Creep Show

My goodness! Has another shooting rampage befallen our bleeding nation? How could anyone who has not lived in the United States for the past month have foreseen this??

Okay, in all fairness this barely qualifies as an America-level murder spree. We are used to space cases who think they are living in a comic book and rock n’ roll racists who want to live fast and die furious with their jackboots on. A garden variety mentally ill man with no colorful agenda should barely rate a mention in the police blotter of the  College Station Penny Saver. If this shooting hadn’t happened within the vicinity of Texas A&M we never even would have heard of it!

Still, Thomas Caffall did shoot four police officers, and the casualty count of four wounded and three dead (including Caffall) could qualify it for a below-the-fold story in a medium-sized metropolitan paper I guess, if Tom and Katie hadn’t had a blow up at a Starbucks that day.

The policemen were shot at Caffall’s address when they came to serve him with an eviction notice. It is always sad when an attempt to introduce a new mentally ill man into the ranks of the homeless goes awry, but what were the police  thinking  trying to evict this guy without a SWAT team? Just look at him!

Can’t you read the madness in that grin? I mean, we all remember Jared Lee Loughhner, right?

Look, I’m generally opposed to the police state, but a lot of needless bloodshed could be avoided if we started gathering biometric data from people’s driver’s license photos. How many more massacres must we endure before we start putting people with morbidly creepy smiles on a watch list?

Anyway, given the low body count and with the winner of the veepstakes hogging the headlines, I doubt the families of the dead will even get a consolation e-card from the President. Nope, no hanging of the heads and pretending to care about gun control over this one, people. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Ayn Ryan

The wait is over! The long-anticipated Republican VP candidate has finally appeared at the threshold and walked down the aisle to take his place beside Mitt Romney at the altar.

We all wondered which demographic Mitt Romney would suck up to through his pick. Would it be hispanics (Rubio)? Fatties (Christie)? Toxic Avenger fans (Jindal)? Or would he forego gimmicks altogether and roll the dice on his own charisma (Portman, T-Paw)?

Romney’s choice of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan makes it official: the Tea Party is holding the shotgun at this wedding.

Don’t doubt for a second what a fantastic coup this is for the far right. After the eight year nightmare that was Bush/Cheney, the Republican establishment should have been looking for the least flamboyantly evil veep pick they could scrounge. But the double-talking, flim flam plutocrat who is Mitt Romney has still not caught fire amongst the Birthers who now constitute the popped kernel of the Republican base. No one believes Romney has the burning hatred for Obama that is the salient issue the Republicans have been running on since liquifying pumpkin Mitch McConnell committed the GOP to Obama’s ouster and nothing else. So, just as John McCain did to shore up his support amongst the crazies, Mitt has found his Mama Grizzly.

This pick is not likely to be a disaster the way Sarah Palin ultimately was. Ryan is apparently intelligent and won’t leave people wondering if his children aren’t the only ones with extra chromosomes. But his is a promise of disasters yet to come.

Ryan is best known for his calamitous “Ryan Budget”, which would slash money from Medicaid and  eliminate Affordable Care, tossing tens of millions of the too-poor-to-insure to the wolves. Medicare would be reshaped into something like welfare, with benefits no longer corresponding to what the People paid into the fund. Ryan was also behind the Republican effort to privatize Social Security, which even Dubya thought went too far (and that was before the Second Depression).

The Ron Paul wing of the Tea Party can also skeet, because Ryan is a devotee to Ayn Rand and her cult of the ego! I’m not sure if Rand’s “objectivism” has golden plates in its mythology, but the worship of money will at least help Romney and Ryan dance cheek-to-cheek. And Ryan is the Prince of Wisconsin, the Land where Labor Lost! Another bonus!

The Ryan pick allows Romney to briefly appear “bold”, even though in typical Romney fashion he is already distancing himself from the Ryan budget and its implications. But whether or not Mitt ultimately gets a “Ryan bump”  from his theatrical ploy, Ryan ultimately doesn’t matter except as vacant symbolism. Traditionally, efforts to shore up a lukewarm candidate with a notable second banana do nothing or are counter productive (think Ferraro, Lieberman and Palin). Ryan is a sop to the extreme right which doesn’t tell you anything about how Romney will govern except, as we already know, as a two-faced asshole.

Oh, and by the way?

(I hope your Secret Service detail is on its toes, Mitt.)