John Boehner & His Executive Order Fetish

This post isn’t about my politics, mind you, but I do want to get my biases out front–I’m worse than a Liberal, I’m a Rational.  The closest analog I’ve been able to find is Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party, but that’s hardly a good fit.  You haven’t heard of us yet, much, but you will.  We are legion–and I’ll tell you all about it in another post.

Injun John BoehnerThat said, this started out as our third edition of Dumb Ass of The Week, but the more I wrote the more I realized that in order to accommodate Mr. Weepy Tanning Bed himself, Speaker of the House John Boehner, we would have to stretch the meaning of the term “Dumb Ass” to include “Ass Hats” and “Assholes.”  Then there would be the inevitable outcry from the “Ass Clowns,” demanding inclusion,  but we have to draw a line somewhere. So, as Boehner is clearly more of the “Ass Hat” variety, we’re giving the award to a more bizarrely cracked sumbitch, and that’s okay.  He’ll understand.

It’s important to note that Mr. Boehner wouldn’t have earned this award by himself, and should share it with the cabal of hardline Randian teabaggers and Fox news paint huffers who now drive the Republican Party, as well as those weak-spined opportunists who capitulate to the extremists and abandon their moral and intellectual capacities in order to court the teabag vote.

The thing is, Boehner knows better.  He’s smart, and he used to be an effect legislator, but no longer.  He fears the powerful extremist right and covets their contributions to his war chest.  What got him on the list is the absurdly wasteful and divisive lawsuit that the Speaker has begun, cagily timed to provide angry talking points for conservative candidates in the upcoming elections.  How much money will be spent, how much time?  What will the cost be of one more political stunt aimed to widen the rift between the two major, useless parties?

But what about these horrible EXECUTIVE ORDERS?  (That’s a link with some fascinating info regarding them–check it out in another tab.)  You’ll learn more than this:

Executive Order

A presidential policy directive that implements or interprets a federal statute, a constitutional provision, or a treaty.

The president’s power to issue executive orders comes from Congress and the U.S. Constitution. Executive orders differ from presidential proclamations, which are used largely for ceremonial and honorary purposes, such as declaring National Newspaper Carrier Appreciation Day.

Executive orders do not require congressional approval. Thus, the president can use them to set policy while avoiding public debate and opposition. Presidents have used executive orders to direct a range of activities, including establishing migratory bird refuges; putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II; discharging civilian government employees who had been disloyal, following World War II; enlarging national forests; prohibiting racial discrimination in housing; pardoning Vietnam War draft evaders; giving federal workers the right to bargain collectively; keeping the federal workplace drug free; and sending U.S. troops to Bosnia.

That’s the gist of it.  Executive Orders were included as part of the original establishment of our government, and the first President to issue one of these orders was George Washington himself.  In the intervening years they have been used by every President, including President Barack Obama’s predecessor,  President George W. Bush.  And how many of these evil, supposedly illegal manuevers did Bush perpetrate?  One?  Two?  Ten?  Twenty?

Ha.  In his first term, Dubya Bush signed 173 executive orders, compared to Obama’s 143.  In Bush’s second term, he was less aggressive, signing a mere 118 orders, while Obama is (through July 20) clocking in at a modest 36.

My point is not that Bush’s actions were even more egregious than Obama’s, but that this is how it works.  Presidents do this all the time–always have–and in while those numbers seem high, Obama and Bush both clock in as relatively restrained practitioners of the Executive Order.  Crazed liberals like Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower averaged considerably more Executive Orders, and let’s not even talk about Truman and Roosevelt.  Ronald Reagan pulled the trigger 381 times over two years, and milquetoast Gerald Ford managed an astound 176 in little more than a year in office.  The scoundrel.

Let’s see the lawsuit expanded to throw Bush in there as a co-defendent.  Or Reagan’s gristly corpse.

What lets me feel good about trashing Boehner is that he knows this.  He has to.  I managed to educate myself on this subject in about 40 minutes, counting the time it took to go grab a glass of water and a handfull of Fritos.  I’m wagering that the Speaker of The United States House of Representatives might know a little more than I do about how the law works, of course maybe he doesn’t.

The thing is: he doesn’t care. Every Republican looking at an election this fall will face a plethora of rheumy-eyed mouth-breathing self-educated constitutional experts who demand to know what those candidates are doing about impeaching “Barack Hussein Obama,” as they love to say.  Forget that most of them don’t actually understand what the word “impeachment” means, let alone the process behind it–they want action.  With this lawsuit, the candidates will be able to say, “Look Mr. Cletus, we’re suing the closet Kenyan-In-Chief” and then they’ll all be friends.  Secondly, as less imperatively, the republicans are using this bull to raise funds–“help us win!”  Of course, the Democrats are pulling in just as much scratch–millions and millions.  What sucks about this is that millions and millions of dollars of government money will be spent prosecuting this case–and that’s the real kicker.

*As an afterthought, each time I mention Boehner’s name I’m compelled to point out that every spell-checking software I use, on every device, begs me to correct his name to “Boner.”  Could be the machine revolution won’t be as bad as Terminator and The Matrix led us to expect.


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Dream Motorcycle: BMW R100-RT

Since the last post was a tribute to a motorcycle icon, I figured that I would make it a trend.  Now, I don’t have anything cool enough to rival this, but I’ll do my best.

I’ve never been seduced by those loud Harleys, as much as I appreciate the iconic aesthetics of those machines.  I’d like this:


photo credit: J.S. Miller Photography

5090156106_1f1fd2cd35_o (2)b

photo credit: J.S. Miller Photography


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Seventies Superiority: Thanks To Evel

evel-knievel-533I read an entertaining blog post over at Insidethelifeofmoi in which Amanda makes a compelling and comprehensive case for the awesomeness of growing up in the 1990’s.  It was an eye opener, because I spent most of that decade well off the mainstream culture grid, my free time pretty much absorbed by either hiking and camping, drinking in dingy bars, or writing a succession of uniformly inept novels and short stories. I rarely watched television, didn’t go to the movies much, and there wasn’t much internet to speak of–nothing like the internet of today, with it’s “30 Celebrities Who Totally Rocked It This Year” lists (29 of which I never heard before).  Judging from Amanda’s colorful tour of her childhood, I missed a lot.

Justin-Bieber-image-justin-bieber-36489193-1970-2000 Which got me to think about my childhood, and current culture, and the obviously imminent collapse of western society.  Kids today don’t have a chance, especially boys, when their biggest cultural role model is a pint-sized douchebag called Justin Beiber.  Now, apologists might argue that Beiber is a symptom, not a disease, a product of our coarse and vapid culture, and that may be true, but if that’s true he’s like a Patient Zero, carrying disease wherever he goes, gleefully and callously spreading his sickness to everyone he encounters.

knievel1It wasn’t that way when I was a kid, and we have one man to thank for it: Evel Knievel.  That’s right: it’s a real name.  Okay, maybe his real name was Robert Craig Knievel, but it’s the nickname–er, knick-kname that counts.  Who was Evel Knieval, you ask?  Well, he was a barnstorming motorcycle daredevil, a back room  brawler, an alleged bully, self-proclaimed bank robber and safe-cracker and an iconic cultural phenomena who mesmerized the nation and inspired the absolute coolest toy of the 1970s.

And what exactly did he do?  He jumped his motorcycle over stuff–cars, trucks, and school buses mainly.  He crashed.  A lot.  The guy was infamous for all his broken bones, for his comas–what kind of genuis promotion makes a guy get more famous for being in a coma?  Every boy in America wanted to be this guy who rides motorcycles and jumps over stuff.  In a cape.  The seventies were an amazing time.

Napoleon-Dynamite-GIF-Going-off-ramp-of-the-sledgehammerIf you watched Napoleon Dynamite and laughed at the scene with the bike ramp jump, and you’re younger than 40, you really didn’t get the whole joke.  See, while the punk ass kids of today are sitting around taking selfies and waiting for that twit Beiber to Tweet something interesting, we were in the alley behind our garages, building ramps out of old cinder At_Home_With_Evel_Knievelblocks and pillaged lumber so we could crash and burn our old Free Spirits and Schwinns, our banana seat and ten speed bikes, in an attempt to be like Evel and grab some sky.  This was long before mountain bikes, and even before BMX bikes became widely commercially available.

Try to imagine the bubble-wrapping parents of today allowing their kids to run off and jump bikes off home-made ramps with no supervision.  These people call the police on mothers who dare to let their ten-year-olds play in the park unsupervised.  At that age I was not only jumping ramps, but wandering yard sales to buy old bikes for exhorbitant prices–sometimes as much as a dollar–and, with the help of older kids, cobbling them together to make “jump bikes.”  So, when I was launching myself into a very low, very brief orbit I was doing so on a frankenstein bike thrown together by a mechanically inept kid–me.  And I never broke a bone.  Most everyone else did, though.  Evel broke nearly all of his, or so it seemed. the-many-injuries-of-evel-knievel1


For a while, Knievel was justifiably considered the most famous man in the world, a fact made all the more interesting because no one realized at the time that he was Evel-Knievel-Lunch-Boxpioneering the entire “extreme sports” subculture that would, twenty years later, captivate millions.  Kids carried his lunchbox to school–it was one of the more popular ones for boys, and played with his toys and action figures.  That’s right, action figures: not bad for a half-crazy barnstorming daredevil on a motorcycle who, I am convinced, evel3drew audiences which didn’t really care if he succeeded or failed.  A success might be exhilarating, but a crash and burn is pretty interesting, too.  His wind-up motorcycle was the bell-weather of my childhood.  All the kids I admired had one, and I desperately, achingly, wanted one.  I could only imagine the thrill of cranking that baby several times–it was made to sound like an approximation of an engine revving–then flicking the release and watching Evel tear down the sidewalk.  My mom thought it was stupid, of course, like all the toys I wanted.

Evel got old and, after a failed attempt to launch himself across the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, Idaho, he slipped from the public eye, but it’s my understanding that he continued to do his stunts on a smaller stage until his body eventually gave out.  He died a few years ago, mourned by pretty much every American man in his mid- to late-40’s.


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Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle…

Distinguished, notable feminists Gloria Steinem, Irina Dunn, and Flo Kennedy have alternately been credited with popularizing the phrase, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”  While I’m all about feminism, living in a house full of women I have sometimes taken pause to wonder if said fish ought not to be the one called to relocate spiders, fix leaking pipes, and remove bloody piles of rodent parts left by the cats as tribute on the back porch?  I have learned, in my maturity, to defer to Tennyson:

“Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.”

A recently discovered image, however, has led me to question this whole man/fish/bicycle tricotomy.  I’m afraid I really don’t know what the hell to make of it.


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Finally! Ready For Some Football & Sean Spence

I used to call the months between the end of the college basketball season and the opening of NFL training camps as “The Sports Void” because I’m not a tremendous hockey or baseball fan.  It hasn’t been that bad of late, with both the Penguins and Pirates fielding competitive teams over the past two years, but the pleasure in the home team winning more than they lose is not the same as the passionate fanaticism I feel for my favorites.
spence 1

The local catchphrase is: It’s a ‘burgh thing, you wouldn’t understand, and a lot of people don’t.  I caught it from my grandmother, who had a chronic case, through my mother, who seems to have a limited immunity.  I was pleased, when I met my wife, to find she also was a carrier–no guilt from infecting her.  The jury is still out on my children who, with a rigorous academic load and their own athletic endeavors to take up their time, often find Sundays to be their only hope of free time during the fall and winter. But it’s in them. They were toddlers when the Steelers cut Kordell Stewart and I had to break the news.  Their tears broke my heart…but a few years later, when a new quarterback, and a new roster won the Super Bowl, they joined us driving through the streets after the game, honking the horn, high-fiving drunken college students in the street, and having our “Steel Nation” flag from the back seat of the car.

In many ways it’s a new team–only a hand full of players who were on the team two years ago are returning, the natural result of players aging combined with a pair of consecutive mediocre seasons.  The young guys are the old guys now, and the new young guys are a mystery.  At this point in the pre-season, hopes are high, every team a contender, and as much as we look towards wins and losses a lot of us are hooked by compelling “small” individual stories.

I’m cheering for 3rd year middle linebacker Sean Spence.  When Spence arrived 2 seasons ago, a slightly undersized player whose quickness and intelligence was reputed to be more than enough to compensate for his size.  He quickly distinguished himself on defense and had an excellent shot to replace the venerated James Farrior, one of the bulwarks of the team.  It never happened.  Early in his first pre-season game, Spence hyper-extended his knee, tearing all major ligaments, dislocating his kneecap, and sustaining nerve damage.  The question was not “will he play football again,” but “will he walk without a serious limp?”

Two hard years of rehabilitation later and Spence is not just walking, he is back in camp and looking to carve a place for himself in the “new” Steelers defense and create some interesting dilemma for the coaches.  The Steelers have used high picks on heralded linebackers in the past two drafts, looking to replace aged long-time starters Larry Foote and David Woodley, who could no longer keep the pace.  Spence will be competing with this year’s first round draft pick, Ryan Shazier, for the spot beside Lawrence Timmons, one of the best in the game.  If he succeeds in regaining the ground he lost, and the other young players establish themselves, the Steelers will have one the of the best young linebacking corps in the league.  It’s exciting.

spence 3

Of course, as far as I’m concerned, Spence has already won.  The effort and determination it has taken for him to overcome an injury that has left other people crippled for life boggles the mind–forget about reaching the level where he can actually compete at an NFL level practice.  This also speaks well of the Steelers, who had Spence’s back and kept him on the roster for two years when most teams would have cut their losses, arranged for an injury settlement, and moved on.  That wasn’t cheap, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from the team, and why many of us who grew up in the region feel so strongly about the Black and Gold.  In an age of sports owners like Dan Snyder of the Redskins, or the Clippers’ Donald Sterling, it is refreshing to see “the Steelers way” in effect–a professional sports team run like it’s part family business, part community asset.

Finally, I lifted these from another page, to give an indication of how most Steelers fans are thinking:



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Found Summer Photo: Sandstorm

It’s been a little while since I posted a good summer photo–since it’s cold and gloomy today, overcast with just a high of 70 predicted, the time seems right.

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D.A.H.O.F. Spreadsheet Sex Guy

I suppose by now everyone on the internet has heard about the Spreadsheet Guy, which is the downside of having a weekly feature on a blog–some stuff just isn’t going to be timely.  Be that as it may, for those of you still unenlightened, Spreadsheet Guy is the hurt and resentful husband who kept a spreadsheet recording all of the sexual overtures he made to his wife over a couple months, detailing acceptance, rejection, and–in the case of rejections, his wife’s reasoning. He then proceeded to email it to her on her way out of town on a business trip, then refuse to answer her replies. His wife, not to be outdone in the immaturity department, took the matter–and the spreadsheet–to  It’s really worth looking at this close up.



I cannot be too happy about this.  First, it makes my week two DAHoF inductee a no brainer, but it also proves I’m not the most hopelessly obtuse and inconsiderate husband in the world and gives me a belly laugh in the process.

In no way should that be interpreted as approval for the wife’s actions, though I can sympathize. That’s a lot of pestering and whining to put up with.  My question is how did this guy ever decide on “anger and humiliation” as a marital therapy tool?  Of course, I’m even more surprised by the battalion of equally frustrated men who have leapt to this guy’s defense, all but crying out “how dare this woman keep her vagina to herself?!”

Sheesh. Have they all forgotten when we were teenagers and sex was a magical land, carefully and scrupulously guarded, the key to which inspired us to unending quests, humiliating gestures, and most of our pride and limited wealth?  Man, we’d do ANYTHING–at least, I would have–to visit that wondrous land, and yet somehow these guys have gotten to a place where they best they can do is make half-assed passes while their wives are watching old episodes of Friends?  Again: sheesh.  As Bill Cosby used to say: these guys are like a baseball team during a thunderstorm: NO GAME.

I’m not talking about that mysogenist singles-bar pickup bullshit, but regular old relationship maintenance. For the love of god, man: wash the frakking dishes, pal. Run the vaccuum.  Do a load of laundry. Fully half the foreplay I’ve been part of,  over the past 33 years that I’ve been sexually active (is that TMI?) began with a domestic chore–and I’m good at announcing the “man stuff” I do that might otherwise go unnoticed. “I just changed the furnace filter” or “I added a quart of oil to your car and checked the tires–they looked low.”  It amazes me how many men are too dull-witted, or too stubborn, to actually do the things that make their women happy.  Even an old (beloved, admittedly) bumpkin like Waylon Jennings can offer up some valid insight.

So, here’s the thing.  My wife is kind of hot, and I’m regularly asked if I plan to start dressing up as Santa for the poor kids one of these Christmas seasons–I totally have that whole “bowl full of jelly” thing going on, and the last time I was at the Hair Salon the girl who cuts my hair–and knows me away from work as well–asked me if I got the senior discount.  The Senior Discount.  I’m 48.  Mrs. Junk is certainly not into me for looks–although we can’t discount a bit of Stockholm syndrome after more than two decades together, and it’s not my sense of style: some of my clothes are older than my teenage children, but still.  Or my money: I majored in Literature in College, which is actually a negative mark on most job applications, like answering “yes” to the “have you ever been prosecuted” question.

Does my wife loathe the sight of me sometimes?  Yes; quite often, I suppose.  Does she ignore me when I’m muttering about tire pressure and furnace filters?  Almost certainly.  Does she ignore me to the point that I call her out, specifically to hurt her, with attached documentation.  No, because I’m not a dickhead.

Guilt doesn’t make someone want you, and incessant begging and whining and moaning doesn’t make a woman growl like a panther and whisper “Got to have me some of that.”  Folding the napkins does, though.  A lot of guys on that Reddit page would probably tell me it’s reverse sexist to expect the man to dance for his dinner, so to speak, and to them I would boldly demand: “So, what’s your point?”  Women are soft and warm and they smell nice–that’s worth working for.  And, while you’re at it: make a point to tell your woman you love her twice a day, and let her know you think she’s hot just as often–and do it with more than a slap on the ass and a rude suggestion (though, occasionally, if you’re careful, a little lechery can go a long way).

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