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Happy Spring Black Friday!

Posted by MLGoodell on April 19, 2014 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

We owe a debt of gratitude to the folks at Home Depot who came up with the wonderful concept called Spring Black Friday. At last, we have a name for the awkward Friday before Easter. For years people have referred to it as, uh, you know, that day when schools are out, Wall Street is closed, and there’s nothing to do but go to church.

But now, we have a name for it. Spring Black Friday. It is the perfect counterpoint to the traditional Black Friday, which occurs the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, of course, is as close as Americans come to a religious holiday, that day after the gluttonous feast, when families go to the local mall and worship at the feet of the Great God Commerce.

Fulfilling as Black Friday is, when we all buy things we can’t afford for people who don’t need them, all to observe what we call “Holiday,” it is sometimes hard to go a full year without worshiping again. Granted, there is Valentine’s Day when we buy chocolates, flowers and cards, and St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, when we gather in bars to drink ourselves into oblivion, but somehow these minor Holy Days don’t quite fill the gap between Holiday and Graduation Day (which occupies the entire month of June).

Thankfully, last year the marketing department at Home Depot came up with Spring Black Friday. This year, they’re doing it again, and joined by such stalwarts as Lowes and Walmart, it promises to be bigger than ever. At last, all Americans will have a place to worship during this bleak, empty season. Spring Black Friday should fill out our religious calendar. We will be fulfilled.

In his “Inferno,” Dante described the nine circles of hell. Actually, he got that wrong. There is a tenth circle, and it is the exclusive domain of everyone in the marketing and advertising racket.

Eich's Auto-da-fe

Posted by MLGoodell on April 9, 2014 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

My head tells me to leave it alone. Don’t write about it. Just leave it alone. The damage is already done. You can’t save a culture intent on suicide. So keep your mouth shut, don’t make waves. Don’t intentionally offend those whose taking of offense is beyond your ken.

Then my heart tells me in Nazi Germany they called this attitude “internal exile.” That was the place  where those intellectuals, writers and artists unable or unwilling to flee would hide. That place was inside their heads, because that was the only place it was safe to be. So I wondered is it right to witness our slide into totalitarianism without at least letting people know where they are headed?

What triggered this bout of introspection was Brendan Eich’s resignation as CEO of Mozilla. Eich, by all accounts a brilliant man, invented JavaScript which is, they say, the language which writes the web. Now, I don’t know the difference between JavaScript and FijiCursive, but I do know  that civil society begins to die when bigots are able to punish people for what they think.

What was Mr. Eich’s crime? What did he do that rendered him unemployable? Did he rape a child? Did he bribe a Senator? Lie on his resume? No. He donated $1,000  to support Proposition 8, the California initiative which defined marriage as an act between a man and a woman. At the time this was the position held by just about every public figure and virtually every American citizen capable of rational thought (or somewhere close to 300,000 people). It was a time when reasonable people could disagree on whether the state should redefine marriage. It was a time when people could oppose state-sanctioned same-sex marriage and not be accused, and convicted, of hate crimes. It was just six short years ago.

Most articles about Mr. Eich’s auto-da-fe refer to Proposition 8 as an initiative to ban gay marriage. Actually, it did no such thing. In fact, there has not been a single initiative or law passed anywhere in the country which banned gay marriage, or made it illegal. All they have done is confirm, or codify the status quo. Gays have been free to marry as long as Barbra Streisand has been singing show tunes. That’s why God invented the Unitarian Church, and SWAT teams have never been dispatched to arrest Rev. Samantha while she unites Warren and Bruce in Holy Matrimony.

Nobody has ever banned gay marriage, because, in the eyes of the state, and in the eyes of history, gay marriage has never existed. You can’t ban something that has never existed. Yet none of this matters as our culture goes careening over the cliff of rationality. Nor does it matter how his Inquisitors learned of Mr. Eich’s despicable deed. Which is the worst part of the story.

An Internal Revenue Service employee illegally leaked the names of National Organization for Marriage (NOM) donors. This crime is another example of the dangerous extent to which the current administration has politicized the bureaucracy. Even more disturbing than the actual leaking is the refusal of the (even more politicized) Justice Department to investigate and prosecute.

This is no small matter. This is the erosion of the rule of law upon which our nation was established. When the state is allowed to pick and choose which laws it will enforce, and when the state abets those who would punish others for their beliefs, we are creeping perilously close to totalitarianism.

In short, it is not the series of actions which are so terrifying, but the lack of response those actions have inspired.

Stick it to the Man

Posted by MLGoodell on April 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I woke up yesterday morning with our president’s voice whispering in my ear. No, I haven’t bought an ObamaLama, (Note: The following is a paid advertisement. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the editorial staff at www.mlgoodell.webs.com).

ObamaLama is the revolutionary new alarm clock now sweeping the nation. Yes, thanks to the same technology which enabled millions of uninsured Americans to finally get the health care they deserve, the ObamaLama, allows you to wake up each day to the sound of our beloved President’s voice. Just set the time you want to wake up, by turning the innovative devices on the back  called dials, and the next morning (or afternoon if you’re one of the millions of Americans freed from job lock!) you can start your day full of confidence, knowing that our President “has your back.”

(We now return you to our regularly scheduled program).

Again, I don’t yet have an ObamaLama, mainly because, since the merger,  Amazon.gov is having fulfillment issues whenever traffic exceeds 100,000 users. Instead, our beloved leader’s words came to me through the miracle of NPR on my clock radio, reporting on his campaign speech in nearby Ann Arbor. Bolstered by reports that ramping up the minimum wage would free another half-million Americans from the humiliation of having to go to work each day, Obama was in town to support a statewide initiative to boost it to $10.10 an hour.

Among other crowd-pleasing remarks, the president extolled the merits of allowing anyone to earn that much, “regardless of your last name, the color of your skin, which country you were born in, or who you love.” That Angelou-esque litany of interest groups, which passes as policy these days, gained  the expected cheers from the crowd of reliably liberal collegians, though none was greeted as enthusiastically as “who you love.”

This struck me as curious. Why on earth should our president’s by now obligatory nod in the direction of homosexual normatization generate such acclaim? Could it be that this generation of children, having been indulgently raised free from restraint or even guidance, nonetheless feels the need to rebel? Grasping for issues, they can find only one which reflects a generational divide. That, of course is same-sex marriage. Our president has evolved in dramatic fashion, going in just three short years from believing marriage is between a man and woman to claiming “marriage equality is the defining issue of our age.”

So for the purposes of pleasing the crowd, the President boasts he has their collective back. It is a bit off-putting, though, this pandering to an unformed audience. It should be somehow beneath the office of the president to assist children’s bid to shock their parents. Whenever Obama gets in front of a collegiate audience, he reminds me of that old Sprint commercial in which a business executive brags that  the money he is saving is his way of “Sticking it to the man,” to which his assistant replies, perplexedly, “But you are the man.” (See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG-VB5xb6KM).

Because, in fact, that is what the President is doing in front of his youthful audiences. He is sticking it to the man without understanding that he is, for what it’s worth, the man. Given their upbringing in a culture defined by self esteem enhancement and moral relativism, today’s college freshmen are arguably the most ethically immature and spiritually unformed generation ever to matriculate in what used to be called the civilized world. Is it any surprise then that whenever the mean old world gets too icky and scary, this President  flees to where he feels most comfortable, before an audience of his intellectual peers?

The Koch Brothers Ate My Homework

Posted by MLGoodell on April 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

In a stunning development, the Associated Press announced on April 1 that “President Barack Obama's health care overhaul was on track to sign up more than seven million Americans for health insurance on deadline day Monday.”

You may recall that the Congressional Budget Office determined that seven million people would need to sign up for health insurance on the government run exchanges for Affordable Care Act to work. The fact that exactly as many enrolled as required  makes this achievement all the more impressive, especially when you consider that, as recently as March 30, the day before the deadline, most people doubted they could even come up with six million sign ups.

As remarkable as this accomplishment is, it gets even more astounding considering that Obamacare’s official fan site, er, website, healthcare.gov, was down for four hours on March 31. Since this constitutes fully one sixth of the day, signing up more than a million customers is damn near miraculous. Since even after billions of dollars of fixes and revisions the site still tends to crash when more than 100,000 people access it at the same time, one has to feel so proud of the more than one million people who patiently waited at the portal until number 100,000 left the site, so as not to overwhelm it.

For all those who claimed Obamacare was a train wreck, here is a profound rebuttal. It works. More than a million people signed up in one day. People all over America who did not have health care can now get health care. Fifty-year-old men who lived in fear of a sudden, unwanted pregnancy, can now face each day with confidence knowing their maternity costs will be covered. Gay men and women can get married without worrying where their contraception will come from.

It is a bright, shining day in America. It is, to borrow a phrase, Morning in America. And it is all the result of The Affordable Care Act. For all those who claimed it couldn’t be done, we can say with pride, go crawl back into your cave you racist haters.

In other news today, the AP reported that the CIA has identified the powerful “tractor beams” which lifted MH370 out of the earth’s atmosphere. President Obama, taking a break from filming an episode of “Girls” remarked that “while we don’t know these aliens’ intentions, we’re going to assume they are peaceful.” The president also called up the world’s media to refrain from using the term “alien” to describe the otherwordly creatures. “It’s such a hateful term,” he noted. “We prefer to call them unexpected visitors.”

Also, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a breakthrough in the latest round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Apparently Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu admitted that his country is a imperialist tool, that the perfidious Zionists stole Palestine from its rightful owners, and that Jews do in fact drink the blood of Christian children. In order to make things right Netanyahu announced that all Israelis would commit suicide at midnight tonight.

“This is a great achievement,” an exultant Kerry exclaimed. “We identified mass suicide as perhaps the major stumbling block standing in the way of a comprehensive peace agreement. Thanks to Prime Minister Netanyahu, we have indeed, achieved peace in our time.”

In a related story moderate President something-something Rahmani (get actual name from Wikipedia before posting–Ed) announced that Iran was ending the nuclear weapons program they never actually had. “If all the Jews are already dead, then building nukes is just a waste of  time and money,” Roumahni explained. A jubilant Obama gleefully welcomed Iran back into the family of enlightened nations.

Finally, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was giving Crimea “back to its rightful owners,” and withdrawing all troops from the Ukrainian border. “Watching the way President Obama consistently took the high road and refused to react to any of my provocations, I realized we really were living in the Nineteenth Century. I am so ashamed. So from here on, I’m surfing on the arc of history. Plus from now on, I keep my shirt on.”

It is so exciting to live in a world in which all problems, no matter how intractable they might seem to be, can be solved just by wishing them so. Thanks, President Obama, for making our world better and better in every possible way. Or, to put it another way, in Obama’s America, every day is April Fool’s Day.

Send Me Money

Posted by MLGoodell on March 27, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Half my inbox these days consists of Gorean alarums about global warming having caused “unprecedented drought in California,” which generally start out by referencing “the driest winter since 1976.” Besides giving a new meaning to the term “unprecedented,” these appeals serve as the ideal springboard from which to launch appeals for money.

Stripped down to their barest essentials, the environmental message is that George Bush unilaterally abrogated the Kyoto Accords, a climate-saving treaty which the US Senate rejected by a 95-1 vote, (It may have been 95-2, but details don’t really matter since I’m arguing on the liberal side of the spectrum here), Big Oil and the Koch Brothers are collaborating to drown hapless South Pacific Islanders, and everything would be better if I sent the Environmental Defense League, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Al Gore and Organizing for Action $100 each.

It is with some guilt that I turn to rest of  the emails clogging my in box which basically boast that record low temperatures and high snow levels in the Midwest prove that climate change is a hoax and that Obama lied about whether you could keep your doctor. There are no problems in the world except those born of the overheated imagination of leftist socialist anti-capitalist enviro-freako-wierdos. And, I hold in my hands the power to make all those problems go away, if I would just send Ted Cruz, Jim Dement, Sarah Palin and the Crossroads GPF Fund $100 each. Oh, and buy a copy of Rush Limbaugh’s latest children’s book.

Being a bit of a dinosaur, I tend to recall the last time we had unprecedented droughts and record cold temperatures and high snow levels. I don’t recall anyone saying anything about Global Warming causing those phenomena, probably because back in the seventies environmentally-oriented people had their knickers in a twist about The Coming Ice Age. Some people, true radicals I’ll grant you, went so far as to ascribe heat and cold, snow and drought to bizarre things called weather patterns, stationary high pressure cells camped off the coast of California, and other meteorological terms.

Sadly, as time has passed and more Cassandras have taken over tv stations’ weather maps and environmental fund raising operations, it becomes harder to find anyone capable of discussing the weather without screaming like a Banshee (it is the goal of every serious essayist to fit Cassandras and Banshees into the same sentence as often as possible).

It has been said of the Internet that the easier it is to transmit information, the stupider we all come–I doesn’t know if that’s true, but I did read it on the Internet–and that certainly has proved to be the case with the escalation of normal weather into disaster, and the unique into unmitigated horror. As Mark Twain once said, “Every body talks about the weather but–eek! Run for your lives!”

Surely you all agree that it is high time to return weather to its natural role as what happens outside. I am happy to take on that task. In fact, I am confident I will be able to shut up both Al Gore and the super secret Koch Brothers if you will just send $100 to my new 501 (c)(4) organization (send me ten grand and I’ll let you look at my list of secret funders), Weather Not Climate.

Send in the Clowns

Posted by MLGoodell on March 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I’m so glad I gave up on America after the last election. Otherwise I would look at the world today and wonder whether to cry, run away and hide, or simply stick my head in the oven. However, since the last election, I am able to view this vast diorama of human suffering and decay with sang-froid. Actually, it is not quite sang-froid. What I feel more than anything is amusement.

There is such rich comedy in this clown circus running around pretending to be grown ups, it is hard not to laugh. Now, if history is our guide, the consequences of these subdural inebriates and their mind-gnawingly naive and willfully simplistic behavior will be one of vast deprivation and infinite suffering for the American people. These craven appeasers, with their policies so self-deluding they make ostriches look like visionaries, have set in motion a process of decline which is well-nigh unstoppable.

But it doesn’t matter. If our cities burst into flames, if our people starve or are enslaved, it doesn’t matter. Because after four years of watching this group about whom the only question was, were they incompetent or traitors, the American people decided they wanted four more years. They looked at Mitt Romney and decided Lena Dunham was the only adult in the room.

In November of 2012 Americans chose decline. The American nation chose to die. The American people chose so stupidly that they don’t deserve to live. Which is why I can watch the world continue to unravel, and laugh. I find it to be high comedy. For instance, what could be richer than the commentary I heard on NPR this morning as I drove Mary to chemotherapy? They had an “expert”-- yes, one of those-- who pointed out, in a deliciously deadpan delivery, that the challenge confronting the Americans and Europeans following the Crimean referendum, was how to respond without jeopardizing nuclear reduction talks with Iran.

Is that not the funniest thing you’ve ever heard? I don’t know who this guy’s writers are, but they made him sound even funnier than Bill Maher thinks he is. Watching the comedy unfold, two thoughts come to mind. The first is a question. When will China decide to overrun Taiwan? (The answer can be expressed in months rather than years).

The second is that the president and the vice-president have both described gay marriage the defining issue of our age. Watching the world unravel, it is obvious they are right.

Bibi to the Rescue

Posted by MLGoodell on March 5, 2014 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

At first glance, it might seem surprising that a bunch of guys who loathe the military as much as Obama and his playpen pals do, are so obsessed with looking tough. But if you put it in perspective,it begins to make sense. Do you recall how those Choom Gang guys used to hang around the flag pole out in front of the high school, as far away as possible from the jocks who liked to beat them up?

That’s why the stoners always moved in a pack, because it made them look tough, and as every high school kid knows, if you can’t be tough, the next best thing is looking tough. Furthermore, if you can’t be tough around the tough guys, at least you can be tough around the nerds. Most of the time, striking a pose is fine. If you’re an insignificant night clerk at the local Seven-Eleven, looking tough might even dissuade some punk from robbing you. Of course, if he does go ahead and pull that gun, within seconds you’ll be lying in a pool of your own urine, sobbing and begging him not to kill you. But, like I said, that’s fine.

However, if you happen to be president of what used to be known as the most powerful country on earth, striking poses can come back and bite you. This is what Obama has yet to learn. You can’t go around mouthing tough guy phrases and striking poses that impress your stoner buddies. Because in the real world there are guys like Putin who like to show off their pecs and wrestle bears and alligators. They see you in your mom jeans cracking wise about consequences and costs, red lines and knocking chips off your shoulder, and they just laugh.

Which is what has just happened in Ukraine. Leave all the geopolitical mumbo-jumbo aside. Forget about Crimea basically being Russia, and only falling under Ukrainian jurisdiction for the past sixty years or so. Or whether the current Ukrainian government is more or less corrupt than the previous one. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is that the United States has become a joke.

The day after Obama warned Putin there would be costs if he sent troops into Ukraine, he procured permission from his rubber stamp parliament to do just that. And to recall the Russian Ambassador as well. It would have been better to have said nothing than to make more empty threats. This person currently Occupying the White House has adopted a foreign policy the exact opposite of Teddy Roosevelt’s. And it doesn’t work.

Luckily for our hapless leader, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose that moment to visit the White House. It was very kind of him to sit down for a photo op, and to keep his mouth shut while the President threatened him with boycotts and international isolation if he doesn’t do exactly what Obama wants him to. Must be nice to know we’ve still got some allies, otherwise who would we be able to push around?

Choom Gang foreign policy would be a joke if it weren’t so disastrous for America’s future, and by extension, that of the world. Many people have resented the American Century, and  they have chafed under our clumsy leadership. We’ll have to wait to see how much more enjoyable it will be living in a world divided neatly between Russia and China. We’ll see what good soft power achieves when wielded against thugs and bullies.

At the end of the day we will have to learn how to live in a world in which we are mocked by our enemies feared only by our allies.

Let My People Come?

Posted by MLGoodell on February 5, 2014 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

We’re in the silly season now. The network news shows have run out of mud to sling at Chris Christie and none of it has stuck. (Though, take another look at the Zapruder film and tell me that chubby baby in the stroller on the grassy knoll doesn’t bear an uncanny resemblance to the future New Jersey Governor). I t’s too early to actually run for the 2014 midterm elections, but too late not to start worrying about them. This is the time when Congressmen and women contemplate treason. It’s the time strategists begin strategizing, and the Taliban wing of the Republic Party starts  strapping on their suicide vests.

It is the season when the GOP, recipient of Obamacare, the greatest electoral gift since the Nazis burned down the Reichstag, starts trying to give it back. The Taliban wing, made up of true believers, are on a mission to cleanse the party of apostates and heretics. They want to destroy John Boehner, and Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell, because they have broken their promise to do everything in their power to repeal Obamacare. That they actually have no power to do so doesn’t enter into the calculations of the Taliban. They want to fire Cruz missiles at the enemy, shutting down the government until Obamacare is repealed.

It’s hard to imagine a  more stupid line of attack These people don’t understand that the public blames them when the government is shut down, even when it is impossible to shut down the government. They flourish poll results showing that a majority of Americans think government is to big. What they don’t understand it this same majority, when so instructed by the dominant media, will blame the GOP for shutting down the government.

The Taliban blame the grown ups in the party for recognizing that true reform cannot occur until they have veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress, and that won’t happen as long as they are seen as irresponsible bomb throwers. They recognize that the dominant media, and their Democrat opponents are ever ready to tar them with the brush of extremism, and they understand there is no better recipe for forcing Americans to keep voting Democrat than for the extreme right wing to force their party into an ideological straight jacket.

Recognizing the danger, GOP leaders are trying to find some common ground. Paul Ryan hammered out a two-year budget agreement with Patty Murray that did little to rein in the deficit, and nothing to slow the growth of government. But it did have the benefit of postponing bitter budget battles and the temptation to shut down the government until after the elections. Ryan held his nose and signed the agreement not because he’s become a tax and spend enthusiast, but because he wanted to take a weapon away from the Democrats and their media lapdogs.

Apparently they are trying to do the same thing with immigration reform, which has the right wing reaching under their turbans to scratch their heads. Why, they wonder, would they take that on? Considering most polls show only 3% of the population gives a rip about immigration reform, why move that front and center? Probably because Republican leaders  understand that, absent action, the media will use it to drive a wedge between the party and the voters who would otherwise vote for them.

How is it possible that inaction on an issue only 3% of the public actually cares about will result in voter hostility? Perhaps because people are too stupid to know what is good for them, or even what is real. Back in the 1980's, when true crime cop shows, those precursors of “Reality TV”,  had their heyday, surveys showed that 80% of Americans considered crime the number one issue, even though that same 80% said they thought their neighborhood was safe. Thus, for most Americans, the reality of television trumps the reality of personal experience.

No doubt it will be the same with immigration. Despite the fact that they don’t care about immigration reform, most Americans will absorb the steady media-driven condemnation of Republicans for “standing in the way” of immigration  reform. They will conclude, “I can’t vote for that guy because he doesn’t care about an issue which means next to nothing to me.”

This is the only possible reason for Republican leadership to contemplate pursuing such an agenda. They are more afraid of the media than their own lunatic right wing. It’s an ugly situation. A classic example of the GOP’s uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It is exactly the sort of lunacy one can expect in a country in which local television news is the primary source of information for three out of four people. This is lunacy. This is further support for my view that people generally get the government they deserve.

I suppose the only question remaining on the subject of immigration is why do people still want to come here?

No Trump

Posted by MLGoodell on January 18, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

No Trump
by Michael Goodell

I have to apologize for not weighing in sooner on the Chris Christie crisis. I feel as if I have let down my many readers, those of you who don’t feel comfortable forming an opinion until you hear my take. My failure to come to your aid will remain a dark stain on my moral fabric for as long as I live, because, during one of the worst tragedies in the history of the world, I let you down. Because I would not speak, you had no voice.

However, a word in my defense. As you know, I have lately embarked on a mission to become a true wonk, to outwonk the wonkiest, to become even wonkier than Rachel Madcow and Melissa Harry-Perris (who Ta-Nehisi Coates –you can’t make this stuff up-- recently described as “America’s most foremost public intellectual”). When Bridgegate broke I immediately formed profound yet subtly nuanced opinions on the matter, as we public intellectuals are wont to do, and started to write. In order to be a truly wonky public intellectual, I  needed a clever play on words involving bridge in my title, “A Bridge Too Far,” or “Christie’s Future: A Bridge to Nowhere.” Something along those lines.

Tragically, all the best puns had been claimed. So I started thinking outside the box (something us wonky public intellectuals are known for). I started chewing on dental implant allusions, but that went nowhere. Guitar references, musical notations, nothing worked, until I hit on the game of bridge, which suited me just fine. Now, if you take time to study the title, “No Trump,” you realize not only is it a bridge term, it is also a brilliant (if I do say so myself) play on words, referring to Donald Trump another man with deep footprints in New Jersey, who three years ago dabbled in presidential politics just as the Big Fella did.

Sorry to bore you with my auto-tooting, but one thing I have learned is wonky public intellectuals leave nothing to chance.

Anyway, back to the steadily unfolding tragedy. Many observers have compared Bridgegate to King Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, though most agree that in terms of bloodshed and self-serving  brutality, Herod was a piker compared to Christie. (Consider the timing, though, just after the New Year, right around the Day of Epiphany. A coincidence? Hard to say).  It came as a relief that the US Justice Department launched an investigation. “Thank God for Eric Holder,” I thought. “He definitely has our back.”

No doubt the investigators themselves were relieved. It must be dead boring to work in an administration as transparent as this one. What do professional investigators do when there are no scandals to investigate? Hmm, might be worth an essay.

It was not just the Justice Department that rode to the rescue, however. The nation’s media continued to do their job of looking out for the public interest. While some might find their feeding frenzy a tad tawdry, I would like to remind them that the media have a near-sacred duty to root out malfeasance, corruption and abuse of power whenever it occurs. They are sworn to dig to the root of the scandal, while showing no deference for the office or the man or woman occupying it. I warrant that the media’s attention to duty contributes to the depth of  affection and admiration we, the American people, hold for our elected officials.

With each passing day it becomes ever more clear that Chris Christie has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. He’s a bully, a thug. Is there a smoking gun? Probably not. Christie didn’t need to give an order. It was enough that he was unhappy. A bully’s henchmen don’t need to be told what to do. There’s a reason they keep their brass knuckles in their coat pockets, and that reason is they’re there to be used.

So, again, with this breach of justice, this example of using the power of the state as a cudgel to punish those who disagree with him, Chris Christie has shown himself to be unfit for higher office. This country does not need, and the people will not abide, a bitter partisan occupying the White House. The job of president is too important to leave in the hands of a small-minded, petty man. The president must be president of all Americans, not just those who share his ideology.

Imagine Christie in the White House. He would divide people on the basis of race and class, he would no doubt refer to the opposing party as his enemies. He would use the Justice Department, the National Labor Relations Board, even the IRS, as his private militia.  He would probably refer to the White House as MY white House. He might even refer to the military as MY soldiers. He might say things like, “I can’t ask these soldiers to fight and die for me.” No, Christie would be a disaster as president.

But once again, we are fortunate we have the media to run interference for us. I have no doubt that they would not shirk their duty to reveal the sort of unsavory behavior as that described above, if someone of that ilk were in fact to be elected President.

Double Dumb: Game Change 2014

Posted by MLGoodell on January 6, 2014 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every era deserves its own wonky post-election analysts. Lately Mark Halperin and John Heilemann have shrugged on the mantel previously worn by such notables as Jules Witcover, Theodore H. White and, um, Hunter S. Thompson.

Their perspicacious coverage of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections have provided posterity with insights into the sheer brilliance of Barack H. Obama, his disdain for the nuts and bolts of political campaigns, his disgust for the hypocrisy and deceit such campaigning requires, and the fact that he has surrounded himself with brilliant, quick-witted aides.

As if that weren’t enough, we also have learned that Obama benefitted from the fact that John McCain, his 2008 opponent was really old, and that his 2012 foe was really rich. Oh, and Sarah Palin was really dumb. That just about covers it, except that Obama’s wife, Michelle, possibly even smarter than he is, is definitely wiser, and will do whatever it takes to ensure that her benighted subjects will benefit from the guidance only her husband can provide.

Full Disclosure: (I always enjoy the full disclosure ploy. It somehow implies that the discloser possesses candor even greater than that wielded by Messrs. Halperin and Heilemann) I have always wanted to be one of those wonky post-election analysts, and having survived yesterday’s snowpocalypse, I have decided that now is the time to step up and lay claim to what is rightly mine. What follows is my analysis of the 2012 presidential election.

Before we begin I would like to stress that you will need to read very carefully, because my wonkiness is far wonkier than any other commentator on the scene today, and that includes Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harry-Perris.

Today I visited two grocery stores in search of basic staples--eggs, vegetables, sliced luncheon meats, Jack Daniels, cheese, bread–and discovered they were still mostly empty after Saturday’s panic buying. Why were people panic buying on Saturday? Because there was a snow storm forecast. This storm carried the possibility of dumping as much as a foot of snow on lower Michigan over a 48 hour period.

Now, for those of you not familiar with basic principles of geography, which is to say, Americans, Michigan is located in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Annual snow fall averages range between 15 feet and 40 inches, with metropolitan Detroit laying claim to the latter total. The average high temperature in January is below freezing. In other words, if you lived here, you would not be a stranger to winter weather.

What then caused otherwise rational people–okay, people no less irrational than any other Reality-TV-watching and celebrity-voyeuristic Americans–to engage in such irrational behavior? The only possible explanation is the way local media started a drumbeat of dire weather predictions some 36 hours before the storm was actually due to hit. This is part of the sensationalization of weather which is arguably one of the most disgusting aspects of popular American culture (Miley Cyrus aside).

A basic rule should be that snow in January is not newsworthy. Cold weather in January is normal. Hot, humid weather in July is normal. Thunderstorms in July are not newsworthy. If a foot of snow were to fall next July in Detroit that would be worth covering, but not in January.

Everyone seems to agree that news stations have gone overboard in their treatment of normal weather events. Everybody understands that snow is normal. Despite this, it seems if the media repeats the same story, distorts its meaning and refuses to report the truth, people will, despite their knowing better, accept those stories and act accordingly, even if they know the stories are lies, and even if they know it is not in their best interests to do so.