Wisconsin: Poster Child For Democratic Hypocrisy

You know, whether you like or hate what’s happening in Wisconsin, the one thing you can’t ignore is the shear hypocrisy coming from the left, both in the state and even more so on a national level.

Back in January, 2009, three days into the Obama Presidency, Eric Cantor, Republican representing Virginia’s 7th District went to share ideas with President Obama for stimulating the economy and creating jobs. When Cantor pushed for small business tax-cuts, President Obama said,

“Elections have consequences,

and at the end of the day, I won.”

And the truth is, Obama is correct. He did win, and elections do indeed have consequences. But apparently that kind of thinking only applies when the left is in power. Up in Wisconsin we had an election that gave the right power in the state house, senate, and the Governors office. And now those in charge are trying to push through changes to state employee pension programs, and the left – those folks who two years ago were embracing the “Elections Have Consequences” mantra, have chosen to flee the state like cowards rather than do the job the fine folks of Wisconsin have elected them to do.

And then yesterday we have these words from former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

“I stand in solidarity with the Wisconsin workers fighting for their rights, especially for all the students and young people leading the charge.”

Now before we look at Nancy “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” Pelosi, let me state that I have no beef with the protesters. As of this writing, I have not heard of any instances of these peaceful protests turning violent, and as long as that remains the case, then I fully suporter the protestors right to protest.

But lets get back to Nancy for a moment. Solidarity, huh? Well I’m sure most of you are familiar with Mrs. Pelosi as a politician, but how familiar are you with her business dealings?

After all, Pelosi is the 2003 recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award, so I am sure her personal actions live up to her public persona. Yeah, right? Pelosi and her husband own a vineyard in Napa Valley, on Zinfandel Lane in St. Helena worth $25 million. The Pelosis’ make upwards of $2 million per harvest, hiring several different harvesters each year. Not one of the harvesters that the Pelosis’ hire has a contract with the United Farm Workers.

The Pelosis’ sell their grapes to two different wineries, both non-union. In recent years the Pelosis’ have held stake in two other wine enterprises – Ravenswood Winery and Charlore Wine Group, both – you guessed it – non-union.

As a keynote speaker at the 2004 AFL-CIO meeting, Pelosi said “Thank you all for fighting for America’s working families. And thank you for fighting to end the union-busting, family-hurting, exporting jobs presidency of George W. Bush.” Oh, and did I mention that in the last three elections organized labor has contributed almost $800,000 to Pelosi’s campaign.

Okay, so the Pelosis’ don’t use unionized labor at their wineries, but they are also involved in the hotel and restaurant business, so surely they use unionized labor THERE, right? After all, The AFL-CIO’s Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) contribute more to Pelosi’s campaigns than any other congressional candidate. Auberge du Soliel, their hotel and resort in Napa, charges $450 to $3,500 a night. Despite only 50 rooms, the hotel employees over 250 employees, many of them Hispanic immigrants, and none of them are union.

Another exclusive hotel that until recently the Pelosis’ owned a share in, The San Yisdro Ranch in Santa Barbara, is naturally non-union.

The Pelosis’ also are partners in a restaurant chain called Piatti. The chain boasts sixteen restaurants in five states, with over 900 employees, ALL, non-union.

Is this illegal? Of course not. But it just doesn’t jive with the whole “I stand in solidarity with the Wisconsin workers fighting for their rights” persona, does it?

Even the Congresswomen’s website makes it clear that she is very upset at her political opponents who are always “rewarding wealth over work and putting profits before people

Look Nancy, if you REALLY want to show solidarity, how about allowing the businesses YOU run to unionize, and give them the exact same benefit package that the teachers in Wisconsin (Who, by the way currently average over $89,000 a year in wages and benefits) have. How about it Nancy.

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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly…. (but not necessarily in that order)

Haven’t had an opportunity to write much lately, and with things the way they are at work I may not have another opportunity for a while (although I’m going to try this weekend), but I just wanted to address a few things that are happening, in no particular order.

First, I am deeply saddened to hear that Borders Books has filed for bankruptcy and will be closing 200 of it’s stores. This is sad on so many levels, and especially hits me hard because I used to be a manager of Borders in California. I also find it sad that the book industry as a whole has taken such a hit with the advent of the Kindle and other e-readers. Sure, reading is reading and I am encouraged by anyone who explores the wonder of the printed word, regardless of the form it takes, but there is something special about holding an actual book in your hands, as well as a bookcase (or several) full of your collection. You don’t get that with an e-reader.

That being said, I am a proponent of the free market system, and in a free market situations like this do occur. The industry, just like several dozen other industries, is changing, and those who don’t change with it will get left in the dust. And Borders was slow to react to the changes in the industry.

Amazon.com and discount sellers such as Costco and Walmart have hurt Borders, and Borders’  lateness to e-commerce and e-reader sales has been detrimental. Amazon.com offered online sales in 1995, but the Borders e-commerce site was only introduced in 2008. And while Amazon introduced the e-reader Kindle in 2007 and Barnes and Noble brought out its Nook in late 2009, Borders didn’t enter the e-reader market with its Kobo until July 2010. While I doubt that faster action in the online and e-reader markets would have stopped Borders from any store closings, it may have reduced the number from the 200 that are currently on the chopping block.

Add to that the fact that Borders also specialized in movies and music – two other industries that have changed drastically in the last few years, and it didn’t take Nostradamus to see this coming.

I am happy to say that my old store in San Luis Obispo is not one of the stores that will be closing, but there are stores in my old district that will get the axe, and I have a number of friends at these locations that will be affected. I hope that a number of them are able to find work at the nearby stores. And, selfishly, I am also comforted by the fact that none of the Iowa Borders will be closing, so I will still be able to enjoy shopping at my favorite bookstore.

Next, I want you to look closely at the picture on the right. What is this, the latest doll from the folks at Mattel? No, it’s an actual young girl, a five-year old girl. Let me say that again, this is a five-year old girl. Well, to be fair, she’s almost six, so that makes it so much better, right?

I ran across a story in the Des Moines Register while I was having my lunch this afternoon. This little girl is a young lady named Eden Wood from Arkansas, and she is a Beauty pageant contestant who has apparently appeared several times on a show called “Toddlers and Tiara’s” on TLC. Wow, and I thought it was bad enough that we have Jersey Shore and those damn Kardashian chicks on T.V., now we’ve got what I can only assume is one of the top rated shows for pedophiles.

The reason Eden was in my paper this afternoon is because she is shooting a video for a song called “Cutie Patootie” at a local mall in Des Moines this weekend (apparently her manager lives in Des Moines). Now look, as a libertarian I firmly believe in individual rights and responsibility, and keeping government control out of as many aspects as possible in our lives, but I can’t see how something like this can not be classified as child abuse. I mean, I have no problem with the concept of pageants, especially since a number of them offer educational scholarship opportunities, BUT for god sakes let them only be held for people who are capable of understanding what it is they are doing. Putting children into these toddler “pageants” creates from me a level of contempt for the parents of these kids that I truly reserve only for racists, rapists, pedophiles (how convenient) and the like. What the hell goes through the head of a parent who does this to their child.

According to the article, “I want to make sure that this is what she wants to do … that she’s not trying to please me,” Mickie Wood (Eden’s Mother) said. Really Mickie? Of course she’s trying to please you, that’s what little kids do. According to the article Mickie first entered Eden in a pageant at 14 months old. Gee Mickie, did you sit down and discuss it with Eden first? Hell, she probably did… like this kid was capable of understanding how she was being exploited at that time. Shit, she’s not capable of understanding how she is being exploited now.

What a piece of work!!!

And finally, I want to end this little tirade with a plug. A good majority of this blog has, in the past, been devoted to political discussion, and as you know – if you’ve read the earlier incarnation of this blog – I grew disillusioned with the level of discourse that was out there, especially a couple of the real bottom feeding sites I was dealing with at the time, and decided to make a clean break from these hate mongers, cold turkey.

That’s been about three weeks ago, and I have to say that I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Dealing with people that have so much hate and contempt is NOT a healthy thing, and I highly recommend getting these folks – on both sides of the political aisle, out of your life.

But here’s the dilemma: What if you, like me, are something of a political junkie, and like to be up to date with what’s happening in the world? If you’re going to cut out the hate from the left – Fox, Limbaugh, Beck, etc… as well as the hate from the right – MSNBC, Olbermann (gone and come back), Ed Schultz, Huffington, etc…. well that doesn’t leave much left, does it.

My suggestion: POTUS. POTUS is a Sirius/XM satellite radio station, and stands for Politics of the United States. It’s such a terrific channel, with plenty of raw, unfiltered content from both sides of the aisle. If the President is making a speech, they cover it live and in its entirety. It also covers all of the white House press briefings live, and in their entirety, and has guests from both parties on.

The Morning Briefing with Tim Farley (6am-12am est) is a magnificent program, and just when you think you’ve figured out what side of the fence this guy falls on, he throws you a curve.

Press Pool with Joe Mathieu (12 pm – 3pm est) Joe Mathieu rounds-up the best reporters and columnists to talk about the news making headlines in DC and around the world. Hear live event coverage, including the daily White House press briefing, as well as The Business Block, a business report heard at the bottom of every hour.

StandUP with Pete Dominick (3 pm – 6pm) ET Comedian and political satirist Pete Dominick talks about the issues as “everyday Americans” do. Dominick is billed as “Unbiased and independent”, but he definitely leans to the left, but that’s okay because he leans to the left AND possesses common sense, something you rarely see from left-leaning commentators (and never from left leaning bloggers…. at least the one I’m familiar with).

POTUS is also the home of  PBS NewsHour, starring Jim Lehrer, as well as numerous other wonderful shows.

So if you truly are a political junkie…. and you know who you are, you wonks…. get yourself a satellite radio, and GET THIS STATION. And hey, I still think there is room for the Limbaughs, Shultzes, Becks, and Olbermanns of the world, and I recommend throwing in a dash of these folks into your daily listening as well. BUT, you’re going to find yourself going back to POTUS more and more often.

I guarantee it!!

What A Dumbass!!!!

You know, it’s really disappointing when a childhood hero falls from glory. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was watch the “Chuck Acri Creature Feature” every Friday night at 10:30. Chuck owned a home siding company, and would sponsor the Creature Feature every friday night, showing old movies, telling bad jokes, and selling siding between commercials.

A staple of that show was the old horror films from Hammer Studios, most of which starred the great Christopher Lee, who, along with Vincent Price WAS the face of horror in the fifties and sixties. And now we learn that this brilliant actor is caught up in a sex scandal. And while that is on some level impressive, given his age, it’s still very disappointing to hear that…….. wait, what’s that? It’s a different Christopher Lee?

Never Mind.

But lets talk about THIS brilliant mind for a moment, shall we? Look, the fact that a politician is screwing around on his wife is not exactly news, nor is it uncommon, but how freaking stupid do you have to be to cruise the personals on Craigslist, send someone a picture of yourself without a shirt on AND showing your face. On top of that, Einstein uses his own e-mail address.

But I’m going to give Lee credit for one thing: resigning. I’d say that it shows character, but I think that ship has already sailed.

Like I said, politicians and sex scandals have been common ever since their have been politicians. And while Lee is a Republican, sex scandals have ruined men (and women) of both parties. The one thing that has usually separated the Republicans and Democrats when it came to sex scandals can be summed up in one word: Shame. Republicans apparently were capable of feeling it, while Democrats have never been able to grasp what that word should mean.

But that hasn’t been the case in the last few years. Republicans like Mark Sanford, John Ensign, David Vitters and Larry Craig have done something that previous Republicans swept up in these types of scandals didn’t do: They refused to resign. Now refusing to resign is nothing new, Democrats have been doing it for years. Hell, Ted Kennedy KILLED his mistress and refused to step down. And he was re-elected time after time.

I was reminded of the differences today between the two parties by listening to talk radio. Fortunately I have satellite radio, so I’m able to switch back and forth between left-wing and right-wing, although my preferred channel is called “POTUS” (Politics Of The United States for the People Of The United States), probably the closest thing there is to truly bipartisan radio. But today wasn’t a day for bipartisanship.

While the left would like you to believe the right are dodging this issue, that just isn’t the case. While I listened to about twice as much left-wing radio today, I’d say I heard pretty much equal coverage on both sides of the aisle, which means the right WAS discussing this issue. The general consent on the right: This guy is a sleaze, and we’re glad he’s gone. Disappointment? Sure, there’s disappointment this pinhead pulled a dumbass move like this, but we’d be more disappointed if he tried to fight for his job.

The comment I heard the most was that this guy is a true hypocrite because of his “Family Values” stands. Okay, I get that, and sure, I think that anyone that takes a strong family values stand and pulls a stunt like this IS a hypocrite, but does that mean that if he wasn’t a family values guy he is less of a hypocrite? I mean, didn’t this guy make a pledge to his wife? And didn’t he go against that pledge? Doesn’t that make him a hypocrite?

The funny thing is, I heard so many on the left stations – hosts and callers – bringing up this family values issue, and with such glee, that I don’t really think they realized what they were saying: It’s worse when a Republican does it because they always preach family values, it doesn’t matter when a Democrat does it, because no one expects them to have values in the first place. Yeah, that’s a “moral stand” that I’d really be proud of.

Look, there’s also the “Hey, it’s his personal life” argument. I mean hey, how many times did we have to hear that during the Lewinsky affair? Although I doubt that very few of those who asked us to leave Clinton alone are standing up for Lee today. And hey, to be fair, I doubt that very few on the right who say that Lee (or Craig, or Vitter, or….) should be left alone were among those standing up for Clinton (or Spitzer, or Edwards, or….).

But the truth is, we need to have a standard, and stick to it, regardless of the party, although I doubt we’ll ever come to a consensus. Personally, I know damn well that any man or women CAN be a scumbag, and still be a decent politician. I think Bill Clinton was a low life, not because he had an affair, but because he had an affair as the President of the United States.

What difference does that make? A huge one. Look, I understand that folks have affairs, and that’s wrong, but don’t you think that once you gain a position of prominence you need to keep it in your pants? I mean hell, you know that the press, and especially the right, are watching every damn move you make, and you still go ahead and take your cigar and…. well, we don’t need to rehash that whole mess, but you get the point.

So Representative Lee, while I don’t know a damn thing about you – whether you were a great legislator or a sucky one – I want to thank you for what was probably the only class act in your life – resigning. And if you’ve got any class at all left – something I highly doubt – do one more good thing: Give your wife everything she asks for in the divorce. She’s already suffered having to be married to a pig like you, let her put that behind herself as fast as possible

Happy Birthday Gipper!!!

Tomorrow, February 6th, is a big day. Sure, it’s the Superbowl, and as a die-hard Packer fan that day means a lot to me. But more importantly, 2/6/2011 marks 100 years since the birth of the Gipper, Ronald Reagan.

Now I’m not going to devote paragraph after paragraph to the man. If you are a fan of President Reagan, there are multiple commentaries and tributes to the man for you to review. And if you are not a fan of President Reagan, there are multiple commentaries and tributes to the man for you to ignore. But I’d like to take a moment to tell one of my favorite Ronald Reagan stories, that show just how quick-witted the man actually was.

The former president was telling a group once about his tumultuous days as governor of California during the rebellious sixties and early 70s.  He said he had a meeting with some of the organizers of the protests.  They came into his office wearing t-shirts and jeans, and some were barefoot.

Their spokesman began, “Governor, it’s impossible for your generation to understand us…. You didn’t grow up in a world of instant electronic communications, of cybernetics, of men computing in seconds what once took months, even years, or jet travel, nuclear power, and journeys into space…..”

The young man continued along this line for several minutes, making what he thought was a wonderful point, that someone that old (Reagan was not even 60 at this point) couldn’t possibly understand a world so different from the one he grew up in.

When the young man finished, Reagan said, “You’re absolutely right.  Our generation didn’t have those things when we were growing up.  That is why we had to invent them.”

Happy Birthday Mr. President… Oh, and Go Packers!!

They Don’t Write Them Like That Anymore – And Thank God For That!!!!!

When I was growing up there were a number of things that I wanted to be. As a child I wanted to be a fireman, a cop or an accountant (It was a strange childhood, don’t ask). As I grew older those dreams grew to rock star, race car driver, or relief pitcher for Chicago Cubs. It was just last year that I came to the brutal realization that the only way I was getting into Wrigley Field was by buying a ticket. But in all that time there was one thing that I didn’t want to be: My Parents.

Oh don’t get me wrong, both of my parents were wonderful people. They were hard workers, good providers, and pillars of their communities. But there was one thing that they definitely were not: Cool. Nope, my parents (and probably yours) were about the uncoolest people I had ever met. And by God, I vowed that if I ever grew up and had kids of my own, I was going to be cool. Whatever it was my parents said or did when I was growing up would not, I repeat, NOT be something I would ever repeat.

I failed.

Because you see, if there was one area above all else that my parents were uncool about, it was music. I mean, I can’t even begin to tell you how uncool my parents were about music. And to be fair, you have to remember that my folks were born in 1923 and 1924, so their formative teenage years were the late 1930’s. 1976 – the year of my 16th birthday (and greatest year ever) – was filled with the debutalbums from Boston and Foreigner, as well Springsteen’s Born to Run and one of the greatest albums of all time, Hotel California by The Eagles. By the same token, the number one song the year my dad turned 16 was Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Judy Garland. Number two that year: Back In The Saddle Again by Gene Autry.

Then add on top of that the fact that my remaining teenage years were spent going to concerts by Kiss, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper, while Mom and Dad’s remaining teenage years were spent fighting that pesky little World War II thing, and the truth is, the poor slobs never had a chance. They were doomed to be uncool.

But damn it, I wasn’t. I’ve been to dozens and dozens of concerts. I have over 2,000 CD’s, and an iPod with over 14,000 songs on it. I know music. I live music. Sure, I couldn’t carry a tune if you put a gun to my head, but when it comes to music, I’m cool.

Or so I thought. You see, I am the parent of a 21 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. Blake’s idea of music is the heaviest of heavy metal music, by groups I’ve never heard of, and who, to be honest, scare me a little. But I don’t bust his balls over this, Like I said, I was into Alice Cooper, Rush and Black Sabbath when I was his age. Sure, timid by todays standards, but hardcore for the 70’s.

No, the real problem is with my daughter. You see, for about three weeks now we’ve been on J.B.C. – Justin Bieber Countdown. The new 3-D Justin Bieber concert film comes out a week from today, and if you walk up to my daughter and ask how many minutes ’til the debut, I’d bet she could tell you.

Now I understand the appeal to a girl her age. Hell, when I was growing up it was David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, or Davy Jones. All the girls I went to school with had pictures of these three cut out of Tiger Beat and pasted on their notebooks. So I get it. But today, I uttered the words that I have dreaded since I was a child:

You kids today with this horrible Music…. Now when (wait for it) I WAS YOUR AGE, now THAT was Music.

Yes, I have officially become my father. But, in my defense, the music today is crap, right? And the music of my era – the 70’s – was awesome, right? We had Led Zepplin, The Who, The Stones and Pink Floyd, and today we have Lady Gaga, Lil’ Wayne, Ke$ha and, of course, Justin Bieber.

How do you even compare the two? Well, if you want to be honest – I mean REALLY Honest – you have to admit something that a lot of folks my age don’t want to admit: There was a lot of really crappy music in the seventies. Sure, we had Stairway to Heaven, Layla, China Grove and Pink Floyd’s Money – None of which topped the charts. As a matter of fact, Money – one of the greatest rock songs of all times – only reached number 13 on the Billboard charts, and Stairway to Heaven, arguably THE greatest rock anthem of all time, never even made the top 40.

And then we have such gems as I Think I Love You (The Partridge Family), Kung-Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas), The Streak (Ray Stevens) and Convoy (C.W. McCall) – each and every one of them a number one hit. Other number one hits from the seventies include Billy, Don’t Be A Hero, The Night Chicago Died, Disco Duck (I swear to God, Disco Duck was a number one single),  …. oh, and don’t forget Afternoon Delight. And the very last number one song of the seventies: Escape. Your remember Escape, right (If you like Pina Colada’s, getting caught in the ran…..).

And then we have the number one song of the entire decade: You Light Up My Life by Debbie Boone. Believe it or not, that piece of crap was the number one song for TEN STRAIGHT WEEKS. Ten Weeks. To put that in perspective, you could be driving in your car and the D.J. could come on the radio and announce that You Light Up My Life was the new number one song, causing you to drive headfirst into a tree. And then, when you awoke from the coma two months later, that damn song was STILL NUMBER ONE!!!

So it’s hard to pick on the music my daughter listens to as crap when there was plenty of crap that we listened to in the 70’s. But damn it, that was OUR crap music, and we need to embrace it. After all, that was the soundtrack of my youth, and I wouldn’t trade that music for anything. Daydream Believer by the Monkees was the song that was playing when I got my first kiss. I remember roller skating to Bobby Vinton’s Sealed With A Kiss, holding hands with Robin, my first girlfriend. So say what you want about the music of the seventies, but to me it’s the best damn music there ever was, and ever will be.

And Madison, I’m sure you’re going to feel the same way about Justin Bieber thirty years from now. But seriously, we’ve got to talk about that Lady Gaga……..

2010 Census Numbers updated – Actual population of America: 13.5 Million People

Now that might sound a little confusing, but these numbers are coming from the White House, so they have to be right, right?

Now in all fairness the White House didn’t actually come out and say “America’s population is 13.5%”, but here is what they did say: First, according to the Obama Administration, the economy gained 36,ooo jobs last month. Some of you may have heard the number 50,000, and the actual explanation is that the private sector gained 50,000 jobs, while the public sector (government) lost 14,000 jobs, hence the net gain of 36,000.

The second thing my government told me was that the unemployment percentage fell from 9.4% to 9%. Put those two bits of information together, and you get the fact that 36,000 jobs equals .4% of the working sector. Do the math, and you get that 100% full employment is 9 million people. Now I don’t know what percentage of American’s are of working age, but lets assume we take everyone under 20 out of the mix, and everyone over 65 out of the mix, even though some folks under 20 and over 65 work, we’re going basic here. So what percentage of Americans are over 20 but under 65? Again, I don’t have a clue, but lets say 2/3rds. So that means if 9 million people equals 2/3rds of America, we have 13.5 million Americans. Right?

Now some of you are saying “yeah, but that doesn’t count people who are no longer on unemployment”, BUT didn’t they just extend unemployment benefits? So doesn’t that mean the folks that were going to lose their benefits in January had them extended? So how the hell did unemployment drop from 9.4% to 9.0%?

Now folks, I know there aren’t 13.5 million folks in America, and obviously any numbers that the government gives us are merely an estimate, but how the hell can they be off THIS MUCH? In reality, with 309 million Americans (according to the 2010 Census), if we use my “2/3rds of Americans in the job pool” estimate – and yes, it is an estimate – that gives us 206 million working men and women out there. That means that 9.4% of working Americans is 19,364,000 folks, and 9% is 18,540,000. That means to drop the unemployment rate by .4% – which is what it dropped in January (supposedly) – you need to gain 824,000 jobs. Now I know that we are not talking about a precise science here, but there is a hell of a huge difference between 36,000 and 824,000. A HUGE difference.

Lets add a third factor into the mix. With the exception of FDR (twice), no incumbant president has ever been re-elected with an unemployment rate on election day of 8% or higher. Hmmm…..

So be of good cheer fellow Americans – all 13.5 million of you – because by November of 2012 we will once again have an unemployment rate below 8%. Hell, it will probably be below 7%. Oh sure, there may not be any more folks actually back to work, but the RATE will be below 7%, and really, isn’t that all that matters? Hope and change people, hope and change.

P.S. – I wanted to embed a video clip that I think helps to explain this, had trouble, but please check out this site for that video:  http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/06/the-truth-about-jobs/

UNDER CONSTRUCTION – Check Back Soon

Planet of Bob 2.0 is on hiatus for a few days. We are currently working on a new format, the old one just wasn’t working for me. Check back soon, your readership is appreciated.