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The Soviet Republic of Michigan

10 Mar

With the imminent passage of Michigan’s “Local Government and School District Accountability Act,”(HB4214), Republicans will finally evolve beyond being the self-proclaimed champions of small government.  They will become the founders of no government.  Well, that isn’t quite right.  Dictatorship is still government.  It’s just not a preferable model, especially for residents of the United States, in general, and Michigan, in particular.  But let us not get tied down in nationalistic sentimentality.

Michigan’s new law would allow the governor dictator “to be able to declare “financial emergency” in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services.”  When it comes to the bottom line solvency of a state, the democratic principles that this country was founded on must be ignored.  Those who abuse power should be punished.  It’s common knowledge that the overpaid teachers, firemen, sanitation workers, and police of Michigan have ruined the state by causing the collapse of the American Auto industry, encouraging the building of wide expanses of slums in Detroit, and by shipping off manufacturing jobs to Mexico, Vietnam,  India, and anywhere else workers can be paid in pennies instead of dollars.  They might also be responsible for Tiger’s third baseman Miguel Cabrera being a drunk. The Republicans of Michigan couldn’t let them get away with it.  The Hangover applauds the iron-fisted efforts of the legislative storm troopers.

Perhaps we could even apply for one of these Emergency Overlord positions.  However, being that The Hangover is not named Stalin, Khrushchev, Hitler, Goering, or Brezhnev, the chances of landing such a position are not favorable.  But thanks to our beloved “Freedom of Speech,” the governor dictator won’t be able to stop me from complaining about it—at least for now.

Reports state that protestors were chanting, "Impeach the Nerd." The Dictator of Michigan might not appreciate that.

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Stick a fork in (the) US, Democracy is Cooked

22 Jan

With the Supreme Court ruling that the government cannot regulate or limit political spending by corporations, a bullet has been put through the head of a suffering democracy.   It was a mercy killing.  For years now, Americans have been pathetically clinging to the idea that their votes meant something.  Well, they don’t have to worry about that anymore.  Thanks to the Supreme Court, it’s now all special interests, all the time.  

It would be a mistake, however, to say that Americans’ votes will be worthless.  In a political version of American Idol, we will be given the honor of deciding which corporate-sponsored politician will be able to become a highly respected, suit-and-tie-wearing marionette.  And then we will live happily ever after, basking in the illusion of democracy. 

In the decision’s simplest terms, Exxon, Citibank, Pfizer, General Electric, etc..,. will now be able to gush money toward any candidate they feel deserving, meaning one who will support their interests.  Sure, you may be outraged that a Canadian can pay $5 for medication that costs you $40.  You might even be so incensed that you exercise your right as an American citizen and call your Senator, urging them to support lower cost prescription drugs.  But who do you think they are going to listen to:  you or the lobbyist from Johnson and Johnson who just dropped $500,000 into the making of a campaign advertisement supporting that Senator? Good luck with that.

If you want to see how this money-in-politics dynamic works on a small scale, read what The Hangover learned while talking to Susan Collins’ office.  Or if you would really like to be educated on the topic, check out Who Rules America?by G. William Domhoff.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said:  

“The end of democracy, and the defeat of the American revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of the lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”

Consider the revolution over.

Susan Collins: PAC Money Makes Policy

1 Oct

Susan Collins opposes President Obama’s health care plan, particularly the public option.  The Hangover knows this because one of her staff was kind enough to tell me so in a recent phone conversation.   Consider me cynical.  When in a follow-up I asked the staff member how much campaign money Senator Collins has taken from the medical, insurance, and pharmaceutical lobbies, Collin’s mouthpiece told me that she didn’t have that information.   I wondered aloud if Collins didn’t know how much payola came from those sectors.   I was reassured that while the Collins’ staffer didn’t have that information, it was available at fec.gov, the Federal Election Commission’s website.  This excahnge followed:

The Hangover:  “Don’t you think Senator Collins should provide that (who she received campaign donations from) information?”

Collins  Staff Member:  “The information is available on the website, fec.gov, that I told you about.”

The Hangover:  “Don’t you think that withholding the information makes her look corrupt like all those other Republicans taking money from lobbyists?”

Collins Staffer:  “The information is available on the FEC website, sir.”

Before any Republicans think The Hangover is “profiling,” we heartily acknowledge that Senate Democrats take just as much money as the Republicans do from these lobbies.   That’s the problem.  (It’s no wonder that real health care reform is impossible:  Mandated business creation for insurance companies isn’t exactly health care reform.)

The Hangover took the staffer’s advice and checked out the FEC website.  The information was, indeed, there.  In fact, the report on Susan Collins’ accepted  campaign contributions for the 2007-2008 election cycle was disgusting.  What’s worse is that her tally reads similarly to those of her 99 Senate colleagues serving  “we the people.”  Collins’ list of contributors can be viewed here in it’s entirety, but there are some obvious highlights:

In the 2007-2008 election cycle, Senator Collins received expenditures of:

$26,000 from the American Association of Neurosurgeons PAC

$190, 530 from the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons PAC

$14, 000 from Aetna’s PAC

$20,000 from the American Hospital Association PAC

$20,000 from AFLAC’s PAC (that’s the one with the duck)  

$18,000 from the Blue Cross/Blue Shield PAC

$1000from the Bluecross of Michigan PAC (???)

There are so many contributors listed, The Hangover doesn’t blame the Senator for not providing her staffers with the information.   They’d have to be MIT graduates to follow it. 

In terms of full disclosure, The Hangover gave nothing to Senator Collins’ campaign.  We find this is appropriate.  If any of Maine’s other 1.5 million residents believe that the Senator is looking out for their best interest, all they have to do is pull out their processed checks for the last few years.   It’s likely one is getting according to what one gave.

Hangover Blog on Hiatus

21 Aug

The Hangover is officially going on hiatus.  Faithful readers have surely noticed a considerable slowdown over the past six months.  This is one thing in contemporary America that can’t be blamed on the economy, however.    There is a novel to be completed and The Hangover is going to be totally immersed in full-contact fiction-writing.    Outside of a possible music post or two, The Hangover will resume when the manuscript is complete.

However, we do reserve the right to comment if some act completely egregious to common sense raises our ire.  This could include:

  • Health Care “reform” that doesn’t do anything except create mandatory customers for insurance companies–who are obviously the root of the problem (along with their lobbyists).   Count us among those who would prefer our health care decisions be made by a bureaucrat, as opposed to a “fat-assed” CEO or corporate drone whose bonus is tied to the greed-driven profit of a health care conglomerate.   (And why do our prescription drugs cost more than those in Canada?  Our beer doesn’t cost any more money, and isn’t alcohol a drug?)
  • Corruption in Congress that blocks common sense legislation.  Those who have the most lobbyists with the deepest pockets win.  It’s disgusting, as are our elected representivives as individuals.  None of these clowns would ever get laid if they didn’t have their government jobs.
  • A car industry that continues to build Hummers for non-military use.   Yep, that will lead us to energy independence.
  • Less prison time for a football-playing, drunk-driving, people-killer (Dante Stallworth) than for a football playing dog-killer (Mike Vick) or a football-playing dumbass  (Plexico Burress), who shot only himself in a nightclub. 

If The Hangover continues to dwell on these subjects, the long-awaited novel will never be completed.   Unfortunately, with a country like this, The Hangover could be pulled back into action tomorrow.

The Hangover’s 2008 Person of the Year: Tina Fey

28 Dec
2008 Woman of the Year

Tina Fey: 2008 Woman of the Year

Nobody had a better year than Tina Fey (including President-Elect Barack Obama, whose reward will be the opportunity to clean up the ever-deepening mess left by his predecessor).   Fey surpassed all known standards in just how successful an entertainer could be with brilliant comedic performances that crackled with social and poitical commentary.

Fey is the creative force behind NBC’s 30 Rock, a show both popular  and critically acclaimed.  Her character, Liz Lemon, is an achieving woman attempting to manage a nearly unmanageable “Saturday Night Live” conceit.  As played by Fey, Lemon is sharp and compassionate, as well as confused and insightful.  Lemon carries a realistic acceptance of her position on constantly shifting ground.  She is an icon for women juggling professional success and personal chaos.   Liz Lemon makes no apologies for who she is.  In a high school reunion episode, “The Revenge of the Wrath of the Nerd,” Lemon bids farewell to her former White Haven classmates with,  “You know what? Suck it, you whittling IHOP monkeys.”

That would seem to be enough for one woman.  But then came Sarah Palin.   Fey’s impersonation of Palin on various episodes of Saturday Night Live marked some of the greatest comedy in the show’s storied history.  At times, Fey was indistinguishable from Palin.   Through a fusion of comic genius and comic existentialism, Fey effectively parodied a woman who was a parody in and of herself.  No easy task, and one worthy of recognition in the form of The Hangover’s Person of the Year.

If you don’t believe it, see for yourself:

Bail This Out

8 Dec

The Federal bailouts that began with the Savings and Loans during the George HW Bush Administration, touched down with the airlines after 9/11, threw 85 billion to AIG, then shoveled 700 billion to save our vaunted Financial Institutions, have now come to a three-way pile up on American automakers.   When the country’s leading capitalists are landing in Washington on a weekly basis asking for cash to keep their industries afloat, something’s wrong.  The United States and capitalism are supposedly merit-based institutions, or at least they used to be.  The Hangover asks:  Why is abject failure being rewarded?

Understandably, these financial institutions and industries need to stay viable or millions of Americans will be out of work or out of their homes.   That can’t happen.   But bailout dollars shouldn’t be handed over so that a sinking-into-the-muck status quo can be maintained.   When the AIG executives got their money, they spent nearly half a million dollars at a Califroina spa playing golf, stuffing their faces, and getting massages.  Will those running the auto industry and financial institutions prove to be so different? 

President Elect Obama stated:

“We have to have an auto industry that understands they can’t keep on doing things the same way.  If this management team that is currently in place doesn’t understand the urgency of the situation, and is not willing to make the tough choices and adapt to these new circumstances, then they shoud go.” 

But Obama has it backwards.  You don’t give the reward first and then demand the behavior.  Like spoiled children, our greatest capitalists need strict boundaries and discipline.  The Hangover proposes two simple “conditions” for companies who want “bailout” money.  If they’re willing to comply, they get their dollars.

Of course, some may say that these proposed conditions smack of socialsim.  But it’s exactly what the industries are asking for.  Give the capitalists what they want.

Common Sense Election Anaylsis

5 Nov

There are a number of reasons that Barack Obama won the Presidency yesterday, receiving more votes than any candidate in history.  Most of them are fairly obvious. 

  • George W. Bush was a really bad president.  Certainly, John McCain suffered from his party and policy affiliations with the current President, just as the majority of people suffered under his administration–unless, of course, you were in the top 1% of income earners, worked for or invested in Big Oil, or were on the Board at Halliburton or Blackwater.
  • John McCain was a lousy campaigner.  McCain’s best moments of the entire election cycle were his QVC skit on Saturday Night Live, his Monday Night Football Interview with Chris Berman, and his concession speech.  His best debate line, “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago,” would have hit harder than a wet sponge if he hadn’t spent the last six months trying to maintain his Party’s base by highlighting his belief in Bush policies. 
  • Barack Obama really connected with the people.  He was a great speaker.  He had a clear message which he delivered with charisma, focus, and detail.  It worked.
  • The Republicans failed to scare the electorate as they did in 2004.  They were unable to generate a polarizing social issue such as “gay marriage” which carried Ohio for Bush in 2004.  In fact, due to the economic collapse, more Americans were frightened of losing their jobs and homes than they were by lame Republican attempts to portray Obama as a socialist, Muslim, terrorist, or–holy cow–a liberal. 
  • Religion, a huge component of Bush’s 2000 victory, became less of an issue.  After eight years of Bush-Cheney international and economic disaster, maybe the good Christian voters began to realize that God wasn’t actually a Republican diety. 
  • Obama ran a clean campaign, and after two elections of Bush-Rove tactics, it appears that a more positive message resonated with voters.  As CBS News reported:  “Nearly every TV ad McCain ran last week was negative, compared to just 34 percent of those by Obama, according to an analysis by the Wisconsin Advertising Project released on Wednesday. “
  • When a candidate moves from who-they-really-are to who-they-think-they-need-to-be-to-get-elected, they lose.  Reagan was an ultra-conservative.  Bill Clinton was a centrist.  George W Bush was a God-fearing jughead.  Obama is a liberal (Apparently, not such a bad thing these days).  The 2000 John McCain didn’t court the Religious Right, employed an independent, critical thought process, and wouldn’t have stood for the type of negative campaigning that Bush-Rove used to sink McCain’s 2000 bid.  That all changed in 2008, and the results speak for themselves. 

Other Election Highlights:

  • Last night, the Fox News Channel crew looked and acted like a bunch of six year-olds who raced down the stairs only to find coal in their stockings.  Boo hoo.   Waaaaaaaaw.
  • Ben Affleck’s Keith Olbermann skit on SNL (perhaps the best episode of SNL since the glory days of the Belushi era).
  • The Hangover finally voted for a Presidential Candidate who won.  (It’s the first time since 1980, and that was a mistake.  Hey, I was a binge-drinking teenager at the time.)
  • The Hangover is still trying to remove John Edwards’ populist hook from his mouth, firmly planted during the primary season.  Only a true douche bag could have campaigned “for-the-people” while knowing that an affair with the biggest coke slut of the 1980’s was waiting to come tumbling out of the closet.  What if his message (which was a good one) had caught on?
  • Anne Curry delivers good news:  anytime, anyplace, but especially on MSNBC’s election night dressed in all black:
anne-curry3

Maybe the mainstream media isn't so bad, after all.