Congressman Michael Grimm is an insane person

Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY/Staten Island) felt a little tense after the State of the Union. After giving a terses statement to an NY1 reporter, he was asked about the ongoing issue of his campaign finance. He declined to discuss the matter and stormed off, then returned a moment later, apparently unaware that the camera was still rolling, and threatened to “throw [the reporter] off this [expletive deleted] balcony.” Grimm followed this with “you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”


So, yeah, I’m glad that’s how elected officials speak to members of the press. To members of the human race, really.

It’s amazing that an elected official, in the course of doing his job, can threaten the life of a reporter, then make a non-apology, and people seem to be okay with that.

Mr. Grimm issued a statement late Tuesday evening: “I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests. The reporter knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to comment on the State of the Union, but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview, because I did not have time to speak off-topic. I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”


I expect a certain level of not threatening to throw people off of balconies from my elected officials. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy.

My pants are wet for you, Barack

More “as a result of you”, but that’s not such a snappy headline. As many of you may know, they have closed off a bunch of streets downtown until the Inauguration. I hear it’s because Obama has moved into the area earlier than expected, so there wasn’t a spot for him on the White House grounds. I don’t know if this is the case, and don’t really care. My problem is that they’ve interrupted the S2/S4 bus route, and I had to get off at 16th and K NW this morning. In the rain. And now my pants are soaking wet from the walk. And WMATA is no help – it took me 20 minutes last night to find any information about the detour beyond “there is a detour”, and I still don’t know what the next stop after 16th and K is. It’s somewhere near 13th and H, I think, but I generally get off at the stop I know rather than hope that the next one is better. In any event, this is just one more reason that January 20th can’t come soon enough.

Sign a petition for intelligence in agriculture

Petition to “Get a Secretary of Real Food appointed” in Obama Administration BoingBoing points us to “a petition at that asks Obama’s transition team to consider six candidates – all experienced, viable names of people who are ready and willing to serve – for Secretary of Agriculture who could potentially mend our broken food system. Already, after only six days, 36,000 people have signed the petition, including Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and Bill Niman, and the Obama transition team appears to be paying attention.” If you’ve ever looked at the ingredients on a loaf of bread, the portion sizes at a restaurant, or any number of other things, it becomes pretty obvious that the way we eat and the way we produce food is horribly broken. I am honestly scared of the things that my daughter will be expected to consume when she goes off to school, and she has the advantage of coming from a home where both parents eat well, lots of vegetables, not so much processed stuff, organic when available, etc. What about the millions who don’t know how or can’t afford to eat well? If the Obama transition team really is listening, this is a petition worth signing. I encourage you to sign it. I just did.

I almost signed up for Twitter

I seriously considered signing up for Twitter just so I could easily liveblog the vice-presidential debate tonight. But then I’d have to find friends on Twitter or integrate it here or something, and that all sounded like work, so I didn’t do it. But, boy, am I looking forward to it. Listening to Sarah Palin try to answer questions, and listening to Joe Biden try not to beat her too senseless. He’s really in a tough spot – if he goes easy on her, it’s because he doesn’t respect her as a woman. If he’s hard on her, he obviously hates women. If he ignores her and focuses on the issues, he’s not taking her seriously because she’s a woman. There is absolutely nothing he can do that won’t get him into trouble. So I’m just hoping that she self-destructs all on her own. Which I think she’ll do. I mean, Saturday Night Live used her actual answers to questions because they couldn’t think of anything funnier. On one hand, you have things that Sarah Palin actually said as the candidate for the vice-presidency. On the other hand, you have every other thing that anyone has said or could say. And the things she said were funnier! That is true talent. A friend pointed out to me earlier today a survey that says that 60% of Americans don’t think she’s qualified. After tonight, anyone still in that other 40% is just lying to themselves.

As much as it sucks, we still have to pay the contracts they signed

When I first heard about the giant “golden parachutes” that were supposed to go to the CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – in the neighborhood of $10 million each – I was pretty mad. After the government stepped in to bail them out, we, the taxpayers, were on the hook for these ridiculous firing bonuses. These two men had been in charge of the two companies when it was decided that they couldn’t go on without a government bailout – even if they didn’t start the practices that led them here, they certainly must have been aware of what was going on. Now, after their mismanagement and incompetence, taxpayers were going to pay them more than most of us will make in a lifetime. But then a friend pointed out that we can’t pick and chose which employee payments get made when disaster happens. The government has just stepped in and said, “We’re renegotiating the employment contracts retroactively because it’s too much money”. Partly I’m torn. It is really infuriating that these guys will get so much money for utterly failing at their jobs. It’s infuriating that we’ll have to pay for it. But it’s not the government’s place to come in and change the game at this point. Yes, the government is paying some or all of the bills. But if we wanted that sort of control over what happened at Fannie and Freddie, we should have created the Department of Secondary Mortgages. Then the “CEOs” would be appointees and we could make political statements and fire them without resorting to just telling them that the legal contracts they signed are null and void just because we say so.

Get over yourself, CNN

Would someone please remind CNN again that they report the news, they are not news themselves. This convention is about Barack Obama and the future of our country, not Wolf Blitzer and additional information at Anyway. Kind of cool that they’ve been embedding the commercials inside the border showing the schedule and whatnot, so you can always see the dumb factoids that CNN thinks you should be aware of. We’ll be seeing more of this in the future.

Is everyone holding their breath for Obama?

What is going on with the news today? I don’t usually read mainstream news sources, figuring that if it’s important, either someone’s blog will mention it, the wife will mention it, or my office-mate will read about it in the Express. But today, my RSS feed was so devoid of anything interesting that I went to the Washington Post website to see if anything interesting had happened. Almost the entire front page is dedicated to whatever Obama is going to do tonight, and I just can’t get myself to care. I made up my mind long ago that I was voting for him. And at this point, he would pretty much have to tear off his face and reveal himself as a chupacabra or space alien or something to get me to change my mind.

Actually, I would vote for either of those ahead of McCain so long as they promised to try and undo some of the damage to the country that Bush and Co. have done. And listening to the news anchors talk about President Chupacabra would be fun, too. I think I also can’t get interested because I just can’t (or maybe won’t) imagine how McCain could possibly win. I may be naive. Considering the lukewarm response to his “I forget how many houses I own” remark, coming during the lowest point in the real estate market in my adult lifetime, it’s a strong possibility. Anyway, I suppose we’ll watch some of whatever is going on tonight. Maybe it will even be interesting. And maybe tomorrow the news will be back to normal.

Maybe that’s why everyone loves Wall-E

WALL-E: Cute robot or liberal propaganda? – ParentDish

“From the first moment of the film,” wrote Shannen Coffin, former general counsel to Vice President Cheney, “my kids were bombarded with leftist propaganda about the evils of mankind.”

So, Wall-E has been described as “a 90-minute lecture on the dangers of over consumption, big corporations, and the destruction of the environment.” The cynic in me is wondering if the blogs I read, predominantly pretty liberal, pick up on that, and overstate how good the movie is because it speaks to some of the issues they believe in. That is, it’s getting “good movie” points for “good message”. It’s only natural to come away with a more positive perception of anything – a movie, a person, a work of art, whatever – if that thing supports views you already hold. I certainly don’t mean to imply that the reviewers of Wall-E are being dishonest, even unconsciously. But it’s something to think about. Especially if the conservative reviewers consistently have lower opinions of the movie. I guess I’d have to check out some of them to be sure.

Unexpected consequences of killing the gun ban

Techdirt | Supreme Court Decision On Guns May Cut Promoting Progress Out Of The Constitution

Again, so whether or not you’re happy with the way the court decided the Heller case, the fact that it has no problem deciding that a clause in the Constitution can be ignored as “preamble” could have very bad consequences for those of us pointing out that dangerous innovation-hindering intellectual property systems are against the Constitution.

A lot has been said about the Supreme Court’s decision that the DC gun ban is unconstitutional, but this is the first time I’ve heard mention of the effects that this precedent might have on other legislation. I don’t much like guns in the house. I don’t want them in my house. I don’t think you should have them in your house, either, but I think you should have a right to have them if you want to. And I don’t think the repeal of the gun ban is going to have a significant effect on the number of guns in the city. My feeling on the constitutionality of the law is that it probably wasn’t. As written, I think you can make a strong argument that the amendment doesn’t say that everyone should be allowed to have a gun. However, it has been interpreted for years to say that it does. Unless we amend the amendment, I think we have to allow people to posses guns. I think we should amend it – not necessarily to ban guns, but to remove the controversy. It should be very clear what the amendment does and doesn’t allow. We’ve been arguing over it long enough. I’m not sure I’d be happy with what the present political climate in the federal government would come up with, though, so maybe we should wait until things are a little more sane. In any event, I hope this doesn’t open the floodgates to picking and choosing which parts of the Constitution are relevant and which aren’t. Awful intellectual property laws are bad, but there are a lot of other parts of the Constitution that we’d all be even sorrier to be without.

Hillary and Barack

DSC_2028, Originally uploaded by Barack Obama

It’s nice to see Hillary finally putting the party and her country before herself.

I’m just kidding. I’m finding it difficult to be annoyed with her at this point – she lost, and now she’s helping Obama, because that’s what you do when you finish second in a really close and strongly contested race. She’s very capable, and she’s very smart, and I think she can be a great asset to the Obama campaign. I’m just glad she’s not going to be President.

By the way, if you’re not friends with Obama on Flickr, you’re a total loser.