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Friday, May 30, 2014

Foreign Policy Is A Joke (No Really, They Are All Laughing!)

You know at some point this stuff just is pathetic. This entire administration should be taking a moment to look itself in the mirror and give itself a serious pep-talk and calling a help line of some sort. This, after the press openly laughs at comments made by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki after she claimed President Barack Obama “Doesn’t give himself enough credit for what he’s done around the world.”

Reporters clearly found her statement questionable and followed up with several questions about the president’s foreign policy. The questions seemed to be focused on the specific point of "What?".

One reporter asked the audacious question this way, "For What?" by which he means, what does Obama specifically deserve credit for regarding foreign policy? Psaki cited his accomplishments like; engagement initiatives like Iran, the U.S. involvement in Ukraine, efforts to dive in and engage around the world.

Her answer led yet another reporter to point out that “Russia has still annexed Crimea” and there has been very little success in dealing with Iran. Watching the video, it doesn't take long for Ms. Psaki to react to the rooms chuckling in a manner that makes you think someone just made a dirty pun about penetrating the back end of our allies but doesn't yet realize what they said came across as hilarious.

 

The question is asked, does the President give himself enough credit for his foreign policy successes? Well, the state department attempted to answer that question and the press openly mocked them. I'd say that's an opening vote of 'NO!'. It's been years since Obama's greatest (and arguably easiest decision of his Presidency) foreign policy accomplishment of slaying of Bin Laden. Since then we have seen Syria gassing, Libya revolting, Russia annexing, and China boating. Well, I've give him a little leeway, after all he's been very busy with his schedule.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Worst Boss Ever

Last week, the DNC proposed a bumper sticker showing Obama with the phrase 'Like a Boss'.













Let's make this clear. Obama is not 'Like a Boss'. 

In the real world, successful bosses hold people accountable and accept responsibility when something goes wrong. A successful boss doesn't rely on the independent media of keeping him appraised to the comings and goings of Washington when his own phone that he brags about so much could get him the answers, and accountability, that a boss would demand.

There is a common underlying theme whenever one of these stories breaks that center around a nightmarish trifecta of absence of leadership, abuse of power, and rhetoric that never holds anyone accountable.

At this point you start looking over the docket of programs whose expenses have began to skyrocket and you start to take the cynical view of "What is going to be the next scandal?" Government programs are sky-rocketing; Tracfone (Obama-phone) usage, food-stamp usage, medicaid expansion, welfare expansion, and the number of people on disability all have sky-rocketed both in the wake of the '08 financial crisis, and continue to expand and inflate during this "recovery" that is on it's 6th year with no real indication that we will ever return to pre-crisis levels of employment.

Indeed, Obama is following the same pattern of crisis management he’s used for all of his scandals. Ignore all the warnings until they can no longer be ignored because someone on cable news actually read a report from the Investigator General. Then express stunned outrage. Promise accountability after a full investigation – but make clear, no action can be taken until the investigation is complete. Use this time to hold up investigations and clam up the people in the know. Perhaps fire another temporary administrator who was months away from retiring, or crack down on whistleblowers, and ignore inquiries from Congress, pointing out the stone walled investigation proves that there is nothing wrong. Six months later, when most Americans have moved on to other things, calling them “phony scandals.”

And when something is too difficult to address using the power of the White House, use social media.

But the scandals keep coming. The administrations 'wait for the storm to pass over' approach is seemingly always met with another report, another audit, or another FOIA that reveals another scandal, or picks open the scab of an older one. As many people begin to question our governments ability to accomplish things from collecting taxes to running hospitals, the only action this President can seem to take is to drum up another round of ways he can make things better. Seemingly oblivious to the lives and wealth that are being destroyed at rates that even twenty four hour news has trouble pacing.

No, there is no real aspect of this President that is 'Like a Boss'. Even a bad boss would lash out and flex his or her power and authority in some poorly thought out manner. One could suppose that "I have a pen, and I have a phone." was an attempt at such a maneuver. No, who we have sitting in the White House today is your 'just-getting-by' 9 to 5 employee. Who shows up 5 minutes late to meetings, take an extra 20 minutes for lunch, spends his afternoons watching YouTube when he should be writing reports. Then when the project is due he looks to his co-workers to bail him out. Uses terms like "We're 99% done" for 3 weeks in a row, and can be seen around the water cooler every morning from for the same 45 minute interval, talking about his plans for the weekend.

Obama isn't like a boss, he's like that prick from work everyone goes home at night and complains about to their spouse. Every office has one, if not more, and somehow we made him the President.




Monday, May 12, 2014

Most Popular Superhero/Villian by State

After a totally work related discussion with a co-worker, it was decided that a listing of the most prominent comic book hero/villain from each state needed to be created. After hours of scouring the Marvel/DC/Dark Horse/Image comic book databases, and applying a tie breaker formula based on IMDB prominence. I bring you the list of the 50 (plus District of Columbia!) best Characters from each of the states!

Note: I attempted to avoid using characters who simply have a first appearance from a state or whose origin stories take place over a well established place of birth. But, with so many scantily populated states, you can dig all you want, you aren't going to find a hero or villain who actually claim some of these.

Cottonmouth
Alabama - Cottonmouth (Burchell Clemens)
     Had to dig pretty deep to find this character.

Alaska - Cyclops (Scott Summers)
    The Summers family does not appear to be fans of the 48 Continuous states.

Arizona - Warpath (James Proudstar) 
     Warpath's slated appearance in X:Men - DOFP helped him eek out his brother Thunderbird.

Arkansas - Razorback (Buford Hollis)
    From a list of no-names, this one seems the most appropriate.

California - Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
   Plenty of names from California, hard to argue against one of the core Justice League members.

Colorado - Mirage (Danielle Moonstar)
   Martian Manhunter claims Colorado as his home, but not many big names are born there.

Connecticut - Green Goblin (Norman Osborn)
   The Osborn family has roots in Hartford.

Corruptor
Delaware - Corruptor (Jackson Day)
   Not too many heroes setting up shop in Newark between NYC and DC.

District of Columbia - Steel (John Henry Irons)
   Shaq will save the day in DC.

Florida - Ant Man (Scott Lang)
   The Non-Scientist rendition of Ant Man who will be the basis of an upcoming Marvel movie.

Georgia - U.S. Agent (John Walker)
   You would think some of the more vein heroes would set up shop here with the advent of 24/7 cable news.

Hawaii - Havok (Alex Summers)
   See what I mean about the Summers family?

Idaho - Leader (Sam Sterns)
   A Household name... just as soon as they make Incredible Hulk 2...

Illinois - The Beast (Hank McCoy)
   Using my cinema weighted formula for determining popularity, Hank beats out Johnny Blaze by a furry blue noze.

Indiana - Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes)
   Indiana, Home of Captain America's Understudy.

Iowa - Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
   Another state that may change soon depending on Bart Allen's involvement in future DC movie projects.

Kansas - Superman (Clark Kent)
   I have several stacks of adoption papers that say Clark Kent is a Kansas native.

Asbestos Lady
Kentucky - Asbestos Lady (Victoria Murdock)
   This is more so a guess then anything, come on Kentucky, you gotta work with me here.

Louisiana - Gambit (Remy LeBeau)
   Cajin through and through.

Maine - Luthor Robinson
   Luthor's biggest accomplishment in Marvel comics is not getting killed by Namor.

Maryland - Guy Gardner
   The Garden state has a Gardner... I see what you did there DC, well played.

Massachusetts - Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers)
   Repeated cartoon appearances help her beat out Emma Frost's brief appearance in the Wolverine origins movie.

Michigan - Firestorm (Jason Rusch)
    DC comic's present incarnation of a long standing character.

Bazooka
Minnesota - Bazooka (David L. Katzenbogen)
   That's right, I dipped into the G.I. Joe universe for Gopher state.... Deal!

Mississippi - Rogue (Anna Marie)
   Marvel has little lack of southerners.

Missouri - Whirlwind - David Cannon
   Small coincidence that a person with tornado like abilities is from the Midwest.

Montana - Montana (Jackson Brice)
   And the award for least original entry on this list goes to...

Nebraska - Kid Flash (Wally West)
   A surprising large list of second tier DC heroes to choose from including Star Girl and S.T.R.I.P.E.

Nevada - Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson)
   One of the original Justice Society members, Kent is still part of he Dr. Fate lore in present day comics.

Rabid
New Hampshire - Rabid (Leonard Speck)
   Had to dip into alternate universes to get a character for the Granite State.

New Jersey - Ultron
   Technically created, not born, this will be a household name next summer.

New Mexico - Multiple Man (James Arthur)
   You hired Eric Dane to give you 2 lines? Really Fox?

New York - Spiderman (Peter Parker)
   And let the debate for greatest New York Superhero begin... But with 5 movies and multiple animated series, video games, and children Halloween costumes, at this point, I think the answer is pretty clear.

North Carolina - The Question (Renee Montoya)
   The answer to most people's question of... "Who?"

North Dakota - Mentallo
   If 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D' goes for a few years, this character could fit into a 'Fixer' Story arc.

Ohio - Hulk (Bruce Banner)
   Ohio is no longer a blue or red state, it's now Green!

Oklahoma - Wyatt Wingfoot
   Sorry Doc Sampson, The Fifth member of the Fantastic Four is carrying the sooner state.

Oregon - Madame Web (Cassandra Webb)
   Little piece of trivia, the voice of Madame Web in the old 90's Spider-Man show was performed by Stan Lee's wife, Joan Lee.

Pennsylvania - War Machine (James Rhodes)
   Rhody is riding on the coat tails of Iron Man for the title of Penn's top hero, but a Dr. Strange movie could tip the scales pretty quickly.

Snapper Carr
Rhode Island - Snapper Carr
   A Character that always seems to pop up in JLA story arcs, frequently referred to as the League's Mascot.

South Carolina - Ellie Mae Skags
   There is no lack of fictional characters like Stephen Colbert and Frank Underwood, but not many of them have super powers.

South Dakota - Desmond Miles
   The Assassins Creed descendant and modern day protagonist of the popular video game series.

Tennessee - Mister Fear (Starr Saxon)
   A hard find among the slew of Country Music characters that stereotypically originate from volunteer state.

Texas - Blue Beetle (Jamie Reyes)
   A Staple character of Young Justice.

Orgazmo
Utah - Orgazmo (Joseph Young)
   Still waiting for the Marvel Universe/Trey Parker Universe cross over.

Vermont - Master Pandemonium (Martin Preston)
   A regular villian in the Marvel Universe.

Virginia - Boom-Boom (Tabitha Smith)
   Because of it's proximity to DC, a lot of characters call Virginia home, but only a few were born there.

Washington - Poison Ivy (Pamela Lillian Isley)
   Though never stated flatly that she was born there, she is the most prominent character from the state.

West Virginia - Starshine (Brandy Clarke)
   The only earth born Space Knight.

Wisconsin - Quasar (Wendell Elvis Vaughn)
   This guy always seems to pop up during the most epic battles in the Marvel universe.

Wyoming - Jonah Hex
   Not your everyday western hero.

If you are a little disappointed by your states contribution to a super hero universe, just give Stan Lee a call, I'm looking at you Kentucky!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

#Warfare

After the monumental success of Jen Psaki's "promise of hashtag", the administration is scrapping the bottom of the 'ever-more-ridiculous' barrel to come up with what is undoubtedly what they consider to be the best idea that they have. Pander to people who are trendy. To this end, along comes no less than Michelle Obama, the woman who stands behind the man who leads from behind, with this contribution:

"Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families. It's time to #BringBackOurGirls. - mo"

Her pouty duck face of sadness will only provide some mirth to the Boko Haram terrorists who have kidnapped hundreds of adolescent schoolgirls as fodder for the sex slave trade. The recent attacks also resulted in over 300 people slaughtered in the process: throats cut, shot in the head, some burned alive.

Hastag warfare to this date has had as much impact in Nigeria as it has had in Ukraine. This, in all fairness, is also equivalent to productiveness of the administrations efforts to stop chemical warfare in Syria and come to a peace deal with Palestine and Isreal. Which (for those of you who are not picking up satire and vehemince in my text up to this point, is nada, zilch, zippo, nothing.)

This administration has had absolutely zero impact on world events over the past year.

Which begs the question, why through up this petty attempt at solace? Does Michelle actually believe that the families of the girls will receive some comfort from this narcissistic little tweet? Pretty sure market penetration of twitter is pretty low in Nigeria considering only about a third of the population even has internet access. Let's assume for a moment then that the answer is 'No'. 

Hashtag warfare, shockingly enough, is not about winning over any enemy abroad, but about winning easy points at home. The hope is that as people see this sorrowful face spread across twitter, a sympathetic reaction will befall not the victims of the violence of Nigeria, but rather those here who are powerless to stop them, our leadership.
After all, what could the US do to combat these kinds of atrocities? 

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton (also hopping on the hashtag bandwagon) repeatedly and inexplicably refused to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, despite many attempts by the CIA, FBI, and members of Congress to have her make that declaration in the wake of a 2011 bombing in Abuja (Last November, under Sec. Kerry, the group was finally added). This was hand-in-glove with the refusal to recognize a terrorist risk in Benghazi because, after all, the Obama campaign kept insisting that groups like the al Qaeda-affiliated Boko Haram were on the run.

In the end, we find ourselves once again reacting with disgust while hiding the paper trail that makes is obvious that we shouldn't be all that surprised by what's happening in the first place. It is apparent that this administration is concerned first, foremost, and almost exclusively about one war, the war of perception. Specifically, making sure the perception of him and his Presidency is just as trendy and hip as the hashtags that he is now basing his legacy on.

Monday, May 5, 2014

An expensive Cinco de Mayo?

My wife is going to be upset when she hears that the war on drugs is going to be reflected in the price of her next margarita this Cinco de Mayo.

About 98 percent of limes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico. But our neighbors to the south are feeling seriously squeezed by a shortage of the beloved citrus fruit. The wedges of green used to be tossed on plates and smashed on the side of glasses with little thought, but many businesses have reconsidered how they use the fruit in recent weeks. Droughts, cold weather, and in Colima, a big lime-producing state, a bacterium infecting trees have crippled production, creating a shortage of limes and other fresh produce. This shortage has led to people treating the the small sour treat like a big sweet commodity.

In the U.S., grocery stores are now charging an average of 53 cents for a single lime, compared to 21 cents per fruit at this time last year, equaling a 152% increase in cost, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

With prices that high, reports are starting to pop up of highway robbery taking place these regions. Thieves in Mexico are stealing limes by the truckloads, including the aforementioned drug cartels trying to cash in. This escalation of thievery results in some producers hiring armed guards to protect this fruit. An escalation that only adds to the cost and continues this now vicious cycle of cost increases.

So when you are raising a cactus shaped glass to the heroics of Mexican Independence, you can spend some time theorizing your own dramatic tail of your lime wedges great and dramatic journey through the desert and pandemics, sneaking around armed thugs, crossing the border into America, and finally fulfilling it's seedling dream of adding flavor to your drink as you sway back and forth to Jimmy Buffet.

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!!!