No Sugar Tonight

John Boehner couldn’t line up a gangbang in a whorehouse.  Unable to get enough teatards on board to break 218, the bill has not come up for vote and won’t until it goes back for more tweaks (at this hour, probably involving more slashing of Pell grant money).  All of this, of course, so it can go die in the Senate.

Whatever else comes of this, you can bet your house, your car and your nuts on this: Boehner won’t be Speaker by Christmas.

For the record

Ezekiel 16:48,49: “As I live, says the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.  This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”


Here’s the thing that bothers me…yes, we’re about to default, and yes, we would lose our AAA rating, etc etc financial Armageddon.  But there are people saying “don’t panic, at the last possible moment Wall Street will lean on the GOP and they’ll raise the debt ceiling in time.”

Does it not bother anyone else that we’re essentially counting on one party being completely in the pocket of Big Money?  Or that the AAA rating we’re sweating is bestowed by the same agencies that shat the bed during the mortgage-backed-securities meltdown? And that said agencies, who failed to cover themselves in glory these past several years, are now in a position to use that rating as leverage to make their own policy preferences the key to avoiding downgrade or default?

Nothing makes me angrier than the way the Republican party and its amen corner in the press make me feel like some sort of screaming bald-ponytailed Chomsky-Nader bong-watered granola shaver.  But when the press is trapped in the golden mean fallacy while the Confederates keep pushing the envelope, you can wind up a raging leftist hippie without ever taking a step…

Disneyland, or, Something Positive

The first time I went to Disneyland, I was ten months old. I don’t remember much. The second time was 1988, and we blew through for the day as part of a larger family vacation. The third time was in 2001, with my new girlfriend. And the fourth was the beginning of the current streak, which hit its fourth instance since October 2009 this past month. It also marked my first stay at a Disney resort in years – and that’s a tale in itself.

See, we went to Walt Disney World in 1983, the whole family plus my recently-widowed grandfather, and stayed in the Contemporary Resort Hotel, that icon of 60s futurism with the monorail running down the middle. I ended up there in 1989 as well, on that infamous Scholar’s Bowl trip, and again in 1995 on another family vacation with both my girlfriend and my brother’s fiancee in tow (neither of whom panned out for various reasons). There was also a stay I really don’t like to think about a couple of years later, and another at one of the Epcot hotels in 2003 – but the Grand Californian marked my first Disneyland stay and my first resort outing in seven years.

See, staying on the property with an annual pass means all kinds of things. Discounts in the park, early admission, in our case a private entrance straight into California Adventure – in short, you enter Disney-reality instead of your own. No alarms but what you set yourself. No work to go to. Nothing but Star Tours and California Screamin’ and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye and Pirates of the Carribean and World of Color and fireworks and monorails. And dusk along Main Street USA with “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” quietly piped from the speakers to reinforce the Victorian atmosphere while deftly referencing WALL-E into the bargain.

Leaving is always rough. The real world doesn’t have much to recommend it under the circumstances. And the truly sad thing is that this was the first time in years and years that I found myself at a Disney resort without dragging any extra hangers-on, family or otherwise.

One thing I can tell you for sure, though: as much fun as it is to be in Disney-reality with the girl of your dreams, it’s ten thousand times better leaving with her at your side and going home together.

Prepare the Horseshit

“Football is back.”

With that one quote, Roger Goddell summed up everything that is wrong with the NFL.

Football never went anywhere.  Football was going to happen in September no matter what.  Over a hundred division-I college teams and hundreds more at lower levels.  Thousands of high schools.  Tens of thousands of pee-wee teams.  Hell, the CFL and Arena leagues have been chugging along for weeks already.

But the NFL firmly believes that it is the only football in the world and that there is no substitute for the NATIONAL. FOOTBALL. LEAGUE.  The smugness, the institutional arrogance, the sheer ego of a league whose bloat encompasses almost every month of the sporting calendar – fortunately for them, they have pulled their nuts out of the fire before the opportunity for autumn without the NFL could be realized.  Which might have demonstrated that there is more to sports than one single hidebound, conservative, stick-in-the-mud league with no creativity and no soul.

No Options

This is the problem with being responsible: people will take advantage of your responsibility.  Like right now, when the gang of mental defectives in the House of Representatives is trying to drive the full faith and credit of the United States off a cliff, knowing full well that in the end the Democrats will cave to their demands – because the alternative is fiscal Armageddon.

See, what the retards know is that they will be hailed as heroes by the assorted collection of fossils, rednecks, and slackjaws that supports them – along with their amen corner on Fox and AM radio and in the Wall Street Journal – and that the rest of the media will in their High Broderism declare both sides somehow equally at fault.  So there is absolutely nothing to be lost by throwing reason and responsibility to the wind; in the worst-case scenario you will merely be condemned as an equal part of the problem.

So what can you do?  There’s no accountability moment.  You can’t call new elections.  You’re stuck with this gang of monkeys for another year and a half, and in the meantime you can bang the drum for why they should be turned out of office, but even then you’ll be going up against media of limited intelligence and a public with the attention span of a fruitfly for anything other than “reality” television and white girls in trouble.  There is no SWAT team you can send in to kill the hostage-takers.  There is no Navy SEAL squad that’s going to make “we do not negotiate with terrorists” stand up.  Because that’s what we have here: “we will destroy the economy unless you do as we say.”  Right now there’s no third way. There are only two options: give in and hope they actually do as they say they will if they get everything they want – and hope it doesn’t become the pattern for the next eighteen months – or throw your hands in the air, watch the country go over the cliff, and hope that the responsible parties get the blame.

This was inevitable.  From 1994, when the GOP’s sole policy aim has been “destroy Democrats”, everything has led to this point.  Anyone paying attention in 2009 should have known we would wind up on this path.

Just make sure you have cash and top up your passport.

We’re doomed.

Norm Ornstein has forgotten more about Congress than every single person working in American media today will ever know.

And he’s right.

We are so screwed.  Because we let people decide that stupid was just fine.  And now we’re going to drive the economy off a cliff because we have people in charge who are too fucking dumb to know what gravity means.

Waiting For The Alarm To Ring

(cross-posted from Anchor of Gold)

Is this really happening?  Not content with raiding Virginia Tech the eve of National Signing Day for this year’s class, Coach James Franklin and staff appear to have poached SMU commit Elston Lane – yet another WR speed merchant to go alongside Batey and DeClouet and of course Brian “that guy’s faster than Walt Flannigan’s dog!” Kimbrow in next year’s crop of freshmen.

If.  Big if.

Because now we have to consider something that we may never have had to think about previously.  We have thirteen kids who are technically in the fold…in July.  It’s a long way to February, and in between will be a football season.  And that makes me uneasy.

See, despite the fact that he is already the single greatest recruiter to set foot on the Vandy campus, probably even including Dangerous Dan McGugin, James Franklin is still a first-time head coach in his first year at Vanderbilt.  You have to go back twenty years to find a Vanderbilt head coach who delivered as many as five wins in his inaugural season, and Gerry DiNardo was coming from a stint as coordinator for co-national-champion Colorado.  You have to go back to 1935 and Ray Morrison to find a new full-time Vandy coach who finished over .500 in a non-war year, and he basically inherited Dan McGugin’s last team.

Now, I could be totally off the grid here.  We could be in for the shock of a lifetime.  But guys who take over a program mired in the dreck generally struggle that first year no matter how good they are.  Jim Harbaugh – who just took Stanford, STANFORD FOR CRYING OUT LOUD to the Orange Bowl – won ONE (1) game his first season on the Farm.  Hell, I don’t think Nick Saban had a winning record his first year at Alabama, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to win in Tuscaloosa than in the West End.

And this is not a terrible thing.  It’s not great, but it’s not doom forever if we don’t shock the world the first year out.  Nobody will pronounce the James Franklin Experience a disaster if we finish up, say, 3-9.

But my question is: will we be able to keep thirteen guys in the fold through a 3-win season?

I’d like to think we can.  CJF has apparently made much of telling everyone that nobody’s spot on the depth chart is safe and everybody he brings could take somebody’s job – and lose it to the next guy brought in.  I think the 2011 new guys have to believe that a three-win season only makes it that much more likely they’ll get a shot at an SEC starting job immediately.  I’m sure that’s what CJF is preaching, in any event.

This is all to day that while we’re having a dream summer – a summer that is literally without parallel in our history as a sports-playing institution – there’s a very real chance that autumn will wake us up like a ton of bricks through the window.  If we get to Halloween with two wins, it’s going to be tough to keep the faith.  But if we steel ourselves now, and commit to pushing on through, we’ll get there.  Maybe not this year, maybe not even next year, but soon, this train is going to hit the rest of the league like…well, a freight train.

We just have to believe.  And we have to hope that the new kids keep believing, too.

Charles and Erik, take 2

I think anyone who grew up a nerd in the 80s identified with the X-Men.  If you were gifted, or gay, or a minority, or just struggling with puberty, it wasn’t tough to see yourself in the Marvel depiction of the travails of being a mutant.  And it was a lot closer to home if you were actually attending a “School for Gifted Youngsters.” (And the headmaster-figure was legit bald.  Albeit with a terrible rug.)   One of the geniuses of the Marvel concept of “fear of mutants” is that it’s always been applicable to something – whether it’s racism and apartheid in the 80s, or homophobia in recent years, or hell, even just the eternal struggle with being the weird kid.  In short, the struggle for mutants is about how society fears the different.

Long ago, I summed up the Southern brand of conservatism as “the pant-shitting fear that someone, somewhere, might be different.”  Nailed it, too.  Look at what W.J. Cash had to say about social conformity as the strictest rule of the post-Confederate realm – in 1941.  Look at the moral panic over illegal immigration – Georgia chose to have its crops rot in the fields so they could bash brown people again.  And don’t even get me started on my own college experience as the one student with no affinity group.

The key thing about the X-Men is that they don’t have a villain as such.  Charles Xavier has a dream, while Erik Lensherr is preparing for a nightmare, but they’re looking for the same thing: the safety and survival of mutants in a world that heretofore hates and fears them.  The Martin-vs-Malcolm parallels are done to the point of being ham-fisted, but they’re there for a reason.  Magneto doesn’t see himself as a villain, and Stan Lee didn’t see him as one either.  Magneto is there to save his own kind from the bigotry and ignorance of others.

And make no mistake, we’re not short of either.  If ignorance ever goes to $100 a barrel, I want drilling rights on the House of Representatives and every state between South Carolina and Mississippi.  Right now, we’re on the brink of an historic economic calamity – an actual default on its debt by the United States of America – because of people who are in thrall to bigotry and ignorance.  And they’re not budging.  On that or on anything else.

I want to believe in reason.  I want to believe that you can negotiate.  I want to feel like it’s possible for people to make a deal in good faith, grounded in facts and logic, and that a best-possible outcome is somehow attainable.  But more than that, I don’t want to suffer because somebody else chose to accommodate the spectacularly retarded.

I want to believe in Professor X.  But right now, I want Magneto.


Happy birthday to the United States of America, which can always be counted on to do the right thing in the end after exhausting all available alternatives.  Here’s hoping for 236 without a fucking catastrophe.