Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gov. George Pataki Bails from 2016 GOP Clown Car

Surprising no one, and having no measurable impact on the 2016 presidential race, former Governor George Pataki is bailing out of the Clown Car and dropping his bid for the GOP nomination. Though he had zero chance in the first place, it is still a bit sad, as he was the only acceptable choice from the Republican side, as far as I'm concerned. There is literally no one else. Pressed, I'd have to pick either Marco Rubio or John Kasich, and they're both unacceptable.


Republican Pataki says he's ending presidential bid 

Former New York Governor George Pataki on Tuesday ended his long-shot bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. . .

Read more at: MSN

UPDATED TO ADD: Gov. Pataki has made so little splash that I initially crossed out Jim Gilmore rather than Pataki in the attached graphic! I make no apology for this, but it has been amended.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Forget Pot; Why Hasn't Big Liquor Fixed Antiquated State Laws?

This past election cycle, I was onboard our "Legalize It" effort here in Ohio, both for personal and logical reasons. Marijuana should be regulated, taxed and legal in my estimation. It is demonstrably safer than alcohol, which is legal. Moreover, there is a wave of acceptance sweeping the nation for legal pot, rivaled only by the same-sex marriage wave that successfully swept through over the last several years. So, why not?

Ah, dare to dream.
But when you think about it, it's rather amazing that pot is making such headway, when liquor has such a confusing and often times stupid set of restrictions in place against it, from state to state. I'm not talking about age restrictions, here either. I really don't have much problem with 21-and-over being the place we draw the line. Though, honestly, it does make you wonder why "adulthood" is legally scattered from 18-to-21 depending upon what area of law we're talking about. But that's another issue for another day.

If you wants it, you points to it, you
sick, degenerate drinker you!
But NOT on Sunday!!! Heathen!!!
The reason for my interest in this issue has to do with having moved back to Ohio after 20 years in Las Vegas. Liquor laws in Las Vegas are quite liberal, and I was used to being able to run down to Lee's Discount Liquor and buying whatever I wanted, just about whenever I wanted. Prices were reasonable, and there was a lot of competition. You could by most kinds of alcohol just about anywhere in Vegas, from a liquor store to a Walmart, to a grocery, corner quickie mart or even Sam's Club or Costco. Obviously, a dedicated store would have more varieties in both brands and higher proofs, but if you wanted honest-to-god vodka, you could find it just about anywhere.

Not in Ohio. Ohio restricts where you buy it, and when you can buy it. Beyond that, they further slice it by what kind of alcohol, and what proof. I can walk into most grocery or warehouse stores and pick up wine, beer and a bewildering variety of beer- and wine-based pseudo liquors. Sometimes, if you're diluted by half. No joke. Watered down. Most times, if you want a full variety of choices, you have to go to a dedicated state-run liquor store, or be lucky enough to have a grocer that has a full-fledged liquor store within their store. Most don't. Even stores that say they do often don't. Those that do charge far more than I used to pay back in my desert home. And there are restricted hours. Want to pick up something for a party before 1pm on a Sunday? Tough.
lucky, they also have spirits. But virtually always, those spirits are
Paradise in Las Vegas!

Dedicated stores are often dingy, sorrowful looking affairs that make you feel dirty when you walk in the door. If they have any browseable liquor, it's the cheap stuff, with top-shelf brands behind the counter. You literally have to point to what you want, and have them hand it to you. It feels like you're buying porn or something. But there is a world outside of Ohio, and even Las Vegas for that matter. When we've ventured out of our newly re-adopted state, we've made stops in other states, checking out how they do things. West Virginia has more liberal laws, though I can't say the stores I've visited have been particularly inviting. Pennsylvania may have arcane laws, but I must've hit one store at the right time in Pittsburgh, because it had a decent selection, and decent prices. Still nothing like Sin City. Iowa offers a decent grocer-based option, with separate-but-attached liquor stores by the main grocery. Prices are better than Ohio, if not great. And time restrictions are also better.

Binny's! Now that's what I'm talking about!
That was a reasonable option on our recent visit, and we were set to pick up a carload for our home bar. But we ran out of time, and just didn't get around to it. Undeterred, we decided to find something on the way home. At a gas fill-up in Illinois, we noticed our truck stop had a dedicated liquor store. Cool! We grabbed a couple of bottles of whiskey (priced above Nevada, but below Ohio), but were told, in broken English, that we were too early. No sales on Sunday before 10 am! It was 9:15. Okay, then, back on the road. I plugged my request into my phone, and huzzah!!! A liquor discount store in Champaign called "Binny's." And it was right off the freeway!

This is not an ad, but let me tell you, it was a real discovery. It was like Vegas, only better actually. Illinois may very well have perplexing liquor laws that I'm not privy to. But this store was big, it had huge variety. It had low, low prices. And the people were super-friendly. Even Lee's Discount Liquor didn't manage that, most days. Suffice it to say, we stocked up. And just for example, a handle-bottle of JD was at least $20 cheaper there, no joke.

But all of this got me to wondering: why is it this way? Why does each state have a hodge-podge of antiquated, religiously tinged, ridiculous liquor laws in almost 2016? I realize, even Ohioans don't have it as bad as some other--particularly Southern--states, whose laws can be downright bizarre. But why do brewers, distillers and other liquor companies put up with it? Why would they make special, diluted spirits just for Ohio? These are huge companies in some cases. Isn't there a liquor lobby? Wouldn't Lee's or Binny's like to have big box stores in Columbus or Cincinnati? Wouldn't Costco, Sam's or even Kroger? I really don't get it. But I'd like to see a ballot initiative! Maybe if the liquor lobby scratched the marijuana lobby's back. . .

Monday, December 28, 2015

Greenlee Gazette Returns. . .Sort Of.

Well, hellllooo, blogosphere! Anything happen while I was away? Yes, I took a family trip out of state for Christmas, and didn't even give notice on the blog. As you probably have ascertained, this here corner of the interwebz doesn't get the attention it should. I have no intention of closing it down, but I've also given up on the notion of it ever being a full-fledged daily obsession anymore either. As long as Google keeps the Blogger platform running, Greenlee Gazette will live on. But the dozen or two posts-per-month average is likely to remain about the norm, unless something in life changes, and I get refocused on it.

So please, do stop by from time to time. Just don't be surprised if there are only a few choice brain nuggets here! I'll at least try to make a few of them interesting! Definitely some new stuff tomorrow.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Lindsey Graham Collapses on His Fainting Couch, Out of the Race

Oh my gay stars! The 2016 GOP Clown Car is losing a rider, though he was probably always going to be in the rumble seat anyway. Look for Graham to continue going between getting the vapors, and having fits of histeria on the Sunday morning political shows, more than ever.


Lindsey Graham suspends his presidential campaign

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) ended his long-shot presidential bid today, telling supporters in a web video that he succeeded in changing the conversation about how to fight the Islamic state. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Sunday, December 20, 2015

SNL: Hillary Clinton Meest 2008 Version of Herself (and Special Guest)

It would be almost unthinkable to have Amy Poehler and Tina Fey back to host Saturday Night Live without revisiting one of their funniest sketches. Back during the 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin had been added to John McCain's GOP ticket, and Barack Obama won a brutal primary against Hillary Clinton. The SNL version of this eventuality was a classic, that lives on as a highlight in SNL history.

Eight years later, with Hillary running again, SNL finds her dreaming about meeting her former self. . .and her former competition!

And just for fun, here's the classic bit.

SNL: Latest GOP Debate Skewered

Image from
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey cohosted this weekend's Saturday Night Live, and it was frankly one of the best episodes of the past several seasons. SNL continues to attract nay-sayers, people who are fond of saying "Saturday Night DEAD," or that it hasn't been funny in decades. Of course, they've been accusing it of being cursed with suck since John Belushi left. As a regular watcher, through thick and thin, I think the cast has gelled, and is currently very good. And when they've got stellar guest hosts, they get a dynamite show.

The cold opening actually followed a real Democratic presidential debate, by spoofing the most recent Republican one. And it was a hoot. Darrell Hammond was back as Donald Trump, since current "leading man" Taran Killam was serving as Ted Cruz. That's unfortunate, because Killam's Trump is better than his Cruz. Otherwise, the bit was a home run.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rachel Maddow: GOP Embracing "The Fringe" - It's New, and Nuts

Image from source, Washington Post
I have a feeling that Reince Priebus must just be rocking himself to sleep every night, unsure of what to do. The Republican Party has fostered and built the Frankenstein's monster that is Donald Trump, and activated the torch-bearing villagers. The twist is, the villagers support the monster, and want to set his maker's laboratory ablaze! For years, they courted the paranoid, the conspiratorial, the frothingly xenophobic, the rabidly homophobic, the acidically racist and the overzealously religious. Those people were supposed to rush to the polls to vote for everyone with an (R) after their name. They weren't supposed to control anything, either by becoming the majority, or by aligning behind a non-establishment candidate.

They should have seen this coming. They have had to deal with (and pretend to just adore) the Tea Party. They've had several nutbars from the fringe actually get elected. They had to suspect that it was possible that eventually a non-establishment candidate would rise to the top as a presidential candidate. What they didn't factor in was a cult of personality, a hero-worship of a bona fide "conservative" celebrity. I have to note that I put conservative in quotes here, because one of the most curious parts of this whole thing is that Donald J. Trump does not align well with many of the core principles of modern day Tea Party conservatism. And I just as easily could have put "celebrity" in quotes, as Trump is the kind of celebrity that is famous for being famous. He's literally a Reality TV star, on par with a Kardashian.

Could Donald Trump have a
Lonesome Rhodes moment?
Image fromWikipedia.
So, no, the GOP couldn't have predicted that the base voters could put aside their hardcore anti-abortion stance, shunt aside their anti-gay feelings, ignore their religious fervor, and go all in for a famous bag of gas. And follow him no matter what. He's not Teflon like Ronald Reagan, he's something altogether different. He's akin to a cult leader, and his followers are guzzling the Flavor-Aid. The only way to stop this thing, to my mind, is for the GOP to expel him from the party, and in doing so, very likely fracture their party. Barring that, they have to hope for a coalescence of support for a candidate by the non-crazy GOP voters that swells larger than Trump's support. Or, they have to hope some event or happenstance takes him out of the running. It's not likely to be a gaffe that does it, unless it's of Lonesome Rhodes proportions.


A leading presidential candidate embracing the fringe? That’s nuts — and new.

In the three years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., one of the more inexplicable aspects of its aftermath has been the persistence of the insane conspiracy theory that the killings never really happened. Sandy Hook “truthers” contend that the incident was either faked in its entirety, or, if it was real, was committed by the government for some sort of political effect. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Monday, December 14, 2015

Movies I Can't Wait to See: Star Trek Beyond

The first Star Trek reboot rocked. The second, Star Trek Into Darkness wasn't bad, in fact it was quite enjoyable. But it had its head-scratching moments, and made me wonder, did they just reboot this so that they could remake old plots? It was an odd direction to take. I'm hoping the third will set us back on course to a place no man has gone before (not even Kha-a-a-a-a-n!!!).

Star Trek and I share a birthday. We'll both be 50 next year (so will the Super Bowl, but Super Bowl I was actually in 1967, so it just stands as a harbinger of how old I will be that year). So, I'm both excited and glad that they elected to put a movie out to commemorate it.

SNL: Skewers FOX "News," Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Chris Christie

Funny stuff. The only problem is, Taran Killam is far too attractive (and not nearly creepy enough) to play Ted Cruz effectively.

SNL: George W. Bush Throws His Hat into 2016 GOP Race

Why not? Strategery!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Chris Hardwick's Spot-on Trump Descriptions (Mashup)

I'm a big fan of @Midnight with Chris Hardwick, and Talking Dead, and I have no use for Donald Trump. So, this particular mashup of introductions by Hardwick from whenever Trump's name comes up, was bound to tickle my funny bone. You'll like it too!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Donald Trump's Cult of Personality: What is Wrong with Trump's Supporters?

An internet comments section come to life. That is the best (and increasingly frequent) summation of Donald Trump's candidacy. I've seen it now from several sources, and it's becoming more common, because it fits so well. If you don't know what that means, it means that Trump is pure id. He will make his "point" forcefully, whether or not it makes any sense. He'll answer a question with non-sequiturs, with irrelevant, exaggerated, boasts. He goes off on tangents, sometimes several at once, embedding parentheticals inside parentheticals. All the while bulldozing everyone else in the discussion and declaring himself the victor, even if he said nothing of substance.

I'm watching Morning Joe right now, and The Donald is on the phone. For some reason, this show (and most others) is willing to have Trump appear via phone call at any moment to discuss anything, at length. But today, they're discussing Trump's over-the-top immigration comments about Muslims. His comments have drawn the ire of many prominent Republicans, and have stomped on virtually every other political story of the moment.

Trump is pulling his usual schtick, filibustering the hosts (most of which are very friendly to him), using his familiar third-grader vocabulary and argument style. When they ask him a pointed question, he regales them with tales of his standing room only crowds, his place in the polls, the weakness of his opposition, and little else. He declares himself "right," while offering very, very little of substance.

In short, he's doing what he always done. But he's terrible. No other candidate could get away with it for this long. The problem is, as I see it, moving from Trump to his supporters. What is wrong with your average Trump supporter? What are you seeing here? He's a blowhard bully, an egotistical asshat, still spewing obnoxious vaguaries, still absent any real-world specifics.  He is a complete paradox: a cult of personality, where the personality is to most rational people, simply vile. When will the spell be broken?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Right Wing World: Presidential Politics Off The Rails

If this were my first or second year of blogging, I'd probably be typing my fingers into stumps, trying to keep up with the utter insanity overtaking Republican politics right now. But it isn't. I'm actually in my ninth year, and no longer feel compelled to hit this stuff quite so hard. I'm actually kind of glad I don't. It's making me crazy enough as it is.

Listen, I am aware that a lot of what's going on in the world is scary, confusing, complicated and difficult to process. It's just as hard as a hobbyist blogger (i.e., no more professional training than your average talk radio boob or FOX "News"-babe) to figure out what to write. The president spoke from the Oval Office last night, ordinarily something I'd write about. But I listened to the conservative response, which was uniformly negative, naturally, and just threw up my hands. Because, surely the president knows nothing and we really should be following what Joe Scarborough or Sean Hannity thinks we should do, right?

Image from source, Washington Post
Trouble is, the people auditioning for the actual president's job are quite arguably worse than the idiots in the conservative media. Any pretense at looking "presidential" is out the window. Any caution for how their words are perceived internationally is ignored. Even reality itself seems rather malleable in Right Wing World. You've got Trump ready to ignore Muslim Americans' civil rights, you've got Ted Cruz talking about nuking and "carpet bombing" (a war crime) swaths of the Middle East. Conservative standard-bearers--allegedly strict constitutional constructionists--want to throw out religious freedom (unless it's made-up Christian "persecution"). Everything has gone topsy-turvy. And it just keeps getting worse.

I get really bummed when I read internet polls or comments sections, and see these "conservatives" on board with this shit! This is allegedly the cautious party, the party afraid of change, the ones about "rule of law" and "personal responsibility" saying and doing whatever it is that their frothing-at-the-mouth, batshit crazy base will eat with a spoon. Regardless of whether or not it's the most anti-American, potentially unconstitutional, often internationally illegal and quite literally illogical claptrap ever spewed in politics.

Maybe I need to come back to this thing more often.


Donald Trump is a disaster for Republicans. And they can’t do a thing about it.

Donald Trump seemed to signal a new -- and even darker -- phase of his front-running campaign for the Republican presidential nomination Monday when he released a statement insisting that Muslims should be banned from entering the country under any circumstances "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on. . ."

Read more at: Washington Post

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NY Daily News Slams GOP Presidential Candidates on San Bernardino Response

I almost didn't write up anything on this, only our most recent mass shooting this week. But tomorrow's New York Daily News has a take so refreshing, I had to say something. As is usual, the GOP presidential candidates (who still number in the teens) offered up platitudes about prayer in response to the shooting in San Bernardino. As an atheist, my cynical side rolls its eyes, and says, "Well, that's the least you can do. The very least."

But hold up, several of these guys are actually in the House of Representatives and Senate. They can do more than pray, they can do something meaningful about it, if they wanted to. So, why don't they? Because they're terrified of their own base, and the NRA.


New York Daily News Rips GOP Leaders For “Meaningless Platitudes” In Wake Of Mass Shooting

Over the last few years the New York Daily News has devoted countless screaming headlines which denounced the NRA, its head Wayne LaPierre, and many other gun control opponents. . .

Source: Joe.My.God.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

World AIDS Day: Flashing Back to "When AIDS Was Funny"

AIDS was, of course, never really funny. But for a time, people got titters about it, because it was "gay cancer," and openly gay Americans were rather rare, and the whole subject was treated like a joke. A dirty, truly tasteless joke. The most troubling fact about that, is that it wasn't just 13-year-old boys with pocket "dead baby" joke books treating it that way, but the official stance of the Reagan Administration. How much differently could the AIDS crisis have turned out, had Saint Ronnie treated the subject more seriously at the outset? We'll never know.


The Reagan Administration’s Unearthed Response to the AIDS Crisis Is Chilling

One of the most prominent stains on the reputation of the much-mythologized Reagan administration was its response, or lack of response, to the AIDS crisis as it began to ravage American cities in the early and mid-1980s. President Reagan famously (though, not famously enough) didn’t himself publicly mention AIDS until 1985, when more than 5,000 people, most of them gay men, had already been killed by the disease. Filmmaker Scott Calonico’s new documentary short, When AIDS Was Funny, exclusively debuting on, shows how the Reagan administration reacted to the mounting problem in chilling fashion. Not even Reagan’s appointed mouthpiece, notorious press secretary Larry Speakes, had much to say about the crisis beyond derisive laughter. . .

Read more (with video) at: Vanity Fair

Trump: $5 Million, Or No Debate!

Image from source, CNN
Was he joking? Just being (more of) an asshat? I guess we'll find out.


Trump Threatens CNN: Give Me $5 Million Or I Won’t Show Up for Next Debate!

Remember back in September how Donald Trump said that CNN shouldn’t accept any of the profits they made from the second GOP debate and should give it all to veterans charities? Well, he’s doing it again. . .

Read more at: CNN
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