The Liars' Den

Month: February, 2012

Chapter V – The War on Vajayjay

 Let’s just start with the word vagina. Vagina. It sounds like an infection at best. Maybe a medical instrument. ‘Hurry, nurse, bring me the vagina.’ Vigina. Vagina. It doesn’t matter how many times you say the word, it never sounds like a word you want to say. In Great Neck, New York they call it a ‘pussycat.’ A woman told me there her mother used to tell her, ‘Don’t wear panties underneath your pajamas, dear,  you need to air out your pussycat.’

 –          Vagina Monologues

Update – 2/24/12:  Now includes titles and links to the articles referenced, as well as the names of the authors.

American’s having the attention span of a two year old should probably come as no surprise. This epidemic, although having a variable affect depending on the individual, is easily identifiable with simple observation of the many examples provided to support this claim. You need only observe the carousel-o-douchebags being shot to the top of the republican wanna-be nominees on almost a bi-weekly basis. If you are any decent at developing mathematical and/or statistical equations that can highlight and identify the rate at which each douche holds the top spot, followed by what the media calls “inexplicably” dropping in the polls like a ten pound weight in a swimming pool, please provide me with this at your earliest convenience. If you can even manage to give it a fancy name and provide color graphs and pictures to get the attention of the American public, I promise you that we shall change the world my friend.

Speaking of attention spans, the “news” coverage on the issues surrounding contraceptives, abortion pills, women’s rights, religion, and cherry kool-aid has apparently been delegated to page 2. Although I have spent considerable time discussing in the previous chapters, my findings on a somewhat similar topic proved too much to not share.

Recently, the state – pardon me, as the fancy people like to call it – the “Commonwealth” of Virginia has for some time been considering a bill in the legislature that would require any woman who wished to have an abortion – be it for medical or personal reason, except in the case of emergencies – to also have an ultrasound done prior to the abortion procedure. The governor of the “Commonwealth” of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, who had previously said he would sign the bill if it reached his desk, reversed course on his decision to support and sign the bill, indicating that he may have slight objections to ordering/forcing/demanding a woman to undergo a medical procedure – the ultrasound (Washington Examiner). While that is indeed an interesting tidbit, I wanted to point out something very important, as many on the “right” have belittled anyone who was in opposition to this bill since being introduced.

Mid-Blog-Post-Note: The intention of this blog was not for me to anyway stick up for any members of the press or writers of other opinion pieces. However, in the instance I am specifically referring to, of which I will post the exact details tomorrow, a “reporter/author” at one publication – leaning towards the right – blatantly lied in an article she wrote, to the extent that if each lie you told turned into excrement – or shit – then she would literally be full of it to the point of popping – similar in nature to the snozberry girl Violet in Willy Wonka – merely for the purpose of attempting to refute another “reporter’s/author’s” writing in their respective publication – leaning towards the left.

So to paraphrase – the author of the article in Slate  the publication leaning more left, let’s call her Linda Dahlia Lithwick, wrote about the Virginia lawmakers in the House producing a bill that in essence could be identified as ultrasound by forced penetration – thus equating it with rape. While it is slightly, and only slightly, an exaggeration, I see the argument that requiring and/or forcing an ultrasound – which could include a transvaginal ultrasound – on an unwilling participant, is somewhat similar to the legal definition of rape.

Although slightly overstated, I think the point was well made. Extreme attempts to create extreme laws need extreme comparisons. Apparently, an author at a right-leaning publication – let’s call her Rita –  Tina Korbe over at Hotair felt the opposite. Rita Tina felt it was preposterous to even attempt to compare an ultrasound – be it abdominal or transvaginal – to rape, and thus Linda’s Dahlia’s commentary was an insult to rape victims everywhere. One of Rita’s (just remember R = Right leaning publication, L = Left leaning publication) Tina’s comments went something along the lines of “not all ultrasounds are transvaginal, dummy!” all the while trying to disprove Linda Dahlia by basically calling her stupid, and then making up shit that she hoped would somehow disprove Linda’s Dahlia’s claim.

While Rita Tina is correct in that not all ultrasounds performed are transvaginal, and the type of ultrasound performed could – according to the law – be determined by the doctor performing the ultrasound, I decided to do a bit of research on my own. What I found was that Rita Tina thought she could make shit up and basically get away with it. Well, my bad.

One more thing – Rita Tina posted a link an excerpt from an article – calling the equating of an ultrasound to rape “dishonest” – containing the link to the VA House bill that she thought would prove her point, as though she had studied it thoroughly. What she hadn’t done was check the date, which was January 10, 2012, the date that the bill was originally re-introduced. The bill was amended on February 10, 2012 – it stated:

“Except in the case of a medical emergency, at least 24 hours before the performance of an abortion a qualified medical professional trained in sonography and working under the direct supervision of a physician licensed in the Commonwealth shall perform fetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of fetal heart tine services on the patient undergoing the abortion for the purposes of determining gestational age.”

Basically, they want a woman seeking an abortion to have something stuck up their hoo-ha so that maybe that thought will make them not want to have an abortion…

Mid-Blog-Post-Note: I have no actual comments on the whole abortion issue at this time as that is not my reasoning in writing about this. The only purpose of today’s writing is to highlight an outright lie told by “Rita” with no regard that someone might actually believe the garbage she puts on paper. Shit like this is put down and distributed to a large number of people who can’t do research and can’t determine when a fact is a fact is a fact.

 To review:

Virginia wants women having abortions to undergo ultrasounds to determine the gestational (actual age) of the fetus – nevermind this can be accurately determined using other methods.

Many people, including Linda Dahlia Lithwick over at Slate, are upset over the government forcing a medical procedure on an unwilling participant. In some cases – and I’ll touch on this more in a moment – this medical procedure involves a device being inserted into a woman’s vagina. Because of this fact, Linda Dahlia, in an attempt to make a point, compared the requirement as being similar to rape.

Rita Tina over at Hotair, who seems to be full of hot air and likes to make shit up, as well as many other liars out there in the “news-entertainment-we make shit up-and-you believe-it business” said “not all ultrasounds are transvaginal.”

According to my sources, which include:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center : “Transvaginal Ultrasound: …This type of ultrasound…is often used in the first trimester of pregnancy.”

The American College of Radiology, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine Practice Guidelines: “Fetal ultrasound should only be performed when there is a valid medical reason…” “The vaginal ultrasound or transvaginal ultrasound is actually used more frequently if the patient is 12 weeks pregnant or less.”

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh: “Transvaginal ultrasound… is often used early in pregnancies.”

The Brookside Associates Medical Education Division – Military Obstetrics & Gynecology: “First trimester scanning can be performed using either an abdominal approach or a vaginal approach. In circumstances where both approaches are readily available, the greater detail provided by transvaginal scans usually outweighs other considerations, and is preferred. “

There you have it. Although transvaginal ultrasounds are definitely not the only kind of ultrasound, the bill up for vote only specified that the method of ultrasound would be chosen by the doctors and radiologists performing it using common medical standards and methods acceptable within the community. If transvaginal ultrasounds are recommended and preferred by the referenced medical institutions above (and many,  many,  many,  more I am sure of), which method do you think is going to be used the majority of the time?

I may write more about this tomorrow, but it is late and I am tired. Otherwise I would probably see if I could count how many times I wrote vagina/vaginal/transvagina and then promise to never do it again. Seriously, I’m going to start staying away from the women stories; you ladies and your damn drama.

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Chapter IV – Anything He Can Do, We Can Do Better

“Notorious BIG said it best: ‘Either you’re slingin’ crack-rock, or you’ve got a wicked jump-shot.’ Nobody wants to work for it anymore. There’s no honor in taking that after school job at Mickey D’s. Honor’s in the dollar, kid. So I went the white boy way of slinging crack-rock: I became a stock broker. ”

– Giovanni Ribisi (Boiler Room)

 Good ol’ tax reform. A topic no one really understands, everyone knows we need, and stupid people think they have the answer to. Mitt (ens) Romney released his today, as did Obama, with some “news outlets” calling them “competing tax reform plans.” Seriously though, if one guy is running for the republican nomination to become the President of the United States, and one guy is already the President of the United States, then the two of them releasing something similarly titled on the same day shouldn’t classify it as “competing”. Because he’s pretty much the leader of the free world, and what his proposal actually contains could become the framework used for tax reform, Obama kind of wins by default. That would be like me releasing a “tax reform plan”, and saying it competes’ with Obama’s. The only thing my tax plan would compete with is the space in my frontal lobe that it would take up if I were to care enough to actually draft a tax reform plan. 

 So as I was saying, Obama released a tax reform plan today that focused on business tax reform, which identified the following five elements (not listed in their entirety – entirety can be found here):

1. Lower corporate tax rate to 28% while eliminating dozens of tax loopholes and subsidies

2. Reduce the effective rate on manufacturing to 25% while encouraging greater research and development

3. Establish a new minimum tax on foreign earnings, which addresses issues of moving production overseas and shifting profits abroad

4. Simplify and cut taxes for America’s small businesses

5. Restore fiscal responsibility and not add a dime to the deficit

In the context of this discussion, lets consider #4 and #5 boring and bring those up at a time yet to be determined. However, we’ll briefly add a little more detail to #1 through # 3.

1. Lower corporate tax rate to 28% – Normally, the Republicans, some of those on the right, the Mitt (ens) Romneys’ of the world, and others with any type of interest in the corporate tax rate would be ecstatic about this. Two reasons specifically: First it has the word “corporate” in it. Second, the words “lower tax rate.” If a Republican had proposed this, a bouncy house would have been rented and it would be well on the way to Boehner’s office. Unfortunately for them, those words are directly followed by the words “eliminating dozens of tax loopholes and subsidies.” To you and me, and – although I don’t like lumping everyone into the same category, but in this case the shoe fits – the rest of the 99.9999% of Americans, this is a decent thing. However, many “news” organizations (I like to refer to them as “Entertainment Corporations Who Like You To Think They Are Providing You With News” or “EC-WLY-TTT-APY-WN” – I’ll work on that later) will immediately  point to the fact that this means increased taxes for oil & gas companies, which is (only slightly) true. The exact wording, via one of my favorites, “…oil and gas companies would reportedly see their taxes go up while losing many large deductions and subsidies.” (Fox News)

The response this is supposed to elicit from you is one of anger, as they ignore the fact that these companies have been raking in billions upon billions in profit while they hire accountants, pay them a few million dollars to read the tax code line by line, and find loopholes and deductions that will save the company $50 million dollars a year. They also manage to place the word “subsidies” inconspicuously as the end of the sentence – as though not to point out that those subsidies (payments) are paid for by us – those stupid non-tax paying tax-payers. In their world, when the word is applied to the poor, it means welfare – but if applied to a multi-billion dollar oil/gas company, it means support to help keep the cost down.

In an effort to place a time limit on my writings today, I’ll skip # 2. I’ll come back to it when I have a few more minutes, but # 3 is as important – if not more so – than the others.

3. Establish a new minimum tax on foreign earnings, which addresses issues of moving production overseas and shifting profits abroad

Many corporations and better-off individuals would like you to think that the shit you see in movies or on TV, or read in books that should have been banned about off-shore accounts doesn’t really happen. That stuff is made up and if anyone happens to do it, it would probably those pesky i-talian mobsters trying to keep their cash flow hidden. They would like you to believe that all the money they have is tied up in (legit) investments or sitting in the vault at Bank of America collecting the one percent interest rate on an AARP combined checking/savings account. Personally, I call BS. I’ll look into this further, and provide the details in a more in depth manner at that time, but I just want to say that this is a good thing. Again, it may not be perfect, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Much more to come on this issue in the near future…

In others news:

According to this article (HotAir), religious freedom is the first casualty of the ObamaCare.

But, according to the study found here (Baylor University), religious institutions – specifically Catholic hospitals – have apparently been free to perform medical procedures that would – if strictly following the rules of their religion – banish them to hell for all eternity.

Hooray!!! Religious freedom lives another day in the good ol’ US of A!

 

Chapter III – Take Two Aspirin Between The Legs & Call Me When It’s Baseball Season

It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt. 

– Mark Twain

Happy Day After Presidents Day! Despite the extra day, this past weekend was somewhat slow in the news department, which may or may not be typical of a three day weekend. Friday ended with a bang though, as a foiled suicide bombing at the US Capital made me much appreciative of the work that those in the LE community do to keep us safe. Living in DC, the thought of a terrorist attack is something that you learn to keep in the back of your mind. Although I personally feel it’s a matter of when, and not if, you make sure to not let it affect your daily life.

Touching on what turned out to be a touchy subject last week – the HHS mandate that contraceptives be covered by health insurance plans, including those by certain religious institutions – there was quite a bit of frothing at the mouth from both sides that seems to have settled down as of today. I was involved in somewhat of a debate over whether what was happening was – as some called it, including myself – a “war on women’s rights” or was in fact an “attack on religious freedom by the Obama administration.” I did eventually concede though that the correct wording may not be “war on women’s rights.” Whatever you want to call it, I do feel there is something wrong with what is taking place, and the wrong doing is not being done by the Obama administration.

In the case that you are unfamiliar with every little happening here in DC, the House (of Representatives Republicans) Committee on Oversight & Government Reform held a hearing last Thursday to discuss what many Republicans – and some religious leaders – consider a infringement on religious liberty by the White House. Depending on who you talked to, or what “news” you caught it on, the hearing either had nothing to do with the contraceptive issue but instead was focused only on religious freedom, or had no women testifying on the issue of contraceptive. The actual title of the actual hearing was “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church & State. Has the Obama Admin. Trampled On Freedom Of Religion.” Now, should you wish to state that the purpose of the hearing was to discuss “religious freedom,” then your conclusion based on the title of the hearing could be made – and you are (only slightly) correct. However, if you were to say that the hearing had nothing to do with contraceptives and that the contraceptive issue is “liberal media spin,” then I would say you are sadly mistaken (and an idiot).

Secondly, if you were to believe some of the other worthless commentary on the “news” that “no women even testified at the hearing” (the hearing that wasn’t on contraceptives but religious freedoms being trampled on), then you too were sadly mistaken. [Mid-Blog-Post-Note: There was a whole huff puff about some girl from Georgetown University being the only woman invited to speak, then being ignored, but the facts paint a different picture, so I won’t mention that any further.]

So, what really happened at the hearing not on contraceptives but religious freedom in which no women were allowed to testify about contraceptives?”

  • Of the 11 individuals invited to testify, 10 were directly affiliated with religious institutions, with 8 of those being educational institutions (colleges) that would not be included in the exemption offered as a compromise by the HHS mandate. The exclusion of these institutions has nothing to do with them “not being religious enough” but rather has to do with the fact that they serve/employ people of various faiths. The eleventh witness invited was apparently a no-show, but given that he was from the organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State, perhaps he was busy handing out pamphlets at religious colleges?
  • In every single testimony given by an invited witness, the mandate on the requirement of providing contraceptives was discussed at length pretty much the entire time, except for the one guy who tried to make his point by telling a story about serving pork at a kosher restraunt.
  • 7 of the 10 witnesses invited to give testimony incorrectly identify the HHS mandate as including both contraceptives AND abortifacient drugs – otherwise known as “abortion causing drugs” or the “abortion pill.” This is false. The mandate specifically identifies only FDA approved contraceptives and specifically states it does not include any type of abortifacient drugs.
  • Laura Champion, M.D. Medical Director Calvin College Health Services states in her testimony that Calvin College – a Christian liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, MI [holla at all my Michigan peeps!!] – provides, and thus has no issue – providing contraceptives. The issue her particular institution has is in providing abortifacient drugs.
  • In a majority of the testimony provided, the emergency contraceptive drugs Plan B and Plan B One Step are identified as or identified as being in the category of abortifacient drugs. From a scientific and thus medical standpoint, this is blatantly false. The active ingredient in Plan B – levonorgestrel – is the same active ingredient (hormone) found in combined oral contraceptive pills (“The Pill“), with Plan B containing a higher dose. Additionally, the drug Ella is also mentioned on numerous occasions as being an abortifacient drug. This again is misleading on so many levels it irritates the shit out of me. While the active ingredient in Ellaulipristal acetate – is “technically” similar to a known “abortion causing drug” – mifepristone – it is important to note the substantial difference in the dose that Ella is given – as a emergency contraceptive – compared to mifepristone – which is a abortifacient, but is not covered in the HHS mandate or the FDA’s list of approved contraceptives: Dose of Ella for emergency contraceptive use: 30mg. Dose of mifepristone for abortion purposes: 600mg; in combination with another drug 2 days later. While I am no scientist, did not attend FAMU for pharmacology, and didn’t even register for a single pre-med class during my undergrad days, I can say with confidence that a large dose of any number of different drugs – Tylenol, Advil, Dayquil, Sudafed, Benadryl, children’s aspirin, Buffer, Excedrin, and possibly even Tums – is probably going to have a negative effect – including but not limited to DEATH – on any number of human subjects or organisms – thus “technically” placing them in the category of “killer drugs.” Therefore, in using the same logic, religious institutions should be allowed to deny the individuals they serve – regardless of religious affiliation – access to these drugs in the name of religious freedom and the prevention of death.

– In one final note on this subject, since no FDA approved contraceptive “terminates” an embryo, but rather “prevents fertilization or prevents the fertilized egg from implanting in the woman’s uterus (her womb) and starting to grow”, it is my belief that the whole discussion is not whether the mandate to provide contraceptives violates – and thus tramples on – religious freedom, but instead reignites the argument between science and religion of when life actually begins. Since it has been determined medically/scientifically impossible to state definitively when “life begins,” it appears as though the fight between science and religion will continue to wage on for the foreseeable future – albeit wrongly disguised as something else.

In other news:

  • In case you were wondering about the title of this chapter, this guy helped provide me with it. (USA Today)
  • It couldn’t possibly be the fact that your kid is 13 years old and drinking alcohol, it is clearly because the alcohol your 13 year old kid was drinking had caffeine in it. (WTOP)
  • I read two daily “papers” each day, one being what I would consider as leaning a bit far towards the direction of crazy. One thing I can always count on with this rag is them not having any shortage of old crotchety looking white guys, dressed in their best Sunday comb-over writing about the black folk and trying to some how identify with them on a LL Cool J or Ice-T type of level. I’m not sure why they do it, but it seems to occur at least once a week. It makes me laugh for two reasons. First, imagine a headline reading “Why African-Americans Really Hate Obama,” then below the article sits a nice picture of this guy.  [Note: Having Issues uploading the picture – will try again later so that it provides the full effect] (Examiner)
  • The second reason this provides me with a sense of amusement: Because they are serious. Not 98% percent serious, 2% joking, but 100% serious. And they expect you to somehow consider their writing as worth the 5 minutes it takes to read, then re-read just to make sure you read it right. Today’s article by crotchety, comb-over, “best serious face” guy was this: “Black (liberal) History Month.” If you wish to prove to yourself that it is possible to waste five minutes of your life that you will never be able to get back, then please, read this article. Otherwise I sum it up here: “Why oh why are the majority of African Americans Democrats? Handouts. Don’t they know democrats founded the KKK? Slavery. Republicans have always been pro-black. Welfare state. Bush began the voucher program for schools that Obama is now taking away from the black children. Racism. Republicans love the blacks. Liberal political skew. Liberals want to destroy you and the country. Modern form of slavery.”  Really? The whole “liberal vs. conservative,” “republican vs. democrat,” “us vs. them” mentality is one of the main reasons I started writing this blog. I’ll write about this later as it is a subject I am passionate about and will prove to be quite lengthy, but for now I will just point to Exhibit A mentioned above. The crazies on the right are not in any way the only ones guilty of this, so don’t for a second think I am simply targeting “conservatives” by highlighting this article today. I promise you, I am all about equal opportunity when discussing stupidity.
  • Baseball season begins soon and my first way too early prediction is: Boston will suck again this year. It may prove impossible to repeat the amazingness they pulled off last season, but regardless, they will provide nothing to Red Sox fans everywhere except heartbreak and a whole lot of suck.
  • Facts to validate my facts can be found here
  • Here 
  • Here
  • and here

Happy Fat Tuesday Mofo’s!

Chapter II – Promises Not Kept, Hearts Broken

 I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises.  

– John F. Kennedy

 Much talk has been had this week following the release of Obama’s 2013 budget. Critics of the budget proposal are now pointing to the fact that Obama has broken a promise he made in 2009 to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. What they don’t mention is that the President’s proposal is simply a suggestion and that the actual money spent by the federal government and any federal program is ultimately determined by Congress. I don’t really feel like getting into the details of appropriations and continuing resolutions, but just want to point out the fact the budget proposed by this president, and any president for that matter, is a proposal, a recommendation, a “hey I think you should try the McRib but you can get the filet-o-fish if you really want to” type of deal.

I will be happy to point out that the Senate hasn’t passed a budget resolution in almost three years, but blame can’t simply be placed on the Dems as so often is the case when the words “senate” and “budget resolution” are spewed in the same sentence. Yes, it is true that the Senate is ultimately responsible for passing a budget, but if the “Ryan Plan” is the best that the House can do, then placing blame 100% on the Senate, and thus Democrats, is like an owner of a Toyota blaming the company for the inability of their car to fly to the moon.  In order for that to happen, then a lot of different people with different beliefs and different goals have to work together with one common goal in mind, getting a Camry into space. However, if whoever is supplying the rocket fuel doesn’t like the fact that Toyota hires unions to build their vehicles and decides all they are going to do is provide them with jell-o, then the chances of reaching the moon in a car are nil.

I apologize for my analogy as it probably makes zero sense now that it is out of my head, but the point is that the whole budget/discretionary spending vs. mandatory spending/tax this-don’t tax that/we have a spending problem not a revenue problem/everyone pay their fair share crap is all related and at this present moment it is a giant shit show that will not be solved so long as politicians on both sides are simply focused on their own careers rather than the people that provide them with their jobs in the first place.

Moving on, along with “fiscal policy” the other topic that makes my head spin is insurance. It wasn’t something I had planned on discussing today as my thoughts on it are difficult to sum up in the time period I have limited myself to for this particular post. With that said, I was on the facebook and read something that irked me. The point of the actual statement was difficult to understand, but based on previous posts of this particular individual, I gathered that the basic premise of the statement was something along the lines of “insurance (healthcare) is not a right…people who have jobs have to pay for their insurance…blah blah blah…insurance is a benefit of hard work….liberal agenda…blah blah blah…obama is the devil…. wait lists for healthcare…blah blah blah.” Let’s get something straight here; whether or not “Obamacare” or any government mandated insurance, public option, universal healthcare or anything closely associated with those ever fully comes to fruition in this country, hard work, education, stature,  pay grade or income level should have no impact whether a person lives or dies. Healthcare is and always should be a basic right. No one person has ever needed medical assistance (health “care”) and been denied entry into an emergency room.  However, people with jobs have been provided the “benefit” of better healthcare through their employment, and that so called “benefit” has proven to save a life or two for those who have it. This, while countless people who may be less fortunate than those with employer sponsored plans – for whatever reason – have been provided with the “minimum” amount of healthcare mandated by both the state and the fed, to ensure the hospital cannot be sued for negligence. Consequently, people without insurance die because they didn’t have the “benefit” of decent healthcare. Living and dying is not a “benefit.” The entire healthcare industry in this country is broken, from pharmaceutical companies to insurance companies, to companies that design and develop medical products and any other company that falls within the trillion dollar industry known as the “healthcare industry.” When profits can in any way shape or form dictate whether a human being lives or dies, then something needed to be done. If someone can live one more day or 7,650 more days because I paid an extra 5% in taxes, then so be it. Now, I do not support everything that is in the Affordable Care Act, nor do I lack the intelligence to understand that it can be improved upon so that it is more efficient and cost effective. The healthcare industry did not become broken overnight and there is no reason to expect one bill, one president, or one congress to be capable of fixing it as quickly. But, the policies mandated in the ACA is a step in the right direction.

Note: Interesting article here highlighting the gap in health insurance in correlation to income. I think it is somewhat ironic that it talks about the fact that in addition to uninsured adults “30 percent of insured adults have had to give up medical care (doctor visits, prescriptions, specialist care, and recommended tests and treatments) because of costs.” I guess I should consider myself lucky to receive the “benefit” of company sponsored health insurance that I pay into each month, yet just last month I had to choose between filling prescriptions and paying the rent.

In other news:

  • Florida Senate Reverses Stance on USF Budget Cuts; Budget to Increase 1.14 Billion, Become US(S)F – University of (SUPER) South Florida” – Wait, never mind. (TBO.com)
  • It seems those on the left as well as those on the right have their favorite polls that they often use in an attempt to justify one position over the other. However, it appears as though the pundits, and thus the pollsters, are having difficulty determining which side is right and which side is up, I mean left. Gallup, a favorite of those “progressive lefty leaning liberal media” types, published this one that was quickly picked up by those whose stated goal is for “Barack Obama to be a one term president:”

85% of Small Businesses Not Hiring. (Hot Air)

  • However, just as interesting is this poll, via Rasmussen, a typically “righty god-fearing, fiscal conservative” type, indicating this:

52% Say GOP Agenda in Congress is Extreme (Rasmussen)

Interesting indeed.

Chapter I – I’m From Polk County B*tch

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” – Albert Einstein

Being a news junkie, I have a habit of checking the news sites from places I have lived in the past. After moving to Michigan, I regularly checked the Tallahassee Democrat Online for years, and probably still would if they hadn’t started charging. So naturally, having been a former resident of Tampa, my daily dose of news includes Tampa Bay Online. I caught a story yesterday pertaining to the release of the 2012 state budget plan by the Senate Budget Committee. The gist of the story was the fact that the budget plan included cuts to all state funded universities in Florida. Not just cuts, but somewhat significant cuts at that. For example:

  • University of Florida: 26%
  • Florida State University: 22%

Both of those numbers represent a reduction in funds that will no doubt have a  impact on many programs, but in the end tuition will be raised, a couple of Intro to Marketing courses will be cut and no one will notice the difference. A janitor may get fired, but if Newt Gingrich gets elected then 12-year-old kids will be replacing all janitors anyways, so no harm no foul right? That’s what I thought, until I noticed the cut for my alma mater, THE University of South Florida.

The reduction in state funding for USF: 58%

The number five miraculously paired with the number eight. Two percentage points shy of sixty. Eight percentage points over half. Two and a quarter times UF’s cuts. Over two and a half times FSU’s cuts. Hey, at least it’s not 85%.

Hogwash!

In order to clearly recognize the reasons USF was blatantly picked to be the black sheep of the Florida University System, one need only look at a certain state senator from the wonderful county of Polk, a Mr. JD Alexander. Quick background on JDA and USF: USF has a  couple of “satellite” campuses around Central FLA, with one particular campus known as USF Poly (or Polytechnic) residing in JDA’s district. So to make a long story short, JDA has been pushing for USF Poly to split from USF altogether, thus establishing another public university in the state. There are any number of reasons this is probably not the best thing to spend tax-payer money on, but my feeling is that  it would basically place another state university right in the middle of two schools with a combined enrollment of over a hundred thousand, which sit no more than 100 miles apart from each other. But I don’t live in Florida any longer so what do I care. The big story is that JDA wants USF Poly to separate from USF, USF President Judy Genshaft (whose last name incorrectly implies she is getting the gentle shaft from JDA) fired USF Poly’s chancellor in December (fired may not be the appropriate wording – but close enough) creating a shit storm for JDA and thus making his dream less of a reality in the near term.

In response to President Genshaft’s move in December, JDA – who coincidentally serves as the Chair of the Budget Committee and the Joint Legislative Budget Commission – apparently thought it was in his best interest to drop the hammer on USF and the thousands of students who attend the institution in an effort to better their education. It also appears as though JDA has in some way acquired, either through coercion or through monetary exchange, the biggest set of gonads the state of Florida has ever laid witness to.

The fact that he would attempt to play this hand in such an inconspicuous way should indicate that A. he is the dumbest politician alive or B. he really thinks he would get away with it unscathed. In all honesty though, I would consider option “B” to be a direct result of option “A”.

Furthermore, the fact that USF is having to waste more time and more money trying to rectify the situation only causes further damage to the institution as a whole, and thus proves that when it comes to politicians, there is nothing they won’t do to further their own agenda.

More to come on this later. Here’s a link to a TBO article highlighting the details around this whole fiasco and appropriately labeling it as an “ambush” by JDA.

In other news:

  • Floyd Mayweather took too many hits to the head (Yahoo! Sports)
  • AT&T sticking it to the man their customers (Boston Herald)
  • “Birth Control” and “Abortion” now mean the same thing. Oh, and Obama hates Catholics  (Fox News)
  • I am succeeding at making a decent wage yet still appearing poor compared to these folks (WTOP)

Interesting tidbits:

  • Republicans on birth control: “We stand 100% with the Catholic Church and will not tolerate a war on religious freedom.” Republicans on extending unemployment benefits: “We do not hold the same beliefs as the Catholic Church.” (Crooks & Liars)

Shouts:

  • Happy Valentines Day to my wonderful girlfriend. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts the decision has been made to cancel the normal celebration of VD on the day that Halmark chose (today). Steps will be taken to ensure the “holiday” is celebrated tomorrow. Plus, everything will be 75% off, so it’ll be like we’re saving money twice!