Yeah, Newt. Good idea. Let's attack North Korea and Iran. But first we had better draft everybody between the ages of 9 and 99

Newt Gingrich, who once upon a time was Speaker of the House (I believe it was during the Jefferson administration), is a dinosaur.
Unfortunately, this dinosaur talks. And Newt then comes across dumber than an elephant. Which is fitting, of course, because he’s a Republican. Not that all Republicans are dumb, mind you. For instance, I cite the towering intellect of Sarah Palin.
Anyway, old Newt thinks we should attack North Korea and Iran because Iraq was only one part of George W. Bush’s Axis of Evil. Brilliant, huh? Then again, what about Afghanistan? Maybe it’s not evil enough. But I digress.
My point is that Gingrich should speak only with subtitles that say ignore whatever this man is saying because it’s rubbish rhetoric. His speeches should be restricted to senior citizen havens where folks are hard of hearing and too preoccupied trying to gum through their fettuccine.
Attack North Korea and Iran while we’re fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Congress? This is one of those scurrilous ideas that came down with multiple sclerosis as soon as it pinballed off Newt’s lips.
Where the hell where we will get enough bodies to fight everybody and their brother in the world? Draft all the unemployed? That would end unemployment, of course. But who would fund all those troops? Congress would have to stage a telethon but where would they get the entertainers? They are all too liberal for that. And Lawrence Welk and Bob Hope have departed for gentler shores.
The other option would be to nuke North Korea and Iran, wipe them off the face of the earth. Which likely would end the world if China and Russia happened to be grouchy that day and came after us with all the passion I’m coming after Newt.

Online prostitution ring rather ungodly

OK, this is real life, not reel life. Hollywood isn’t creative enough to make this up. Wait until Letterman and Leno get wind of this.

A Reading man who calls himself “God” was arrested by Berks County detectives Wednesday on charges he masterminded an Internet-based call-girl operation from his home and branded his workers with such names as “God’s toy” and “God’s property,” authorities said.

I guess those poor women really do believe in God.
Paul S. Sewell was the guy busted in this bizarre case.
Just a hunch, but I imagine the real God is not at all pleased with this. Not at all.
Don’t know about you, but I’m worried the real God will put a pox on Berks County for this. If we don’t fall by the sword or by famine, it likely shall be by pestilence. So why bother shaving?

While we’re discussing prostitution, why the hell is it so rampant around here? Asian massage parlors are getting rubbed out by the cops seemingly every day.

Where are the johns getting the dough in these tough economic times? And if they do have jobs, where do they have the free time for paid sexual escapades? Don’t they have lawns to cut, tubs to grout, weeds to slay, kids to take to swimming lessons, water softeners that need salt?

My God, what is our county coming to?

Katie bar the door: Judge blocks the most controversial parts of Arizona's immigration law

Immigration is one subject that has oodles of shimmy and shake, like a belly dancer on amphetamines.
And that was before Arizona bathed it in caffeine.
God knows what’s gonna go down now that a federal judge today sat on Arizona’s immigration law like she was trying out a sample sofa in a furniture showroom. But it likely is gonna get coyote ugly.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration law from taking effect, delivering a last-minute victory to opponents of the crackdown.
The overall law will still take effect today, but without the provisions that incensed opponents — including sections that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.
The judge also put on hold parts of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places.
Of course, due process has to take place and all the legal mumbo-jumbo will toggle back and forth like a seesaw on steroids.
Bolton ruled that the controversial sections should be put on hold until the courts resolve the issues. So the rhetoric in the immigration debate will be at full throat for sometime.
Proponents of the Arizona law contend it is a constitutionally sound attempt by Arizona — the busiest illegal gateway into the country — to assist federal immigration agents and lessen border woes such as the heavy costs for educating, jailing and providing health care for illegal immigrants.
Opponents argue the law will lead to racial profiling, conflict with federal immigration law and distract local police from fighting more serious crimes. The U.S. Justice Department, civil rights groups and a Phoenix police officer had asked the judge for an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.
Finding a resolution to the sprawling problem of illegal immigration may not turn out to be a Tarantino bloodbath. But it figures to obscenely torque the hardware of minds, hearts, consciences and wallets.

Like a mottled duck caught in the Gulf spill, Tony Hayward's shampoo was a long time coming

We all knew that Tony Hayward was a lame duck as CEO of BP, thanks to the April 20 explosion of the Macondo well on the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico and his loony behavior thereafter.
It was immediately apparent that this guy wouldn’t recognize a solution to the scathing environmental crisis if it came served on a bed of lettuce with sauce béarnaise and plenty of oil.
You didn’t have to be a gumshoe to realize this guy had no clue and was equipped with very little armament to deal with the enormity of the situation.
And with BP shareholders suffering a 35 percent, or $60 billion, drop in market value to around $116 billion since the spill, you knew hope to keep his job was a slender reed upon which Hayward could lean.
BP announced today that it lost $17 billion over the last three months, as it set aside more than $32 billion to deal with disaster-related costs.
So now Hayward is out on Oct. 1 and American Robert Dudley is taking over.
Granted, a $1.6 million payoff and a $17 million pension pot will certainly soothe the unforgiving wind cutting across Hayward’s face like a double-edged axe.

Sick of Vick

The Eagles reported to their Lehigh training camp Monday and the media focus should have been on new quarterback Kevin Kolb, the Anointed Air to Donovan’s Throne.

Instead, the reporters flocked to backup Michael Vick like moths to a lightbulb.
Why? Vick is yesterday’s news. Disgraced by his dogfighting crimes, we’ve leapt over a whole pile of history since he was the face of the NFL. His story is now so old the Chinese may have invented it. The dude ain’t the Head Hoss anymore, the Boss Stud like he was in Atlanta.
It’s a new Eagles era. They’re so young they only have pabulum on the training table. Their offensive line, linebacking and safety play all are one big ?.
So why are we all wasting time dissecting Vick’s supposed resurrection, who was too dumb to hold his 30th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese in the Broadcasting Square Parking Lot from Hell?
And hearing Andy Reid repeatedly and pathetically proclaim that “Michael is a very nice guy” ain’t cutting it for me.
Unless Kolb comes unglued or unhinged — and it says here that while he may have some growing pains with picks, he likely is the real deal in a true West Coast offense — Vick should be as anonymous and polite as my butler.

Afghan leaks a massive blow-by-blow account of a war gone to hell

Call it the Year of the Big Leak.

First it was the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

Now whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has released nearly 92,000 classified military documents on the Afghanistan war from between January 2004 through the end of 2009 to three international news outlets: the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel.

Needless to say, the leak doesn’t paint a flattering picture of the war. It’s an ugly, deep guttural rack of a landscape portrait — golf cleats on gravel. But should anybody be surprised? War is about killing and maiming and awful things happen. And when the stakes are life and death, moral compasses crack and altar boys are scarce.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said today that he still has thousands more Afghan files to post online.

The White House, Britain and Pakistan have all condemned Sunday’s release of the classified documents. White House national security adviser Gen. Jim Jones said the release of the documents “put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk.”
Of course, the U.S. would like to keep its dirty little secrets just that. Which is why Mafia dons don’t have email addresses. But in times of war, let’s not be naive. Governments need covert operations and classified information as much as they do missiles and tanks.
The documents cover some known aspects of the troubled nine-year conflict: U.S. special operations forces have targeted militants without trial, Afghans have been killed by accident, U.S. officials have been infuriated by alleged Pakistani intelligence cooperation with the very insurgent groups bent on killing Americans, and the Taliban has obtained heat-seeking missiles for shooting down aircraft. They also included unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings and covert operations against Taliban figures.
Assange said he believed that “thousands” of U.S. attacks in Afghanistan could be investigated for evidence of war crimes, although he acknowledged that such claims would have to be tested in court.
Just a hunch, but I suspect we haven’t heard the last of this story. Dewy soul-baring has quite the shelf life.

The battle over the expiring Bush tax cuts will have Republicans and Democrats locking horns like stubborn billy goats

Now that July is passing away before our very eyes, we all know that summer will be over in a hiccup.
And the fall is when the future of the expiring Bush tax cuts will have Democrats and Republicans working each over with tire irons.
I know I love football in the fall, but college and pro football sometimes seem as tepid as a game of croquet compared to the body-splattering, meat wagon game of politics as played by Democrats and Republicans. Their battles make the attack on Pearl Harbor sound like woodwinds. You could walk on the lumps of shrapnel bursting around them. They’re a more deadly combination than booze and car keys.
The squabble over the Bush tax cuts will have both parties trying to smack the other down into the trough because it should show which side has the best argument to attract voters in the midterm elections.
It also likely will serve as a proxy for the bigger political clashes, such as the size of government and the best way to fix the tepid economic recovery.
Republicans want to extend the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2010, for everyone. Democrats want the cuts to continue for everyone except individuals making more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000.
Nothing new here. The GOP always wants the wealthy to pay as few taxes as possible because the rich supposedly invest that money into creating business and jobs for poor folk.
Not sure that always is the case but nobody at this point likely is going to free Republicans from the quicksand of their own minds. Their affinity for fat cats became so powerful decades ago that it burst and became a need.
Granted, some Democrats are worried the electorate will treat them like lepers for advocating tax increases while the economy is still struggling to get out of a recession.
But other party leaders see it as a smart strategy because it will force Republicans to defend tax breaks for a tiny, wealthy minority while exposing GOP hypocrisy on budget deficits.
While Republicans insist it’s foolish to raise taxes in the midst of a recovery, the White House will launch a campaign, spearheaded by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, to convince the public that increasing taxes on the rich won’t hurt the economy and will help cut the deficit.
That campaign began Sunday when Geithner said that allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire would be “the responsible thing to do.”
Although the Senate is seen as the natural place to begin negotiations, some Democrats think that if an agreement can’t be reached, the House should approve a measure that continues the Bush tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans right before Election Day.
Then Democrats could force Republicans to either support the measure or face accusations they’re blocking tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans in order to protect the wealthiest.
With both parties lathered with resiliency and resolve on the issue, the resultant entrenchment should make both sides as nimble as a herd of dairy cows.
The result should be a helluva fight come fall. And you thought Kolb and the Eagles vs. McNabb and the Redskins was going to be a bloodbath.
And who will prevail? Stay tuned, fight fans.

Bailed-out banks ladled out $1.6 billion in bonuses — pardon me while I placekick inanimate objects

Well, we all got ripped off like Amish tourists in the French Quarter.
Kenneth Feinberg, the Treasury Department’s pay czar, said today that 17 banks gave their top executives $1.6 billion in lavish payments while they were receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bailouts.
Watch out for those greedy bankers — the dudes in the dark suits, white shirts, striped ties and big wallets who are trying to sell you an Elvis wristwatch and an Okefenokee time-share along with your loan.

With credit card holders now playing it safer than a guy hauling nitroglycerin across a washboard masquerading as a Berks County bridge, issuers diabolically spike non-penalty service fees

Credit card companies loathe good customers almost as much as folks who pay cash for everything.
For years credit card companies feasted on fiscally irresponsible people who rang up balances bigger than a damned soul’s list of regrets.
The resultant penalty fees and high interest rates whirred their whole business model like a giant Transformer.
But the recession has card issuers hitting a big speed bump on the road to riches.
Consumers now are more frugal than monastery monks and are charging less on their credit cards, paying down their balances and steering clear of penalty fees as if they were landmines.

In addition, new federal laws restrict how much card companies can charge risky customers.
Of course, you fight the dragon any way you can. And credit card companies still love to treat consumers like tsunamis treat beach chairs.
A new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that annual fees and service fees have increased over the past year while penalty charges — which are subject to the new federal regulations — remained largely unchanged.
Which should surprise none of us. You don’t think credit card CEOs want to give up their limos and start waiting for a bus, do you?

Shirley Sherrod wants President Obama's ear. Why not over a beer?

When it comes to Shirley Sherrod, character assassination may not draw blood but it can lead to a big plunge into the media fishbowl.
Sherrod, the Agriculture Department official who was hastily fired when a deceptively edited video seemingly showed her saying racist things, has been on a whirlwind media tour.
Now she wants to talk to President Obama about discrimination in the Agriculture Department against black farmers.
Sherrod says Obama “is not someone who has experienced what I have experienced through life, being a person of color. He might need to hear some of what I could say to him.”
Perhaps Obama and Sherrod can hold Beer Summit II, much like the one Obama had last year with Harvard prof Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the Cambridge cop who arrested him.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized to Sherrod for firing her and will offer her a new job, though Sherrod says she’ll have to think about it.
After all this media attention, Sherrod may no longer be content with a desk job. Perhaps an anchor job beckons, but don’t look for it to be on Fox.