Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Message - 2012 Edition

May you have a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving.

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family and friends. Times have been rough, more so these past three years than possibly ever before. Those friends have come through for me in more ways than they could possibly imagine and for that, I'm grateful.

I am thankful for my great-grandparents getting out of Europe and Russia before the war started.

I am thankful for my public school education, although the state of Kentucky has a lot of work to do. The education system in this state needs work. Teachers need to teach, not show the movie Forrest Gump on a rainy day because they don't want to deal with students. No excuse for having seen that movie five times while in the public school system, especially when it had nothing to do with the curriculum. Seriously, teachers. Get with it. A history class? Sure. Other classes, no way.

I am thankful to those of you who have forgiven me for doing that which will not be mentioned, although it gave me my first fifteen minutes of fame. If you don't know what I am talking about here, please message me appropriately. Strike that. In 2009, I was told by a friend of mine that used to be on mainstage at Second City that he loved it. These guys know what they are talking about. They do this for a living. It makes up for all the death threats that I recieved, whether those were done in a joking manner or not.

I am thankful for our troops serving us overseas even if I disagree with why we went over there in the first place, except for Afghanistan which was justified.

I am thankful to be living in a free country which allows the freedom of religion. On that note, I am thankful for the Anshe Sholom community for their warm welcome following my move from Kentucky to Chicago in 2008. And their warm welcome each and every time that I go back to visit until I can get back their for good.

I am thankful for the Jewish comedians of the vaudeville and Borscht Belt eras for paving the way for comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart.

I am thankful for President Bush for providing so much comedic material along with Sarah Palin as well. She's self-destructing when she doesn't realize it.

I am thankful that shows like The Daily Show, Conan, The Late Show with David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, CSI: NY, Modern Family, Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office, 30 Rock, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Homeland, 2 Broke Girls, Suburgatory, Last Man Standing, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, New Girl, Ben and Kate, and The Colbert Report were approved by the networks so that I have television to enjoy.

I am thankful for the writing room of Caesar's Hour, considered to be the smartest and funniest room since Thomas Jefferson dined alone at the White House.

I am thankful for all my friends in the improv and sketch comedy scene, be it in Chicago, New York, or LA.

Last but not least, I am thankful that my first book, Turn That $#!+ Off! has been published. It's on sale via CreateSpace, Amazon, and Amazon Kindle as of now.

I am thankful for my appreciation of American history, which will be the basis for my second book.

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock.  If you look closely, you can see the numbers 1620 carved into the rock.  It's as small as it looks and does not live up to the hype!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mark Regev hands it to CNN

Mark Regev, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hands it to a CNN anchor over her line of questioning.

From this past Thursday:

Senate passes resolution in support of Israel

While the United Senate passed a resolution in support of Israel, neither Mitch McConnell or Rand Paul decided to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 599.

Friday, November 16, 2012

McCain thinking Independent?

After reading the book that Meghan McCain co-wrote with comedian Michael Ian Black this past summer, I am not the least bit surprised to have read the following today:
Times are changing. The face of America is changing and we as Republicans stand at a crossroads. Are we going to accept the changing face of America and change with it? Or are we going to continue to become more isolated and irrelevant? It's possible to maintain the core values of this party and evolve when it comes to social issues. Quite frankly, I don't see any other path to success.

I've spent most of my adult life fighting for change from inside the Republican Party... And if we don't move forward, adapt, and become relevant again, the Republican Party isn't going to survive. It will just continue to alienate more moderate voters like myself. If I don't see some changes in the next four years, I'm going to consider registering as an Independent in 2016.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mitch McConnell recycles Romney line

Mitch McConnell, in essence, recycled a Mitt Romney line this past June when he appeared on CBS This Morning.  Nobody made a big deal about back then.

What McConnell said on the show:
“I understand full well that our friends on the other side live to every day to raise taxes...Almost 70 percent of the federal revenue is provided by the top 10 percent of taxpayers now. Between 45 and 50 percent of Americans pay no income tax at all.”
 Obviously,  he ignores the fact--like Romney did--that these people pay other forms of federal taxes.
The problem with McConnell's statement is that, at best, it's misleading. McConnell claims that nearly 50% of Americans don't pay income taxes, but he fails to mention the other numbers. The Americans McConnell is speaking of pay a state tax, a sales tax, a gas tax and many others. They also pay into the payroll tax of Social Security and Medicare. The reason many Americans don't pay a net federal income tax is because they make such a small amount of income that they qualify for a tax return.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review: Argo by Tony Mendez

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (September 13, 2012)

Released just weeks before the motion picture directed by Ben Affleck, Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History tells the true story of what really happened.

Tony Mendez, the CIA agent who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the film, wrote this book with Matt Baglio.

Whenever I see a movie based on a novel or non-fiction book, I like to read the book afterwards just to see how they compare and where things are different.  Oy, are there so many things that were different in the film!

Mendez pens a great book that shares what happened when Hollywood and the CIA worked together.  There were times that I found myself thinking why did Hollywood get the film wrong.  For everything that the film got right, there's a scene or two that strays far from what actually happened.

While the the Affleck movie was inspired by an earlier work of Mendez, this work finally describes in detail everything that happened.  Hollywood changed things in the film for dramatic licenses, which should come as no surprise.  However, the writing flows perfectly from page to page.  Yes, names were changed in some instances but Mendez tells us how the 6 house guests were rescued.

If you want to understand just how the CIA works, this is a great read.  It's not a James Bond action-packed thriller but it does the job just fine.

Secessionist movement is treason

I don't get this whole secession movement.  Actually, I do.  It's because these people are racist assholes that put their hatred of the president over their love of country.

You didn't Democrats file petitions when Bush was re-elected in 2004.

These people are racist assholes that should be considered traitors to the Union.  Nothing more, nothing less.

The latest from Kentucky and Indiana:
“We petition the Obama administration to: Peacefully grant the State of Kentucky to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government,” the petition for the commonwealth reads. It had 13,617 signatures as of late Tuesday afternoon.

The Kentucky version of the petition then cites the Declaration of Independence, including a section that states: “...Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.”

The Indiana petition is worded the same way as Kentucky’s. It had 14,616 signatures.
These people should be deported from the United States of America.  If they really hate the country so much, why don't they just move?

Campaign Finance Reform

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams brought this up last Tuesday during the election night coverage about the insane amount spent on advertising.

The Forward has a nice editorial on how that money could have been spent on other things.
Six billion dollars. Six billion dollars.

That’s the amount spent on the 2012 election campaign, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by the Center for Responsive Politics. It is by far the most money spent on an election in American history — probably in human history — and that is thanks in large part to the nearly $1 billion raised and spent by the newly-sanctioned, supposedly independent organizations known as super-PAC’s this year.[...]

Just think of what $6 billion will buy. Not just 30 million iPhone 5s or 15,503 Lamborghini Aventadors, as one website cheekily noted. Serious stuff. Life-saving stuff.

A sea barrier of the type that protects major cities in Europe could have prevented superstorm Sandy from destroying lives and property in New York. Its cost? Engineers have estimated $6 billion.

An accelerated availability of antiretroviral drugs could prevent 7.4 million people from dying of AIDS, and another 12.2 million from contracting HIV, by 2020. The cost? Scientists have estimated $6 billion.

A millennium vaccine fund could commit to purchasing an effective malaria vaccine for each of Africa’s 25 million newborn children, thereby preventing untold deaths and suffering. Its cost? Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs puts it at $3 billion.

There’d be another $3 billion to spare. With that, we could buy nearly 500 new public elementary schools, or build 225 small hospitals.
America can do better.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

No Knocked Up references in This is 40?

According to a recent interview with Judd Apatow, there are no references to the hit 2007 comedy.

There are other characters from Knocked Up who reappear here, including Jason (Jason Segal), who’s a personal trainer now, and the perpetually stoned Jodi (Charlyne Yi), who’s working as a clerk in Debbie’s boutique. But Ben and Allison themselves are conspicuous by their absence.

I shot some stuff, in case the audience demanded to know. I shot a version where Pete talks about how Ben and Allison live in Atlanta where she works for CNN. I covered my ass quite well. But when I was conceiving the movie, my interest wasn’t in what happened to Ben and Allison, because Pete and Debbie in a way are Ben and Allison. They were always meant to be the future for them, and in a lot of ways in Knocked Up, Ben and Allison and Pete and Debbie are meant to be the same couple. They’re a fabricated, exaggerated version of Leslie and myself at two different ages.
Kind of a shame, in my opinion.

Listen to Bill Kristol

I think it's about damn time that Republicans in Senate and House leadership start listening to Bill Kristol.  He has some good things to say when it comes to letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making over $250,000.

Politico reports:
"The leadership of the Republican Party and the leadership of the conservative movement has to pull back, let people float new ideas. Let's have a serious debate," Kristol said on "Fox News Sunday." "Don't scream and yell if one person says 'You know what? It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.' It really won't, I don't think."[...]

"I don't really understand why Republicans don't take Obama's offer to freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000, make it $500,000, make it $1 million," Kristol said. "Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood?"
Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, etc. would be wise to listen to Kristol's comments.

Friday, November 09, 2012

The First Polling for 2016

While the fiscal cliff talks are already about to begin as this week's election has ended, the race for 2016 has already begin.

The big question is:  Will Hillary Rodham Clinton make one last run for president?

Politico has an exclusive on polling.
The PPP poll, which was shared exclusively with POLITICO, shows Clinton taking 58 percent of the Iowa vote in a hypothetical presidential run. Vice President Joe Biden trails far behind at 17 percent, followed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at 6 percent and Massachusetts Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren at 3 percent.

None of the other Democrats tested – Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner – cracked 1 percent in the poll.

If Clinton doesn’t run, Biden would jump into the lead with a less-commanding 40 percent of the vote, with Cuomo rising to 14 percent and Warren up to 9 percent. In the event that neither Clinton nor Biden runs, Cuomo draws 30 percent to Warren’s 13 percent, with 46 percent of voters unsure who they’d support.
Of the other potential candidates, it does not mean that they don't have a chance if Clinton doesn't run.  Potentials like Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley will not run if Clinton makes a run for office.

It's a long way to Indecision 2016.

LaTourette on current state of Republican Party

Retiring congressman Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) offered his thoughts on what the Republican Party will need to do over the next two yours if they want to win the White House again.  LaTourette is a centrist Republican, or as he called it, an "endangered species."

LaTourette was responding to criticism by Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, who said Mitt Romney was a "weak, moderate candidate" who was "hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country club establishment wing of the Republican Party."

LaTourette in full:  "There's a one-word phrase we use in Ohio for that: crap. I mean, that's nonsense... The Republican Party cannot be a national party if we give up the entire East Coast of the United States and say -- we don't have any Republicans in New England, we don't have any Republicans in the Mid-Atlantic states. We can't continue to diss the Latino voters and -- you know, my wife's a Democrat, and she was so close to voting for Mitt Romney, but then Mourdock and Akin opened their mouth and we sent them running back to the Democratic Party because they think we're nutty. We have the right message on the finances. We have to get out of people's lives, get out of people's bedrooms, and we have to be a national party, or else we're going to lose."

Thursday, November 08, 2012

1859, 1950, and 2012

This map is disturbing to see how some things don't change.

The same and territories states that allowed slavery or were open to slavery are practically the same ones that required segregation or didn't have specific legislation on segregation.  Not only that but a majority of them voted for Mitt Romney.

Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia seem to be the ones that have progressed over time.  Colorado, while open to slavery, prohibited segregation in 1950 and voted for Barack Obama.  Nevada was open to slavery and didn't have any specific legislation on segregation and also voted for Obama.  Virginia has been helped in recent years by the vast majority that live in the DC area more so than anywhere else in the state.

Idaho is a different case.  It was a free state/territory and prohibited segregation.

In New Mexico, they were open to slavery, segregation was allowed to varying degrees, and they voted for Obama.

Florida, while being a slave state and requiring segregation, voted for Obama.

Indiana is a strange case.  They were a free state, prohibited segregation, and voted for Romney.  But then again, Indiana also voted for Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush, too.

It's amazing to see how these maps look so similar.  The states that owned slaves really have not changed.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Takeaways from Election 2012

Some takeaways from last night's national results are that the GOP needs to evolve in what they stand for.  It's clear that they have to stop focusing on abortion rights and other social issues.  Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lost because of their views on social issues.  In doing so, the Democrats were able to pick up a Senate seat in Indiana.

In 2004, George W. Bush won 44 percent of Hispanics. Four years later, John McCain, the author of an immigration reform bill, took 31 percent of Hispanics. And this year, Romney captured only 27 percent of Hispanics.[...]

But the GOP’s problem is more fundamental than one bloc of voters. For the second consecutive presidential election, the Republican got thumped among women and young voters in the states that decided the election.
If you're a Republican, that's a very depressing stat to read.  Just looking at the exit polling data from yesterday's election, it's astonishing.

Still though, it's as if liberal (moderate) Republicans no longer have a home in the Republican Party.  The political center is longer where it once was due to the fact that the far right of the GOP has taken control.

Mitch McConnell congratulated the president on re-election and will have to work with him.  He doesn't have a choice.  He is very vulnerable for 2014 and is likely to see strong opposition in Kentucky, whether it is Ben Chandler, Alison Lundergan Grimes, or even Ashley Judd.

The Kentucky Democratic Party also has to learn from last night.  Candidates have to run like REAL Democrats, not Republican-lite.  The party needs to take control of the State Senate in 2014.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Really, Mitt?!?

I'm not even fucking sure what the hell Mitt Romney was thinking when he made these comments.  Was there not a snowstorm in Massachusetts that he could have referenced?  Surely, there had to be a snowstorm that he could have referenced?
I remember once we had a football field at my high school. The field was covered with rubbish and paper goods from people who’d had a big celebration there at the game. And there was a group of us there assigned to clean it up. And I thought, ‘how are we going to clean up all the mess on this football field?’ There were just a few of us. And the person responsible for organizing the effort said, ‘Just line up along the yard lines. You go between the goal line and the 10-yard line, and the next person between the 10 and 20, and just walk down and do your lane. And if everybody cleans their lanes, we’ll get it done.’ And so today, we’re cleaning one lane if you will.
Bullshit, Mitt.  Homecoming celebrations just simply do not work as an analogy to what happened along the east coast.

Add on the Buzzfeed reports that the campaign pre-bought items and gave to people to give right back to them as a photo opportunity.
As supporters lined up to greet the candidate, a young volunteer in a Romney/Ryan T-shirt stood near the tables, his hands cupped around his mouth, shouting, "You need a donation to get in line!"

Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, "What if we dropped off our donations up front?"

The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. "Just grab something," he said.

Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their "donations" to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest "Thank you."
This is just fucking disgusting.