With Iowa getting as sticky as pine tar for him, Gingrich says he would consider Palin as a running mate

I guess you fight the dragon any way you can.

With his numbers in Iowa disappearing like the morning dew, a sense of dread inside Newt Gingrich must be rising like summer heat off two-lane blacktop.

So he has yanked the cork out and let it flow.

Gingrich said he would consider picking Sarah Palin as a running mate or perhaps a cabinet secretary if he wins the White House.

You would think a guy with a brain that whirs like a giant Transformer would know better.

Playing with Iran is like playing Russian roulette with no empty chambers

What is a four-letter word for bad news?

Iran.

Right now we’re playing a game of chicken with these infidels, which is a tad more dangerous than playing a game of cards with your Aunt Matilda.

We’re ramping up the sanctions on the Iranians because we don’t want their itchy trigger fingers anywhere near a nuclear bomb. Israel, of course, concurs.

The Iranians are less than pleased, of course. So they’re bluffing (we hope) that they’ll close the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world’s oil exports pass.

Blocking that artery could trigger economic heart attacks and light the fuse on a war that we pray won’t erupt into your basic everyday Armageddon End Times Powder Keg of Mass Destruction and Death.

Such a scenario understandably would put a crimp in everyone’s evening.

Yep, U.S. diplomacy had better work before we have to choose between accepting Iran with a bomb or having to bomb Iran.

You won’t find a pillow to squeeze between that rock and a hard place.

Ron Paul casts a dark shadow on the GOP

I’m not sure why Ron Paul inspires so much devotion from his disciples, but the ultimate libertarian has the bees-to-honey charisma of a rock star. And I must say, he does look younger than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
While Paul figures to kick some serious butt in Iowa and New Hampshire, he has about as much chance of securing the Republican nomination as does Bill Maher.
But do not be deceived. Paul hardly is irrelevant. He very well could define the Republican Party for the foreseeable future. He figures to be a game-changer in 2012.
As a libertarian, Paul embraces a small government conservatism that would make the federal government about as relevant as covered wagons.
While Mitt Romney and New Gingrich support a big government foreign policy agenda and at times have backed a big-government domestic agenda, Paul has all the isolationists in his corner. If there are any shepherds left in America, they’re for Paul.
Paul views any and all parts of government bureaucracy as a toxic virus. To him, Uncle Sam’s middle name is Malware.
So why does this extremist matter so much?
Because the Republicans will have to appease Paul and legitimize its isolationist wing so that he doesn’t kick-start a third party bid that would likely keep the keys to the White House in Barack Obama’s pocket.

Next time you hear Mitt Romney talk about job creation, don't even try to stifle your snickers

While the 2012 Republican presidential campaign seemingly has been going on and going on and going on since the day Barack Obama was inaugurated president nearly three years ago, the primaries have not yet begun.

That, of course, starts in a few days … just as soon as we finish eating, drinking, burping and shopping our way through the holidays and the dwindling days of 2011.

Granted, by now some things on the neverending campaign trail have been sorted out. After all, I could even sort my socks if given a three-year head start.

As of today, it has been established that President Obama has ruined the country and is the worst president of all time, Newt Gingrich is up to his egotistical eyeballs in sexual and financial affairs but is smarter than your average bear, Ron Paul is not color-blind, Rick Perry is at least smarter than the last governor of Texas if not the average fifth-grader, and Mitt Romney is duller than a CPA convention.

But there is more to these candidates than these quick brushes of observation.

Case in point: Romney and Bain Capital.

Bain Capital, which Romney helped found and control, is not primarily in the business of job creation.

Bain Capital is a private equity company, buying struggling companies, breaking them up, laying off thousands of workers and selling off the remaining pieces, if any.
While Romney did leave Bain in early 1999, he received a share of the corporate buyout and investment profits enjoyed by partners from all Bain deals through February 2009: four global buyout funds and 18 other funds, more than twice as many overall as Romney had a share of the year he left.
Romney’s tax rate on the millions in capital gains? A mere 15 percent!
You don’t have to be Robert Downey Jr.’s version of Sherlock Homes to detect that Romney knows how to line his deep pockets through the lucrative business of job destruction. He now is worth between $190 million and $250 million, much of it derived from Bain Capital.
I realize that the primary goal of a private equity company is to create wealth for its investors, not create jobs. And while Bain became one of the nation’s top leveraged-buyout firms, it did invest in a little-known office supply store called Staples, which now employs more than 90,000 worldwide and is in even more shopping centers than Santa was this fall.
To be fair, Romney has said that his Bain experience shows he knows how to create jobs, and that is true to a degree. Bain did expand many of the companies it acquired. But like other leveraged-buyout firms, Romney and his team also maximized returns by firing workers, seeking government subsidies and flipping companies quickly for large profits.
As Paul Harvey used to say, now you know the rest of the story.

Bird Brains didn't deserve a playoff spot, even in the depleted NFC East

Writing an obit never is as much fun as drinking mai tais while watching a spectacular sunset at Waikiki Beach.
Especially on Christmas Day.
Speaking of Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka everybody.
Now back to the walking dead. Your Philadelphia Eagles.
The Birds are cooked. Stick a fork in them. No playoffs for them.
Asking why is dumber than asking your wife why she’s putting on weight.
The answers are obvious. In fact, you don’t even have to dig into the hard earth for those slimy creatures we call facts.
First, they screwed up the personnel acquisition. They burned through millions signing the wrong guys but stubbornly neglected DeSean Jackson.
The Dream Team moniker was a sham. But it was an omen for disaster. The more intense the situation, the more unforeseeable the denouement. In early September, nobody saw this season unraveling and unspooling into failure.
They locked up the wrong quarterback. Michael Vick can be theatrically entertaining and dramatic. But he’s inconsistent, injury-prone, and needs Braille to read defenses.
Andy Reid was an idiot to make Juan Castillo his defensive coordinator. From Day One, Castillo was utterly clueless in designing the D’s tectonic plates. No wonder that defense quickly became a tinderbox in too many games.
They viewed linebackers as inconsequential, as disposable as napkins and as essential as space heaters in an inferno.
An epidemic of turnovers where the football resembled a boomerang and a rash of bonehead penalties where more hankies were dropped than in North Korea when Dear Leader morphed into Dead Leader.
Of course, if figures the Eagles now are teasing us with a late, meaningless rush of success.
Ignore the talk about building momentum for next year. That never, ever happens in the NFL because teams change players more frequently than runway models change outfits.
Nevertheless, Andy Reid, who has outworn his welcome, will return. It’s as inevitable as tonight’s sunset. Which won’t be that beautiful in Philly.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all members of the Zeke Blogosphere.

And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, rejoice that you didn’t have to hang Christmas lights and decorations.

I wish all of you health, happiness, peace on earth, good will, good jobs and good times.

Even my conservative friends.

In fact, as a special gift to those of you who think that I only post unflattering photos of Republicans, I invite you to print out the accompanying images and hang them from your Christmas tree or rearview mirror.

Keep the comments coming in 2012 because, like Barack Obama, I’m all ears.

The Justice Department should order Santa to give minorities a photo ID for Christmas

The Justice Department keeps its eye Superglued on South Carolina, a state that historically has been never accused of being color-blind.

Not surprising then that the Justice Department today rejected South Carolina’s law requiring voters to show photo identification, saying the law makes it harder for minorities to vote.

Critics of the law claim it would have a disproportionate impact on minorities and is aimed at suppressing turnout of voters who tend to support Democrats. Supporters generally cite a need to fight fraud.
Perhaps I’m naive, but this day and age, is getting a photo ID all that difficult? Over the years I’ve actually seen minorities board a plane and sit behind the wheel. Yes, even in South Carolina.
So perhaps not.
While the folks at Justice are at it, why don’t they keep a closer eye on street vendors who sell mayonnaise-and-shrimp sandwiches?

Obama and McConnell put a double choke hold on Boehner and the House GOP submits

House Republicans late this afternoon agreed to pass a two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts. I guess elephants can fly after all.

When it comes to tag-team duos, Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell would be easy meat for WWE legends The Road Warriors and The British Bulldogs.

But Obama and McConnell, an Odd Couple pairing for sure, teamed up to apply a full-nelson atomic drop on John Boehner.

Captain Lou Albano would be so proud.

Assisting in the submission was Harry Reid, who agreed to appoint members to a conference committee to work out a longer deal between the two chambers.

President Obama kept putting pressure on Boehner to pass a short-term payroll tax cut extension, this time citing the support of McConnell.

Talk about a stranglehold from both sides.

Boehner was an increasingly untenable position. Conservative House Republicans were passionate that Boehner hold the line on a short-term package but just about everyone else in both parties supported it.

I doubt if Boehner will be catching a performance of The Nutcracker this holiday season. He has already lived it.

Ouch! Boehner caught in a vise between Democrats and Republicans

You gotta feel sorry for John Boehner. After all, it’s too cold to play golf these days in Washington.
Of course, the House Speaker has bigger concerns right than just a paucity of tee times, a hitch in his back swing, and too little time to decorate his Christmas tree.
The man has become a punching bag for the Democrats and the young Republican turks. He has taken more shots than Tex Cobb against Larry Holmes, more hellacious hits than an NFL quarterback with the Seven Dwarfs blocking for him.
Boehner is much too old to play a game of monkey in the middle.
The Democrats are incensed that Boehner, who apparently told Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell that the House would pass the Senate’s two-month extensive of the payroll tax cut, couldn’t control his own caucus when the young Tea Party shock troops felt they would give in on too many of their demands and get too little in return.
Promises, Promises.
It seems as if Boehner can’t even speak for his own party, let alone the House.
Today President Obama ramped up the pressure on Boehner to get the compromise bill passed to ensure that taxes don’t go up in 10 days, that people out of work for more than 26 weeks still get unemployment checks, and doctors don’t get paid 27 percent less for each Medicare patient they see — meaning more out-of-pocket medical expenses for the elderly.
Boehner in turn told Obama to call Senate Democrats and appoint negotiators to a conference committee on a full-year extension.
Fat chance.
The Senate already bailed for the holidays and those members from warm states are playing through the back nine as your faithful pundit writes this.
So what’s gumming up the works like a dozen cheesesteaks clogging your arteries?
House Republicans, willing prisoners of their own dogma, are mad as hell that Democrats are so unwilling to cut spending and take blame for the bloated federal budget. And they simply aren’t going to take it anymore. Cue up Phil Collins’ I Don’t Care Anymore refrain of “No More.”
This debacle has capped a tumultuous year for the Boehner, reigniting questions about how much longer he can lead the unwieldy GOP coalition.

He evidently is no Pied Piper because many of his members wouldn’t even follow him into a Dairy Queen, let alone into hell.