsphere terms, but have patience. It's worth it.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Old Saxby Gets Down With It

It looks like Old Saxby's really going for the gold. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution web site reports that Sarah Palin is coming to Georgia to campaign for Old Saxby. It just goes to show you what kind of state we've got down here in the southern U.S. I'm sure that Sarah's campaign appearances will be well attended too. The Stars and Bars brigade will be out in force, leering at her through their tobacco-stained teeth, but they won't be the only ones. You'll see some boys in suits, and some blue-haired grannies too. This is a state of equal opportunity idiots.

Look, how about something like this. Let's stop her at the airport, and put three questions to her before she has a chance to talk to her handlers. Sarah, honey*, do you even know what office Old Saxby is running for? How many Senators are there, Sarah? Uh-huh, and here it is the sixty-four dollar question. What's the capital of Georgia? And, no, it's not Tara. Las Vegas should lay odds. I'd bet that she wouldn't get all three of them right.

If it was up to me, I'd have a contingent of state troopers at the airport. If she failed this little test, they'd escort her onto her plane and send her back to Alaska. It's where she belongs, in the deep, deep freeze.

* You've got to call her "honey" at least once. After all, this is the South,...honey.

Monday, November 24, 2008

With Us Still

Ah, the good, old, unreconstructed South. Don't let Obama's election fool you. It's with us still and Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss from my home state of Georgia is one of its stalwarts. Talk about a throwback, this man wouldn't have been out of place in the Confederacy, something he no doubt yearns for in his black heart of hearts.

Chambliss originally won his seat by smearing incumbent Democrat Max Cleland as soft on national security. He also insinuated that Cleland was a traitor, which really took some onions, given that Cleland has spent his life in a wheelchair as a result of wounds suffered in the Vietnam War. Like most of those Busheviks who've been so eager to rush into war, I'll bet old Saxby has never even been on the wrong end of a gun, unless it was while out hunting with a bunch of drunken cronies who were channeling Dick Cheney.

Old Saxby now finds himself in a runoff with Democratic challenger Jim Martin. It never should have come to this. In the general election, Chambliss got 50% of the vote, Martin got 47%, and the Libertarian candidate got 3%. Since Old Saxby failed to win a majority, it has gone to a runoff that will be held on Dec. 2. I expect Saxby to win, now that the Obama excitement has died down, and my fellow, knuckle-dragging citizens will have their Boss Hogg back in the Senate. You get what you deserve.

It seems like the Democrats could have chosen a better challenger. When it comes to image, Martin compares with Dennis Kucinich, and I don't mean that in a good way. He looks like a nerd, one of those who wasn't any good at math or science, who's grown up to become middle-aged. I had teachers in high school who looked like him, teachers we ran all over. Old Saxby hasn't gone easy on him either. He's been running ads accusing Martin of being soft on child sex offenders. This is particularly disgusting given the fact that Martin's daughter was kidnapped when she was eight years old. She was fortunately returned unharmed, but that doesn't make Old Saxby any less culpable. The man's a slimeball, and he's not even willing to stand behind his words. The ad isn't being run by his campaign, but by something called Freedom Watch, so that Old Saxby doesn't have to come on and say, I'm Saxby Chambliss and I approve this ad.

If the American people ever do decide to hit the streets with torches and pitchforks, I hope they find themselves a good, strong rope and go looking for Old Saxby.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

May They All Burn!

Over the past week, four insurance companies with no history in banking scrambled to buy up small savings-and-loans companies. They've done this in order to qualify for federal bailout money. Leading this piggy parade was the Hartford Financial Group. They purchased Federal Trust Corporation, a Florida-based savings-and-loan, for $10 million, and immediately applied to the Treasury Department for between $1.1 billion and $3.4 billion.

What can one say except that it's unfortunate that there isn't a Hell, because the people running these companies certainly deserve to burn. As do those who took out sub-prime loans. Don't give me any crybaby stories about these people. If they didn't have enough sense to know that they were committing themselves to loans that they couldn't afford, then they deserve what they got. The people I do sympathize with are those renters who are living in properties that are being repossessed. It's not reasonable to expect them to know the financial status of their landlords, and they are just flat getting screwed.

The last few days, there has been a lot of noise in the media about Obama's plan to turn the economy around. I'm skeptical. When you have people like Lawrence Summers as head of the Council of Economic Advisers and Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary all we can expect is more of the same.