Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Growing up Bachmann?

Michelle Bachmann released her official holiday Christmas greeting the other day, and I realized something. She never bothered to learn the names of her own kids.

To be honest, it's understandable: she and Marcus have five children of their own, and they've taken in 23 foster children, all girls. (They had to be girls: Marcus only has so much self-control, after all...)

However, this sounds like it leads to an interesting opportunity. If you're a homeless girl between the ages of 15 and 25, and you have the misfortune to live in Michigan, just go down to the Bachmann ranch. Slip in when nobody's looking, keep your head down and try to assimilate. How could anybody notice?

(If you're a homeless male, of course, your only choice is to join the endless stream of closed-mouthed rentboys going in the back door - so to speak - of Bachmann's clinic.)

Try to imagine growing up in Michelle Bachmann's house. If you're like me, you imagine it's all pillowfights and long, lingering hot showers; the reality, of course, would probably be more like those women's prison movies that became so popular in the 60s and 70s.

Except, of course, that as it turns out, the true reality isn't quite as it seems, either.

See, for most of us, "foster children" indicates a long-term commitment: yeah, maybe you get them in their teens, but you raise them. This myth spread by the Bachmann camp tells us what a wonderful, sharing person Michele is, opening her home so many times, to so many troubled girls. She said, in interviews, that she "raised" 23 foster children.

The truth is, Bachmann and her husband got a license to counsel girls with eating disorders. They lived in her house: some for a week, some for a year or so.
Bachmann often says she has "raised" 23 foster children. That may be a bit of a stretch. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Bachmann's license, which she had for 7 1/2 years, allowed her to care for up to three children at a time. According to Kris Harvieux, a former senior social worker in the foster care system in Bachmann's county, some placements were almost certainly short term. "Some of them you have for a week. Some of them you have for three years, some you have for six months," says Harvieux, who also served as a foster parent herself. "She makes it sound like she got them at birth and raised them to adulthood, but that's not true."

Yet Bachmann clearly had some of her foster children long enough to enroll them in local schools, and it was through them that she got involved in school politics. While she taught her own children at home before sending them to private Christian schools, state law required foster kids to go to public school. Seeing their curriculum, she became convinced that "politically correct attitudes, values, and beliefs" had supplanted objective education. She helped found a charter school but soon left the board amid allegations that she was trying to inject Christianity into the curriculum. Then, in 1999, she decided to run for the local school board.
But she keeps saying that she's "raised" 23 kids. And that's because Bachmann isn't afraid to lie to make a point.

That's what you have to keep in mind about Michele Bachmann. If she feels that she has a narrative that's important to make her point, she's more than happy to pretend that the story at the core of the narrative is true. Whether it is or not; it just has to conform to her agenda.

Like a few months ago, when, attempting to attack Rick Perry (September's GOP Flavor of the Month for the 2012 Goat Rodeo Republican Primary) for one of the only good things he ever did.
Bachmann first raised the issue during a Republican presidential debate on Monday as a swipe at Republican rival and Texas Governor Rick Perry, who issued an executive order in 2007 mandating girls get the HPV vaccine as part of a school immunization requirement. The order was later overturned.

In that forum, she questioned the state's authority to force "innocent little 12-year-old girls" to have a "government injection" that was "potentially dangerous."
Of course, when she was later pressed for details as to how a vaccine which protected girls against the single most common cause of cervical cancer might be dangerous, she said that she met a woman who said her daughter became "mentally retarded" after getting the Gardasil vaccine.

This is a standard defense for the habitual liar: when called out for an unsupported spew of easily-debunked bullshit, they'll claim that somebody told them - it isn't their fault if somebody else is mistaken, is it?

(It's also interesting that this argument was over a vaccine that is specifically controversial among right-wing fundamentalists. Like Michele Bachman. Remember what I said earlier about lies which conform to her agenda?)

This is standard practice for Ms Bachmann. The more gentle among us might say that she "has a history of making inflammatory statements." But that isn't what's going on. The woman is a liar. Need more examples? She went on the Dennis Miller radio program and claimed things about the "Obamacare" bill that were just complete and utter crap.
"On the 16th page, it says whatever health care you have now, it’s going to be gone within five years. So your current health care plan, you’re not going to have in five years. What you’re going to have is a government plan and a federal bureau is going to decide what you get or if you get anything at all."
In case anyone is curious, page 16 covered people whose healthcare plans would be grandfathered in - i.e., they'd get to keep it, not lose it.

She also claimed that 17 million illegal immigrants would start to get free healthcare under the bill. Ignoring the part that said "Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."

( has volumes of material on this woman.)

Michele Bachmann is never afraid to lie in support of what she considers a "higher truth." Because that's how her mind works.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tim Minchin: Woody Allen Jesus

Tim Minchin was supposed to be on the Jonathan Ross Show this week, and got cut by the network.

I see the reason he got cut: despite the myth of the "Liberal Media," networks are not run by liberal/conservative ideas, but by ratings (exception: parts of MSNBC and all of Fox "News") But that's a story for another show. And in the simple, uncomplicated-by-agenda media, you can't do something that will endanger those all-important ratings.

Nonetheless, I liked the song.

And if you care, Tim Minchin's reaction to getting cut from the Jonathan Ross Show is here. (And by the way, the Bonus Material after the video is actually way better than anything that came before it...)

So, you know, Merry Christmas and stuff.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't Ask redeux

You know, unlike any of these elitist, protected rich boys running for office, I spent essentially a lifetime in the military: 21 years as an enlisted man. (Ron Paul did 2 years as a flight surgeon and 3 years in the National Guard; Rick Perry flew cargo planes - god, I hated C-130s - for 4 years.)

In that time, I know, for a fact, that I served with gays. They were forced to hide it, but most of us knew, and nobody really cared. (Most of the people who would have cared were too damned stupid to figure things out anyway.)

Now, during Clinton's era, he passed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) as an idiotic compromise. (The fact that the GOP hated it at the time, and were, more recently, rabidly trying to protect it, isn't the slightest bit funny. Not at all...)

Now, with DADT repealed, we have brain-dead idiots in Brokeback Mountain jackets telling us how sad it is that gays can serve openly in the military.

But, you know something odd? DADT was repealed, and the military didn't collapse.

It was only last year that the Marine Corps Commandant, Gen James Amos, said that the repeal of DADT would be a "risk." Now, three months after it was shot down, he's singing a different show tune.
Marines across the globe have adapted smoothly and embraced the change, says their top officer, Gen. James F. Amos, who previously had argued against repealing the ban during wartime.

"I'm very pleased with how it has gone," Amos said in an Associated Press interview
It really isn't an issue. You want proof?

Two women share first kiss at US Navy ship's return

A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" rule on Wednesday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted "first kiss" on the pier after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss in the rain with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles. Gaeta, 23, wore her Navy dress uniform while Snell, 22, wore a black leather jacket, scarf and blue jeans. The crowd screamed and waved flags around them.

"It’s something new, that’s for sure," Gaeta told reporters after the kiss. "It’s nice to be able to be myself. It’s been a long time coming..."

Sailors and their loved ones bought $1 raffle tickets for the opportunity. Gaeta said she bought $50 of tickets, a figure that she said pales in comparison to amounts that some other sailors and their loved ones had bought. The money was used to host a Christmas party for the children of sailors.
And, amazingly enough, the world didn't end. Society kept on going. It's weird. It's like it hardly even mattered, in the big picture.

Because, guess what? It makes no real difference to the military. Despite what some morons want you to believe.

But... I just... No!

Sometimes, even though the entire story is in the headline, you just need to have more details. You can't look away.
Man eats cocaine in brother's butt, dies

A South Carolina man's brother died after police said he was forced to eat cocaine hidden in his brother's backside.

Both brothers were taken into custody on allegations they had drugs in their car.

But police told Charleston, S.C., TV station WCIV there were additional drugs hidden in 23-year-old Deangelo Mitchell's backside.

Officers said Deangelo Mitchell convinced his brother, 20-year-old Wayne Mitchell, to swallow the ounce of cocaine to hide the evidence. He died soon afterward.
That must be one convincing motherfucker. If he could have gone to law school, he would have been amazing.

Remember, kids. Crack kills.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thoughts on food

Two things.

1. This is something I never thought of, but if you happen to have a big chunk of dark chocolate, and think that a little grated chocolate on top of ice cream might be a good thing, you just go to town with a grater, right?

Well, as it turns out, grated chocolate seems to have a slight static electricity problem. It clings to the grater, to the plastic container you're grating into, and it jumps around and doesn't want to go where you think it should go.

I had never known this up until now. But there it is.

2. Last night, the Trophy Wife made her usual killer homemade chicken pot pie. Now, you have to understand, this is not the Swanson Pot Pie of my childhood (a product that many of us loved, if you happen to be of a certain age), this is an actual homemade pie. Only the filling, instead of being composed of apples or whatever, is chicken and vegetables. (And about 2 cups of homemade chicken stock, spices, and some flour to thicken it, if you're curious.)

This is the Giant Wookie Son's favorite dish in the world. And last night, he made the crust (mixed the ingredients, cut it into two portions, and stuck it in the fridge to think about what it had done), I did the filling, the Trophy Wife rolled out the crust and put the filling in the pie, and I stuck it in the oven. So, a little bit of teamwork and everybody wins.

One final note: Alton Brown, usually a genius, suffered a huge brain cramp when he came up with his idea of what a chicken pot pie should be. It's not a goddamned stew with biscuits floating on top: that's just stupid. The bottom crust is there to soak in all the meaty-flavored juiciness from the filling, and might well be the best part of the pie.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It ain't broke. Let's fix it.

Sometimes you have to ask "are people actually this stupid?" And then, of course, the obvious answer comes back - "yes. Yes, they are."

Paul Ryan's plan to scrap Medicare has proven to be just massively unpopular with the average American (especially among those who don't watch Fox "News," or who actually use Medicare themselves). So now, of course, they need to get the focus back to Medicare "reform."

One of the chief problems with Medicare, from the industry's view, is that the government can just set prices and the industry has to go along with it (as opposed to raising prices just because they can). That is, in fact, the primary complaint in most anti-Medicare rants (at least the ones that don't devolve into "death panels"): "the game is rigged against private insurers!"

So, somebody went out and found themselves a "Democratic" Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, and convinced him to co-sponsor a new plan to "reform" Medicare (where "reform" is defined as "gut and destroy").

Let's see how quickly you can spot the landmines built into this plan:
Under the proposal, known as premium support, Medicare would subsidize premiums charged by private insurers that care for beneficiaries under contract with the government.

Congress would establish an insurance exchange for Medicare beneficiaries. Private plans would compete with the traditional Medicare program and would have to provide benefits of the same or greater value. The federal contribution in each region would be based on the cost of the second-cheapest option, whether that was a private plan or traditional Medicare.

In addition, the growth of Medicare would be capped. In general, spending would not be allowed to increase more than the growth of the economy, plus one percentage point — a slower rate of increase than Medicare has historically experienced.

To stay under the limit, Congress could cut payments to providers and suppliers responsible for the overspending and could increase Medicare premiums for high-income beneficiaries, the lawmakers said.
You got that? The problem is that Medicare is usually the cheapest plan around. So, first off, you make it so that it has to be, by law, the second cheapest plan around. That's step one.

Then, you force the government to funnel some of the Medicare money to the private insurers (a business that is traditionally astonishingly lucrative for the people who run it), leaving less money available for the Medicare program itself.

Then, you put spending caps on Medicare and increase some of the Medicare premiums, making the program less flexible, less able to respond to market pressures, and (just by the way) less popular among the people whose premiums just went up.

And those are just the obvious problems: this plan basically says "well, the game is rigged toward the government. The only way to fix that is to rig it in the other direction."

Now, just for fun, let's put our tinfoil hats on for just a second. Can you see any way that this system could be manipulated by the healthcare industry? Is there, maybe, a simple backdoor that somebody could sneak through to kill off Medicare entirely? (You know, pretty much what Big Pharma and the GOP have been trying to do for decades?)

Try this idea on for size. A couple of the health insurance companies (not working together! Oh, no!) set up some brand-new private insurance plans to "compete" with Medicare. And one of them is obviously cheaper than the rest.

(Can these plans lose money in the long run? Of course they can! In order to be a growth industry, you don't just look at short-term losses - you have to figure out long-term gains!)

And if you advertise that new plan like mad, people will change over to it. Meaning that there are, by definition, less people in Medicare. And less money coming in.

Remember, all the big insurance companies are already getting Medicare money directly from government subsidies under the new plan. And the government is still paying for the remaining Medicare patients.

So the money is still going out under the current plan, and damned little is coming in. And the industry can just quietly poke Congress in the ribs and say "Look! We can do it just as cheaply. And save the government money in the process. What do you think we should do about this? Oh, and would you like more Cabernet?"

But that's just paranoia, right there. Right? There's no way that could ever happen.

Is there?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poking at the Mouse

Somehow I missed this a few years ago (maybe because I don't download pirated movies). But this probably made Mickey a little cranky.

> [email]
> Re: Unauthorized Use of DreamWorks SKG
> Properties
> To Whom It May Concern:
> This letter is being written to you on
> behalf of our client, DreamWorks SKG
> (hereinafter ^ÓDreamWorks^Ô). DreamWorks
> is the exclusive owner of all copyright,
> trademark and other intellectual property
> rights in and to the ^ÓShrek 2^Ô motion
> picture. No one is authorized to copy,
> reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use
> the ^ÓShrek 2^Ô motion picture without
> the express written permission of
> DreamWorks.
> As you may be aware, Internet Service
> Providers can be held liable if they do
> not respond to claims of infringement
> pursuant to the requirements of the
> Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
> In accordance with the DMCA, we request
> your assistance in the removal of
> infringements of the ^ÓShrek 2^Ô motion
> picture from this web site and any other
> sites for which you act as an Internet
> Service Provider. We further declare
> under penalty of perjury that we are
> authorized to act on behalf of
> DreamWorks and that the information in
> this letter is accurate. Please contact
> me immediately to discuss this matter
> further.

As you may or may not be aware, Sweden is not a state in the United States of America. Sweden is a country in northern Europe. Unless you figured it out by now, US law does not apply here. For your information, no Swedish law is being violated.

Please be assured that any further contact with us, regardless of medium, will result in
a) a suit being filed for harassment
b) a formal complaint lodged with the bar of your legal counsel, for sending frivolous legal threats.

It is the opinion of us and our lawyers that you are ....... morons, and that you should please go sodomize yourself with retractable batons.

Please also note that your e-mail and letter will be published in full on

Go fuck yourself.

Polite as usual,

Gee, now they can't thaw out Walt Disney's head: it would burst into flame as soon as he hit room temperature.

Image stolen from here

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Today in Rock History: The Clash

Thirty two years ago today (that's 1979, for you home-schoolers), The Clash released London Calling. There's a reason why that matters, and if we're all very lucky, I might get to it.

I was a dilettante punk fan in high school. I'll admit it: I was never a true punk, but I supported the idea.

Of course, as I grew older, I realized that "punk" was pretty much a metaphorical term for any band who really didn't know how to play their instruments, and were just screaming as loud and as fast as they could.

I owned a copy of Never Mind the Bollocks; I loved the Ramones (although I didn't see Rock'n'Roll High School until a midnight showing in 1984, and I knew it sucked before I went in - I basically just saw it out of solidarity or some shit...); I never really liked Black Flag (before or after Henry Rollins - but I knew enough people who lived for that crap that I knew the difference). And I continue to worship every note played by Joe Jackson, despite his switch to pop/classical musical sensibilities.

Basically, I liked the idea of punk, but I also liked the ideas of rhythm, chord changes, harmony, playing in the same key, and all those other musical concepts that punk music disdained.

And that was why I liked the Clash.

Their first two albums, as far as I was concerned, were basic punk, and crap. But London Calling was done after they fired their manager (or, you know, disagreed with him for three years until they brought him back), and instead of continuing as another crap punk band, they started using socially relevant lyrics, they embraced ska, rockabilly and playing in the same key, and generally they became a rock band instead of an icon for a movement.

Personally, as albums go, I preferred Combat Rock over London Calling, but this was their seminal album (as in "for the first time, they shot spunk instead of blanks").

Their album cover, widely accepted as one of the most iconic covers of all times, was basically a riff on Elvis' first album. (It was also a double album, but sold at the price of a single album, which was important to those of us buying records - yes, vinyl - off of our toy-store stocker paychecks...)

One of the hits off the album, "Train in Vain," was considered a "secret track" because they hadn't intended to include it on the album. Their first song to crack the American Top 40, they recorded it in one day, a few hours after they wrote it, and intended it as a free giveaway with the British rock magazine New Musical Express. But when that deal fell through, they stuck it on the album. Unfortunately, the album cover had already been printed and didn't list this song. Go figure.

My personal favorite from the album is the title song, a mid-tempo number in a minor key, with staccato guitar chords playing against Joe Strummer's harsh, almost apocalyptic lyrics referencing drugs, Three Mile Island, police brutality and the sad state of modern music.

So, when the dust settled, why was this album important?

Because it made punk accessible to the common man. It showed that even punk bands had talent. And it informed the world that the age of Phil Spector and Pat Boone was over, and the rowdy kids had moved in.

Monday, December 12, 2011


It was late 1997, and we'd just come back from Germany. The Air Force, in her infinite wisdom, decided that Cheyenne, Wyoming was the right place for me and my family.

While waiting for base housing to come available, we rented a cheap little house in a relatively decent neighborhood. And after seven years of apartment life in Germany, it was time to get a dog. (Plus, it gave the Trophy Wife and the Horde something to concentrate on other than what a miserable wanna-be-Wild-West shithole we'd been planted in - hey, any state that spawned Dick Cheney must at least be a suburb of Hades, right?)

We went to the animal shelter (because that's how we roll - of course, when I was a kid, we called it "the pound"), and we found Tasha. Just shy of a year old, pure black Labrador/German Shepherd mix. Even as a young bitch, she had distinct wolf-like cast to her, which only became more pronounced as she got older.

She was one of the gentlest, most even-tempered dogs in the world. She also turned out to be the smartest dog I have ever had: we've never been much for tricks, but the few we tried to teach her, she would catch on to it right away.

And she was built for speed: you'd throw a tennis ball for her, she'd be there to grab it almost before it hit the ground. And as impressive as that was to watch, the show wasn't even half over. Because once she had the ball, she'd turn around, lower her head into her ruff so that it was even with her spine, and come charging straight back toward you like a freight train.

It was an impressive sight: somehow, even though she was bringing back a tennis ball, you had a rough idea what a deer might have seen moments before it turned into dinner.

Except that was where the metaphor broke down. Because that was only her second favorite game. F.E. Warren AFB may have been a cesspool, but they had more nature than they knew what to do with, to include a herd of deer running wild on the base. And once, we'd gotten home with Tasha in the car, and the deer came trotting out between two buildings. Unknowingly, we opened the door to put the leash on her, and suddenly there was a black stripe leading from the car and down the street, with the sound of claws on blacktop dopplering past.

The deer on F.E. Warren are a protected species, so it's probably good that Tasha only wanted to play. Because there would have been nothing but a red spot and a pair of horns left if she'd been serious about it. She put them through their paces, accompanied by the sound of us, somewhere in the distance, shouting "Tasha! Come!"

That was the only thing we ever told her that she just ignored: she was having entirely too much fun.

We never figured out why she was skittish around water at first, but once we taught her to swim, she loved it. She may have looked like a pure-black Shepherd, but she had a Labrador undercoat: basically, she was a seal in a bearskin coat. We'd take her down to the various ponds on base, and she wouldn't care if she had to break through a layer of ice - by god, she was swimming out there to fetch that stick.

Our house on base didn't have a fence, so we tried a dog run for a while. But another bit of the wildlife on base caught up with us - a pack of feral dogs decided to fuck with her before the Trophy Wife could get out there and run them off.

That didn't make her skittish, though: just made her hate all other dogs. She decided she didn't have time for her own kind any more. She would usually ignore them, but god help the mutt who looked crosseyed at her or her humans.

I've always known that a dog was the only perfect burglar alarm, and Tasha was the poster child for that theory: she was always hyper-aware of her environment, and knew exactly what was going on around her. As soon as she knew that we approved of someone, she was the friendliest dog in the world.

But she could transform into the Spectre of Death in the blink of an eye, anytime anybody in her family felt threatened. Very protective, but also smart enough to shift gears in a heartbeat. Nobody ever got hurt by Tasha: a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses got a vision of hell, though.

She accepted a lot from us, and never complained. Then again, she had to, with three rowdy kids and... well, and me, with my somewhat off-kilter sense of humor.

We tried to socialize her to other dogs - we broke down a few years ago and got a puppy, Boris. Who turned out to be, in fact, literally brain-damaged: head trauma as a pup, that kept him a mental pup in a sixty-pound body. But Tasha loved him.

German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia, and as she got older, it turned out that she'd definitely inherited that problem. In recent years, it became harder and harder to walk; one of her hind legs just stopped doing what her brain told it to. But she never complained, never whined: she stolidly accepted everything that life threw at her. She moved slower, but she never stopped moving. Her hearing started failing, but she still perked up when you called her name. Usually. Cataracts started to cloud her eyes, but she could always see me.

It happened very suddenly. Or maybe it built up over the last several years, and I was just too damned stupid to notice.

Last week, I started noticing that she wasn't eating much. Then, Saturday morning, she went out to the backyard, but didn't come back. I found her lying in the snow. She looked up at me, almost embarrassed: she couldn't stand up, and she'd messed herself a little. She was always a very clean dog.

I coaxed her up. She limped slowly inside, and we got her cleaned up. We got her a blanket, and she lay down on it, and refused to move for the rest of the day. She barely drank anything, and ate nothing until I went out and bought some "easy to digest" cans of dog food.

We didn't think it would be long, but then she rallied. I got up at about two in the morning, and she'd walked to the other end of the house, and laid down in front of my door. She was better! She'd just been sick!

Annette had managed to get to a fitful sleep, so I didn't wake her. I woke up first on Sunday, and Tasha was fine. She limped out to the backyard again. And then, for the second day in a row, she didn't come back.

I found her under a bush, where she'd set up a burrow. I tried to get her to come inside, and she actually snapped at me - the gentlest dog in the world, and if I hadn't pulled my hand back fast enough, she'd have bitten me.

Her instincts were telling her what I didn't want to hear.

I came back a little later, and her teeth were chattering; this time, she let me lever her out of the hole and limped slowly inside. She collapsed on the blanket again, shivering, and we covered her with a blanket and stayed with her. She hardly moved for the rest of the day.

Last night, she lost all control of her bladder and bowels. I got her cleaned up as best I could before I went to work. My daughter and my wife were with her all day.

We took her to the animal clinic this evening. The vet confirmed that it was time. She said that the shot was a massive dose of barbiturates, and Tasha wouldn't feel anything. "Sometimes, there's some vocalization, or a little twitching."

I was there as the light went out of her slightly clouded eyes; as she relaxed, there was a high-pitched keening sound. And I realized it was coming from me.

Tonight, I killed my dog.

It was the right thing to do. She's been in pain for a long time, and now her organs were beginning to fail. But I can't get to sleep, and I can't get drunk enough to make it feel like it was right.

If Tasha were here, she'd shove her nose under my hand. She'd quietly but forcefully insinuate her head into my lap and force me to pet her. Until I paid attention to her, instead of whatever was bothering me.

But she can't do that any more.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Requiem for a candidate

Wow. It looks like the Cain Train left the rails, hit the siding, and slid about a hundred feet into a bus full of nuns and orphans.

And it really only took a couple of weeks.

I mean, the man declared himself a candidate back in May. And since then, it isn't like he's been hiding in the bushes. They wouldn't let him; having a black candidate in the lead proved that Republicans weren't all inbred bigots; they were willing to allow the man to do just about anything he wanted. Within reason.

Did he look completely ignorant on foreign policy? Who cares? Hell, there are still people who want Sarah Palin to enter the race!

Did he want to say openly insane shit? That's not a problem! After all, Michele Bachmann has made a whole career out of being the craziest bitch in the kennel! The self-important, elitist millionaire Newt Gingrich is currently the front runner, and he recently said that child labor laws were "truly stupid"!

(As it turns out, sanity is actually a detriment in today's Republican party - just ask Jon Huntsman.)

So, what does it take to hurt the Cain? A little sugar.

Now, this is the 21st Century. The GOP tried to be open-minded about things. At first.

A couple of women came forward and made unsubstantiated allegations about Herman Cain. So what? The man's famous! People say shit about celebrities all the time, right?

Then more women came forward. And more. But still, no proof.

Then came Ginger White.

She claimed to have had a thirteen-year affair with Cain. But, once again, there was no proof: circumstantial evidence, but no proof. Cain might have weathered this bump in the road, too.

Until he admitted that he gave her money.

He tried to claim that he'd just given her "financial assistance," but nobody believed him. Nobody who's seen Cain strut and fret his hour upon the stage really had a doubt about his motives: to Herman Cain, "charity" is a carefully-calculated amount determined by his accountant, to be paid at the end of the year. Nobody was willing to believe that the Black Walnut just wanted to help this poor girl in her decade-and-a-half of need.

So Herman Cain crashed and burned. A victim of his own arrogance. But here's the thing.

I have willingly taken on the moniker of "Cynic," because I am aware of an unpleasant tendency in my makeup: I think the worst of people. Thanks to a certain amount of self-awareness, I can admit that I sometimes take this too far; I see evil, even as the light of good begins to shine. I know this about myself.

So, given that I know that my judgement is almost surely clouded in this case, I understand that my interpretation of events must be incorrect. I know this.

But there's still this tiny, niggling doubt in the back of my mind.

Why is it that the GOP was willing to turn a blind eye to whatever Cain did, until it became apparent that the black candidate had gone to bed with a white woman?